Good News Agency – Year X, n° 160
“…In conveying the appreciation of the Head of State for the passion and the professionalism with which you spread, above all among the young, the culture of "good news", I would like to take this opportunity of adding my personal greeting”. (From the letter of the Adviser for the Press and Information of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to the Editor of Good News Agency, 12 October 2007.)
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 2,800 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.
New treaty will leave ‘fish pirates’ without safe haven
91 FAO Members have agreed on an international agreement to implement “port state measures” to combat illegal fishing.
The Agreement falls under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution, with FAO’s Director-General acting as legal depository for countries’ ratifications. As such, it next will be reviewed by FAO’s Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its next meeting (23-25 September 2009) and from there it will go to FAO’s Council in September and the FAO Conference in November for final review and formal adoption. The substantive work on the treaty may be considered as having been finalized, however. In order to enter into force the Agreement must then be OK’d at the national level. Once 25 States have done so, it will enter into force after 30 days. Regular monitoring of compliance will take place, with a major review scheduled to occur four years after the Agreement takes effect. (...) http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/29592/icode/
EU and Eastern and
Belgrade, 2 September -
Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad,
the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, welcomed today the Serbian Assembly’s
adoption of the new Law on National Councils of National Minorities. “We
This achievement is timed beautifully with the Fourth Global Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace this upcoming September 13th-21st in Costa Rica, organized by the Global Alliance and hosted by the Costa Rican government.
long-time United States Representative to the Global Alliance for Ministries
and Departments of Peace and Co-Director of National Peace Academy said: “The Peace
Alliance has helped inspire campaigns around the world as the
The Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments for Peace is a community of dedicated individuals, organisations and autonomous campaigns, supporting their national governments to significantly invest in the development of skills and infrastructure dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict. To learn more about the global efforts, visit: www.mfp-dop.org
24 August - Three months ahead
of the UN climate change conference in
The new legislation enshrines
Cluster bomb ban on track to become international law soon
Global treaty hits halfway
18 August - The international
treaty banning cluster bombs has passed the half-way milestone to the 30
ratifications needed for it to become binding international law. The UN
confirmed today that
The Convention on Cluster
Munitions, signed by 98 nations since December 2008, prohibits the use,
production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It also requires
clearance of areas contaminated by unexploded cluster munitions and establishes
ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims of the weapon. A total of
30 signatories must ratify to trigger entry into force of the Convention six
months later. Fifteen signatories have ratified to date:
Council of Europe: Hammarberg, human rights
talks with the
4 September - The Council of
Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg,
starts today a week-long visit to the
Legal experts meet to discuss access to justice in Kosovo
3 September - UNDP’s Access to Justice Project (A2J) hosted a two day workshop at Hotel Afa, Pristina on the topic of legal aid and legal literacy in Kosovo on 31 August and 1 September 2009. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) and the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA).
Approximately forty-five national and international experts on legal literacy and legal aid from a variety of organisations and institutions attended the workshop. The workshop adopted a number of different formats and included presentations, plenary discussions and small group discussion sessions. (...) The key issues raised were the need for a rights-based approach and a capacity development perspective, to support development at organizational and individual levels to provide justice remedies. It also highlighted the need for greater institutional cooperation on legal aid provision, and innovative methods for improving citizens’ access to information about their legal, constitutional, and human rights; procedures and the legal aid system. (...)
Countries gather to discuss improving disability rights
2 September -
Representatives of dozens of countries have gathered today at United Nations
The Convention, which entered into force in May last year, asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities. So far 142 countries have signed the treaty and 66 have ratified it. The pact’s Optional Protocol allows individuals to petition an international expert body with grievances, and this has been signed by 88 nations and ratified by 44. Participants in this week’s meeting will take part in round-table discussions and informal discussions, and are also expected to devise the basis for a road map for further actions to implement the Convention. (…)
International Day for Tolerance – 16 November
In 1996, the General Assembly invited Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public (resolution 51/95 of 12 December). This action came in the wake of the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the Assembly in 1993 (resolution 48/126). The Year had been declared on the initiative of the General Conference of UNESCO. On 16 November 1995, the UNESCO member States had adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year. The 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1), outlines the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.
Third General Conference of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism, 19 – 20 November 2009
From 19 to 20
November 2009, the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR) will
organize its third annual conference in
The Conference is intended to identify best strategies that cities can adopt to counteract racism and discrimination on the basis of the “Ten-Point Plan of Action” of ECCAR and also by taking into account the international economic and political context.
In order to present examples of strategies and actions implemented by European cities and in order to share experiences and stimulate discussion the following four working groups will be organized : Download the programme [PDF, 794 KB] (...)
Commissioner Potočnik in Africa to boost the
science partnership between the African
Raising animals to reduce poverty and hunger in Ecuador
In collaboration with Carla Rossignoli
2 September - Guinea pigs are
a centuries-old delicacy for the peoples of the Andes and for
more than 100 families in
Faced with this situation, the community has redirected its efforts towards new livelihoods under the leadership of municipal officials. For the past three years, UNDP has supported the development of one the new initiatives proposed by the community: the modernized production of pigs and guinea pigs. (...) Training centres were created for 22 producers’ associations, focusing on improving the genetic quality of livestock; the proper handling and feeing of animals; the industrialization of production; and the marketing of guinea pigs and pigs to local, national and eventually international consumers. (...)
Silver Spring, Md., USA, 1 September - Nearly 40 leading faith-based organizations (FBOs), including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in August to discuss the importance of greater cooperation between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and FBOs in order to better meet the needs of the developing world. During the two-day summit, held August 3 and 4, representatives from the attending FBOs emphasized the importance of not only sharing training and knowledge, but also working together to find answers to important issues, including maternal health and gender-based violence. A need for user-friendly, evidence-based information was also highlighted to help faith-based communities in their role as advocates. (...) Topics presented at the roundtable also included humanitarian relief, migration, and women’s empowerment. (...)
31 August - About 1,200
conflict-affected women and girls in northern
Muixil is a group of 350 Indigenous Ixil women living in the highlands of
Nearly $180 billion transferred to
26 August - The fund
administering proceeds from export sales of petroleum from
Rome, 20 August - A $10.2 million scheme to distribute and multiply quality seeds in Haiti has significantly increased food production in the Caribbean nation providing cheaper food for the population and boosting farmers’ incomes. Requested by the Haitian government, financed by a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by FAO, the programme was introduced to combat high international food prices.
The situation was made more
urgent by a series of deadly tropical storms that hit
Almost 250 000 smallholder and landless farmers have or will receive adapted quality seeds through the programme, which although only half way completed has already paid for itself many times over. (…) Apart from beans, the project also includes the multiplication of maize, sorghum as well as the propagation of cassava, sweet potato and banana plants. (…)
Microcredit helps cushion Jamaicans in harsh economic times
is particularly in times of economic slowdown that the most vulnerable
businesses and people need support, said Machel
Stewart, Poverty Reduction Programme Specialist at
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in
is playing a key coordinating role in the response to the crisis in
the Children launches emergency response to assist children and families in
Westport, Conn., USA, 3 September - Save the Children is deploying an emergency response team and preparing to distribute relief items to children and families affected by the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck off the western coast of Java on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The earthquake damaged more
than 25,000 homes in Tasikmalaya and neighboring
towns, according to the Indonesian government. The quake killed at least 57
people, caused landslides burying at least one village and damaged
infrastructure. Save the Children, which launched humanitarian responses to the
Yogyakarta earthquake of 2006 and to the 2004
Cici Riesmasari, IFRC Communications Officer in
3 September - In the wake of the strong earthquake that struck western Java on the afternoon of 2 September, staff and volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross were deployed immediately to provide emergency relief to survivors.
The 7.4 earthquake impacted 12
districts and municipalities in
The Indonesian Red Cross or Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) has dispatched 1,500 family tents, 3,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 blankets and sleeping mats as well as 1,000 hygiene kits to the affected areas.(...) In Tasikmalaya and Cianjur branch, Red Cross volunteers evacuated people and provided first aid for survivors. PMI Bandung branch erected platoon tents in Pangalengan sub-district, and distributed blanket to the survivors. Meanwhile in Garut, clean water was distributed to people in Pameungpeuk sub-district. (...)
Rotary, Google join forces
by Donna Polydoros
Rotary International News, 31 August - Rotary has teamed up with Google to make nearly 100 years of The Rotarian available free online. Full-color, searchable scans of all issues of the magazine from 1959 to 2008 are now available through Google Books, with more issues to follow. The site is accessible from The Rotarian’s page on the RI Web site. Users can select from a gallery of issues organized by decade or click “Search all issues” to search the entire catalog for a word or phrase. The collaboration is part of an initiative to make Rotary’s historical resources more accessible to Rotarians worldwide. (...) More than 72,000 pages will be available once Google finishes scanning and uploading all 1,100 issues. The first issue was published in January 1911, when the magazine was called The National Rotarian.
Some issues of interest include December 1979, which reported on Rotary’s first polio immunization project; the February 2005 centennial issue; and issues from the 1980s discussing the admission of women into Rotary.
Back To School: nearly 500 Vietnamese landmine families receive Clear Path International support to send their children back to school
30 August - (...) 52 children
from landmine-affected families in Dong Ha town (...) received special
scholarships from CPI at the school on Aug. 21 as the organization conducted
the last round of assistance ceremonies at the start of the new school year.
Sadly, Tran Phuong Nhu was a last-minute addition. In
all, 482 students in nine districts from four provinces north and south of the
former Demilitarized Zone at the 17th parallel received CPI scholarships this
year. The scholarship grants are for elementary to high school students who
were injured by accidents with unexploded ordnance (UXO) or (...) whose family
members sustained injuries from such accidents. UXO accidents still happen
almost every week in central
Each scholarship grant worth about $35 covers most of the minimum tuition even the poorest families have to pay the public schools. CPI also awards special uniform and materials packages to mine-affected students with the best grades. One hundred and twenty nine, or more than a quarter, of the 482 students this year received such gifts in recognition to their tireless efforts to overcome their challenges at home and at school. (...)
62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference, 9 – 11 September,
Annual DPI/NGO Conference is being held in
The DPI/NGO Conference is the main NGO event of the year at the United Nations. It typically attracts 2,000 representatives from some 90 countries. This year’s conference is organized by a partnership of the U.N. Department of Public Information in cooperation with the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, the Government of Mexico, and the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs. For the second time in its six-decade history, the Conference is held outside the United Nations New York Headquarters. (...) http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference/
(See the article at the end of this issue for a complete review of the event.)
Timor-Leste: UN marks ten years since historic vote for independence
4 September - The United Nations mission in Timor-Leste today marked ten years since the historic UN-organized referendum that led to the independence of the South-east Asian nation. (...) During today’s ceremony, attended by President Jose Ramos-Horta, 100 Timorese UN staff members who have served the world body continuously since 1999 received awards in recognition of their service. It was just one of a series of events held this week around the country to mark the occasion, along with the inaugural Tour de Timor cycling race, peace festivals and concerts.
of children from
20 August - President of the
Republic of Slovenia Dr. Danilo Türk
visited Ramallah on 30 January 2009 and met with
President Mahmud Abbas,
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other Palestinian
leaders where they discussed on humanitarian needs in
Following the decision of the
Government of the
Ratification of UN-backed nuclear treaty nears milestone of 150 countries
19 August - The total number
of countries that have ratified the United Nations-backed Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has inched closer to 150 after
The West African nation’s move also means that the pact has 51 signatures and 37 ratifications out of the 53 countries on the continent, where the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, went into effect last month.
To date, 181 States worldwide have signed the pact, which was adopted by the General Assembly in September 1996 to ban any nuclear-test explosions anywhere.
It will enter into force 180
days after all 44 of the States mentioned in Annex 2 of the Treaty - those which
possessed nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology at the time it opened
for signature in 1996 - have ratified it. So far, 35 of these nations,
by US Embassy,
19 August - The U.S.
Government is contributing an additional $6 million for demining
2009 theme: Building Bridges of Peace
This will be the fourth international summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. Founded in 2004, the Global Alliance is a worldwide community of civil society organizations, committed citizens and government officials from 35 countries, working to establish governmental structures that support a culture of peace. The Costa Rican government, which is co-sponsoring the summit, has recently established a Ministry of Justice and Peace.
The goal of the
The International Day of Peace - September 21 - to be observed worldwide
Global and local observance planned in every UN nation state
This year’s annual global observance of the International Day of Peace, September 21 is capturing the attention of people, communities and nations worldwide. Based on last year’s reports, it is estimated that there will be over 10,000 events on the planet this year, sponsored by thousands of organizations, and that over 200 million people will participate. These will range from ceasefires, during which humanitarian aide is administered, to religious and interfaith services. They will include educational activities and volunteer programs; government proclamations, media events, and many types of activities by human rights, environmental, cultural and civic groups to draw attention to their particular aspect of ‘peacebuilding’.
There will be large-scale
celebrations in cities such as
Created in 1981 by unanimous resolution of the United Nations, the observance of the International Day of Peace has grown exponentially in recent years and now reaches every level of society. In addition to UN activities, thousands of international and grassroots organizations create events to promote their particular aspects of peacebuilding. Many of these organizations work with The Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI http://www.cultureofpeace.org/ ), a UN designated Peace Messenger Initiative with over 3,000 affiliated organizations. For more information please visit: www.cultureofpeace.org and www.internationaldayofpeace.org
World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September 2009
World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.
With the sponsoring International Association for Suicide Prevention, WHO and other partners advocate for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicides in the media.
At the global level, awareness needs to be raised that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. Governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programmes and activities in communities.
The 5th International Conference Workingonsafety.net
will be held from 7-10 September
Workingonsafety.net is an international network of decision-makers, researchers and professionals responsible for the prevention of accidents and trauma at work. It is supported by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Workingonsafety.net wants to bring accident prevention experts together in order to facilitate the exchange of information and experience between different countries and sectors. It consists of an Internet platform, www.workingonsafety.net, and a biannual conference.
The main theme of the conference is ‘On the road to vision zero?’ Related to this topic, the main focus will be on the prevention of accidents at work, and especially on the understanding and prevention of occupational accidents; however, major accidents resulting in loss of lives and health in industry and transportation are also within the scope of the conference.
helps make recent medical mission to the
3 September -
ACDI/VOCA-trained community health action teams (CHATs)
provided needed assistance and supplies during a recent three-day USAID medical
mission to the remote
ACDI/VOCA organizes the CHAT health volunteers under its USAID-funded Sustainable Health Improvement through Empowerment and Local Development (SHIELD) project. Because of SHIELD’s work with revitalizing the local health board, the mission team was able to distribute over $100,000 worth of supplies, including drugs for tuberculosis and family planning, which are difficult to come by in the remote areas. Private health operators are almost nonexistent in remote villages. (...) SHIELD works to provide people in these remote villages with better access to medicine and medical treatment.
teams respond to diarrhea outbreak in
2 September - Since August 19,
joint Ministry of Health and MSF teams have been providing medical care to
patients with acute watery diarrhea in and around the capital city of
In total 5,178 patients have
been cared for by medical teams from August 19 to
Pennies for Polio pays big dividends for Rotary's challenge
Rotarians celebrate the success of Pennies for Polio at District 7120's annual conference
By Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 27
August - To Michael Leone, 2008-09 governor of District 7120 (
After receiving the support of the district Rotary Foundation committee and district advisory council, Leone presented Pennies for Polio to the club presidents in January through a letter, PolioPlus fact sheet, and PowerPoint presentation. Fifty-eight Rotary clubs and 30 Interact clubs helped the project get underway in March and April by placing Pennies for Polio collection jars in schools throughout the district. School fundraisers lasted one to two weeks, with many featuring competitions among grade levels and a pizza party for the winning grade.
The Rotary Club of Honeoye
Falls-Mendon produced a video about polio to show in local elementary schools
and printouts for teachers to use with students in the classroom. "The
teachers used the project to teach children about world health issues and how
polio once plagued the
Pennies for Polio tallied more than $100,000 in all for Rotary's challenge. (…)
Interrupting polio transmission - Independent evaluation under way
Teams deployed to countries
25 August - The work of the
independent evaluation of the major barriers to interrupting polio transmission
is well underway, and team leaders are expected to present their
recommendations to the Oversight Committee at the end of September. Five
fully-constituted sub-teams have been formed, four travelling
to the remaining endemic countries -
The evaluation was requested by WHO’s Executive Board in January, two years after the start of the ‘Intensified Eradication Effort’. (...)
Hilton humanitarian prize awarded to PATH
Hilton Foundation awards world’s largest humanitarian prize to Seattle-based global health organization for its commitment to lifesaving technologies for the developing world
Since its inception in 1977, PATH has worked to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors. PATH currently works in more than 70 countries in the areas of health technologies, maternal and child health, reproductive health, vaccines and immunization, and emerging and epidemic diseases. (...)
Recovery Act funding will accelerate job creation and help expand marketplace for innovative solar electric panels
Fremont, CA, USA, 4 September – US Vice President Joe Biden, appearing via satellite from Washington D.C., today announced the Department of Energy has finalized a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, Inc., which manufactures innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels that provide clean, renewable energy. The funding will finance construction of the first phase of the company’s new manufacturing facility. Annual production of solar panels from the first phase is expected to provide energy equivalent to powering 24,000 homes a year or over half a million homes over the project’s lifetime. Solyndra estimates the new plant will initially create 3,000 construction jobs, and lead to as many as 1,000 jobs once the facility opens. Hundreds more will install Solyndra’s solar panels on rooftops around the country. (…)
3 September - (...) Flick The Switch is
a stimulating energy saving campaign aimed at primary and secondary schools and
The Eco-Schools Programme is a part of the Flick the Switch campaign, implementing it directly through Eco-Schools Slovakia/FEE Slovakia and Association of Environmental Education in Slovenia/FEE Slovenia.http://www.fee-international.org/en/Menu/News/FLICK+THE+SWITCH+-+A+simple+action+but+a+very+powerful+one!
Steady European market for wind turbines in 2009
August - New research by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) estimates
that 8,600 MW of new wind energy capacity will be installed in the EU-
The forecast is encouraging in a year where the financial crisis has affected most industries and where electricity demand is declining in tune with overall economic activity.
am pleasantly surprised by the research results. They show that the underlying
demand for wind energy technology is currently strong enough to make up for
project delays caused by many banks’ continued reluctance to provide project
finance. Although the outlook for 2009 is encouraging, the real test of the
wind energy sector’s ability to withstand the financial crisis will be
The Ganges Expedition is a
unique project supported by AB Inflatables, Green
Cross International and Kuoni. On 14 September 2009,
an international team of specialists starts traveling
the entire length of
Water is a priority area of
work for the GCI, not only to prevent conflict among States that share river
water resources, but also to facilitate access to clean and safe drinking water
to the needy populations.
Mapping the current state of this river through photographs and video footage will provide an invaluable resource to support efforts aimed at restoring its health. It will also provide a good reference point for likely changes in the near future expected to be caused by Climate change. (…)
For more information on GCI, please our visit website:
Broadcasters unite in fight against climate change
Delegates at the first ever UNESCO Broadcast
Media and Climate Change conference in Paris (
4 September - Green Cross Italy sponsors an
international conference, Rock Inside 2009:
Environmental Law, on 5 September at
Rock Inside is an Independent Non-profit Association
that promotes the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, culture, art and
music as a means of reducing confrontation and promoting intercultural
dialogue. It also promotes initiatives that support the environment. The themes
of the conference are: Crime against Environment, Crime against Humanity;
Amazon: the second destruction of green areas;
31 August - The Government of
Nepal is hosting a Regional Climate Conference titled “Kathmandu
The primary objectives of this
conference are to: (i) provide a forum for the
countries of the South Asia Himalayas and other countries in the region to
share knowledge and experience about common climate change risks; and (ii)
forge a common vision on how to tackle the Himalayan climate challenges. The
Conference is expected to contribute to thinking about climate change threats
and opportunities for
welcomes fading of
The traditional incandescent
bulb is one of the least efficient ways of producing light, along with the
standard halogen. It disperses 95% of the energy it uses. The alternatives to
energy wasting bulbs are most efficient halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent
lamps (CFLs) and LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs.
WWF together with other organisations has launched a
web portal ( )
to inform consumers about the most energy-efficient appliances and lighting
Wonder tree could be one answer to food scarcity in
Garrity told the Congress the
secret to higher maize yields lay in a tree called Faidherbia.
This tree has a special nitrogen-fixing property and an unusual habit known as
“reverse leaf phenology”. Unlike other trees, Faidherbia sheds its leaves and goes dormant during the
early rainy season. Its leaves grow again only in the dry season. This means
that it is extremely compatible with food crops because it does not compete
with them for water, nutrients or light. According to the Agroforestry
Centre, farmers in
research showed that in
Himalayan expedition to record climate change effects
The glaciers of the Himalayas
store more ice than anywhere on Earth except for the polar regions
For more information on Pax Arctica and the expedition: http://paxarctica.org/
Olav Fykse Tveit elected World Council of Churches general secretary
August - Norwegian theologian and pastor Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, 48, was elected 7th
general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Thursday 27 August
during its Central Committee meeting. Tveit will be
the youngest general secretary since Willem A. Visser ‘t Hooft who had led the WCC while it was in process of
formation and following its founding assembly 61 years ago. “This task I really
feel is the call of God. I feel that we have a lot to do together”, said Tveit in his acceptance speech before the central
committee. He stressed the spirit of unity that dominated the whole process and
expressed hope that it will continue to reign in the common journey. (...) Since
2002, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
has been the general secretary of the
The WCC brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world.
Christians and Muslims in
21 August - Christian and Muslim leaders from Western Africa have called on the followers of their two religions “to complement each others efforts for peace in society and peaceful co-existence” among the faith communities at a meeting organized by the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA) in Accra, Ghana, 24 July 2009. They also underscored that religious leaders should “be politically impartial and refrain from partisan politics so as to ensure that [they] play effective roles as agents of peace, justice and reconciliation.”
The WCC president from Africa, Rev. Dr Simon Dossou of the Protestant Methodist Church in Benin, was one of sixty Muslim and Christian clerics from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo, as well as representatives of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and the Fellowship of Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA), to endorse the statement.
Doing the Truth in Love: an evangelical call for response to Caritas in Veritate
18 August - Recent global events awaken us to the importance of sustained Christian reflection on the nature and goal of economic life, both within our own societies and in other parts of the world. Accordingly, as evangelical Protestants we applaud the release of Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) by Pope Benedict XVI. We call on Christians everywhere, but especially our fellow evangelicals in the global North, to read, wrestle with, and respond to Caritas in Veritate and its identification of the twin call of love and truth upon our lives as citizens, entrepreneurs, workers and, most fundamentally, as followers of Christ. (...)
With Caritas in Veritate, we commit ourselves not to be the “victims” of globalization, but to be its “protagonists” - to work for global solidarity, economic justice, and the common good, as norms that transcend and transform the motives of economic profit and technical progress. We call for serious dialogue among all Christians and with many others to make these goals practical realities.
Inter Faith Week, 15 – 21 November 2009
Inter Faith Week will run from 15 to 21 November. Its aims are: to strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels; to increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and to increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious belief.
The Week is being facilitated by the Inter Faith Network for the UK and the Department for Communities and Local Government but will be community-led, with local people and groups of different backgrounds holding their own events and to highlight work going on to promote understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs.
on the rise in
The Acting on Gender-violence
Awareness through Peer Education (AGAPE) project is an ongoing program that is
helping to halt bullying and other violence-related behaviors in primary
schools in the capital
1 September - Africare, the largest and oldest
Taking an integrated approach, Pass It On! combines traditional Washington, DC, king size bus posters and back-lit Metro dioramas with “viral” social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the internet, along with one of the very first iPhone applications approved for non-profits. (…) Among its many features, the application includes a photo gallery, video and a “Click to Donate” button, from which a person can use his or her phone bill to contribute. To date, only three such applications have been created.
The Pass It On! campaign will use the new iPhone app to promote 16 featured individuals who are ready to tell you their story in a format that is ready to “pass on” to a friend or someone you know through video, social networks, e-mail and many hand-held devices. (...)
GlobalGiving, Intel and CARE to support quality education around the world
project in rural
The grant to CARE represents the official launch of the Technology for Education Fund. The Fund campaign aims to raise a total of $100,000 to support programs in developing countries that will use technology to enhance the quality of education. To date, Intel has contributed $50,000 to the Fund, and hopes to attract additional donors interested in supporting high-impact educational initiatives in impoverished communities. GlobalGiving, the leading marketplace for philanthropy, is providing the online platform through which donors can support the Fund (www.globalgiving.com/techforeducation); as an incentive, Intel is offering $15,000 to match - dollar for dollar - individual donations to the Fund through the end of 2009. (...)
UNESCO issues voluntary sex education guidelines to help young people
Over 5 million young people are living with HIV worldwide and nearly half of all new infections occur among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
27 August - New voluntary sexuality education guidelines have been issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to help young people learn how to protect themselves against HIV and against abuse and exploitation. The International Guidelines on Sexuality Education also arms educators with guidance on how children and youth can acquire the knowledge to prevent unintended pregnancies and transmission of sexually-transmitted infections. (…) Drawing on dozens of studies conducted around the world, they are designed to help education, health and other authorities developing and implementing school-based sexuality education programmes and materials.
The guidelines are organized around six key concepts: relationships; values, attitudes and skills; culture, society and law; human development; sexual behaviour; and sexual and reproductive health. (…) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31872&Cr=child&Cr1=sex
Congress 2009: Workshops on Children and Media –
The SIGNIS World Congress 2009
will take place in
Earth Charter - New project to develop indicators for values-based educational experiences
21 August - The ECI
Secretariat joined a consortium of organizations and research institutions in a
two-year research project to develop indicators to measure values components of
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) projects. (...) The research
work and coordination of the project is carried out by the University of
Brighton (UK) and
The 2009 State of the Future is now available
This “report card on the future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,700 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations. The 2009 State of the Future comes in two parts: a 100-page print executive summary and an attached CD containing about 6,700 pages of research behind the print edition and the Millennium Project’s 13 years of cumulative research and methods. It is produced by the Millennium Project with its 32 Nodes (groups of futurists and organizations) around the world, which collects, feeds back, and assesses insights from creative and knowledgeable people on emerging crises, opportunities, strategic priorities, and the feasibility of actions.
A paragraph of the Executive Summary, which can be downloaded freely, says:
“After 13 years of the
Millennium Project’s global futures research, it is increasingly clear that the
world has the resources to address its challenges. Coherence and direction has
been lacking. But recent meetings of the
into the future for the United Nations, its
New Earth Charter channel in YouTube
The Earth Charter International Secretariat has recently launched a video channel on YouTube.
The channel address is http://www.youtube.com/user/ECInternational, and it currently features 37 videos about the Earth Charter in a variety of languages. The videos include advertisements and introductory videos about the Earth Charter, information about various Earth Charter related activities around the world and interviews with individuals such as Ruud Lubbers, Leonardo Boff, David Korten, Maria Novo, Moacir Gadotti, Edgar Gonzalez and many others.
Our channel, called ECInternational, also lists a number of our favorite videos related to the Earth Charter and provides links to our subscribers and friends. (...)
With this channel, we hope groups from around the world will: be stimulated to record and post short videos sharing their experiences in working with the Earth Charter, learn from one another and use in workshops or as an educational resource.
UMAPAZ spearheading Earth
Charter Teacher Training Programme in schools of
Since 2007, UMAPAZ (the Open
University of Environment and a Culture of Peace) has operated an awareness
raising and educational programme in schools of
Indigenous community goes digital with high-tech support from WIPO
This marked a milestone in a pilot program initiated by WIPO to help indigenous communities document and preserve their own cultural traditions while simultaneously managing their intellectual property interests. (…) The IP training component of the program enables the community to make informed decisions about how to manage intellectual property assets in a way that corresponds with its values and development goals. The program also stimulates creativity within the community, can promote local economic and cultural development and helps to bridge the “digital divide”, key objectives of both the Millennium Development Goals and WIPO’s Development Agenda. (...) http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2009/article_0030.html
* * * * * * *
For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!
9 - 11 September 2009,
Lesley Vann, Good News Agency’s Publisher Representative to the UNDPI
This year the 62nd Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference took
place on 9 - 11 September
The DPI/NGO Conference was the main NGO event of the year at the United Nations. It attracted approximately 2,000 representatives from some 90 countries, who gathered to examine effective ways in which civil society can contribute to the advancement of disarmament, peace and development at the international, regional, national and local levels. This year’s conference was organized by a partnership of the U.N. Department of Public Information in cooperation with the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, the Government of Mexico, and the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.
Since its inception, the United Nations has staunchly stood behind the belief that peace and security for all peoples can be possible only through disarmament – both nuclear and conventional. The General Assembly held its first special session on Arms Regulation and Disarmament in 1978. For the first time in history, the international community achieved consensus on a comprehensive disarmament strategy.
Some 31 years later we once again come together to recognize the undeniable fact that there can be no winners in war and violence -- and that it is only through peaceful resolutions that we can truly build solutions to conflicts. As preparations are made for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next May, many NGOs hope to do their parts to support global efforts to defend the interrelated causes of peace, development and disarmament, which form the tripartite foundation of this year’s DPI/NGO Annual Conference.
A major feature of this Conference was its
emphasis on active participation by civil society representatives, UN and
subject matter experts, volunteers, scholars, etc. This broadbased
participation included four roundtable discussions and breakout sessions as
well as interactive dialogues. These were accompanied by 24 late afternoon
regional workshops, daily caucuses and many related activities. Prior to the
Conference, youth oriented events were held both in
The Conference featured keynote addresses from major figures in the disarmament world. This three-day exchange of ideas afforded civil society numerous opportunities to influence global discussions and lay groundwork for the all-important 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
The Late Afternoon Workshops have been an integral part of the DPI/NGO Conference since its early days. They continued to be among the most sought after events during the three-day Conference. The Late Afternoon workshops were organized for NGOs by NGOs. They were vehicles for peer-to-peer discussions, to exchange ideas and experiences and share approaches to common problems. The ultimate goal was to have participants take home information and knowledge that they can use in their civil society activities. The subjects of the Late Afternoon Workshops were chosen to enhance Conference themes and to represent thematic as well as regional balance.
The Roundtables were organized to provide key content for discussions, as exemplified by their topics. Roundtable I: “Zero Nuclear Weapons, Zero Weapons of Mass Destruction: Why, How, When?” The case for nuclear disarmament is compelling. The massive production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons by a handful of countries is dangerous, costly and wastes precious economic resources. The process also damages health, the environment, psychological well-being, and human rights. To succeed in ridding the world of this weapon of mass destruction, the engagement of public opinion and broad civil society will be crucial. This Panel addressed the next major steps in the fight to attain global disarmament, particularly strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in preparation for the 2010 review conference. Other related issues dealt with included the regulation of missiles, anti-missile systems, space-based weapons, and the relation of nuclear weapons to major conventional weapons.
Roundtable II: “Removing the Tools of Armed Violence.” Living free from the threat of armed violence is a basic human need and a precondition for human development, dignity and well-being. Roundtable II analyzed the elements of conflict present in all human societies, especially where conflict for resources exists. The Panel examined how governments and civil society can work together to reduce the availability of arms; regulating the supply of arms; reducing the demand for arms; managing existing stocks of weapons; removing weapons from circulation, defending human rights; and the role of NGOs in promoting peace and development.
Roundtable III: “Human Development is Global Security.” In this third Roundtable, experts addressed the need to redefine global security, taking account of the premise that basic human rights ensure true human security, which is the foundation of peace. Speakers addressed economies of conflicts, geopolitics, security, terrorist acts, and the effects of globalization, drug trafficking, and organized crime on human security. Participants also considered what civil society, local communities and nation states can do to promote human needs over military spending, looking at the responsibilities of municipalities, labor, humanitarian organizations and development agencies. The significant role of public opinion, in particular the views of young people, regarding nonviolence, peace education and conflict resolution were also considered.
Roundtable IV: “New Challenges and Perspectives for Global Development and Security for the 21st Century.” This fourth Roundtable examined long-term solutions, including the role of civil society within development, sustainability, peace and disarmament. The Roundtable organizers described it in the following terms. “Civil society is confronted by new challenges and needs as a consequence of social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental changes, which call for a new agenda for peace. The global economic crisis is simultaneously affecting the ability of people in many regions of the world to enjoy decent lives and has given rise to new global conflicts.” Panelists explored the need for a multidimensional approach to security, which takes account of social perspectives. They also addressed nuclear disarmament as well as the need to prevent or reduce arms trafficking, food crises, and the negative effects of climate change and natural disasters. Other issues that were considered during this Roundtable were the use of technology for violent purposes, violations of human, civil, political, economic and social rights -- especially among migrants, women, children and indigenous communities; and the lack of needed sustainable economic growth.
people were an integral part of this Conference, and youth activities held
before, during and after the Conference were emphasized. Young participants
interacted with youth peers to further understand contemporary issues in the
interrelated fields of disarmament, development and peace, and to create
actionable projects once they return to their hometowns and universities. Youth activities included a Youth Career Fair and Networking
Luncheon; Toy Disarmament Campaign focusing on the exchange of
toy arms for educational and sport games. A contest related to this campaign
was prepared for elementary and middle schools;
Student Journalism Project; University Outreach Project (National and
ten universities throughout
closing ceremonies in the Metropolitan Theatre included statements by
The attendees of this 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference -- representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society -- had the opportunity to attend all Conference sessions and acquaint themselves with the latest developments, trends, and global thinking on issues of nuclear disarmament and conventional weapons. It is hoped that these discussions and exchanges offered participants new insights and ideas, which they will formulate into actionable projects upon their return from the Conference. The annual Conference continues to provide civil society, the United Nations, and subject matter experts, rich opportunities for cross-pollination in dialogue, reform, and global progress.
UN DPI NGO liaison office
UN DPI NGO Website articles and text applied throughout this article: http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference/
For archived webcasts please go to the same website.
* * * * * * *
Good News Agency is
published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues
are available at www.goodnewsagency.org
Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Maria Grazia Da Damos, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Editorial Secretary: Maria Grazia Da Damos.
Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 6,000 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 49 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 2,800 NGOs and 500 high schools, colleges and universities.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà
Mondiale, a registered educational charity
chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of
consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’
perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124