Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 189



Weekly – Year XI, number 189 – 8th July 2011

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



Ban welcomes five-party nuclear disarmament meeting

30 June – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed a meeting in Paris today of five nuclear non-proliferation treaty States as a unique opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament.

Five nuclear-weapons States party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France – are to discuss transparency, verification, and confidence-building measures, according to media reports.


UN chief calls for specific steps to close gender gap in parliaments

New York, June 30 - Mr. Ban told a high-level forum on women and democracy, held in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, that it was time for “faster and wider progress” in promoting the participation of women at all levels of society.

“When women are included, democracies thrive. And when women take their rightful leadership roles, all of society benefits,” he said in a message to the forum delivered by Margot Wallström, his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Mr. Ban noted that although more and more women are taking their place in governments, fewer than 10 per cent of the world’s countries have a female head of State or government, and fewer than 30 countries have met the UN target of having women comprise at least 30 per cent of their lawmakers in national parliaments.

“We need to take specific steps to close this gender gap. Experience shows that the democratic ideals of inclusiveness, accountability and transparency are only achieved through laws, policies and special measures that address inequalities.”

The Secretary-General stressed that women’s participation should be supported at all times, and not just during legislative elections.


Twelve nations and European Union join UN protocol on sharing genetic resources

23 June – Twelve nations and the European Union today added their signatures to a United Nations treaty on the equitable sharing of the planet’s genetic resources in a ceremony at UN Headquarters. Representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom and the European Union signed the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, which calls for “fair and equitable sharing” of the utilization of genetic resources.

The protocol, adopted last year in Nagoya, Japan, will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth country ratifies it.

The protocol envisages the setting up of an international regime on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, which will lay down the basic ground rules on how nations cooperate in obtaining genetic resources, according to the administrative offices of the 193-member Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which drafted the protocol. (…)



Human rights



Libya: ICRC-chartered ship reunites families

July 1 – The ICRC has just finished transferring people between Tripoli and Benghazi and between Benghazi and Tripoli in an operation that started on 23 June. "Most of the people we have transferred are Libyans who were working away from their home towns or visiting relatives or friends when the conflict broke out,” explained Paul Castella, outgoing head of the ICRC delegation in Tripoli. “After four months of separation, they were eager to rejoin their families and there were scenes of joy in both ports when family members were reunited."

Some 650 people made the trip from Tripoli to Benghazi, with 350 arriving on 1 July. More than 100 were transferred from Benghazi to Tripoli. Passengers on the Tripoli-Benghazi route included 64 detainees released by the Libyan government.


Cambodia: UN-backed tribunal begins trial against four top Khmer Rouge figures

27 June – The joint trial of the four most senior surviving leaders of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime got under way today in Cambodia at the United Nations-backed tribunal set up to deal with the worst offences committed under the group’s reign. Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea are all facing charges of genocide, murder, torture, religious persecution and other war crimes and crimes against humanity over their alleged actions when the Khmer Rouge was in power between April 1975 and January 1979.

A five-judge panel at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), sitting in Phnom Penh, today began hearing preliminary arguments from lawyers for the four accused, who were arrested in 2007 and indicted by the tribunal last year. (…)


Tunisia becomes first North African nation to join International Criminal Court

24 June 2011 – Tunisia today became the first North African nation to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the 116th party to the treaty establishing the world’s first permanent court tasked with trying people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The ICC, which is based in The Hague, was set up in 2002 after the Statute took effect that year when it passed a total of 60 ratifications. It is currently investigating six situations: Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region in western Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Kenya and Libya.



Economy and development



South Sudan naturally endowed for sustainable growth through agriculture

FAO land cover survey shows just 4.5 percent currently used for farming

Rome/Juba, July 8 - As South Sudan celebrates its independence on 9 July 2011, the world’s newest nation faces many challenges in building a strong and stable economy that supports the food security and livelihoods of its population.

The UN agency has drawn up a $50 million Interim Assistance Plan (IAP) for the agricultural sector that will build capacity in ministerial and state agricultural extension offices, mediate to prevent conflict over water resources and develop the livestock sector. The IAP will contribute to the new government’s overall development plan for South Sudan. The interim plan also includes the establishment of a seed production sector and an urban and peri-urban agriculture component as many returnees arrive in the capital Juba and other major towns in South Sudan and will need to produce as much as their own food as possible.

FAO currently manages a $61 million emergency rehabilitation programme in South Sudan that has already helped 250 000 returnee and internally displaced households who fled their farms during the conflict return to agriculture, as well as vulnerable households who are hosting the returnees. The support offered includes training young people in Farmer Field Schools and building administrative capacity.

Satellite view - In addition, as part of the Agency’s support effort to the new nation, FAO recently carried out an extensive satellite land cover survey that showed just 4.5 percent of the available land was currently under cultivation. This data was then verified on the ground by local experts using GPS. The survey was carried out with the support of the €20.6 million EU-funded Sudan Institutional Capacity Programme: Food Security Information for Action.


FAO Conference approves budget increase - hails Diouf’s service to the Organization

Rome, 2 July - FAO’s governing Conference has unanimously approved a regular programme budget of $1,005.6 million for the Organization for the 2012-13 biennium, equivalent to a 1.4 percent increase over the current biennium.

The budget provides for full implementation of the proposed programme of work as well as the Immediate Plan of Action for FAO renewal. Recognizing the need for FAO’s programmes to be financially protected, Members called on the Director-General to make efficiency gains and one time-savings of $34.5 million beyond the the economies that he had already programmed.

The level of the budget and its unanimous adoption was considered an expression of confidence in the Organization by the Conference, which last week elected José Graziano da Silva, a national of Brazil, to be the next Director-General, starting on 1 January 2012.

In addition, FAO expects some $1.4 billion of voluntary contributions from members and partners over the next biennium. The fact that such extra-budgetary resources exceed the regular budget is further evidence of Members' confidence in the Organization, Diouf said in his closing speech to the Conference.


Thailand: ADRA offers vocational training to Myanmar refugees

July 1, Silver Spring, Md., USA - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is helping improve the quality of life for thousands of Myanmar refugees residing in camps in Thailand along the Thai-Myanmar border.

The three-year project provides occupational skill training for approximately 6,000 refugees and villagers in areas of barbering, beauty salon/hairdressing, small engine mechanics, sewing/tailoring, child/elderly care, cooking/baking, and courses for high school students. ADRA is working in partnership with the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to ensure the courses offered meet Thai educational standards.

ADRA's training is empowering refugees and villagers with marketable skills advantageous for job security within Thailand and labor markets in nearby countries, thereby opening additional opportunities to support families, promote financial dependence and improve overall quality of life.  This project is funded in part by the European Union, the Government of Australia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ADRA Germany and ADRA Czech, with an approximate worth of $2.9 million.


USD 19.35 million IFAD loan to enhance food security in Azerbaijan

Rome, 28 June – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced that a US$19.35 million loan will be provided to Azerbaijan to increase food security and enhance income-raising opportunities. The loan agreement for the Integrated Rural Development Project was signed today. The project aims to support increased agricultural productivity, enhanced incomes and food security, to reach more than 50,000 households in the districts of Agdash, Yevlakh, Sheki and Oguz. The districts in the lowland areas in particular will benefit from improved irrigation water delivery.

IFAD’s project will target the rural poor to improve their skills and use available natural resources more effectively to   improve sustainable productivity and profitability for crop and livestock husbandry. In addition, IFAD aims to improve the incomes of women and men producers through better farm management and access to credit. The project has several innovative features including the practice of mixed farming through complementary investments in both crop and livestock production, and the creation of  Farmer Support teams to promote farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange.

With this new project, IFAD will have financed five  programmes and projects in Azerbaijan for a total investment of $87.0 million.


EC, FAO, IFAD and WFP join forces on food security and nutrition

New strategic framework of cooperation signed

Rome, 27 June - The European Commission (EC), FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed today in Rome a new Strategic Framework of Cooperation to increase the capacity of the international community to deliver effective, coordinated, timely and sustainable support to food security and nutrition.

By joining forces, the four partners are seeking to achieve higher collective impact on the world's food security.

The Strategic Framework of Cooperation defines the complementary roles of the three Rome-based UN Agencies, putting emphasis on the coherence of their comparative advantages and core mandates, enhanced through strengthened coordination and collaboration.

The Strategic Framework of Cooperation highlights the key priorities for food security and nutrition where all four partners will work together particularly on the basis of their converging objectives and mandates. Finally, it will increase global awareness and visibility of the partnership between the European Commission and the three Rome-based UN Agencies in the fight against hunger. 






Diverse coalition unites to protect poor people in budget debate

July 1 – At a critical juncture in the deficit reduction talks a diverse coalition of over 40 prominent international and domestic NGOs have joined the leaders of dozens of national faith organizations in calling on the Obama administration and congressional leadership to protect programs benefitting poor and hungry people both here and abroad from budget cuts.

In an open letter to policymakers involved in defect reduction negotiations, these groups expressed support for six principles first outlined by a group of faith leaders known as the Circle of Protection coalition, saying:

"… Poor and hungry people do not have powerful lobbies, but they do have the most compelling claim on our national conscience and common resources. As people of conscience we have an obligation to defend this claim in civic discourse, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected.”


Citizens Bank and the Phillies announce Phans Feeding Families initiative to fight hunger

Philadelphia, Penn., USA, June 30 (/CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire/) - Citizens Bank and the Phillies today announced the launch of Phans Feeding Families, a summer initiative to raise money and collect food to feed the 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk of hunger each year.

To jump-start the program, the Citizens Bank Foundation is donating $133,000 to provide hunger relief and nutrition assistance to agencies serving eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. $50,000 of this commitment will support Philabundance, the area's largest hunger relief organization and main beneficiary of Phans Feeding Families.

Phans Feeding Families, which begins today and culminates during the Sunday, July 31 Phillies vs. Pirates game, is designed to bring together the Phillies community in support of hunger relief. Among the many highlights, Phillies pitcher and Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay will be featured in a Phans Feeding Families public service announcement viewable at


Giving in India rose 50% in last four years, study finds

June 30 – Giving in India increased by 50 percent as a percentage of gross domestic product from 2006 to 2010, with individuals and businesses donating $5-billion to $6-billion last year, Indian Express and The Wall Street Journal report.

The rise in corporate giving has been particularly fast, with Indian companies’  giving  increasing at a faster rate than their profits, according to the second annual study of Indian philanthropy by the consulting firm Bain & Company. The rate of giving in India remains well below that of the United States and Great Britain, which the Bain study attributes to lingering distrust among wealthy donors about nonprofit groups’ accountability and tax laws that do not encourage giving.


Counterpart provides urgent assistance to disaster-affected households in Georgia

Surami, Shida Kartli, Georgia  Counterpart’s on-the-ground team assisted June 28 some 1,500 flood-affected households in the communities in Surami, Khashuri and Chumateleti. More than $500,000 worth of sleeping bags, bed sheets, blankets and boots from the U.S. State Department’s pre-positioned disaster packages, which are stored in Tbilisi, Georgia. The commodities will be distributed to 1,500 flood-affected households.

Flooding and landslides caused by severe rains have killed several people in the Shida Kartli region and blocked one of Georgia's most important highways.

The timely and efficient response to the flood is being made possible by close collaboration between the U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (EUR/ACE), the U.S. Embassy in Georgia and Counterpart.


Niger: ICRC provides food for over 27,000 people in Tillabéry

Niamey (ICRC), 24 June – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has distributed millet to over 27,000 people living in three towns in the Tillabéry area of south-western Niger.

The operation was completed today.

"The conditions in which these people are living have deteriorated considerably following crop failures and outbreaks of inter-community violence", said Jürg Eglin, head of the ICRC delegation in Niamey. "In northern Tillabéry, the millet crop has been blighted by caterpillars. There has also been very little rain. Millet is the staple food in the area and the poor harvests are a heavy blow for communities already weakened by the 2010 food crisis."

The distribution began on 14 June with support from local Red Cross volunteers. It will provide thousands of families with enough food to last them till August. Most beneficiaries also received millet seed.

In April, the ICRC financed a community project in the same region to seed 40 hectares of poor-quality soil. Two thousand people will benefit directly from this initiative.

The ICRC, a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization, has been working in the Tillabéry area since 2009. It operates in close conjunction with the Red Cross Society of Niger, which recently built new premises funded by the ICRC.


Building back Haiti: REACH students graduate, finish disaster-resistant school

Construction project caps intensive job training program

June 16 – Haitian construction students recently celebrated their successful completion of an earthquake- and hurricane-resistant primary school in Jacmel, Haiti. The facility—which features two large rooms capable of accommodating 80 children—marks the last milestone of the trainees’ intensive six-month vocational training funded through ACDI/VOCA's REACH program.

REACH (Rural Economy Acceleration in Haiti) is a small-grants program generously funded by ACDI/VOCA's community through the VOCA Foundation Fund to support job generation in Haiti’s Southeast Department following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

ACDI/VOCA coordinated with local educators, including the regional director for the department of education, to choose the school construction project as a means of boosting local livelihoods.

Already some REACH graduates are gainfully employed, having taken jobs at MedAir, an emergency relief NGO that builds shelters for victims of the 2010 earthquake.



Peace and security



Ban stresses crucial role of science in addressing current global challenges

New York, July 1 -Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underlined the role of science and technology in helping humanity to address global challenges such as climate change, infectious diseases, terrorism, hunger, disaster preparedness and nuclear disarmament.

In a <> message to the 59th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs that opened in Berlin, Mr. Ban thanked the organization for its efforts over the past half a century to bring scientists and policy-makers together to advance common interests in peace, security and human welfare worldwide.

“Your efforts were especially welcome during the Cold War in helping to end the nuclear arms race, and they remain vital today as we continue to seek progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” said the Secretary-General. “With active support from the Pugwash organization, along with determined efforts throughout civil society and by concerned Member States, the potential for progress in these fields is considerable indeed,” said Mr. Ban.

The Pugwash Conference seeks to promote constructive dialogue on sensitive matters of international security.


Landmark meeting on Convention on Cluster Munitions held

At least 60 countries meet between 27 - 30 June 2011 for the first four-day “intersessional” meeting on the Convention on Cluster Munitions to advance their commitments to a world free of cluster bombs. It is deemed an intersessional meeting because it takes place in between the required annual meetings of States Parties.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and gain clarity on progress in implementing the Convention in time for the 2nd Meeting of States Parties (2MSP), taking place in September in Beirut, Lebanon. Participants are encouraged to contribute to the development of the Beirut Progress Report: Monitoring progress in implementing the Vientiane Action Plan from the First up to the Second Meeting of States Parties.


Ban welcomes accord on Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states

29 June – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the agreement reached between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) on political and security arrangements for Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, two states along the country’s north-south border.

Under the Framework Agreement, signed yesterday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, the parties will form a Joint Political Committee to address all relevant issues related to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, both of which were supposed to hold popular consultations on their future in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).


Mine clearers in Libya: there is an immediate impact to our work

DanChurchAid’s mine clearers help civilians get rid of dangerous remnants of war in the war-torn Libyan city, Misrata.

23 June – All over Misrata there are unexploded mines, cluster munitions and grenades, scattered during the acts of war which took place over the past months. But for a long time, the mine clearers from DanChurchAid have not been able to access the city for security reasons and because of a lack of permissions. Permissions to enter the city have now been granted, and even though there are still violent fights going on outside the city, the mine clearing team has now started identifying and securing the dangerous weapons. In order to perform effectively, the mine clearing team will soon start training teams of local residents to search for and identify remnants of war so the mine clearers can detonate them quickly.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs donates four million Danish kroner to DanChurchAid’s work, clearing away the dangerous ammunition and remnants of war in Libya.

28 June - The extra money from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plus the million Danish kroner that were recently donated from LEGO’s funds, give DanChurchAid the opportunity to hire more experts for the clearing work and to educate a group of local mine clearers who can remove and destroy the dangerous remnants of war.


FoEME brings largest delegation of Jordanian and Palestinian residents to the Israeli Parliament in history calling on water issues to cease being held hostage to the conflict

On June 21, Friends of the Earth Middle East arrived to the Knesset early in the morning excited and ready to engage with members of the Knesset and to urge action to be taken to rehabilitate, protect and secure our shared water future. On Knesset Environment Day, FoEME arrived with 42 participants and staff, including 11 Jordanian, 11 Palestinian, and 11 Israeli residents of the region to share their stories and demand that water cease being held hostage to the stalled negotiations to members of the Knesset.

 The residents told stories of the unequal divide of water access, where Israelis receive 80% of shared water and the Palestinians receive 20%.  It is not uncommon that water does not flow from taps in Palestine. On the other hand sewage and waste management has largely been overlooked, resulting in cesspits that overflow into the streets and valleys that flow of raw sewage polluting the shared water basins.  Residents were able to tell members of the Knesset that the peace treaty with Jordan and lack of peace with Palestine is failing the Jordan River that continues to dry up. (...) Our message was heard loud and clear, “Water cannot wait!”

This post was contributed by Joshua Zuckerman, FoEME Social Media Coordinator in Tel Aviv. Joshua is currently finishing his Masters of Arts in Coexistence and Conflict.






Rotary project “Improvement of Maternal Health – Prevention and Treatment of Obstetric Fistula” (2005-2010) offers outstanding results in pilot rural areas in Nigeria

July 1 - The latest issue of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Vol. 114, Issue 1, July 2011) features an article about the Rotary project “Improvement of Maternal Health – Prevention and Treatment of Obstetric Fistula” (2005-2010) and its underlying system of quality assurance, established to contribute to UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 and 5. By assessing and improving the quality of structure and process in 10 selected hospitals in rural areas of Kano State and Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, within a continuous process of data collection and analysis, causes of maternal and fetal mortality were identified and eliminated. The result is outstanding: within two years the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in those hospitals was reduced by more than 50%. The article can be downloaded at:

Stakeholders regard this project as a model to reduce maternal and fetal mortality and suggested to scale it up in other states of Nigeria, which is presently prepared. “Maternal and child health” is a new area of focus of Rotary International in their Future Vision Plan. This pilot project supported by the Rotarian Action Group for Population and Sustainable Development (RFPD) shows that Rotary has the necessary capacities and resources to make a substantial impact in this area of focus, contributing to the international goal of sustainably reducing maternal and fetal mortality.


ADRA combats cholera outbreak in Haiti

July 1 – Silver Spring, Md., USA - In the capital city of Port au Prince, Haiti, recent heavy rains have triggered another cholera outbreak among persons displaced by the earthquake in January 2010. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is combating the spread of this life-threatening disease through a multifaceted response, expecting to benefit approximately 50,000 beneficiaries in the capital city suburb of Carrefour.

The agency's month-long intervention will take place in four high-risk areas of Carrefour, and will address the increasing challenges and needs of the population. ADRA's response includes the establishment of oral rehydration/hand sanitation points throughout high-risk communities. These points will distribute oral rehydration salts (ORS), a simple treatment for those suffering form dehydration, often times as a result of cholera.   The points also serve to promote community awareness of the disease and teach simple live-saving preventative methods.


India: new West Bengal Chief Minister calls to end polio now

Chief Minister Banerjee launches week-long immmunization drive in West Bengal

June 30 – West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called upon parents and caregivers across the state to ensure that they immunize their children against polio in a week-long immunization campaign starting on 24 June and in all ensuing polio immunization campaigns, and help eradicate the crippling disease once and for all from West Bengal.

Ms Banerjee called upon the state’s health workers and parents to take the oath that they would vaccinate their children “in every inch” of the state.

WHO National Polio Surveillance Project Acting Project Manager Dr Sunil Bahl said all of India – and indeed the world – was looking to West Bengal to finish the job of polio eradication. UNICEF Chief Field Officer Edouard Beigbeder underlined the remarkable achievement of India falling from 741 cases two years ago to just one solitary case this year: “And naturally we need to go down to zero - to ensure that this disease is only a memory”.

Incoming Rotary International Director of West Bengal, Mr Shekhar Mehta, said that the Chief Minister’s support was “unprecedented”. “This is a big boost for us,” he said.


Global grant project boosts malaria prevention and treatment in Mali

by Dan Nixon 

Rotary International News, 24 June - Last year, malaria claimed the lives of almost 750,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, 85 percent of them young children. Some of the region’s poorest residents live in Yirimadjo, Mali, and are receiving protection from the disease through a Rotary Foundation Global Grant project supported by Rotarians in four countries.

Called Bite Malaria Back, the project is providing insecticide-treated bed nets, physician services, and medications to help prevent and treat malaria. It is led by the Rotary Club of Bamako-Amitié, Mali, along with the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.) and five others in District 7620 (District of Columbia; part of Maryland, USA). Club members are working with Project Muso Ladamunen, a nongovernmental organization whose goal is to end the cycle of poverty and disease in Yirimadjo. The Bamako-Amitié club is helping to coordinate Rotarians’ role in the effort.

During its first three months (February-April), Bite Malaria Back made possible more than 3,000 patient visits at the Yirimadjo Health Center. It also facilitated more than 12,700 visits by community health workers to residents’ homes, resulting in the treatment of almost 900 children with malaria -- over 80 percent within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, when medical intervention is critical. (...)

In June, Bite Malaria Back completed a survey of every household in Yirimadjo, which has more than 56,700 residents, and determined that over 22,300 bed nets are needed. The Against Malaria Foundation has committed to support the project, which will enable 21,500 bed nets to be distributed in July.(...)


Project HOPE deploys medical volunteers to Haiti in response to new cholera outbreak

Global NGO mobilizes U.S. doctors and nurses for hospital impacted by spike in cholera cases

Millwood, Virginia, USA, June 24 – Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, is acting immediately to address a resurgence of cholera in Haiti.

Project HOPE is deploying more than 20 health care professionals over the next nine weeks to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), a 100-bed hospital in Deschapelles, deep in the Artibonite Valley, where the initial cholera epidemic was first reported in 2010.  HOPE has supplied medicines, medical equipment and volunteer health professionals to HAS since shortly after the January 2010 earthquake and during the initial cholera outbreak last October.

Each three-week rotation of Project HOPE volunteers is comprised of two medical doctors and five nurses, who will care for patients and train local health care professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of cholera patients and the prevention of cholera among hospital staff.


Save the Children honors two midwives for lifesaving work in Afghanistan, Nigeria

Amidst global health worker shortage crisis, two extraordinary women receive award from Save the Children and the International Confederation of Midwives

Durban, South Africa, June 19 - Save the Children has joined with the International Confederation of Midwives to name the 2011 winners of a midwife award recognizing exceptional contributions to maternal and newborn survival in resource-challenged countries.

Madina Rashida, from Afghanistan, was recognized Sunday for changing centuries of tradition in her rural village through convincing more men to allow their pregnant wives to seek skilled help at a clinic, and by encouraging the women themselves to do so.

Catherine Ojo, of Nigeria, was recognized for her leadership in maternal and newborn health care and research that includes founding a Special Baby Care Unit at the Ahmadu Bellow University Teaching Hospital in Northern Nigeria. Almost 90 percent of women give birth at home in her region. Each year 250,000 newborns die of largely preventable causes in Nigeria, the highest number in Africa, and the fourth highest of any country in the world.



Energy and safety



USA - $4.5 billion in loans to support three first solar projects

By Steve Leone, Associate Editor,

New Hampshire, USA, July 1 – Plans for three separate large-scale solar projects in California have received a significant boost with conditional loan guarantees totaling about $4.5 billion.

The announcement from the Department of Energy will give investors federal backing and sets in motion three installations totaling more than 1,300 megawatts (MW) of capacity to be developed by Arizona-based First Solar, which plans to eventually sell the projects. The developments in the Mojave Desert, Riverside County and San Luis Obispo County are expected to all be online by 2015. The large-scale installations are projected to add 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction.(...) According to First Solar spokesperson Alan Bernheimer, the company will double its manufacturing capacity from 1.5 GW at the beginning of 2011 to nearly 3 GW by the end of 2012. (…)


USA: DOE report highlights innovative breakthroughs in energy-efficient technologies for buildings

June 30 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report showcasing numerous energy-saving products and technologies, made possible through DOE research and development, which are currently available in the market or projected to enter the marketplace in the future. Because buildings consume roughly 40% of the nation's energy, more than transportation or the industrial sector, improving buildings with energy-saving products is one of the most beneficial ways to reduce energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The report, titled Buildings R&D Breakthroughs: Technologies and Products Supported by the Building Technologies Program (BTP),  informs government professionals, architects, designers, manufacturers, and energy efficiency advocates about DOE project successes and next-generation innovations.


First Solar wins $4.5B in U.S. loan guarantees

June 30, (Bloomberg News) – First Solar Inc., the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar modules, won $4.5 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Energy Department for three projects it’s developing in California.

First Solar’s Topaz and Desert Sunlight projects, which will each have 550 megawatts of capacity, and its 230-megawatt Solar Ranch project were each offered low-cost financing needed to begin construction, the Energy Department said today in an e- mailed statement. The agency must distribute all the funds before the loan guarantee program expires at the end of September.

The Energy Department has offered conditional loans or loan guarantees to 40 clean energy projects totaling $38 billion, including $16 billion for solar energy projects. First Solar’s 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Arizona, which is being built for NRG Energy Inc., in January won approval for a loan guarantee of as much as $967 million.

First Solar said construction on those approved today will add 1,400 jobs and that the more than 20 million cadmium telluride glass panels used in the projects will be manufactured at plants in Ohio and Arizona. First Solar rose $6.83 or 5.3 percent to $136.25 at 9:30 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Before today’s gain, the shares had risen 14 percent since Jan. 1.


Darfur: UN-backed conference on water resource management opens

27 June – A United Nations-sponsored conference on the management of water resources in Sudan’s troubled and arid region of Darfur opened today with delegates expected to tackle the problem of water shortages in relation to conflicts exacerbated by competition over natural resources.

The International Conference on Water for Sustainable Peace in Darfur, sponsored by the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Sudan’s irrigation and water resources ministry and the UN Country Team (UNCT), brings together more than 300 participants and experts on water use and distribution. A $1 billion appeal for 65 community water projects in Darfur was launched at the start of the two-day conference, which is taking place in Khartoum.



Environment and wildlife



Convention on Environment and Human Rights crucial for ecological protection

New York, July 1 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today lauded the world’s leading international convention on environment and human rights as a powerful tool for environmental protection and the promotion of civil rights, saying the instrument also helped to combat climate change and air and water pollution.

“The Convention’s critical focus on involving the public is helping to keep governments accountable,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the fourth meeting of Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters – the so-called Aarhus Convention.

Mr. Ban also pointed out that the convention is building synergies through cooperation with other international organizations, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Collaboration with international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is also yielding results, he added.


Asia-Pacific States agree at UN meeting to cooperate on disaster risk reduction

New York, July 1 - Ministers and senior government officials from 31 countries, meeting at a United Nations-supported conference in Bangkok, have agreed to work more closely together on disaster risk reduction and make it central to national development strategies, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) reported today.

The participants at a session of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction, a subsidiary of ESCAP, “have asked the UN to help promote regional cooperation to minimize the adverse socio-economic and environmental impact of disasters,” the agency said in a press statement.

Asia-Pacific countries which are most vulnerable to nature’s fury have also agreed to speed up implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, which calls for making disaster risk reduction a national development priority, ESCAP said.

Recurring and increasingly severe natural disasters striking the Asia-Pacific region have become a serious obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and slowed down the pace of economic development in the region.


More than 1000 new species found in New Guinea

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 27 June - A remarkable 1,060 new species have been discovered in the island of New Guinea from 1998 to 2008, but poorly planned and unsustainable development - particularly from logging and forest conversion to agriculture - is putting many of these unique creatures at risk, a new WWF study finds.

Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 – 2008) shows that 218 new kinds of plants - close to 100 of which are orchids - 43 reptiles and 12 mammals, including a unique snub-fin dolphin, have been found on the tropical island over a ten year period.

Added to the tally is an astounding 580 invertebrates and 134 amphibians, 2 birds and 71 fish, among them an extremely rare 2.5m long river shark.

“This report shows that New Guinea’s forests and rivers are among the richest and most biodiverse in the world. But it also shows us that unchecked human demand can push even the wealthiest environments to bankruptcy,” says Dr. Neil Stronach, WWF Western Melanesia’s Program Representative.


World’s biggest cement producer fights climate change by cutting emissions and developing energy efficient buildings

Gland, Switzerland, 24 June - WWF and Lafarge, the world’s largest cement maker, today agreed to continue working together to further reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and to help build hundreds of energy-efficient buildings – targets that will help fight the effects of climate change.

As part of its ongoing partnership with WWF, Lafarge committed to further reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent per ton of cement below 1990 levels by 2020. This will be achieved by increasing the use of alternative fuels (such as biomass) and the efficiency of Lafarge’s plants. In an innovative approach to sustainability, the company also pledged to be part of the development of 500 sustainable buildings across the globe by 2015, and to advocate for ambitious national and global climate change policies.

As part of its commitment, Lafarge will work with its customers, architects, engineering companies, designers and construction companies to develop new innovative technology platforms and new construction systems, which will be used in the energy efficient buildings.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – efforts recognized in Northern Guatemala at awards ceremony

By Jennifer O’Riordan

21 June – Ever looked at an empty plastic soda bottle as you’re throwing it away and wondered where they all end up? In Guatemala, they may become a sturdy wall in a new school.

Students, teachers and parents in the northern municipality of Raxruhá joined an innovative program that creates “eco-bricks,” in which plastic water and soda bottles are filled with inorganic plastic trash that can be used to create a variety of structures, from trashcans to classrooms.

These schools have been so successful in the program -- called Educational Program for Environmental Protection and Awareness -- that they were recognized for their commitment on June 20, 2011. The program has taken off in over 30 urban and rural schools within the Raxruhá municipality, and it is raising awareness about environmental protection among some 3,200 students.

Counterpart co-hosted the awards ceremony as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Community Tourism Alliance project, which encourages schools and communities to reduce, reuse and recycle through a combination of environmental education and solid waste management activities. (...)



Religion and spirituality



Webinar: Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa - July 13, 10:00 am U.S. central time

Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko will address the composition of the African Interfaith movement. The issue of peacemaking is crucial for organizing communities because it is a common value shared by the diverse religious traditions in Africa. Dr. Noko will give concrete examples of how communities have moved beyond dialogue to taking action for peace, mobilizing young people, women and entire communities around specific projects. IFAPA is genuinely rooted in the tested African traditions and approaches to peacemaking.

Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko is currently the president of Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA), a body that is seeking to promote peace and stability in the context of Africa by pulling together the resources of the religious communities. IFAPA was the recipient of the Carus Award at the 2009 Parliament for outstanding contribution to the interreligious movement.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. System Requirements PC-based attendees Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server  Macintosh®-based attendees Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Yoga can help Catholics connect more deeply with God, say practitioners

Washington (CNS), 1st July -- Sister Margaret Perron, a Religious of Jesus and Mary, trades her habit and rolls out her mat for Father Tom Ryan's yoga and Christian meditation class at St. Paul's College in Washington. Carefully choreographed yoga-prayers allow participants to "embody a prayer," Father Ryan tells his classes. He said that they may have been praying a prayer their whole life, but by saying the prayer in conjunction with different postures, they can more fully understand and appreciate the words they are saying. Participants in Father Ryan's class go through a series of yoga poses inspired by prayers as they pray and listen to traditional liturgical songs.

Sister Margaret was searching for a new form of exercise when she learned about Father Ryan's class from a friend. "It really spoke to me on the spiritual level," she told Catholic News Service. Father Ryan, a Paulist priest and author of several books that connect Christian spirituality to the body, is one of the nation's foremost proponents of yoga as a tool for Christian prayer and spirituality.



Culture and education



The “European Heritage Alliance 3.3” launched in Amsterdam

 Brussels, 7 July – The “European Heritage Alliance 3.3.” was recently launched by more than 25 European and International networks and organisations active in the wider field of cultural heritage on the occasion of the European Heritage Congress 2011 organised by Europa Nostra in Amsterdam.

These organisations and networks bring together Europe’s civil society organisations, historic cities and villages, museums, heritage professionals and volunteers, (private) owners of collections of artefacts, historic buildings and cultural landscapes, educators, town planners, etc. The “European Heritage Alliance 3.3” thus represents a very large constituency composed of tens of millions of Europe’s citizens. Europa Nostra, the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe, will be acting as facilitator of the newly created alliance.

As first concrete steps of their joint action, the European Heritage Alliance “3.3” decided to endorse the “we are more” campaign launched by the Culture Action Europe in strategic partnership with the European Cultural Foundation. This campaign urges the EU Institutions to allocate adequate financial resources for culture - in particular through the future Culture Programme and Structural Funds - in the period 2014-2020. 

Press contact: Louise van Rijckevorsel, European Affairs, Europa Nostra’s Brussels Office:


Ecovillages and Sustainable Living Conference 2011 -  July 7 to 11, Tamera, Portugual

This conference will give participants a deeper understanding of cutting edge developments of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), focusing on GEN-Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Opportunities will be provided to learn about and practice facilitation methods and pedagogies used during the conference (experiential learning, action learning, participatory learning, incorporating the wisdom and diversity of participants). This year there will be a special focus on the dimension of education.

Ecovillages act as research and training centres for sustainable development within wider society. The hosting Ecovillage of Tamera serves as a living example and field of practice for the themes of the conference. The themes of this year’s conference include:

•Collaborations for Sustainability – Inspirations from the Global Ecovillage Network

•Widening networks for Resilience – Broadening the concept of 'Ecovillage'

•Education for Sustainability - GEN-Strategies

Ecovillage Design Education – Gaia Education. Presentation of the new two-year curriculum ‘Transition to Resilience – Learning Adventure for Change Agents’.  Children and Youth.


High-level meeting of UN Economic and Social Council to focus on education

1 July – Making education accessible for all will be the focus of a United Nations conference in Geneva next week that will bring together representatives from governments, international organizations, civil society and academia to discuss ways of ensuring everyone has an opportunity to acquire knowledge. Delegates at the High-level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will discuss how to accelerate progress towards achieving the goal of education for all and look into ways of promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, while exploring policies that governments can pursue to achieve those objectives.

Nikhil Seth, the Director of ECOSOC’s Office for Support and Coordination, said in an interview with the UN News Centre. “In Latin America and the Caribbean, the problems are of a totally different nature. There it is a struggle for equality… a struggle of not essentially looking at primary education, but looking at ways in which you can enhance secondary and tertiary education to ensure higher quality of learning and learning outcomes,” he added. “We trying to bring in all these regional perspectives for a process by which we can share this information and best practices can be learned and shared with everyone.”  (…)


Kenyan lakes, Japanese islands and Australian coast added to UN Heritage List

New York, June 24 - The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, Australia’s Ningaloo Coast and the Ogasawara Islands of Japan were today added to the World Heritage List, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported.

For more details go to UN News Centre at


Pakistan: New schools open after flooding

Education International welcomes the opening of new schools in rural parts of Pakistan which were devastated by flooding last July. New three-classroom primary schools have been established in the Southern Punjab province to replace those schools that were destroyed in the worst flooding to hit Pakistan in 80 years. In the village of Mullan Walla, which is in Muzaffargarh District, each new classroom is well-equipped with desks, chairs and a blackboard, along with learning materials like books, notebooks and learning games.

The school is one of six prototype Transitional School Structures, built to varying designs that are being set up in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces. These temporary schools represent a significant move from the emergency response phase of the flood disaster towards early recovery, and are a key component of the United Nations' Delivering as One programme. UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Dan Rohrmann, who opened the latest school, said: "It is critical that learning continues during humanitarian responses in order to create some normality for children during times of crisis".


Ghana: Teachers' union launches anti-child labour handbook

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) launched a handbook to prevent child labour in Ghana as part of the World Day Against Child Labour initiative. The book was launched on 29 June at the GNAT Hall in Accra, Ghana and featured speaker such as government officials and international union leaders.

The opening remarks were made by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Honorary E.T. Mensah, who discussed the government’s commitment to eliminating child labour through an action plan and parental accountability laws. The launch was chaired by Mr. Tom Badiako, who spoke about his mother’s experiences as a victim of debt bondage. He also noted that the handbook helps clear misunderstandings about child labour and will hopefully turn child labour prevention into a matter of social justice, not simply charity work. The General Secretary of GNAT addressed the connection between education and child labour. She noted that eliminating child labour would help keep youth in school, saying, “When child labour thrives, education suffers.” Furthermore, she reminded the audience that eliminating child labour and promoting education are written in the Ghana Constitution and therefore a national responsibility. (…) The ILO/IPEC representative praised Ghana’s youth for being involved in the manual’s launch and discussed ILO/IPEC’s goals for eliminating child labour. She described a global action plan to end child labour by 2015, but reiterated that it was crucial for governments to be committed to this goal as well.


Education and Youth Work for Peace

World Day for Peace 2012 on Youth for Global Peace

The Pope is dedicating the 45th World Day of Peace, January 1st 2012, to the duty to educate the young in promoting peace and the common good. A statement from the Vatican announced the theme: "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace." The communiqué noted that this topic "engages an urgent need in the world today to listen to and enhance the important role of new generations in the realization of the common good, and in the affirmation of a just and peaceful social order where fundamental human rights can be fully expressed and realized."

The Vatican communiqué spoke of the present generation‟s duty to prepare the next generation: "creating for them the conditions that will allow these future generations to express freely and responsibly the urgency for a 'new world.'" The communiqué said public policy makers need to create laws and institutions "permeated by a transcendent humanism," such that new generations have the opportunity to find fulfilment, with possibilities of good jobs, education, etc.

The World Day of Peace has been linked to youth in the past: by Blessed John Paul II in 1985 ("Peace and Youth Go Forward Together"), in 1979 ("To Reach Peace, Teach Peace"), and in 2004 ("An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace"). "Young persons must labour for justice and peace in a complex and globalized world," the communiqué affirmed. "It is therefore necessary to establish a new 'pedagogical alliance' among all those responsible for the education and formation of young people." The full text is available at:




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Next issue: 22 July 2011.

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

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