Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 174



Weekly – Year XI, number 174 – 9th July 2010

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

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

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 1,600 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



Mali ratifies cluster bomb ban treaty

The Convention on Cluster Munitions enters into force on August 1

London, July 2 - The Republic of Mali ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 30 June 2010. Thirty-seven countries have now ratified the Convention, which enters into force and becomes binding international law on 1 August.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for victim assistance. Forty African states are among the 106 countries that have signed the Convention, and the Mali is the eighth African country to ratify.

Mali is not believed to have ever used, produced, stockpiled or transferred cluster munitions. During the Oslo Process to develop and adopt the Convention, Mali was a strong supporter of a total ban that would end the suffering and remove the barriers to social and economic development caused by cluster munitions.


National Parliament of Portugal embraces the Earth Charter

On May 28th this year the Congress of the Republic (the Portuguese National Parliament) discussed the Draft Resolution proposed by “The Greens” recommending that the government adopt the principles of the Earth Charter. The resolution was indeed adopted,  meaning that the National Parliament of Portugal endorsed the Earth Charter!

“The greens” pleased by the approval consider that the endorsement of the Earth Charter will be an incentive to the Portuguese Government and  to the Congress to be commit to implementing the objectives, values and principles expressed in the Charter.

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.  We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.  Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.  This is what the Earth Charter affirms, which arose precisely as a declaration of fundamental principles for building a global society in the XXI century that is just, sustainable and peaceful. 



Human rights



In historic move, UN creates single entity to promote women’s empowerment

New York, July 2 - In a bid to accelerate the empowerment of women, the General Assembly today voted unanimously to create a dynamic new entity merging four United Nations offices focusing on gender equality, a move hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials. “The newest member of the UN family has been born today,” Mr. Ban told the Assembly after it passed the resolution setting up the new UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women. The new body will merge four of the world body’s agencies and offices: UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

UN Women is the result of years of negotiations among Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. Set to become operational next January, it will drive the world body’s efforts to promote women’s rights. UN Women is set to have an annual budget of at least $500 million – double the current combined resources of the four agencies it will comprise. (..) The UN, said General Assembly President Ali Treki, is “uniquely placed” to take the leading role on the issue of promoting women’s rights, expressing his delight at the creation of UN Women.


New measures to enhance child rights in Republic of Congo

July 2 (UN News) - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed new measures announced by the Republic of Congo to boost child protection, calling them a major breakthrough for the Central African nation. President Denis Sassou Nguesso announced the new child protection framework during recent celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, making Congo the fifth French-speaking African nation to pass such measures.

The framework is comprised of a collection of texts covering all aspects of child protection, including issues concerning children in conflict with the law.

Congo is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which articulates a set of universal children's rights including the right to an identity, a name and a nationality, the right to an education, and rights to the highest possible standards of health and protection from abuse and exploitation. It has also signed on to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention - on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.  


InterAction members respond to the crisis in Kyrgyzstan

June 30 - Ethnic conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan has resulted in massive internal displacement and refugee flows. The United Nations estimates that 400,000 ethnic Uzbeks have fled their homes, with over 100,000 people escaping into neighboring Uzbekistan. Up to 2,000 people may have died in the clashes, according to Interim President Roza Otunbayeva. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has issued an appeal for $71 million to aid as many as 1 million people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

InterAction members are responding to the crisis by assessing emergency needs, distributing relief items and providing temporary shelter.  InterAction has developed guidelines on the most appropriate ways to help those affected by overseas disasters.


Companies commit to human rights in increasing numbers

London, June 24 - As representatives of over 1000 companies gather this week in New York at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit, Realizing Rights and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre have published a list of over 270 companies worldwide known to have adopted a human rights policy statement.

During 2009-2010 Mary Robinson (President of Realizing Rights, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) wrote to the CEOs of 100 companies, encouraging them to adopt a human rights policy if they had not already done so. The firms contacted are headquartered in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, India, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania and Turkey. Many responded with an existing policy or intentions to develop one.

Every company human rights policy statement known to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is featured on its website:


July 18: Nelson Mandela International Day

In November 2009 the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to celebrate the life and work of Nelson Mandela with an annual Day to be observed on his birthday. On this first year of the new international Day, Nelson Mandela will be celebrating his 92nd birthday.

The Day honors Mandela's stature as a world leader and his remarkable contribution to freedom, justice and democracy. Nelson Mandela is a living embodiment of the highest values of the United Nations. … He is an exemplary global citizen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated.

See Mandela Day on Facebook  

UN announces the Day

Nelson Mandela Foundation



Economy and development



July 11: World Population Day

2010 Theme: Everyone Counts

Achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals will require significant progress in lowering the birth rate in many of the economically poorest countries and improving reproductive health services and family planning. Yet the global financial crisis is leading governments to reduce their investment in family planning as well as in the health and education of girls.

Counting everyone is an integral part of ensuring that we take everyone into account. Good demographic data is critical for planning schools, health systems and public transportation, for designing policies based on future population projections, for monitoring the effectiveness of service delivery and much more.

This year World Population Day highlights the importance of data for development. The focus is on the 2010 round of the population and housing census, data analysis for development and UNFPA’s lead role in population and development.


IFAD signs US$ 7.6 million loan and US$ 7.6 million grant for High-Value Agriculture project in Nepal

Rome, July 5 - With the goal of reducing poverty and vulnerability of women and men in hill and mountain areas in Nepal, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a new loan agreement of US$7.6 million as well as a grant agreement of $7.6 million. The loan agreement was signed today in Kathmandu by Lal Shankar Ghimire, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal and Ron Hartman, IFAD Country Programme Manager.

The new project aims to reduce poverty and social disharmony in the hill and mountain areas of the Mid-Western Development Region and address the issue of economic isolation. Poverty persists in these areas because of conflict, poor infrastructure, and lack of access to services and markets. An increase in agricultural diversification can be achieved through initiatives that focus on high-value crops, non-timber forest products, medicinal and aromatic plants, and livestock. This will help to integrate rural poor people, especially women and marginal groups into high-value agriculture, value chains and markets, and employment opportunities that lead to improved incomes. This IFAD project is expected to benefit about 52,000 households (285,000 people).

Contacts: Jessica Thomas,


USAID program launches the Kenya Maize Handbook

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to officially launch the Maize Handbook

Nairobi, Kenya, June 24 - Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and developed by ACDI/VOCA-managed Kenya Maize Development Program, the handbook is a reference for the latest developments, with special respect to productivity and market access. With contributions from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, universities and members of the business community, the handbook consists of 19 chapters, covering just about any topic regarding maize in Kenya.

The Kenya Maize Development Program is a U.S. government investment in Kenya’s agriculture which emphasizes participation, learning to improve the productivity and marketing efficiencies of Kenya’s small-holder farmers. Its activities are implemented in partnership with the Cereal Grower’s Association, Farm Inputs Promotions Africa (FIPS) and the Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange.

Various chapters in the handbook have been sponsored by leading agricultural firms in Kenya, ranging from milling firms, insurance companies, crop protection manufacturers, and a special pull out by KEPHIS, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services. This variety of partners indicates the rich source on information that the handbook represents.






Save the Children readying response for Romanian children forced from homes by flooding

Westport, CT, USA, July 2 - Save the Children is readying a response for children affected by massive flooding in northen Romania. The agency, which has worked in Romania since 1990, is especially concerned for the well-being of the estimated 3,500 children who are believed to be among those displaced from their homes.

Save the Children will be conducting rapid assessments in hard-hit communities and, based on children's needs, will be providing relief that may include distributions of clean water, food, children's clothing, hygiene supplies and other essential supplies. The agency will also closely monitor children's health needs, as conditions in affected areas are likely to lead to an increase in the number of children suffering from diarrhea, pneumonia and other diseases.

Save the Children is also planning to assist children by initiating activities to help them deal with the stress they are experiencing. Activites may include psychosocial programs and summer camps for children whose homes were lost — supporting children's needs for normalcy and routine while also enabling their parents to concentrate on their recovery knowing that their children are safe.


Wealthy are making bigger gifts to charitable causes, Chronicle Tally shows

By Caroline Bermudez

July 1 - America’s wealthiest donors are making far bigger gifts to charitable organizations in 2010 than they did a year ago—but far fewer of them are giving $1-million or more to charitable causes, a Chronicle of Philanthropy analysis has found.

The continued effects of the turbulent economy can be seen in the decrease in the number of gifts of $1-million or more announced in the first six months of this year. At least 181 gifts of that size have been awarded this year, compared with 250 such donations in the first six months of 2009.

But the donations that have been made show that many wealthy Americans are more willing to part with large sums than they were a year ago. At least 20 people have made gifts of $20-million to $35-million in the past six months; in the first part of 2009, only 13 such gifts had been made.

The number of gifts of $100-million or more has also grown slightly. So far three such gifts have been made, compared with two in the first six months of 2009.

As a result of the growing number of large donations, the total contributed by 181 donors of $1-million or more was $1.96-billion in the first six months of this year: the total of the 250 gifts donated in the first two quarters of 2009 was $1.74-billion.

The Chronicle’s analysis was based on the searchable list of gifts of $1-million or more it maintains online.


Future Vision pilot is launched

A three-year test of The Rotary Foundation's new, streamlined grant structure, is underway

By Arnold R. Grahl

Rotary International News, July - The pilot officially began 1 July, with 100 pilot districts that were selected from among hundreds of applicants in June 2009. The pilot districts will spend the next three years testing and helping to refine the Foundation's new grant model before all districts begin to participate in July 2013. (...)

Two types of grants are provided for under the Future Vision Plan.

Once a year, districts may apply for a block grant of up to 50 percent of their District Designated Fund. These district grants offer the flexibility to respond quickly to immediate needs or to plan projects with clubs locally or in other countries. Pilot districts may sponsor district grant projects with clubs in nonpilot districts. Global grants support large, sustainable activities that relate to one or more of the areas of focus. Clubs and districts can either create their own global grant-funded projects or sponsor packaged global grants that will be developed by the Foundation in cooperation with its strategic partners.

The Trustees have approved a Rotary Foundation Global Grants World Fund budget of US$8 million for Future Vision pilot districts starting with the 2010-11 year. (Funds for the pilot districts were budgeted separately. The 2010-11 Matching Grants World Fund budget is $21.5 million.) The Foundation has already approved two district grant applications under the Future Vision pilot and is reviewing a number of others. (...) The first global grant was approved in June for a project to combat the spread of dengue fever in Indonesia. Read more. (...)


Côte d'Ivoire: Red Cross aids flood victims

Abidjan, June 29 - In response to torrential rains that fell on Abidjan on 23 and 24 June, flooding several neighbourhoods and suburbs of the capital, the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire will distribute emergency aid to some 600 families on 30 June and 2 July with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On the basis of an assessment of needs carried out by the Ivorian Red Cross, 1,200 basins, 600 buckets, 6,000 bars of soap, 600 sleeping mats, 3,600 clothing items, 600 kitchen sets and 600 tarpaulins will be supplied to victims of the disaster, which resulted in several deaths and in the destruction of many homes. The distribution will take place on 30 June in the Anyama and Bingerville communities and on 2 July in the Abobo neighbourhood.

"These emergency supplies will enable the families to meet some of their vital needs during the emergency," said Christian Bosson, in charge of the ICRC's economic-security activities in the country. The ICRC continues to work in cooperation with the Ivorian Red Cross to boost its capacity to bring aid to those who need it most.


Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan: water and food distributed amidst lingering tension

Geneva/Bishkek/Tashkent/Moscow, June 18 -The ICRC has started distributing water and food in response to the urgent needs of tens of thousands of internally displaced persons. Since yesterday, the ICRC has distributed 12,000 litres of water to about 15,000 people gathered in Sura Tash. "There are no words to describe the reception given to the water trucks. People here had spent more than three days without access to drinkable water. The distribution of water will be increased and extended to other areas in the coming days," said Angelina Adler, a water engineer with the ICRC.

Together with volunteers from the Kyrgyz Red Crescent, the ICRC also distributed food in Osh city and along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in Osh province (...)  In Uzbekistan, an ICRC team together with the Uzbek Red Crescent, first on the scene, has begun to assess the needs of over 100,000 refugees who have gathered in Andijan, Fergana and Namangan, close to the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border. Besides continuing to aid the refugees, the ICRC is also working on restoring communication between families separated by the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border.


Counterpart delivers disaster packages to victims of Kyrgyz Civil violence

June 17 - Earlier this week, responding to the thousands in need, Counterpart International released pre-positioned, disaster packages funded by the U.S. Department of State. Working with the U.S. Embassy and the Kyrgyz Ministries of Health and Emergency Situations, Counterpart has begun distributing disaster relief packages valued at more than $200,000 in Osh and Jalal-Abad, the main areas of conflict.

Counterpart has been active in the Kyrgyz Republic since 1996. Today, after nearly 14 years of working in partnership with the Kyrgyz people to rebuild, develop and transform communities, more than 593 containers of humanitarian assistance—valued at approximately $85 million and containing food, shelter, medical supplies, clothing and other basic necessities—have been delivered. These distributions were made with the help of more than 863 governmental and non-governmental institutions in all seven Oblasts of Kyrgyz Republic.


ADRA responds after deadly tropical storm strikes Honduras

June 10 - Silver Spring, Md., USA - Following the recent devastation caused by Tropical Storm Agatha that brought widespread flooding and landslides across Honduras and other parts of Central America, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provided assistance to some of the most affected communities. Answering the call for assistance by the Honduran government, ADRA worked in coordination with the nation’s Permanent Commission on Contingencies (COPECO) to transport and distribute basic hygiene kits to 750 families, or 3,750 beneficiaries. ADRA also consulted with other aid organizations working in the region to determine delivery sites based on needs.

ADRA International, ADRA Honduras, and ADRA’s regional office for Central America and the Caribbean funded this initial response. ADRA has been active in Honduras since 1998, working primarily in the areas of infrastructure, health care, economic development, food security, emergency management, and education.



Peace and security



Burundi: targeted training for the Civilian Defence

July 5 - An initial step in acquiring knowledge and know-how in the collection and destruction of all types of explosive items, MAG is providing the first training of its kind to ever be offered to the Civilian Defence in Burundi. Reconnaissance; identification of Small Arms and Light Weapons1 and ammunition; explosives preparation, collection, transportation; standard operating procedures; security and first aid: over two weeks such courses and practical exercises take place at an intensive pace for the nine participating students.

The mission of the Civilian Defence is the prevention of risks and the protection of people, goods and environment against accidents and catastrophes. Building local capacity is one of MAG’s priorities, and in Burundi it is essential that the Civilian Defence acquires first a capacity, and then a real autonomy, to deal with these dangerous discoveries that unfortunately risk continuing for yet more years, like in any post-war country.

This training has been made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss Government.

MAG – Mines Advisory Group – is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation that clears the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide.


Darfur ex-combatants opt for voluntary discharge backed by UN-African mission

July 4 - More than 800 former combatants in the conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur are expected to take part in a three-week voluntary discharge exercise that began today, with the support of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). The exercise started in the city of El Geneina, West Darfur, UNAMID said in a statement.

While the voluntary discharge of combatants from armed groups is part of the Government of Sudan's disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme, UNAMID is assisting by providing logistical support, including security, transport, HIV/AIDS counselling and health screening. The programme, established under the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), largely provides financial assistance and other incentives to former combatants who volunteer to be discharged. The Government is providing an initial cash payment to each participant, which will be followed by other benefits.  The programme will be implemented in other parts of Darfur, targeting a total of 5,000 former combatants affiliated with signatories to the DPA who were disarmed in July 2008 when they formally surrendered their weapons to the Government.


UN releases practical toolkit on how to deter sexual violence in war

June 30 - From peacekeepers in Darfur escorting women and girls to prevent “firewood rapes” to blue helmets in Kosovo setting up an emergency hotline for at-risk communities and lone women, the United Nations launched today its first compilation of the best practices of its staff to prevent, deter and respond to the use of rape as a war tactic.

The inventory includes a 10-item checklist of emerging elements of an effective response. Items include consultations with all segments of community, particularly women, to hear what they need and how they move; enhanced training starting with the practical and moving to the theoretical; and role modelling to help leave a legacy of security for women and girls.

It also addresses potential ways to mitigate risk, such as working with civil society groups to provide fuel-efficient stoves in Somalia or Darfur to prevent women from having to walk far to collect biofuels. Such stoves would also support environmental sustainability and alleviate some related illnesses, which are part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders hope to achieve by 2015.

Released by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Stop Rape Now campaign, UN Department of Peacekeeping (DPKO) and the Australian Government, the idea is for the booklet to be distributed to peacekeepers on the ground to be used for training and as an education tool. (…)


Darfur: UN-African mission welcomes peace deal between warring tribes

June 29 - Two warring tribes in Sudan’s Darfur region have signed a United Nations-facilitated reconciliation agreement aimed at ending nearly four months of violent clashes that have killed more than 200 people and displaced hundreds of others from their villages.

Representatives of the Misseriya and Rezeigat Nouaiba tribes signed the deal yesterday in Zalingei, a major town in West Darfur state, according to a press release issued by the joint African Union-UN Mission peacekeeping force in the region, known as UNAMID.

UNAMID, the Darfur Peace and Reconciliation Council and local leaders and native administrations set up a reconciliation committee earlier this year to try to end the fighting, and a conference was also held last month in Zalingei as part of efforts to tackle the root causes of the conflict. Tribal clashes in Darfur are often based around disputes over access to scarce resources in the arid and remote region, which lies on Sudan’s western flank.


Turnout high as coup-prone Guinea votes in peace

June 28 - Polling wound down peacefully in Guinea on Sunday in a landmark election offering voters their first chance to freely choose a leader since the coup-prone West African state won independence from France in 1958.

The United States hailed the poll's conduct and observers said turnout was high in a vote which could help trigger more investment in Guinea's vast mineral resources, unlock more aid to combat poverty and serve as a boost to pro-democracy camps across a region known for coups and tainted votes. "Voting is peaceful, orderly and there is a sense of excitement," Yakubu Gowon, the former Nigerian leader heading the observation mission of U.S.-based rights group the Carter Center, told reporters, estimating turnout at 75-80 percent.

With 24 candidates in the running, Sunday's vote is unlikely to produce a clear winner. Results are expected by Wednesday, after which the front runners are seen forming alliances in a bid to win voters for a July 18 run-off.


German 2010 donation for Bosnia and Herzegovina

June 21 - International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) received a new donation from Federal Republic of Germany, one of the most regular supporters of the ITF and its programmes, in the amount of 550.000 EUR. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 21 June at the Embassy of Germany in Ljubljana, by H.E. Matthias Ludwig Bogislav von Kummer, the German Ambassador to Slovenia and Mr. Dorijan Maršič, ITF Director.

The 2010 donation is earmarked for demining and technical survey activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will be carried out by the “Norwegian People's Aid” (NPA) through which over 910.000 square metres of land should be handed over to the local communities in Gornji Vukšić and Blaževac-Pelagićevo.

In total, Germany has contributed to ITF more than 19.4 million EUR for demining activities in Southeastern Europe and remains one of the most regular and biggest donors to the ITF's 12 years of engagement.

Demining activities remain one of the most important pre-conditions for socio-economic development of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the heaviest mine contaminated countries in the world. Because of its economic situation, Bosnia and Herzegovina still has difficulties to secure itself the complete support of required mine action and therefore continuoisly needs the help of organizations such as the ITF and the donor community.


Central America becomes world's first landmine-free region

Managua, June 18 - As Nicaragua celebrates completion of its mine clearance activities, Central America becomes the world’s first landmine-free region, said the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) today. North and Central America, from the Arctic Circle to the Colombian border, are now free from the threat of landmines. This success demonstrates that with sustained efforts a mine-free world is possible.

Central American governments, the Organization of American States (OAS), and international donors showed significant political will and demonstrated the importance of international cooperation and assistance in mine action. Of Central America’s seven countries, five used to be mine-affected: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica (the other two being Belize and Panama). All have met their mine clearance obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, which requires that all known mined areas be cleared within ten years. Nonetheless, residual mine clearance capacity will still be needed in the region, including in Nicaragua, as there are still likely mines in weapons caches or emplaced in unknown areas.


Angola: capacity building with local authorities

A key part of MAG’s overall demining operations and strategy in Angola is to assist in the development of the national demining authorities.

In Moxico province in recent months, MAG has delivered safety messages to military and police forces, and conducted mapping training for the country’s National Institute for Demining.

MAG’s Community Liaison teams visited four municipalities – Luena, Luau, Luacano and Alto Zambeze – to deliver Mine Risk Education (MRE) to 668 members of the military and police forces, following a request in March from the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and the National Intersectoral Commission for Humanitarian Assistance and Demining (CNIDAH). (...)

In May, MAG also delivered training to the National Institute for Demining (INAD) in the use of mapping software and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which are very useful for recording information and producing maps of mine- and UXO- contaminated areas.

The training was carried out thanks to funding from DFID/UKaid (the UK Department for International Development) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.






MSF hands over last hospitals to Ministry of Health after 20 years of emergency aid in Liberia

Monrovia, June 25 - Today, after 20 years of emergency medical aid in Liberia, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) officially stops running its final hospitals and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare takes responsibility for these services.

Liberia was devastated by 14 years of brutal civil war, with its health system in ruins by its end,” said Dr. Dhammika Perera, MSF Head of Mission for Liberia. “Recovery is always slow, but today the Ministry of Health takes over MSF’s last hospital services. We remain in the country, but after two decades, it is an important milestone for us and symbolic of how far Liberia has come in providing healthcare to its people again.”

To minimise the gaps that could be created by the closure of its final two hospitals MSF built a new hospital, transferred its services there and donated it to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. MSF also added 80 paediatric beds and increased the paediatric services available in Monrovia’s main public hospital, Redemption Hospital.

Longer term support rather than emergency aid is now needed. There are currently less than 100 doctors in a country of 3.6 million, and just over 250 children’s hospital beds in Monrovia, a city of more than 1 million people. In addition to increasing the paediatric care available, Liberia also needs greater free emergency obstetric and gynaecological capacity and better access to free women’s health hospital services.

From July 2010, MSF will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW) to provide much needed free medical and psychological care to survivors of sexual violence in up to three MoH&SW health structures.


Eradicating polio is the world's obligation

By Arnold R. Grahl 

Rotary International News, June 22 - Rotary’s promise to eradicate polio worldwide took center stage during the 2010 RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada, as Rotarians were urged to finish the task the organization began 25 years ago. At the third plenary session on 22 June, Bruce Aylward, director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the World Health Organization, encouraged attendees to share the "terrific news" that polio is on the run, and that Rotary’s vision of a polio-free world is within sight.

The night before, on 21 June, polio survivor Ramesh Ferris hand-cycled from the Palais des congrès to Bonsecours Market in Old Montréal for a ceremony that included the landmark’s illumination with En finir avec la polio (End Polio Now). During the second plenary session earlier that day, a soccer ball signed by dignitaries in more than 20 countries as part of the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign arrived on stage to thunderous applause.

Aylward praised Rotarians for all they have accomplished in fighting polio. "You have fundamentally changed the polio eradication game, and you have changed it in your favor," he said. But it is critical to finish the job, something made clear by the recent outbreak in Tajikistan, Aylward said, noting that 300 children in the country have been paralyzed by the virus, adults have died, borders have been closed, and travel banned. He said the outbreak is a stark reminder of the consequences of global fatigue in this battle. "The stakes are now much higher, because in the past 12 months you have proved, without a doubt, that polio can be eradicated," Aylward said. "The world has also learned the full consequences of failure."

Emergency funds from PolioPlus -- a total of US$500,000 -- were released within 48 hours of the Tajikistan outbreak, which is now showing signs of stopping, Aylward said. He also shared the encouraging news of the new bivalent vaccine, effective against both remaining types of the poliovirus, and noted the absence of new cases in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India, in the past six months. "Rotarians have done the extraordinary in the pursuit of polio eradication," Aylward said. "You have truly put Service Above Self. And you have truly put Rotary on the world's stage."(...)


USA swimming partners with Child Welfare League of America

Nation's oldest and largest child welfare organization to provide independent expertise in the area of athlete welfare

Colorado Springs, Colo. and Washington, D.C., June 21 - In continued efforts to provide safeguards, policies, guidelines and resources to provide a safe, healthy and positive environment, USA Swimming today announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Child Welfare League of America. CWLA, the nation's oldest and largest organization dedicated wholly to child welfare, will work with USA Swimming on the creation and expansion of its athlete protection efforts. Additionally, CWLA will work with USA Swimming to conduct an annual audit of its policies and programming, to see that the program remains consistent with industry best practices.

The partnership is designed to make certain that safeguards, policies, guidelines and resources are developed and reviewed with the assistance and consultation of independent experts. The partnership is effective immediately and USA Swimming will work with CWLA through the summer months. It is expected that any new rules or legislation that arises from this work will be ready to be voted on at USA Swimming's annual convention in September.


$250,000 for Gaza development

Washington, DC, June 18 - American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) is pleased to announce $250,000 in new funding for Gaza development projects. The money, raised by ANERA from private donors, will be used to expand existing ANERA programs dealing with health, sanitation and food security.

ANERA has allocated $100,000 to enhance its program to extend water and sewage systems in remote areas not yet linked to the main systems in Khan Younis, Beit Hanoon and Jabalia. The program also includes repair to existing sewage systems in Beit Lahia and Khan Younis. The existing sanitation system and drinking water supply have deteriorated dramatically because of the lack of spare parts and pipes. An estimated 75 million liters of untreated sewage are pumped into the Mediterranean Sea daily because pipes and spare parts have not been permitted into Gaza. Repairs will be made using materials available and produced inside Gaza.

Another $100,000 has been earmarked for expanding the number of household gardens in Al Musaddar, Wadi Al Salga, Nusairat, and East Deir El Balah. Earlier this year, ANERA implemented a food security program that includes helping families with seeds for household gardens, small greenhouses and irrigation.

ANERA will use the remaining $50,000 to continue renovating preschools damaged during the 2009 Gaza War. ANERA already has completed 31 schools, installing proper sanitary facilities and drinking fountains, repairing walls, and repainting classrooms.


Haiti: A paediatrician saving lives in Port-au-Prince

By Claire Doole, Haiti

June 18 - Nurses and assistants crowd around as chief paediatrician Dr Zubair Masood checks on the health of 20 mothers and babies in his care. It could be a routine ward round in any hospital in the world. But this is far from routine. Dr Masood’s paediatric ward is in a tent and his patients are mostly young mothers who lost their homes in the earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas on 12 January.

Dr Masood is part of a team of local and international surgeons, doctors, anaesthetists, nurses, midwives, obstetricians and psychologists who have been offering healthcare for the past 20 weeks at a tented field hospital run by the German and Finnish Red Cross on the site of a former soccer stadium in Carrefour, one of the worst quake-affected areas.

Dr Masood is delighted to be part of such a big operation – the hospital has the capacity to treat 1,700 people a week – but he says there are challenges working in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. (...)

Another issue is equipment. There are no incubators, ventilators or radiant warmers that help a premature baby breathe, keep warm and away from germs. The field clinic doesn’t have a specialized intensive care unit for newborns. They share the ‘observational’ or ‘intensive care’ tent with adult patients.“There are ten beds in this tent,” says Masood, “but most of them are taken up with babies who are sick or underweight.” (...)

Many of the children in the ward though were born at the field clinic. It has become the go-to hospital for the pregnant women of Carrefour who prefer to give birth here for free than risk a home birth. Since it opened on 28 January, 791 babies have been delivered by the midwifery team and the numbers are rising. In the first week of June alone, 69 babies were born. (...)


UNFPA and CARE announce partnership to improve maternal heath globally

Washington, D.C., June 7 - Leaders from UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund and CARE International announced today at the Women Deliver Conference an agreement to enhance collaboration on maternal health programs in more than 25 countries. This unique collaboration will bring together UNFPA's effective work with national governments and CARE's expertise in engaging local communities. Both CARE and UNFPA work hard to reduce maternal death and disability and have launched successful initiatives to speed up progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 5, to improve maternal health.

Through the Mothers Matter program, CARE aims to reduce maternal death by improving access to safe pregnancy and delivery services for 30 million women by 2015. Similar to the work of UNFPA, this signature program will focus on family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency obstetric care within the context of a functioning health system. The Mothers Matter strategy is to empower communities and civil society organizations to advocate for – and participate in – improved maternal health care; to mobilize local governments and civil society to ensure access to responsive health systems; and to promote supportive policy action while advocating internationally for greater global commitment and investment of resources.


Care celebrates the Introduction of the Global MOMS Act in U.S. House of Representatives

First Comprehensive Maternal Health Legislation to Improve the Health of Women and Newborns Around the World

Washington D.C. May 12 - Care applauds the leadership of Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) who last night introduced the Improvements in Global Maternal and Newborn Health Outcomes While Maximizing Successes Act in the United States House of Representatives. If passed, this legislation – also known as the Global Moms Act – would improve access to life-saving care for women and infants around the world, including skilled medical assistance, family planning information and services. The Global Moms Act will create a comprehensive maternal health and newborn strategy that would be implemented through the United States government's Global Health Initiative. It also would improve coordination among United States agencies that are already working to improve care for women and their children.


International AIDS Conference - Vienna, Austria, July 18-23

The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.

AIDS 2010 will coincide with a major push for expanded access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. With a global economic crisis threatening to undermine public investments, the conference will help keep HIV on the front burner, and is a chance to demonstrate the importance of continued HIV investments to broader health and development goals. AIDS 2010 is also an opportunity to highlight the critical connection between human rights and HIV; a dialogue begun in earnest in Mexico City in 2008.

The AIDS 2010 programme will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV.



Energy and safety



Clean cars rule to make history on July 6, 2010

First-ever national rules on greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles go into effect on July 6

Washington DC, July 2 - In April, the U.S. EPA and the Department of Transportation announced the first-ever national limits on greenhouse gas pollution from cars and light trucks. Dubbed its "Clean Cars Rule," it will increase vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by motor vehicles, a major source of global warming pollution in the U.S.

The landmark rule goes into effect on Tuesday, July 6, 2010, making U.S. and world history. Under the rule, the first greenhouse gas limits will apply to model year 2012 cars. This historic policy will ultimately save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one billion metric tons — the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from 50 million of today's cars over their lifetime.

The following is a statement by Earthjustice senior legislative representative Sarah Saylor:

"Today the historic clean cars rule announced in April goes into effect. Thanks to the strength of the 40-year-old Clean Air Act and the leadership of the Obama administration, soon the people of America will begin saving money at the gas pump, their cars will more efficient and less polluting, and our economy and environment will be all the better for it." (...)


The world's largest gas-powered ferry

Fjord1 and Fiskerstrand BLRT have entered into an agreement to build the world's largest gas-powered ferry

Floro, Norway, July 5 - The Norwegian transport corporation Fjord1 has entered into a contract with Fiskerstrand BLRT AS to plan and construct the world’s largest gas-powered ferry. The ferry will run on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and will be delivered on 30 November 2011 for operation on Bokna Fjord between Arsvågen and Mortavika in Rogaland County. It will also function as a spare vessel for the Halhjem-Sandvikvåg route in Hordaland County. The traffic on these ferry services has increased dramatically since Fjord1 took over management of them in January 2007.

The new LNG-powered ferry is designed by Multi Maritime AS in Førde and will have a total length of 129.9 metres, a maximum width of 19.2 metres and a capacity of 242 cars and/or 22 lorries in combination with cars.

CEO Leif Øverland of Fjord1 points out that the new ferry will improve the everyday situation for commuters using the route. Øverland also expects a solid reduction of air pollution with the new vessel, with a 90% reduction in NOx emissions compared to conventional diesel operated ferries. "The fact that the government focuses strongly on environment-friendly forms of energy consumption in competitive tenderings is something we are very happy about."

LNG is an attractive alternative fuel not only because it is relatively clean, but also because Norway has an ample supply.



Environment and wildlife



IMD partners with WWF to offer best in class sustainability program for business leaders

Lausanne, Switzerland, posted on June 21 - IMD, a top-ranked business school worldwide, and WWF, the leading conservation organisation, are teaming together to offer “One Planet Leaders” (OPL) – an innovative training program for driving sustainability into the core of business.

The program’s learning focus is on developing a winning business case and robust strategy for change, leading to sustainable practices which also deliver more profit to the company. The program is designed for leaders who operate at a strategic level and can drive change, and is open to managers in business functions such as general management, R&D, procurement/supply, marketing and sales; and in sustainability functions.

The program will run for the first time in partnership, in Autumn 2010 and will feature three 3-day modules focused on strategy, change management and leadership in the sustainability context. Launched by WWF in 2007, One Planet Leaders originates from a series of workshops on sustainable business development run with WWF corporate partners. Today it includes an accredited Masters level Executive Education programme – available in Europe and Asia Pacific; three Modular Workshops – accessible as customized training in companies and in regions; a stand-alone Sustainability Master class; an active global Alumni Community with almost 200 members; and a One Planet MBA under development.


Victory for whales!

The past few weeks have been incredible -- together we built the biggest whale-saving petition in history, signed by an extraordinary 1.2 million of us, and delivered it directly to key delegates at the International Whaling Commission meeting. And we've just succeeded in beating a proposal that would have legalized commercial whale hunting!  This is an important victory for whales. But winning this battle won’t guarantee the whales’ safety yet -- several nations are already set to continue killing whales for "scientific" reasons. To win for good, we’ll need to campaign to strengthen and reform the IWC, and to mobilise in countries with pro-whaling governments. is a 4.9-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.



Religion and spirituality



Jewish-Muslim friendship bus: preaching coexistence in France

Another summer, another chance to take Jewish-Islamic dialogue on the road in France

Sue Fishkoff and Steve Lipman

June 29 - This time, the road is Route E 54, headed southeast from Paris toward Besancon.

A unique experiment in interfaith dialogue recently pulled into the city in eastern France with its message of trust and tolerance. The Jewish-Muslim Friendship Bus, a five-year-old project of a French Jewish-Muslim Friendship group known as AJMF, travels the country each summer, preaching coexistence to members of the religious communities that have been riven by violence and hatred in recent years.

Some Jews and Muslims, many of whom have common roots in northern Africa, are welcoming; other are wary, says Rabbi Michel Serfaty, who founded the group after he became the victim of an anti-Semitic attack in Ris-Orangis in 2003. “We fight discrimination and stereotypes, and try to break down the walls between our young people,” says the rabbi, wearing a black hat in front of the friendship bus in Besancon. Around him are participants in the bus tour, which includes both Jews and Muslims, as well as Besancon residents. The vehicle, painted with such slogans as “Jews and Muslims say no to discrimination” and “We are more alike than you think,” is a natural attention-getter.

This year, the group, which runs panel discussions in the French countryside as part of its activities, is for the first time spending time in some of Paris’ roughest neighborhoods, where the worst anti-Jewish violence has taken place.


People of many faiths coming together in Jerusalem

The monthly meetings of the Interfaith Encounter Association go on

A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew walk into a café. What sounds like the opening line of a joke could just as well describe the opening moments of one of the Interfaith Encounter Association's monthly meetings. The group, which aims to foster mutual respect and friendship between the tribes, while still giving props to the unique identities of each, organizes monthly study sessions throughout Israel, at which members of the country's different faiths come together to talk, learn, teach and socialize.

In Jerusalem, Salach Alladin, a native of Nazereth who now lives in Jerusalem's French Hill, organizes monthly encounters for the city's youth and serves as assistant director of the IEA. As Alladin - whose "day job" is at the Ministry of Finance - describes the concept behind the encounters, "By bringing people together month after month, we are helping to build trust. The key behind these meetings is that they are continuing, long-term," he says.

Indeed, mutual respect and understanding are critical to the encounters, which actively encourage religious expression. As Alladin explains, "We believe that religion is the right way to bring people together. When people bring their intimate emotions to the table, that is what others can relate to. At these encounters, we speak about our own personal faith. We don't say 'Islam believes,' we say  'I as a Muslim believe.' I think there are many similarities between the religions, but you really have to listen to find them."

In addition to the monthly group encounters, the Interfaith Encounter Association also runs retreat weekends, which are open to the public, as well as occasional tours of the Old City and workshops in local museums.



Culture and education



Teacher unions advocate for quality education and trade union rights at the European Social Forum

July 7 - Education international and the European Trade Union Committee for Education were represented at the European Social Forum (ESF) and presented the EI/ETUCE work on various topics. They reported on the  Bologna process and the status of Higher Education in Europe, as well as the issue of hidden privatisation of public education in Europe.

Teacher trade unions were highly mobilised during this 6th convenience of the ESF, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 1-4 July. These activities were organised under the umbrella of the ESF’s Education Network, composed of the above mentioned EI/ETUCE member organisations as well as NGOs and students’ associations. The Network gathered on 3 July for the Education Assembly, during which the European Trade Union Confederation call for a European Day of Action on 29 September was presented and welcomed by all participants. A peaceful demonstration in Istanbul and a final General Assembly of all organisations closed the Forum. The 7th edition will take place in two years.


Civil Society and Heritage - Mechelen (Belgium), 5-6 July

July 5 - Following the successful conference "Heritage Care through Active Citizenship" which took place on 22-23 March 2009 in Mechelen, a new European Conference on Civil Society and Heritage will be organized in Mechelen on 6-7 July 2010, during the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. As last year, Europa Nostra is happy to be one of the partners for the organisation of this Conference.

This European Conference on Civil Society Organisations in the Field of Heritage will address the issues of active citizenship, civil society and volunteer organisations (NGOs) within the European heritage sector. The conference will provide a platform for European organisations active in all fields of heritage – both tangible and intangible – to share relevant experiences, good practices and success stories.The conference will involve a selected group of European participants representing the diversity of the European civil society for heritage. The delegates will predominantly be representatives of European heritage NGOs and prominent European heritage experts.

Themes include: Sustainable Cultural Heritage; The Role of Heritage Organizations; Cultural Heritage and Information Society; The Value of Cultural Heritage for Society; Creation of (International) Heritage Networks.


Education leaders unite for global summit - New Orleans, USA, July 2-6

July 2 - More than 9,000 delegates have gathered in New Orleans, USA, for the Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly of the National Education Association (NEA) - one of EI's largest affiliate members in America.

As part of the pre-Assembly build up the NEA International Relations department sponsored a Global Education Summit, with the theme of 'diplomacy for a new generation.' Through workshops and panel discussions, approximately 100 participants were treated to new techniques and strategies to not only help prepare their students for an increasingly complex, interdependent world, but also how to collaborate and unite in the face of daunting global challenges.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel welcomed the group and Executive Director John Wilson facilitated the morning discussions, including one led by Dr. Anthony Jackson of the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning. Participants then broke out into workshops facilitated by key NEA partners, including Peace Corps, Coverdell World Wise Schools, the Global Campaign for Education, iEARN-USA and the Magna Carta project.

NEA Vice-President Lily Eskelsen spoke about the importance of gender equality in education and the campaign to meet the Education for All goals. She also introduced a new video, 'Acting Locally – Connecting Globally: On the Move for Gender Equality', which was produced jointly by the NEA with Education International's Communicators' Network and affiliates in the Caribbean.


Earth Charter:  2000-2010

For the 10th anniversary of the Earth Charter, a major and inspiring event took place on 29 June in The Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands. This was exactly 10 years since the launch of the Earth Charter, and was a wonderful occasion to look backwards and forward with regards to the Earth Charter Initiative!

Over 200 participants attended this event, including EC Commissioners, Affiliates, members of the International Council, youth leaders and many partners. The event had the honour of having the participation of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands and Prime Minister Balkenende. This was a wonderful occasion for participants to learn from each other and get extra portion of inspiration.

850 interested individuals who were not able to travel to Holland were also able to follow the discussions on-line, as there was live video coverage for the whole day.


Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change

A new exhibition inspired by the Earth Charter launched in English during the Earth Charter+10 event at the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands on 29 June

The new "Seeds of Hope" exhibition stresses our interconnectedness with the rest of the community of life and the need to broaden our sphere of compassion and concern. It encourages viewers to overcome feelings of powerlessness and highlights the fact that a single individual can initiate positive change. It also introduces the positive vision for sustainable living expressed in the Earth Charter, and gives examples of eight individuals and groups who have successfully taken action for change, from Africa to the Arctic and Eastern Europe.

The message "It starts with one," is key -- the slogan that the Earth Charter International has chosen for their "Earth Charter + 10" campaign in 2010.

The "Seeds of Hope" exhibition contains 24 panels, including one left blank with a simple tree design so viewers can attach their own statement of what they will do toward sustainability.

The exhibition uses the "Learn, Reflect, Empower" formula outlined in SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2002 proposal on education for sustainable development and as a tool for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


Thailand: ADRA helps girls reach their dreams

June 11 - Chiang Rai, Thailand-The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) recently organized a summer camp for nearly one hundred young girls who are receiving academic scholarships through the Keep Girls Safe project, a successful initiative that aims to prevent human trafficking in northern Thailand.

To assist with camp activities, ADRA invited the Heart and Head Group from the Chiang Mai University, a group that included several college and graduate students pursuing degrees in psychology, and a professor. The team focused on conducting team-building activities with all the participants, then did education sessions that targeted the various age groups, which ranged from the ages of 8 to 20.


Iraq: Cooperation delivers quality training for Iraqi teachers

A long planned programme for training and development of teacher trade unionism in Iraq has begun under the expert guidance of NASUWT, an EI affiliate in Britain.

Nasser Behadili and Ahmed Al Shiblawi, both of the Iraq Teachers’ Union (ITU), joined Nadir Qadir, of the Kurdish Teachers’ Union (KTU), to attend the NASUWT’s annual conference. They then spent more than one week at the NASUWT headquarters in Rednal, Birmingham, where they participated in a major trade union training programme. The latter covered a wide range of issues from why trade unions are important, essential union values and beliefs, through to how to organise and recruit teachers from the grassroots and develop internal structures that can facilitate collecting bargaining and negotiations.The positive impact of the course has already been felt: the first course to be run by Al Shiblawi took place in Baghdad between 28-29 May. Of the 18 participants who were trained, 11 were women, while the feedback showed that all the participants felt ‘very positive’ about the course. Some trainees stated that the experience had encouraged them and clarified why they wanted to be active in the union movement.


Inclusive Leadership Facilitator Trainings in Canada - August and September

Cowichan Intercultural Society - an NGO on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada - is celebrating the tenth Anniversary of the Earth Charter by organizing three Inclusive Leadership Adventures in August and September, 2010. These participatory education retreats are opportunities for leaders and potential leaders from different cultures and generations to experience the Earth Charter vision of a world based on respect for people and nature.

These workshops will take place as follows:

August 17 to 22 is hands-on training in planning, preparing and guiding an Inclusive Leadership Adventure. This week is perfect for anyone who wants to experience our transformational process for preparing socially and environmentally responsible global citizens and prepare to pass Inclusive Leadership on to others.

August 20-22 The newly trained Inclusive Travel Guides will co-facilitate an inter-generational Inclusive Leadership Adventure for youth and caring adults that promises to be as life-changing as travelling to different countries around the world.

September 23 to 27 is an in-depth participatory education in facilitating and mentoring Inclusive Leadership Development in school and community settings.


International Year of Youth - August 2010 - 2011 - Our Year, Our Voice

“The International Year is about advancing the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society. We encourage all sectors of society to work in partnership with youth and youth organizations to better understand their needs and concerns and to recognize the contributions that they can make to society."

The International Year of Youth can generate much needed attention for youth participation and youth development and can provide an impetus to partnerships among youth organizations around the world. The United Nations Programme on Youth hopes that you will join us in celebrating the Year. In the limited time that we have before the year commences, we encourage you to organize activities that promote an increased understanding of the importance and benefits of youth participation in all aspects of society, as well as those that support youth to devote their energy, enthusiasm and creativity to development and the promotion of mutual understanding.

The UN General Assembly resolution 64/134, proclaiming the International Year of Youth, calls for a World Youth Conference under the auspices of the United Nations as the highlight of the International Year of Youth. The conference date and place are yet to be determined by the Member States and it is likely take place at the end of the International Year in 2011. 


Social Tourism World Congress - Rimini, Italy, September 19-23

Bruxelles, June 29 (BITS Secretariat) - The theme of the Congress, “Tourism: a time for social policies”, perfectly reflects the importance we attach to the connection between social policies and tourism. The topic will be addressed from different perspectives in order to allow us to present a series of proposals useful for players committed to tourism for all.

The Congress will indeed be an event you will not want to miss out on. Plenary sessions, panels, round tables and animated workshops with international experts and field workers will allow the delegates to participate in debates and to exchange experiences.

The Congress will also mark an important step in the institutional life of BITS: proposals for important statutory modifications and for a name change for the organization will be submitted for members’ consideration during the General Assembly. The regional sections – the Americas, Europe, and Africa – and the thematic sections, such as the Network of Local and Regional Authorities and the Platform for Training and Research, as well as the Task Force of Trade Unions, will meet on this occasion.

The event will be organized in Rimini’s brand new Congress Centre, coordinated by our friends of the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Republic of San Marino. All information for registration will be soon available on the Congress Website :



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Next issue:  July 23, 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.

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Webmaster: Fabio Gatti. Media and NGOs coverage: Maurizio Palazzoni.  


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