Good News Agency – Year X, n° 168



Weekly – Year X, number 168 – 26th 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



France and Morocco present Presidency Action Plan

17 February - Enrolling every country on earth in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and raising global awareness about it have been presented as part of an action plan to gain the Treaty’s entry into force. The ambassadors of France and Morocco, current coordinators of the CTBT Article XIV entry into force process, presented the plan to a Member States meeting in Vienna, on 12 February. Enhancing the global verification system and working towards resolving regional concerns are also part of this plan. (...)

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions. It has been ratified by 151 States and signed by 182. China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States still have to ratify for the Treaty to enter into force. Other 35 States have either not signed (10 States) or not ratified (25 States) the Treaty.

Working together in Vienna, New York, Geneva, and around the globe, the two coordinators hope to achieve increased awareness on the importance of the entry into force of the CTBT and on its role in the multilateral efforts towards disarmament. “We need the support of the international community to move forward towards the entry into force and universalization of this Treaty,” said Tibor Tóth, the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary.


Cluster bomb ban treaty reaches 30th ratification milestone

Cluster bomb ban treaty reaches 30th ratification milestone

Will become binding international law on 1 August 2010

London, 16 February - Burkina Faso and Moldova ratified the international Convention banning cluster munitions today, bringing the total number of ratifications to 30 and triggering entry into force on 1 August 2010, when the Convention will become binding international law. (...) After the Convention on Cluster Munitions enters into force on 1 August, the next milestone will be the First Meeting of States Parties, which is scheduled to be held in Lao PDR in late 2010. (...)

“The rapid pace of reaching 30 ratifications - only 15 months - reflects the strong global commitment to get rid of these weapons urgently,” said Steve Goose, CMC co-chair and director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch. “Cluster munitions are already stigmatised to the point that no nation should ever use them again, even those who have not yet joined the Convention.” The Oslo Process and the treaty negotiations were characterised by a close partnership between pro-ban governments, civil society led by the CMC, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and UN agencies, as well as by the leadership of affected states such as Lao PDR and of individual survivors themselves. (...)


UNESCO and CTBTO sign agreement to benefit disaster mitigation and capacity-building in developing countries

8 February - Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, signed an agreement on 3 February with Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), to enhance cooperation between the two organizations, notably for the benefit of tsunami early warning systems and capacity-building in developing countries. (...) At the signing ceremony, Ms Bokova noted that “The agreement will lead to greater synergy between UNESCO and the CTBTO, especially for training and capacity-building in developing countries. Besides their importance in disaster mitigation, the data received by the CTBTO from its global network of monitoring stations can advance research on ocean processes and marine life and contribute to sustainable development.” (...) The CTBT’s verification regime will comprise 337 facilities worldwide when complete.  Monitoring data have a number of other possible uses including research on the Earth’s core, monitoring of earthquakes and volcanoes, climate change research, atmospheric monitoring and biological research.


Alexandria Declaration 2010: Arab League workshop recommends that Arab League States sign the Rotterdam Rules

Alexandria, 3 February - On 3rd February 2010, a two days workshop hosted by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria/Egypt for more than two hundred government and industry delegates and experts from 15 Arab League countries (Djibouti, Egypt, lraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen) ended with a joint declaration - the Alexandria Declaration 2010 - recommending to the Arab League transport and trade ministers to jointly sign the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the lnternational Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea - the Rotterdam Rules 2008. The workshop was supported by an expert team sent by UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) and led by DLA Piper partner Mr. Carsten Grau (Hamburg). (...)

Until now, the Rotterdam Rules have been signed by 21 countries: Armenia, Cameroon, Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Togo and United States. (...)

In order to become binding international law, the Rotterdam Rules need to be signed and ratified by at least 20 UN member states.



Human rights



African officials at UN-backed meeting seek to protect migrating children

Pretoria, 23 February - With cross-border movement of unaccompanied minors reaching into the thousands, senior officials from 15 Eastern and Southern African countries are thrashing out ways to strengthen cooperation for the protection of children at risk, at a three-day United Nations-backed meeting beginning today in Pretoria, South Africa.

“UNICEF is committed to accompany all countries in this region in their efforts to comply with the Hague Conventions on children,” he added, referring to four inter-governmental pacts adopted since 1980 on international child abduction, inter-country adoption, protection, and international recovery of child support.

Although Governments have ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, many countries have yet to ratify the Hague Conventions, which seek to standardize international law and provide a comprehensive legal framework for the cross-border movement of children between countries.

This meeting, hosted by the South African Government and the Hague Conference on Private International Law with support from UNICEF, brings together high officials from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Union (AU) Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. (mgdd)


Engaging philanthropy to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality

United Nations, New York, 22 February - The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is hosting a special event, co-sponsored by UNIFEM and other partners, showcasing expanding and new partnerships between the UN, private sector and philanthropies. Representatives of foundations, private companies and civil society organizations will participate in discussions, exploring collaborative opportunities to boost gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

The event on 22 February coincides with International Corporate Philanthropy Day. Chaired by the President of ECOSOC, Hamidon Ali, the opening session will be addressed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Parallel dialogues will follow on the themes of ending violence against women and girls, and promoting women’s economic empowerment. (...)


Social justice more important than ever in global economic crisis, Ban says

World Day of Social Justice – 20 February

20 February - “On the World Day of Social Justice, we recognize the importance of tackling poverty, exclusion and unemployment, in order to promote solidarity, harmony and equality of opportunity within and between societies,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. (...) He called for a major push this year to put countries back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to slash a host of social ills, from extreme poverty and hunger to maternal and infant mortality, to lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015, calling them one of the United Nation’s key means of bringing social justice and development together to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable.

“Social justice is based on the values of fairness, equality, respect for diversity, access to social protection, and the application of human rights in all spheres of life, including in the workplace,” he said. “Let us take this opportunity on the World Day of Social Justice to renew our commitment to this important cause and to recognize that while progress has been made, much more needs to be done. Lack of social justice anywhere is an affront to us all.”

See also:


UNHCR welcomes first ratification of AU Convention for displaced

19 February - UNHCR warmly welcomes the Republic of Uganda’s ratification of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention). This first ratification, coming within the first four month’s of the Convention’s adoption, is an important milestone.

UNHCR also notes with satisfaction that twenty-five nations - or nearly half of the African Union Member States - have now signed the Convention, which was adopted during the first African Union Special Summit on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons convened in Kampala in October 2009.

UNHCR encourages other AU Member States to follow Uganda’s example and ratify this historic Convention and - as called for by African leaders during the Special Summit - bring it in to force by the end of 2010. A total of fifteen ratifications are needed to achieve this. (…)


Central Europe gets a new tool to measure refugee integration

Hungary, February 18 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has unveiled an online tool that will allow governments in Central Europe to more effectively measure how refugees are integrating with host societies. The Integration Evaluation Tool, developed for UNHCR by the Brussels-based Migration Policy Group, was recently presented in Budapest to representatives of Central European governments and non-governmental organizations interested in the new software. It is expected to be introduced throughout the region over the coming months. (...) In broad terms, the evaluation mechanism looks at general issues as well as the legal, socio-economic and cultural integration of refugees. It comprises a set of more than 200 quantitative and qualitative indicators of integration covering all aspects of refugee life. The information gathered will help both to determine how registered refugees are settling in and to analyze policy strengths and weaknesses in the different countries. (...)


European Gender Equality Law Review

16 February - In this fourth issue of the European Gender Equality Law Review several experts via their individual contributions, the independent experts of the European Network of Legal Experts in the field of Gender Equality highlight interesting developments at national level.

They discuss legislative initiatives, recent case law and current policies in the 27 Member States of the European Union and three EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). In some countries new legislation has been adopted. (...)


Empowering Indigenous women leaders in Bolivia and across Latin America and the Caribbean

10 February - In January of 2010, close to 100 Indigenous women leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean met in La Paz, Bolivia for the conference Building Strategic Partnerships for Governance and Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean (“Warmis KAY Syuynchiqta Awanchiq”) organized by MADRE partner organization the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI). Reforms in Bolivia’s Constitution (enacted in February of 2009) call for gender parity in all branches of government. In response, MADRE and FIMI have partnered with Bartolina Sisa, the largest Indigenous women’s organization in Bolivia, to equip women leaders with the skills they need to succeed in local and national government. (...)

The conference resonated deeply with the Indigenous women parliamentarians who were in attendance. It provided a rare opportunity for women from across Latin America and the Caribbean to meet in a forum dedicated to the exchange of their ideas and experiences. They discussed their role in empowering women at the local, national and international levels and the best methods of changing power structures within each of their countries to give more of a voice to women leaders.


International Women’s Day will be observed at the United Nations on 8 March

This year’s theme is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”

(...) In 1977 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution inviting Member States to proclaim a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace - International Women’s Day - to be observed on any day of the year in accordance with their historical and national traditions. Since then, the United Nations Organization has observed March 8th as International Women’s Day. The purpose of this day is to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.

For the women of the world, the symbolism of International Women’s Day has a wider meaning: It is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change.

See also:


2nd Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy March 8-9

Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa, the former presidents of the Czech Republic and Poland, will co-chair the Summit’s Honorary Committee

The 2nd annual session of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy, organized by an international coalition of human rights NGOs, aims to place some of the world’s most compelling human rights situations on the United Nations and international agenda.

More than 25 human rights NGOs from around the world have joined hands to organize the Summit. Set for March 8-9, 2010 - in parallel and to enhance the main annual session of the UN Human Rights Council - this unique event will assemble renowned human rights defenders, dissidents and experts to advocate UN and international action for some of the world’s most compelling human rights issues and situations.

The Summit will be held in the Centre International de Conférences Genève, a premier venue situated next to the UN Human Rights Council. More than a standard conference, the Geneva Summit is designed to make a difference by educating, energizing and empowering human rights activists around the world. 


UNIFEM at the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

UNIFEM is sponsoring a number of side events at the 54th Session of the CSW, which will be held 1-12 March. The Commission will review implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, emphasizing the sharing of experiences and good practices, with a view to overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The review will also focus on how the implementation of the Platform for Action contributes to the full achievement of the MDGs.

For more information, please see the official documentation.



Economy and development



US$25 million loan from IFAD to support agribusiness development in Sri Lanka

Rome, 23 February - A US$25 million loan to the Republic of Sri Lanka from IFAD will directly benefit small producers, women, landless households and young people in rural areas.

A loan agreement for the National Agribusiness Development Programme was signed today in Rome by Hemantha Warnakulasuria, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Governor to IFAD, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

The overall goal of the programme is rural poverty reduction and improvement of livelihoods. Approximately, 57 900 poor households in the rural areas will benefit from the programme which aims to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers by 20-30%. Farmers will be involved in processing and marketing of their products like fruits, vegetables, spices, cereal, milk and dry fish, earning from the sales of such products. (...)


Strong farmers’ organizations key to achieving food security

Invest in rural youth today who are farmers of tomorrow

Rome, 18 February - Millions of smallholders and rural producers from all over the world were represented by 70 farmers’ leaders who gathered this week for the Third Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted the Forum at its headquarters in Rome. (...)

“Stronger organizations of smallholder farmers, fishers and pastoralists are essential if we are to seize the opportunities that arise from today’s challenges,” stressed IFAD’s President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, who opened the biennial meeting of the farmers’ organizations.

Rural producers have stronger bargaining power when they unite and work together to achieve a common goal to influence policies and development programmes.  At the Forum, in discussions on rural development policies, the farmers emphasized their right to be part of the entire process, from programme design to evaluation.


New FAO database eyes gender gap in land rights

Information on how men and women differ in access to land

Rome, 17 February - A new database launched by FAO puts the spotlight on one of the major stumbling blocks to rural development - widespread inequalities between men and women in their access to land. The Gender and Land Rights Database, produced in consultation with national statistics authorities, universities, civil society organizations and other sources worldwide, offers up-to-date information on how men and women in 78 countries differ in their legal rights and access to land. In most of the world, women lag well behind men in ownership of agricultural land and access to income from land, even though women are major producers of food crops and play crucial roles in providing and caring for their households. (...) The new information tool, available to anyone with access to the Internet, provides policymakers and other users with a better picture of the major social, economic, political and cultural factors which affect access to land and enforcement of women’s land rights. The database covers both national and customary laws governing land use; property rights and inheritance; international treaties and conventions; land tenure and related institutions; civil society organizations that work on land issues, and other related statistics. (...)


Desertification reduction key to improving livelihoods in rural Bolivia

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 16 February - In Bolivia where desertification affects more than 40 percent of the territory, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is helping farmers better manage available natural resources in an effort to slow soil erosion and preserve the environment. (...) ADRA expects that a project launched in June 2009 will benefit more than 2,600 residents in nine communities in the mountainous North Cinti region, located approximately 100 miles (160 km) north of the Argentine border.  Farmers enrolled in the project will receive training in natural resource management, tree planting and reforestation, sustainable use of natural resources, and environmental preservation. (...)

Scheduled for completion in 2011, this project, worth more than $696,000, is being funded by the City of Badalona, Spain; the Generalitat Valenciana of Spain, through ADRA Spain; and the Municipality of Camargo, Bolivia. (...)


New Project Won: Iraq – Consultative Service Delivery Program

2 February - ACDI/VOCA has won an 18-month, $4,985,000 Consultative Service Delivery Program (CSDP) funded by the World Bank. CSDP will build on our pilot program in Sulaymaniya Governorate, titled the Consultative Service Delivery Initiative (CSDI), which ended in February 2009. In this second phase, the program will expand within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and two other northern provinces. CSDP aims to strengthen the capacities of local community action groups and build sustainable linkages to local government, using a community-driven grants process.

This year, ACDI/VOCA will work closely with the World Bank and the KRG to explore opportunities for transitioning the program to government management. Given the different ethnic, religious, security and linguistic challenges in this region, the focus will continue to be on strengthening consultative decision making within the community. CSDP will incorporate best practices and lessons learned under the CSDI pilot.






EU, USA and UN start to plan for relocation of one million Haitians at the height of the rainy season

Informal meeting of development ministers in La Granja (Segovia) 

18 February - The EU, the USA and the UN are going to divide up the workload in order to provide shelter for more than one million Haitians before the rains, which have already started in the Caribbean country, get any worse. Soraya Rodríguez, Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, who is chairing the informal meeting of development ministers in La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia) in the name of the Spanish Presidency of the EU, warned that “immediate action must be taken (...) to relocate these people as soon as possible”. In order to achieve this objective, Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, Edmond Mulet, UN Special Representative in Haiti and the organisation’s Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, together with the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, attended the meeting. The ministers, secretaries of state and heads of humanitarian aid meeting in La Granja are also keen to accelerate the clear-up work to demolish buildings on the island to prevent any more structures collapsing during the current weather conditions. (…)


Rotary Day, 23 February – Celebrations for the 105 years of Rotary International

Three of the events took place in Rome, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro

Rome, 23 February - All over the world Rotarians organized events to celebrate Rotary Day to draw attention and invoke solidarity for the social initiatives promoted on a worldwide scale by this organization, that has more than 1,200,000 members in the world.

In South Africa, a “Kick Polio Out of Africa” awareness campaign was launched today with the symbolic kicking of a soccer ball in Cape Town, host city to the 2010 World Cup. In Brazil, more than 110 Rotary and Rotaract members took to Rio de Janiero’s Copacabana Beach, where they spelled out the End Polio Now message with colored placards. (R.I. News Update - contact:

 At the Circo Massimo in Rome, three large, multicoloured hot-air balloons with the Rotary International emblem celebrated the 105 years of the association. The slogan of the initiative - “Humanity in Movement” - recalls the Rotarian purpose and activities in the struggle, for example, against polio, illiteracy and hunger in the world, and for the construction of a culture of peace. In the arena of the Circo Massimo, between Palatino and Aventino, a large tent was erected to house the many participants of the commemorative ceremony of the 105 years since its foundation.  The participation of many political and academic personalities in this event - promoted by the governor of Rotary District 2080 (Rome, Lazio and Sardinia) Luciano Di Martino - is an acknowledgement and a testimony of the validity with which civil society stands as a pioneer in the struggle against the problems of our times, both in synergy with other institutions and with its own campaigns of a wide range.


Uganda: ICRC distributes seed to 58,000 returnees

Kampala, 15 February (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today launched its last seed distribution in northern Uganda. Just ahead of the new planting season, over 58,000 formerly displaced people will be benefiting from the operation. Each family is to receive 28 kg of groundnut, cereal and vegetable seed, which is enough to plant approximately 1 hectare of land. The recipients of the seed are farmers in the sub-counties of Orom, Omiya Anyima and Namokora in eastern Kitgum district, as they were the farmers most affected by the lack of rain during the first planting season in 2009. “These farmers were displaced years ago by the fighting in Uganda. Since arriving back in their home areas they have been unable to build up reserves of food or seed, as they normally would have, to cope with last year’s poor rainfall,” explains Janet Angelei, the ICRC economic security coordinator. (...)!OpenDocument


Development and Peace raises $13.5 million for Haiti 

Montreal, 15 February - The international development organization Development and Peace has raised $13.5 million for emergency relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. The organization is one of the registered charities eligible to participate in a matching funds program for individual donations received before February 12th. The matching program is administered by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Development and Peace has had a continuous working partnership with CIDA for more than 40 years. (...) As the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, the international emergency relief network of the Catholic Church, Development and Peace is participating, along with other Caritas groups, in the Caritas network’s emergency response (...). The organization is now in the process of planning for the reconstruction phase in Haiti. It is drawing on its five years of experience working in Tsunami-affected countries to help develop a longer-term recovery program to rebuild communities and livelihoods devastated by this disaster.


Physicians for Peace donates over $53,000 towards rebuilding Haiti

by Walking Free

12 February - Shortly after the earthquake ripped open the heart of Haiti, Physicians for Peace responded with a fundraising drive to support its two partners in Haiti, both of which were reduced to rubble. This week, Physicians of Peace sent checks of almost $27,000 each directly to Healing Hands for Haiti and St. Vincent’s School for Handicapped. These funds represented the donations collected by Physicians for Peace in the direct aftermath of the earthquake and were intended for immediate relief operations in Haiti. Prior to the devastating earthquake, there were an estimated 800,000 disabled people in Haiti. (...) To meet the needs of Haiti’s disabled, Physicians for Peace, a Norfolk, VA-based nonprofit that provides medical training for health care providers in the developing world, began working in Haiti in 2005 as part of its Walking Free program - one of a very limited number of agencies with a sustainable track record in Haiti working with amputees. (...)



Peace and security



UN agency pledges $25 million to reinforce good governance in developing nations

19 February - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has pledged $25 million to strengthen credible national institutions like parliaments, human rights organizations and anti-corruption commissions in developing countries during 2010, with more than half going for elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. The funds will also go toward promoting inclusive governance programmes such as access to information and channels that allow stakeholder voices to be heard in governance processes. The decision comes at the end of a week-long conference in Dakar, Senegal, of more than 200 governance experts and delegates including former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark. Some $13 million will be spent on supporting election processes in Sub-Saharan countries during 2010-2011. (...) The conference was held against the backdrop of new global challenges threatening development gains, such as the economic crisis and climate change, and which the conference participants said called for a renewed focus on the role of the state. (...)


Darfur: UN-African Union mission, Sudan commit to prison reform

21 February - The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in the war-ravaged Darfur region and the Sudanese Government today signed an agreement to improve prison management and inmates’ living conditions. The memorandum of understanding was signed today in El Fasher, North Darfur, at the headquarters of the mission, known as UNAMID. It aims to deepen cooperation between the mission and the Government in areas such as training prison personnel, improving prison facilities and promoting prisoner rehabilitation programmes.

Germain Baricako, Director of UNAMID’s Rule of Law division, voiced hope that the implementation of the new agreement will “help to provide prison support in a more systematic, coordinated and concentrated manner.” (...)


Niger: ICRC helps run course for prison directors

Niamey, 18 February (ICRC) - From 15 to 17 February, 38 directors of prisons and rehabilitation centres in Niger attended a course on maintaining sanitary facilities in prisons. This course, the second of its kind (one was held in March 2009), was organized by Niger’s Ministry of Justice, the country’s armed forces, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Indo Yacouba, director of the Prison and Rehabilitation Service, welcomed the ICRC’s contribution to improving living conditions in places of detention. She also thanked the ICRC once again for its exemplary cooperation with her ministry, which had since 2004 resulted in an overhaul of sanitary facilities in several prisons. (...)

Neutral, impartial and independent, the ICRC is a trusted organization regarding detention-related issues in Niger. It maintains a constant presence in the country’s prisons, where it visits detainees and strives to improve their conditions. The regional delegation in Niamey covers Niger and Mali through its offices in Niamey, Agadez, Bamako and Gao.


Burundi: Arts festival celebrates disarmament

8 February - MAG, Handicap International and the Burundian Civilian Disarmament and Small Arms Commission have teamed up to put on a month-long festival celebrating disarmament efforts in Burundi. Arts for Peace officially opened on 2 February and will use sculpture, art and film to educate people on just how deadly weapons can be, and how important it is to reduce their numbers in countries like Burundi. The festival was officially opened by the Burundian interim Minister of Public Security at an event at the French Cultural Centre (CCF). High level delegates from the Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian and Swiss embassies also attended the event, along with Caroline Duconseille, country director of Handicap International Belgium and Jean-Michel Feffer, director of the CCF. (...)

The festival aims to celebrate the Burundian authorities’ ongoing efforts to reduce armed violence, in which organisations like MAG and Handicap International play a vital role. (...)


Croatia: The fifth donation of Karlovac County through ITF

5 February - Karlovac County and ITF signed the Memorandum of Understanding for 350.000 HRK (or 47,827.28 EUR) in the premises of Karlovac County today. The 2010 donation will be used for demining activities in the municipality Josipdol, Karlovac County and will be matched by the United States donation to ITF in the same amount. Josipdol is the second largest area in Karlovac County, with another 13.2 square kilometers of mine suspected area.

ITF cooperates with the Croatian national authorities in the field of mine action since 1999, and until now with the support of the donor community for the Republic of Croatia spent more than 42 million EUR for demining of over 26 million square meters of mine contaminated area. Together with the Vukovar - Srijemsko County, Karlovac County represents the first area where the ITF began its operations in Croatia. The area of Karlovac County is considered one of the most mine contaminated areas in the territory of Croatia. (...)






Rotary clubs light up the world to end polio

From the Egyptian Pyramids to the Wrigley Building, world landmarks will carry Rotary’s End Polio Now pledge during the week of Feb. 23

Evanston, Ill. U.S.A., 19 February - (…) “By lighting these historic landmarks with Rotary’s pledge to end polio, Rotary is saying to the world that we will fight this disease to the end,” says Glenn E. Estess, Sr., chair of The Rotary Foundation, which oversees Rotary’s polio eradication program. (…) The End Polio Now illumination of the pyramid is particularly symbolic because Egypt’s history spans humanity’s struggle with the disease. Ancient Egyptian artwork carried the earliest known depictions of people disabled by polio; and in 2006, Egypt, along with Niger, became the most recent country to be declared polio-free, leaving only four polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

In addition to the Egyptian Pyramid of Khafre, other sites scheduled for illumination the week of Feb. 23 include the Taipei Arena, Taiwan; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain; the Old Port Captain’s Office on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa, with world-famous Table Mountain as the backdrop; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Lake Marathon Dam overlooking the historic Marathon Memorial Battlefield in Greece; the Royal Palace of Caserta in Italy; and in the city where Rotary was founded 105 years ago, Chicago’s famous Wrigley Building. (…)

Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority for more than two decades. The international humanitarian service organization is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.    Contact: 


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

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. (...)

To secure ownership at all levels and across all sectors for polio eradication, the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) - the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF - are consulting widely with both polio-affected countries and members of the international development community in the development and finalization of the Programme of Work 2010-2012. (...)


Haiti: ADRA center helps children with emotional recovery

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 19 February - Child survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti continue to suffer from physical and psychological injuries caused by the ongoing crisis, making recovery for the nation’s youngest citizens even more difficult. In response, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has opened a Children’s Center that is helping Haiti’s children begin to heal.

Of the three million Haitians affected by the quake, more than one million are children, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Due to the severity of the traumatic events they have experienced, many of these children are currently suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an illness that can cripple a person’s emotional and mental health, causing a wide range of problems, including depression, an inability to sleep, emotional numbing, violent behavior, and delayed development. (...). Nearly 100 volunteers are staffing the center, many of which are teachers from the local university and primary schools. (…)


Save the Children provides songs with lifesaving health and nutrition advice to Haitian radio stations

Creole songs with tips on breastfeeding and basic hygiene to help save babies’ lives during upcoming rainy season

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 16 February - In anticipation of the dangers threatened by the upcoming rainy season in Haiti, after the devastating earthquake in January, Save the Children is providing broadcast-quality songs in Creole, along with public service messages, to radio stations to spread lifesaving health and nutrition advice. The songs provide Haitian mothers with simple tips and hints about breastfeeding, feeding and hand washing to enable them to better protect their newborn babies and children against preventable diseases and malnutrition. (...)

The project, a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, produced Creole songs and public service announcements before the earthquake, working with local communities and children. The songs will be aired on local radio stations and Creole services provided by international broadcasters. (...)


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). TEACH-VIP E-Learning addresses a broad range of topics related to preventing injuries, violence, and suicide. It offers guidance on using data to understand injury problems and developing evidence-based programs to address them. (...) To access TEACH-VIP E-Learning, visit


Bangladesh to vaccinate 20 million children against measles

Dhaka, 13 February - Bangladesh will vaccinate more than 20 million children against measles during a two-week measles campaign starting tomorrow and ending on February 28, 2010. All children aged 9 months to less than 5 years will be given measles vaccine, while all children aged 0 to 5 years will be given two drops of polio vaccine. More than 50,000 health staff, 600,000 volunteers and NGO workers have been mobilized in order to carry out the campaign. They will work in 120,000 vaccinations sites spread across the country. In each site, a vaccination team will be deployed consisting of two skilled vaccinators and three volunteers. (...) The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. Launched in 2001, the Initiative - led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization - provides technical and financial support to governments and communities on vaccination campaigns and disease surveillance worldwide.



Energy and safety



ICT for Energy Efficiency Conference – Brussels, Belgium, 23-24 February

On the path towards a sustainable society

The second edition of the High Level event on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for Energy Efficiency is organised by the European Commission’s Information Society and Media Directorate-General, in cooperation with the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. (...)

Through the Recommendation, the Commission calls on the ICT sector to agree on common methodologies for measuring energy consumption and carbon emissions by 2010.

Furthermore, addressing EU Member States and the ICT sector, it aims to unlock energy efficiency potential through more public-private partnership initiatives and also through partnerships between the ICT industry and defined strategic sectors.

In addition to the two-day conference, there will be an exhibition showcasing the 30 best EU-funded projects in the field of ICT for Energy Efficiency. The exhibition will mainly show projects’ results as well as the European Commission and European Institutions key initiatives.

For the first time in 2010, several projects will be competing for an “ICT4EE European awards”. The awards ceremony will be organised at the event.


EIB provides EUR 20.8 million for construction of a biofuel plant in Poland

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend 20.8 million euros ($28 million) to support the construction and operation of a bio-ethanol plant in southwestern Poland.

17 February - This is one of the first projects of its kind financed by the EIB in Europe. Mrs Marta Gajęcka, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Central Europe, including Poland, commented: “The EIB funds will help Poland to meet the specific 10 per cent target for the share of the utilisation of renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020. In addition, this project will make Poland less dependent on energy imports and create employment in the rural areas of southern Poland”.

The new plant will produce annually 139 million litres of bioethanol and 100 000 tons of animal feed as a bi-product using locally grown and imported maize. The projected CO 2 emission savings of the project are in line with EU legislation relating to the use of renewable energy for transport.

The mission of the EIB, the European Union’s bank, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by financing sound investment. (mgdd)


EU nations expect to meet the EU’s renewable energy target

16 February - The EU will meet its 2020 20% renewable energy target - slightly exceeding it - according to an analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) of all 27 Member States’ national forecast documents. The EWEA analysis shows that EU member states are on course to achieve over 20% renewable energy by 2020, with 21 Member States meeting or exceeding their national targets. The top 21 are made up of 13 Member States who predict they will meet their target and eight who forecast they will exceed their target. (...)

Top achievers are Spain, which believes it will reach 22.7% renewables by 2020 - almost 3%-points above its 20% target. Next comes Germany which expects to be 0.7%-points above its 18% target. In addition Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden will exceed their targets.

Christine Lins, Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council stated, “The clear majority of European Member States recognise the economic, environmental and social benefits of promoting a broad range of renewable energy technologies nationally, as reflected in their forecast documents”. For further details see EWEA’s table by clicking here.[tt_news]=1799&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=f212468e50


Mozambique signed IRENA’s Statute and became its 143 Member

Berlin, Germany, 12 February - Mozambique joined IRENA on 12 February 2010 at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany. The Statute was signed by Carlos dos Santos, Ambassador of Mozambique to Germany. Mozambique therefore became IRENA’s 143 Signatory.

On 4 February 2010, Tonga and Serbia ratified the IRENA Statute, Denmark joined one day later on 5 February. To date, a total of eleven countries has ratified IRENA’s founding document.

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. (...)


President Obama announces three steps to boost biofuels

3 February - President Barack Obama announced on February 3 three actions that the federal government is taking to boost U.S. biofuels production. The measures include: the final rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) of 36 billion gallons by 2022; a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which provides financing to increase the production of biomass for bioenergy; and the release of Growing America’s Fuel, the first report from the president’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group. The report lays out a strategy to advance the development and commercialization of a sustainable biofuels industry. (...)



Environment and wildlife



United Nations launches global campaign to strengthen synergies in chemicals and wastes management

Simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions aim to enhance cooperation and coordination among the three conventions

Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, 21 February - On 22 February 2010, more than one hundred forty governments will meet in Bali to strengthen ties between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions, the world’s three leading treaties promoting the sound management of hazardous chemicals and wastes. In an effort to further synergies between the three treaties and better target resources for chemicals and waste management on regional and national level, the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions will convene their conferences of the parties simultaneously to consider restructuring the way they do business. Holding simultaneous meetings of individual conferences of the parties represents a historic departure from past practice in the sphere of international environmental governance. (…)


Decade-old dream comes true for Lake Chad

Gland, Switzerland, 2 February - World Wetlands Day is being celebrated with the full recognition of Africa’s Lake Chad as a wetland of international significance, fulfilling an agreement made a decade ago by the four nations that share it. The declaration by the Cameroon Republic that its portion of Africa’s fourth largest lake is being declared a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands follows similar declarations by Niger and Chad (both in 2001) and Nigeria (2008). Cameroon’s announcement will also clear the way for Lake Chad to become the largest of the world’s few recognised transboundary international wetlands, where countries make a formal agreement for joint protection and management of shared aquatic ecosystems and their resources. (...) The Lake Chad basin is home to over 20 million people with the majority dependent on the lake and other wetlands for their fishing, hunting, farming and grazing. But the Lake Chad basin is recognised as highly challenged by climate change, desertification and unsustainable management of water resources and fisheries. (...)


A company in Mexico uses the Earth Charter as a framework in its operations

2 February - In January Promotora Ambiental (Environmental Promoter) - PASA inaugurated a Biogas Plant in León, Guanajuato in one of the lanfields it owns. For some time PASA has been using the Earth Charter as an ethical framework for its work. It owns and manages 23 landfields in the country and is active in 44 cities of Mexico in the areas of recycling, water treatment, as well as private and domestic waste recollection. The company 6,000 employees have been acquainted with the Earth Charter. In addition, PASA has created Fundación Mundo Sustentable (Sustainable World Foundation) to carry on its projects on social responsability, many of these projects are related to the Earth Charter. As part of its corporate social responsability work, PASA works with educational projects with the Earth Charter at the indigenous communities of Chontales in Tabasco, Otomíes in the State of Mexico and Yakis in Sonora.  Next March they will be celebrating an event with 44 youth representatives of the cities in which they work to share the Earth Charter with them and encourage their engagement in the Earth Charter Initiative.



Religion and spirituality



Ecumenical Patriarchate: Bartholomew I, “Truth is not afraid of dialogue”

19 February - Orthodoxy “must be in constant dialogue with the world” and, above all, it does not have to “fear dialogue” with other Christian Churches because “truth is not afraid of dialogue”. In his long message released yesterday for the celebration of the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” on the first Sunday of Lent, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, called for cultural and ecumenical openness. (...) As the great Fathers of the Church have done in the past, Orthodoxy is now “called to continue this dialogue with the outside world in order to provide a witness and the life-giving breath of its faith. However, - continued Bartholomew - this dialogue cannot reach the outside world unless it first passes through all those that bear the Christian name. Thus, we must first converse as Christians among ourselves in order to resolve our differences, in order that our witness to the outside world may be credible. Our endeavors for the union of all Christians is the will and command of our Lord” and therefore we cannot “remain indifferent about the unity of all Christians.


US Lutherans discuss need for unity with ecumenical leaders

17 February - “The prayer of Jesus that his disciples may be one so that the world may believe (John 17:21) takes on new urgency in view of the challenges peoples and churches are facing today”, said the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in welcoming a delegation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Tveit was one of three general secretaries of world ecumenical organizations who met with the ELCA group of clergy and lay leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15-16 February, providing perspectives on their work and how it interacts with the ELCA’s ecumenical vision. (...)

Tveit told the ELCA delegation that Jesus’ prayer for unity “is not only a word of information, but it is a word of transformation. That is what we do here – you’re not only here to be informed, but you’re here to make a difference.” Among the current challenges that need to be taken on by the ecumenical movement, Tveit mentioned the consequences of the financial crisis, full participation of the younger generation, relationships with Evangelicals and Pentecostal and charismatic churches, inter-religious dialogue and co-operation, and the environmental crisis. (...)


Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum launches website and newsletter

4 February - is a new website launched by the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum geared to providing a springboard for advocacy, public education, and mobilization. The forum’s role consists in convening networks for common action in order to generate church-based awareness raising and advocacy for peace in the Middle East. The website will provide support for actions with partner churches and ecumenical organizations focussing on the following areas:  1. challenging government support for the occupation;  2. challenging public support for the occupation;  3. challenging theological and biblical justifications for the occupation and  4. maintaining a viable Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land.

A regular newsletter will provide up-to-date information on Christian campaigns for a just peace and an overview of the latest news from an ecumenical perspective.



Culture and education



What’s the future for EU’s online library Europeana?

MEP wants public funding

22 February - You can now access books, journals, films, maps etc from across Europe via the EU’s online library, Europeana. It’s a great idea but it’s not all plain sailing: web copyright rules are not the same in all EU countries, there are issues about paying for items that are still under copyright and should there be a minimum standard for content? The Culture Committee is likely to adopt a draft report on the issue Monday afternoon (22 February).

The report drafted by German Green MEP Helga Trüpel asks for more and better content on Europeana while respecting intellectual property rights. It also wants better promotion of the library among the broadest possible public and “urges the Commission and member states to take all necessary steps to avoid a knowledge gap between Europe and the United States of America and to ensure full access for Europeans to their own cultural heritage”. (...)

It was launched on 20 November, 2008. Europeana is a multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitised books, journals, films, maps, photographs and music from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections. It is accessible to every citizen with an internet connection. It also preserves the items for future generations. Europeana’s collection has doubled since its launch and there are now more than 6 million items. The aim is to have 10 million digitised objects by the end of 2010. See


High Level Group meeting on Education for All to focus on impact of economic crisis

17 February - The impact of the global economic crisis on education and challenges related to marginalization will be the focus of the High Level Group Meeting on Education For All (EFA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 23 to 25 February. It will be opened by Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, in the presence of the Ethiopian Prime minister, Meles Zenawi, and Jean Ping, Chair of the African Union Commission. Organized by UNESCO in partnership with the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia, the 9th meeting of the High-Level Group on Education For All - composed of Ministers of Education and International Cooperation and representatives of international and regional organizations, civil society and the private sector – will be based on the findings of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. (...)


UNESCO lays foundation for International Coordination Committee (ICC) for Haitian culture

17 February - UNESCO laid the foundation for an International Coordination Committee (ICC) for Haitian culture at a meeting on 16 February in Paris, opened by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. The meeting was chaired by Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassègue, Haiti’s Minister of Culture and Communication, and Françoise Rivière, the Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Culture. Addressing the Minister, Ms Bokova said, “Our goal is to define the most effective means that will allow UNESCO to help prepare and implement a comprehensive programme for the benefit of Haitian culture, by drawing on the vast capacities of your country’s cultural community, which has already mobilized its efforts, and by calling on internationally renowned experts.” The Committee, which will be similar to those established by UNESCO for Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be officially created once it receives final approval from UNESCO’s Executive Board at its next session (30 March - 15 April). (...)


Knowledge at the heart of economic recovery

16 February - The key role of education and training in the recovery of Europe’s economy was the main subject on the education ministers’ agenda on 15 February. They discussed the importance of learning in the context of the proposal for the new ‘EU 2020 strategy’ to be adopted at the Spring summit in March. Ministers confirmed that our future lies in a knowledge-based economy, where education, research and innovation provide the main sources of economic growth, employment and competitiveness. They agreed that lifelong learning in more open education systems is vital to respond to the needs both of citizens and of the labour market and society. (...)

Partnerships with the business world must be encouraged at all levels of education to fit new skills for new jobs. Vocational training must be modernised to address mismatches between competences and job requirements. The quality of teaching depends on the quality of teachers’ education. Targeted action must be proposed to all trainers to allow them to acquire new competences, for instance in special learning needs and skills in information and communication technologies.


A Strategy for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace, by David Adams

Part of a trilogy along with The History of the Culture of War and I Have Seen the Promised Land, this is the most comprehensive and feasible plan ever put forward to achieve world peace. It is based on the author’s responsibility for the United Nations International Year for the Culture of Peace (2000), the Manifesto 2000 signed by 75 million people, and the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

It foresees the coming collapse of the global economy and nation states as an opportunity to refound the United Nations on the basis of those who understand the need for a culture of peace: individuals, civil society organizations and local governments. It provides descriptions of initiatives already underway, as well as approaches that can be used by those who wish to take up the task.

The book can be read on-line; also, a link allows to order a printed copy.


Symposium on translation and cultural mediation at UNESCO to mark International Mother Language Day

16 February - International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on 21 February will be celebrated at UNESCO this year with a two-day symposium (22-23 February) on translation and cultural mediation. Following the symposium, presentations on UNESCO’s languages activities will focus on the New Atlas of Endangered Languages and on new approaches to multilingualism. Highlighting the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity and multilingual education, International Mother Language Day has been observed annually since 2000.

The 11th IMLD will be celebrated as part of 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, noted Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in her message for the Day. “Languages are the best vehicles of mutual understanding and tolerance. Respect for all languages is a key factor for ensuring peaceful coexistence, without exclusion, of societies and all of their members,” she said. (...)


Global Action Week 2010: Ten years after the promise

10 February - This Saturday 20 April will be the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Dakar Goals for Education For All. Despite the progress made, much remains to be done to realise the objectives laid down to give all children their right to education. 2010 is the crucial year to turn the situation around and accelerate our efforts towards EFA. The past ten years were crippled by the refusal of governments to honour their promises and more recently the economic crisis last year led certain donors to reduce the sum or level of their aid. For this reason, Global Action Week, which will take place from 19-25 April, will unite all unionists, teachers, children and parents under the slogan of “Financing quality public education: a right for all.” (…)


Workshop focuses on improving web accessibility for persons with disabilities

Geneva, 5 February - A workshop hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from February 2 to 5, 2010, brought together over 180 persons from some 32 organizations to promote awareness about accessibility for people with disabilities and to encourage webmasters within the United Nations system and other organizations to implement principles of accessibility in their daily work. The workshop, co-organized with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was opened by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, who underlined the importance of accessibility in general and reaffirmed WIPO’s commitment to establishing an accessible web environment that promotes easy access to intellectual property information. This, Mr. Gurry said, is in line with WIPO’s visually impaired persons (VIP) initiative launched in 2008 to explore ways to facilitate and enhance access to literary, artistic and scientific works for the VIP community. (...)


Keep Britain Tidy celebrates Eco-Schools landmark success!

Over 1,000 schools in England are now flying the Eco-Schools Green Flag in recognition of their commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability.

More than 60% of schools in England are now registered with Eco-Schools, which is managed in England by Keep Britain Tidy, and are using the programme to become more energy efficient, less wasteful and more resourceful in line with the government’s 2020 targets. (...) All Eco-Schools are expected to put environmental issues at the forefront of their school’s culture and learning. What sets Green Flag schools apart is their commitment to a major school project, lead by the pupils, that will dramatically affect their ability to be sustainable. (...)


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Next issue: 19th March  2010.


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 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, 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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