Good News Agency – Year X, n° 163



Weekly – Year X, number 163 – 13th November 2009

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

 “…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.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



Near universal support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty at First Committee

CTBT resolution receives strong support at the UN General Assembly First Committee, with 175 States voting in favour

4 November - An overwhelming number of countries have expressed their support for the Treaty by voting in favour of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) resolution at this year’s United Nations General Assembly First Committee. The resolution was put up for a vote and adopted on 30 October 2009, with 175 countries voting in favour of the resolution. Only one country voted against the resolution (North Korea) and three abstained (India, Syria, Mauritius). The backing of the Treaty by nearly every State exemplifies the near-universality that the CTBT enjoys. The resolution comes just one month after a two-day high level ministerial conference that unanimously adopted a final declaration calling on all hold out States to sign and ratify the Treaty. Nine States must ratify for the CTBT’s entry into force. (...) Seven voted in favour of the resolution (...) The DPRK, which did not participate in last year’s vote, voted against the resolution while India abstained.


Treaty of Lisbon: Final piece of the puzzle in place

The Treaty enters into force on 1 December

3 November - Czech President Vaclav Klaus has signed the Treaty. Thus the final hurdle in the way of the Treaty of Lisbon has been cleared. After a long journey, the Treaty of Lisbon has reached the goal. With the signature of the Czech President, all EU Member States have now ratified the text. The Treaty enters into force on 1 December and all the details must now be put into place. (...)

When all the treaties are signed, the instruments of ratification, as they are known, will be transported to premises of the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. All international agreements or treaties have a body/organisation or country administering the instruments of ratification. As of 1957, Italy has the role of Depositary. This means, for example, that Italy has the responsiblity of receiving, confirming and informing the EU’s Member States about what happens with the instruments.


Telecoms package conciliation: MEPs and Council representatives agree on internet access safeguards  

5 November - A user’s internet access may be restricted, if necessary and proportionate, only after a fair and impartial procedure including the user’s right to be heard. MEPs and Council representatives agreed in negotiations on Wednesday night on this, the last open issue in the telecoms package. (...) Restrictions on a user’s internet access may “only be imposed if they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society”, agreed MEPs and Council representatives. Such measures may be taken only “with due respect for the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to privacy” and as a result of “a prior, fair and impartial procedure” guaranteeing “the right to be heard (...) and the right to an effective and timely judicial review”, says the compromise text on the electronic communications framework directive. “In duly substantiated cases of urgency” appropriate procedural arrangements may be made provided they are in line with the European Human Rights Convention.

In future, internet users may refer to these provisions in court proceedings against a decision of a Member State to cut off their internet access.

Parliament’s delegation approved the joint text unanimously. The compromise still has to be approved by the full Parliament and Council.


Arms experts welcome U.S. support for Arms Trade Treaty

Washington, D.C., 15 October - Arms control experts welcomed yesterday’s statement by the United States supporting a legally binding treaty to regulate the trade of conventional weapons. The United States was the only country to vote against two previous UN resolutions related to the treaty, but yesterday the Obama administration expressed support for a UN process that could lead to negotiation of such a treaty in 2012.

“The United States is the world’s top arms dealer as well as a leader in export controls. On those grounds alone, the administration’s decision to support a treaty process is a very positive step,” said Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association.

“An Arms Trade Treaty will provide the foundation for a much needed international regulatory framework for the arms trade. Many countries have effective export control measures in place, but many others lack even the basic legislation. These loopholes need to be closed as they pose a risk for not only people, but governments and legitimate companies. Active U.S. participation in creating as strong and robust a treaty as possible will be absolutely crucial,” said Anne-Charlotte Merrell Wetterwik, research associate at the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia.

“A robust arms trade treaty has the potential to curb some of the world’s worse suffering by creating a sorely missed global norm for conventional arms transfers,” Abramson added.


30 Years United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

11 October - The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the international human rights treaty for women, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago, on 18 December 1979. In 2009, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which empowers the CEDAW Committee to hear complaints of rights violations brought by individuals. To date, 186 countries have ratified the Convention and 98 of these countries have ratified the Optional Protocol.

The Convention’s 30th Anniversary provides an occasion to celebrate its near-universal ratification, as well as the recent progress that has been made at the national level to implement CEDAW and make true gains for women’s and girls’ rights on a practical, everyday level. Through the passage of new constitutions as well as national laws and policies based on the principle of gender equality, women’s human rights are now becoming national standards. (…)

This website highlights a number of successful stories of the Convention’s implementation from around the world, which serve to illustrate how national partners and the global community can work together to ensure gender equality is a reality for all women and girls.


Symposium on Future Challenges of International Law: the Way Forward in Patenting Biotechnology

25 November (afternoon) - WIPO, 34, chemin des Colombettes, Geneva, Room B

The World Intellectual Property (WIPO), in cooperation with the University of Berne and the World Trade Institute (WTI), will host a Symposium on Future Challenges of International Law: The Way Forward in Patenting Biotechnology at its headquarters in Geneva on November 25, 2009.

The Symposium will address the challenging interface between biotechnology, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and international trade, and will explore options for the international patent system after the WTO Doha Round. The team of the NCCR International Trade’s Project on Biotechnology ( will present the outcome resulting from its research conducted during the past four years. The program covers case studies on animal genetic resources and human genetic resources as well as future challenges regarding the international regulation of IPRs and biotechnology from the WIPO and WTO perspectives.



Human rights



Children rights over the world

November 20th 2009 is the commemoration date of the signature of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child signed in 1989. Next November will be the 20th anniversary.

Members of Associations including Amnesty International, UNICEF, Handicap International, Global March Against Child Labour have teamed up with local French Associations: Au Fil de l’Enfance, Groupement pour l’Intégration Scolaire des Enfants Handicapés, Infosectes Midi-Pyrénées, La Maison des Droits de l’Enfant, Le Cri, SALEM, Virlanie…to work together).

One or two weeks events have been organised every year since 2005 in Toulouse (South of France. This 20th of November’s theme is Rights and Duties for the children, and emphasis is given to EDUCATION. It consists of exhibitions, conferences and debates, visits of school children with active participation so as to try and make children and parents conscious of the huge problem of children suffering from limited rights or even no rights at all. (...)


Council of Europe, ECRI workshop, Budapest, 16 November

10 November - The European Commission against racism and intolerance (ECRI), established by the Council of Europe, will hold its next national workshop in Budapest, Hungary, on 16 November. Items on the agenda include racial-based violence, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance in the public debate as well as the implementation of regulations and policies against racial discrimination in the country.

Composed of independent members, ECRI takes inspiration for its work from Protocol no 12 of the European Convention for Human Rights, which views racial discrimination as “a violation of human rights”; it regularly publishes reports on episodes of racism and intolerance in the member states of the CoE; it organises workshops with social members and develops recommendations for the governments. (…) The meeting will be attended by delegates from the government, Parliament, legal bodies, local communities, NGOs.


UN launches campaign harnessing support to end violence against women

6 November - The United Nations kicked off a campaign today mobilizing people around the world to take part in a drive to stop the pandemic of violence suffered by women at the hands of men. The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched a website to inspire individual efforts aimed at eradicating violence against women, such as reaching out to school students, volunteering at local shelters, advocating for legislation or donating funds for programmes that protect women and girls. (…) The Say NO – Unite to End Violence against Women initiative’s website also aims to showcase the widespread problem - estimates say around 70 per cent of all women have been victim to some kind of violence - and demonstrate the groundswell of support by counting the number of deeds performed to combat the scourge. (…)


UN lauds first ever rescue of abducted children in southern Sudan

5 November - The United Nations today hailed the rescue of 28 children who had been abducted in southern Sudan’s Jonglei state, and urged that all those still being held be released immediately. “We call upon the relevant authorities to ensure that all children still in captivity be released as soon as possible, and that the practice of child abduction is brought to a stop wherever they may be in southern Sudan,” said Lise Grande, the UN Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. The 28 children - aged between 2 and 14 years - were released on 22 October, following a new initiative by the Commissioner of Pibor county, who has vowed to stamp out the scourge of child abduction in Jonglei state. (...)

UNICEF has been working on child registration to facilitate the tracing of families and reunification, as well as follow-up monitoring.


Obama announces end to HIV travel ban

Restrictions Encourage Bias, Impede Effective Responses to HIV

30 October - President Barack Obama’s announcement today that national travel and immigration restrictions on people living with HIV will be removed should have positive consequences for public health and other countries with similar restrictions should follow suit, Human Rights Watch said.

The rule change, to be published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2009, would be followed by a two-month waiting period before going into effect in early 2010. 

“Lifting a policy that so clearly violates both human rights and public health needs is long past due,” said Joe Amon, director of the Health and Human Rights division at Human Rights Watch. “Countries around the world that still have bans should follow this example.” (...)


Bolivia: Training on rights, governance and political participation to rural indigenous women of CNMCIOB

Cochabamba, 22 October - The International Indigenous Women’s Forum (IIWF) and the National Confederation of Rural Indigenous Women Originating from Bolivia Bartolina Sisa (CNMCIOB BS) joined forces for a political and leadership education workshop entitled: Training on Rights, Governance and Political Participation of Rural Indigenous Women of CNMCIOB, as the pilot-project for the IIWF/FIMI Indigenous Women’s Global Leadership School. (...)

The training process for the Indigenous women leaders was organized to articulate themes and methodology, and elaborated by IIWF/FIMI representative Antonia Agreda. This organization style allowed the mainstreaming of each individual’s respective organizational processes in such way that will enable the women leaders to use this training as a frame of reference and a critical reflection of the new political situation in the country.

The workshops were greatly enriched by the participation of global leaders including: Mateo Martínez, International Relations Representative from Fondo Indigena; the Director of CNMCIOB ‘Bartolina Sisas’: Leonida Zurita; Rebeca Delgado, a former Constituent of Bolivia; and Evelyn Agreda a former General Minister of Bolivia.



Economy and development



World Summit on Food Security to agree key actions to tackle this crisis

Rome, 16-18 November

The global food insecurity situation has worsened and continues to represent a serious threat for humanity. With food prices remaining stubbornly high in developing countries, the number of people suffering from hunger has been growing relentlessly in recent years. The global economic crisis is aggravating the situation by affecting jobs and deepening poverty.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf has proposed a World Summit on Food Security to agree key actions to tackle this crisis. He comments: “The silent hunger crisis — affecting one sixth of all of humanity — poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world.”

Poor countries need the development, economic and policy tools required to boost their agricultural production and productivity. Investment in agriculture must be increased because for the majority of poor countries a healthy agricultural sector is essential to overcome hunger and poverty and is a pre-requisite for overall economic growth. The gravity of the current food crisis is the result of 20 years of under-investment in agriculture and neglect of the sector. Directly or indirectly, agriculture provides the livelihood for 70 percent of the world's poor.


EBRD launches new strategy for Mongolia

9 November - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Board of Directors has adopted a new strategy for Mongolia, which reinforces the Bank’s commitment to further support the Mongolian economy and sets out the priorities for its activities in the country over the next three years. The new strategy acknowledges the progress achieved in Mongolia from a number of structural reforms, such as price and trade liberalisation and privatisation, and outlines the transition challenges (enterprise restructuring, competition policy, banking, non-bank financial institutions & infrastructure reform) for further development of the Mongolian economy. (...)

In order to promote the diversification of the Mongolian economy the EBRD will continue to support the development of the private enterprises in Mongolia by extending credit lines and providing equity investments to selected agribusiness, cashmere/textile, tourism and property businesses. (...)

Since the beginning of the EBRD’s operations in Mongolia in 2006, the Bank has committed over €125 million across 28 projects in various sectors of the Mongolian economy, with total projects cost of €337 million.


Rice revival gives Kenyan community hope

First bumper crop in years

Ahero, Kenya, 6 November - At the height of the 2008 food price crisis, FAO, through its Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP), launched a series of one-year input supply projects to help vulnerable farmers grow more food and earn more money. In Kenya, where civil unrest, drought and high food, fuel and input prices have left poor families even more vulnerable, this assistance has given one community hope for a better future.

This September, the rice fields in Ahero - a rural community in south-western Kenya - were abuzz with activity. Across the more than 2 000 acres that make up the Ahero Irrigation Scheme, women and men were levelling their land and transplanting rice seedlings. Expectations are high that the upcoming harvest will rival the bumper crop gathered earlier this year. (…) The success of last season’s rice crop has pumped new momentum into this community of 20.000. There are more jobs now and more money is flowing through the local economy.  (...)


Renewed FAO, IFAD and WFP effort to fight hunger

Senior managers agree to intensify cooperation

Rome, 5 November - The following joint statement was issued today after a meeting of senior managers of the Rome-based UN agencies: “We, the Senior Management of FAO, IFAD and WFP, the Rome-based United Nations agencies, met today ahead of the World Summit on Food Security (16-18 November 2009), to determine how to maximize each agency’s expertise and comparative advantage so their combined efforts better serve the world’s 1.02 billion hungry people.”

Led by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze and WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, the meeting brought together top management teams to advance initiatives ranging from joint administrative efficiencies to strategic country-led food security programs. The meeting built on the progress made over the past two years towards improving cost-efficiency and impact through better cooperation. This effort taps into FAO’s strength in agriculture, food security and natural resource management, IFAD’s ability to provide critical financing for developing countries, and WFP’s ability to provide hunger and nutrition solutions for the world’s most vulnerable. (...)


FAO: Promoting climate-smart agriculture

Report explores mutual benefits, trade-offs in tackling hunger and climate change

Rome, 5 November - The twin battles to improve food security for a growing world population and contain climate change can be fought on the same front - the world’s farmland, FAO said in a new report released today. Agriculture not only suffers the impacts of climate change, it is also responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But agriculture has the potential to be an important part of the solution, through mitigation - reducing and/or removing - a significant amount of global emissions, FAO says. Some 70 percent of this mitigation potential could be realized in developing countries. “Many effective strategies for climate change mitigation from agriculture also benefit food security, development and adaptation to climate change,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller. “The challenge is to capture these potential synergies, while managing trade-offs that may have negative impacts on food security.”

The report, Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies was launched during the Barcelona Climate Change Talks.


South-South unity to get boost at UN meet

Organizing an international conference at UN level usually requires at least one year preparation. But, this time the UN has acted quickly to strengthen South-South economic cooperation and decided only last month to host an international conference in Nairobi in December 2009. The conference aims to intensify trade, finance and investment flows among developing countries.

by Thalif Deen

4 November - As the global financial crisis continues to ravage the fragile economies of the world’s poorer countries, the United Nations is hosting a high-level international conference next month to boost South-South cooperation. Scheduled to take place Dec. 1-3 in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, the conference is primarily aimed at strengthening trade, finance and investment flows between and among developing nations. (...)

In a new report on ‘The State of South-South Cooperation’ released last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon points out that the overall trend, prior to the current economic crisis, had been “a remarkable rise in South-South trade, finance and investment flows”. (...)


Yes We Can! Major victory for shareowners in House Committee vote

Posted by Maureen Thompson on November 5, 2009 at 11:16am “Major victory for shareowners” in House Committee vote underscoring sec’s right to allow shareholders to nominate directors

Washington, D.C., 4 November - ( Executive Director Maureen Thompson issued the following statement today:

“In a victory for shareowners, the House Financial Services Committee today approved an amendment to the Investor Protection Act (IPA) offered by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) that clarifies the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow shareholders to nominate directors. The Committee later approved the IPA, which will be packaged with other pieces of legislation reforming oversight of the financial markets and considered on the House floor, most likely in December.

The amendment confirms the authority of the SEC to issue rules on proxy access - the authority for shareholders to nominate directors to corporate boards. Proxy access is vital for shareowners like me who want a meaningful choice in exercising their right to vote for board members. (...)


The God Action Programme on Women: filling the gender gap

This programme is aimed at enabling the women through multipronged interventions towards enhancing women’s educational status, as well as their capacity and opportunity for effective participation in economic activities and political decision-making. It includes: Education & Awareness for Women  -  Capacity Building & Empowerment  -  Women’s Enterprise.    

The programme is being implemented in the states of Utter Pradesh (Varansi & Mau), Chhattisgarh (Rajnandgaon & Baster) and Maharashtra (Pune & Ahmad Nagar).

Based in New Delhi, India, God Action is today a unique fellowship of learner-influencer-practitioners bonded together by a strongly felt commitment and certain common values. Projects are being carried out in the across India. Developing rural livelihood options and enhancing incomes. Building capacity in the marginalised communities. Much has been achieved and success stories have been created.  


Tunis recommendations on the African remittances marketplace

Wide consensus at IFAD Forum on measures to make migrants’ home-bound cash go further

Rome, 27 October - An international forum on remittances to Africa has endorsed a series of recommendations to reduce transfer costs and exploit the potential of remittances as a development tool in the continent. The Global Forum on Remittances, co-hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), brought together more than 200 participants involved in the sending home of money by workers living abroad.

Financial institutions, development agencies, private banks, money transfer companies, telecoms operators, migrant diaspora groups and NGOs gathered in Tunis on 22-23 October. At the closing session, Forum participants called for: increased competition in a market dominated by two major money transfer groups, the empowerment of market actors, effective and efficient regulation, the adoption of new technologies and the expansion of access to financial services, especially in rural areas. The Forum urged that more market actors, especially microfinance institutions, post offices and credit unions, be enabled to act as pay-out locations. This would not only increase outreach to rural areas where people travel long distances to cash their money but would also make it possible to cross-sell other services and provide financial education. (...)






Food and shelter needed in Vietnam after floods wash away crops and homes

10 November - Caritas says people are in urgent need of food, clean water, shelter, medicine and clothes following flooding caused by Typhoon Mirinae. The storm hit Vietnam’s southern central coast on 2 November, causing floods that swept away 1,300 homes and submerged 60,000 more in the central and southern parts of the country. Mirinae’s rains also damaged over 800 school classrooms and 100 medical clinics.

Caritas Vietnam will begin distributing rice, noodles, cloths and blankets to the victims in these areas beginning 10 November. (...) Caritas were already planning rehabilitation projects for the areas seriously damaged by floods cause by previous typhoons Ketsana and Parma.

Caritas Vietnam will run emergency training courses with the support of Caritas Germany this December because it fears the country will have to face multiple natural disasters due to climate change. Vietnam will lose two million hectares of rice fields as the sea level rises unless protective measures are taken, according its government. (...)


Rotarian up for CNN Hero of the Year

by Ryan Hyland

Rotary International News, 5 November - Rotarian Budi Soehardi’s devotion to bettering the lives of disadvantaged children in Indonesia earned him a spot as one of 10 finalists for the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year award.

Soehardi grew up in Central Java, Indonesia, where food and education were often scarce. At 53, it’s his goal to help children avoid the hardships he had to endure. With his wife, Peggy, Soehardi opened an orphanage in West Timor, Indonesia, in 2002 after learning about the horrible conditions faced by refugee children fleeing the violence on the eastern portion of the island. The Roslin Orphanage has provided food, shelter, and education to more than 45 children, from newborns to teenagers. “These children were suffering much the way I did, but worse,” says Soehardi, a pilot and member of the Rotary E-Club of (District) 3310, Singapore. “I feel very blessed in my life and wanted to give something back to those who needed it the most. My goal is to make the kids smile and happy. That’s all.” Soehardi and his wife have three children, but he also treats those in the orphanage as his own. (...)

Soehardi’s first brush with Rotary came as he coordinated relief efforts for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Through donations from friends and leaders in the airline industry, he secured more than 130 tons of medical supplies, food, and clothes, which were delivered to affected villages by several Rotary clubs. Impressed by the Rotarians’ dedication to helping others, Soehardi decided to join Rotary. (...)


WFP airdrops food into Southern Sudan to feed thousands of people

Juba, 5 November - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has commenced air drops of food assistance into Southern Sudan to feed 155,600 people cut off from road access during current rains in areas hit by conflict, high food prices and poor harvests because of drought.

The airdrops, which began last Thursday, will continue for two-and-a-half months and will provide 4,000 metric tons of food to three of Southern Sudan’s 10 states - Jonglei, Upper Nile and Warrap. (...) To carry out the airdrops, WFP has chartered an Ilyushin-76 aircraft, which can carry 36 metric tons of food on each flight. The food is packed at WFP warehouses in El-Obeid and Juba. It will be dropped in 22 different locations across the three states where specially trained teams collect the food from the drop zone and organize distributions. (...)

WFP has so far received US$14.5 million - US$6 million from the UN Common Humanitarian Fund, US$6 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and US$2.5 million from the United States Agency for International Development.


Pakistan: ICRC launches large-scale economic assistance in Malakand Division

Islamabad/Peshawar, 5 November (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society have launched the first stage of an extensive economic assistance programme for families affected by violence in Malakand Division.

The programme is the largest recovery effort undertaken by the organizations in this part of the country in relation to the current crisis. Over 315,000 people will receive wheat seed and fertilizer in Dir and Buner as part of the programme. ICRC specialists will work closely with local experts to monitor the progress of the crop until its harvest next May, when most families are expected to be self-reliant again. Until then, the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent will continue to provide those most in need with food. (...)!OpenDocument


Lionel Messi and other celebrities back Our world. Your move. campaign

Geneva, 29 October - Argentine footballer Lionel Messi is lending his support to the Our world. Your move. campaign - an initiative by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to raise awareness of today’s humanitarian challenges and highlight the power of individuals to make a big difference. “In life, as in sport, we’re able to do more and achieve more when we work as a team,” said Lionel Messi, who plays for FC Barcelona in Spain. (...) on the campaign website: (...)

Launched on 8 May - World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2009 - the campaign has so far generated more than 460 events in over 130 countries across the globe, from Armenia to Zimbabwe, including first-aid demonstrations, exhibitions, concerts and youth gatherings. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have “made a move” on the campaign’s site.

The Our world. Your move. campaign marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino, which led to the creation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, as well as the 90th anniversary of the IFRC and the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, all of which were celebrated in 2009.!OpenDocument


ADRA expands response for Ketsana survivors in the Philippines

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 27 October - In the Philippines, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is assisting nearly 22,000 survivors of Tropical Storm Ketsana in northern areas of the country through the distribution of emergency food supplies and bedding kits. Meanwhile, some 50,000 people in the hard-hit regions of Rizal and Laguna Province, near Metro Manila, are receiving food, bedding supplies, kitchen utensils, and hygiene kits. (…) Beneficiaries are chosen in coordination with the Regional Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to identify families currently living in evacuation centers. Priority is being given to families with children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and individuals who lost their homes in the disaster. (…) The current intervention, set to begin later this week, is funded by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as ADRA Australia, ADRA Czech Republic, ADRA Denmark, ADRA France, ADRA Netherlands, ADRA New Zealand, ADRA Norway and ADRA United Kingdom. (...)


Project HOPE and Uplift International send humanitarian aid in support of West Sumatra, Indonesia earthquake relief

Millwood, VA, USA, 21 October - International health education and humanitarian aid organization Project HOPE and Seattle-based global health and equity organization Uplift International are sending nearly $940,000 in medicines and medical supplies to Indonesia in response to two earthquakes that recently struck the nation’s Sumatra Province. Measuring 7.9 and 6.2 in magnitude, the earthquakes resulted in more than 1,000 deaths, 295 missing, over 2,200 injured and left tens of thousands without shelter.

Project HOPE and Uplift International are working with the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) in support of its emergency medical response, which includes mobile medical units and clinics that are providing direct health services to the survivors. The three organizations also will ensure that the medicines and medical supplies are distributed equitably and utilized by hospitals and health clinics in the areas impacted by the earthquakes. (...)



Peace and security



EU commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall, reproduces the domino effect

Brussels, 9 November - Today the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament, Heads of State and Government as well as hundreds of thousands of citizens join together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a unique event in contemporary history and a landmark for European integration.

President Barroso, who participates in the official “Festival of Freedom” in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin tonight, said: “The fall of the Berlin Wall represents not only the collapse of totalitarianism in Central and Eastern Europe, but is also an impressive symbol of the reunification of Germany and the whole of Europe. The 9 November 1989 was a moment in which everything seemed possible, marked by happiness, a desire for freedom and the idea of a peaceful revolution.” (...) Under the slogan “Europe Whole and Free” the European Commission has organised numerous actions and event s at national and EU level throughout the year to commemorate the fall of the iron curtain. (...)


Ban welcomes power-sharing deal in Madagascar

7 November - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the power-sharing agreement reached by Madagascar’s current and former leaders and urged them to implement the deal to resolve months of political wrangling in the Indian Ocean country.

Madagascar’’s four past and present leaders - Andry Rajoelina, Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy - struck the power-sharing deal today following talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (...) Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the UN would continue to support Madagascar “through the transition and beyond,” led by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, who has been working with the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Organization of the Francophonie to mediate a solution to the political tensions.


Lebanon: MAG celebrates lifesaving clearance milestone

6 November - The deminers who risk their lives daily to rid Lebanon of deadly munitions have been honoured in a special ceremony celebrating MAG’s clearance of more than 13 million square metres of land in the country since 2006.

After the conflict with Israel, vast areas of southern Lebanon were littered with unexploded cluster munitions. MAG already had teams in the country but stepped up its emergency clearance operations, responding to the worst affected areas first. Since then, MAG’s teams have been working to help communities in southern Lebanon recover.

Chief Executive Lou McGrath OBE joined ambassadors from the US, UK, Norway, Germany and Australia, the Director of the Lebanese Mine Action Center (LMAC) and the Force Commander of the UN’s Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL) at the MAG Lebanon-hosted ceremony. (...)


UN initiative aims to create jobs, spur lasting peace in post-conflict nations

4 November - The United Nations today launched a new policy aimed at creating employment and income generation in post-conflict situations, where they are vital for future stability, socio-economic growth and sustainable peace. Led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Policy for Post-Conflict Employment Creation, Income Generation and Reintegration will be carried out in five initial countries emerging from conflict: Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. “The end of conflict in a country creates a window of opportunity for social and economic reform,” notes José-Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director of the ILO Employment Sector. (...) The policy includes three programming tracks: stabilization; return and reintegration; and sustainable employment creation and decent work. It was developed jointly by 20 UN agencies and international financial institutions that constitute the Inter-Agency Working Group on Post-Conflict Employment Creation and Reintegration, and follows a three-year consultation and drafting process.


John Lennon’s sons and Yoko Ono revive ‘Give Peace a Chance’ to help UN

3 November - Celebrating the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono recording the anti-war anthem Give Peace a Chance with the Plastic Ono Band, the United Nations announced today that the proceeds from the release of a commemorative single will garner funds for its peacebuilding efforts in countries emerging from conflict.

Yoko Ono - the former Beatle’s wife and artistic collaborator - along with his sons, Sean and Julian Lennon have partnered with music industry giants, EMI and Sony, to give the net profits from the sale of the song to the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). (...)

Profits from the song - sung by over 500,000 people at the anti-Viet Nam War demonstration later that year in Washington, DC - will benefit the PBC, which was established in 2005 to bolster countries in their bid to rebuild after conflict, reconcile divisions and prevent them from relapsing into bloodshed. (...)


The Global March for Peace and Nonviolence, 2 October 2009 – 2 January 2010

The Global March for Peace and Nonviolence is an exciting initiative which will start in Wellington on United Nations International Day of Non-violence 2 October 2009 and will journey through 90 countries in all seven continents including Antarctica, involving hundreds of thousands of people before ending in Argentina on 2 January 2010. (...)

The Global March for Peace and Nonviolence has been endorsed internationally by three Heads of State - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta - as well as a number of Nobel Laureates including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Jose Saramago. (...)

For more information visit or contact


The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, 29 November - 4 December

The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World is a milestone event where states and the mine ban community will review the status of the Mine Ban Treaty and set out steps that need to be taken to create a mine-free world. It will bring together more than 1,000 participants from across the world, including ministers and heads of states. A rich program of side events will shed light on the mine problem. ICBL campaigners, mine action experts and mine survivors from some 50 countries will participate and can provide interviews on landmines in all geographical regions, on mine clearance, victim assistance, mine risk education, and stories of survival. Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate, will also be present. (...)






Widening the gateway to health care in Ethiopia

by Peter Schmidtke

Rotary International News, 6 November - Ethiopia’s fight against HIV/AIDS received a boost in February when the country’s top health ministry officials agreed to allow private health care clinics to provide patients with antiretroviral medicines. The officials reached the agreement during a meeting with a contractor for USAID. Representing that contractor was former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar Kathleen Poer. (...)

Since 2007, Poer has worked in Ethiopia for Abt Associates, one of the world’s largest government and business research and consulting firms. She manages USAID’s five-year Private Sector Program for HIV and Tuberculosis, which aims to increase the capacity of private health care providers to deliver services through a public-private sector partnership.

When Poer, a native or Colorado, USA, arrived in Ethiopia, she worked to strengthen an existing program for the prevention and treatment of TB and HIV in the workplace and to expand a pilot program to integrate TB and HIV services into private-sector clinics. After Abt Associates completed a successful pilot that introduced TB treatment to 20 private clinics, she oversaw the expansion of care to 100 more clinics. (...)

Additionally, Poer has overseen mobile teams of local caregivers who operate out of tents and cooperate with community clinics and health bureaus to provide HIV testing and counseling services. From June 2007 to June 2009, the teams helped test over 100,000 people. (...)

Before moving to Ethiopia, Poer spent 18 years working for Abt Associates to improve health care systems in Albania, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan.


Sudan: emergency assistance for the most vulnerable in Darfur and Southern Sudan

4 November - (...) A total of 23 ICRC and MARF vaccinators and technicians travel every day to 12 nomadic villages in the Kutum area and 25 other sites close to water points around Dar Zaghawa to vaccinate camels, sheep, goats and cows. The campaign is expected to go on for the next three months. The objective is to vaccinate 500,000 animals in North Darfur sustaining approximately 60,000 people before the end of the year. Nomads are reportedly coming from as far as Kabkabiya to have their animals vaccinated. The fact that many of the vaccination sites are on nomadic migration routes facilitates access to this vital service in an area of Darfur that depends on animals to maintain not only income but also the traditional way of life.

After extensive preparations and several postponements due to inadequate security, the ICRC launched this major animal vaccination campaign in coordination with the Ministry of Animal Health and Fisheries (MARF) at the end of September, targeting nomadic settlements around the Kutum area and the villages of the Dar Zaghawa region in North Darfur.  (...)


MSF assists newly displaced people in Shangil Tobaya, Sudan

Khartoum, 3 November - Clashes near Shangil Tobaya, a town in northern Darfur, Sudan, have led to a number of casualties and the displacement of hundreds of families. The medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated 12 wounded people since October 20 in its medical facility. Nine had to be referred to Al-Fashir Teaching Hospital. All nine patients are in a stable condition. MSF has so far distributed essential household items to about 3,300 people affected by this recent fighting, who have sought refuge in Um Dressaya and Shangil Tobaya. However, additional non-food item distributions are necessary due to the arrival of more displaced people in the last few days. (...) MSF has also sent a team of medical personnel and community health workers to follow up on the displaced people’s general health and to conduct rapid nutritional screenings on the children. The children will be included in the on-going polio vaccination campaign, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health with support from MSF.

MSF is liaising with other actors in South Darfur to provide assistance in areas where other smaller groups of people have fled to.


Leading organizations join forces to launch first annual World Pneumonia Day, fight world’s leading child killer

Westport, Conn., USA, 2 November - (...) The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP), released today by WHO and UNICEF, outlines a six-year plan for the worldwide scale-up of a comprehensive set of interventions to control the disease. Countries are urged to implement a three-pronged pneumonia control strategy that: protects children by promoting exclusive breastfeeding and ensuring adequate nutrition and good hygiene; prevents the disease by vaccinating them against common causes of pneumonia such as Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal disease) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); and treats children at the community level and in clinics and hospitals through effective case management and with an appropriate course of antibiotics.

The GAPP estimates the cost of scaling up exclusive breastfeeding, vaccinations and case management in the world’s 68 high child mortality countries. Together, these countries account for 98% pneumonia deaths worldwide. With this investment, the GAPP projects that by 2015, the scale-up of existing interventions can decrease child pneumonia mortality substantially. (...)


New IFRC community-based health and first aid tools: using the “learning by doing” approach

by Melanie Caruso and Jean-Luc Martinage, IFRC, Geneva

26 October - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has a long history of first aid and health promotion activities within communities. In the 1990s, community-based first aid (CBFA) was the principal method of teaching first aid and health to communities.

Since July 2005, there has been an ongoing revitalisation process to update CBFA into a more action-oriented and comprehensive approach. This process has included feedback provided by more than 35 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, health professionals and other sector partners, the development of a new curricula, and workshops that have included participants from more than 70 National Societies to date. The revitalisation process has been generously supported by the Finnish and Swedish Red Cross societies.

As a result of these consultative opportunities, a new concept has emerged: the community-based health and first aid in action (CBHFA) approach. These global materials were developed and field tested in Indonesia with American Red Cross support. (...)


Papua New Guinea: Happy hand-washing birthday

by Karina Coates, communication delegate, Papua New Guinea

23 October - School pupil Nelson John vigorously soaps and scrubs his hands, rinsing and drying them only when a second enthusiastic rendition of “Happy birthday” ends. His classmates applaud his demonstration of the effective hand-washing technique, where just 20 seconds - twice through the well-known song - is all it takes to ensure clean hands. It’s a simple message, but one that can save lives.

On Global Handwashing Day, 15 October, Red Cross volunteers partnered with health educators from soap manufacturer Colgate Palmolive to demonstrate the importance of good hygiene practices to school children in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby.

Meanwhile, Red Cross volunteers in two provinces hard hit by recent cholera, dysentery and influenza outbreaks began their first day of intensive training as part of a national hygiene education campaign. The training will be rolled out in 13 provinces, equipping more than 700 volunteers to communicate the importance of good hygiene practices to 300,000 people in all national languages. These messages will also reach 2.4 million people through nationwide television and radio broadcasts over the coming weeks. (...)



Energy and safety



Africa to receive $1.1 billion in new financing for climate action

Innovative Climate Funds support transformational investments in clean energy and building climate resilience

Barcelona, 5 November - African efforts to invest in clean energy and prepare for the devastating consequences of climate change have received a boost with six countries set to receive $1.1 billion in new financing for climate action. From solar water heaters to wind power development and development policy planning, a range of new, scalable investments were given the green light at Trustee meetings of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in Washington.

Mozambique, Niger and Zambia will each receive up to $50-70 million in additional resources to help transform their economies through climate resilience.  While, Morocco and South Africa will join Egypt in receiving very low-interest loans for $150 million, $500 million, and $300 million respectively, to strengthen their investments in clean energy in support of national priorities for low carbon development. (...),,contentMDK:22379849~menuPK:258649~pagePK:2865106~piPK:2865128~theSitePK:258644,00.html


EU-US Summit sets up trans-Atlantic Energy Council

4 November - Commenting on the setting up of an EU-US Energy Council, Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive of the European Wind Energy Association said:

“That an EU-US Summit decides to establish a trans-Atlantic Energy Council shows the growing importance of energy in international relations. Energy security and climate change will have an ever greater role in global politics.”

“It is clearly important to improve dialogue between the EU and US on energy issues and to boost scientific cooperation. If they are serious about tackling climate change, they need to act fast in reducing global CO2 emissions and radically change the way energy is produced.”

“The focus of this new cooperation has to be on the technology that is ready to be deployed and deliver CO2 reductions targets in the short term - by 2015 according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This means that wind energy has to be a key element of the new cooperation and top of the new Council’s agenda.”

For more information see the European Commission press release.[tt_news]=1678&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1588&cHash=3730c520d4


Obama putting 3.4 billion US dollars toward a ‘smart’ power grid

President Barack Obama made a pitch for renewable energy Tuesday, announcing 3.4 billion US dollars in government support for 100 projects aimed at modernizing the US power grid

AP/Nanet Poulsen

28 October - The president urged greater use of several technologies to make America’s power transmission system more efficient and better suited to the digital age. The projects include installing “smart” electric meters in homes, automating utility substations, and installing thousands of new digital transformers and grid sensors. “There’s something big happening in America in terms of creating a clean-energy economy,” Obama said, although he added there is much more to be done. He likened the effort to the ambitious development of the national highway system 50 years ago. He said modernization would lead to a “smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid.” Obama said a modern grid could give consumers better control over their electricity usage and costs, and spur development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

The 3.4 billion dollars in grants from the government’s January economic stimulus program will be matched by 4.7 billion dollars in private investments. (...)


Sweden: Biogas production and new city buses in Örebro

19 October - On 1 October 2009 the Municipality of Örebro (Sweden) put into action, in conjunction with other public sector organisations, local trade and industry, and local farmers, several parts of a widespread scheme to increase the production and use of biogas (methane). On the same day, new buses using biogas began to appear on the streets of the town. A new and expanded bus route network will be introduced six months later.

These changes to the municipality’s transport system will result in the emissions of carbon dioxide are being reduced by approximately 20,000 tons per year. Just changing from diesel to biogas in the city’s bus traffic will reduce emissions by 3,000 tons per year.


ISES Statement for COP15

Rapid transition to a renewable energy world

Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 October - Hundreds of internationally-renowned renewable energy scientists, technical experts, industry leaders, and related professionals recently convened at the International Solar Energy Society’s Solar World Congress 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa to review the latest renewable Energy technological advances, policy incentives, and deployment strategies from around the world. The collective message to the delegates at COP15 coming from this ground-breaking Congress is: A Rapid Transition to a Renewable Energy World is key to climate recovery!

ISES is a UN accredited non-governmental and non-profit organization in operation since 1954, and now has several thousand scientists, tecnica experts, industry delegates, and related professionals from over 100 countries, all committed to advancing renewable energy solutions to global climate change and world poverty. (...)!Open



Environment and wildlife



Nobel Laureates to discuss barriers to sustainable future at Berlin Summit, 10-11 November

6 November  - Green Cross International will organize a special session on breaking down barriers to a sustainable future at the two-day Nobel Peace Laureates Summit (10-11 November, 2009) to be held in Berlin. The overall theme of the Berlin Summit is “Breaking down new walls and building bridges to ensure a World of Human Rights and a World without violence.”  For more information see     

10 November 2009 from 16.45 to 18.45,  Rathaus, Berlin. Three members of the Climate Change Task Force*, set up last month and led by President Gorbachev, will lead this session.

With barely a month to go before the COP 15 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen (7-18 December 2009), members of the Climate Change Task Force are seeking the moral authority and engagement of the Nobel Laureates for a strong deal at Copenhagen. The panel of this special session expects to produce a statement that could be adopted by the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit calling for a strong and balanced agreement at Copenhagen. *For more information on the Climate Change Task Force, please see: news section dated 6 and 27 October, 2009.


Poland’s first green investment scheme agreed with Spain

9 November - Poland and Spain agree on a €25 million emissions trading contract, the first transaction of this kind for Poland under the Kyoto Protocol. Ministers from Poland and Spain, along with representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) were present for the signature of the agreement facilitated by the EBRD-EIB’s Multilateral Carbon Credit Fund. The transaction will allow significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions through the associated greening programme, known as the Green Investment Scheme (GIS).

This contract helps Spain to meet Kyoto obligations and provides grant finance to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Poland. (...) This includes grants to projects including biomass, biogas electricity and heat production, and expansion of the electricity transmission network to make better use of renewable energy sources. (...) The total investment is expected to exceed €100 million and significantly enhance effective climate change mitigation activities in Poland. (...)


Barcelona climate change talks

6 November - Addressing the media on the final day of the Barcelona talks, Yvo de Boer, [Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)], said that progress had been made during the week and that he was confident that Copenhagen would deliver a strong deal, which must include the immediate implementation of key actions in developing countries. Mr. de Boer spoke about the strong sense that the Kyoto Protocol needs to continue. He also said that the Copenhagen agreement must record, in black and white, the accountable commitments of individual governments. He stressed the urgency for industrialized countries to raise their ambitions and, in particular, the importance of the U.S. announcing a clear, numerical mid-term emissions target. There was also a need, he said, for industrialized nations to provide clarity on the amount of short- and long-term finance to which they will commit. With Copenhagen just four weeks away, Mr. de Boer said that Barcelona had underlined both in a dramatic and in a quiet way that commitment and compromise will make Copenhagen the turning point.


WWF: Climate friendly policies pay off, report shows

5 November - Climate-friendly policies not only reduce greenhouse emissions and bring environmental benefits; they also boost and diversify the economy, a recent report scoring some 100 climate policies from G20 countries reveals.

The report carried out by Ecofys and Germanwatch for WWF and E3G evaluates climate policies of countries accounting for around three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions, identifying best and worst examples and lessons learned. (...) The top places in the report were given to an “Efficiency in buildings” programme implemented by the German government and a “Feed-in tariff for renewable electricity” initiative, also in Germany. The latter guarantees a producer of renewable energy a fixed feed-in tariff for 20 years. Germany’s buildings programme reduces emissions, creates jobs in the construction sector, and offers broad scope for replication in others countries. (...)  “This report shows that governments which implement green and climate friendly solutions will win and take a leadership position in the world,” Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative said. (...)


UNFPA Report linking climate change, women to be released on 18 November

United Nations, New York, 4 November - In a new report to be issued on Wednesday, 18 November, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will show how people, especially empowered women, could make a difference in the fight against climate change. The State of World Population 2009, entitled Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climate, will be launched in London, Washington, D.C., Paris, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Mexico City and more than 120 other capitals worldwide. (…)


EEA draws the first map of Europe’s noise exposure

26 October - The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched the most comprehensive map of noise exposure to date, revealing the extent to which European citizens are exposed to excessive acoustic pollution. The NOISE (Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe) database provides, at the click of a mouse, a picture of the numbers of people exposed to noise generated by air, rail and road traffic across Europe and in 102 large urban agglomerations.

Noise is ubiquitous but its role as a key form of pollution with serious human health consequences is still underestimated. Prolonged exposure to even low levels of noise can trigger hypertension and disrupt sleep. (...) Just over 41 million Europeans are exposed to excessive noise from road traffic alone in the largest cities.

Compiling information from 19 of the 32 EEA member countries, the NOISE database represents a major step towards a comprehensive pan-European service. (...) Adopted in 2002, the Environmental Noise Directive aims to moderate noise exposure in built-up areas. (...)



Religion and spirituality



Inter Faith Week, 15-21 November

Inter Faith Week will take place from 15 to 21 November across England, with a national launch event on 12 November. It will include and highlight activities organised by bodies around the country designed to: 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.


Inter-faith initiative pushes to mobilize billions in fight against climate change

Windsor (UK), 2 November 2009 - Nearly one month before the climate talks in Copenhagen begin, a crucial event to reach out to the eighty-five per cent of humanity who follow a religion has kicked off in London’s Windsor Castle. From 2-4 November, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is co-hosting the global gathering of inter-faith leaders: Faith Commitments for a Living Planet.

At the event organized by Prince Philip’s Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), religious leaders from all the major faith traditions will highlight the earth’s fragility, and discuss initiatives to protect it against the ravages of climate change. Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Mr. Ban stressed that, “without full support and cooperation of religious leaders it will be very difficult to obtain... a binding agreement in Copenhagen”. (…)


EYCE Interreligious campaign against fundamentalism

Leadership Team visits Interreligious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina 

by A. Osborne

20 October - During a planning and dissemination visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Leadership Team of EYCE’s three-year Campaign to Overcome Fundamentalism met on Monday with staff of the Interreligious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina (MRV).

During this encounter the team had an opportunity to explain the campaign to the council’s staff and to invite the council’s young contacts to become more involved in the campaign as it prepares to enter its third year. (...) In return, the Leadership Team heard from the council’s youth programme leader, Mrs Bozana Katava, about the work of the council and in particular its activities with groups of young people from a wide variety of religions and denominations, theologians and non-theologians alike. The team was very encouraged to hear about the great energy and enthusiasm that these young people are pouring into their interreligious encounters and initiatives, and looks forward to further collaboration with the council and its youth network over the next years. (...)



Culture and education



Earth Charter congress - Madrid, Spain, 14-15 November

The Fundacion Valores, Instituto de Formacion Avanzada (Infova) and Instituto de Potencial Humano (IPH) are organizing and convening the 5th Earth Charter Congress: “Values for Life and Business” which will take place 14 and 15 November 2009 in Madrid, Spain. The purpose of the event is to create a space where participants can debate about economic challenges, and its relationship with environmental and social concerns, as well as the urgent need for responsible action from all for building a better world.

This event is focused on the essential and protagonist role the business sector needs to take in order to generate a positive transformation of society. The understanding is that this change towards a new model can only happen with the responsible, engaged and committed participation of businesses. The event will be an opportunity to look at solutions and alternatives for global and individual changes through values and motivations that inspire individuals to take the challenge of promoting a new economic model.

The Congress will have the participation of Federico Mayor Zaragoza, President of Fundación Cultura de Paz (Culture of Peace Foundation), Earth Charter Commissioner for Spain; Leonardo Boff, doctor in theology and philosophy and one of the initiators of the “Theology of Liberation”; Earth Charter Commissioner for Brazil; and other leading personalities.


5th International Forum on Creativity and Inventions, New Delhi, India, November 11- 13

A Better Future for Humanity in the 21st Century - Intellectual Property (IP) in a Changing World: New Challenges and Opportunities

The 5th International Forum on Creativity and Inventions - A Better Future for Humanity in the 21st Century, will take place in New Delhi, India from November 11 to 13, 2009. The event is organized by The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in cooperation with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India and with the assistance of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The Forum will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders engaged in promoting innovation, including high-level economic and technology policy-makers, heads of intellectual property (IP) offices, academics and the private sector to exchange experiences and ideas on topical IP issues. These include the implications of the global economic downturn for IP and how IP can mitigate the impact of the economic crisis, IP for economic resurgence and development, new innovation models and strategies, and the role of IP in fostering the development of new technologies. (...)


Africa unites for early childhood, Dakar, 10-13 November

“From policy to action: expanding investment in ECD for sustainable development”

African ministers of planning and finance are joining ministers of education, health and social protection to promote greatly expanded investment in services for young children at the Fourth African International Conference on Early Childhood Development (ECD).

Entitled “From Policy to Action: Expanding Investment in ECD for Sustainable Development”, the conference in Dakar, Senegal from 10-13 November, will address implementing and strengthening ECD policies and plans, increasing access to quality ECD and going to scale and expanding services for vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS, war and severe poverty. The overarching theme of the Conference is investment in ECD in a world of economic, food, fuel and ecological crises. Participants will also engage in dialogue on rationale, knowledge and skills; experiences in planning and implementing ECD and planning the next steps to expand and improve ECD.

African decision-makers are becoming increasingly aware that investing in ECD is essential for attaining sustainable development and achieving Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals. They understand that ECD yields one of the highest rates of return of any social or economic investment. (...)


The role of vocational education and training (VET) in meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow

11 November - During the Swedish Presidency, a conference on vocational education and training will be arranged in Stockholm on 12–13 November. The purpose of the conference is to offer an arena for sharing experience, knowledge, ideas and possible solutions related to current issues and challenges in the development of vocational education and training (VET). The conference will focus on VET for adults at both upper secondary and post-secondary levels.

The conference is expected to bring together around 200 participants, representing decision-makers from the countries’ ministries and government agencies, the social partners, the European Commission and EU institutions working with VET, as well as representatives of research institutions in VET and adult education. (...)


World Philosophy Day 2009, Paris, 5 November

World Philosophy Day, an annual date UNESCO put on the calendar in 2005, is increasing its scope. This year the international celebration will be held in Moscow and St Petersburg (Russian Federation) from 16 to 19 November. Numerous other events are planned at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and in many countries around the world.

International celebration, Moscow (16 to 18 November) and St Petersburg (19 November): Renowned philosophers, students, academics and other lovers of philosophy will get together in Moscow and St Petersburg around the topic “Philosophy and the Dialogue of Cultures”. The event is organized by the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Eight round tables at the Institute will focus on subjects including Getting free of the historic stereotypes of philosophy; Dialogue of rationalities; Cultural self-consciousness in the era of globalization; Philosophy for children; and Teaching philosophy in a multicultural context. (...)


The European Union granted € 270,000 to the University of Warsaw for establishing the Centre for Contemporary India Research and Studies (CCIRS)

In the beginning of October 2009 the University of Warsaw (the Institute of International Relations) was granted over 270.000 euro by the European Union for establishing the Centre for Contemporary India Research and Studies (CCIRS). It will be the first such Centre in Central and Eastern Europe. The objective of the Centre is the intensification and creation of sustainable network of excellence in the field of higher education between Europe and India.

Activities of the Centre will include: developing and implementing MA programme in Contemporary India’s Politics and Business, conducting research projects on contemporary India, creating multisectoral network consisting of governmental institutions, ministries, local authorities, business, co-operative organizations, international organizations and NGOs.

The CCIRS consortium consists of the 15 European and 7 Indian universities and specialized institutes and it was supported by Polish authorities. The main partners of the Institute of International Relations of the University of Warsaw are Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Hyderabad, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Bratislava Regional Centre. Also CCIRS has a strong support from various Italian institutions, such as: Istituto di Pubblicismo, Rome; Università degli Studi di Firenze, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche; Rotary Club Roma Cassia; and the News Italia Press Agency, Rome. For further information: Dr. R. Giua, President Rotary Club Roma Cassia,


Ministry of education and ANERA help develop national framework for early childhood education

Jerusalem, 28 October - The Ministry of Education and Higher Education and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) are pleased to announce an initiative to help design a national framework for educating Palestinian preschoolers.

The Ministry of Education officially launched the project on October 28 at a one-day conference, “Towards the Development of a National Framework in Early Childhood Education/Palestine,” which brought together universities, non-profits, educators, funders, government officials and preschool administrators. (…) The conference focused on the role of each partner in developing curriculum and infrastructure, education policies for preschools, training and funding. (...)

The multi-year project, which will include many partners, will create the common guidelines and training for preschool educators. In the first phase, ANERA will partner with Catholic Bethlehem University and secular Najah University to develop instruction in early childhood education and provide resources for mentoring preschool teachers and administrators. (...)


EI calls on teachers unions to work together to stop the devastating impact of the economic crisis in Europe

26 October - “Teacher lay-offs, education budget cuts and salary cuts, and school closures are unacceptable as policy choices, and in those countries where such measures have been applied, they must be stopped.” In their declaration following the EI Central and Eastern Europe annual round table held in Budapest from 22nd to 23rd October, delegates from 15 European countries reasserted that governments must invest in education as a strategic response to the crisis instead of cutting funding, and that teachers are part of the solution. They further stated that “ strong well-organised and democratic education unions have an essential role to play in society in advocating for education and for the welfare of their members. Their role is critical at times of crisis when education staff and services are under attack”. EI will monitor the situation closely and provide support and information on how countries are handling the crisis to member organisations. It will also engage in advocacy towards international organisations to promote education and research as investments in the future.



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Next issue: 4th December 2009.


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