Good News Agency – Year XII, n° 198
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. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information via Internet*.
signed memorandum of understanding with
On February 16 a new Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) in the amount of 205.812 HRK was signed between the
The latest donation and the
matching funds will be used for demining of pastures,
meadows and arable land in the
2 February -
Records show that since 1999,
54 people have been killed or injured by explosive remnants of war in this Arab
League member state, according to the Cluster Munition
Monitor. About 9km2 of land in
UN Commission on the Status of Women - February 27-March 9
2012 Priority Theme: The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges
Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations
Together with the policy making deliberations the Commission acts as a focal point for a vast number of gatherings at UN HQ, organised by governments, international agencies and NGO's. The list of official parallel events and unofficial NGO events is available online.
UN tribunal welcomes arrest of former member of Serb paramilitary forces
23 January – The United
Nations war crimes tribunal for the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s welcomed the
arrest of Radovan Stankovic, a former member of a
Serb paramilitary unit who faces multiple charges for crimes against humanity.
Mr. Stankovic was arrested over the weekend in
was first indicted by the ICTY, which is based in
20 January –
The Rome Statute, the founding
treaty of the ICC, provides that sentences handed down by judges “shall be
served in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have
indicated to the Court their willingness to accept sentenced persons. In
addition to the agreement with
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide..
Dhaka, 14 February – Between 14 and 16 February, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an anti-crime force, will participate in a training course on humanitarian principles and international human rights law in domestic legislation. The event will be jointly organized by the RAB training department and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Seventy-five officers will take part in the course, which covers international standards governing the use of force and firearms, arrest and detention, and dead-body management in disaster situations. The participants will also learn about the ICRC's mandate and activities, mainly in the areas of protecting detainee rights, tracing missing persons and assisting victims of violence.
In the last three years, the
ICRC has held a number of similar training courses both for the Rapid Action
Battalion and the Bangladesh Police Service. "The RAB views our initiative
as helping it to achieve its aim of complying with human rights law," said
Michael Dynes, the ICRC's police and security
Bill Gates will attend IFAD’s annual meeting to share his prospective on how sustainable productivity improvements can reduce poverty
One of the new aspects of the meeting will be its interactive events, one of which will be led by Bill Gates who will challenge global players and national governments to adopt a new sustainable approach to support smallholder farmers. In December 2011, the Member States gave a boost to sustainable agriculture with 1.5 billion dollars in new contributions to ensure that the IFAD has sufficient resources to do its job for poor rural people worldwide. New programmes and projects started and successful interventions were scaled up: at the end of 2011, IFAD was financing 240 on-going programmes and projects with investments of US$4.6 billion in 94 countries and is introducing climate-smart technologies and sustainable agriculture in more than 40 countries
Urgent emergency UN meeting in Rome to prevent a full-blown crisis in the West Africa region Sahel
February 15, Rome –
The leading figures in the fight against hunger met for
an emergency meeting at WFP’s Rome headquarters to
organize a rapid, coordinated action in the Sahel
region, where more than 8 million people need food assistance. Heads of UN agencies
(WFP, FAO, IFAD, UNDP, OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF and USAID), representatives of
affected governments and major donors stressed that now is the time for action
Harvard offers students $100,000 prize to solve social issues
February15 (Bloomberg News) - Harvard University is challenging students to develop entrepreneurial solutions to problems like global warming and poverty through a $100,000 competition announced today by President Drew Faust.
Students will form teams and tackle one of five issues that will be outlined later this month. The program is designed to foster energy from business-minded students and “focus it on problems that matter,” the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university said in a statement.
The challenge, part of the school’s innovation lab, has a March 19 deadline for proposals. One winner and as many as three runners-up will share the $100,000 grand prize, according to the statement. The winner will be given space, mentoring and resources in the i-lab.
“For generations, Harvard students and faculty have risen to the challenges posed by seemingly intractable problems,” Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber said in the statement.
Over the course of the competition, $50,000 will be distributed to 10 finalists to develop their proposals, according to Harvard’s website. The contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Final project submissions are due in May.
will help to restore
Horn of Africa remains one of the priorities of FAO’s
new Director General but
million dollars IFAD loan to
FAO, Bill Gates eye cooperation on anti-hunger efforts
Greater information, productivity, market access for small farmers key
The philanthropist and digital technology icon met with the head of the specialized UN agency, discussing ways to improve FAO's data collection systems and to develop a public, multi-agency scorecard to better measure the progress of hunger reduction. They also talked about how to boost sustainable productivity and market opportunities for smallholder farmers, who make up the bulk of the world's poor. Possible areas of cooperation include improving agricultural statistics, the use of communication and information technologies to benefit agriculture as a whole, and small-scale farmers in particular, in addition to supporting the development of a scorecard system. During the meeting, Graziano da Silva presented Gates with a permanent building pass to FAO, in a symbolic gesture of FAO's commitment to working closer with the private sector and civil society.
Male/Delhi/Geneva (ICRC/MRC) 17 February – Following the recent political unrest in the country, the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and the ICRC are providing humanitarian assistance to the people most affected, focusing on first aid and support for health care facilities. .
"We worked with the MRC
to prepare and facilitate the emergency response, and we have already been able
to undertake significant humanitarian work," said François Stamm, head of the ICRC's
regional delegation in
For the first time since the beginning of the unrest, a team of ICRC delegates assessed conditions at prisons in Male and Maafushi. They also visited people under house arrest and in police custody in Maafushi, Dhoonidhoo and Addu, including Gan and Hulhudhoomeedhoo. In all, the ICRC has interviewed and registered 75 detainees.
The ICRC has met Maldivian president Mohamed Waheed, foreign secretary Ahmed Naseem and the new ministers of home affairs and defence, Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Mohamed Nazim respectively. The organization also discussed the current humanitarian situation with ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.
leaders support a $2 million capital campaign to help poor children in the
Bogotá (ICRC) – On 17 February
2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will distribute food,
hygiene kits and essential household items to 336 displaced persons in the
Some 87 families have fled from Motilandia, where numerous clashes have taken place in recent weeks. They are all staying in temporary shelters provided by the local council.
The ICRC's humanitarian assistance comes in addition to the financial support it provided two weeks ago to the first 280 people who left Motilandia.
In accordance with its mandate to protect and help victims of armed conflict, the ICRC will be present in the field to closely monitor the situation of the civilian population in the Catatumbo region. The ICRC reminds all parties to the armed conflict of their duty to respect and protect civilians and their property in accordance with humanitarian law.
X Games' snowboarder Hannah Teter helps feed poor children in Zambia
February 16 – X Games Gold
Medal winning snowboarder Hannah Teter raises funds
at the Clearasil(R) PerfectaParty to feed poor
Zambian children served by Children International, a U.S.-based humanitarian
organization. The snowboarding champion celebrated her 25th birthday during the
X Games, with a party hosted by Clearasil® PerfectaWash™,
and guests contributed donations to help feed impoverished children in
Teter currently donates a portion of the proceeds from her Sweet Cheeks Panties line to help provide nutritious food to schoolchildren who would otherwise go hungry. With 19 percent of Zambian children suffering from malnutrition, according to UNICEF, the meal provided by the feeding program may be the only meal they will eat in a day. (…)
Memorandum of understanding
16 February - Professor Ian
Wallace, the Head of Cranfield Defence
and Security and Mr. Dorijan Maršič,
Director of ITF Enhancing Human Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding
on 16 February 2012 at
Ban hails Latin American nuclear weapon-free zone on 45th anniversary
14 February – On the 45th anniversary of the treaty that created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed the pact as an example of how regional initiatives can advance global norms on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of atomic energy. (...)
Latin America and the
Caribbean was the first region in the world to establish a nuclear-weapon-free
zone with the Treaty of Tlatelolco – named for an
Former Peace Fellow pursues human rights
By Kate Nolan
Rotary International News, 14
February – A barrister for the British government, Francesca Del Mese sought a Rotary Peace Fellowship in order to pursue
international work. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Watford, England, she
applied and was accepted into the 2002-04 class at the
In 2007, Del Mese traveled to
Current and former Rotary
Peace Fellows, other Rotary Foundation alumni, and Rotarians will have an opportunity
to hear the latest developments in peace and conflict resolution and learn
practical skills from experts in the field during the Rotary World Peace
Ban welcomes signing of non-aggression
13 February –
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the
signing of a non-aggression and cooperation pact between the governments of
The Memorandum of
Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation signed in the Ethiopian
9 February – The United
Nations peacekeeping mission in
Former soldiers attending the centre, to be built on land donated by the state Government of Western Bahr el-Ghazal, will receive training in livelihood skills and other measures to help them enter the job market, including basic literacy and business skills.
Participants will also take part in wage-earning work such as developing or maintaining infrastructure at the facility.
The facility is being jointly backed by the mission (UNMISS) and the national Government through its disarmament commission, the mission said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
The new centre will contain offices, classrooms, registration and counselling rooms, recreation facilities, accommodation, dining and assembly areas, and the first batch of 500 ex-combatants are expected to start training in April.
peace in the 21st century
The opening ceremony will be
held on Monday April 23 at 19.00. There will be presentations by Dr Didac Ramirez (Rector of the
During the three days of the congress there will be discussions about multiple peace-building initiatives taking place in various locations around the world. The congress will also serve to bring together insights and contributions to the field from academia and grassroots.
USAID-funded initiative helps rural municipalities upgrade health service
February 17 – Widespread
poverty, lack of viable economic opportunities and weak local institutions in
Local government receives $1
million worth of supplies - With funding from USAID, ACDI/VOCA’s
Northern Zone Initiative, or as it is known locally Iniciativa
Zona Norte (IZN), works to
strengthen local governments in
On February 14, citizens from four municipalities saw their governments in action. With the help of ACDI/VOCA and program partners, over 1,660 boxes of electric hospital beds, medical furniture, laboratory supply kits, electronic diagnostic machines, vital signs monitors, surgical instruments, x-ray machines, and disposable packs and supplies such as syringes, gloves and masks, were handed over to local mayors and the directors of the health centers in the municipalities of Chore, Curuguaty, San Vicente and Capitan Bado.
India prepares for Polio Summit 2012 - New Delhi, February 25-26
by Dan Nixon
Rotary International News,16 February - In the wake of
More than 1,000 government leaders,
health officials, and Rotarians from
February 7 - Médecins Sans Frontières
(MSF) has been providing mental healthcare in two refugee camps in
MSF has put in place several
mental health programmes for Palestinians and Lebanese living in and around the
two largest refugee camps in
Recently, with thousands of
Syrians – many of whom have physical wounds –fleeing the violence in their
country and seeking refuge in
NGO Project HOPE delivers $2 million of urgently needed insulin to
Project HOPE responds to emergency appeal from health authorities in former Soviet republic
Millwood, Virginia, USA
February 6 – Global NGO Project HOPE delivered urgently-needed insulin valued
at $2 million to Tajikistan after supplies of the medicine to treat diabetics
had run out in the former Soviet Republic. “Currently, there is not just a
shortage, but there is not any insulin available in the country,” said Colin Credle, regional manager of humanitarian aid for Project
“Project HOPE continues to
work closely with
The donated insulin brings the
total value of humanitarian aid to
NGO Project HOPE training medical social workers in
Millwood, Virginia, USA, February 3 – On World Cancer Day, global NGO Project HOPE says a growing corps of medical social workers in China is helping families deal with traumatic stress caused by the rising trend of childhood cancer in China.
Cancer is the leading cause of
death worldwide and the World Health Organization estimates that 84 million
people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. The vast
majority of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and,
Project HOPE, a global health
education and humanitarian assistance organization, has partnered with the Shanghai
Children’s Medical Center(SCMC) to develop a program to train medical social workers,
a relatively new specialty in
“Our goal is to empower parents by helping them acquire the skills that will give them the strength and endurance to face all challenges that may occur throughout the cancer treatment process, said Dr. Ji QinYing, Director of the Social Worker Department at SCMC.
UN and partners help to power education with solar panel donation
17 February – The United
Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has partnered with religious
institutions to provide solar panels that will power much-needed electricity to
schools as well as promote the use of renewable energy. The first solar panels
were donated to the Ebrahim Hamim
Madrasa and the Islamic Centre of Social Welfare
outside of Jalalabad, in the eastern
During the handover of the equipment, the principal of the school, Mawlawi Esrarullah Hamim, said that the support given to the ulamas, or religious scholars, through the donation could also help create a culture of peace.,“Supporting ulamas means supporting peace because our people respect mullahs and religious scholars. They could encourage people to support peace and reconciliation process,” said Mr. Hamim.
Clean Energy projects awarded $6.5 million from
February 16 - As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to strengthening partnerships with Tribal Nations and supporting tribal energy development, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that 19 clean energy projects to receive more than $6.5 million. These competitively selected projects will allow Native American Tribes to advance clean energy within their communities by assessing local energy resources, developing renewable energy projects and deploying clean energy technologies. These projects will help Tribal communities across the country save money and create new job and business opportunities.
The Energy Department has taken a number of steps to strengthen its support for Tribal energy development and empower Tribal leaders to make informed decisions that promote community economic development. Over the past year, the Department has established the Indian Country Energy Infrastructure Working Group with Tribal leaders from across the country and launched programs to provide technical assistance and support to help Tribal communities, colleges and universities deploy energy projects and gain skills in energy development and financing.
Millions of people to receive solar energy access through UN-backed initiative
The solar energy provider, ToughStuff, will expand access to low-cost, durable solar panels and solar battery packs to low-income communities in 10 African countries and four South Asian countries. The company’s efforts are part of Business Call to Action (BCta), a global initiative supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) that encourages private sector efforts to develop inclusive business models that can have both commercial success and a positive impact in development.
The company estimates that some $520 million will be saved by consumers by switching from kerosene or biomass fuel to solar energy. In addition, carbon emissions will be reduced by up to 1.2 million tons by 2016. To provide its services, the company will rely on a network of village-level entrepreneurs that are provided with training on how to sell, rent, or provide access to affordable energy services.
New water pump will help Matau primary school kids stay healthy and in school
all-time favorite guest T.Trent
sees real progress with school construction on
That is about to change. Save
the Children put the finishing touches this week on a new water pump on school
grounds. Over the past month, workers drilled nearly 140 feet into the ground
to find water. The community chipped in by digging trenches so workers could
lay the pipes connecting the water hole to a water storage tank and pump. After
putting in the pipes, the workers hooked up the electrically-powered pump.
Today, for the first time, clean water is flowing from the tap. The water
project is part of the
16 February – Accompanied by
high winds and heavy rain, intense tropical cyclone “Giovanna” landed in the
district of Brickaville, in the East coast of
The Malagasy Red Cross responded well before the cyclone. As soon as the Malagasy Meteorological Service has confirmed that the cyclone would hit the country, 1,416 volunteers were involved in an early warning campaign. They traveled to each neighborhood with their megaphones and also went door to door. They have also worked with local radio stations to broadcast alert messages. "People laughed us when we did the alert campaign because the weather was great last Monday. But that reaction does not discourage me," said Solange, a volunteer from Ambohimanarina branch.
A few hours after the cyclone, the Malagasy Red Cross volunteers started to assess the damage and the resulting needs. They joined the search and rescue operation, and then helped them to move to the camps, providing first aid where needed. As the storm was so sudden and so strong they also are giving psychological support in each camp. (…)
Eighteen projects were chosen
from 500 proposals received as part of a new initiative announced 22 June 2011,
at the CEC Council’s meeting held in
The online Conservation credits Exchange will allow conservation groups, farmers and landowners to register their wildlife sites so as to provide ‘conservation credits’; these credits will then be available to developers for purchase to offset their impacts on biodiversity – putting a transferable value on biodiversity loss and establishing private sector funding for the long-term management of conservation sites.
The Environment Bank is a private sector company established to help deliver the Government policy of biodiversity offsetting as set out in the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper (Defra). Mission Markets, Inc. (www.missionmarkets.com) is a boutique professional services firm specializing in the impact and sustainability sectors.
Volvo Group and WWF expand climate partnership
“By expanding the partnership with WWF to include our buses and construction equipment, the Volvo Group will demonstrate that it is serious about continuously raising our targets in terms of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from our products, by complying with our vision for sustainable and carbon-neutral future transportation,” said Volvo’s CEO Olof Persson.
The Volvo Group became the world’s first auto manufacturer to join WWF Climate Savers in November 2010 with a commitment to reduce the lifetime CO2 emissions of its trucks sold from 2009 to 2014 by 13 million tons compared to 2008 models.
Thanks to improved fuel
efficiency, the goal has now been increased to 30 million tons, and will
include the company’s buses and construction equipment. Thirty million tons is
the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by
London — Representatives of the United Kingdom Baha'i community joined members of eight other religions at a special gathering to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. At a reception held at Lambeth Palace – official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury – Baha'is, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians discussed their beliefs with the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, and showed them treasured objects from the various faiths.
Highlighting the ongoing centenary commemorations of 'Abdu'l-Baha's travels to
The reception held on 15 February was one of the Queen's first public engagements to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee year. Addressing the gathering, the Queen said, "Faith plays a key role in the identity of millions of people, providing not only a system of belief but a sense of belonging."
4th Annual International Conference on Religion, Conflict and Peace
23-25, 2012 ~
by Common Bond Institute Common Bond Institute
Registration and the call for proposals are open for the 4th annual international conference on "Religion, Conflict and Peace". The international forum promotes inter-religious and intra-religious dialogue to explore the challenges of social paranoia, intolerance, negative stereotyping, scapegoating, and islamophobia, and the promise of reason, understanding, compassion, and cultural harmony.
The conference is an official
partner event of the Charter For Compassion and the
Parliament of World's Religions. It is sponsored by the the
Common Bond Institute,
The Conference seeks to create an engaged, inclusive dialogue to consciously explore together both broader historical dynamics, implications, and possible remedies, and more recent specific manifestations playing out around us in society today. (...)
IPDC Bureau meets to select media development projects to be supported this year
The 56th annual meeting of the
Bureau of the International Programme for the
Development of Communication, more widely known as IPDC, will gather from 22 to
24 February 2012 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in
The majority of the projects
proposals (39) concern
While the topics of the projects are wide-ranging, each will be expected to contribute in its own way to at least one of IPDC’s priorities: promoting freedom of expression and media pluralism; development of community media; and human resource development.
IPDC is the specialized Programme within the UN system dedicated to strengthening the capacities of free, independent and pluralistic media in developing countries and countries in transition. In the last two years, IPDC has supported 176 projects in 86 countries across the globe, channeling a total amount of over 4,5 million US dollars.
student leader named Person of the year 2011 by
14 February - A 23-year-old
Chilean student leader has been named as ‘Person of the Year 2011’ by a British
newspaper. Camila Vallejo received the accolade from
The Guardian, ahead of leading personalities, including German chancellor
Angela Merkel. Vallejo, ex-President of the
More than 50 per cent of the population in
2012 International essay contest for young people
Young people from around the world are invited to enter the 2012 Goi Peace Foundation - UNESCO International Essay Contest for Young People.
The theme for this year's contest is: "Creating The Future We Want"
Future begins with the vision we hold now. What kind of future do you wish to create for yourself and the world? Please share your dream and ideas for making it a reality.
The deadline for entry is June
30, 2012. Prize winners will receive a cash award and will be invited to
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Next issue: 16 March 2012.
Good News Agency is published in English
on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues are available at www.goodnewsagency.org .
Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta, Isabella Strippoli. Webmaster: Simone Frassanito. Media coverage: Maurizio Palazzoni
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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
The Association is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.
*In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly (http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf), Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information. In section A - International Organizations, the Report says:
"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of
Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet
by civil society corresponding to para