Good News Agency – Year X, n° 164



Weekly – Year X, number 164 – 4th December 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



After a long hiatus, the US engages with the International Court

By Matthew Heaphy

December 2 – For the first time in eight years, the US sent a delegation to the annual meeting of the International Criminal Court’s assembly of states parties, held in The Hague last week. (…) The US’ presence at the meeting encouraged governments and nongovernmental organizations alike about future US-International Criminal Court relations. The US has not participated in the court’s meetings since September 2001; a US policy toward the court is expected to be announced in the first half of next year.  (…)

The meeting at The Hague mostly revolved around preparations for the court’s review conference, taking place in May-June 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. This conference will cover a range of issues about the court and international justice for atrocity crimes in general. The US delegation held bilateral meetings with other governments and nongovernmental organizations on these matters, including a possible amendment on the crime of aggression. A statement by Ambassador Rapp to the session can be viewed at The assembly of states parties meeting also made progress on governance matters for the review conference. Two judges were elected, from Japan and Argentina, and an independent oversight mechanism for the court was established.

Matthew Heaphy is the deputy convener for the American Coalition for the International Criminal Court.


Groundbreaking treaty on illegal fishing approved

Port state measures broaden the fight against IUU fishing

Rome, 25 November - A new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to ships involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been approved by FAO’s governing Conference. Once it enters into force, it will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on this problem. It will also be the only one to enlist so-called “non-flag states” in the fight against IUU fishing, alongside flag states that are primarily responsible for the conduct of vessels flying their flags on the high seas.

The “Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” is set to enter into force once 25 countries have ratified it.

The first eleven FAO members - Angola, Brazil, Chile, the European Community, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United States and Uruguay - signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the Conference.

By signing the treaty, governments commit themselves to prevent, deter and eventually eliminate IUU fishing including by taking steps to guard their ports against vessels engaged in IUU fishing, thereby preventing fish from such vessels from entering international markets. (...)


Top UN official lauds new tool to monitor, combat corruption

16 November - The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has welcomed a new mechanism to monitor and implement a global treaty to fight corruption, the result of week-long negotiations in Doha, Qatar. “This agreement will not end corruption, but it will enable us to measure and fight it,” UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said of the deal reached on Friday. Under the new mechanism, all States parties to the UN Convention against Corruption - which currently numbers 142 - will be monitored every five years to see how they are living up to their obligations to prevent and criminalize corruption, promote international cooperation, recover stolen assets, and improve technical assistance and information exchange. (...)

The country reports, based on self-assessments and peer reviews by experts, will, among other things, identify gaps in national anti-corruption laws and practices.



Human rights



EU: Brussels, a meeting today for the 20th of the Charter of Fundamental Social Rights

30 November - A meeting on the impact of fundamental social rights in Europe: it will be promoted in Brussels today, to mark the 20th anniversary of the EU Charter of Fundamental Social Rights in the presence of Jacques Delors, by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the association Notre Europe (Ne), a think-tank founded in 1996 by Delors himself. While “the 20th anniversary of the Charter of Rights” offers an “occasion to take stock of the contribution it has given to social progress in the European Union”, in the current crisis “which proves how important it is to have a framework of inalienable social rights” the EESC and Notre Europe explain that “together they want to revive the debate on the social dimension of the EU and the idea of a new action plan”. In this scenario, a final statement will be adopted, with an appeal for a new social action plan that will be submitted for approval to the civil organisations in Europe. The Charter of fundamental social rights was adopted on December 9th, 1989, following an opinion of the EESC that was set in motion by the then president of the EU Commission, Jacques Delors. The Charter, that paved the way to the first European Social Action Plan, has now been included in the Lisbon Treaty through the Charter of Fundamental Rights.


Progress as Africa marks ten years since the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child came into force

Addis Ababa, 26 November - “Significant strides have been made in the promotion of child survival, development, protection and participation in Africa,” said Mr. Saad Houry, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, as Africa marks ten years since the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Charter) came into force on 29 November 1999. Today, 48 out of 53 African Union (AU) Member States have ratified the Charter. “However, the ratification of the Charter should not be seen as the end result, but rather the domestication into national laws and policies, as well as implementation of programmes to achieve positive and sustainable improvement on the lives of children,” Mr. Houry asserted. The Charter, which is the first and only regional treaty in existence on the rights of the child, lays out responsibilities of government, family, community, children and individuals in the protection and promotion of the rights of the child. It also reflects on the realities of the lives of African children living within the African context, and is therefore very relevant. (…)


European unions mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November - Delegates at the European regional conference in Warsaw heard a presentation on the continuing and pervasive problem of violence against women and strategies to combat it in their unions and beyond. Haldis Holst, of UEN Norway and EI Vice-President for Europe, made a presentation on behalf of the Status of Women Committee which offered a series of grim statistics about the depth and breadth of violence against women in all countries, and across all social and economic backgrounds. (…) She urged fellow trade unionists to inform their members, launch campaigns, join national alliances, participate in demonstrations, and produce information and teaching materials.


ADRA advocates for albinos in Tanzania

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 24 November - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is fighting the stigmatization and discrimination that many young people with albinism face in Tanzania by helping to meet their health needs, providing them with better educational materials, and raising awareness about their condition. In August of 2009, ADRA began working with a group of albino students at the Mukidoma Secondary School in Usa River, a town located approximately 30 minutes from the city of Arusha, in northern Tanzania. The program offers students a platform where they can discuss the challenges they face, receive guidance from others, and learn about albinism. Providing accurate information about albinism is a key component of this program, especially in Tanzania where albinos are often treated as social outcasts and are subjected to violence, fear, and death due to widespread myths and superstitions. (...)


Eastern Africa: ministers endorse UNODC regional programme

24 November - Today, ministers of 13 Eastern African countries signed, in Nairobi, a joint political declaration endorsing the UNODC Eastern Africa programme for 2009-2012. “In Eastern Africa, warning lights are flashing - we must respond immediately”, warned UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa, speaking at the regional ministerial conference on “Promoting the Rule of Law and Human Security in Eastern Africa”. He added that Eastern Africa is under threat from all sides: smuggling and piracy along its coast, trafficking through its airspace and across porous borders, and the spillover of threats from unstable neighbours. This regional UNODC programme is based on three pillars: countering trafficking, organized crime and terrorism; fighting corruption and promoting justice and integrity; and improving health and human development. Such a comprehensive programme is urgently needed because Eastern Africa is vulnerable to drugs and crime due to conflict, poverty and a weak rule of law.


Launch of the Arabic version of the book Human Rights: Questions and Answers by Leah Levin (illustrated by Plantu)

24 November - The Arabic version of the book Human Rights: Questions and Answers by Leah Levin (illustrated by Plantu), translated and printed with the support of the Italian Development Cooperation - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was presented in Rabat (Morocco), on Wednesday 25 November 2009. The event, chaired by His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy in Morocco, Mr Umberto Lucchesi Palli, and the UNESCO representative in Rabat, Mr Philippe Quéau, took place at the Italian Cultural Institute.

The Arabic translation of the updated version (May 2009), aims to make it, on the one hand, more accessible to a misinformed public and, on the other, to give also a response to the obvious lack of support in this area. The book, which will be distributed in 22 Arab countries, constitutes a tool to raise awareness on the culture of human rights among NGOs, human rights institutions and civil society in the Arab region. (...)


Sudan: Senior UN rights official praises agreement to end use of child soldiers

22 November - A top United Nations human rights official today welcomed a deal agreed by a former rebel group in southern Sudan to end the use of child soldiers among its ranks, while warning of the threat posed to children by various armed militia operating in the region.

The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought in the nation’s long-running north-south civil war, signed the action plan to discharge the children on Friday in the southern capital, Juba. “This commitment is a milestone in the efforts to end association of children with the SPLA,” said the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, on the eve of her departure from Sudan after a nine-day visit. (…)

She also stressed that her office will collaborate with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help find much needed resources and funds to support rehabilitation and reintegration efforts of former child soldiers in the whole of Sudan. (…)


Russia moves one step closer to death penalty abolition

20 November - Amnesty International has welcomed a decision by Russia’s Constitutional Court that brings the country a step closer to full abolition of the death penalty. The Court decided on Thursday to extend the current moratorium on executions, which was due to expire in January, and recommended abolishing the death penalty completely. “By taking this decision, the court frees the people of Russia from the fear of being put to death by their government. As long as Russia remains execution free, the inherent dangers of the wrongful use of the death penalty are removed,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

A moratorium has been in place since 1999 and was due to expire when all regions of the Russian Federation had introduced jury trials. This is set to happen on 1 January 2010 when jury trials are introduced in Chechnya. The Court has now extended that moratorium, stating that: “The path towards the full abolition of the death penalty is irreversible.” (...)


First World Congress on Restorative Juvenile Justice

Lima, Peru, November 4, 5, 6 and 7

The twentieth century witnessed the development of most of all tutelary, protectionist and paternalistic juvenile justice model in all legal systems. Once it was compulsory to guarantee the Rights of the Child, such arbitrary models devoid of legal principles were jeopardized. The nearly universal implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) gave an extraordinary boost to the process of renovating legislation and organizing juvenile justice courts.

However, alongside this healthy renovation movement, repressive tendencies emerged, finding in the subordination of both children and adults to the adult penal system a solution to the actual or alleged increase in juvenile violence. The attractive neo-retributive system, which seeks to excel paternalism through the universal enforcement of Criminal Law, requires a thorough redefinition of principles, models, institutions and procedures respecting adolescents as juridical persons with constitutionally protected rights.


World Congress of NGOs: Enhancing Human Dignity: The Role of NGOs

Manila, Philippines, 10-13 December

Leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from throughout the world join together at the World Congress of NGOs to discuss issues of pressing importance for the Third Sector. Known often as charities, nonprofits, and civil society organizations, NGOs assume a key role in tackling serious challenges confronting humanity and the world. Prominent international and national leaders from the intergovernmental, governmental, and for-profit sectors, who share an interest in helping NGOs accomplish their vital tasks, will also be participating in the Congress. Professional and practical training experts will provide invaluable information and useful tools to help the NGOs become more effective in carrying out their missions.

The 2009 World Congress is being held in Manila, Philippines from December 10-13. This is the second World Congress, with the first one held in Toronto, Canada in 2007. Convened by the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), the World Congress comes on the foundation of the WANGO Annual Conferences. (...)



Economy and development



Geneva WTO: NGOs and Social Movements, “Let’s revert the trend to stop the crisis”

30 November - “The time has come to leave the free-trade ideology behind and start again from people and from the environment to build a system of economic relations that is capable of catering to everyone’s needs, not just to the greed of the few”. This was stated by the over two hundred civil organisations and social movements, including Mani Tese and the NGO Mais (Movimento per l’autosviluppo, l’interscambio e la solidarietà), which will be meeting in Geneva for the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (Wto), which is opening today (until December 2nd). In a press kit named “Do not sell off our future: let’s change the trend to stop the crisis”, the organisations ask first and foremost that “the countries’ food sovereignty be guaranteed, by changing the distorting market agricultural policies, the concentrations of power, the financial speculation and by managing the agricultural and food supplies in a way that will protect the right to food for everyone, not for the corporations’ profit”. “Reducing the impact of trade on climate change”, ensuring “the universal right to access to basic services”, relinquishing the “market deregulation model” and “providing a political forum to promote ecologically- and socially-sustainable development policies” are other things that social movements are asking for.


New NGLS publication: "Strengthening Dialogue: UN Experience with Small Farmer Organizations and Indigenous Peoples"

UN-NGLS (United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service) recently released Strengthening Dialogue: UN Experience with Small Farmer Organizations and Indigenous Peoples, a publication which demonstrates that there is room within the United Nations to explore better interaction with those sectors of civil society that still have limited access to global decision-making forums, such as small-scale farmers, rural women, indigenous peoples and slum dwellers.

It aims to heighten awareness and increase debate, both within UN circles and, between the UN system and people’s movements, about the principles and practices of meaningful engagement. It suggests a core set of principles and practices, and some specific initiatives that could be undertaken in order to enhance this engagement. It highlights some of the potential benefits of closer engagement, examines the obstacles that need to be addressed, and notes the distinct challenges of cooperation at the country level.

The study focuses on two specific cases: small farmer organizations and indigenous peoples. It looks at concrete examples of interaction at both the global and country levels that can provide valuable lessons for strengthening future engagement.


The European Communities awards EUR 2 million to WTO training programmes for developing countries

27 November - The European Communities has donated EUR 2 million (about CHF 3 million) to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF) for the years 2010 and 2011.

This last donation brings the EC’s total contribution to the DDAGTF to CHF9.2 million. This donation will finance technical assistance programmes and training activities for developing and least developed countries as well as economies in transition. The aim is to better adapt their practices and laws to WTO rules and disciplines, improve the implementation of their obligations and enhance the exercise of their membership rights. “I welcome this new donation that demonstrates the EC’s constant commitments to help developing countries benefit fully from the multilateral trading system and better integrate in the global economy” declared WTO Director General Pascal Lamy. (...)


Sweden donates CHF 5.2 million for food, animal and plant health standards

27 November - Sweden donated SEK 35 million (approximately CHF 5.2 million) to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), a programme set up to help developing countries improve their expertise and their capacity to analyze and implement international standards on food safety and animal and plant health. The funds are provided as a multi-year contribution running for five years from 2009 to 2013.

The STDF is a joint initiative of the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Sweden is the biggest contributor to the WTO’s technical assistance trust funds. This new multi-year donation brings Sweden’s overall contribution up to CHF 30.9 million. (...)


IFAD provides US$39 million to Ethiopia to improve the lives of pastoralists and their families

Rome, 26 November - A US$19.5 million loan and a US$19.5 million grant from IFAD to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will support the delivery of basic social services to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country - pastoralists and their families. After the success of its first phase, the Pastoral Community Development Project will extend its reach to three times as many households. Operations will be extended to 57 districts of the Afar, Oromia, Somali and Southern regions, which account for about 45 per cent of Ethiopia’s pastoral lowlands. The loan and grant agreement was signed today in Rome by Mr. Abebe Kelemu, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Rome, and Kevin Cleaver, Assistant President of IFAD. (...) To date, IFAD has funded 13 projects and programmes in Ethiopia for a total investment of about US$ 235.8 million.


Stronger world food security governance agreed

FAO Conference also approves 2010-2011 budget

Rome, 24 November - FAO’s top governing body has cleared the way for setting up a stronger and more effective system of global food security governance.

The Conference of FAO’s 192 Members, which meets every two years, agreed on Sunday to strengthen the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) so it can become the foremost inclusive international platform for discussion, coordination and policy convergence in order to eliminate world hunger.

The World Summit on Food security held here last week agreed that the CFS should be a central component of the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition. The approval by the FAO Conference paves the way for the CFS reform to become operational. (...)


Goldman Sachs pledges $500-million to help small-business owners

By Ian Wilhelm

17 November - The investment bank Goldman Sachs has pledged $500-million to help develop small businesses and train entrepreneurs across the country. In addition, the New York company has recruited a high-profile team of advisers, including financier Warren Buffett, to guide the philanthropic effort. The so-called 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative comes as the financial-services company faces withering criticism for the billions of dollars in compensation it is expected to pay its employees this year. Some have characterized Goldman Sachs’s philanthropy as a way to quell the public anger. However, the company says the small-business program has been in development for almost a year and is modeled after its 10,000 Women Initiative, which helps educate female entrepreneurs in 18 countries.

As part of the new effort, Goldman will provide $300-million in grants and loans to nonprofit groups, known as community-development financial institutions, that provide capital and noncash-assistance to businesses in neighborhoods often not served by banks. (...)


ACDI/VOCA reaches financial services milestone: $1 billion in loans disbursed

Washington, D.C., 16 November - ACDI/VOCA and its partner financial institutions just hit a significant milestone: Disbursements topped $1 billion in loans that help create new economic opportunities for poorer people often ignored by banks rural residents, small farmers and owners of microenterprises and small businesses. ACDI/VOCA’s $1 billion mark for extended credit represents more than 625,000 loans to small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs - nearly 40 percent women, according to the international nonprofit organization. Building on 45 years of experience working with farmers and rural communities in developing countries, ACDI/VOCA has developed proven strategies and tools to help both borrowers and lenders address the financial services challenges they face. (...) ACDI/VOCA has helped develop more than 20 financial institutions over the past two decades that assist small-scale farmers and enterprises to expand their businesses in a variety of ways. Today, nine of these financial institutions - such as Al-Thiqa in Iraq and Bai Tushum in Kyrgyzstan - serve a total of more than 100,000 customers with combined portfolios of more than $200 million. (...)


IFAD and the Islamic Development Bank reach landmark cofinancing agreement of US$1.5 billion in aid of the poorest people living in Africa, Asia and the Near East

Rome, 15 November - On the eve of the World Summit on Food Security, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) have reached a groundbreaking US$1.5 billion framework cofinancing agreement that will strengthen their 30-year collaboration in supporting the world’s poorest people in common member countries. The agreement - the result of talks held in Rome today between Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of IsDB, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD - comes at a critical moment, when the international community has recognized that agricultural development is fundamental to feeding the world’s population. Today, sustained investment in agriculture - especially smallholder agriculture - is acknowledged as the key to food security.

Using their own resources, IFAD and IsDB will jointly finance priority projects in most of the 52 common member countries under their respective three-year lending programmes for 2010-2012. The two institutions hope that this cofinancing arrangement will attract additional funding from other development partners for joint interventions. (...)


Girls at the center of a global movement to create lasting change

CARE, Girl Scouts, Seventeen Magazine and The Documentary Group launch The Power of Girls to mobilize girls worldwide to fight poverty

11 November - Today CARE, Girl Scouts of the USA, Seventeen magazine and The Documentary Group set into motion The Power of Girls, a ground-breaking partnership that will connect girls worldwide and mobilize them around important global issues, including the critical role that girls’ education and leadership plays in addressing poverty. The Power of Girls puts girls at the heart of a conversation about the most important issues of our time. “Every girl can become a force for change,” says Dr. Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO of CARE, a humanitarian organization that fights global poverty by empowering women and girls. “To unlock her potential, she must have the opportunity to go to school and build the skills and confidence needed to meet life’s challenges head on. Education and leadership skills provide a foundation from which all girls can grow and excel - whether they live in Manhattan or Mali.” (…) The goal is to collect 50,000 pledges by International Women’s Day 2011 (March 8). (...)


Walmart and CARE launch new initiative to empower marginalized women in India

750 families will be positively impacted by the partnership

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 10 November - Walmart and CARE announced the launch of a Cashew Value Chain Initiative that supporting women’s empowerment. As part of the Walmart Foundation’s $1 million grant to CARE, this project marks the first of a series of initiatives to elevate women from poverty worldwide. During the next year, Walmart and CARE will create a women owned-and-operated community-based institution to provide more equitable and consistent incomes for approximately 750 women in the cashew farming and processing sector in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu State in Southern India, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam. (...)

Through the partnership, Walmart and CARE aim to improve overall livelihoods for women involved in the cashew processing sector: enhancing income earning opportunities by 20 percent, improving participants’ literacy and business skills, and ensuring greater awareness about health and nutrition. The benefits of this initiative will reach beyond the women themselves, affecting the lives of nearly 4,000 people. (...)






Marking Day of Solidarity, Ban stresses importance of creating a Palestinian State

29 November - Voicing deep concern that talks between Israel and the Palestinians have stalled for nearly a year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of creating the right conditions so that the two sides have sufficient trust in each other to return to the negotiating table. “It is vital that a sovereign State of Palestine is achieved,” Mr. Ban said, in a message marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is observed annually on 29 November. “This should be on the basis of the 1967 lines with agreed land swaps and a just and agreed solution to the refugee issue - a State that lives side-by-side in peace with Israel within secure and recognized borders.” (...)

Mr. Ban welcomed the “significant progress” made by the Palestinian Authority in meeting its obligations under the Roadmap, the internationally-backed plan for achieving Middle East peace, in the West Bank. (...)


Yemen: new camp opened in Sa’ada for civilians fleeing conflict

26 November - As the conflict in northern Yemen grows in intensity, civilians continue to pay the price. Many have had to flee their homes while many more are trapped in areas rocked by violence. Despite difficult security conditions, the ICRC is maintaining its aid effort.

People living in Sa’ada governorate along the border with Saudi Arabia, west of the Sa’ada city, have been hit particularly hard by fierce fighting. Several thousand people have reportedly also fled Al-Malahit and Razeh, south-west of Sa’ada city, and taken refuge in Al-Mazraq, a UNHCR-run camp in Harad. (...) Al-Jabbana, the new camp set up by the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent in Sa’ada city, will eventually be able to host around 1,000 internally displaced people (IDPs). One hundred tents have so far been erected to accommodate around 420 people and equipped with household essentials. Several water points and 14 temporary latrines have been installed. Al-Jabbana becomes the fifth camp managed by the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent. (...) Altogether, the ICRC and the Yemen Red Crescent have provided aid of various kinds for around 140,000 people over the past three months. (...)


WFP boosts assistance to displaced people in ROC and DRC

Kinshasa, 25 November - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up deliveries to northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo and to the neighbouring Republic of Congo to feed tens of thousands of Congolese people displaced by a recent upsurge of violence in and around Dongo village in DRC’s Equateur province. More than 38,000 Congolese fled violent clashes in DRC on 30 October and crossed the river westwards into Republic of Congo. Some 14,000 people are also estimated to be internally displaced inside DRC, too scared to return to their villages. (...)

United Nations assessment missions on both sides of the river underline the need for food assistance for people, mainly women and children, who have been on the run for several weeks now. WFP DR Congo is currently assessing exact needs in localities around Dongo and is planning to start food distributions in the second week of December with stocks already in country. A total of 23 trucks carrying 455 metric tons of WFP food have also arrived in Betou in northern Republic of Congo from the Central African Republic, as well as 8,000 litres of fuel to facilitate humanitarian assistance. A cargo plane chartered by WFP in Brazzaville delivered medical and other supplies on 22 November for WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF in Impfondo. (...)


UNHCR chief thanks United Arab Emirates for helping the forcibly displaced

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 25November (UNHCR) - UN High Commissioner António Guterres has paid a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he thanked the authorities for supporting UNHCR operations to assist forcibly displaced people around the world. (...) The United Arab Emirates is becoming a leading donor to UNHCR and has recently been invited to join the 20+ million club, UNHCR’s informal forum for major donors.

During his time in Abu Dhabi, the High Commissioner also delivered a presentation at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research on the comparative study, “The Right to Asylum between Islamic Shari’ah and International Refugee Law.” The book, co-sponsored by UNHCR and written by Cairo University law professor Ahmed Abu Al-Wafa, demonstrates the common content of asylum in Arab customs, Islamic Sharia’ah and international humanitarian law. (...)


Cold front triggers flooding in Mexico; ADRA delivers food aid

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 24 November - A devastating cold front hit Mexico’s Gulf Coast in early November, bringing freezing wind, rains, and triggering severe flooding that forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is responding to the disaster, distributing emergency food supplies among survivors, the agency reports. (...) On November 17, ADRA began distributing emergency food baskets for 500 families in Huimanguillo and Cárdenas, two severely affected municipalities in the state of Tabasco.

ADRA is targeting families that have been directly affected by the floods, and those who have been unable to work as a result of the disaster. Each basket contains corn flour, rice, beans, tuna, oil, sugar, and salt, all of which are part of the local diet, added Garcia.

The intervention is being funded by ADRA International, the ADRA office in the Inter-American region located in Miami, Florida, and ADRA Mexico. (...)


Sleepy’s and the Child Welfare League of America partner to Warm a Child’s Night

Mattress company’s 700 stores collecting sleepwear for underprivileged children

Hicksville, NY, 18 November - To provide warmth and comfort to some of our nation’s underprivileged youth this holiday, Sleepy’s the Mattress Professionals, family-owned east coast mattress company, is partnering with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) in an extensive community outreach program titled “Warm A Child’s Night.” Beginning the week of November 23rd, all 700 Sleepy’s showrooms will serve as convenient drop-off locations for new pajamas, socks, slippers, robes, nightgowns and other sleepwear for school aged children ages 6 to 18. Donation bags will be set up in Sleepy’s showrooms to accept sleepwear donations through the holiday season. In addition to showroom participation, Sleepy’s also plans to open the drive to employees in their main headquarters in Hicksville, NY and their four other distribution centers. (…) Starting December 14th, representatives from CWLA will begin collecting donated items from Sleepy’s showrooms and distributing them both locally and nationally to children and teens in need through their agency members throughout the country. (...)


London students take action to fight hunger

By Nina Severn

18 November - Keen to show that everyone can play a role in the fight against hunger, an enterprising group of London School of Economics (LSE) students kicked off their new academic year by grabbing red cups and staging a week-long campus campaign to raise awareness and funds for WFP. “Food is such a basic human right; it’s incredible that there are now a billion hungry people. Ending hunger is within reach for my generation and we are determined to make it happen,” said LSE student Isabella Hayward, organiser of the initiative. (...) They set up a stall on Houghton Street, in the middle of the LSE campus, and for five days, come rain or shine, at least four volunteers engaged passing students and lecturers in heated discussions about hunger relief. Some of them were persuaded to part with their lunch money, some even more. The total figure raised was £800 - enough to provide a hot school meal for 5,000 children!

The initiative highlights how individuals, as well as governments, have a crucial role to play in fighting hunger, not only by providing funds but also by helping spread the word.

This idea is central to WFP’s Billion For A Billion campaign, which aims to get the billion people on internet helping the billion people in the world who are hungry.


WFP launches school meals pilot programme in Iraq

Sulaymaniyah, 17 November - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a pilot programme to provide 172,000 Iraqi primary school children with a free daily snack at school to help boost school attendance and learning and improve food security in eight of the country’s poorest districts. “This initiative, which we are taking to support the Ministry of Education, is one of a number of projects WFP is undertaking to assist the most vulnerable people in Iraq,” said Edward Kallon, WFP Iraq Country Director. “This is part of our overall strategy to help the Government provide social safety nets for the poorest members of the population.”

Under the school meals programme, the children will each receive an 80-gramme nutritious date bar, fortified with a range of micronutrients. As well as providing vital nourishment, the snacks will provide extra nutritional support for poor families and help keep children in school. (...)



Peace and security



Cambodia: Development doubles after MAG clears land

23 November - Two years after MAG finished clearing land in Ou Chamlong village, Battambang province, business is booming. Two former minefields have been transformed into plots thick with sweetcorn, tapioca and beans. Large trucks from Thailand arrive in the village and buy the produce to take back over the border. Ou Chamlong is a relatively small village of 225 households, but almost 3,000 anti-personnel mines and about 80 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were found and destroyed there.

Duk Nan, 60, describes the village before it was cleared. “Most of the land was left unused, as it was heavily mined. It became thickly forested,” he recalls. “At that time, if we had food, that was enough.” Today, his money stretches beyond what is necessary for supporting his five daughters. “I have a motorbike, cows and a television,” he says. Ou Chamlong’s village chief, Kim Chin, says that development in the village occurred soon after the clearance work, and that no safe land is left unused. (...)


Security Council extends mandate of European peacekeepers in Bosnia

18 November - The United Nations Security Council today extended for another year the European Union stabilization force (EUFOR) entrusted with ensuring continued compliance by all sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the ethnic war there. In a unanimous resolution adopted a day after a UN human rights expert reported that political disputes were still impeding the return of over 117,000 people displaced by the fighting, the 15-member body stressed that “a comprehensive and coordinated return of refugees and displaced persons throughout the region continues to be crucial to lasting peace.” (...)


Cambodian troops arrive to bolster UN force in Chad, Central African Republic

19 November - The United Nations mission set up to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid in Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) received a boost this week with the arrival of troops from Cambodia. The 42 Cambodian soldiers will be assisting in the movement of UN personnel and logistic assets in eastern Chad, where humanitarian agencies are providing aid to some 250,000 refugees from neighbouring Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, as well as 160,000 displaced Chadians. (...)


Latest round of UN-backed Darfur peace talks resumes tomorrow in Qatar

17 November - United Nations-backed mediation talks aimed at bringing peace to the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur will resume tomorrow in Doha, Qatar, the world body announced today. This latest round of the talks will include the participation of Darfurian civil society organizations, including women’s and youth groups. Organized under the auspices of the African Union-UN Joint Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, the Doha talks present an opportunity for the Sudanese Government and rebel movements to negotiate and agree on common measures that would help push the peace process forward. (...)


Anti-LandmineTreaty working, lives and limbs saved

Chayer Amelie <>

Geneva, 12 November - Since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty entered into force ten years ago, significant progress has been made in eradicating antipersonnel mines, but much work remains, according to Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World, a report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines being released today at the United Nations.

Global use, production, and trade of antipersonnel mines have dramatically reduced. Some 3,200km2 of land has been cleared of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), and new casualties each year declined significantly to 5,197 recorded casualties in 2008. Yet serious challenges remain, with more than 70 states still mine-affected today, and assistance to mine survivors falling short of what is needed. (...) Production has decreased, with 38 countries formally halting mine production, leaving only 13 countries as potential producers. (...) Over the past decade, States Parties have destroyed 44 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines. (…)


DR Congo and UN launch stabilization and recovery fund

9 November - The United Nations and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have launched a fund to help the vast country recover from years of devastating civil war that ended earlier this decade, and continuing strife in its eastern provinces that has displaced more than a million people. (...) The Netherlands has donated $2.7 million, while Belgium has pledged at least €6 million for programmes aimed at eliminating sexual violence, in addition to $20 million already allotted from the UN Peacebuilding Fund. The stabilization and recovery fund’s council announced several projects, including the rehabilitation of former combatants, training for the national army and housing for the families of soldiers, the deployment of national police in strategic zones, support for war wounded and the establishment of business centres in mining zones.


Global Peace Convention: “Peacebuilding for the 21st Century: Interfaith, Service and Family”, Manila, Philippines, 10-14 December

The Global Peace Convention (GPC) is an annual gathering of peace builders from around the world. It began as a result of the excitement and positive impact of the Global Peace Festivals (GPF) held throughout since 2007. The Convention is an opportunity to exchange information and learn from best practices to improve the quality of all peace-building projects. The Convention brings together key leaders in the realms of politics, civil society, and religion to discuss creative approaches to pressing global issues. Woven into the Convention schedule are a variety of educational seminars and workshops, cultural events, optional recreational activities and a fact-finding tour to Mindanao. The Convention runs several interconnected program tracks based on the three Global Peace Festival pillars of interreligious cooperation, fostering a culture of service, and strengthening marriage and family. (...)






IAEA and African Union Commission join forces in fight against deadly tsetse fly

Staff Report

26 November - African countries joined forces with the IAEA to take a decisive step in the fight against the tsetse fly, the main carrier of parasites that cause sleeping sickness in humans and trypanosomosis in animals. The pest has long been a serious health hazard, significantly hindering development across much of the African continent. Thanks to the increased use of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a nuclear-based pest control technology that is often described as “biological birth control for insects”, African countries are expected in future to clear more of their territories of this deadly insect. In SIT-supported pest suppression and prevention campaigns, millions of sterilized male insects are released into targeted areas. They mate with wild females in the field, but no offspring are produced. Eventually, the pest population is suppressed and steadily reduced over time. (...)


The European Commission approves €275 million for the eradication, monitoring and control of animal diseases

Brussels, 26 November - Today, the European Commission adopted a financial package of €275 million to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases in 2010. The 224 annual or multi-annual programmes which were selected for EU funding will tackle animal diseases that impact both human and animal health. The large EU contribution towards these programmes reflects the high level of importance attached to disease eradication measures, for the protection of both animal and public health. EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said “ The motto of our animal health strategy is ‘prevention is better than cure’. If the spread of certain animal diseases is not prevented, it can affect both animal and public health. That is why we are prioritising programmes covering diseases that might be transmitted to humans”.

Each year the Commission approves programmes for the eradication and monitoring of animal diseases (...). These approved programmes receive financial contributions from the EU. (...)


MSF starts treating people with Chagas disease in Colombia

24 November - (…) The international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started to diagnose and treat people affected by Chagas disease in Arauca department, in northeastern Colombia. The region has one of the highest prevalence rates of Chagas in the country, with nearly an estimated eight percent of the population is infected. Caused by a parasite, Chagas disease can lead to serious health complications and even death. (...)

MSF has integrated Chagas screening and treatment into its primary healthcare services already carried out in the region. Through mobile clinics, MSF offers free medical consultations, mental health support, family planning and antenatal care to people mostly living in isolated villages without access to healthcare. (...)


UN peacekeepers’ hospital brings treatment to hundreds of local Congolese

24 November - A hospital set up in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to care for United Nations peacekeepers is also bringing hope to hundreds of local people who might otherwise lack necessary treatment for their illnesses and injuries as well as screening that can ward off preventable sickness. (...) The hospital, operational since March, has a staff of 90, covering general medical care and surgery, anaesthesiology, pathology, gynaecology, radiology, psychiatry, dermatology, ophthalmology and dentistry.

So far this year, some 950 local civilians have been successfully treated for common complaints including hypertension, diabetes, malaria, infectious and diarrhoeal disorders, and a range of skin diseases. Civilians have also been treated for fractures, appendicitis, wounds and lacerations and have received plastic and reconstructive surgery. (…)


Nepal: amputee camp gets artificial limbs back into top condition

Kathmandu, 24 November (ICRC) - (…) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today launched a five-day “Amputee follow-up camp” in Butwal (Rupandehi district). Organized in collaboration with Partnership for New Life, Green Pastures Hospital, Pokhara and the Nepal Red Cross Society, the camp is an opportunity for more than 80 people to have their artificial limbs checked, adjusted and repaired. The participants come from four surrounding districts: Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Palpa and Kapilbastu. (...) The ICRC has been running a physical rehabilitation programme for disabled people in Nepal since 2004. Currently, the organization supports two facilities: the Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara and the Rehabilitation Centre run by the Nepalese Army in Kathmandu. Both facilities offer quality physical rehabilitation services to people with a mobility impairment. If the loss of a limb or other disability is connected with conflict, the ICRC pays for the service. In other cases, people contribute according to their means.


Pakistan: ICRC and Pakistan Red Crescent supporting health-care services for victims of Waziristan violence

23 November - The ICRC is supporting mobile health units of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society operating in Dera Ismail Khan and Ministry of Health facilities in Waziristan, an area where the ICRC itself does not at present have direct access.

The Pakistan Red Crescent units are addressing the numerous health problems faced by the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting in South Waziristan. Each unit consists of doctors and nurses and a well-equipped ambulance and can treat most basic medical problems in the field. More complicated cases are brought to the hospital in Dera Ismail Khan if necessary. Together, the mobile health units can treat up to 200 patients a day. The ICRC is providing ambulances, training, medicines and salaries in support of the Pakistan Red Crescent. (...)


MSF emergency team responding to first ever dengue fever outbreak in Cape Verde

16 November - The outbreak is the first ever in Cape Verde and is the biggest reported in Africa.

The Cape Verde Ministry of Health has reported 13,187 suspected cases of dengue Fever in four islands within the archipelago between October 1 and November 9. (…) The international response to the dengue fever outbreak has been positive, with public health experts and international medical teams now providing medical support, case management, surveillance and diagnostics.

MSF has sent a team to support the hospital in Sao Filipe, the main town on the island of Fogo, where between 100 and 150 new dengue cases are being reported every day. Fogo has a population of around 40,000 people. More MSF medical staff have been sent to support health centres in Cape Verde’s capital city Praia on Santiago Island. (...)


20 Ugandan children will undergo heart surgery in India through Rotary's Gift of Life program

Delhi, India, 13 November - Twenty children from Uganda will travel to India in November and December to undergo heart surgery made possible through Rotary's Gift of Life program in collaboration with National Heart Institute and Escorts Heart Institute & Research Center in Delhi. Established in 1975 through Rotary International, one of the world's largest humanitarian service organizations, the Gift of Life program provides underprivileged children with congenital heart defects life-saving cardiac surgery at no cost to their families.   In addition to the surgery, Gift of Life also provides free medicine, food, accommodation, hospitality, boarding and lodging.

(…) With the advice from doctors, coordination and selection of children for surgery is done by Grace Agwaru, the first Gift of Life recipient from Uganda who received her life-saving surgery in 1975 at the age of six.  Now 39, Agwaru and her father formed a Rotary club in her hometown of Soroti, Uganda where she works with the Gift of Life program to help children with heart defects get the same second chance at life that she received.  "Gift of Life inspired me to get an education and to take care of myself so that I can give back to those in need of Gift of Life," said Agwaru. "I will forever be thankful to Rotary, my family, and the entire Gift of Life family."

Each patient would have spent an estimated US $6,000. for the operation. "Thanks to the Rotary clubs in South Korea, which contributed more than US$100,000 along with Rotary District 3010 New Delhi, these children can get a second chance at life," said A.C. Peter, a member of the Rotary Club of Delhi East End and the national coordinator of the Gift of Life program in India.   

Currently, there are 52 Gift of Life programs located worldwide, including Delhi, India. The Rotary Club of Delhi East End established its Gift of Life program four years ago, and helped more than 380 children born with heart ailments. (…)




Energy and safety



IEA launches technology roadmap on wind energy

30 November - “The IEA Wind Roadmap, the third in a series that focuses on deployment of promising low-carbon energy technologies, captures the tasks that must be addressed along the complete wind energy supply chain, from efficient energy extraction on land and offshore to reliable and cost-effective delivery to consumers. It looks towards 2050, when 12% of global electricity needs could be met by the wind. This roadmap will be available at the IEA stand at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Click here for wind roadmap.”


Mayor Bloomberg pledges $125-million to reduce auto fatalities

By Maria Di Mento

18 November - Michael R. Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, has pledged $125-million for an international program aimed at reducing and preventing deaths and injuries from automobile crashes. The five-year program will benefit 10 low- and middle-income countries with large numbers of deaths resulting from traffic crashes.

The six organizations that will coordinate the program with the countries’ government agencies are the Association for Safe International Road Travel, Global Road Safety Partnership, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Bank Global Road Safety Facility, World Health Organization, and World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport. (...)

“Based on our pilot projects, I believe we can extend our reach to many more people in additional countries,” said Mr. Bloomberg, in a news release. (...)


European award for innovative energy saving school project

13 November - Today Toyota Fund for Europe and Eco-Schools announced the European winner of the 2007-2009 school competition Let’s Save Energy. Odtü Gelistirme Vakfi Özel Ilkögretim Okulu Primary School from Ankara, Turkey won the prize for its innovative project ‘I take Responsibility’. The project invites students to take responsibility for the electricity use in the classrooms. This aim is achieved by installing electricity switch units operated by a card - similar to the ones found in hotel rooms. Per class a student takes responsibility for carrying the class’ card. The project and the theme of energy saving was completely integrated into the curriculum of the entire school and its effects were closely monitored.

The Environment & Innovation Project, run by Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in the Eco-Schools network and funded by Toyota Motor Europe through the Toyota Fund for Europe, held a European competition in 6 countries: Norway, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. Over 80 schools involving about 20,000 students were involved in the competition and 28 projects were awarded a grant to implement their innovative energy saving projects. (...)


Bulgaria set for massive growth in wind power

10 November - Bulgaria is set to dramatically expand its wind power output in the next 10 years, delegates at a workshop on integrating wind power in Bulgaria heard today. From the current 330 MW installed to over 3,000 MW by 2020, wind energy will meet 13.5% of Bulgaria’s electricity demand. The workshop, organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in cooperation with the Bulgarian Association of Producers of Ecological Energy (APEE), pooled industry, government representatives, and national electricity companies together to discuss the potential for wind power development in the country. “With installed capacity increasing more than fivefold in less than two years, Bulgaria is one of the fastest growing markets for wind energy in the world. Moreover, it has another 8,000 MW of wind projects in the pipeline. If current planning and grid access barriers are streamlined, Bulgaria will soon be one of Europe’s wind energy front-runners, reaping the economic benefits in the form of new jobs, reduced fuel import dependency and technology development,” said Christian Kjaer, EWEA’s Chief Executive. (...)[tt_news]=1681&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1588&cHash=6af732d830



Environment and wildlife



Preparing for the UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen

30 November - (...) The IEA welcomes the recent announcements made by the US and Chinese governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, recognising these as key steps to get a global, meaningful agreement in Copenhagen. Both of these announced targets are in line with the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2009 450 Scenario, that aims to limit the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent - in line with keeping the global temperature rise to around 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The US target of cutting greenhouse gases by 17% in 2020 versus 2005 compares with the projected CO2 reduction of 18% domestically in the WEO 450 Scenario. The Chinese intensity targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45% by 2020 versus 2005 compares with a 47% suggested improvement in the 450 Scenario. (...)


Sustainability standards for Asian catfish farming reach final stage

Washington, D.C., 25 November - Global sustainability standards governing Asian catfish farming - also known as pangasius, tra or basa farming - are in the final stage of development, and will assure that this fast growing industry addresses environmental and social impacts such as water pollution, and poor fish health management, and feeding practices. This month, the public comment period began for the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue (PAD) draft standards, marking the final step before the standards are finalized. They will address the key environmental and social impacts associated with pangasius farming, an industry whose production has doubled to 1.1 million tons in a few years. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world. The industry has grown at a steady 8-10 percent during the past 30 years, and this is expected to continue. When finalized, the standards will be given to a new organization, to be co-founded by WWF, that will be responsible for working with independent, third party entities to certify farms that are in compliance with the standards. (...)


Solar Cooker system as “Most Meaningful Carbon Offset” campaign launched

Sacramento, CA, USA, 24 November - Solar Cookers International (SCI), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1987, announced today the launch of “The most meaningful carbon offset is also the simplest” campaign.

 SCI is launching an online campaign, with a video where people can make a fifty-dollar donation that will allow SCI to provide one of the neediest families on earth with a Solar Cookit system and necessary training. Donors of the $50 CooKit systems will receive certificates showing a woman with a solar cooker next to the large pile of wood that will not have to be gathered or burned as a result of the tax deductible carbon offset contribution. (…)

Solar Cookers International is widely considered the world pioneer in advancing solar cooking, through its product development and field training experience. SCI has improved the lives of tens of thousands through the development, distribution and training of solar cooking devices in Africa. (...) For more information, visit


Southern Ocean protected area to shield marine region more diverse than Galapagos

23 November - A first-time high seas Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been established in the Southern Ocean, eliminating fishing and giving scientists a special opportunity to study the effects of climate change in a region that is home to more species than the Galapagos Islands.

At its recent meeting, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) approved the new high seas marine protected area south of the South Orkney Islands in the Antarctic Peninsula Region. The Commission further agreed to a work plan to create networks of high seas MPAs across 11 other high priority areas in the Southern Ocean by 2012. (...)


Interactive technology empowers Europeans to manage environmental change

17 November - As part of their partnership combining cutting-edge technology and environmental data, Microsoft Corp and the European Environment Agency (EEA) have expanded their Eye On Earth portal. A new application, AirWatch provides information on air quality to more than 500 million people across Europe. For the first time, EEA brings together both measured and modelled data alongside citizens’ observations on air quality. (...) “Addressing environmental change requires a comprehensive and global response,” said Rob Bernard, chief environment strategist at Microsoft. “As a technology industry leader, Microsoft is committed to creating solutions for environmental sustainability and fostering connections between governments and citizens by applying leading-edge technology to help people visualise the impact of environmental challenges. Our partnership with the EEA is a powerful example of different organisations - public and private sector - combining their separate areas of expertise towards a shared challenge.” (...)


Falling Amazon deforestation rates create opportunity for other damaged forests

Brasilia, Brazil, 13 November - Fewer trees were cut down in the Amazon this year, creating an opportunity to apply sound government policies to halt deforestation in other damaged forests, WWF says. Data released Thursday by the Brazilian government shows that the deforestation rate in the Amazon fell between August 2008 and July 2009. Overall, the deforested region is a 45 percent smaller than Amazon land cleared the previous year, or between August 2007 and July 2008. This is the lowest rate of deforestation in the Amazon since record-keeping began in 2000, and down from a high of more than 27,000 square kms in 2004. However, the Amazon did lose 7,008 square kms of forest this year, according to government officials and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who attended a ceremony Thursday to announce this year’s deforestation figures. (...) According to Denise Hamú, WWF-Brazil’s CEO, (...) the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Copenhagen in December, will be a good opportunity for Brazil to defend the adoption of clear and ambitious emission reduction commitments by the participant countries. (...)


Pollution: new European register gives public access to information on emissions from European industrial facilities

9 November - The European Commission and the European Environment Agency today launched a comprehensive new European pollutant release and transfer register – E-PRTR. The register contains information about the quantity and location of pollutants released to air, water and land by industrial facilities throughout Europe. It includes annual data for 91 substances and covers more than 24 000 facilities in 65 economic activities. It also provides additional information, such as the amount and types of waste transferred from facilities to waste handlers both inside and outside each country. (...) The website has a powerful search engine that allows visitors to search using one or more criteria and a map tool. For example, visitors can search the amount of hazardous and non-hazardous waste transferred from facilities in a country (waste search), or releases from a specific industrial site by name or location (facility search).



Religion and spirituality



Parliament of the World’s Religions - Melbourne, Australia, 3-9 December

Make a World of Difference: Hearing each other, Healing the earth

The 2009 Parliament will offer more than 500 programs including dialogues, workshops, symposia, performances and exhibits, featuring programs on religion and the environment, and Aboriginal and Indigenous leaders from around the world, as well as religious leaders from all the world’s religions. (...)


Charter for Compassion, a call to bring the world together…

16 November - The Charter for Compassion - an initiative of Karen Armstrong and the newly created Council of Conciounce - was launched on 12 November 2009. Events and gatherings were organised in different cities around the world to present the Charter. (…) Much of the notion of compassion is embedded in the Earth Charter and more specifically principle 2 of the Earth Charter states: “Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.” Therefore this new Initiative reinforces the work of the Earth Charter Initiative from this particular perspective. “The Charter for Compassion is not simply a statement of principle”, Karen Armstrong explained at the presentation in Washington DC. “It is above all a summons to creative, practical and sustained action to meet the political, moral, religious, social and cultural problems of our time (...) You can endorse the charter or upload your act of compassion on the website: (Alide Roerink)



Culture and education



Roundtable on media accountability took place in Turkey for the first time in 20 years

Istanbul, 26 November - UNESCO continues the implementation of its project, Alignment to International Standards in the Media Sector of South East European Countries. The next step of the programme was Istanbul, where UNESCO organized a national roundtable on media self-regulation and newsroom ombudsman mechanism in Turkey. The event took place on 9 November and was attended by the leading 25 representatives of the media, press councils, academia and media regulatory bodies. (...) The meeting was organized by UNESCO, in collaboration with the South-East European Network for the Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) and OSCE, as part of a series of national roundtables held in the framework of the project, Alignment to International Standards in the Media Sector of South East European Countries. The programme, financed by the European Union, aims at encouraging, assisting and accelerating media reforms in the South-East European countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Kosovo. (...)


Better education for migrant children

26 November - Education is a crucial precondition, and plays an especially important role in the successful integration of migrant children, enabling them to contribute to our societies. This was the subject of conclusions adopted by the EU’s education ministers on 26 November. Certain difficulties may disadvantage migrant children in achieving social success (...). In addition, other problems as low socio-economic status, language barriers, insufficient family and community support and discrimination may lead to marginalisation and exclusion. (…)

Education and migration are some of the elements underpinning the European Union’s socio-economic development and competitiveness. The conclusions of the Education Council invite EU member states to ensure that all children are offered fair and equal chances and are given the necessary support to develop their full potential. The ways in which this goal can be achieved include removing barriers within the school systems, improving the quality of teaching in schools and reducing the differences between them.


Montenegro becomes the 35th country to participate in the Culture Programme

25 November - A Memorandum of Understanding was signed this week by the Director General for DG Education and Culture, Mrs Odile Quintin and Montenegro’s Ambassador to the EU, Ms Slavica Milačić, clearing the way for Montenegro to join European cultural cooperation in the framework of the Culture Programme 2007-2013. From 2010 onwards European operators can look forward to cooperating with Montenegrin partners, whose rich cultural heritage ensures ample opportunities for fruitful projects. The Culture Programme is the first of the Community programmes that Montenegro, gaining its independence in 2006, participates in.

Montenegro becomes the third country from the Western Balkans to participate in the programme, followed by Croatia (joined in 2007) and Serbia (in 2008).


New studies show how partnering with men can stop violence against women

Featured in a new UNFPA publication Partnering with Men to End Gender-based Violence: Practices that work from Eastern Europe and Central Asia

25 November - This report documents good practices in preventing and responding to gender-based violence. The five case studies featured within document initiatives in Armenia, Romania, Turkey and the Ukraine that were implemented by governments and other partners with the support of UNFPA. Although the reports focus on initiatives in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the practices and lessons learned can be applied throughout the globe.

The training session was part of an ambitious effort to educate every young man (...) on the importance of sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and the prevention of gender-based violence. It was organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Armed Forces. With no formal curriculum in schools on sexual health, the training was the first time many soldiers learned how to use a condom or gave thought to gender-based violence. To date, three million men have been trained, and the project has been made permanent by a decree from the Turkish Armed Forces. Many of the soldiers say the training changed their beliefs about a woman’s right to make her own choices and to live free from violence. Download PDF English


School meals key to feeding and educating most vulnerable children – UN report

24 November - The introduction of free meal programmes not only ensures children are fed, but are crucial to keeping the poorest and most vulnerable in school while providing a boost to learning and health, according to a United Nations report released today.

The new report from the World Bank and the World Food Programme (WFP) noted (…) that school meal programmes are most effective when twinned with other measures such as de-worming and provision of micronutrient-fortified snacks and biscuits, or vitamin supplements. In many countries, such programmes - along with abolition of school fees - are key incentives for children to attend school, especially girls and the poorest. A recent study of WFP data from 32 countries in sub-Saharan Africa showed that girls’ enrolments went up by 28 per cent, twice the rate in schools not receiving assistance. (…)


Save the Children joins with Scholastic to “Knock Pneumonia Off the Map”

New website and Google Map to help reach more than 200,000 teachers nationwide in fight against childhood pneumonia

Westport, Conn., USA, 16 November - Save the Children, the global humanitarian organization, today announced “Knock Pneumonia Off the Map,” a new educational program with Scholastic, the international children’s publishing, education and media company. The joint effort will educate children, teachers and parents nationwide about childhood pneumonia. A preventable and easily treatable illness, pneumonia is the number one killer of children under 5, claiming more lives each year than measles, malaria and AIDS combined. The new “Knock Pneumonia Off the Map” website that launched today at, provides lesson plans and printables that engage students on the issue of childhood pneumonia, while helping to teach essential standard-based skills in math, science, reading comprehension and geography. (...) This program aims to reach more than 200,000 teachers, 6 million children and 9 million parents. (...)


The Media has a crucial role to play in combating poverty

Inspired by its founding principle of solidarity, the European Union has joined forces with its Member States to make 2010 the European Year For Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

Brussels, 28 October - For the first time, a seminar with more than 60 journalists from European, national and regional media from across Europe is organised in Brussels by the European Commission. The theme is: how communication and media coverage can play a crucial role in the fight against poverty and stereotyping. (...) The projects aim to combat poverty by helping people experiencing poverty to express themselves, to find a way to reintegrate society and to escape the vicious poverty circle in which they find themselves. Both the media and NGOs have important roles to play in increasing awareness as well as generating new impetus in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. (...) Media and communication professionals have a crucial role to play in making the “2010 European Year against poverty” a success.


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Next issue: 18th December 2009.


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Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues are available at . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.

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. Webmaster: Fabio Gatti.


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, 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, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge 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, 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 Rome, Italy.


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