Good News Agency – Year X, n° 167



Weekly – Year X, number 167 – 5th February 2010

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 3,000 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



Spain wants to progress the incorporation of human rights and fundamental freedoms into Community law “as much as possible”

2 February - Spain wishes to “make as much progress as possible” to ensure the EU becomes party to the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms soon, according to the Spanish Minister for Justice, Francisco Caamaño, at today’s opening of a seminar on the challenges and possibilities arising from the Treaty of Lisbon coming into force.

Organised jointly with the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the seminar brought together authorities, experts and academics in Madrid to analyse the impact of joining the Convention and the incorporation of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into EU primary law.

“No legal impediments exist to joining although there are some complex practical issues that I’m sure we will be able to tackle”, said Mr Caamaño, who emphasised that the subject “is one of the Spanish Presidency’s basic priorities”. (...)


UN Legal Counsel discusses closer cooperation with tribunal chiefs in The Hague

26 January - The United Nations legal chief and the heads of courts and tribunals based in The Hague have held talks this week on how to improve cooperation between the UN and the tribunals set up to deal with war crimes and other grave violations of international law.

Under-Secretary-General Patricia O’Brien, the UN Legal Counsel, is midway through a three-day visit to The Hague, where she has met representatives of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). (…)

At the ICJ, also known as the World Court, Ms. O’Brien met with Judge Hisashi Owada, the court’s President, as well as with other judges. They discussed cooperation between the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and the ICJ, the role of international law in the modern era, and other issues, according to a press release issued by the court. (...)


Just published: Migration and Human Rights. The United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights

Edited by Paul de Guchteneire, UNESCO, Paris; Antoine Pecoud, UNESCO, Paris; and Ryszard Cholewinski, International Organization for Migration, Geneva

The UN Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights is the most comprehensive international treaty in the field of migration and human rights. Adopted in 1990 and entered into force in 2003, it sets a standard in terms of access to human rights for migrants. However, it suffers from a marked indifference: only forty states have ratified it and no major immigration country has done so. This highlights how migrants remain forgotten in terms of access to rights. Even though their labour is essential in the world economy, the non-economic aspect of migration - and especially migrants’ rights - remain a neglected dimension of globalisation. This volume provides in-depth information on the Convention and on the reasons behind states’ reluctance towards its ratification. It brings together researchers, international civil servants and NGO members and relies upon an interdisciplinary perspective that includes not only law, but also sociology and political science. (...)



Human rights



UN: A step to help end rape in war

2 February - The UN has long needed a high-level focal point to address this horrific crime that so often goes unpunished during wartime chaos. The appointment of a senior position on women in armed conflict is an important step in that direction. The appointment of a senior official to coordinate United Nations efforts to end rape in war is an important step, Human Rights Watch said today. “The UN has long needed a high-level focal point to address this horrific crime that so often goes unpunished during wartime chaos,” said Marianne Mollmann, women’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch. “The appointment of a senior position on women in armed conflict is an important step in that direction.”

The UN Security Council created the senior post on women in armed conflict in September, 2009, with a specific mandate to address sexual violence. On January 30, 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced his choice of Margot Wallstrom, a Swedish politician who is currently vice-president of the European Commission. Wallstrom served three years as minister for women and youth in Sweden, and has pushed for stronger representation of women on the European Commission. (...)


Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considers report of Panama

1 February - The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has considered the combined fourth to seventh periodic report of Panama on how that country implements the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Introducing the report, Marta Susana Gonzalez Ruiz de Varela, Deputy Minister of Social Development of Panama, introducing the report covering the period from 1998 to 2008, noted that much progress had been made in Panama in eliminating discrimination against women, in particular if they compared the legislation in force with that of several years ago. Nevertheless, they needed to confront many challenges in order to fully implement the existing norms with regard to a gender perspective and the rights of women to reach the desired levels. The National Institute for Women was created in December 2008 as a public decentralized body with its own legal status, budget and technical, legal and administrative independence. It was responsible for coordinating national equal opportunity policy and for eliminating discrimination against women, as well as for ensuring equal participation by women and men. Dissemination, awareness-raising and presentation to the international and national community were also among this new mechanism’s responsibilities. Women’s participation in institutions and organs of political power life had increased significantly since the reform of the Electoral Code.


New FRA study on Holocaust and Human Rights education released in Auschwitz

27 January - At a Ministerial Conference being held in Auschwitz from 26-28 January, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is releasing the findings of the first ever EU-wide study on the role of historical sites and museums in teaching about the Holocaust and human rights. On the eve of the 2010 International Remembrance Day for the Victims of the Holocaust, the report reveals that at historical sites and in schools across the EU, teaching about the Holocaust rarely includes discussion of related human rights issues.  Teachers and guides are considered to be key to ensuring interest in the subject, yet there is a lack of human rights training on behalf of both groups. Based on the findings of its study, the FRA encourages national governments to better integrate human rights education into their school curricula to reflect the significance of human rights for both the history and the future of the EU. FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: “The findings of our report reveal the importance attached to Holocaust education, democracy education and human rights education by governments throughout the EU.” (...)


The 6th session of the High-Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development ends

Report on the 6th session of the High-Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development, 14 - 22 January, Palais des Nations, Geneva

The High-Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development recently completed its 6th session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, focussing on refining the right to development criteria in relation to Millennium Development Goal 8, in particular on access to essential medicines, technology transfer and debt relief. The mandated objective of the task force is to provide expertise to the Working Group on the Right to Development so that it may make appropriate recommendations to various actors on issues significant for the implementation of the right to development. In addition to its institutional members - the World Bank, IMF, WTO, UNDP, UNCTAD and UNESCO, the institutions responsible for relevant global partnerships were also invited to the meeting. type alskdjf


Human Rights Syllabi for the College Classroom

In cooperation with: Interdisciplinary Field Studies, University of California at Berkeley and Amnesty international USA

This collection of human rights syllabi is designed for the college and university instructor. It is a product of the Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) Educators Network, in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Field Studies major at the University of California at Berkeley.

Purposes of “Syllabi for the College Classroom” are: to make available a collection of classroom-tested syllabi for the teaching of courses on human rights across a broad range of disciplines; to stimulate the creation of new inter- and cross-disciplinary courses involving human rights; to make it feasible for instructors of disparate disciplines to enrich their course curriculum utilizing material in “Human Rights Syllabi.”

This online collection of human rights syllabi is designed for use by university or college instructors in human rights courses being taught in institutions of higher education. Most syllabi have come from institutions located in the U.S.; a few are located in other countries. All are enthusiastically welcomed.

We encourage those teaching college-level human rights to consider this an individual invitation to send their syllabus to the email address below. Further, we encourage every educator to take the initiative in using the sources listed here for human rights college-level courses. Human rights syllabi, duly emailed to Rita Maran, Ph.D., University Lecturer on Human Rights, Berkeley, California, will be added to the website. 



Economy and development



IFAD provides grant of US$5.66 million for smallholder farmers in Haiti

Rome, 4 February - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a grant agreement of US$5.66 million to support agricultural production in some of the poorest regions located in the North of Haiti. The grant agreement was signed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by Joanas Gué, Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Haiti and the Director, Latin America and Caribbean Division of IFAD, Josefina Stubbs. The grant will supplement IFAD’s ongoing project to increase agricultural production by modernizing irrigation infrastructure. Strengthening irrigation systems, including those reportedly damaged by the earthquake, will provide improved access to water resources for smallholder farmers. (…)

IFAD operations in Haiti


Rural development: €5 billion in total injected into rural development programmes following last vote on Health Check and Recovery package changes

Brussels, 29 January - The Rural Development Committee has voted on the last proposals from Member States/regions for using EU Recovery Plan and CAP Health Check funding and other transfers within the CAP to address issues including the economic and dairy crisis, and climate change. In the period October 2009 - January 2010, all rural development programmes were modified and the additional funding of about €5 billion is now ready to be invested in agriculture, the environment and broadband in rural areas. The January 2010 RDC voted on the last 7 of these modifications (see IP/09/1568, IP/09/1813 and IP/09/1945 for October, November and December approvals). (See annex 1 tables). The majority of the funds will be concentrated in the areas of bio-diversity (31.2% of all funds, or €1.5 billion) and water management (26.9% or €1.3 billion). Dairy restructuring received 14.5% of the total budget (0.7 billion), climate change measures account for 14.2% or €0.7 billion, with renewable energy re-enforcement being 5.6% of the total additional budget (€0.3 billion). The development of broadband infrastructure remains an important policy issue for rural areas. Member States have thus decided to invest 35% of the EU Recovery funds for broadband, which equals €360.4 million out of the available €1 billion. (...)


Kenyan farmers’ group to receive drip irrigation greenhouse gift

28 January - ACDI/VOCA is pleased to announce that the Kenyan farmers’ group, Kipchamo Poverty Eradication Program (KIPEP), will receive the drip irrigation-greenhouse package from the Greenest of Gifts campaign. Our Kenya staff selected KIPEP - an umbrella group of 13 farmers’ groups - to receive the equipment and training so generously donated by our supporters. KIPEP has a total of 700 members in the Rift Valley, and 11 of its 17 leaders are women. (...)

KIPEP plans to invest some of its own capital in the project to further expand benefits from the new technology and training. Proceeds from vegetables grown in the greenhouse will be shared by the 13 member groups. As a next step, ACDI/VOCA will purchase and deliver the drip irrigation, water tank and greenhouse and will deploy an expert volunteer to train farmers in how to use the equipment and market what they produce. (...)


Holcim supports ICRC field activities

Geneva, 28 January (ICRC) - The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, and the CEO of Holcim Ltd, Markus Akermann, today signed a long-term agreement during the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

As a new member of the ICRC Corporate Support Group, Holcim will fund humanitarian projects as part of its commitment to sustainable development. (...)

The ICRC and Holcim will define on a yearly basis the field activities the company will support. In addition, the two organizations intend to share their expertise and experiences in areas of mutual interest such as crisis and risk management, water supply and infrastructure development during the six-year partnership. (...)

Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in around 70 countries on all continents.


WTO to establish chairs at 14 developing country universities

The WTO Secretariat launched today a new programme of support for teaching, research and outreach activities at 14 universities in the developing world.

26 January - The WTO Chairs Programme (WCP) will assist national academic institutions in providing students with a deeper understanding of trade policy issues. Through analytical input into the formulation and implementation of trade policy, the WCP will help strengthen the participation of the beneficiary countries in international trade.

“Through this programme the WTO and its university partners are reaching out to the leaders of tomorrow, helping them to better understand the complex mechanism that is the global trading system. By enhancing the trade policy skills of these young people, the WCP will help foster the capacity of developing countries to participate fully in the trading environment of the 21st century,” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. (...)


Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting is ranked no. 1 conference for CEOs

CEO participation at top-tier conferences almost doubled between 2007 and 2009, according to study

New York, NY, 26 January - According to a study released yesterday by international public relations firm Weber Shandwick, the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting attracted more CEO speakers from top companies than any other major conference in 2009. (...)

“I am incredibly pleased that the Clinton Global Initiative continues to attract top CEOs to our Annual Meeting to discuss and - most important - take action on pressing global issues,” President Clinton said. “The private sector plays a critical role in solving some of the critical issues of our time, from improving global health and education, fighting climate change, and increasing economic empowerment worldwide. I’m grateful these CEOs are proving through the Clinton Global Initiative that businesses can do well by doing good.” (...)


13th APF meeting to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 25 January 2010 at UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Headquarters

APF Members from Africa, OECD countries and international institutions working on Africa will focus on five key priorities for Africa’s development. First, progress made on addressing climate change, with a discussion of the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and its implications for Africa. Second, progress on fostering food security, focusing on progress made on implementing commitments to address food security challenges in Africa from the L’Aquila G8 Summit through to the Pittsburgh G20 Summit and the Rome World Food Summit on Food Security in December 2009. Third, monitoring the impact of and response to the international financial and economic crisis as it relates to Africa. Fourth, a special focus on the impact of the crisis on health in Africa. Finally, the World Bank will present the AU/NEPAD African Action Plan for 2010-2015. Over 100 senior level delegates will attend the meeting from across the continent and OECD countries. (...),3417,en_37489563_37489442_1_1_1_1_1,00.html


WIPO Pledges Support for Viet Nam

Geneva, 21 January - The importance of intellectual property (IP) in promoting innovation and boosting national economic development in Viet Nam topped discussions between Viet Nam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet and WIPO Director General Francis Gurry in Hanoi this week. Mr. Gurry pledged the Organization’s continuing support in further enhancing Viet Nam’s national IP capacity to innovate and achieve sustained economic growth. 

The President confirmed Viet Nam’s commitment to protecting IP rights and noted progress in the modernization of national IP legislative and administrative frameworks. He called on WIPO’s continued assistance to support the country’s full integration of IP into its national development strategy to become a knowledge-based economy and producer of high-end, value-added goods and services. (...) Mr. Gurry noted Viet Nam’s impressive rates of economic growth in recent years and its resilience to the global financial crisis. He called Viet Nam an “exemplary role model in exercising IP rights” and said its commitment to encouraging innovation helps to promote its image and products abroad and attract investment.  The Director General promised support for Viet Nam’s ongoing modernization of its national IP system and the training of IP specialists.  The aim, he said, is to help enable state-of-the-art services to businesses, inventors and creators through the IP system. (...)


Haiti’s post-earthquake rehabilitation begins with farmers

Priority is spring planting season as thousands flee, food prices rise

21 January 2010, Rome - FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said today that with the first stage of Haiti’s rescue operation now underway the country and the aid effort should simultaneously move to the urgent support of food production, agricultural rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Haitian farmers must be given immediate support before the spring planting season begins in March, said Diouf. Haiti’s consumption of cereals is estimated at around one million tonnes, of which about 63 percent are imported.

“The priority is to supply them with seeds, fertilisers, livestock feed and animal vaccines as well as agricultural tools,” he said.

It is of vital importance to boost local production programmes of quality seeds, prepare fertilisers suitable for Haiti’s various production zones and crops. (...)


Gaza Community Development Working Group forms

Doha, Qatar, 20 January - ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is pleased to announce it was invited to participate in the newly formed Gaza Community Development Working Group which met for the first time in Doha, Qatar, January 17-19. The Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), in coordination with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), established the working group to explore community-led, sustainable construction strategies for rebuilding homes in Gaza. In over a year since “Operation Cast Lead” ended, tens of thousands of Gazans remain homeless and thousands of others live in badly damaged dwellings. On-going border closures continue to prohibit entry of building materials. The group will develop home and neighborhood design strategies and construction methods that respond to the varying constraints in availability of building materials. (...)


Online forum: Women in Power and Decision-Making, 20 January – 18 February

This month-long online discussion on “Women in Power and Decision-Making,” facilitated by UNIFEM, is part of a series of UN online discussions hosted by WomenWatch, dedicated to the fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), as well as outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (2000). These discussions will be a contribution to the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women to take place 1-12 March 2010. (...)


US$20 million loan from IFAD to support Smallholder Agribusiness in Zambia

Rome, 20 January - A US$20 million loan to the Republic of Zambia from IFAD will directly benefit 30,000 small-scale farming households, many headed by women. The loan agreement for the Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme was signed today in Rome by Lucy Mungoma, Ambassador to Italy for the Republic of Zambia, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD. The programme will focus on reducing rural poverty by stimulating rural economic development through the transformation of small-scale producers into profitable farmers. It will allow farmers to: access technology to increase their yields and improve quality of their produce; enhance their capacities for activities such as sorting, grading, drying and storing; make better commercial decisions based on appropriate market information and get higher and more stable prices with farming contracts. (...)

IFAD has funded 11 projects in Zambia for a total investment of more than US$ 207.0 million.






In Haiti, UN feeds thousands more with new food scheme aimed at women

WFP operations in Léogâne, a town west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

1 February - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is “cautiously optimistic” about a newly launched scheme that could provide rice to some 2 million Haitians over the next two weeks, and promises to cut down on the recent chaotic scrambles around food trucks as men, women and children pushed to obtain supplies.

“We have been very encouraged by how things have gone yesterday and today. (...)” Natasha Scripture, public information officer with WFP in Port-au-Prince, told the UN News Centre. “We are cautiously optimistic.” The programme, launched yesterday, provides women with coloured and dated vouchers that can be exchanged for a 25-kilogram (55-pound) rice ration at one of 16 centres in Port-au-Prince - including at the Sylvio Cator Stadium, which before the earthquake was the country’s national soccer stadium and now houses a tent-city of displaced Haitians.

The rice ration is expected to feed a family of six for up to three weeks. So far, some 100,000 people picked up their rations, nearly all of them women.

“WFP generally targets female heads of household with food assistance. Distribution to women tends of be more orderly and calm. Women are often the first ones pushed out of line,” explained Ms. Scripture. (...)


Haiti: A good day in Port-au-Prince

By Fredrik Barkenhammar, German Red Cross, in Port-au-Prince

29 January - In the middle of the destruction, Red Cross Red Crescent teams from 22 countries work around the clock to help the people in Haiti. In the two weeks since the disaster struck, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has built enough mobile clinics and field hospitals to bring medical help to a population of 250,000 people, a number that will increase to 340,000 by the end of the week.

“Today was a great day,” smiles nurse Sarah Bon as she gets out of the white Red Cross Red Crescent Landcruiser. Sarah is part of a mobile health team, which consists of a doctor and two nurses who visit parks, schools and other places where many of the homeless Haitians gather. They open the backs of their trucks and start treating people - changing dressings, treating diarrhoea and tending to small injuries.(...) Sarah had another very good experience that day - she was able to find a missing German doctor who had already been living in Haiti before the earthquake. (...) “We found her. She is living in one of the camps and has been treating people the whole time. She is alive and well,” Sarah smiles.


Saudi Arabia joins top donors to the Haiti appeal

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

New York, 28 January - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed US$50 million to support the United Nations humanitarian response to the earthquake in Haiti. This makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia one of the main contributors to the Haiti Flash Appeal, which was launched on 15 January. The funds from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be transferred to Haiti’s Emergency Relief Response Fund (ERRF), which is a pooled fund managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on behalf of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti. The ERRF is included in the Flash Appeal’s coordination section. “This generous donation demonstrates that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands ready and prepared to support people in need of humanitarian assistance on the basis of core humanitarian principles and regardless of nationality, race or religion,” said Abdulaziz bin Mohamed Arrukban, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Humanitarian Envoy. (...)


Poverty is a scandal: Launch of Caritas Europa’s zero poverty campaign

The Poverty Paper: Prevention is better than cure

By Caritas Europa

28 January - (...) It is with this central message - poverty is unacceptable in the 21st century - that Caritas Europa is launching today its Zero Poverty campaign for the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion at the European Parliament in Brussels. (...)

Sharing a platform with Elisabeth Schroedter MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and with presentations by Erny Gillen (President of Caritas Europa) and Paolo Pezzana/Patrizia Cappelletti (representing Caritas Italy), Caritas Europa is offering the vision of Zero Poverty - a vision of a different world, in which no-one is forced to live on the streets or dies prematurely because cannot afford healthcare. (...)

Caritas believes that in order to achieve the vision of Zero Poverty, society has to tackle poverty’s root causes rather than merely respond to its consequences. Today, social policies are still focused on assisting poor people. (...)


Rotarians focus on Haiti relief

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary International News, 22 January - Rotary clubs and districts worldwide are mobilizing resources to deliver urgently needed relief to the millions affected by Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

District 7020, which includes Haiti, has flown in 55 planes filled with more than 50,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies into the cities of Pignon and Port-de-Paix to bypass logistical problems in the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince. (…) “Rotary had an incredible infrastructure established before the quake, which has made our relief efforts very effective,” says Dick McCombe, past district governor and Haiti liaison chair. “We’re flying in supplies through backdoor channels and doing things a lot of agencies can’t do.”

The district’s Haiti Task Force, set up two years ago to administer all financial aid to the nation, is working with local clubs to deliver aid to Port-au-Prince and those who have taken refuge in the countryside. McCombe says Rotary was in a good position to help in Haiti, with 33 projects already underway to provide water, sanitation, medical care, and education. (…) Within the next two weeks, McCombe says, a barge will be hired to transport 20 to 30 tons of clothes, blankets, folding beds, and other items to Haiti from Nassau, Bahamas.

ShelterBox has already delivered more than 3,300 containers to Haiti, with another 1,000 or more scheduled to be deployed. “This is the largest, quickest, and most complex deployment in our history,” says John Leach, head of operations for ShelterBox. “We organized across four countries to get ShelterBoxes to the people of Haiti quickly.” Each box contains a tent that houses 10 people as well as a stove, blankets, and other essential items. (…)


Dominican teachers show solidarity to Haitian refugees

22 January - Teacher unionists in the Dominican Republic are doing their utmost to bring water, food and medicine into the border zone as Haitian refugees flee Port-au-Prince in search of humanitarian relief. The Asociación Dominicana de Profesores (ADP), an EI affiliate, has set up a system to help the people in the border-area tent cities and to identify the Haitian teachers who have been hospitalized in the Dominican Republic. On 20 January, ADP officers including Maria Teresa Cabrera, who is also a member of the EI Executive Board, helped a female teacher who was in very critical condition and required surgery. (…) Cabrera emphasized that she and the ADP members, along with all the Dominican people, are expressing full solidarity and support to their Haitian fellows.


EU launches 2010 European Year: Stop poverty now!

Today, 21 January, the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the EU are launching the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion with an inaugural conference in Madrid hosted by the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. (...)

Almost 84 million Europeans - or 17% of people across the EU - currently live below the poverty threshold. The 2010 European Year aims to raise greater awareness of the causes and consequences of poverty in Europe, both among key players such as governments and social partners and among the public at large. It also aims to mobilise these different partners in the fight against poverty; promote social integration and inclusion; and encourage clear commitments on drawing up EU and national policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion.

The Year’s activities will be largely decentralised, with national programmes drawn up by each of the 29 countries taking part (the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Iceland). A €17 million budget will support awareness-raising campaigns at European and national levels and hundreds of national projects linked to the different national priorities. (...)



Peace and security



Sudanese peace pact has accelerated pace of mine removal, says UN official

28 January - The 2005 peace accord that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war has enhanced efforts to rid the vast African nation of landmines. (...) Significant strides have been made in removing both mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), or unexploded bombs, said Maxwell Kerley, Director of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which has been operating in Sudan since 2002. (…) Despite the difficult operating environment in Juba, southern Sudan, more than one third of the nearly 1,500 so-called ‘dangerous areas’ have been closed, while in Blue Nile State, UNMAS and its partners have helped to open 13,000 kilometres of routes, allowing for socio-economic development and the movement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in formerly contaminated areas. Mr. Kerley also noted the progress made by mine risk education projects. The educational component helps to curb the risk of death and injury to people living in contaminated areas, and “as a result, fatality rates have declined as community members are better able to keep themselves safe”. (…)


Iraq: thousands of Iraqis taught gun safety and awareness

25 January - Members of MAG Iraq’s Community Liaison team have trained Iraqi charities and youth workers on the dangers of guns, under a new UNICEF-supported project aimed at preventing needless child deaths. Teachers from 60 schools in Diyala and Kirkuk, staff from Basra-based non-governmental organisations ‘The Humanitarian Women and Family Organisation’, ‘Hadea for Human Rights’ and ‘ISCP’ (Iraqi civil society programme), and youth workers were among the hundreds of Iraqis trained in ‘risk education’ techniques. It is expected at least 12,000 children, parents and youth workers will be safer as a result.

Small arms casualty figures from Iraq are alarming. Although numbers are not available for the whole country, in 2008 the Kirkuk Provincial Department of Health alone recorded 313 deaths and 975 injuries as a result of accidental gunfire. (...)

UNICEF Iraq Representative, Sikander Khan, stated: “This training is a critical start to raise awareness of how the widespread presence of guns and other light arms in Iraq threaten the safety and lives of Iraqi children. By doing so, we hope needless child deaths will be avoided in the future”. (...)


UN anti-crime agency to help set up police academy in Guinea-Bissau

25 January - The United Nations anti-crime agency is supporting efforts to rebuild a safe and stable Guinea-Bissau by facilitating the construction of a training centre for the West African nation’s security forces. (...) The UNODC Regional Office for Brazil and the Southern Cone has facilitated an agreement between Brazil and Guinea-Bissau to create a police academy, which will not only boost the latter’s forces but also support its Government to implement the National Plan to Fight Drugs and Crime. (...) The new three-year project, with an investment of $3 million from the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation, will build the technical capacity of local police and help regulate the police force according to internationally recognized standards.

UNODC will work with the Brazilian Federal Police Department, which will coordinate activities for the new police academy, to be located in the capital, Bissau. (...)


Sudan: UN report cites challenges for north-south peace deal despite progress

22 January - In his latest report to the Security Council on the Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cites recent developments, allowing the parties “to move beyond several major obstacles that had long impeded progress.” These include the passing of legislation governing next year’s referendum on independence for Southern Sudan, as well as the registration of a reported 16.5 million voters for the national elections slated for this year. (...) While Mr. Ban welcomes the continued progress made in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), he says he is aware of the risk that demobilized former combatants may eventually reintegrate into an insecure environment, which may further exacerbate the threat of their return to the path of armed violence. (…) The report states that the single most important factor in an eventual success or failure of the peace process is the nature of the relationship between the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) of President Omar al-Bashir.


Lao PDR: New project takes bombs and leaves skills

21 January - MAG and World Vision have begun an innovative new project to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improve livelihoods in 24 villages in Khammouane Province.

The target villages are in Mahaxay District and are all heavily contaminated with UXO, creating an obstacle to development for the 6,000-plus people who live there. Funding of US$864,885 is being provided by AusAID. An innovative element of the project is the inclusion of the “Safe Community” approach, which will encourage communities to take responsibility for reducing the risk from UXO. The idea is that once MAG has completed its work in a village, community members are able to undertake ongoing risk management. (...)

Both UXO clearance and support to improve livelihoods are much needed in Mahaxai, a district that the World Food Programme categorises as highly vulnerable to food insecurity. (...)


This year can be ‘historic’ for progress on disarmament – Secretary-General

19 January - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced optimism that 2010 will be a “historic year” for progress on disarmament and non-proliferation goals, vowing to press ahead with efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. “My hope is based, not on wishful thinking, but on real opportunities for concrete action,” Mr. Ban told this year’s first plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, which is meeting in Geneva. Leaders of key nuclear States, the Security Council, the international community and civil society have shown their support for the issue.

Last July, Russia and the United States committed to cut their strategic warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675 and their strategic delivery vehicles to between 500 and 1,000, as part of the Joint Understanding for a follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

In September, United States President Barack Obama chaired a Council meeting on disarmament, which helped build growing momentum on non-proliferation issues.


Security Council authorizes 3,500 more UN peacekeepers for Haiti

19 January - The Security Council today backed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to increase the overall force levels of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti to support the immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts following last week’s devastating earthquake. Following his visit on Sunday to the capital, Port-au-Prince, Mr. Ban asked the Council for an additional 1,500 police officers and 2,000 troops to reinforce the mission, known as MINUSTAH, to augment its 9,000 uniformed personnel already on the ground.

The Council, in unanimously adopting resolution 1908, decided that MINUSTAH will consist of a military component of up to 8,940 troops of all ranks and of a police component of up to 3,711 police, and that it will keep the new force levels under review as necessary. (...)


Rwanda: 30,000 small arms destroyed

On 11 January, MAG’s small team in Rwanda reached a milestone

It seemed a day like any other at the National Weapons Destruction Workshop on the outskirts of Kigali. Corporal Jean Zibera from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) picked up an MISR assault rifle and fed it through the hydraulic cutting shears, systematically putting it beyond any future use. In Rwanda destroying guns is the daily routine. But this one was gun number 30,000.

Corporal Zibera is one of three RDF personnel trained by MAG to cut small arms using the specialist shears imported from the UK. Over the past 12 months Corporal Zibera, along with Corporals Obedi Perioza and Gilbert Kazenga, has destroyed thousands of weapons - often more than 250 in a day. Each one of these guns destroyed represents a real achievement in the fight against violence and small arms proliferation. (...)

MAG’s activities in Rwanda are not limited to the destruction of small arms. More than 70 tonnes of surplus munitions have also been destroyed in conjunction with the RDF in the last year, and 14 members of the RDF have successfully been trained to the international standard of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Level 1. MAG is also advising the RDF on proper and safe storage of explosive items.


UNOY - Center of Youth Development by Escuelas De Paz

Columbian member of UNOY Peacebuilders, Escuelas De Paz, is implementing a project that hopes to reach 360 young people from Altos de Cazuca, a run-down area of Soacha, Bogota

The current public policy for youth in Soacha aims to enhance dynamics within the family and school; protect youth rights; raise awareness; and promote respectful relations among individuals and their surroundings; and recognise, strengthen and integrate cultural identities.

Taking this into account, Escuelas de Paz, supported by UNICEF, the Canandian International Development Agency and the Secretary of Social Development and the youth management of the City Council of Soacha, looks forward to strengthening the Center of Youth Development, which runs three main programmes: 1. Non-formal educational program. (…) 2. Social network of youth support. (…) 3. Friendly services for adolescents and youth. (…)

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders) is a global network of 42 youth peace organisations and 350 affiliates active in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation.






African leaders join forces to help achieve UN goal for malaria prevention

1 February - Dozens of African leaders met today in Ethiopia to tackle the challenges facing the continent in the effort to meet the United Nations target of ensuring universal access to malaria control measures by the end of this year. Some 26 heads of State convened the first working session of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) during the annual African Union (AU) summit, which got under way yesterday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

ALMA aims to defeat the disease, which accounts for over 25 per cent of all deaths of children under the age of five across Africa, affects over 50 million pregnant women and is responsible for 10 per cent of all maternal mortalities every year. As much as 40 per cent of health-care spending in endemic countries goes on malaria, costing the continent around $12 billion a year, according to a press release issued by ALMA.

The 26-nation ALMA coalition said that in the past 12 months alone at least 90 million long-lasting, insecticidal mosquito nets were delivered in Africa, and overall 200 million such nets have been distributed to 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, where virtually all malaria deaths occur. (...)


Bill and Melinda Gates pledge $10 billion in call for decade of vaccines

Increased vaccination could save more than 8 million children by 2020; significant funding gaps remain, others must join effort

Davos, Switzerland, 29 January - Bill and Melinda Gates announced today that their foundation will commit $10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries. The Gateses said that increased investment in vaccines by governments and the private sector could help developing countries dramatically reduce child mortality by the end of the decade, and they called for others to help fill critical financing gaps in both research funding and childhood immunization programs. “We must make this the decade of vaccines,” said Bill Gates. “Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.”

Bill and Melinda Gates made their announcement at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, where they were joined by Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. (...)


Haiti: Day 16, ADRA clinic cares for 1,000 people a day

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 28 January - Sixteen days after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to provide life-saving medical assistance, treating 1,000 patients every day.

On Tuesday, January 26, ADRA and partner GlobalMedic installed an inflatable field hospital on the campus of the Haitian Adventist University in the neighborhood of Carrefour.  The hospital, which measures 22 feet by 42 feet, will benefit more than 20,000 earthquake survivors living in a camp for displaced persons outside of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The inflatable hospital is currently being used as a primary care center for injured survivors, and can assist an estimated 1,000 patients a day. Local aid groups have also received training on how to install, operate and maintain the hospital, to ensure that it can remain operational for as long as needed. (...)

In addition to the medical care ADRA continues to provide basic elements for survival. (...)


2,100 children among displaced families in Munda, Pakistan, vaccinated against measles – more needs to be done to support those displaced by violence

27 January - On Tuesday, January 12, in Munda, in Lower Dir district of the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Pakistan Department of Health staff started a measles vaccination campaign for the displaced population under-15 years of age. In three days, 2,100 children were vaccinated by three teams located in different areas around Munda camp. The vaccines and cold chain were provided by the Department of Health, and MSF teams conducted the vaccination.

Since November, 2009, new waves of people fleeing violence in the neighbouring Bajaur Agency arrived in Lower Dir, where MSF has been supporting internally displaced families staying in Munda camp and in a building of the market place. Tents were set up to accommodate about 450 families in the camp.

Access to clean water, latrines and showers were also set up by MSF to help those families, as well as an additional 4,500 people staying in the marketplace, better cope with their critical situation. Basic items such as blankets and cooking kits were distributed as well. (...)


WHO Executive Board shows strong support for polio eradication, 18-23 January 2010

Delegates at EB express support for new 3-year plan to eradicate polio, as funding concerns grow.

At the 126th Session of the Executive Board (EB) of the World Health Assembly (WHA), delegates expressed strong support for finishing the job of polio eradication and for the finalization of a new three-year Programme of Work to do so, despite a particularly challenging year epidemiologically in 2009. After hearing a report from the Chair of the Independent Evaluation of Major Barriers to Interrupting Poliovirus Transmission and frankly acknowledging the remaining hurdles, delegates noted other, positive outcomes of the 2009 Programme of Work, in particular the impact of tactical and scientific innovations in each endemic area and the development and introduction of a new, bivalent, oral polio vaccine. These outcomes, they noted, advocate for new international commitment to complete the job of securing a polio-free world.

Delegates praised the country-driven approach to the new Programme of Work 2010-2012, building on the 2009 innovations and evaluations. Achieving the new milestones requires the systematic scale-up and full application of these new solutions in all areas, which in turn requires political commitment and ownership across all sectors and all levels of government in polio-affected areas. (...)


EDC and World Health Organization develop online course on violence and injury prevention

Newton, MA, 13 January - A new online course is now available for public health professionals, educators, nonprofits, and employers interested in building expertise in violence and injury prevention. TEACH-VIP E-Learning is based on TEACH-VIP, a comprehensive injury prevention and control curriculum developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a global network of prevention experts. The curriculum was adapted for the Web by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in collaboration with WHO and was pilot tested globally. It was produced with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (…)

To access TEACH-VIP E-Learning, visit


Nepal: trauma course aims to improve management of emergency cases

Kathmandu, 12 January (ICRC) - A four-day emergency-room trauma course organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Department of General Practice and Emergency Medicine of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital to improve medical care for people injured in violence, natural disasters or traffic accidents began in Kathmandu today.

The course complements a workshop on basic surgical management of wounds and trauma conducted in Kathmandu in December 2008. It aims to enhance participants’ skills in initial assessment and management of trauma cases resulting mainly from injuries to the head, spine or limbs. The course will be given by specialist ICRC surgeons Dr Mauro Dalla Torre and Dr Marco Baldan, and attended by 20 doctors and other medical personnel working in the emergency departments of various hospitals in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal. (...)


Dalai Lama gives polio vaccine 

Launching campaigns in Buddhism’s holiest site

Bodh Gaya, 10 January - The Dalai Lama inaugurated polio vaccination campaigns here today, in Buddhism’s holiest site. The campaigns in Bihar state, India, were the first in the country to use the new bivalent oral polio vaccine, which protects children from both surviving types of wild poliovirus.



Energy and safety



USA - Secretary Chu announces more than $20.5 million for community renewable energy deployment projects

Will help promote widespread renewable energy installations and create jobs

Washington, DC, 21 January - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selection of five projects to receive more than $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects, such as biomass, wind and solar installations. These projects will promote investment in clean energy infrastructure that will create jobs, help communities provide long-term renewable energy and save consumers money. They will also serve as models for other local governments, campuses or small utilities to replicate, allowing other communities to design projects that fit their individual size and energy demands. “Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio,” said Secretary Chu. “These projects will help create jobs, expand our clean energy economy, and help us cut carbon pollution at the local level.”

The selected projects will be leveraged with approximately $167 million in local government and private industry funding. DOE estimates that these projects will provide enough clean, renewable energy to displace the emissions of approximately 10,700 homes. (...)


European offshore wind power market grew 54% in 2009

18 January - In 2009, a total of eight new wind farms consisting of 199 offshore wind turbines, with a combined power generating capacity of 577 MW, were connected to the grid in Europe. This represents a growth rate of 54% compared to the 373 MW installed during 2008. For 2010, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects the completion of 10 additional European offshore wind farms, adding 1,000 MW and equivalent to market growth of 75% compared to 2009. “This is an incredibly good result considering the continued difficulties of obtaining project finance for large projects”, said Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. (...)

Currently, 17 offshore wind farms are under construction in Europe, totaling more than 3,500 MW, with just under half being constructed in UK waters. In addition, a further 52 offshore wind farms have won full consent in European waters, totaling more than 16,000 MW, with just over half of this capacity planned in Germany.

In 2009, the turnover of the offshore wind industry was approximately €1.5 billion, and EWEA expects this to double in 2010 to approximately €3 billion. (...) More than 100 GW of projects are at various stages of planning and could provide enough power to meet 10% of European electricity demand. Europe is the world leader in offshore wind with 828 wind turbines and a cumulative capacity of 2,056 MW spread across 38 offshore wind farms in nine European countries. (...)[tt_news]=1784&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=3abdb42e1e


The electric car – a green transport revolution in the making?

18 January - The electric car finally seems to be on the verge of breaking through, offering significant environmental benefits, especially in urban areas. (...)

Energy Several European countries as well as the US, Japan, China and others, have recently announced bold plans for the introduction of electric vehicles. These include fiscal incentives, funding research on batteries and electric vehicles and plans for the deployment of a charging infrastructure. Major cities such as London and Paris have announced electric car-sharing systems, while public administrations and companies using large captive fleets are purchasing electric vehicles. At the same time, utilities, car manufacturers, battery producers and academics are joining forces on initiatives such as the EURELECTRIC Task Force on Electric Vehicles and EpoSS, the European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration. Together with the European Investment Bank the European Commission has launched the European Green Cars Initiative, with EUR 5 billion partly dedicated to the research, development and manufacturing of batteries and electric cars and to demonstration projects. (...)


IRENA takes off

500 delegates from 120 Member States attended IRENA’s third session of the Preparatory Commission in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 17 January - Member States of IRENA met today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to decide on the Agency’s Work Programme and Budget for 2010. Five hundred delegates from 120 Member States discussed the different tasks and projects the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will tackle this year.

In 2010, IRENA will set out to establish itself as the global base for renewable energy knowledge. Collecting, generating and sharing knowledge about renewable energy will be a central activity of the Agency. IRENA will act as a clearing house, informing about existing renewable energy technologies that have worked well in the past and could be deployed globally, as well as about promising innovative technologies. IRENA will, in 2010, start advising its Members regarding successful policies and financial schemes to promote renewables, as well as related capacity building and training programmes.

With an adopted budget of US $13,7 million for 2010, IRENA will focus on building a network of international renewable energy experts, starting to map the global potential of renewables and build up a comprehensive database of policies to promote renewable energy. (…)



Environment and wildlife



USA - Leading by example: Federal Agencies to reduce emissions 28 percent

By Jonathan Lash

29 January - Today’s announcement from the White House suggests that significant emissions cuts could save money - along with the environment.

Many presidential executive orders go unnoticed, but here’s one that actually merits greater attention. Last October, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, which (among other things) directed all federal agencies to develop greenhouse gas reduction targets and plans to achieve them. As I remarked earlier, the executive order could be an important indicator of climate change policy in 2010.

Today, the White House announced its target: a 28% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020. Furthermore, the Administration released an extensive list (PDF) of energy projects that various agencies are planning to use to meet their commitments.

The Executive Order and today’s announcement are significant in several respects. (...)


Unique Cameroon mountain area gets crucial protection

28 January - Yaoundé, Cameroon: A new park created by the Cameroonian government that encompasses the highest mountain in West and Central Africa will help protect some of the rarest ecosystems in the Congo Basin. The government of Cameroon recently signed a decree creating the 58,178 hectare Mount Cameroon National Park, which includes the 4,095-metre high Mount Cameroon - also one of the largest active volcanoes on the African continent. (...)

Mount Cameroon is an important refuge and home to many species found nowhere else, including high numbers of plants. A very isolated population of forest elephant also lives there. (...) In addition, Mt. Cameroon has a great potential for eco-tourism, according to WWF. The conservation organization expects the creation of the park will increase this potential. (...)

Creation of the new Mt Cameroon National Park is the result of intense efforts and collaboration since 2007 between MINFOF (Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Fauna) and WWF, with the financial support of the German Cooperation (KfW). WWF Sweden also provided specific support to track and monitor activities of three forest elephants through radio-collars.


Climate change: EU makes emission reduction targets official following Copenhagen Accord

Brussels, 28 January - The European Union has today formalised its support for the Copenhagen Accord on climate change and presented its commitments for emission reduction targets. In a joint letter with the Spanish Presidency of the Council, the European Commission has formally notified the EU’s willingness to be associated with the Accord and submitted for information the EU’s established greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020. These consist of a unilateral commitment to reduce the EU’s overall emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and a conditional offer to increase this cut to 30% provided that other major emitters agree to take on their fair share of a global reduction effort. Under the Accord, notifications are to be submitted by 31 January 2010. (...)


UNESCO IYB Biodiversity Science-Policy Conference, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, 25 to 29 January 2010

Science Policy for our Future

In the framework of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), the UNESCO IYB Biodiversity Science Policy Conference provides an opportunity to present new scientific findings on biodiversity and ecosystem services, including in relation to global and climate change and to assess related implications for policy-making. While taking into account the priorities expressed by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Conference is intended to pay special attention to the voice of the scientific community in order to bring novel knowledge that could be used in the context of biodiversity-related decisions. As such, all papers included in the proceedings of this Conference will be presented with the main recommendations and the declaration emanating from the Conference at the 185th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO in the autumn of 2010 and at the tenth Meeting of the Parties to the CBD to be held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.


Private sector outlines plan to protect Coral Triangle

25 January - Seafood, travel and tourism operators in the Coral Triangle made a joint declaration reduce the impact of their businesses on the world’s most important marine region. More than 160 delegates gathered last week in the Philippine capital Manila for the Coral Triangle Business Summit to reach agreements on how their industries could contribute to the protection of the Coral Triangle and the 120 million livelihoods that depend on its marine resources. Participants included leaders from tuna and live reef fish businesses, airlines and resort owners, as well as government ministers and officials, and non-government organizations. (...)

In the seafood sector, fishing operators and buyers agreed to address the problem of overcapacity and overfishing through a number of measures including ensuring that fish are not sourced from illegal operations as well as implementing catch and trade documentation schemes to ensure traceability. Participants also agreed to promote low carbon fish production methods and trade practices. (...) The Summit was organized by the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in collaboration with WWF and with the support of USAID.


Sixty corporations begin measuring emissions from products and supply chains

Washington, D.C., 20 January - Sixty corporations today begin measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of their products and supply chains by road testing a new global framework that is part of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative.

Developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the two new GHG Protocol standards - the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard and the Scope 3 (Corporate Value Chain) Accounting and Reporting Standard - provide methods to account for emissions associated with individual products across their life-cycles and of corporations across their value chains. (...) Companies participating in the road testing represent 17 countries from every continent and more than 20 industry sectors. (...)


Outstanding new book – The Tao of Liberation – by Hathaway and Boff

19 January - Earth Charter International gladly presents a new book by two outstanding authors, a prominent liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, and Mark Hathaway - The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation. The book has a Foreword by Fritjof Capra and is published by Orbis Books.

The Tao of Liberation skillfully combines social, political, economic, ecological, emotional, and spiritual approaches of the current crises rooted in unsustainability of global capitalism, which has resulted in rising social inequality, exclusion, a collapse of democracy, deterioration of the environment, and growing poverty. Moreover, authors go further and claim that all current hazards are symptoms of a more profound cultural and spiritual sickness, and the great challenge for the twenty-first century will be to make a fundamental shift in our attitude to nature, and within our value system. This book takes a different approach to sustainability, traditionally seen in terms of limits and restrictions, and rather offers a new conception of sustainability as liberation both in the personal sense of spiritual realization, and in the collective sense of people seeking their freedom from oppression. (...)

For more information see at


19th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

Theme: Biodiversity: connecting with Nature

The International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment is organized every year by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon Corporation. It has been held since 1991 and has received more than 2.4 million entries from children in over 100 countries. The theme for this years competition is Biodiversity and it will focus on our beautiful earth, full of different life forms and what can we do to protect it. The children’s paintings will focus on concrete actions to preserve biodiversity such as tree planting, marine and animal conservation, restoration of coral reefs etc. (...) The organizers are inviting children all over the world to submit their paintings to the UNEP office in their regions. (...) Entries must reach the relevant UNEP regional office by April 15 2010 at the latest.



Religion and spirituality



2010 focus on peace building in Africa

2 February - The role of the church in building just peace was highlighted last week in Addis Abba, Ethiopia where three World Council of Churches (WCC) advisory groups met to recognize the culmination of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) and the forthcoming International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) scheduled for May 2011. “The church is expected to be with the struggle to overcome violence,” Patrick Mazimhaka, former deputy chairperson of the African Union (AU), told the group which met at the Conference Centre of Roman Catholic Bishops from 24 to 29 January. The meetings were hosted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The group received greetings from Patriarch Abune Paulos, who is a president of the WCC. Speaking to the fact that the DOV will have an Africa focus in 2010 for overcoming violence, the patriarch said, “We shall every time discover guidance from God to correct the inequalities of our social order, and redeem our country men, contemporaries, our neighbours from the hereditary poverty and suffering.” (...)


Committee looks at pathways toward unity

28 January - The Continuation Committee on Ecumenism in the 21st Century, coordinated under the auspices of the World Council of Churches and composed of 15 representatives drawn from diverse churches and Christian organizations, met in Rome to formulate questions for broad discussion on future pathways toward unity. A discussion document will be sent to sponsoring bodies in the spring, with a request for feed-back as the committee continues its work in suggesting a common vision for the ecumenical movement.

The committee stayed in Rome through the good offices of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. The PCPCU’s secretary, Bishop Brian Farrell, encouraged the committee in its work during “a time when people are re-thinking some of our fundamental presuppositions about ecumenism”.


EU Parliament, “Protecting freedom of religion in Europe and in the world”

Strasbourg, 21 January - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are, all together, “a fundamental human right, protected by the international legal systems”. Because of this, the European Parliament condemns “any form of violence, discrimination and intolerance based on religion or beliefs, against religious people, apostates and non believers”. During its plenary session, the EU Assembly passed a resolution that took inspiration from the recent episodes of violence against Christian groups in Egypt and Malaysia. The document, the adoption of which was supported by all political groups, points out that even Europe “is not immune to breaches” of freedom of religion. The MEPs ask the EU Council, the EU Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs to pay “special attention to the situation of religious minorities, including Christian communities”, as part of the EU’s relations and cooperation with the third countries. In addition, Parliament supports “the initiatives aimed to promote dialogue and mutual respect between communities” and invites the religious authorities “to promote tolerance and adopt initiatives against hatred and extremist radicalisation”. (continued)



Culture and education



Safer Internet Day - Think before you post!

Safer Internet Day will be celebrated on 9 February 2010 in all EU countries and almost 40 countries around the world

On Safer Internet Day, the European Commission will announce if major internet companies have acted on their commitment to improve the safety of under-18s who use social networking sites. An EU-wide campaign to encourage teenagers to “Think before you post” will also be launched.

Social networking sites count today 41.7 million users in Europe. It is mostly young people, children and teenagers who register with social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace or Dailymotion, and they use these new creative opportunities to express their identity. However, they do not always realise that the personal information they post such as pictures and videos remains online and can be accessed by anyone, exposing them to risks such as cyber bullying or online grooming. Children and teenagers must be empowered to manage and control their online identity in a responsible way.

The seventh Safer Internet Day will focus on the topic “Think before you post!” A campaign will be launched in more than 60 countries across the world aiming to make young people aware that they can control their online identity by using the privacy settings offered by social networking sites, selecting friends online that they can trust, and publishing photos after thinking carefully about the consequences. (...)


Radio will be used to provide education in Haiti

Washington, DC, 28 January - Education Development Center Inc. (EDC), the Freeplay Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) today announced plans for a joint program to ensure Haitian children receive ongoing education in the aftermath of the January earthquake. A start-up program could launch in a few weeks, but additional funding is needed to reach a significant percentage of those thousands of Haitian children in need.

The joint program will use EDC’s expertise in primary education and youth training and utilize more than a thousand Freeplay wind-up and solar-powered Lifeline radios to reach students in grades 2, 3 and 4. Via interactive radio instruction, a form of distance learning, the program will provide important life skills lessons on such topics as water and sanitation and classes in math and Creole. The program also will include accelerated primary education lessons EDC originally developed for out-of-school youth. (...)


New publication explores Holocaust education in sub-Saharan Africa

A new UNESCO publication, Combating Intolerance, Exclusion and Violence through Holocaust Education, is launched in time to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 (January 27)

27 January - The publication, which reflects UNESCO’s continuing commitment to promoting Holocaust awareness and combating all forms of Holocaust denial, is based on the proceedings of a workshop of the same name held in May 2009. (...)

The publication examines how Holocaust Education could be used in the African context to address issues such as peace and conflict, human rights violations, tolerance, racism and respect for diversity. It includes reflections, case studies and pedagogy for combating intolerance, exclusion and violence using the Holocaust as a learning paradigm. (...)


Youth at the heart of the 1st Forum of Ministers of Social Development for the Caribbean, 24 to 26 January

The 1st Forum of Ministers of Social Development for the Caribbean was organized by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture of the Government of Jamaica, in cooperation with the UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme and the UNESCO Office in Kingston, from 24 to 26 January 2010. Recognizing that young people are suffering most from the economic and financial crisis, the Forum was devoted entirely to social development strategies for youth of the Caribbean against the backdrop of the global crisis. (…)

The Ministers of Social Development for the Caribbean gathered to share best practices and dialogue with researchers who presented their research based on the theme of the Forum. Potential partners and participants such as youth representatives, NGOs, the Caribbean Community and Common Market Secretariat (CARICOM), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and numerous UN agencies also participated in the debates. (...)


UNESCO’s education priorities in Haiti

Reactivating schooling and supporting national education authorities are UNESCO’s priorities on the ground in Haiti

22 January - The Haitian education system was severely affected by the earthquake of 12 January 2010, with at least half of the nation’s 15,000 primary and 1,500 secondary schools either destroyed or badly damaged. The three universities in Port-au-Prince were almost totally destroyed, and the Ministry of Education building is in ruins. As part of the United Nations earthquake response, UNESCO has sent experienced emergency staff to Port-au-Prince, including a senior representative appointed by the Director-General. The Organization has submitted three education projects totaling US$1.9 million through the UN emergency earthquake appeal, for which it is seeking funds. The projects will focus on the immediate reactivation of schooling and providing quality emergency education; training teachers and education personnel in disaster awareness; providing psychosocial support to secondary and higher education students and providing education authorities with basic training in emergency planning and management. (...)


Iraqi calligrapher Ghani Alani and Polish publisher Anna Parzymies share 2009 Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

Paris, 18 January - The 2009 Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture has been awarded to the Iraqi poet and calligrapher Ghani Alani and the Polish publisher and academic Anna Parzymies. They were recommended by an international jury that examined 28 nominations from 21 Member States. UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova will present the prize at a ceremony at Headquarters on 9 February. (...) The Sharjah Prize - of US$30,000 for each laureate - was proposed by Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al-Qassimi and approved by UNESCO’s Executive Council in 1998, with funds from the Emirate of Sharjah. Initially awarded every two years, the Prize has been annual since 2003 and honours individuals, groups or institutions that have made a significant contribution to the development, dissemination and promotion of Arab culture throughout the world, as well as the conservation and revitalisation of Arab intangible heritage. (...)


2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures

The year 2010 will be celebrated as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. The goal of the International Year consists in making the rapprochement of cultures the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels, involving the greatest number of relevant stakeholders.

Entrusted with the mandate to contribute to build “the defences of peace in the minds of men” thanks to international cooperation in the fields of its competence, namely through education, sciences, culture and communication, UNESCO is designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year within the United Nations system. In fact, over the years and indeed in the past decade, the Organization has gained special experience and has won recognition through its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchanges between cultures. (…)


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Next issue: 26th February 2010.


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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.

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