Good News Agency – Year II, n° 15
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 2,500 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 46 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
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, the Club of Budapest, the Earth Charter, Radio For Peace International 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: email@example.com
East Asian Ministers Issue Historic Declaration On Forest Law Enforcement And Governance
Bali, Indonesia, September 13 - Ministers from East Asian Nations and other regions at the East Asia Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance accepted by acclamation an unprecedented and historic declaration committing their countries to combat illegal logging, associated illegal trade, and other forest crimes. The declaration represents the first ever international commitment by governments to combat corruption in the forestry sector. (…)
Approximately 150 participants –including representatives of NGOs, the private sector, and government institutions– contributed to the three day conference, exploring the best current thinking on forest law enforcement. Representatives of a number of African and Latin American countries as well as G-8 and European Union member countries also attended as observers and resource persons. The meeting was co-hosted by the World Bank and the Government of Indonesia. The United States and the United Kingdom provided financial support and substantive contributions. The three-day meeting consisted of two days of technical discussions and a ministerial segment on the last day. (…)
For more information about the conference, please visit: www.worldbank.or.id
UN: Climate change conference to be held in Africa for the first time
10 September - The Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Climate Change announced today that the next round of high-level talks on global warming will take place in Marrakech from 29 October to 9 November. Such decisions will enable ratification of the Convention's Kyoto Protocol by Governments whose adhesion is necessary to bring it into force, also guiding future action under the Convention itself. “By hosting this conference, Morocco would like to demonstrate to the international community the political commitment that Africa as a whole has to this common objective,” said Mohamed Elyazghi, Morocco's Minister of Spatial Planning, Urban Managing, Housing and Environment.
Philippine approves prison term for GMO labeling violators
Manila, Philippines, August - People selling a product that contains GMO (genetically modified organisms) in the Phillippines may soon have to label it “genetically engineered” or go to prison for not less than six years but not more than 12 years. If the offender is an alien, he or she can be immediately deported without need of any further proceedings. Up to 12 years in jail plus a $2,000 fine is the penalty for failing to label that was passed by the Philippine Congress. “Consumers have the right to know the contents of the food items they buy and then decide for themselves whether to buy or not”, said Congressman Del de Guzman of the city of Marikina.
Many countries like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Russia, 15 countries of the European Union, Mexico, Israel, Taiwan, the Czech Republic and Norway have mandatory laws which call for labeling of GMO products.
Tens of thousands of displaced return to North Moluccas
21 September – Some 42,608 displaced people have returned to the North Moluccas (Indonesia), after being forced to flee two years earlier by inter-religious clashes. The news was referred to the local press by Sukemi Sahab, head of a task force of the local administration in charge of handling the crisis in the North Moluccas. The announcement was made in occasion of a ceremony for the return from the northern Sulawesi province of 443 Christian people originally from Bitung. Sahab also declared that the displaced that have returned to their land, both Christians and Muslims have decided to “end hostilities, admitting that the conflicts had only produced orphans and widows”. Since January 1999 the Moluccas is theatre to clashes between Muslims and Christians, which first broke out in Ambon and then extended to the rest of the archipelago, so far claiming over 1,800 lives. (BO)
Registrar’s Initiative on Racism, Racial Discrimination and Intolerance
The Registrar of the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), Mr. Adama Dieng (Senegal) has unveiled a series of initiatives to promote tolerance in the workplace of the Tribunal and address alleged or potential issues of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance. These measures will be undertaken in the spirit and context of the efforts of the United Nations to eliminate racism and related vices.
As you know, the Tribunal issued a statement on Friday 7 September 2001, on the occasion of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held by the United Nations in Durban, South Africa. In that statement, the ICTR noted that its mandate was to dispense justice for mass crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. These crimes were motivated by racist ideologies, ethnic discrimination and intolerance. By bringing the accused perpetrators of these crimes to justice, the ICTR is contributing to the global struggle against racism and its sinister mutations and promoting a culture of individual accountability for crimes of hate, the statement said.
The statement also recognized the Tribunal’s responsibility to promote tolerance within its workplace, which is multiracial and multicultural. (…)
Power lights up lives of poor in rural Nepal
19 September - Not long ago, people in Taman, a remote village in Nepal’s Baglung district had no electricity and no radios or televisions. Using computers and accessing the Internet was only a dream. Now that all households have electricity and street lights illuminate the village, the dream is no longer far-fetched.
The Rural Energy Development Programme, an initiative by the Government of Nepal and UNDP, worked with the village development committee to bring micro-hydro power to nearly 200 households. Committee members villagers contribute time and labour to excavate the site. The plant on the river now generates 20 kilowatts of electricity. (…)
After working in their fields during the day, many villagers, including women, now engage in small business activities in the evenings, generating additional income. Children no longer have to study by lamp light. The project shows how social mobilization through community organizations can bring significant gains. (…)
FAO announces theme for World Food Day: "Fight hunger to reduce poverty"
Rome, 14 September -- "Fight hunger to reduce poverty" will be the theme of this year's World Food Day, 16 October, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.
World Food Day 2001 will focus attention on the world's 800 million people condemned to go hungry each day. Hunger leads to illness and early death, robbing people of their potential to work. It cripples children's learning capacity, undermines the peace and prosperity of nations and traps citizens in a vicious cycle of poor nutrition and ill health.
Hunger is a serious constraint to development. It is the first and most visible sign of poverty and any serious effort to alleviate poverty must fight hunger, which is a fundamental violation of the human right to food. (…)
More than 150 countries will host awareness-raising events on World Food Day, including art exhibits, concerts, teleconferences, essay and poster competitions at schools, tree-plantings, and award ceremonies to honour excellence in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
World Food Day commemorates the founding of FAO on 16 October 1945 in Quebec City, Canada.
Zambia: IRIN Focus on HIPC benefits
15 September - The alienation of Zambia's rural producers may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to an ambitious, donor-backed programme to link up the rural areas to the crop marketing system. The Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday that it had released 27 billion kwacha (about US $7.5 million) for the rehabilitation of rural feeder roads ahead of the planting season in October.
The national feeder roads rehabilitation programme is funded wholly by savings made under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, a World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) -led programme under which western creditors grant eligible developing countries significant debt write-offs. Savings made under the HIPC programme are expected to be channelled into social service delivery and poverty alleviation programmes.
According to IMF and Zambian government statistics, the country's annual debt service payments this year will more than halve to US $158 million from US $436 million as a result of HIPC concessions. Both the Zambian government and western donors are confident that, if properly used, the savings under HIPC will go a long away to alleviating poverty. However, Zambia's civil society organisations - while applauding western creditors for writing off part of the country's borrowings - are convinced that the international community could do more to lift the country out of its debt trap and onto the road to economic recovery. Many are campaigning for a total write-off of the country's US $6.5 billion debt.
Lesotho and South Africa: World Bank Approves GEF Grant For Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Project
Washington, September 13 - The World Bank today approved grant funding worth $ 15.24 million to the governments of South Africa and Lesotho for the five-year Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Project.
The project will focus its activities in an area of approximately 13 000km2 along the eastern boundary of the Kingdom of Lesotho with South Africa. The area contains exceptional biodiversity and rock art straddling the borders of the two countries, and also holds exciting opportunities for economic development based on natural and cultural resources. On the South African side, a substantial part of the project area has been listed as a World Heritage site, and there is the potential for collaborative work to secure similar areas within Lesotho. (…)
The project will be funded by the Global Environment Facility, which supports organizations to conserve globally significant biodiversity. Whilst the key objective is conservation of the area's unique biodiversity, the program will support the development of small business involved in eco-tourism and job creation flowing from conservation.
This grant is the single largest approved by the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank in the sub-region. It therefore represents a milestone in collaboration on environment issues between the Kingdom of Lesotho, the South African Government, KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, provincial conservation agencies in the Free State and Eastern Cape, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank.
Rome, 12 September –The 73rd Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that ended its meeting held at the Headquarters in Rome, approved loans for 7 development projects for a total worth of USD 122.5 million. The projects approved are for Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique and Nigeria. The Executive Board also approved five Technical Assistance Grants worth USD 5.0 million. (…)
UNIFEM commissions production unit in northern Ghana
6 September - The first shea butter production unit has been installed in the village of Gbimsi, Ghana, a community whose social and economic indicators are amongst the lowest in the country. Commissioned by UNIFEM, the installation was designed to increase women’s output and efficiency in production. The unit has freed the women from the drudgery of collecting large quantities of fuelwood and water, both essential in traditional methods of shea butter extraction. The project builds on lessons learned from UNIFEM’s support to women shea butter producers in Burkina Faso.
The production unit consists of locally fabricated equipment for shea butter extraction, such as a kernel crusher, grinding mill, and several bridge presses. The unit has not only increased the group’s production capacity, but has resulted in increased incomes for the women producers. UNIFEM is currently assisting the women to negotiate with a Ghana-based cosmetics company that is interested in purchasing the group’s shea butter.
For more information, please contact Funmi Balogun, Programme Analyst for Anglophone West Africa, at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Chicago to New York, volunteers and police officers walk to raise funds for children
Evanston, Illinois, USA, 24 September - As America reels from the September 11 tragedy, life goes on. Undeterred, business volunteer members of Rotary International are walking from Chicago to New York to raise money for the Gift of Life, a program to help children with congenital heart problems worldwide. The walk is possible through the efforts of Rotary clubs, hospitals and police departments across the country. (…) The walkers, led by TV and film star Chad Everett, are expected to arrive on Long Island on September 30, 2001.
Twelve-year-old Zhenzhen Yao from Shangdong province in China, who was brought to the US for life-saving heart surgery through the Gift of Life program, joined the group to start off the walk. She is recovering from a successful surgery performed in New Jersey on August 17.
The Gift of Life brings children with life-threatening cardiac disease to the United States for heart surgery. Were they to remain in their home countries, which are not equipped to perform the procedure, many of these children would die. Teams of pediatric cardiologists evaluate each child's condition and local Rotary clubs coordinate a trip to a participating hospital for the surgery. (…) Forty-eight hospitals worldwide perform pediatric cardiovascular open-heart surgery for the program.
The Gift of Life was created in 1975 by a group of Rotarians in Manhasset, Long Island, New York. Since then more than 2,000 children have traveled to the US for surgery from dozens of countries around the world. (…)
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 30,000 Rotary clubs in 163 countries.
UK and FAO start multi-million-dollar livestock initiative in support of the poor
London/Rome, 24 September - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Kingdom have agreed on a major livestock initiative for the poor in developing countries, FAO said in a statement issued today. The goal of the initiative is to contribute to poverty reduction through equitable, safe and clean livestock farming.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) will grant 9 million sterling (US$13 million) to support the 'Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Facility' within FAO's Animal Production and Health Division and regional initiatives over a period of six years. The project memorandum will be signed tomorrow (25 September) in London.
Livestock ownership currently supports and sustains the livelihoods of an estimated 675 million rural poor, FAO said. An estimated 70 percent of the poor are women for whom animal production is one of the most important assets and sources of income. In addition, livestock production is important to create job opportunities. (…)
Côte d'Ivoire: Assistance for 1,400 displaced people
20 September – The ICRC has provided emergency assistance consisting of cleaning materials, soap and blankets to 1,400 displaced people of Malian origin who fled the area around Lake Kossou, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire, as a result of ethnic violence. The displaced people are now in five camps in the city of Bouaké. The distribution of relief supplies followed an evaluation of their needs carried out from 12 to 15 September by the ICRC in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire. (…)
Most of the displaced could be accommodated by relatives or friends, but those living in the camps in Bouaké "are particularly vulnerable and they are living in very bad sanitary conditions", according to ICRC delegate Claude Champagne. A certain number of displaced people have chosen to return to Mali, while others are still hoping to be able to resume their activities in Côte d'Ivoire.
New projects aid poor rural communities in Burundi
18 September - UNDP and several partners are allocating US$1.7 million to help impoverished rural communities in three provinces in Burundi, emerging from a decade of conflict and one of the poorest countries in the world.
The projects will improve living conditions for 36,000 people in Muramvya in central Burundi, Karusi in the east, and Ngozi in the north. The initiative will also renovate 10 schools, enhancing conditions for 5,000 students, provide housing for 775 families, and build a market to promote economic development. (…)
Partners in the undertaking include the Centre for the Study, Training and Management on Water and the Environment, which will be working in Muramyya; Italian Volunteers for Countries in Emergency, operating in Kauzi; and Care International, helping communities in Ngozi.
UNDP is providing two-thirds of the funding, and the three partner organizations and the Canadian International Development Agency are supplying the balance. The projects are part of the UNDP programme of support for Burundian communities, which is allocating $6.6 million for 14 other projects in seven provinces. (…)
UNHCR resettles refugees in DRC
15 September - More than 3,000 Angolan refugees who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) south-western border town of Kidompolo had by Friday been moved to more secure areas inland, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. "In the transfer operation, which ended on Friday, the refugees were taken to Congolese villages south of the capital, Kinshasa. The refugees are part of a group of nearly 10,000 Angolan refugees who had fled to the DRC in early August in the wake of a UNITA offensive on the northern Angolan town of Beu. The last group of refugees left Kidompolo on Friday morning on foot, at the start of a two-day journey to the settlement villages of Zomfi, Zulu and Sadi, some 50 km from the DRC/Angola frontier," Janowski said.
Janowski said an estimated 4,000 Angolan refugees who arrived in the DRC during August still remained in other border areas - 2,000 in the town of Kimvula and a similar number scattered across several other villages. More than 2,000 others had returned on their own to their homes in areas around the town of Maquela do Zombo, in northern Angola. Before the recent influx, the DRC was hosting over 180,000 Angolan refugees. UNHCR is assisting over 70,000 of them in the Bas-Congo and Katanga provinces.
WFP sending food to 40,000 victims of floods in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, 7 September - With a new flood season threatening Cambodia, the United Nations World Food Programme is sending emergency food supplies to some 40,000 people whose homes and food stocks have been washed away.
In an initial rapid response to the crisis, WFP is sending a total of 500 metric tons of rice – enough to feed each recipient for a month – to Cambodians identified by government disaster management officials as the most severely affected flood victims. At the same time, the agency is undertaking missions to assess food needs in the flooded areas so that a bigger operation can be launched if necessary. (…)
More than 300,000 people in eastern and southern Cambodia have been evacuated from their homes and are suffering from food shortages. Government disaster management officials estimate that 1.2 million people have been affected in some way by the flooding. (…)
UNIFEM Trust Fund gives over $1 million to end violence against women
6 September - UNIFEM gave over $1 million in grants for programmes to end violence against women in the most recent round of grants awarded through its Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women. Programmes in twenty-one countries were selected to receive funding during the sixth inter-agency meeting to determine grant awards. UNIFEM received nearly 325 proposals this year with funding requests of $17 million. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $120,000 will be used to support diverse programmes (…)
For more information, contact Zazie Schafer, Trust Fund Manager, at email@example.com
CARE Brings Clean Drinking Water to Orissa
Water treatment plant installed by CARE helps cuts down the threat of disease
Bhubaneshwar, India, September 4 - CARE staff in the southern Indian state of Orissa have installed a water treatment plant in Puri district, one of the worst affected by recent floods. The treatment plant, provided by the US Office of Disaster Assistance, is helping to cut down the threat of waterborne disease by providing clean drinking water to approximately 600 people in three villages. "Each person is receiving six gallons (25 litres) of potable water per day," says Basant Mohanty, CARE Orissa state director. (…)
CARE is distributing emergency supplies such as ready-to-eat food, packets of drinking water and oral rehydration salts, halogen tablets and shelter materials, including polyethylene sheets with rope, floor mats, and candles. Utilizing resources and staff already in place for CARE's ongoing development activities, CARE has provided emergency assistance to approximately 127,000 people in the state.
Cote d'Ivoire: Mass vaccination campaign planned
15 September - A mass campaign to vaccinate Abidjan residents against yellow fever is to begin on 17 September, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday. WHO recently launched an appeal for US $2.9 million to cover the cost of the campaign after the Ivorian authorities appealed for help against an outbreak of yellow fever. Thus far France, the European Commission, WHO and UNICEF have pledged US $600,000 to cover the operational costs of the campaign and vector control activities, WHO said.
Oil companies help curb HIV/AIDS in the Republic of the Congo
10 September - Two US oil companies are helping teachers and students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo learn about the risks of HIV/AIDS and how to avoid the deadly virus.
Chevron and Nomeco are supporting a project that UNDP and UNICEF are carrying out in cooperation with the National Programme Against AIDS and the Ministry of Education. The oil companies are contributing more than $50,000 and dozens of used computers and printers to the effort. (…)The initiative aims not only to provide teachers and students with life-saving information about HIV/AIDS, but to also to help them though a process of changing risky behaviours. Through workshops, peer-education, theatre groups, HIV/AIDS clubs, participatory research, and service-learning activities, the project has helped increase self-confidence and decision-making skills among students, thus reducing their vulnerability to HIV. Other benefits include a decline in infections with other sexually-transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and drug and alcohol use. (…)
Mekong countries launch project against HIV/AIDS
7 September - Five countries in the Mekong basin—Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam—launched a project this week aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among people who travel within and between countries.
The two-year initiative comes amid increasing awareness of the link between mobile population groups and transmission of the deadly disease. Lorry drivers and others in the transport sector, sex workers, fishermen, migrant factory workers, construction labourers and workers in the entertainment trade are among groups at risk. (…)
The project aims to strengthen the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Joint Action Programme on HIV/AIDS, which promotes an innovative response to reduce HIV vulnerability through early warnings designed to reinforce community activity against the disease. The goal is to reduce the threat of HIV in support of human development efforts in South East Asia. The project also helps fulfil a 1999 recommendation by the ASEAN Task Force on AIDS that HIV/AIDS policies and programmes should include mobile workers. It may be extended to cover wider initiatives for mobile populations in South East Asia.
The UNDP South-East Asia, HIV and Development Project supported the project launch, in cooperation with the Cambodia’s National AIDS Authority and Ministry of Health.
Responding to Challenges of Global Nuclear Cooperation
Statement of Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to the IAEA General Conference
Vienna, 17 September -- The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, today called for stronger cooperation to meet new sets of challenges in fields of nuclear technology, safety, and verification. Dr. ElBaradei reviewed nuclear developments from the IAEA’s vantage point in a statement to the Agency’s annual General Conference, which during its opening session officially reappointed him to a second four-year term of office. Ministers and senior governmental officials from the IAEA’s 132 Member States are attending the week-long meeting at the Austria Center in Vienna.
Dr. ElBaradei cited important achievements in recent years that have strengthened the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. At the same time, he emphasized interrelated challenges that, he said, "illustrate how much remains to be done."
His statement focused on the IAEA’s three main functions in the international arena — as a catalyst for progress in peaceful applications of nuclear technology; as an objective authority on nuclear safety; and as the inspectorate for verifying that safeguarded nuclear materials and activities are not used for military aims. (…)
Brazil: New Strategies to Overcome Foreign Dependence
Rio de Janeiro, Sep 21 - Most of the patents registered in Brazil belong to foreign companies, a clear indication of the country's level of technological dependence, which a conference this week made efforts to overcome .
Just three percent of the more than 4,000 applications for biotechnology patents received by the National Institute of Industrial Property from 1995 to 2000 were filed by Brazilians, although most of the research was based on the country's rich biodiversity.
To change that situation, the government organised a National Conference on Science, Technology and Innovation, which drew officials, researchers and business representatives to Brasilia Tuesday through Friday, where they charted the course to be taken over the coming decade.
The conference launched a debate on a new law that would grant incentives for innovative research. It also approved new financing, which will expand the resources available for technological research and development (R&D) in agribusiness, aeronautics, biotechnology and health. Brazil will thus have 14 funds next year for financing R&D - a mechanism that already led last year to a twofold rise in Brazilian investment in R&D in technology with respect to 1999, underlined President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. (…)
By Mario Osava
BEF launches Web based CO2 Calculator
Portland, US, September 10 - Individuals and small businesses can determine the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with their energy and travel use on a new web site sponsored by the BEF (Bonneville Environmental Foundation), a non-profit organization, founded in 1998 to fund new renewable energy resources. By entering data in the CO2 calculator at www.greentagsusa.org/greentags/calculator_intro.cfm, visitors to the BEF web site learn how much their specific actions create an environmental impact. “Carbon dioxide and other pollutants are produced by simple, everyday activities like driving a car and opening a refrigerator” said Angus Duncan, BEF president “ BEF Green Tags allow us to contribute to more wind and solar power - and less fossil fuel burning”.
WWF welcomes Latin America's largest freshwater protected area
Gland, Switzerland 18 September – WWF today welcomed both the largest freshwater protected area and the first freshwater Gift to the Earth in Latin America, with the designation by the Bolivian government of three wetlands totalling 46,000 square kilometres - an area larger than Switzerland - as sites of the RAMSAR Convention.
Located in the Department of Santa Cruz, in the lowlands of Bolivia, the wetlands of Bañados del Izogog-Rio Parapeti, El Palmar de las Islas-Salinas de San José, and Bolivian Pantanal are home to healthy populations of hundreds of species of flora and fauna, which are threatened in other parts of the country and in the rest of the world. These include, among others, the jaguar, the tapir, the giant river otter and the hyacinth macaw.
The newly protected sites are also very important freshwater reserves for the surrounding human populations. (…)
Swiss to Ban Fertilizing with Sludge
Bern, Switzerland, September 17 - Switzerland is to end the disposal of sewage sludge through agricultural spreading by 2005. The move will make it the first and only country in Europe to stop recycling sludge onto farms, with the presence of residues, including recent detection of pharmaceutical compounds and synthetic hormones, with pressure still on across the EU for greater land spreading. Though Switzerland's environment, agricultural, public health and veterinary authorities have approved the decision, Switzerland spreads 40 percent of its sludge - 80,000 tonnes annually - onto farmland. Switerland's move presents a policy challenge to the EU, whose 1991 urban wastewater treatment directive is increasing volumes of sewage sludge and where increased recycling onto farmland is encouraged to combat nutrient loss.
Partnership launched to restore Black Sea ecosystems
6 September - UNDP, the World Bank, the UN Environment Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have announced the approval of a $100 million fund for a strategic partnership to reduce pollution of the Black Sea and Danube River basin over the next six years.
At stake is a vast, unique web of ecosystems that millions of people depend on for their livelihoods, including fishing, recreation and tourism industries, and that is home to many species of plants, wildlife and marine life.
The initiative aims to reduce flows of nitrogen, phosphorus and other substances from sources such as farm fertilizer and manure runoff, sewage and industrial discharges that are causing serious pollution problems. (…)
The Environment Through The Eyes Of Children
Nairobi, 4 September - The eleventh international painting contest running from 1 November until 11 January 2002, is being jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Foundation for Global Peace and the Environment, Japan. Children from all regions of the world (between the ages of 6 and 15 years) are invited to participate. Preserve the Oceans, Skies and Forests for Future Preserve the Oceans, Skies and Forests for Future.
"Preserve the Beautiful Oceans, Skies and Forests for the Future", is this year's theme. The sponsors of the contest hope to interest and motivate children to paint, their vision for the future of the environment. (…)
Prizes will be awarded for the best 300 entries, which will be used for the compilation of a calendar, posters, publications and exhibitions worldwide. All entries will be stored by the National Museums of Ethnology, Japan.
Last year there were more than 12,500 entries from 56 countries. From the winning entries selected, several will be used in the preparation of a Calendar for Children for the Year 2001.
The Foundation for Global Peace and the Environment of Japan was founded in 1993 to work on wide-ranging global issues related to the environment, peace and sport. Since its inception, the Foundation has been a key partner of UNEP's Children, Youth/ Sport and Environment Unit and has worked with UNEP to organize global environmental events and activities. (…)
Landmark deal will protect rainforests in Belize
Washington, USA, August - The U.S. government, with The Nature Conservancy, has signed a landmark debt about $5.5 million authorized under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), for forest conservation, to reduce by about one-half the debt which Belize -lying south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and east of Guatemala- owes to the United States. In exchange, the government of Belize has agreed to protect 23,000 acres of vulnerable forest land in Maya Mountain Marine Corridor, an area that includes 16 miles of pristine Caribbean coastline. Steve McCormick, president of The Nature Conservancy, noted that nutrients from the region's intact rainforests and grasslands flow down the rivers to the coast where they drive primary productivity through extensive mangrove forests and seagrass beds. These, in turn, support fisheries by providing both organic matter and habitat. Additional funding was raised from supporters of the Conservancy's innovative Adopt-An-Acre program, which enables interested individuals to directly support tropical forest conservation projects.
WWF UK: Integrating Sustainable Development into Professional Practice
21 September - A new training package has been developed for professional institutions to use with their members. The package consists of a training manual and a CD-ROM. These provide the structure, materials and overhead slides for a one day foundation course on sustainable development. The package is the key output from the first phase of Professional Practice for Sustainable Development - a two year collaboration between five environmental or sustainability organisations and 14 professional institutions. (…)
According to Alasdair Stark, Business & Industry Training Manager of WWF-UK, "Professional institutions play a vital role in shaping industries. They contribute to the design of qualifications and codes of practice, the ongoing education of their members and, in many ways, set the agenda for daily professional practice. If professional institutions take up the challenge of sustainable development, their members will follow." (…)
For further information, please contact::
Sophie Hooper, on behalf of WWF-UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alasdair Stark, Business Education Unit, WWF-UK, email@example.com
WWF is progressively working with business audiences to find creative and practical solutions to help them transform their organisations to become ethically, socially and environmentally responsible. Web site: www.wwf-uk.org.
Cisco Systems to set up 11 networking academies in Jamaica
17 September - Cisco Systems, a global leader in computer networking for the Internet, is partnering with the Government of Jamaica and UNDP to establish 11 networking academies in Jamaica.
The US$1.4 million initiative supports the government's objective of generating employment and reducing poverty by equipping Jamaicans with skills needed to take advantage of opportunities in the information technology (IT) sector, both locally and globally.
The project is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean and will be extended to include other students from the region. (…)
Niger: IPEC takes children off farms and into schools
15 September - The International Programme for the Eradication of Child Labour (IPEC) has launched a project aimed at getting 500 child labourers into schools and technical training centres in five villages in Tillaberi, southwesternNiger, IPEC National Administrator Ibrahim Souley Balla told IRIN on Thursday. The children, some as young as six years old, work mainly on grain farms. IPEC is donating a cereal mill to the area, thus reducing the need for the type of manual labour done by the some 1,400 underage workers registered there.
US $28,000 has been allocated for the one-year project, Balla said. He added that IPEC and its partners were prioritising education as a way to reduce child labour in Niger, where only 35 percent of children of school age actually go to school.
Education Ministers call for reforms to boost quality education
Geneva, September 8 - 80 education ministers and some 600 delegates from 127 nations today called for education reform, notably a better policy dialogue with civil society, a greater involvement of teachers in education policy-making, and a bolder set of actions to close the gap between quantitative advances in school enrollment and qualitative improvements in teaching.
The 46th International Conference on Education (ICE) -- the first to be convened in five years -- closed today with the adoption of a four-page document that illustrates the need to boost the quality of teaching in the face of scientific and technological advances, multiculturalism and globalization.
The ICE “conclusions and proposals for action” notably calls for the training of education decision-makers to discuss and harmonize policy formulation with other actors -- notably civil society organizations (CSOs) - in order to best identify common goals, to broaden consensus and to mobilize productive partnerships. (…)
Women’s contributions to peace-building gain greater recognition
6 September - Women and groups recognized by the Millennium Peace Prize for Women, launched by UNIFEM and International Alert on March 8 this year, are continuing to receive recognition for their courageous efforts.
One of the award winners,
Women in Black, a worldwide network of women against war, has been
nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. So far only 10 of more than 100 Nobel Peace Prize recipients have been women. The Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, a Papua New Guinea group working to rebuild trust between fractured communities has been nominated to represent women’s interests in peace negotiations with the Papua New Guinea national government. The recognition also enabled them to participate in the July 2001 United Nations Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, as an NGO delegate to the Pacific Islands Forum in New York.
For more information, contact Sumie Nakaya, Consultant on Peace-Building, at:
South Africa: journalists vow to combat corruption
5 September - In an attempt to strengthen the war waged against corruption in the Southern African region, media practitioners resolved to establish a media network that would facilitate mutual cooperation in journalistic investigation of corruption and other criminal activities. http://allafrica.com/stories/200108220409.html
Ghana: children speak out
5 September - When a Children’s Parliament debated on the current situation of children in Ghana in April, the President responded to their concerns by promising a commitment to education reforms with the implementation of a national policy for free, compulsory basic education and an expanded teacher training programme, as well as to urgent actions to halt child labour and fight child abuse. US$20,000 was raised at the launch event for a Children’s Fund in Ghana.
For more information contact: Madelon Cabooter at UNICEF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Horn of Africa Regional Conference on Women and ICT
5 September - Conference Announcement And Call For Papers: the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) is pleased to announce the Horn of Africa
Regional Conference on Women & ICT to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the United Nations Offices, Gigiri, from 11th - 15th February 2002. The aim of the conference is to raise awareness on ICTs amongst women in the Horn of Africa region and to explore opportunities for harnessing the technology to work as a tool for their development.
Further details: http://www.kabissa.org/kfn/newsletter.php?id=2544
Kubatana: NGO Network Alliance Project
5 September - As traditional media becomes increasingly repressive in Zimbabwe, the launch of a local web site, www.kubatana.net is a breath of fresh air. The NGO Network Alliance Project, the energy behind the development of kubatana, has brought Zimbabwean ngos, csos and development organisations together under one online umbrella. Kubatana is a Shona word which means “working together” - an apt name when a strengthened civic response to the current social and political unrest in Zimbabwe needs to be encouraged.
Benchmarking Tool Identifies £400m Potential Environmental Cost Savings for Hotels
A new Internet based environmental benchmarking tool www.benchmarkhotel.com was launched in London on 12th September to help hotels around the world make substantial cost savings, while improving environmental performance. (…)
The model was developed by the International Hotels Environment Initiative and WWF-UK with funding from Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services. IHEI member hotel groups - including Six Continents Hotels, Hilton International, Scandic Hotels AB brand and Marriott International - were involved in developing the tool by testing and data provision to ensure that it is useful for small, medium and large independent hotels as well as major brands. (…)
IHEI is a global environmental programme, set up in 1992 by international hotel industry leaders, promoting environmental progress in small, medium and large hotels world-wide. (…)
WWF is progressively working with business audiences to find creative and practical solutions to help them transform their organisations to become ethically, socially and environmentally responsible. Web site: www.wwf-uk.org
For further information: Sophie Hooper, on behalf of WWF-UK : email@example.com
The terrorist attack against the USA, both for its ferocity and its diabolic purpose, is an act of war against all humanity and necessitates a twofold counterthrust for the defense of our civilization.
As a short and medium term measure, whilst carefully avoiding the involvement of innocent peoples, it is surely necessary to isolate and to neutralize the framework of these terrorists, as well as their command centers, their training areas, their financial sources and their underground alliances.
At the same time, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians must be brought to an end once and for all.
But it is just as necessary, from the broader view, to eliminate the causes of that serious and unethical imbalance between rich and poor countries which might make the latter not indifferent to the goals of international terrorism when it raises the false flag of battle in the name of greater social justice.
(Good News Agency, S.T.)
A Declaration of The Club of Budapest
The 11th of September kamikazi attack on New York’s World Trade Center and Washington’s Pentagon was an offense against all of human life and every civilization. We condemn this act of terrorism and call to ethical and peace-loving people the world over to join together to put an end to terrorism and violence in all its forms. There is no solution to the world’s problems by killing innocent people and destroying their workplaces and habitations.
If we are to succeed in eradicating violence and terrorism from the world, we must act wisely. Violence and terrorism will not be vanquished by retaliation on the principle of eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. The ultimate roots of violence lie deeper than the fanatic commitment of terrorists and the religious claims of fundamentalists. Killing one group of terrorists will not solve the problem: as long as the roots are there, others will grow in their place.
The terror that surfaces in today’s world is a symptom of longstanding and deep-seated frustrations, resentment, and perceived injustice. We of the Club of Budapest are committed to search for the causes of these hate- and violence provoking factors and to suggest peaceful and effective ways they can be overcome. Until and unless the root causes are eliminated there will not be peace in the world, only an uncertain interlude between acts of terrorism and larger-scale hostilities. When people are frustrated, harbor hate and the desire for revenge, they cannot relate to each other in a spirit of peace and cooperation. Whether the cause is the wounded ego of a person or the wounded self-respect of a people, and whether it is the wish for personal revenge or a holy war for the defense of a faith, the result is violence, death, and catastrophe. Attaining peace in people’s heart is a precondition of attaining peace in the world.
The Club of Budapest maintains that the wise response to violence and terrorism is to help people to be at peace with themselves and their fellow humans near and far. Promoting solidarity and cooperation in the shared cause of fairness and justice is the only feasible path to lasting peace on Earth.
15 September 2001
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