Good News Agency – Year XII, n° 190



Weekly – Year XII, number 190 – 22nd 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



UN welcomes South Sudan as 193rd Member State

New York, July 14 - The General Assembly today admitted the Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd member of the United Nations, welcoming the newly independent country to the community of nations.

South Sudan’s independence from the rest of Sudan is the result of the January 2011 referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South.

The latest country to join the world body had until now been Montenegro, which became the 192nd UN Member State on 28 June 2006, just weeks after it gained its independence from Serbia. 


Botswana ratifies cluster bomb ban

29 June – The Republic of Botswana ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 June 2011, becoming the 58th State Party. Botswana participated in the Oslo Process that established the Convention and sought a comprehensive and immediate ban during the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. Botswana participated in the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010.

Botswana has stated that it has not used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions, and has no areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants.

Botswana will formally become a State Party on 1 December 2011, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention. Botswana is the sixth State Party from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC).

In Africa overall, there are 16 States Parties, 23 countries that have signed but not yet ratified and 15 countries that have not yet joined the Convention.



Human rights



To honour Mandela, UN asks everyone to devote 67 minutes to public service

15 July – To mark the second annual Nelson Mandela International Day, the United Nations is encouraging people around the globe to perform 67 minutes of public service – one minute for every year of the South African leader’s own service to humanity. The call is part of the “Take Action! Inspire Change” campaign by the Mandela Foundation in recognition of the contributions made by Mr. Mandela, as a human rights lawyer, freedom fighter, prisoner of conscience, international peacemaker, and the first democratically-elected president of a free South Africa. In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July – Mr. Mandela’s birthday – “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.


UN: Resolution on the right to education in armed conflict areas

15 July - Education International welcomes a new resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council as a major step forward in preventing attacks and making schools safe for children and education personnel in armed conflict situations.

Photo by Caroll Mitchell via Flickr schools_131073266813107326681223.jpg


The new resolution was passed on 12 July by the UN Security Council which is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, exercised through resolutions, include establishment of peacekeeping operations, international sanctions and the authorisation of military action. The resolution calls on the UN Secretary-General to report about parties to armed conflict that attack schools and hospitals and/or their personnel, or threaten to do so. It also calls for UN monitoring of the military use of schools and hospitals. Parties that attack these institutions will be required to negotiate with the UN to create time-bound action plans to stop these abuses.


First UN Human Rights office opens in Tunisia

New York, July 14 -  The United Nations today opened its first human rights office in Tunisia, with the world body’s top rights official lauding the country for inspiring the quest for political reform and human dignity across North Africa and the Middle East with its own popular uprising earlier this year. “The whole world watched with amazement and growing respect as Tunisians kept demanding your rights, refusing to be cowed by the repression, the arrests, the torture and all the injuries and tragic loss of life that occurred,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, as she opened the office in the capital, Tunis.

The new office is not only the first in Tunisia, but also the first one in any of the five North African countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Ms. Pillay noted that although the Tunisian transition was also far from over, great strides had already been made since the ouster of the long-standing regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali earlier this year. In the past three weeks alone, she said, Tunisia had ratified four important international treaties, including three in a single day – the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances, all ratified on 29 June.

A week earlier, on 24 June, Tunisia had become the 116th State to ratify the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the first country in North Africa to do so.


Liberia: ADRA continues to help improve the lives of Ivorian refugees

July 12 – Silver Spring, Md., USA - Internal conflict stemming from a tumultuous election result between opposing political parties in Cote d'Ivoire has triggered an exodus of Ivorian refugees to seek safety in nearby countries such as Liberia. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to assist Ivorian refugees through an emergency response focusing on agricultural training and sexual and gender based violence services (SGBV).

Due to the intense scale of SGBV that has been reported in Ziah Town, ADRA Liberia is establishing an SGBV center that will provide psycho-social counseling to survivors of SGBV and mental trauma. The need for such a service is in high demand as SGBV can likely lead to long-term, mental and physical distress.



Economy and development



Johnson & Johnson launches Healthy Future 2015, its citizenship and sustainability goals

Company establishes sustainability priorities for next five years and launches New responsibility website

New Brunswick, N.J., USA, July 14 - As 2011 marks the 125th year of Johnson & Johnson, today the company announced the launch of Healthy Future 2015, a five-year strategic roadmap for its citizenship and sustainability priorities. Healthy Future 2015 encompasses the broadest and boldest goals to date for Johnson & Johnson in both environmental and non-environmental areas.

Healthy Future 2015 extends the Company's commitment to help address global health needs with goals ranging from targeting affordable access to HIV and TB therapies for populations in some of the least-developed countries of the world, to donating medicines for treating intestinal worms in more than 30 countries where prevalence is high. These targets align with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Company's commitments to date.

Aggressive absolute reduction targets of CO2 emissions, water usage and waste disposal are supplemented by product stewardship goals that will help the company strive to introduce at least 60 products that meet the company's rigorous sustainability innovation criteria.


EC and Rome-based UN Agencies sign Strategic Framework of Cooperation

Rome, 27 June – The European Commission (EC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (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.

The four partners are unanimously committed to an adequate monitoring and evaluation of the Strategic Framework of Cooperation to ensure that it will genuinely lead to increased efficiency and more importantly to improve the economic and social well-being of the one billion people who live in chronic hunger.


Relief International introduces “bob” to Ugandans

Bob was developed through Relief International as an affordable way for poor households to collect and store rainwater.  The way it works is this: RI staff members check up on clients, use field testing and focus groups to continue to improve the bob prototypes.  While 266 Ugandan households currently have functional bobs installed, Relief International hopes this number will exceed 1,000 by the end of 2011—and spread to the rest of the world.

Ugandan families that receive clean water through this revolutionary water collection system enjoy the benefits of a rain water bag that not only utilizes natural resources, but also optimizes financial resources. Bob only costs $54 USD, and allows women to spend more time working outside the home, in roles that enable them to work and earn money.  Those who have benefited from bob have found not only relief from long trips to water holes, but also improved health and more time to use on other work – both in and outside the home.

Relief International is a humanitarian non-profit agency that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, development assistance, and program services to vulnerable communities worldwide.






Ministerial-level meeting to address drought crisis

Horn of Africa to be focus of 25 July session in Rome

21 July - FAO is convening an emergency ministerial-level meeting on Monday 25 July 2011 to address deteriorating drought conditions in the Horn of Africa and several other regions worldwide.

Organized at the request of the French Government, currently chairing the G20, the meeting will look at possible measures to address the crisis, which is affecting food supplies and prices in several countries. The meeting itself does not intend to be a pledging conference.

In a special report published on 20 July 2011, the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network officially declared a state of famine in two regions of southern Somalia. The report warns that in the next one or two months famine will become widespread throughout southern Somalia.

Technical background papers will be published on this webpage as they become available.


UN airlift arrives with vital aid for Somali refugees in Kenya

New York, July 17 - The first in a series of emergency airlift flights arrived in the Kenyan capital on Sunday as part of the efforts of the United Nations refugee agency to assist the hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.

The giant cargo jet chartered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that landed in Nairobi brought with it 100 tonnes of tents that are destined for the Dadaab refugee camp complex near the Kenya-Somalia border. The airlift will support UNHCR's efforts to help more than 430,000 Somali refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia, including 164,000 who have arrived in the two countries since the beginning of the year. Some 3,000 continue to arrive daily, fleeing continuing insecurity, drought and hunger in Somalia, the agency noted in a news release.

Today's flight is the first of five scheduled for Nairobi this week.

Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

UN agencies have asked for $1.6 billion to pay for essential programmes in the Horn of Africa, but have only received half that amount. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti are all facing a crisis that is being called the worst in 50 years. For more details go to UN News Centre at:


Save the Children feeding malnourished Somali children awaiting registration into Southern Ethiopia refugee camp

Westport, Conn., USA, July 15 - Save the Children has started feeding malnourished Somali refugee children in a preregistration site and a transit center during their wait to be registered in refugee camps in southern Ethiopia. With more than 2,000 Somalis crossing into Ethiopia every day at the Dolo Ado border crossing, the two sites have grown to more than 20,000 people. Once they complete their registration at these two sites, they will join the refugees in the nearby camps whose numbers have swollen to more than 100,000 in the last few weeks.

Because of the overwhelming numbers of new arrivals, many Somalis wait days or weeks in the preregistration site and transit centers before they are registered. Save the Children is feeding thousands of the newly arrived children waiting to be registered with a simple porridge made from corn soy blend. This nutritious meal is crucial for children and their parents who have little access to food while waiting to be registered.

The number of Somalis in need of emergency humanitarian assistance is now 2.85 million, or about 1 in 3 Somalis. In Dolo Ado, more than 23,000 new refugees arrived in the month of June alone.


UN welcomes opening of new camp for Somali refugees in Kenya

New York, Jul 15 - The head of the United Nations refugee agency today welcomed the decision by Kenya to open a new camp set up to ease congestion in the Dadaab refugee settlement where an influx of people fleeing drought and conflict in Somalia has swelled the refugee population to nearly 440,000. In separate letters to Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres applauded the decision to allow the opening of the camp and pledged the continued support of his agency (UNHCR).

UNHCR plans to begin a massive airlift at the weekend to bring additional tents and other relief supplies to the Dadaab refugee complex, which is spread over 50 square-kilometre area in the arid Kenyan region. Some 60,000 new refugees have arrived in Dadaab from Somalia since the beginning of the year.

The airlift, starting with a Boeing 747 flight carrying 100 tonnes of tents from UNHCR stockpiles in Kuwait, is expected to deliver its first consignment to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Sunday. It will be followed by at least six subsequent flights over the next two weeks from UNHCR’s stocks in Islamabad, Pakistan, which will bring in an additional 600 tonnes of tents in total.


Victoria's Secret and Limited Brands Foundation raises more Than $200,000 for Pelotonia at Supermodel Cycle

Columbus, Ohio, USA, July 13 - Victoria's Secret and its Angels, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, Lindsay Ellingson & Erin Heatherton cycled away at the first-ever Supermodel Cycle fundraiser held at SoulCycle in New York which brought in more than $100,000 for Pelotonia - a grassroots bike ride that raises money for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (The James).

Limited Brands, parent company of Victoria's Secret, is a lead sponsor of Pelotonia. Every dollar raised at Supermodel Cycle will be matched by the Limited Brands Foundation which will bring the total donation to more than $200,000. One hundred percent of the money raised for Pelotonia goes to The James, which is one of the nation's leading cancer research facilities.


Horn of Africa: ADRA delivers food & water in the midst of severe drought

July 12  Silver Spring, Md., USA - ADRA's Africa Regional Office is launching a multi-faceted intervention in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda to combat the high rates of malnutrition and protect the affected population from the threat of the spread of waterborne diseases. An estimated 85,000 individuals will benefit directly from this response.

Over the past 12 months, the rain season has failed in some areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. The late arrival of the seasonal long rains proved to be insufficient as they were less than one-third the normal amount, leaving pasture lands parched and endangering the lives of humans and livestock with inadequate sources of water for consumption. In combination with the worldwide rise in food prices, hunger levels and malnutrition rates have risen as high as five times beyond emergency levels.  Of the nearly 10 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, more than half are children.


Melbourne club partners with homeless agency to provide shelter for city’s poor

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary International News, 11 July – More than 65 people in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, have a roof over their heads after moving into the newly built Elizabeth Street Common Ground, a facility that provides affordable apartments, mental health services, employment assistance, and medical referrals to the homeless.

In partnership with HomeGround Services, the city's largest homeless support agency, the Rotary Club of Melbourne raised US$32,000 to furnish rooms in the facility. More than 40 club members each spent 35 days last year moving and assembling furniture and preparing apartments for the tenants. "This project brings the community together in so many ways," says Philip Endersbee, 2010-11 president of the Melbourne club. "Businesses, neighbors, and tenants have all become involved. Everyone in the community feels a bit of ownership."

The Elizabeth Street Common Ground opened in August with 161 apartments on 11 floors, and a 24-hour concierge. The initiative, based on projects in New York City, provides housing for individuals who became homeless because of drug addiction, mental illness, physical disability, or job loss. Endersbee says helping the homeless is now one of his club's top priorities, and will be a backbone of its community involvement for years to come. (...) The Melbourne club's work with the homeless was nominated as a ProjectLINK model project. ProjectLINK model projects provide examples of best practices and can introduce clubs to a variety of creative ideas.


24,318 cubic meters of water

That is how much water DanChurchAid and partner, East Jerusalem YMCA – Women’s Training Program have created for the Bedouins in the desert of Bethlehem.

8 July – 51 agricultural cisterns have been rehabilitated for agricultural purposes (such as drinking water for animals and irrigation of land) and 50 household cisterns have been constructed to provide clean drinking water for the families, who are otherwise not connected to a water network. The project has benefitted around 31,500 people around Bethlehem, who used to pay up to 80 NIS (around 16 EUR) per cubic meter of water brought in by water tanks from the nearest filling point.

The project has in large parts been implemented by the Bedouins themselves as DanChurchAid (DCA) and East Jerusalem YMCA – Women’s Training Program (EJ YMCA-WTP) have paid unskilled workers to clean and plaster the, sometimes, thousands of years old cisterns – a term referred to as cash for work. This has provided much needed income for the Bedouin population, who are among the poorest in the West Bank.



Peace and security



Nelson Mandela International Day - 18 July

"We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference."  - Nelson Mandela

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.


UN and national police launch anti-crime operation in Haitian capital

15 July – The United Nations and the Haitian National Police (HNP) have launched a joint security operation to crack down on criminal activity in key areas of the capital, Port-au-Prince. “Operation Phoenix” was launched yesterday in the neighbourhoods of Bel Air, Cité Soleil and Martissant, according to a news release issued by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The mission sent more than 2,100 peacekeepers into the three neighbourhoods as part of the operation, which is designed to help the Haitian authorities provide security and stability for the residents of Port-au-Prince. “We want to show the population that MINUSTAH, according to its mandate, remains determined to fight against crime in Haiti, in support of Haitian authorities,” Major-General Luiz Ramos, the mission’s Force Commander, underscored.

MINUSTAH, with over 12,000 military and police personnel currently deployed around the country, has been on the ground since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest.


Annual report of UNOY Peacebuilders now online!

11 July - You can now download and read our 2010 annual activity report, which presents our members, projects, and achivements.

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) is a global network of young people and youth organisations committed to establishing peaceful societies. UNOY Peacebuilders is a non-political, non-religious, non-governmental organisation that welcomes youth peace initiatives/ organisations and young peacebuilders regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, religion, or any other distinction.


Groundbreaking Holocaust study program opens for Israeli Arab teachers:

Recognizing the historical experience of the Jewish people

Givat Haviva's Northern Branch in Sakhnin has opened a fourth session of its groundbreaking program "Holocaust Study: Recognizing the Historical Experience of the Jewish People."  Designed to enrich the knowledge and understanding of Israeli Arab high school educators regarding the Holocaust, the course includes 112 hours of study and has been officially approved by the Israeli Ministry of Education. 160 teachers from northern Israel have participated in the program to date, gaining unique insight into the historical experience and collective memory of their Jewish neighbors, which they impart to hundreds of Israeli Arab students in their classrooms.

 The overall aim of the program is to contribute to the creation of a shared society and improved Jewish-Arab relations based upon the mutual recognition the historical experience of "the other".


Applied Conflict Transformation course - skills and strategies for engaging with conflict

24 – 28 October, Johannesburg, South Africa. Closing date for applications: 31 August

ACTION for Conflict Transformation is a global network of individuals and organisations working for sustainable peace.  In Africa the ACTION Support Centre, through its Skills and Strategies for Change programme aims to be a resource for African wisdom and expertise able to respond effectively to the deep-rooted social conflicts across the continent. It connects people working for peace and development, human rights and social transformation, in Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone countries throughout Africa. The Applied Conflict Transformation Course has been designed by a team of conflict and development specialists and aims to enhance and support the work of practitioners and policy makers affected by conflict and tension.






Rotarians play key role in Pakistan’s strategy to end polio

By Dan Nixon 

Rotary International News, 21 July - otarians are in the forefront of the drive to implement Pakistan’s National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication 2011. The government launched the plan in January, in response to a sharp increase in polio cases in the country in 2010.  

Turning the tide against the disease in Pakistan is pivotal to the success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative . Pakistan was the only one of the world’s four polio-endemic countries -- the others are Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria -- to see an increase in cases last year: 144 compared with 89 in 2009.  

Rotarians assigned by the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee are mobilizing Rotary clubs to provide support in the country’s four provinces. Rotarians are helping to immunize children against polio and to raise public awareness of the disease.  Club members are working “to cover every nook and corner of the country,” says Aziz Memon, chair of the committee. “We are committed to a polio-free Pakistan.” Rotarians are also advocating for polio eradication among officials at all levels of government, as well as religious leaders and others. 

"Aziz Memon is a participant in meetings with the president, regional governors, and health advisers,” said Bill Gates at the 2011 RI Convention in May. “Rotary’s in the room when decisions are made in Pakistan.” Gates is cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has awarded US$355 million in challenge grants to Rotary for polio eradication efforts.


DNDi launches new drug development programme to address treatment needs of children with HIV/AIDS

Rome/Geneva, 18 July – Today at the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced the launch of a new drug development programme to address critical unmet treatment needs of children with HIV/AIDS.

Because HIV transmission in young children has largely been eliminated in high-income countries due to effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions, little market incentive exists for pharmaceutical companies to develop antiretroviral (ARV) drugs adapted for children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all HIV-positive children less than two years old, but the safety and correct dosing of key ARVs have not been established in very young children, and appropriate child-adapted formulations do not exist.


Local authorities take charge of water services in Haiti

14 July – The Haitian National Red Cross Society (HNRCS) and its international partners have handed over management of its water supply projects to DINEPA, the Haitian government’s water authority. The HNRCS, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the American Red Cross, has finalised an agreement with the National Directorate for Water and Sanitation of the Republic of Haiti - Direction Nationale de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement (DINEPA), the Government water and sanitation agency to transition the provision of water supply, back to the authorities.

As part of the multi-million dollar agreement the National Society and partners will provide technical, material and financial support to increase DINEPA’s capacity to provide improved water and sanitation services to the population, mainly within Port-au-Prince.

The Red Cross will provide 15 water trucks and three desludging trucks and will support DINEPA with financial support and training.


Uganda free of maternal and neonatal tetanus, UNICEF reports

New York, July 14 - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has lauded the efforts of Uganda, which has become the 20th country since 2000 to have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT).   

A UN-supported programme targeted 25 high-risk districts in Uganda and vaccinated close to two million women of child bearing age between 2002 and 2009, the agency said in a news release issued yesterday.    

In compliance with the UN World Health Organization’s guidelines, the most at-risk district for MNT in a given country must have no recorded cases for a specific period of time in order to claim elimination. In 2010, Uganda reported it had eliminated the disease – and this year, a validation survey has taken place, confirming Uganda’s elimination campaign has been successful.


New advances for HIV treatment and prevention

Amid recent concerns over trade agreements preventing the manufacture of cheap pharmaceuticals in India, two announcements this week bring hope to HIV/AIDS patients in the developing world

July 13 - The Medicines Patent Pool, a project designed for drug makers to allow low-income countries to make low-cost generic versions of HIV medicines, has had its first major pharmaceutical company join—Gilead Sciences. While the pool excludes several middle-income countries, it is still a landmark step for the treatment of HIV and AIDS for those unable to afford expensive medicines. Out of an estimated 9 million people in need of treatment in low-income countries, approximately 6.6 million currently have access to treatment.

Further, two new African studies released this week reveal that a daily dose of AIDS drugs among vulnerable populations can cut the transmission of HIV by more than half. The new study centered on people in Africa who are most at risk, heterosexual men and women. Previous research has focused on more marginalized groups—women, male homosexuals and people whose regular sex partners are HIV-positive. The new studies were conducted in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana.


A new national Red Cross society for a new nation in South Sudan

8 July, Juba - On the eve of the declaration of Independence by the Republic of South Sudan, the IFRC announces the establishment of a new national Red Cross society – the South Sudan Red Cross. It will be formed of staff and volunteers who have until this day worked for the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, which continues to operate in Sudan. The secession of South Sudan from the north, as determined by a referendum in January 2011, paved the way for a new National Society in the south.

The South Sudan Red Cross will be headquartered in Juba, with ten state branches offering emergency response, first aid, health and care, and water sanitation services across the country. As their first act, volunteers will provide first aid services during the Independence celebrations on 9 July.


Training for rehabilitation specialists from Egypt

July 4 – International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) has, in cooperation with the University Rehabilitation Institute Republic of Slovenia (URI-Soča), successfully concluded second training for rehabilitation professionals from Egypt on 24 June. Through the donation of Republic of Slovenia URI-Soča provided a specialized training on rehabilitation services for one multidisciplinary rehabilitation team consisting of five members from National Institute of Neuro-Motor System Imbaba, Giza, Egypt.


Wheelchairs for Jordan

At Al-Hussein Society for the Disabled, a team of experts gathers every day to produce artificial limbs and walking aids in the organization’s very own workshop

July - Kareem Ziad al-Mufleh, 49 years old, carefully smooths the surface of a plastic leg and examines it, his fingers searching for any imperfections. After his meticulous work, artificial limbs, body and limb braces are lined up around the workshop. They are destined to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities. Since 1979 the non-governmental organization Al-Hussein Society (AHS) has worked in the field of physical challenges, focusing on the rehabilitation and education of the physically challenged in Jordan. 

The 200 wheelchairs delivered by ANERA were provided by Hope Haven, which also provided 584 other humanitarian aid items, including wheelchair parts and patient rehab items such as walkers, crutches, and canes. The donated wheelchairs have been a great help to Kareem, who was recently forced to do his job from a wheelchair after a hard fall three years ago broke his leg.

ANERA is a leading provider of health, development, and education programs in the Middle East. Incorporated in 1968 to help ease the suffering of Palestinian refugees after the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, ANERA is non-political and non-religious and is one of the largest American non-profits working solely in the Middle East for 40 years.



Energy and safety



U.S. Department of Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Partners launch project to improve wind forecasting

July 18 - Furthering the Obama Administration's goal to generate 80% of our Nation's electricity from clean energy resources by 2035, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and private partners today launched a project to improve wind forecasting. More accurate forecasting of wind will accelerate the use of wind power in electricity transmission networks by allowing utilities and grid operators to more accurately forecast when, where, and how much electricity will be generated from wind.

The Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) focuses on improving forecast accuracy for large changes in wind speed over periods of time in the range of an hour or less, which will help utilities plan the mix of electricity generators in operation on an hourly basis and ultimately reduce costs. With better forecasting from projects such as WFIP, utilities can more reliably connect variable power sources including wind energy with electricity grids. 


Ban congratulates Brazilian-Argentine Agency for work on nuclear non-proliferation

New York, July 18 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) for its 20 years of working for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

“ABACC has made a very substantial contribution to regional nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by providing for a sound regional framework for the application of International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] safeguards and facilitated the entry into force of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the nuclear-weapon-free zone encompassing of the entire Latin America and the Caribbean region,” the statement said.

Brazil and Argentina signed the Guadalajara Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy (Bilateral Agreement), in which created the ABACC, in June 1991.  It calls for information exchanges and inspections.

Brazil, Argentina, the IAEA and the ABACC signed an agreement on 13 December 1991 that consolidated the system for application of safeguards that is currently in force in both countries.


UN-backed report shows strong performance by renewable energy sector

New York, July 13 - The renewable energy sector has continued to perform well despite the global economic slowdown, cuts in incentives, and low natural-gas prices, according to a United Nations-backed report unveiled today, which shows that the sector supplied an estimated 16 per cent of global energy last year.

The sector also delivered close to 20 per cent of the world’s electricity production, according to the report commissioned by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), whose secretariat is supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“The global performance of renewable energy despite headwinds has been a positive constant in turbulent times, said Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21’s Steering Committee.

Global solar power generation doubled last year compared to the previous year, thanks to government incentive programmes and the continued fall in the price of Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, according to the “Renewables 21: Global Status Report”. Germany installed more PV in 2010 than the entire world added in 2009.  PV markets in Japan and the United States almost doubled relative to 2009.

Globally, wind power added the most new capacity, followed by hydropower and solar PV, but for the first time ever, Europe added more PV than wind capacity.


San Francisco launches Solar@Work: innovative model creates breakthrough in solar 39

More than 2 Megawatts of new solar installations expected, making solar power accessible to businesses in the Bay Area without local rebates

13 July - The City of San Francisco launched Solar@Work, a new program that offers solar energy systems to businesses in the Bay Area through an innovative group purchase model. The new program makes it possible, for the first time, for small- and mid-sized businesses and commercial property owners to pay less for solar power than they pay for electricity from the grid, without local rebates. This can allow some business owners to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetimes of these solar power systems. As the first major commercial group purchase of solar power in the United States, Solar@Work will bring together interested participants to buy more than 2 Megawatts (MW) of solar power over the next 6 months.

The Solar@Work model was developed by the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment (SF Environment), in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Optony.



Environment and wildlife



New fund for livestock biodiversity management at FAO

Will offer grants to developing countries

21 July, Rome - Germany, Norway and Switzerland have contributed a first donation of $1,000,000 to a new, FAO-managed fund designed to help developing countries conserve and sustainably use their livestock breeds.

The fund will provide financing for individual projects submitted by countries in support of the internationally-agreed Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The plan, adopted by all FAO member countries in 2007, has become a key instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources at global, regional and national level.

Innovative selection process - Any developing country may put forward projects for financing by the fund, which is due to become operational in September. "The money will be disbursed on the basis of letters of agreement between applicant countries and FAO, following an innovative, transparent and impartial selection process led by FAO's Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture," says Linda Collette, the Secretary of the Commission.

Some 21 percent of the world's more than 8000 livestock breeds are classified as at risk of extinction. But since the Global Plan of Action went into force, countries' reporting on breeds' population status is improving and points to a slowing of the reported rate of extinction.


CSE’s Green Schools Awards, 2010-11 - Once again, rural, semi-urban and government schools corner most of the awards

These schools have taken up rainwater harvesting, use of public transport, waste management and conservation of energy as long-term actions

New Delhi, July 15 - Two little known schools from Andhra Pradesh grabbed the eyeballs – and the top Gobar Times Green Schools awards – in the fifth edition of the keenly contested environmental honours here today. These awards are conferred every year by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to recognise schools in India that excel in their natural resource management. The 2010-11 awards were given away by Shiela Dikshit, chief minister of Delhi and members of Indian Ocean, the iconic contemporary rock band.

The awards are being given out since 2006 under CSE’s Green Schools Programme (GSP). Under this programme, schools across India carry out rigorous self-audit on environmental practices within their own premises, following a set of guidelines issued by CSE.


WWF and UniCredit partnership leads to new company

7 July – WWF (through the WWF-Italy Foundation) and UniCredit have created Officinae Verdi, the first company in Europe to use a unique formula that combines finance, technology and environmental sustainability to reduce emissions and energy consumption among the public and businesses. The company will invest in energy-saving schemes and renewable energy resources management, offering families, businesses and public administrations the opportunity to reduce energy bills and CO2 emissions.

The company,which will start operating in late September 2011, will have its headquarters in Rome and includes Solon, European leader in photovoltaic technology, as the technology partner.

Each of the three groups owns one-third of the company’s shares. WWF-Italy’s Foundation will monitor the environmental impact of projects, UniCredit will provide financial consulting and products targeted to renewables and energy saving investments, and Solon will provide technology and logistics.

An Energy Desk service will lead customers through all technical and administrative steps including planning, setting up, testing and energy certification of households and companies.



Religion and spirituality




Dilatato Corde, An Expanded Heart: a new online journal of interreligious spirituality

by Leo Lefebure, CPWR Trustee

Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIM/MID) recently launched a new online journal dedicated to exploring interreligious dialogue concerning spirituality and religious experience. The multi-language journal provides a forum for interreligious exchanges concerning prayer and contemplation, spiritual experience, and the spirituality of interreligious dialogue, including contemporary personal testimonies as well as academic and historical studies. The new journal takes its name from a phrase in the prologue of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which invites readers to follow the path of God’s commandments “with an expanded heart.”

Dilatato Corde, as the journal is known, appears twice a year free of charge at In the Foreword of the second issue, dated July 1, 2011, editor-in-chief Pierre-Francois de Bethune, OSB, considers the significance of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, convoked by Pope John Paul II at Assisi in 1986 and also of the upcoming gathering in Assisi next October. De Bethune recalls a comment made to him in 1986 by a Zoroastrian participant, Homi Dhalla: “From now on I will not be able to pray as before; I will always be in communion with all those who pray.” A number of essays share personal experiences of transformation in dialogue. (...)

Some authors consider the meaning of another religion’s perspectives for their own practice. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Delegate to the League of Arab States, reflects on the significance for Christians of Muslim veneration of the Ninety-nine Most Beautiful Names of God. Fitzgerald notes texts from the Qur’an and the Bible that may be conducive to prayer, exploring both the Qur’anic context of the Beautiful Names of God and analogies in the Hebrew Bible, and then offering a Christian reflection in light of the New Testament. Richard Zeikowitz ponders the significance of the teachings of the Rule of Saint Benedict in light of his personal experiences of Tibetan Buddhist and Christian monasticism.

DIM/MID is an international organization of Catholic monastics involved in dialogue with the spiritual and monastic traditions of the world’s religions. For more than half a century, Catholic monastics have been pioneering and developing new forms of spiritual encounter and interreligious dialogue with monastics and practitioners of other religious traditions. (...)


An ecumenical statement on appropriate missionary conduct

28 June - The World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue have issued a joint statement on appropriate missionary conduct  entitled  “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct.”  These three bodies joined together to respond to the increasing interreligious tensions and conflicts in the world today in which Christians are sometimes involved, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, either as those who are persecuted or as those participating in violence,

The statement is the result of a five-year process. It was finalized at a meeting of the  third (inter-Christian) consultation that was held in Bangkok,Thailand, from 25-28, January, 2011, and was released during a public presentation at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 28, 2011. It is available on-line.

A Feature Story from the World Council of Church's news service is available on this link.{5AE743CF-7345-4D94-960E-6E04D5DBB49E}



Culture and education



The Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations™ - New York, 3-5 August 2011

Endorsed and supported by Permanent Missions to the United Nations and affiliated NGOs

The Youth Assembly (YA) demonstrates what committed, global youth leaders can and have accomplished in support of the MDGs. Each year the reviews grow stronger in appreciation for what the Youth Assembly offers and what it proves we can all do together.

The program will include: plenary sessions, workshops, round table discussions, networking; renowned speakers and expert workshop facilitators; young leaders from around the world. Participants will focus on Youth-Led Development toward the success of the Millennium Development Goals.  They will engage in discussions and workshops with specialists on issues pertaining to the eight goals. 

The Youth Assembly shows how one person can make a difference by engaging with present-day challenges through education and active citizen diplomacy. It provides avenues for students and young professionals to learn about and become involved with programs that address the global issues resonant in the MDGs, network among the large, international delegate presence, and become engaged and empowered to take leadership roles in their home communities.

Awards will be assigned to a selection of candidates for Youth Achievement Recognition by the 9th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations. All candidates are 16-18 year old Youth Achievers who have contributed to humanitarian service or the success of the 8 UN Millennium Development Goals.

Previous Assembly, the 8th Annual Youth Assembly, January 20-21 2011 by the numbers: 40+ countries represented • 600+ attended (over registered 3rd year in a row) • 35+ Missions endorsed or visited. One of the participants, Andrew Septimus, Algae Systems (Biodiversity, startup social enterprise) wrote: "The participants at the Youth Assembly are exceptional. You could witness faces shining with inspiration and minds racing with deep thoughts when enlightened and challenged with new ideas that benefit the global community. The energy that was created was mirrored off each participant creating a brilliant glow in an exciting environment that promises action."


In Gaza, children at UN-backed games break world record for hand painting

New York, July 21 - After breaking the world record for the number of people dribbling soccer balls last week, children at the United Nations-organized summer games in Gaza today set another record by creating the largest ever hand painting, a 5,620-square metre mosaic of handprints on canvas.

The previous record of hand-painted impressions stood at 4,355-square metres.

More than 5,000 children, including some with disabilities, took part in the hand painting competition as part of the annual six-week summer games organized by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The printed canvas was unveiled at the Khan Younis stadium in southern Gaza.

 “I had no doubt that the children of Gaza would succeed, as they always do when given the chance”, said Christer Nordahl, UNRWA’s acting Director of Operations in Gaza.


“Teacher training in climate change education is in its infancy”

(EduInfo, July/August) In advance of the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit (Rio+20), UNESCO is launching a Teacher Education Course on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) in late 2011. EduInfo spoke to Professor David Selby and Dr Fumiyo Kagawa of Sustainability Frontiers, an international alliance of sustainability and global educators, who have developed the course for UNESCO.

"What does the new Teacher Education Course on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) hope to achieve?"

Fumiyo: "In a nutshell, the course is designed to give teachers confidence in facilitating  CCESD inside and outside the classroom so that they can help young people understand the causes and consequences of climate change, bring about changes in attitudes and behaviors to reduce  the severity of future climate change, and build resilience  in the face of climate change that are already present." - Full interview on the web site: 


Another nine historic sites added to UN World Heritage list

New York, June 27 - Nine historic sites in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been added to the World Heritage List, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.

UNESCO said the newest entrants are: the ancient villages of northern Syria; the cultural sites of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates; the Persian Garden in Iran, the cultural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana in Spain; the pile dwellings in the European Alps; Selimiye Mosque in Turkey; the Konso cultural landscape in Ethiopia; Fort Jesus in Kenya; and the citadel of the Ho Dynasty in Viet Nam.

A total of 35 nominated sites are being reviewed by the World Heritage Committee, which is holding its 35th session at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, to determine whether they should be added to the <>World Heritage List.


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Next issue, after the August break: 9 September 2011.


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Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian and Portuguese 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.  


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.


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