Good News Agency – Year II, n° 5



Weekly - Year II, number 5 –  9 March 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 1,400 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 18 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, and it is 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




Disarmament and peace


Environment and wildlife


Development cooperation


Culture and education










International legislation



High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomes China's ratification of economic, social and cultural rights pact

2 March - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson today welcomed China's decision to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Speaking in Bangkok at the closing of the ninth Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Human Rights, Mrs. Robinson expressed disappointment, however, at reports that the ratification was subject to a reservation in relation to paragraph 1 (a), article 8, of the Covenant dealing with trade union rights. “It is heartening to see that China has decided to ratify the Covenant”, said the High Commissioner. “I hope the decision by the National Peoples' Congress is indicative of China's intention to ratify soon the Covenant's sister treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I also hope that any reservation on article 8 of the Covenant would be withdrawn”.


Strategic priorities of the European Commission  for 2002

The Commission adopted the six priorities of the political strategy for 2002: euro, sustainable development, government systems in Europe, broadening of the Community, Mediterranean sea, and development cooperation. On this last priority Romano Prodi, President of the Commission, said that, in the context of the strategy of fight against poverty, the EU will focus its actions on the areas of education and health.


Monitoring groups optimistic of prospects of International Criminal Court

United Nations, 1 March – Work on the creation of an International Criminal Court (ICC) is going ahead under full steam, said members of groups monitoring meetings here on Tuesday, despite the reluctance of the United States.

While diplomats from all over the world worked in the basement of the United Nations on the legal and technical difficulties in setting up a court to judge those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crime and aggression, William R. Pace, the head of a coalition of more than 1,000 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) supporting the ICC, predicted at a press briefing here that the court will come into existence at 10:30 AM on July 17, 2002 exactly four years after 160 nations voted in Rome to begin the process of setting up the court. Thats ten to 15 years faster than we predicted four years ago, he said. And 50 years faster than we expected six years ago.

Some 139 countries have signed the ICC treaty and 29 countries have ratified it. The court comes into effect after 60 nations ratify the statute. The United States--with Iran and Israel--signed the agreement on Dec. 31, 2000, in the last days of the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton but the treaty is known to face serious opposition in the new Republican administration

By Robert E. Sullivan © Earth Times News Service


New international plan of action targets illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing

Rome, 2 March - More than 110 countries have adopted a new Plan of Action against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement released today. The voluntary agreement aims at preventing, deterring and eliminating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, FAO said.

IUU fishing is found within and outside the exclusive economic zone (200 miles from the coast), it is not confined to high seas fisheries, FAO said. In some important fisheries, IUU fishing accounts for up to 30 percent of total catches, FAO said.

IUU fishing is blamed for overfishing of several high value fish stocks. In extreme cases, it can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously affect efforts to rebuild fish stocks that have been depleted.



Disarmament and peace



Second anniversary of the Ottawa treaty – toward a worldwide effect

1 March - Two years after the entry into force of the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel mines, efforts to rid the world of these horrific weapons has begun to show results. Today, the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines have been outlawed by nearly two thirds of the world's governments. Tens of millions of anti-personnel mines in storage have been destroyed. Importantly, governments have increased funding for mine clearance, mine awareness and victim-assistance programmes. In some severely mine-infested countries, this has brought relief to the victims themselves as well as the communities where they live. Life and limb are being saved, victims are benefiting from better treatment and rehabilitation, and millions of mines that were ready for deployment will now never find their way into the earth.

However, in order to guarantee that the scourge of mines is forever eradicated, it is urgent that steps be taken to ensure universal adherence to and compliance with the treaty's provisions. States that have not yet become bound by it should do so at the earliest possible date. Likewise, the States party to the treaty should recall the need to fully meet their obligations and undertake mine clearance, destroy their stockpiles within the deadlines set, and aid landmine survivors.


3.8 Million Euros for mine action in Afghanistan

Islamabad, 23 February - The UN Co-ordinator for Afghanistan today signed an agreement with the European Union for 3.8 million euros (US$3.44 million) for the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan. The funds have been channelled through the United Nations Development Programme.  Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC), an NGO working under MAPA's umbrella, will receive 2.1 million euros. The organisation will use the funds to clear high priority mined and former battlefield areas in the provinces of Ghazni, Kabul, Kandahar, and Logar. The project will fund one ATC site office, nine manual, and two mechanical mine clearance teams. The team will clear 6,400,000 square metres of mined land.

The 1.2 million euros provided to Halo Trust will fund the clearance of almost 18,000,000 square metres of mine and battlefield areas in the provinces of Balkh, Baghlan, Kunduz, and Kabul. Halo Trust will carry out both surveys as well as clearance.  Half a million euros have also been allocated to UNDP/UNOCHA. This will support prioritisation of mine action activities and provide quality assurance, auditing, and reporting, ATC and Halo Trust are two of the fourteen NGOs working under the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan.


Comoros: unity agreement reached

24 February - A unity agreement between political leaders on Grande Comoros, Moheli and Anjouan islands formally reinstates the Comoros as one federated entity after three years of secessionist strife on the Indian Ocean archipelago, diplomatic sources told IRIN.

Under the deal brokered by the OAU and la Francophonie, the community of French-speaking countries, the parties agreed that Grande Comoros military ruler Colonel Azali Assoumani would head a transitional administration. The current regimes in Moroni and Anjouan would remain in place until the June referendum. Diplomatic sources told IRIN that although the agreement catered for all parties involved, it should still not be considered a "done deal". A committee co-ordinated by the international community is to be set up to implement the agreement.


Congo: rival Hema and Lendu communities sign peace pact

23 February - The rival Hema and Lendu communities in the Bunia area of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo have signed a pact aimed at restoring peace to their troubled region. According to sources on the ground, the agreement was brokered by Congolese Liberation Front (CLF) leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. The protocol, signed on 17 February, provides for disarmament and an immediate cessation of hostilities. Training centres for militiamen will be dismantled, military movements and border crossings controlled, peace tribunals will be set up and prisons rehabilitated. As the Hema-Lendu conflict was traditionally sparked by land disputes, the agreement also states that collective grazing rights in the disputed territory of Djugu will be restored and a solidarity fund established to rehabilitate areas wracked by the conflict, in the resurgence of which thousands of people were killed over the last 18 months.


West Africa: ECOWAS-ICRC cooperation

24 February - ECOWAS and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have agreed to exchange information and consult each other on matters of mutual concern, the ICRC reported.

Under the agreement, signed on 15 February in Abuja, Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the ICRC may undertake joint activities to achieve common objectives.

Since 1990, ECOWAS has played a leading role in settling conflicts in West Africa. ICRC delegates have begun providing instruction in international humanitarian law for members of the ECOWAS peace monitoring force, ECOMOG, which is to be deployed to the borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.



Development cooperation



IFAD to Support USD 107.3 Million for a Poverty Alleviation Project in China

Rome, 20 February  – A USD 107.3 million programme in the People’s Republic of China, the "West Guangxi Poverty-Alleviation Project" will receive a USD 30.4 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A loan agreement was signed today at the Fund’s Headquarters by Mr. Wang Baorui, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Fawzi Al-Sultan, President of the Fund.The project area comprises 74 townships in 10 counties of the western part of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south-western China.The goal of the West Guangxi Poverty-Alleviation Project is to achieve sustainable poverty eradication for 240 000 vulnerable rural households living in an environment with degraded natural resources.



Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu Urges Support for IFAD's "Splendid Work"

Rome, 20 February  - Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has urged the international community to support "the splendid work" of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in alleviating "devastating poverty".

In a videotaped message, presented to the 24th Governing Council of IFAD, which began its two-day session in Rome on Tuesday, Archbishop Tutu said: "The international community defeated Hitler’s Nazism, it has defeated apartheid. The world faces yet another scourge in the devastating poverty afflicting so many billions of God’s children…(who) have neither electricity nor water. The international community can yet again help destroy and defeat this scourge especially by supporting enthusiastically the splendid work of IFAD in empowering particularly rural women and in supporting local initiatives for eradicating poverty." He added: "I can assure you that your best ally in the campaign to defeat poverty, ignorance and disease would be IFAD."


China harnesses the Internet to reduce rural poverty

UNDP is joining with China's Ministry of Science and Technology in a $2.5 million pilot project to show how new information and communications technology (ICT) can be mobilized to reduce poverty in rural areas. The initiative aims to bridge the "digital divide" between urban and rural areas by setting up information and communication centres in five poor counties in different areas of the country with varying geographic, social and economic conditions.

"I am very pleased to launch this pioneering initiative for poverty reduction in China through establishing community telecentres in poor rural communities," said Kerstin Leitner, UNDP Resident Representative.


Rural women join global markets  - UNIFEM and Private-Sector Support Women Producers of Shea Butter Products at International Trade Fair in Burkina Faso -

United Nations, New York-- In Burkina Faso, rural women producers of the valuable emollient shea butter are making a direct link to global markets. In the 'Third Shea Trade Fair' taking place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 20 to 23 February 2001, these women producers and traders will market their shea butter products directly to international companies who use it in high quality skin and hair products as well as fine pastries and chocolates.

This year's Fair, the third of its kind, provides yet another opportunity for women shea butter producers to promote their products, network with each other, and meet directly with potential buyers. These women have doubled their earnings by developing ties to companies in Europe and the U.S., and reselling it on the international market for a significant profit. Because of renewed interest in natural and biological products, shea butter is being progressively introduced into industrial markets traditionally occupied by palm oil, cocoa or coconut oil.

Funded by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and organized by the

Government of Burkina Faso in collaboration with the Canadian NGO, Centre d'Etudes et de Coopération Internationale (CECI) and local partners, the Fair is part of a larger UNIFEM programme to increase economic empowerment for rural women producers in the shea sector.


WFP approves new relief and recovery strategy for Angola

Luanda, February 21 - The United Nations World Food Programme is set to launch a new recovery and relief operation for Angola in the year 2001 that will benefit some one million people monthly. The operation will become effective on April 1st and will continue for the next 15 months. The programme represents a change in focus for WFP operations in Angola as the agency looks to shift its activities from strictly emergency assistance to encouraging greater self-reliance among communities currently dependent on large-scale food aid for survival.

WFP emphasized that its new operation will only succeed in places where the security situation has improved and where targeted beneficiaries have been provided with sufficient arable land and agricultural supports, such as tools and seeds.


100 million Euros for Kosovo

The European Commission approved a 100 million Euro funding to support the reconstruction program in Kosovo: rebuilding of houses, water and waste systems, agricolture, health, support to local communities and the civil society.


10.91 million dollars loan from IFAD for the rural poor in Kenya

Rome, 27 February - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of 10.91 million dollars on highly concessional terms to finance the newly approved IFAD-initiated Central Dry Area Smallholder and Community Services Development project in Kenya. The total cost of the project is 18.08 million dollars. The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by the President of IFAD, Mr. Fawzi Hamad Al-Sultan, and by Mr Cyrus Tai Gituai, Director, External Resources Department of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Government of Kenya.

The project is co-financed by the Belgian Survival Fund (BSF) with a grant of 185 million Belgian Francs (approximately 4.10 million dollars). The Government of Kenya will contribute 2.66 million dollars, while the beneficiaries contribution is estimated at 410 000 dollars. Pre-project activities to assist in timely and orderly start-up of project operations will be covered by an IFAD Special Operations Facility (of USD 60 000).


UNDP launches major recruitment drive to boost its anti-poverty efforts

New York, 1 March The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has embarked on a global recruitment drive to energize its worldwide campaign against poverty. In an on going ad campaign that is being launched in major international publications, the organization is seeking to hire more than 60 specialists in areas pertaining to democratic governance, pro-poor policies, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment, information and communications technology and HIV/AIDS.

At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders pledged to halve global poverty by 2015, and UNDP is charged with helping attain this target. As part of an overall restructuring process, the organization is realigning and refocusing its work in order to carry out this mission successfully.


Water sector training to boost Pakistan's farm output

4 March - UNDP and Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority have launched a major agricultural drainage training programme that aims to improve farm productivity and thus reduce poverty. The National Drainage Programme, Pakistan's biggest on-going irrigation activity, is working to restore environmentally-sound irrigated agriculture by minimizing soil waterlogging and salinity. The $6.8 million training programme is fully funded by a Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) loan and is managed by United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). UNOPS will provide training for the country's water sector officials at both the federal and provincial levels. Over the next five years, the programme plans 60 overseas seminars and workshops, more than 2,000 domestic courses, about 400 in-country seminars and workshops, and other capacity building activities in areas ranging from river basin management to social mobilization. The programme will also provide training for thousands of farmers, helping to improve irrigation management at the grass-roots level.






Mauritania: food aid from China

24 February - China has donated 1,000 mt of wheat, estimated at US $1.4 million, to the Mauritanian government to help alleviate food scarcities and fight against malnutrition, AFP reported on Monday. Several Sahelian countries have appealed for food aid in response to recent shortages. Burkina Faso, Chad and northern Cameroon are among the countries and areas most severely affected.


Congo: WFP to provide over 130,000 mt of food to the needy

23 February - The UN food agency, WFP, is hoping to provide a total of 134,565 mt of food to the "most needy" Congolese, over a two-year period, at the overall operational support cost of US $112.3 million. "However, only 13,100 mt of food have been resourced to date," WFP said in its latest emergency update. It said a total of 74,000 mt of food were required to cover the needs this year. "In order to achieve the target, WFP needs confirmed monthly pledges of 10,000 mt for the next six months," it said. WFP formalised its agreement with the DRC government for the implementation of the first Protracted Relief and Rehabilitation Operation in the country early this month.


Rotary International launches Volunteer Awareness Campaign

Evanston, Illinois, USA - The United Nations has declared 2001 the "International Year of the Volunteer."  In response, Rotary International, one of the largest service organizations in the world, announced the launch of a new multi-media campaign designed to encourage people to get involved in their communities.  The campaign highlights the impact a project from Seattle has had on the world and the volunteers involved, and it centers around a television Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring an ongoing project called Computers for the World.  Several high-schoolers stay after school and with the help of volunteers from the local Rotary club rebuild and refurbish old computers donated by local businesses.  The students then physically take the computers to place where people cannot afford them.  They have been to Russia, Mexico, Mozambique and even delivered some to underprivileged schools in Seattle.  The students are currently on a trip delivering computers in Guatemala and another team is developing computer labs in Ethiopia.

The PSA will be shown in the US, Canada, and Mexico in both English and Spanish in an effort to reach out to a broad base of community-oriented people. A radio version is expected mid-year. A website has been set up as part of the campaign to give anyone interested in getting involved a place to request information or look up volunteer opportunities in their hometowns.


Indonesia: aid for victims of inter-ethnic violence in Borneo

1 March - With ICRC support, the Indonesian Red Cross Society is assisting displaced people who have been fleeing violence between indigenous Dayaks and Madurese settlers in Central Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo. The local authorities estimate that some 22,000 persons have so far returned to their native Madura.


Dili: hundreds of refugees go back to their country

East Timor, 3 March – Almost 500 refugees today came back to Dili from the refugee camps of Timor West (Indonesia), where they had been sheltered. Representatives of the UNHCR and OIM (International organization for the migrations) defined the event “a positive signal in the process of repatriation set up for the refugees, that had been blocked for some months”.






UN Secretary-General calls on governments to take up AIDS challenge seeks global commitment to reverse AIDS spread

New York, 20 February – Declaring the HIV/AIDS epidemic “the most formidable development challenge of our time”, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report released today, calls on governments to secure a global commitment for intensified and coordinated action.

The report has been issued in preparation for the General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, which will take place in New York from 25 to 27 June 2001. The first round of substantive negotiations for the Special Session are set to take place the week of 26 February, based on the report.

The report calls for intensified and broadened political and financial commitments by nations in their response to the AIDS crisis. Alarmed by the accelerating epidemic and its global impact, the General Assembly decided in November 2000 to hold a Special Session on HIV/AIDS at the highest political level. The Session follows calls for concrete action made in the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted in September 2000 by world leaders at the Millennium Summit.


Sierra Leone: Polio immunisation in rebel areas

24 February - Over 1200 vaccinators carried out a polio immunisation exercise on 16-17 February in areas in northern and northeastern Sierra Leone controlled by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), participating UN agencies reported.

UNICEF said 330,000 children in 49 chiefdoms were targeted, and that Vitamin A was also administered to them during the exercise. The World Health Organisation said the areas were previously inaccessible to health workers because of the war between the RUF and the state since 1991.


Guinea: immunisation campaign

24 February - A campaign to vaccinate refugees and members of host communities against measles began earlier this month in Guinea, UNICEF reported. UNICEF said it was providing vaccines, injection supplies and Vitamin A capsules for the campaign, which targets children between nine months and 15 years old.

UNICEF also said a UNICEF/FAO assessment identified a dramatic increase in Guinea's malnutrition rate which is now 9-15 percent. The UN agency said every effort would be made to reduce the rate. It said the nutritional status of children aged 0-3 years would be evaluated while adequate micro-nutrients and other supplies such as therapeutic milk would be given to pregnant women, and malnourished and/or unaccompanied children.


Scientists say antibacterial is effective against malaria

4 March - Triclosan--an antibacterial that is frequently added to soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes--is also effective against malaria, according to two recent independent studies.

Triclosan halted the growth of malaria parasites when added to cultures of infected human blood cells, according to researchers reporting in the International Journal for Parasitology. In a separate study scientists in India reported that four mice infected with rodent malaria, then given daily injections of triclosan for four days were cured of the disease. Six infected mice that did not receive triclosan died.

Scientists think that triclosan works by binding to a specific enzyme, called FabI, that is critical for the manufacture of bacterial and plant fatty acids. The recent research reveals that some parasites including malaria use the same enzymes as bacteria and plants to make fatty acids, so contain FabI. By deactivating the enzyme, triclosan essentially kills the parasite.

By Pat Hemminger © Earth Times News Service



Environment and Wildlife



Marine reserves called best hope for ocean species

San Francisco, California, 22 February (ENS) - There is now compelling scientific evidence that marine reserves conserve both biodiversity and fisheries, and could help to replenish the seas, says a scientific consensus statement signed by 150 of the world's leading marine scientists. The statement was released this week at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting.


Earth Summit 2002

20 February - South African officials announced yesterday that the next Earth Summit, to be held in Johannesburg in 2002, will focus on worldwide access to drinking water and safeguarding children.  The summit -- officially called the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development -- has the modest agenda of reviewing progress since the 1992 Rio summit, looking at the impact of globalization on development, energy use, and land degradation, and addressing the imbalance between wealthy industrialized nations in the Northern Hemisphere and poorer developing nations in the Southern Hemisphere.


EPA gives the green light on diesel-sulfur rule

Environmentals News, 28 February – EPA (USA Environmental Protection Agency) Administrator Christie Whitman directed today the new EPA rule to make heavy-duty trucks and buses run cleaner, vehicles which will be ready by model year 2007, and will cut harmful pollution by 95%. The Agency will require a 97% reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel from its current level of 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million and once this action is fully implemented, 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced each year, and soot, second as a greenhouse effect contributor, will be reduced by 110.000 tons a year. The final rule and related documents are available at:

Soot data at:


ITB : WWF calls for a new form of tourism in the Mediterranean

Berlin, Germany, 1 March – WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) officials will be at the ITB (Internationale Tourismus Borse) trying to convince the tourism industry that a new form of tourism is needed in the Mediterranean, the leading tourist destination in the world. More than 220 million people visit the Mediterranean every year and in 20 years is expected to rise to 350 million. According to the WTO (World Tourism Organization), international tourist arrivals are concentrated along the coast. Of the total 46,000 kilometers (28,580 miles) of coastline, 25,000 kilometers (15,530 miles) are urbanized and have already exceeded a critical limit. “It is also one of the most important regions for its outstanding biodiversity and cultural features," said Peter DeBrine, tourism officer at WWF's MPO (Mediterranean Program Office).

The Mediterranean Action Plan, launched by the United Nations, was the beginning of what is now known as the Barcelona Convention. Today, all Mediterranean states, including the European Union, are members of the Barcelona Convention but the convention's six protocols have yet to be ratified by all members.

WWF identified the 13 key marine and coastal areas as important to biodiversity.


Clean air: NRDC applauds Supreme Court decision

Washington, 27 February - The unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision announced today upholding the principle that Clean Air Act air pollution standards must be based on health considerations alone is "a home run for public health and the environment," according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.). “The

Supreme Court rejected outrageous industry claims suggesting that the Constitution denies EPA the authority to protect public health and the environment from air pollution”, said Hawkins, director of NRDC’s Air and Energy Program.


Beijing promises clean up for 2008 olympic bid

Beijing, China, 22 February (ENS) - The city of Beijing, a finalist to host the 2008 Olympic Games, has announced new environmental protections. The controls on auto emissions, water, industrial, and solid waste pollution are intended to convince an Olympic evaluation committee visiting this week that it is the best place for the world's athletes to compete.


New Jersey approves new programs and funding for energy savings and renewable energy

Washington, March 2 - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and a number of renewable energy companies and environmental groups applauded a March 1 decision by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) approving programs that will help customers reduce energy use and develop renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy systems



Culture and education



UNESCO and IFJ launch “Women make the news 2001” March 5 to 11

Paris, February 22  – UNESCO and the international Federation of Journalists (IFJ) are launching the operation Women Make the News 2001 to call on print, broadcast and electronic media world-wide to place news under the editorial responsibility of women journalists for a full week (March 5 to 11) to mark International Women’s Day, March 8.

The Web-based operation is designed to draw attention to the fact that, although the number of women in the media is increasing, they are all too few to rise to top positions. By stressing this point, UNESCO is reaffirming the commitment made at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (China) in 1995 to promote equal professional opportunity for women.

Women Make the News was first launched on International Women’s Day last year when UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura made an appeal to the world’s media to have women take editorial responsibility for the day. Many international organizations supported the initiative and issued messages backing the operation. Massive support was registered by media organizations. More than 1,000 media from 56 countries took part in the operation and many asked for a similar, but longer, initiative in 2001.


March 20: World Day of Planetary Consciousness

March 20th will mark the first “World Day of Planetary Consciousness” as Sunrise Celebrations take place planet-wide, beginning with a Maori welcome in New Zealand and ending with a Polynesian performance in Samoa. The first spring day of the New Millennium will culminate in a gala event in Hungary featuring messages and participation from Honorary Members of the Club of Budapest including: The Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Arthur C. Clarke, Peter Ustinov, Ervin Laszlo, Jane Goodall, Peter Russell, Edgar Mitchell, Robert Muller, Peter Gabriel and Betty Williams.  On this World Day people from many cultures and nations will unite under the banner of the Planetary Vision Festival 2001 to celebrate the spirit of humanity’s new consciousness that is dawning with this new era, including in: Auckland, Nelson, Brisbane, Fukuoka, Beijing, Khatmandu, Delhi, Auroville, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Jerusalem, Delphi, Budapest, Guardea, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, Brighton, Sao Paolo, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Toronto, Kansas City, Monterrey, Vancouver, San Francisco and Apia.

Planetary consciousness is the knowing as well as the feeling of the vital interdependence and essential oneness of humankind and the earth. It is the fundamental requirement for a sustainable and peaceful world in the 21st Century.  Planetary Vision Festival 2001 is the first in an annual series of events and programs celebrating our new planetary consciousness and its related ethics and actions.  Further Planetary Vision Festival world programs this year are the first World Month of Planetary Understanding (March 21st to April 21st) and the first World Day of Planetary Ethics (September 22nd)

PVF2001 is being initiated by The Club of Budapest in partnership with the PVF2001 Founding Alliance. The Club of Budapest is an international association dedicated to developing new thinking and ethics that will help address the social, political, economic and ecological challenges of the 21st Century. Founding Alliance members include: Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale (Italy), First Steps International (Canada), Global Foundation for Understanding (Canada), Institute for Ethical Leadership (Canada), Pathways to Peace (USA), Sister Cities International - Pause for Peace Project (USA), The Club of  Budapest USA and Towards the Third Millennium (Russia and Ukraine).  For further information:


Rotary International announces Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution

As Rotary's major educational priority going into the new millennium, The Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution will provide opportunities for scholars from around the world to focus on dealing effectively with the obstacles that currently impede international cooperation and peace. "For years, Rotary members have dreamed of selecting some of the world's best and brightest students to attend a Rotary-sponsored academy dedicated to peace," says Herbert G. Brown, Chairman of The Rotary Foundation. "The Rotary Centers for International Studies is that dream come true and one that will live on as a symbol of Rotary's commitment to peace." 

The Rotary World Peace scholarship will support 70 selected students for a two-year masters-level degree program at one of the Rotary Centers for International Studies outside of the candidate's home country. The scholarship will include funding for tuition, room and board, and other expenses.


Jews-Arab cooperation in Egypt in World War II to save Jews from the Nazi Holocaust !

4-27 March - During her lecture tour in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Paris and Bordeaux,

Prof. Ada Ahroni, President of IFLAC: PAVE PEACE  will be talking about the IFLAC  activities for the building of peace and will present her latest book, Not In Vain, on the cooperation between Jews and Arabs in Egypt during the Second world War, to save Jews from the Nazi Holocaust.

This collaboration had escaped historical notice, and Prof. Aharoni have been

asked to talk about it at the "Book Week" in London. Ada Aharoni stresses that “it is important to show that there was such a cooperation in the past, which gives hope for the present and future”. 

IFLAC is a network of peace researchers, writers, poets and media working together to foster joint cooperation for the building of a world beyond war in our global village.


NGOs meet to give their views on Education For All

Paris, March 2 - UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today highlighted the role of non-governmental organizations in achieving the target of providing quality basic education for all (EFA) by the year 2015, set at the World Education Forum (Dakar, April 2000), as he opened an NGO Consultation on the Global Initiative to implement this goal.

The meeting, attended by some 40 representatives of leading international NGOs working in education, was also attended by members of the international donor community, representing governments of the richest countries, and international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is being held in the wake of a two-day donors meeting on the strategy for international and inter-agency co-operation in EFA


The campaign for the Deontological Code of the Media receives a wide and  warm welcome

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”: the need to establish a new balance in the world of media is shared by many farsighted people and groups. The Nobel Peace Laureates who met in Rome on 11-12 November 2000 discussed at length this issue and expressed their belief that “the modern system of mass media is suffering from an unprecedented crisis that prevents a correct view of what is currently happening in the world”. And their conclusion stressed that “the public opinion has been called upon to make the transformation from passive observer to active participant, keeper of the truth and responsibility of mass media”.

The Club of Budapest focussed on the role and responsibilities of the media, and studies in this direction have been and are being developed by several universities and research groups.


The launch of our campaign for the Deontological Code of the Media is receiving a wide and warm welcome and is soliciting deep interest from service organizations and private people around the world. Among the many endorsements we received in these first two weeks, there are: Prof. Ervin Laszlo, scientist and futurologist, President of The Club of Budapest; Prof. Ada Aharoni, academic researcher and President of IFLAC: PAVE PEACE-The International Forum for the Culture of Peace (Israel); Sociocratic Centre of Australia; Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Italy); Syntony Quest (USA); Global Vision Network (UK); The REED Program-Environmentally Clean Communities (USA); Global Resource Bank (USA); World Business Academy (Brazil); Institute of Noetic Sciences (Brazil); The William Harris House Initiative of Synthesis and Convergence (Brazil); Associazione Sipicciano Vive (Italy); Human Species (France); Revelation Journal (UK); Agenzia di stampa umanista Buone Nuove (Italy); Unione Comunità Associazioni Immigrati (Italy).


This on-going campaign will last several months because the Deontological Code of the Media will be presented to the world publishers when a great number of people and organizations have endorsed it. We will include progress reports in the next issues of Good News Agency. As all of us know, each endorsement counts and we need yours, too. Just fill in your name at the end of the following page and send it back to us. Together, we can make it.


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Next issue: 23 March 2001


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The building of a just and peaceful world is man’s duty, just as its destruction could be determined by man.

In a democratic environment which tends to assign to the citizen-elector a growing responsibility for the directions of social development, the formation of a public opinion which is widely aware of the main events that happen in the world is the key for directing the efforts of humanity towards a global village based on unity in diversity and on sharing, fundamental qualities for the development of a responsible and sustainable social life.


In this perspective, the importance of the media is fundamental and the consequent social responsibility of editors cannot be based any longer on the only element which has so far been unquestioned: the search for company profits through the maximum possible diffusion of the media. This aim has so far prevailed over every other consideration, thus taking from the media the responsibility for the formation of an aware and balanced public opinion.


In pursuing the maximum possible company profits, the media have placed the accent on the dissemination of sensational and dramatic news, which appeal to the characteristics of a public seen as a tangled mass of emotions and mortify the interest of another part of the public, which has a quite different vision of life and of the information which describes it. This situation in the world of information is the most obvious evidence of a human activity which, with some enlightened exceptions, sacrifices  quality and balance on the altar of quantity and immediate profit, ignoring those responsibilities of an ethical kind which that very activity of itself implicitly confers.


Today, however, the media cannot continue any longer to overlook the positive and constructive occurrences among  that  part of humanity - estimated at between  10 and 15 percent of the citizen-elector-contributors in the developed countries - which has by now adopted a social behaviour in harmony with the fundamental values of a fair and sustainable social development. To give voice also to the events which indicate in the world the response of humanity to the greatest problems of our time is a responsibility of the media which can no longer be put off, in order to allow public opinion to be formed on the basis of a range of information corresponding to all aspects of the reality in which we live.


Therefore, as is the custom for many other categories of great importance in social life, the public opinion consisting of that 10-15 percent of the population orientated towards the construction of a just and sustainable global village asks the media to adopt and respect the deontological code here laid down.


Deontological Code of the Media


1.      It is the moral responsibility of the media to pursue the aim of disseminating information on every aspect of the reality in which we live.

2.      The media must disseminate information with respect and consideration for all the public.

3.      The information should be organized by distributing the “weight” of the different sectors so as to respect the right to knowledge of important social groups.

4.      The information must reflect reality with a variety of news which mirrors the components of reality itself to the extent to which they define it.

5.      The information must seek, as far as possible, the causes of the events in the determining behaviour of man.

6.      The media have the privilege and the task of also setting the events reported in the context of their correspondence to the principles of responsibility and the search for the common good.

7.      It is the privilege, task and responsibility of the media to do their best to emphasize the connections between the most significant world events.


The Deontological Code of the Media will be presented to the publishers of the world’s press, radio and television when it has been signed by a large number of signatories, such as:

-  organizations of the United Nations;

-  non-governmental organizations;

-  voluntary service associations;

-  journalists for whom the mandate of the editor represents a restraint;

-  enlightened editors who have already showed agreement with the values of the Code;

-  people who recognize the necessity and validity of the Code.


To express your agreement with this initiative, include your data here below and send this page to Good News Agency,


I support the Deontological Code of the Media:

Name and surname

Organization (name and address, also e-mail)

Position in the organization