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Good News Agency

Weekly - year 12th, number 201 – 27 April 2012


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*.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



Swallowing the bullet - An ethical pproach to an Arms Trade Treaty

As we approach the final negotiations in July 2012, campaigners worldwide are calling for a strong Arms Trade Treaty. Pax Christi International is joining the global campaign with a new Package Paper on the Arms Trade Treaty.

The main focus of the paper is a faith and ethics based analysis of arms trade.  The paper gives an overview of civil society recommendations for a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty.

It also offers a campaign guide with an overview of prominent campaigns and resources, which facilitate spreading the message that a strong Arms Trade Treaty is crucial. A letter concern, which is tailored to government representatives and decision-makers, is included in the paper.

Pax Christi International has prepared this resource packet on the Arms Trade Treaty to encourage the active participation of Member Organizations in efforts to ensure that a strong and effective Arm Trade Treaty will be negotiated in July 2012 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Pax Christi International is a non-profit, non-governmental Catholic peace movement working on a global scale on a wide variety of issues in the fields of human rights, human security, disarmament and demilitarisation, just world order and religion and violent conflict.


130 World Leaders confirmed: last sprint towards Rio+20

Over 130 Heads of State, Vice Presidents, Heads of Government, and deputy Prime Ministers are currently inscribed on the speakers list for the Rio+20 Conference, from 20-22 June. Rio+20 is expected to be a tremendous example of wide-ranging popular participation: over 50,000 people are expected to attend the Conference and numerous side events in Rio de Janeiro, including thousands of business CEOs, parliamentarians, mayors, NGO leaders, academics, senior UN officials, representatives from miscellaneous groups and journalists.

 As the world engages in the last sprint towards the Rio+20, time is ticking for the negotiations of the Conference’s Outcome document that will resume from 23 April to 4 May in UN Headquarters in New York. The 19-page “zero draft” issued in January was condensed from 6,000 pages of submissions from member states and other stakeholders. A large number of proposals were made by governments during intense negotiations in March. The draft was then significantly expanded. The revised draft identified 26 critical areas for action, including: water, energy, food, jobs, cities, oceans, disaster preparedness, poverty eradication, tourism, transport, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, lands, chemicals and forests, among others.



Human rights



Indonesia: helping young people in 12 Asian countries explore humanitarian law

Jakarta, 13 April – From 11 to 14 April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is holding a regional seminar in Jakarta on teaching young people the basics of international humanitarian law. A total of 43 people from 12 Asian countries, working for education ministries, other government ministries, National Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies, and the ICRC are taking part. "Exploring Humanitarian Law is an educational programme that introduces young people aged 13 to 18 to the basic rules and principles of international humanitarian law," said Frédéric Fournier, the head of the ICRC regional delegation in Jakarta. "It helps them to understand the need to respect human life and human dignity, not only in times of armed conflict but also in their daily lives."

Participants in the four-day seminar have the opportunity to share their own experiences and learn from the experiences of others using the programme in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Timor Leste. In addition, they will visit the Darunnajah Islamic Boarding School in Jakarta to attend a classroom teaching session and be updated on current developments in Exploring Humanitarian Law. The programme is currently used in more than 60 countries around the world.


2 Million Friends to end the Afghan War

The ‘2 Million Friends to end the Afghan War’ is one of the action plans for 2012 which the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV) is preparing for this year. The group calls on people throughout the world community to light ‘2 million candles’ on the 10 December 2012, the International Day of Human Rights, in memory of the victims of war and in a collective resolve to work together for peace in Afghanistan and a life without war.

“We are human beings who are tired of the past and present situations in Afghanistan”, says Khamad Jan (AYPV), and “we organised ourselves as the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in order to share the suffering of  fellow human beings in our land and to express our longing for friendship, peace and non-violence to the world”.

The 2 million candles project has the support of Dr. Sima Simar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire who is planning to attend the 10 December event. For more information on how to participate:




Economy and development



IFAD will enhance food security in Egypt with a $71 million loan and grant

April 23, Rome - The President of the IFAD, Kanayo F. Nwanze, will meet in Cairo the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mohammed Reda Ismail,  to discuss the country’s agriculture development, which is critical for employment generation, food security and reduction of poverty. Earlier this month, the government of Egypt and IFAD signed an agreement for a $70 million loan and a 1 million grant for the Promotion of Rural Incomes through the Market Enhancement Project to help reduce rural poverty and enhance food security. The new project will build the capacity of smallholder farmers to access markets and create opportunities to improve their livelihoods as rural producers. The project will integrate about 50,000 rural households into the agriculture value chain to increase their incomes and it will cover the seven Governorates of Assiut, Beni Suef, Menia, Qena, Sohag, Beheira and Kafr-el-Sheikh. With this new programme, IFAD will have financed 11 projects with loans totalling $337 million and grants worth $3 million, benefitting some 1.3 million households.


UN Conference on Trade and Development, Doha, Qatar - April 21 - 26

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is the principal agency of the General Assembly of the UN where Ministers meet every four years to consider issues of trade, aid, transport, finance and technology and their impact on development. The aim is to "maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis." The Conference meets every four years

In this thirteenth session of the Conference the theme will be Development-centred globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development. On April 23 a special high level session will be devoted to Women in Development In addition to the government deliberations there will be a World Investment Forum : Investing in Sustainable Development and a Civil Society Forum.


Preparing local farmer-based organizations to better address food security

Food Security Collaborative releases new research

April 19 – With the world reeling from the food crisis of 2007-2008 and ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa, growing numbers of hungry and malnourished people need sustainable food security programs that build local capacity, turning crisis relief into long-term development.

Farmer organizations that function effectively are key to success.

In a new paper, Building Institutional Capacity to Increase Food Security in Africa, the Food Security Collaborative examines the organizational dimensions of food security, with an emphasis on the oft-overlooked needs of internal management and organizational capacity building.

Comprised of ACDI/VOCA, Management Systems International (MSI), the University of California at Davis and Crown Agents, the collaborative is committed to improve the analysis and implementation of global efforts to enhance the food security of the world’s most vulnerable people.


CARE and Cornell University launch partnership to advance sustainable food systems

Initiative will empower women and families around the world to improve food security, create markets and adapt to climate change

Washington, D.C., April 17 - Today, Cornell University and the global humanitarian organization CARE launched a partnership to advance sustainable food systems to improve food security, stimulate economic growth and adapt to climate change by merging Cornell's cutting-edge research in economic development and sustainability with CARE's experience fighting poverty around the world.

Spearheaded by Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the partnership's Impact through Innovation Fund matches Cornell researchers with CARE development professionals on specific projects, creating a delivery system for research-based solutions to challenges facing chronically food insecure women and families.

In the first round of funded projects, a CARE-Cornell team is fostering business opportunities and increasing crop yields in Ethiopia by providing alternatives to costly imported chemical fertilizers by creating value chains for less expensive, indigenous biofertilizers made from local waste products.  The project helps farmers – especially women – grow produce more sustainably.


Estonia funds FAO for devolopment assistance in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus

April 19 -. Baku, Azerbaijan - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and the Estonian Minister of Agriculture, Helir-Valdor Seeder, signed an agreement that provides voluntary funding from Estonia to the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Development Programme. The new cooperation commits Estonia to long-term support for FAO's core work on food security and rural poverty reduction, economic development and environmentally sustainable agriculture: Estonia will provide an initial 23.000 euro donation to finance the use of its agricultural experts in FAO development projects. The agreement specifies that Estonia would like to assist countries from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus and it runs at least  until 2017.


New website promotes community tourism in Ethiopia

By Jennifer O'Riordan

13 April – A new website is giving tourists from around the world a direct route to the many community tourism destinations, products and excursions that Ethiopia has to offer. gives visitors an interactive experience, showing them nature hikes, horse riding tours, historic sites and craft shops, and linking them with tour operators so they can book travel there and then. Useful tips and information also introduce them to the country’s food, history and culture. The website was launched in Addis Ababa at an event attended by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, tour operators, lodge owners and many key stakeholders in tourism development.

“We have nine World Heritage sites registered by UNESCO, making Ethiopia the leading nation on the continent in this regard,” said Tadelech Dalacho, Ethiopia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, who attended the April 5 event. (…) positions the country as a top community tourism destination, informing and attracting potential tourists. Community-led tourism not only provides more meaningful and authentic experiences for tourists but also provides alternative livelihoods for people who might otherwise struggle to earn an income and provide for their families. (…)


East African Coffee Association grows to be pan-African

East African Fine Coffees Association becomes African Fine Coffees Association

April 5 – The East African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA), which ACDI/VOCA helped to found, has become the African Fine Coffees Association. According to Coffee and Cocoa International, Cameroon, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have requested membership in AFCA, among others.

EAFCA was a legacy of ACDI/VOCA’s 2002-2006 ACDI/VOCA Specialty Coffee Promotion in Eastern Africa (SCOPE) project in Uganda in which we partnered with the Specialty Coffee Association of America/Specialty Coffee Institute to accelerate the development of a fine coffee sector in eastern Africa and increase exports. SCOPE helped the EAFCA Secretariat to plan, manage and promote activities, recruit new members, develop relationships with partners, donors and members, and eventually become financially self-sustainable.

Today, as a membership organization, AFCA promotes partnerships among those interested in high-quality coffee. AFCA represents farmers, exporters, importers, retailers, roasters and coffee professionals from Europe, the Americas, Asia and, now, pan-African countries, and coordinates market initiatives.


UK donates 25 million dollars to help FAO improve agricultural statistics

April 4, Rome - The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) has signed an agreement with FAO to donate 25 million $ to support an innovative new global partnership that will improve the agricultural statistics available to governments and farmers around the world: The Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics.    

The Global Strategy builds capacity of developing countries to produce and use agricultural and rural statistics for more effective food security, sustainable agricultural and rural development policies and helps makes the information available to farmers when and where they need it: the contribution  covers the programme's first phase, from 2012 to 2016, and will support mainly African and Asian countries.

Improved information and statistics enables governments to develop better agricultural policies for eradicating hunger and poverty, however many developing countries lack good statistical systems and collect data using costly, labour-intensive and time-consuming methods.


AlertNet News Blog - 15 agricultural innovations protecting the environment on Earth Day

For the last 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated around the world to call attention to some of our most pressing environmental and social problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and dwindling natural resources. This year, the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet ( highlights 15 agricultural innovations that are already working on the ground to address some of those problems. The 15 innovations are used by farmers, scientists, activists, politicians, and businesses and promote a healthier environment and a more food-secure future.

Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in more than 18 languages. For more information, visit 


European Union calls on packaging industry to help limit food waste

By Arielle Golden

Ninety million tons of food is wasted each year in the European Union, and food waste is expected to grow by 40 percent by 2020

The European Union has declared 2014 the European year against food waste and in the lead up, is examining the effects on food waste from food packaging. Within the industry, using fewer and more efficient materials for packaging has a positive impact on the costs of getting food packaged and into the grocery store. In the EU, new innovations in packaging are being developed to ensure that foods reach the store shelf long before the expiration date, which will prevent food being thrown away before consumers have a chance to purchase it.  (...)

But 42 percent of food waste occurs in households, according to a 2011 study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Consumers typically consider food waste as a supply chain problem – they tend to think that the majority of food waste occurs between the time it is grown until it reaches the shelves of the grocery store. But packaging can be part of the solution for minimizing household food waste. (...) 


World Congress of NGOs 2012: July 5-8, Nairobi

Registration is now open for the World Congress of NGOs

Join NGO representatives from around the world, as well as prominent international and national leaders from the governmental, intergovernmental and for-profit sectors, in Nairobi, Kenya from July 5-8, 2012. WANGO’s flagship event, this 4-day event will be convened on the theme of "The Role of NGOs in Times of Global Crises." A unique networking opportunity, the Congress will offer a variety of formats: plenary sessions, special symposium, practical workshops, panel sessions, and the 2012 NGO Awards Banquet.






USAID makes a $ 22.6 million donation in food and cash to WFP’s Assistance Projects for Palestinians

April 21, Qalandia, Jerusalem - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced, during a visit of the USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, Mara Rudman, a new contribution of $22.6 million in food and cash to WFP’s food assistance projects to vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Pablo Recalde, WFP’s Country Director, explains that thanks to this timely contribution from USAID, WFP will be able to respond at this critical time, when resources are scarce and people need most.

Food insecurity still affects 45% of the population in the Gaza Strip and 17% of the West Bank population; it is estimated that in 2012, more than 1 in 5 households remain food insecure even with the food assistance provided through WFP.


USA -  Bayer donates $25,000 for tornado disaster relief in Indiana

Pittsburgh, April 20 - Bayer Corporation today announced that it is providing monetary support for disaster relief efforts through a $25,000 donation from the Bayer USA Foundation to the American Red Cross of Southwestern Indiana. The state of Indiana was among several states affected by tornadoes on March 2, 2012, which caused extensive damage to rural communities such as Henryville, Clarksville and Newburgh, leaving thousands homeless.

Bayer has nearly 600 employees at three site locations in Indiana, representing Bayer’s three subgroups and service group. The American Red Cross of Southwestern Indiana has been supporting those affected by the tornado and ensuring their emergency needs of food, clothing, shelter, recovery supplies and other financial means are met.

The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation’s philanthropy in the United States.  With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the foundation creates and supports organizations that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large.  The Bayer USA Foundation is one of three Bayer foundations worldwide, including the Bayer Science & Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.


Syria: providing aid to people still in need

April 20 – Unrest in Syria continues to cause suffering in several parts of the country. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are doing their utmost to help the people affected. "There is a continuous flow of people leaving their homes in search of a safe haven," said Alexandre Equey, the ICRC's deputy head of delegation in Syria. "While some have managed to move in with relatives, friends, or even strangers willing to lend a helping hand, others have had no choice but to take refuge in schools, mosques and churches."

Volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are working round the clock in areas affected by the unrest, such as the governorate of Homs, north of Damascus. With ICRC support, they have distributed food and other essentials to 60,000 people in several governorates over the last two weeks. Activities included:

° Eight trucks delivered food parcels for 60,000 people affected by the unrest in the governorates of Homs, Lattakia, Dar'a and Rural Damascus. In Homs, the two organizations also distributed hygiene materials, towels, blankets, mattresses and candles.

° Work started on upgrading water storage, toilets and showers at 10 public buildings in Homs, including schools, to improve sanitary conditions for 2,000 displaced persons.

° The ICRC provided the Syrian Arab Red Crescent branches in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Idlib and Homs with enough medical supplies to treat 200 casualties.


Rotary announces partnerships with food bank network and youth service group

By Ryan Hyland 

19 April – Two new service partnerships announced this month by Rotary International will support humanitarian efforts by clubs and districts. RI will combine resources with the Global FoodBanking Network to alleviate hunger worldwide. And Rotary and YSA (Youth Service America) will work together to encourage young people to participate in service projects in their communities.

Working with the Global FoodBanking Network, Rotary clubs and districts will be able to volunteer at food banks and help create new ones, organize food collection drives, sponsor trucks for food delivery and distribution, raise awareness of hunger, and distribute food to hungry children through the BackPack and other school food programs. (...)

Founded in 1986, YSA has partnered with hundreds of organizations in more than 65 countries to increase the number and diversity of young people ages 5 to 25 serving in their communities. The organization works to educate youth, teachers, community organizations, and public officials in the power of young people to solve problems, and to engage the children and youth as volunteers, academic achievers, and community leaders.

YSA’s annual Global Youth Service Day campaign, this year 20-22 April, mobilizes millions of young people in service activities. (...)


The Government of Brazil makes a $ 2.2 million donation of white rice and beans to WFP

April 19, Colombo – The first operation of Brazil to help Sri Lanka’s food needs of resettled households in the north of the country is a contribution of 3,000 metric tons of rice and 800 tons of beans. WFP’s Country Representative in Sri Lanka, Adnan Khan, said the donation came at an opportune time because, despite significant gains already made, many resettled groups in the north - such as the elderly, disabled, widows and households headed by women - still require assistance. Brazil is one of WFP’s most important emerging donors, contributing over US$118 million to the WFP since 2007.


Corporations and city leaders partner to help poor children in Mexico 

Private and public entities contributed to the construction of a new community center. 

April 18, Kansas City, Mo., USA - Poor children in Mexico supported by Children International, a U.S.-based humanitarian organization, will have a brighter future thanks to generous corporate, foundation and civic supporters. Hewlett-Packard Guadalajara, the MetLife Foundation Mexico and the City of Tlajomulco, Mexico, have funded the construction of a new community center, which will serve 5,000 poverty-stricken children in Guadalajara . In a city surrounded by slums and increased drug activity, the center is the newest and fifth center opened by Children International, and promises to renew community and social development in areas plagued by gang activity, drug abuse and teen pregnancy.      

The contributors helping to solve child poverty in Guadalajara have donated a wonderful new facility which features a much-needed medical clinic for children to receive checkups, treatment and support. Children will be able to visit a dentist at the new dental clinic – a service that most impoverished children never have the opportunity to receive. The new center also boasts a pharmacy, library, computer lab and meeting rooms.  A state-of-the-art sports complex will serve as an oasis in a desert of poverty for neighborhood children and youth. The complex includes a swimming pool, soccer field and basketball court on land donated by the City of Tlajomulco.


USA - New Groupon site allows charities to update donors

By Raymund Flandez

April 17 – With the unveiling of a new Web site, charities now have a better way to tell subscribers of Groupon, the popular discount and deals site, how their money has made a difference. Groupon Grassroots has replaced the G-Team name and online portal that simply allowed charities to learn how to get their cause in front of Groupon subscribers. Such online “daily deals” have become an increasingly popular fundraising method among nonprofit causes.

The new site has the same features, but charity officials can now also write updates on the projects that people have financed by buying Groupon “deals.” The updates will also allow potential donors to find charities or projects to support in their community. (...)

Groupon officials saw the popularity of its charity deals increase since starting G-Team in July 2010: In total, 674 campaigns have raised more than $3-million from some 100,000 supporters. Donations through Groupon’s offers typically averaged $2,000 per charity. (All of the past campaigns, from around the country, are now archived on the Grassroots site.)  (...)


HelpAge International receives $1.5 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Washington, D.C., April 16 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation tonight presented the 2012 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million to HelpAge International, the only global organization with a singular focus on providing assistance to and advocating for disadvantaged older people. The Hilton Foundation gives the annual award, the world's largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering.

The 2012 Hilton Prize was formally presented at a special ceremony at the Global Philanthropy Forum's 11th annual conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Robert Zoellick, outgoing president of The World Bank, delivered the keynote for the prize dinner.

HelpAge International, headquartered in London, was formed in 1983 by organizations in Canada, Colombia, Kenya, India and the United Kingdom that had similar missions to support older people. Today it encompasses 94 HelpAge Affiliates in 70 countries and more than 3,000 independent partner groups and older people's organizations. HelpAge has trained 25,000 professionals and 16,000 community members—including older people themselves—to provide health care, legal advice and financial support for older people.

The Hilton Prize receives nominations from throughout the world each year, and a distinguished independent international jury makes the final selection.


Rotarians help orphans of HIV/AIDS in Uganda

6 April  – More than 1.2 million of Uganda’s children have lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. 

The Rotary Foundation and its partners are providing health care, and hope for the future, to over 500 orphans in the country.

“Despite the fact that their parents died, they wish to have the best life that we all have. So we give them assistance,” says Joseph Matovu, a senior clinic officer and member of the Rotary Club of Kalisizo, Uganda.

The efforts of Rotarians in Matovu's community is just one example of Rotary's work in the disease prevention and treatment area of focus.


South Sudan: aid reaches thousands displaced in Abyei area

April 5. Juba/Geneva – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just completed a distribution of seed and agricultural tools around Agok, a town in the southern part of the disputed Abyei area, to approximately 15,000 people who were displaced by fighting in May 2011.

The host communities are also being provided with the aid, which should ensure adequate harvests in August this year.

Since clashes broke out last year in Abyei, a border area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, thousands of families have been forced to flee, abandoning their homes and belongings. Many ended up in remote villages around Agok town, where they were taken in by the local communities. Most have yet to return home.

The distribution of aid to families with some access to land took place from 12 March to 4 April.



Peace and security



South Sudan: Partnering with Save the Children to protect young refugees

20 April - MAG has provided life and limb-saving Risk Education to more than 8,000 children at the remote Doro refugee camp in South Sudan. MAG is working closely with Save the Children to protect the refugee children and has provided Risk Education to more than 8,000 children in the camp, most of them below the age of ten. The team pulls dolls, posters and bags out of their vehicle and approaches the children with smiling faces and friendly waves.  The Community Liaison team use song, dance, theatre, games and role-play to educate children, providing them with safety knowledge in a fun and entertaining way.

The children, who as young as three walk around unaccompanied, need to know what is dangerous and what is safe, what not to touch and the areas from which to stay away. It is a matter of life and death. Older children discuss the effects of mine and unexploded ordnance accidents, and the team encourages them to think of ways they can best help someone in their community who has a related disability. When the children are asked if they will touch any strange objects they may find in the refugee camp or anywhere else, they all loudly shout “No!” The team smiles: it’s been a job well done.


World works together to destroy millions of cluster submunitions

Members of ground-breaking ban treaty have already eliminated half their stocks of weapon

Geneva, 19 April - A conference on the global ban on cluster bombs has concluded with news that 650,000 cluster munitions stockpiled by States Parties’, containing 68.2million explosive submunitions, have been destroyed. Laura Cheeseman, Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition CMC, said: “The progress made by States on stockpile destruction is a huge achievement and a ground-breaking success, even though this treaty is only two years old. Destroying stocks before they’re used is at the heart of the Convention, as in large part this treaty is about preventing future tragedies from cluster bombs.”

The second Intersessional Meeting of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, held in Geneva this week, also saw Bosnia in Herzegovina announce it has destroyed all of its stockpiled cluster bombs, becoming the ninth State Party to do so.


Japan supporting sustainable development with funding for global fight against landmines

Multi-million dollar contribution will aid mine action in Afghanistan, the Republic of the Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

New York, New York, April 16 - The Government of Japan has contributed US$8,300,000 to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for programmes in Africa and in Afghanistan.  

The contribution includes US$4,000,000 in aid to Afghanistan, US$2,500,000 for humanitarian mine clearance and mine risk education (MRE) in the Republic of the Sudan, US$1,300,000 for managing the threat of explosives in Somalia and US$500,000 for the clearance of landmines, submunitions and other explosive remnants of war in Orientale and Maniema Provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In Afghanistan, the funds will support a range of mine clearance operations and coordination in line with the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan’s strategic goals. The bulk will be directed to the clearance of Bamiyan Province. “This contribution will free up valuable agricultural and grazing land for the affected communities and it will help to bring Bamiyan province to a close in terms of removal of known hazard,” said Alan Macdonald, MACCA Programme Director.

In Sudan, the new funding of 2.5 million will fund MRE and mine clearance in the Eastern States.






Cholera response steps up as Haiti’s rainy season begins

by Dennis Sadowski

April 19 – An upswing in cholera in Haiti has prompted health care workers and aid agencies to step up efforts to prevent the water-borne disease from spreading rapidly as the rainy season begins. Catholic Relief Services was among the aid agencies that boosted the distribution of soap, water purification tablets and hygiene information within 24 hours of the initial spike in early April following a period of heavy rain. CRS reported reaching 22,000 families within days; in Port-au-Prince, agency workers installed or repaired sanitation stations and increased disinfection and maintenance of facilities in 12 settlements where people left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake remain in crude shelters.

In addition, Boston-based Partners in Health has embarked on a vaccination program with the goal of reaching 100,000 people. While the vaccine typically is effective 70 percent of the time, PIH has set out to show that a concentrated vaccination campaign can significantly reduce the threat of the disease as long as vaccine supplies are available, Donna Barry, the agency’s director of policy and advocacy, told a congressional briefing April 18.


HIV360° Media Challenge

On the 16th of April, HIV360° will be launching the HIV360° Media Challenge.  The aim of the challenge is to get students across the world to submit work to the HIV360° newspaper.  The work can be anything from a news piece, to an editorial, opinion piece, letter to the editor, photograph or art piece to go with a news story.  Part of this process will be the collaborative work between young people around the world to create a student newspaper.  The best submissions will be published into the first ever HIV360° newspaper!  The published paper will be presented to policy makers in London, Brussels, South Africa and across the world.

All entrants will have a chance to WIN a trip to Brussels on World AIDS Day 2012 to meet with European Parliamentarians to discuss the best way to reach the 3 Zeros (0 Infections, 0 AIDS-related deaths, 0 Discrimination).  All submissions will be judged by a specially selected panel of experts. The HIV360° Media Challenge Brussels Trip is open to students aged 11-16 from schools in the EU, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, or Lesotho.  Winners must be available to travel during the week of 28/11/2012 - 02/12/2012.  Flights, food, accommodation, visas and internal travel to airports will be covered.  Country restrictions are due to the project's funding.


Save the Children joins with JOHNSON’S® Baby to launch new charitable platform “JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES” to support maternal and baby health

Actress, singer and new mom Hilary Duff joins campaign to support JOHNSON’S® Baby’s first initiative with Save the Children

Westport, Conn. USA, April 12 – Save the Children has joined with JOHNSON’S® Baby to launch a new charitable partnership to ensure every baby has a healthy and happy start in life.  The new initiative, called JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES, will support the healthy development of moms and babies while also addressing the basic care needs of families during crisis situations in the form of educational initiatives, product donations and financial assistance.

The JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES campaign kicks off by leveraging the support of actress and new mom Hilary Duff to assemble “Care Kits” that will be distributed to families in times of natural disasters. Consumers are encouraged to support the charitable platform by visiting the JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES tab on the JOHNSON’S® Baby Facebook page.

To assist families, the makers of JOHNSON’S® Baby products, alongside parent company Johnson & Johnson, are making a multi-year, multi-million dollar contribution to Save the Children that will help create and sustain key initiatives.


South Sudan: MSF assists patients wounded in aerial bombardment in Unity state

Agok/Geneva, 12 April – The international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is treating patients wounded during aerial bombardments of Abiemnom, Unity state, South Sudan. MSF’s hospital in Agok, 36 km east of Abiemnom, received four wounded patients,  a woman and three children, who had severe open wounds that required surgery. All of them are now in a stable condition. The MSF team in Agok has also donated drugs and equipment to the Ministry of Health’s medical centre in Abiemnom to help treat 40 wounded patients there.

Violence on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, in the contested Abyei region, has increased over the past couple of weeks and the situation remains extremely volatile. Since clashes broke out in May 2011, MSF has been operating mobile clinics throughout the Abyei region, including in Machbong, Abathok, Mading Achueng, Akack Nyel, Leu, Marial Achak, Mabok, Rumamer and Abiemnom, reaching approximately 100,000 people. All severely sick or wounded patients are referred to MSF’s hospital in Agok.


From frontline to executive office

Everyone’s effort is required to eradicate polio from Nigeria

6 April - “I really want to improve the health situation of all the children in my communities, by immunizing them against child killer diseases like polio,” says Saudutu, a 37-year-old vaccinator and mother of three children from Zamfara State, northern Nigeria. During the multi-country polio vaccination campaigns that were held simultaneously across west and central Africa in early April, Saudutu started each day at 7am, travelling from house to house with the aim of reaching a total of 2,980 children with oral polio vaccine (OPV) over four days. Meanwhile, community mobilizer Yusha’u travelled through the villages as part of Saudutu’s team. Carrying a megaphone, Yusha’u’s called out to the residents, telling them to bring out their children to be vaccinated. Yusha’u’s job is to is to reduce the number of missed children during the campaign and to increase the demand for and acceptance of OPV in the villages to which he’s assigned.

At the other end of the spectrum is the highly technical deliberation that goes into ensuring that the efforts of the thousands of health workers and volunteers like Saudutu and Yusha’u are used to the greatest effect. The Expert Review Committee (ERC) for Nigeria most recently met on the 28-29 March, in the lead-up to the multi-country campaigns. The committee of polio eradication experts met to discuss the current epidemiology and to analyse the effectiveness of the country’s National Polio Emergency Action Plan (NPEP).


World TB Day: WFP helps Afghanistan win tuberculosis one meal at a time

March 25, Herat - Afghanistan has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis infection in the world: nutritional support is essential in enabling patients to take-up treatment and improving treatment success. For this reason WFP, through the generous support of donors, provides monthly food assistance to TB patients who are undergoing the Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS), as an incentive to continue and finish the 8-month-long treatment.

The Regional Hospital in Herat, one of nearly 700 TB centers that WFP supports in Afghanistan in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and World Health Organization (WHO), treats over 100 patients with tuberculosis through DOTS and in 2011 WFP reached approximately 22,000 TB patients with food assistance throughout Afghanistan: the family rations benefited over 140,000 people in the country.



Energy and safety



Coalition of World Energy Ministers commit to improvements in energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy access

London, 26 April  – Leaders from the 23-government Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All) today outlined specific commitments by participating countries and private sector leaders which will promote improved energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, and increased energy access around the world.  The commitments build on two years of work by the Clean Energy Ministerial and support the goal of sustainable energy for all by 2030, the primary objective of the Secretary-General’s initiative. Both the CEM and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative seek to improve energy efficiency, increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and ensure access to energy.


Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan

25 April - The “Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan” network will be officially launched in Tokyo on April 28, 2012. This network was initiated by mayors and local municipal leaders attending the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World held in Yokohama in January 2012. 66 mayors from 34 prefectures throughout Japan have declared their participation in this network. 


USA: Energy Department announces $9 million to improve solar forecasting

23 April - As part of the SunShot Initiative, the Energy Department today announced $9 million available this year to help utilities and grid operators better forecast when, where, and how much solar power will be produced at U.S. solar energy plants. Enhanced solar forecasting will allow power system operators to integrate more solar energy into the electricity grid, and ensure the economic and reliable delivery of renewable energy to American families and businesses.

The Energy Department will competitively select one or two projects for this funding, potentially partnering with national laboratories, universities and industry, to improve the accuracy of solar forecasting in the sub-hourly, short-term (1–6 hours), and day-ahead timeframes. The Department plans to fund projects that could improve advanced weather modeling, find breakthrough methods for accurately predicting solar energy output, work to incorporate solar energy forecasts into power system operations, and demonstrate the economic benefits and improved system reliability from more accurate forecasts.

This initiative will provide up to $9 million this year for projects up to three years in duration, with over 20% of the total funding to be provided by private and other sources.


USA - CleanEdison offers free webinar series

New York, April 20 - “Building America's Workforce and A Better World,” CleanEdison is our nation's premier green-collar job training company, and announced its new, job creation initiative today. In honor of Earth Day, the company will offer free online live and recorded webinars.

 CleanEdison has the largest open enrollment training program in the nation. Having trained 10,000 students in 49 states, the company is eager to make an even larger impact. With more than 1,000 hours of curriculum available, CleanEdison wants to make learning about its training accessible to all to further jumpstart our clean economy.

Starting April 23rd, the day after Earth Day, CleanEdison will offer free online live and recorded webinars where people interested in getting started in solar, USGBC LEED, BPI, commercial energy auditing, geothermal and auto-hybrid training technologies. To sign up or learn more about the offer, email


Ban welcomes European Union’s energy access initiative for developing countries

16 April – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed a new European Union (EU) initiative designed to assist developing countries in providing access to sustainable energy to their populations. Under its Energizing for Development Initiative, the European Commission – the EU’s executive body – aims to support the provision of sustainable energy services to 500 million people in poorer countries by 2030.

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced that the initiative will also create a Technical Assistance Facility worth €50 million, drawing on EU experts, to develop technical expertise in developing countries. The initiative will also focus on refining, expanding and improving energy-related innovative financial instruments and risk guarantee schemes in developing countries to unlock greater private investment.

In the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development ((Rio+20)) in June, the EU and its Member States will seek to mobilize additional resources to support new investments in sustainable energy in developing countries, with the goal of leveraging even greater flows of investment from the private sector.



Environment and wildlife



Javan rhinos now safer under closer scrutiny

Jakarta, 20 April – The only remaining population of Javan rhinos will be better safeguarded following the quadrupling of video camera traps to monitor the critically endangered animals in Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia. WWF and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) recently donated 120 cameras to the park, bringing the total number of camera traps to 160.

The need to have additional video cameras for rhino observation was first recognized during an IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group meeting at Cisarua, West Java in March when the head of Ujung Kulon National Park presented the positive results of Javan rhino identification in 2011, when the park officially began using video camera traps. That year 35 individuals comprising of 22 males and 13 females were identified.

Experts believe there are fewer than 50 Javan rhinos remaining.

Since the 1990s, WWF has been working with Ujung Kulon National Park to observe the Javan rhino population using camera traps. At that time the park was the first ever in Indonesia to identify wildlife using still photo camera traps. In 2008 video camera traps replaced the photo camera traps.



Religion and spirituality



Faith on the Move - The religious affiliation of Iiternational migrants

About 3% of the world’s population has migrated across international borders. While that may seem like a small percentage, it represents a lot of people. If the world’s 214 million international migrants were counted as one nation, they would constitute the fifth most populous country on the globe, just behind Indonesia and ahead of Brazil.

Faith on the Move, a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, focuses on the religious affiliation of international migrants, examining patterns of migration among seven major groups: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, adherents of other religions and the religiously unaffiliated.


World Shift Day - May 20th - The Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day

The kick off event for World Shift Day will be the annual  Symphony of Peace Prayers event to be held at the Mt. Fuji Sanctuary in Japan where over ten thousand people will gather in a ceremony for the peace and awakening of humanity.

This event will take place on May 20, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM (local Japan Time).

The World Peace Prayer Ceremony is a global celebration of the oneness of life and the human family. With united hearts and minds, participants of the Ceremony are invited to invoke prayers for peace to prevail in the countries and regions of the world. It is a moving ceremonial ritual rising above national boundaries, religion and ideologies giving expression to the universal wish for peace and harmony which lies at the core of every human heart.



Culture and education



Millions of educators, students and activists to support quality early childhood education

20 April - Next week, millions of teachers, students and education advocates around the world will join forces in calling on public authorities and development partners to ensure that all young children have access to quality early childhood education (ECE). This call will be made during and after the Global Action Week (GAW) for Education, to be held from 22-28 April. This year’s theme is: “Early Childhood Care and Education” with the slogan: “Rights from the start: Early Childhood Care and Education Now!”

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), of which Education International (EI) is a founding member, has chosen this year’s theme, Early Childhood Care and Education, because of its enormous individual and societal benefits. Unfortunately, early childhood education (ECE) remains one of the most neglected Education for All (EFA) goals.

This year, the GCE, EI and its affiliates and other education advocates are calling upon governments to ensure that at least one per cent of gross domestic product is dedicated to early childhood services. Donors must also honour their commitments to support all countries to achieve EFA, especially Goal One on ECE. (…)


Mongolia: ADRA improves access to education and health services for children with disabilities

April 17 – Silver Spring, Md., USA - In Mongolia the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is helping society transform the way they view children with disabilities, and give them access to education and health services. This is being achieved through a project called, Ensuring Access to Education and Health for Children with Cognitive Disabilities (EACH).

The birth of a disabled child can be stressful for most parents. In Mongolia social welfare provided by the government assists parents of disabled children by giving them a home care allowance among other types of support. Unfortunately this vital care was not available to parents of children with cognitive disabilities. This was due to limited knowledge and understanding of the condition, and the professional assumption that children with cognitive disabilities do not need permanent and special care, and do not carry a burden in terms of that care.

These issues were discussed during a parents' meeting group organized by the EACH project staff in partnership with the Association of Parents with Disabled Children (APDC) and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor. The project, with its partners, has been conducting a series of policy forums, discussions and lobbying meetings with decision-makers and key stakeholders to resolve these issues. As a result of these collaborative efforts parents' now have assistance.


Greece: Al Taybeh revitalized

April - Al Taybeh community has celebrated the completed renovations at Al Taybeh Greek Orthodox School, which have breathed new life into the facility. The school now can accommodate 430 students from Taybeh and the surrounding villages in a spacious and safe environment. 

The school had suffered from overcrowding and disrepair. The main boundary wall was old and in danger of collapsing. The old kindergarten had been built into the slope of a hill and was structurally unstable. Water leaks in winter resulted in moldy, unhygienic surroundings for the children.

With USAID funding of $750,000, ANERA built a two-story building to replace the old kindergarten. The school administration and parents no longer have to worry about the safety of their children and the school can now accommodate more students.


International essay contest for young people: ‘Creating the Future We Want’

This International Essay Contest for Young People is organised by the Goi Peace Foundation and UNESCO and among the endorsers are the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. This contest seeks to ‘harness the energy, imagination and initiative of the world’s youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development.’ It also aims ‘to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world’.

The 2012 theme is: “Creating the Future We Want”: the future begins in the vision we hold. Share your vision of the future world and how we can make it come true.

The essays entries are divided into two age groups: children up to 14 years of age and youth between 15 and 25. The essays, which can be written in English, French, Spanish, German (with up to 800 words) and Japanese (1600 characters or less), must be received by the Goi Peace Foundation any time before 30 June.

1st prize: Certificate and100.000 Yen (approx. US$1,300) 2nd prize: Certificate and 50,000 Yen ($US650), and 3rd prize: Certificate and gift. 1st prize winner will also be invited to the award ceremony in Tokyo. For more information:





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Next issue: May18, 2012.


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"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet by civil society corresponding to para 6 in the 1999 Programme of Action calling for the promotion of a culture of peace through sharing of information among actors in the global movement for a culture of peace (p.7). Diffusion and exchange of culture of peace information via the Internet has become the major instrument for several international organizations, notably the Culture of Peace News Network, the Good News Agency and the Education for Peace Globalnet (p.12).   

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