Good News Agency – Year II, n° 11



Weekly - Year II, number 11 –  15 June 2001

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.

Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 2,400 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 43 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site:

It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, Radio For Peace International, The Club of Budapest and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing.          Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail:



International legislation




Human rights


Energy and safety


Economy and development


Environment and wildlife




Culture and education




International legislation



International Labour Conference to Explore "Decent Work Deficit"

Geneva, 1 June - The shortage of adequate employment opportunities is "the fault line in the world today," according to the annual report * of the International Labour Office (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia to the 89th Session of the International Labour Conference, which meets in Geneva from 5-21 June.

In his report, which is addressed to Ministers of Labour, employers and workers in the ILO's 175 member States, the Director-General expresses "profound concern about a global decent work deficit of immense proportions, reflecting the diverse inequalities of our societies."

The decent work deficit "is expressed in the absence of sufficient employment opportunities, inadequate social protection, the denial of rights at work and shortcomings in social dialogue." These failings provide "a measure of the gap between the world that we work in and the hopes people have for a better life" and fall into four categories [employment gap, rights gap, social protection gap, social dialogue gap]


International Organizations Join Forces in Fight Against Drug Trafficking Through the Mail Network

Vienna, 24 May -- The Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) have embarked on a joint project aimed at combating drug trafficking through the use of the postal service. Supported by two other international organizations, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), the project will focus on the illegal dispatch of drugs and drug-related money laundering operations through the international mail network, particularly in Africa. The project, for which US$ 300 000 has been earmarked, will assist 18 countries in East, West, and North Africa to strengthen their postal control, inspection systems and cooperation with law enforcement bodies. It will stretch over two years during which postal, police and customs officers and managers will undergo specialized training programs developed jointly by UPU, UNDCP, INTERPOL and WCO experts.



Human rights



Algeria: Fourth series of visits to detainees

7 June – Under a 1999 agreement with the Algerian government authorizing the ICRC to visit detainees held in establishments run by the Ministry of Justice, a team of five delegates, including a doctor, carried out a fourth series of visits between 21 April and 2 June 2001. The team visited 11 prisons that housed a total of 4,904 inmates, including 39 women and 38 minors. The delegates held interviews in private with 457 of them, including 186 arrested since summer 2000. The ICRC doctor examined sick detainees and discussed detainee health and the quality of medical care with medical and paramedical staff.


Guinea: Over 600 members of the military receive instruction in humanitarian law

7 June – The international humanitarian law office of the Ministry of Defence of Guinea, the Red Cross Society of Guinea and the ICRC jointly held four seminars on the law of war for 170 officers of the country's armed forces during the second half of May in Faranah, Kissidougou and Guékédou. The ICRC also helped the office organize four one-day workshops on the basic rules of humanitarian law for 450 soldiers and other bearers of weapons. A total of nine seminars and nine workshops on the topic are to be held throughout Guinea in 2001.



Economy and development



Public-private partnership pilots to be launched

Powerful Group of Regional Leaders Will Guide a Successful Project Implementation

A special meeting of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europes Expert Group on Public Private Partnership (PPPs) has agreed to work with governments to develop pilot projects in infrastructure. The purpose of this agreement is to showcase to countries in South East Europe and other transition economies the potential of PPPs and to facilitate dialogue between the private and public sectors that is essential for their success.

Leading experts on PPPs from all over the world resolved to implement a programme under which governments will propose a few infrastructure projects to the UNECE Expert Panel. The Expert Panel will select one from these submissions. This will be developed as a pilot project. By adopting this innovative method, the Group seeks to accelerate the delivery of successful PPPs into the market place. The UNECE Expert Panel is made up of businesspeople, project managers, bankers, legal experts and leading government officials, and they will select the project based on criteria they have set forth and to help facilitate the progress of the PPP into fruition. The UNECE Group will at the same time ensure that the social and environmental objectives of PPPs are encouraged and that principles of transparency, good governance and fair business are respected in developing PPPs in the region.


FAO announces new initiatives to improve food safety and quality

Rome, 1 June - A series of initiatives aimed at improving food safety and quality, following recent food safety incidents which have caused serious turmoil in the world food markets and raised concern among consumers, was announced today by the Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Hartwig de Haen.

At the Committee on World Food Security currently meeting in Rome (28 May - 1 June 2001), Mr. de Haen said: "Food safety and quality have become subjects of increased concern for consumers, producers and policy makers all over the world."

In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the FAO intends to convene a Global Forum on Food Safety Regulators in October 2001. The venue is yet to be determined. "The main purpose of the Global Forum is to promote the exchange of information and experience on how to deal with food safety issues of potential importance to public health and international food trade," Mr. de Haen underlined.


USD 20.0 Million IFAD Loan for National Programme for Local Development

Rome, 25 May - A USD 31.3 million project in the Republic of Honduras, the "National Programme for Local Development (PRONADEL)" will receive a USD 20.0 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The area targeted by the project suffers from the risk of harvest losses due to a prolonged dry season and uncertain rainfall; the household economy of the population living in the area is based primarily on subsistence production. The target population consists of approximately 700 000 people who are settled on hillside lands in the poorest regions of Honduras both subject to severe environmental degradation and at risk from natural disasters. Of the target population, the project will focus on 15 000 families in 135 municipalities organized into ten clusters.


USD 4.2 Million IFAD Loan to Rural Enterprise Project in Grenada

Rome, 25 May - A USD 7.7 million programme in Grenada, the "Rural Enterprise Project" will receive a USD 4.2 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Grenada is a vulnerable small island state. Much of the population live in poverty and are cut off from the mainstream economy which cannot absorb too many external shocks. The project will be able to replicate successful aspects of similar projects in Dominica and Saint Lucia, build upon community mobilization work. The projects’ participatory methodology and its approach to promoting business are innovative features that characterize IFAD support to development activities in the Windward Islands of the country


Rotary, UNFPA to cooperate on population, development issues

6 June - The executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Obaid, and the president of Rotary International, Frank Devlyn, today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to work together on population and reproductive health issues and promote awareness worldwide of the social, economic and environmental implications of population growth and challenges. The UNFPA and Rotary will cooperate on projects to address development needs and the challenges of a global population that increases by 77 million people each year, mainly in the world's poorest regions ()

By the terms of the Memorandum, the UNFPA and Rotary will work together to identify local population and development needs, especially in health, and seek ways to collaborate on them. The UNFPA will encourage its offices to initiate consultations with Rotary clubs and districts in the field. Rotary will promote assistance for population and development programs by incorporating related projects into the Rotary International Projects Database and by encouraging its clubs and districts to support public and private funding for them.






Basketball Star Vlade Divac to Coach Kids at UN/NBA Sports Camp

29 May Divac of the Sacramento Kings, a United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) Goodwill Ambassador, will lead nine National Basketball Association (NBA) players, including Toni Kukoc of the Atlanta Hawks, a three-time European player of the year and a native of Croatia, at a basketball camp in Treviso, Italy, from 29 June to 2 July. The event "Basketball without Borders" ("Košarka bez granica") will benefit 50 players ages 12 to 14 years.

Divac is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He led the Yugoslav team to silver medals at the 1988 Seoul and 1996 Atlanta Olympic games.


Uganda--World Bank approves first poverty reduction support credit

County to receive $150 million in fight against poverty

Washington, June 1 - Uganda yesterday became the first country to benefit from a Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC), a new approach to World Bank lending designed to help low-income countries with strong policy and institutional reform programs carry out their poverty reduction strategies. The PRSC provides the Bank with a vehicle for supporting the implementation of the country's comprehensive poverty reduction strategy, set out in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Typically structured as a series of two or three operations that together provide a comprehensive road map for medium-term reform, it is expected to facilitate the alignment of donor programs with the country's own reform and poverty reduction agenda.

With today's Board decision, Uganda will receive a US$150 million PRSC to support the implementation of the government's poverty reduction strategy, which aims to improve the delivery of basic services to the population.


Mozambique and Malawi: ADB gives money to help flood victims

28 May - The African Development Bank (ADB) has given US $500,000 to help flood victims in Mozambique. The ADB said in a statement that money would be used to help victims in the provinces of Zambezi, Tete, Manica and Sofala in the central region of Mozambique. "The Bank's contribution will be used to provide the necessary drugs and supplies for the prevention and control of malaria, cholera and other water-borne diarrhoeal diseases. The operation will also provide the necessary operational and logistic support for the emergency of diarrhoeal and malaria control programmes in the most affected flooded areas of the four provinces," the statement said.

28 May - The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US $500,000 grant for emergency relief support for flood victims in Malawi. "The objective of the humanitarian relief assistance is to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the 2001 floods in the southern and central districts of Malawi. It specifically seeks to prevent loss of human life and maintain the nutritional status of the displaced population in the seven most-hit areas affected by the flood.


Eritrea/Ethiopia: ICRC repatriates civilians from Eritrea and Ethiopia

7 June – On Friday 1 June the ICRC, acting in its capacity as a neutral and independent intermediary, facilitated the repatriation to Ethiopia and Eritrea of a total of 1,418 civilians.

The civilians of Ethiopian origin, numbering 1,133 and coming from Asmara and surrounding areas, were taken to the Mereb river, the usual crossing point between the towns of Adi Quala and Rama. On arrival they were handed over to the Ethiopian authorities and transported to Adwa in the 16th operation of this type since the beginning of the year. Coming from southern and central Tigray, 285 persons of Eritrean origin were taken to the same crossing point and given into the care of the Eritrean authorities in the third operation to repatriate civilians from Ethiopia this year.


Indonesia: Missing children reunited with families

7 June – A small team made up of staff from the Indonesian Red Cross Society and the ICRC have returned to their families 13 children separated while fleeing the violence that erupted in North Maluku province in 1999. The latest was a girl reunited with her loved ones in mid-May.

Many separated children are living with foster families. Since June 2000, the Red Cross tracing and mailing service in North Maluku has received 80 tracing requests from families who have lost children and a number of messages from those caring for children they have found.


ICRC to step up aid to Afghanistan

Geneva, 6 June - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched an appeal for a budget extension of over 10 million Swiss francs to cover the cost of an operation in Afghanistan which will bring aid to an additional 600,000 people suffering the effects of the ongoing conflict and a prolonged drought. The ultimate aim of the operation is to prevent further mass population movements.

Activities will include the distribution of seed and food rations to households facing starvation in the particularly hard-hit central regions of Ghor and Dar-i-Suf. Tents will also be provided so as to increase, if need be, the capacity of the camps in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif where most displaced persons are currently assembled.


Photo exhibition marks five years of HIV/AIDS "Harm Reduction" work in Russia

Moscow, June 6 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will stage a photo exhibit entitled "The Fire Within" at the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center in Moscow starting June 6th, 2001. The exhibit, to be inaugurated by the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, will feature the photographs of John Ranard. Printed by inkjet on large canvases (1.8 x 2.75 meters), the photos chronicle the evolution of contemporary Russian drug culture revealing the social impact of HIV/ AIDS. The exhibit will be on display at the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center until June 30th and posted on the web at

Médecins Sans Frontières provides assistance to the victims of natural disasters, armed conflicts, epidemics, and social marginalization in more than 80 countries worldwide. Besides HIV/AIDS prevention programs, in the Russian Federation the organization is currently assisting the homeless in Moscow; displaced persons in republics neighboring Chechnya; the victims of tuberculosis in Kemerovo, Siberia; and the victims of the floods in Lensk, Yakutia.






Japan's donation bolsters final push for polio eradication

$30 million contribution to UNICEF helps address major funding gap

New York/Geneva/Tokyo, 1 June The Japanese Government has greatly bolstered the final effort to purge the world of polio by donating US$30 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) announced today.

Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director, applauded Japan for the donation, part of Tokyos traditionally strong support for fighting polio and other infectious diseases. The contribution brings the total Japan has contributed this year to UNICEF for polio eradication to US$40 million. Last year Japan also made a donation of $35 million to UNICEF to support the polio eradication campaign()

With this latest increase in available funding, Bellamy expressed confidence that the 2005 target date for certifying the world polio-free is still within reach()

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF is one of the largest public health campaigns ever. Last year a record 550 million children were immunized in 82 countries. Reported polio cases numbered 2,857 last year, compared to an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988, when the campaign started. The poliovirus circulates in 20 countries today, down from 125 in 1988.


WFP organizes first HIV/AIDS awareness training for its truck drivers

Addis Ababa, May 29 – The United Nations World Food Programme has started today a series of innovative training sessions for its contracted truck drivers in Ethiopia to raise their awareness on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). It is WFP's first large-scale initiative in the fight against the spread of the epidemic.

The training is aimed at some 2,300 truck drivers contracted by WFP to move relief food from the Port of Djibouti to warehouses and distribution sites within Ethiopia. The truck drivers will be trained on risk reduction and prevention methods to help them avoid becoming infected and infecting their partners. 

Although everyone can be vulnerable to the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, some groups because of the nature of their work are at greater risk than others. This includes for instance truck drivers who in most cases work away from their families for long periods of time and are presented with opportunities for high-risk sexual behaviour.


UNIFEM and UNAIDS target gender inequalities in HIV/AIDS

30 May - The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched a new cooperation agreement last week to try to stop the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls.

Women constitute 47 per cent of the nearly 35 million adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to UNAIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, the most severely affected region, 55 per cent of all HIV positive adults are women. If women had control over their bodies and were able to negotiate safe sex, the disease might not have reached such vast proportions. For instance, a Zambian study found that less than 25 per cent of women believe that a married woman can refuse to have sex with her husband, and only 11 per cent think they can ask their husband to use a condom.

UNIFEM and UNAIDS will work together to raise awareness about how power imbalances between women and men and other aspects of gender relations affect HIV transmission.



Energy and safety



A new voice for the global environment

Telecommunications Industry Launches Sustainability Initiative

Torino/Nairobi, 5 June - An initiative to improve the global environment and support sustainable development by promoting business practices and technologies that save energy, minimize waste and help bridge the "digital divide" is being launched here in Torino on the occasion of World Environment Day.

The new alliance, called the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), brings together some of the world's biggest information and communications technology (ICT) companies and their industry associations and is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

It is the first alliance of its kind to involve both telecommunications operators and their suppliers who have committed to manage their own business operations in an environmentally friendly way and also promote sustainable business practices and technologies around the world.


Kariwa, Japan, rejects MOX to fuel nuclear plant

Residents in Kariwa, Japan, who live near the world's largest nuclear plant, voted on Sunday to reject plans to fuel the plant with recycled plutonium, known as MOX.  Turnout was high, at 85 percent, and though the referendum was not legally binding, such a vote is rare in Japan and puts the government's pro-MOX strategy in doubt. Meanwhile in Russia, the lower house of parliament, the Duma, will hold a final vote next week on whether to allow the import of nuclear waste, which would either be stored in perpetuity or reprocessed into nuclear fuel and exported.  The plan, backed by President Vladimir Putin, is expected to pass.  Alexei Yablokov, an anti-nuke scientist and activist, said a poll released by Greenpeace last week found that 90 percent of the voters in Russia are opposed to the plan.


Italy: contribution for ecological vehicles 

From May 23 the public may request a contribution for the purchase of a new electric, methane or propane gas vehicle (even without trading in an old vehicle) or for the installation, in an already purchased gasoline vehicle and within the first year its registration, of a methane or propane gas fuel system. This contribution could be as much as three and a half million Lira (about $1,600 USD).



Environment and wildlife



Cashing in on hyacinth weed and household waste key themes of Kenya's World Environment Day celebrations

Nairobi, June 1 - Some of Kenya's top fashion models, sporting dresses and accessories made from recycled plastic, rubber and other waste materials, will take to the catwalk on the evening of June 4 as part of a week long series of celebrations to mark World Environment Day (WED).

The PlasticFantastic show, which will feature work from leading Kenyan and European clothes, jewellery, hats, belts and bags designers including "Alix", ETRO, Kiko Romeo and Penny Winter, will drive home the message that recycling and re-using rubbish is one of the keys to improving the Kenyan environment.

Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which is headquartered in Nairobi said: " Too many people view the waste they put in their bins as rubbish that can only be burnt or dumped at tips. The 'throw away society' is a global problem. PlasticFantastic aims to alert the public in a fun, provocative and entertaining way to the fact that these materials have real value and that to reduce, re-use and recycle makes economic and environmental sense".


Georgia: GEF grant to help conserve biodiversity in Georgia

Washington, May 31 - The World Bank has approved a Protected Areas Development Project in Georgia funded by a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund Grant of SDR 6.9 million (US$ 8.7 million equivalent).

Georgia, a mountainous country covering 70,000 km2 with a population of 5.5 million people, is situated between the south slope of the Caucasus Mountains, the east coast of the Black Sea and the northern edge of the Turkish Anatolia plain. Forests cover 40 percent of the country, largely in the Greater Caucasus Mountains (Georgia's northern border), the Lesser Caucasus (its southern border), and in intervening lowlands and foothills. Since the transition, unsustainable timber harvesting, grazing, and game hunting have accelerated, and now pose a major threat to Georgia's rich and diverse biodiversity.

The grant seeks to conserve Georgian biodiversity through the creation of three ecologically and socially sustainable protected areas, and to build capacity for mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into the production landscapes that connect them.


Humane Society Press publishes "The State of the Animals 2001"

Washington, May 25 - Humane Society Press (HSP) announces the publication of  "The State of the Animals 2001," a landmark volume that is the first in a series reviewing the state of animal protection in North America and worldwide. The 211-page book examines how animals throughout the world have fared over the last half century.

HSP is the new scholarly and professional book imprint of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest animal protection organization.

Edited by Deborah J. Salem, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Humane Society Press and Andrew N. Rowan, HSUS Senior Vice President for Research, Education and International Issues, "The State of the Animals 2001" shows the gains and setbacks in the animal protection movement since 1950. Contributors of the book's 13 essays include HSUS experts on animal protection issues and distinguished scholars.


Transport Ministers examine sustainability

Lisbon, Portugal, June 1 - Transport ministers from over 30 European countries plus USA and Canada met in Lisbon this week to debate the many challenges associated with achieving sustainable transport systems. The event was the annual meeting of the European Conference of Ministers of Transport, a 39-member intergovernmental body linked to the Organization for  Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). High on its agenda was a report on obstacles to implementing sustainable urban transport policies. Other discussions concerned the economic impacts of introducing sulfur free fuels and specific problems faced by central and eastern European countries. Ministers based their discussions in part on the findings of a survey of practices in 168 cities. A synthesis report of the survey will be published this autumn.


Youth Environmental News Desk created to honor UNEP Global 500 Award winners

New York, N.Y., May 30 - To celebrate the work of young winners of the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Award, Horizon Communications and the Environment News Service have joined forces to create a Youth Environmental News Desk.

News reports on successful environmental endeavors written by people up to the age of 19 will be published and distributed worldwide by the Environment News Service (ENS), the original international daily newswire of the environment, online at: and featured on the at:

The Youth Environmental News Desk will officially open on World Environment Day, June 5, 2001, with a monthly contest to choose articles for publication.


Peru creates huge new park in rainforest

Chicago, IL, USA, May 30 - On May 22 the Peruvian government created a 5,225-square-mile national park, thereby protecting a pristine area of Andean rainforest that is bigger than Connecticut and extraordinarily rich in biodiversity. The new Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul - one of the largest parks in the world - sits in one of the last tracts of virgin rainforest still undeveloped and largely uninhabited. As such, its creation represents a major victory for conservation and the environment.


EEB: 11 substances to be rapidly eliminated from Europe’s waters

Brussels,.6 June - The EEB (European Environmental Bureau), which represents 135 environmental citizens’ organisations across Europe, welcomed the decision taken by the Environment Council yesterday to accept the European Parliament’s changes to the first list of priority substances to be controlled through EU-wide measure, an important first step by the EU to stop the release of all hazardous substances within one generation. The list contains 33 substances or groups of substances, all of which pose a major threat to EU waters. The Commission now has two years to draw up measures for emission reductions and quality standards.


Argentina's  first national coastal  park created in Patagonia

Buenos Aires, June 6, 2001, Argentina - The first steps towards the creation of Argentina's first national coastal park were accomplished Monday, June 5,  in celebration of World Environment Day.


Success Story: Mafia Island

11 June – Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania - While 90% of the local population is dependent on fishing for their livelihood, only a small minority lives off agriculture. Considering the general sensitivity of the locals to their rich heritage, and the simplicity of the fishing methods they employed, the ocean might yet have been able to sustain itself and the community. When local fishing was accompanied by dynamite fishermen from outside the community, the effects were disastrous. WWF worked closely with people living in Mafia isle to help them develop sustainable livelihoods and giving ecologically consciousness, so they were able to restore the peace between conservation and commerce. Now Mafia island is classified as part of the WWF’s Global 200 initiative – one of those rare and beautiful places that simply abound with biodiversity.

Apiculture, once a cottage industry, it is now being looked at as the next potential ‘Big Idea’ by islanders. The traditional bee-keepers are now being convinced to incorporate modern methods to increase profits, in the hope that such ventures will encourage people to turn away from fishing towards viable alternatives.


Mediterranean old forest jewel protected in Croatia

Zagreb, 2001, June, 13, Croazia - WWF, the conservation organization, today  welcomed the signing of an agreement by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, that will significantly contribute to the protection of the Velebit forests. The 770 square mile area of scenic rocky landscapes contains some of the few old growth forests remaining in the Mediterranean region.


Massive Public Support for Europe to Lead Against Global Warming, Even Without the United States

12 June – Results of public opinion surveys released today by WWF, the conservation organization, show overwhelmingly that Europeans want their governments to take the lead in the fight against global warming by bringing into force the Kyoto climate treaty, even if the United States does not take part now. This is an important signal to European heads of government who will hold a meeting on climate change with US President Bush in Gothenburg this Thursday, 14 June.



Culture and education



World Bank approves credit to the Palestinian Authority for an education action project

Washington, June 1 - The World Bank's Board of Directors yesterday approved a credit to the Palestinian Authority in the amount of US$7 million for an Education Action Project.

The project primarily aims to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Education to manage the education system more efficiently through improved policy-making, planning and budgeting at central and district levels. It is also expected to support the implementation of activities in targeted domains derived from the Five-Year Education Plan (2001-2005). This should lead to improved utilization of funding from the budget and international donors and improve the sustainability of the education system under present critical circumstances.

The project is expected to benefit school level children and their families, through an improved education system with better learning outcomes and opportunities, for girls in particular.

The overall project cost is US$7.63 million. The World Bank's credit of US$7 million is drawn from the Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank and is on standard IDA (International Development Association) terms with a 40-year maturity, a 10-year grace period, and 0.75 percent service charge. The credit is accompanied by counterpart financing from the Palestinian Authority of US$630,000.


Learning Across Borders: Capacity Building For Japanese and Other Asian Pacific NGOs
Workshop in partnership with Government of Japan

Washington D.C., May 29 - The World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Japan, is today wrapping up a series of four workshops entitled "Learning Across Borders: Capacity Building of Japanese and other Asian Pacific NGOs". This series of four day workshops ran from January to May 2001 and included events in Tokyo and Manila.

This workshop series aimed to improve the knowledge, skills, and organizational capacity of Japanese and other Asian Pacific NGOs so that they can effectively support national development and poverty alleviation efforts, particularly in collaboration with the World Bank and other agencies.


Opening of a new branch of “IFLAC Pave Peace” in Israel

“We are going through hard times over here, with an uncalled for escalation of violence. However, IFLAC goes on with its efforts to keep sane and moderate, and to call for a cessation of the violence on both sides”, Mrs. Ada Aharoni, IFLAC President, wrote to Good News Agency recently. “We are doubling our efforts, and I'm attaching the invitation for the opening of our new IFLAC Branch, which you may perhaps like to publish in the next GNA.”

We are glad to report that since last May the activity of the new branch at the Writers’ House in Daliat El Carmel is contributing to the development of a dialogue for a culture of peace.


Planetary Vision Festival 2001: World Peace and Prayer Day, 21 June

The next major event connected with the Planetary Vision Festival is the sixth World Peace and Prayer Day on June 21st, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. World Peace and Prayer Day is a major initiative of the world’s Indigenous peoples led by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a Native American Chief of the Dakota Sioux. WPPD was initiated in 1996 when Chief Looking Horse called upon spiritual leaders from around the world to join him in praying for global peace and the healing of Mother Earth and issued an invitation for people of all faiths to gather at their sacred sites or at any appropriate place and pray in their own way for this positive shift in our collective global consciousness. Information on this important initiative is at 

Plans are also now underway for the first World Day of Planetary Ethics on September 22, 2001. The central special event will take place in Sao Paolo, Brazil with a major conference on "Business Ethics" and a Sunrise Celebration.


Book of “New Songs For Peace” being prepared for schools

The project entitled "New Songs For Peace" is requesting new songs that can be submitted for inclusion in a book that will be distributed mainly to schools. This book will include approximately 100 new songs for peace. This project was created in response to the UN proclamation of the International Decade (2001-2010) for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. All songwriters (even if they are amateurs) will keep their own copyright and the songs can be sent to the attention of Honey Novick at the Creative Vocalization  Studio Suite 208, 707 Eglinton Ave. WEST, Toronto Canada M5N lC8



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Next issue: 6 July 2001