Good News Agency – Year III, n° 1



Weekly - Year III, number 1 –  14 January 2002

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 46 countries.



International legislation                                        Health

Human rights                                                           Energy and safety

Economy and development                                    Environment and wildlife

Solidarity                                                                 Culture and education



International legislation



UNICEF welcomes signing of two conventions on children by South Asian leaders

Kathmandu / New York, 5 January 2002 - UNICEF today welcomed the signing of two important conventions on the trafficking of women and children and child welfare by seven South Asian nations. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed the conventions this week at a summit of South Asian leaders in Kathmandu, Nepal.

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy congratulated the South Asian leaders for addressing children's and women's issues at a time when their nations are grappling with the dual threats of war and terrorism in the region. She welcomed their commitment and said that lasting peace and stability could not be achieved without respect for human rights, including the full rights of children and women. (…)


FAO and WHO to hold First Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators

Geneva/Rome, 20 December - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are to convene a Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators in Marrakech, Morocco on 28-30 January 2002, the two agencies announced today.

The Marrakech Forum is the first global event bringing together senior food safety regulators to exchange information on approaches towards and experiences with food safety. The issues involved are of potential importance to public health and the international food trade. The Forum will also stimulate science-based public consultations, and help build food safety capacity, particularly in developing countries.

FAO and WHO organized the Forum at the request of member countries that urged the organizations to coordinate consultations among food safety regulators on urgent food safety issues. The Forum is also a response to the G-8 communiqué at Okinawa calling for "periodic international meetings of food safety regulators to advance the process of science-based public consultations." (…)



Human rights



United Nations: Unit created for internally displaced persons

Nairobi, 10 January (IRIN) - The United Nations has set up a unit to deal with internally displaced persons (IDPs). "The new unit has been created to respond to the severe crisis of internal displacement around the world," Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said on Tuesday.

The UN estimates that about 20 million to 25 million people throughout the world have been displaced within their countries by man-made disasters, and another 25 million by natural disasters. "These populations require the support of the international community to meet their urgent humanitarian needs and find durable solutions to their predicament," the UN stated.

The unit - to be headed by Kofi Asomani, Director and Special Coordinator on Internal Displacement - will have its head office in Geneva with a liaison function in New York. (…)


High Commissioner for Human Rights announces publication of Declaration of World Conference Against Racism

We can now get down to business of implementing the anti-discrimination agenda, High Commissioner states

3 January - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson announced today the publication of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, which clears the way for the implementation of measures adopted in Durban, South Africa, last autumn.

“The anti-discrimination agenda the World Conference gave us is now a living, breathing document”, the High Commissioner said. “With this agenda in our hands, we can regain the momentum created by the Conference and get down to the business of making the commitments made at Durban a reality. I cannot think of a better way to start the new year”.(…)


Mauritius supports women's equality in national budget

2 January - With the support of Prime Minister Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, Mauritius is ensuring that women's equality is reflected in the national budget and economic policies.

Mauritius began integrating a gender perspective in the budget process in 2000 through staff training and gender analyses of budgets in several ministries with support from UNDP. Subsequently, the ministry of education and the ministry of social security produced such analyses for the 2001-2002 national budget.

Gender analyses examine the ways that budget allocations affect women as well as men, girls as well as boys. Steps can then be taken to ensure equality in areas ranging from training and employment programmes to family policies. (…)

The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), a UNDP affiliate, is calling on all governments to incorporate gender analysis in their national budget processes by 2015. Efforts to do so, underway in over 40 countries, were discussed at a UNIFEM conference in Brussels in October.


West Africa: ECOWAS to enhance stability, integration, fight trafficking

31 December - Regional stability, integration and a pledge to combat trafficking in human beings were some of the goals stated at the 25th ordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held on 20-21 December in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

The West African leaders condemned the activities of illegal armed groups, particularly those operating within the Mano River Union (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), an ECOWAS source told IRIN. They expressed support for the work of UN humanitarian agencies in the region, but called on the entire international community to contribute to bringing peace to West Africa, and in particular conflict countries, the source added. They also approved the formation of a second West African Monetary zone that will include Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia to take effect in 2003. In 2004, ECOWAS plans to merge this new monetary area with the existing CFA zone and create a single currency. [The CFA (Communaute francoafricaine) zone comprises the region's former French colonies except Guinea.]

Leaders also decided to set up special police units to combat trafficking in humans beings, usually women and children. They agreed that special training would be provided for police, customs and immigration officials, prosecutors and judges. (…)


Africa: UN funding for human rights projects

31 December - Community human rights initiatives in over 20 countries, nine of them in sub-Saharan Africa, are to receive small grants of up to US $5,000 from the United Nations, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNDP announced on Monday. UNDP said the project, which began in 1998, supports activities that can have a significant local impact. It cited the example of an organisation called Liberia Prison Watch, which used its grant to monitor human rights in prisons and create awareness about the rights of detainees among members of the criminal justice system.

The project is now entering a new phase during which grants will be awarded to Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and various countries outside sub-Saharan Africa.



Economy and development



New project will support economic rebuilding in Somalia

10 January - UNDP has launched a project to help authorities in Somalia rebuild economic institutions after years of civil strife and economic crisis.

The initiative will quickly set up a system to legitimize financial remittance services offered by Somali money transfer companies and eventually bring them under internationally established banking rules and regulations. It will also gather economic statistics and establish indicators to help formulate economic policy. And the project will carry out household surveys to collect socio-economic data useful to Somali authorities, the private sector and development agencies. (…)


DRC: Belgium to fund infrastructure rehab projects in capital

Brussels, 7 January (IRIN) - Belgium will finance infrastructure rehabilitation projects totalling US $1.8 million in various neighbourhoods of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Belgian foreign aid office announced on Wednesday.

In the neighborhood of Kimbanseke, $251,877 will be invested in the reconstruction of the sewerage system and the repair of roads and bridges, while some $489,950 will be used for the rehabilitation of the St. Joseph primary school.  In Ndjili, some $193,972 will be spent to rebuild the St. Vincent de Paul professional training centre and buy teaching supplies. Another $464,942 is earmarked for a professional training school and community centre in the Mont Gafula neighborhood. In the commune of Mpumpu, $461,625 will be used for repair of road damage caused by erosion. (…)

Eddy Boutmans, Belgium's state secretary for development cooperation, said that Belgium donated $35.9 million in 2001 for development projects in the Congo. The money was channeled through NGOs, UN organisations, bilateral cooperation, humanitarian aid and educational cooperation.


DRC: EU to release renewed developmental aid

Nairobi, 7 January (IRIN) - The European Union has committed itself to releasing US $108 million in developmental aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an EU humanitarian source told IRIN on Monday.

Following the decision taken in December 2001 to resume developmental aid to the Congo, the EU would release the funds from the European Developmental Fund at the end of January, the EU source added. The money was, however, dependant on the continuation of the peace process, he said. (…)


Cuba's urban farms offer quality produce and new opportunities

7 January - Cubans are farming in towns and cities. The ministry of agriculture and its scientific institutes are helping 300,000 urban farmers grow vegetables and fruits, and raise small animals to satisfy consumers' increasingly discriminating tastes.

The Government decided several years ago to encourage food production by private producers and cooperatives in urban areas, where three out of four Cubans live. The farms range from small plots to large fields.

UNDP allocated US$200,000 in mid 2001 to support this endeavour, in which many women participate, providing a big boost for irrigation systems. UNDP provided an additional $100,000 for seeds for fast growing varieties of crops to help farmers replace harvests lost when hurricane Michelle devastated the central part of Cuba in November. (…)


Nigeria to reschedule more debt

2 January - Nigeria is to sign a debt rescheduling agreement for over US $3 billion with Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This follows an agreement reached between Nigeria and the three countries at the 4th Debt Bilateral Rescheduling meeting.


U.S. Congress Appropriates $34 Million to UN Population Fund for 2002

United Nations, New York, 21 December - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today warmly welcomed the decision by the United States Congress to increase support to UNFPA in 2002. The House of Representatives and the Senate this week appropriated $34 million to the Fund. This year the United States gave UNFPA $21.5 million. (…)

UNFPA is the world’s largest international source of population assistance. Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided about $5 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries. The United Nations General Assembly has thanked the Fund for creating awareness of population issues, providing systematic assistance to developing countries, and helping to improve the quality of human life.






Ethiopia: Over 17 million helped by government aid agency

Addis Ababa, 10 January (IRIN) - More than 17 million people have received aid over the last five years, according to an Ethiopian  government aid agency. The Ethiopian Social Rehabilitation and Development Fund (ESRDF) says it has set up over 3,000 projects countrywide. (…)

According to end of year figures - following the completion of the ESRDF's five-year programme - US$ 133 million has been spent helping people.  All development projects run by the fund must come from the community which must also provide ten percent of the cost. (…)

The ESRDF is now turning its attention to four specific areas of the country where it says the need is critical, although all 11 regions of Ethiopia have received aid from the fund. Gambella, Afar, Somali Region and Benshangul-Gumuz are now the target areas for the next five-year programme that starts in January 2003. (…)


Central African Republic-DRC: UN agency  transfers CAR refugees

Nairobi, 9 January - The UN refugee agency has begun to transfer refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) to a new location within the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A total of 306 refugees were transferred on 8 January from Zongo on the Congolese-CAR border to a new location 45 km due south, in Mole. Further transfers will take place until the camp reaches its maximum initial capacity of 5,000, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Paul Stromberg, told IRIN on Wednesday.

Wells have been dug, classrooms for children completed as well as health and distribution centres, he said. At the end of December 2001, UNHCR had transferred kitchen utensils, jerry cans, blankets, soap and plastic sheeting to the site and the newly-arrived refugees have received materials with which to build individual shelters, he said. (…)


DRC: WFP plans to continue assistance to war-affected

Nairobi, 7 January (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to continue aid to war-affected populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Equateur Province, the UN agency reported on Friday in its latest emergency report. The populations include some 29,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northwestern town of Mbandaka, many of whom fled from Congo's Oriental, northern Equateur and eastern provinces three years ago.

WFP cancelled most of its distributions planned for December 2001 due to low food stocks, the agency reported. One of its barges, which left the capital, Kinshasa, for Mbandaka on 14 December with 500 mt of food, arrived in the town on 30 December. Another barge bound for the same town should depart Kinshasa by 15 January, the agency said.

In collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, WFP said it intended to provide seeds and food rations for 10,000 vulnerable persons in the Bokungu area of Equateur for the current agricultural season. Meanwhile, at least 15,000 vulnerable families and IDPs have been registered in Basankusu in Equateur, it added.

Despite insecurity and limited access to beneficiaries, WFP continued to operate in North Kivu Province (…).


BP Foundation aids action against poverty in East Timor

3 January - The BP Foundation is partnering with UNDP and Save the Children Federation to help raise living standards in East Timor. The BP Foundation, an affiliate of BP, the global energy company, last month provided US$95,000 for two projects.

The first, supported by a US$20,000 grant, is the UNDP participatory poverty assessment, which will gather data from local communities to identify and finalize development strategies to help reduce poverty.

The second project, aided by a US$75,000 grant, is a microfinance programme in Dili, the capital, run by Save the Children. It will enable loans and cover start up costs and some operating expenses. The programme helps create viable small businesses and aims to reach the most disadvantaged communities, especially women and children. (…)


Return of 2,400 Somali refugees leads to closing of third camp in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 2 – The repatriation of thousands of Somali refugees from Ethiopia has continued at a steady pace, reflecting a more stable situation in parts of the east African country and leading to the closing of three of eight refugee camps. Two convoys last week repatriated 2,412 people from Ethiopia's Daror camp to northwest Somalia, bringing the total number of refugees who returned home in 2001 to 50,216. The latest returnees received a nine-month food ration, plastic sheeting and blankets to help them restart their lives.

The Daror complex, which includes health clinics, schools, water systems and generators, and which once hosted 50,000 refugees, will be handed over by UNHCR to the local community.(…)


WFP achieves record food deliveries into Afghanistan

Islamabad, 31 December – The United Nations World Food Programme today announced that it has delivered an unprecedented 116,000 metric tons of food into Afghanistan during December. This is more than twice the quantity of food delivered by WFP last month bringing the total amount of food dispatched into Afghanistan since October to some 200,000 metric tons.

This record level was reached against a backdrop of extraordinary security problems, treacherous roads and snowed-in communities. The food was delivered by barge, truck and plane from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“This success is due to the dedication of the WFP logistics staff in the region who have been working around the clock to make sure we pre-position enough food in Afghanistan before the winter sets in” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Special Envoy of WFP’s Executive Director for the Afghan crisis. (…)


DRC: WFP assists victims of heavy rain

28 December - The World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed 48.7 mt of emergency aid to 3,000 victims of November's heavy rainfall in Mbandaka, the largest town in the province of Equateur, northern Democratic Republic of Congo. "It was imperative that WFP intervene because the victims had lost all their possessions," Odette Kishabaga, the head of the agency's sub-office in Mbandaka, said. The aid, distributed on 21 and 22 December with help of the National Red Cross, consisted of 30-day individual rations of maize flour, vegetables, oil and salt. Local authorities are sheltering many of the homeless in the town's former main prison, with many women and children sleeping on the bare floor. (…)


Your leftover foreign currency can save lives!

UNICEF and the international airline industry have for years teamed up to give passengers a convenient way to help the world's children. Through the Change for Good® programme, established by UNICEF in 1987, millions of passengers have donated their leftover foreign coins and notes to UNICEF-assisted programmes that help children obtain health care, clean water, education, nutrition and protection from violence and abuse. To date, over US $31 million has been raised.

The conversion to the euro currency by 12 European countries in 2002 has created an unprecedented opportunity to raise even more funds for the Change for Good® programme -- both in the air and on the ground. With the introduction of the euro in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, the old currencies will be unusable by the end of February 2002. However, even after that date UNICEF will still be able to convert these currencies into life-saving efforts in more than 160 countries. (…)

[Participating Change for Good® airlines: Aer Lingus, Air Mauritius, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Crossair, Finnair, Japan Airlines and QANTAS.]






Cape Verde: Protecting babies against Hepatitis B

Abidjan, 10 January - The health authorities in Cape Verde have now included Hepatitis-B among diseases for which babies are vaccinated. The hepatitis vaccinations started on 1 January and target infants under the age of one year, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported.

The introduction of the hepatitis vaccine is being funded by a grant of US $207,000 provided to Cape Verde through UNICEF by the Italian government, a UNICEF source told IRIN on Thursday. The grant covers the period 2001-2004, the source said. Under the programme, children received the first of three doses within seven days of their birth. Follow-up vaccinations are administered one month and six months later.

The Hepatitis-B virus is spread when blood or other body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune. An infected mother can transmit the virus to her baby during birth.


Botswana using Brazil's model to help teachers stop HIV/AIDS

4 January - Botswana is turning to Brazil to reinforce its strategy against HIV/AIDS, demonstrating that South-South cooperation is more than a slogan.

The Brazilian response to the HIV/AIDS scourge has impressed experts, who have urged other countries to copy it. Botswana, with one of the world's highest rates of HIV infection, is doing just that. More than one third of its adults are infected, according to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, while the rate in Brazil is less than 1 per cent.

As in Brazil, school offers a critical opportunity for young people in Botswana to learn about HIV/AIDS and how to protect themselves. The new project, scheduled to start in February, aims to widen that opportunity by enhancing teachers' ability to talk to students about sex and sexuality comfortably in the classroom. The African Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Partnership, the United Nations Foundation and UNDP are funding the initiative.

The project will develop interactive television programmes to help teachers facilitate classroom discussions on potentially sensitive HIV and AIDS issues. It will help break down cultural barriers preventing teachers and parents from talking to children openly about sex and sexuality. (…)


Canadian Rotary club members to join in massive effort to immunize nearly 40 million children against polio in Nigeria

Part of Global Effort to Eradicate Polio Worldwide by 2005

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 3 January 2002 - A group of 16 Canadian Rotary club members from the Toronto area will travel to the West African country of Nigeria where they will assist local members in their efforts to vaccinate every child under the age of five against polio. Despite rising civil unrest in Nigeria, dedicated Canadian Rotary volunteers will still go forward with this humanitarian journey. (…)

The group will leave Toronto for Nigeria on 8 January and will return 17 January. While in Nigeria, the volunteers will administer drops of oral polio vaccine to children, assist parents in getting their children vaccinated, transport health workers, deliver the vaccine to health clinics and recruit fellow volunteers during Nigeria's National Immunization Day (NID).

Since Rotary made eradicating polio its main philanthropic goal in 1985, it has contributed US$16 million to polio eradication efforts in Nigeria, US$140 million to eradicate polio throughout the African continent and US$462 million worldwide.

Significant progress has been made toward eradicating polio in Nigeria. So far this year, 27 cases of polio have been recorded, compared to 638 cases last year. Nigeria's 2,611 Rotary club members can take credit for much of this success as they have volunteered during NIDs for more than a decade. During the January NID, members of Nigeria's 153 Rotary clubs will be out in force to ensure that every child is reached. (…)


Global Fund planners to make recommendations to new Board

The group responsible for establishing the new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has completed its work and is ready to hand over its recommendations to a newly formed Board, which will meet for the first time in late January 2002.

Some key decisions: the Fund's Secretariat will be based in Geneva, its board will include an equal number — seven seats each — of donor and developing country governments, and two NGO and two private sector donor seats.



Energy and safety



Iceland’s clean energy revolution

2 January - With a new, government-approved plan to become the world's first hydrogen-based society, Iceland is emerging as the protagonist of the clean energy revolution.  The nation plans to end its dependence on fossil fuels (and hence on foreign energy sources) through the use of fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy, yielding water as a harmless byproduct.  With much of its power coming from hydroelectric and geothermal sources, Iceland already leads the world in renewable energy; now that same clean energy will be used to power fuel cells and create an entirely eco-friendly energy loop.


Nigeria: Indigenous off-shore oil field starts work

31 December - Nigeria's first offshore oil field came on stream over Christmas in the southeastern state of Rivers, Nigerian TV reported on Tuesday. The Okono oil field, one of two deep offshore fields discovered by Nigerian engineers in 1983, has now been completed with the drilling of four wells, state television said. It has facilities to store up to 200,000 barrels per day and process another 20,000 per day. The commissioning of this oil field marked the beginning of Nigeria's own production of offshore crude oil, the television reported. The other Nigerian offshore oil field, Okpoho, is expected to come into service in the next 18 months.


International effort to pin point some of the world's best solar and wind power sites gets underway

Findings should boost prospects for renewable energy across the globe

Nairobi/Paris, 18 December - A pioneering project to map the solar and wind resource of 13 developing countries is launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Experts are convinced that the project, called the Solar and Wind Energy Survey Assessment (SWERA), will prove that the potential for deploying solar panels and wind turbines in these countries is far greater than is currently supposed

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said: "While the costs of renewable energies like solar and wind have been tumbling in recent years, obstacles remain to their widespread deployment particularly in developing countries. One of these is the uncertainty about the size and intensity of the solar and wind resource. The SWERA project aims to bridge this knowledge gap so potential investors can know, with a great deal of accuracy, the locations where they can secure a good and reasonable return. If we can accelerate the deployment of renewable energy we can not only bring down the costs, but also help in the fight against global warming and poverty.” (…)



Environment and wildlife



Iran: Women’s action against pollution

4 January - These days, press coverage of the Middle East is all bombs and burkhas, but Victoria Jamali is fighting a very different battle. The Iranian woman cofounded one of her country's most active nonprofits, the Women's Society Against Environmental Pollution. Now, along with colleagues at the University of Tehran, she is launching Iran's first environmental law program.  U.S. environmentalists have called Jamali an Iranian John Muir.  She is leading Iran's movement against severe water and air pollution (cities like Tehran must close their schools in the fall, when air pollution is most severe); against threats to the country's wildlife (such as the rare Persian cheetah); and against the general lack of environmental regulation in her society.


Friends of the Earth launch programme to recognise ecological debt

2 January - Extraction of natural resources, unfair trade rules and the disproportionate pollution by industrialised countries have all contributed to the ecological debt. This adds another vast layer of obligation from the industrialised countries to the Third World. The Friends of the Earth initiative aims to stop the increase in ecological debt and restore areas affected in developing countries.


The Amazon wants to decide its own future

In Belem, organizations from nine countries are to hold the most important preparatory meeting for WSF II. The Pan-Amazonian Social Council will be an opportunity for the destiny of the forest, which is essential to any world project, to be defined by the peoples that live there.

In an auditorium at Pará Federal University (UFPA), the MST, the Indians of Bolivia and the government of Venezuela (which is about to embark on land reform) are to discuss access to land in the Amazon. Nearby, the Concerted Action Movement of Amazon Women (MAMA) and hip hop groups from Amapá State will be giving voice to the a cultural diversity of the region’s population groups. Colombian trade unionists, student movements from various countries and European intellectuals are building opposition to Plan Colombia. A jumbo workshop is to debate the pillage of biodiversity from the point of view of the indigenous peoples and those who are fighting for sustainable development of the forests. The above is a small sample of the vast mosaic of ideas that will inform the Pan-Amazonian Social Forum, in the town of Belem (Pará), from January 23 to 25 next year. Organized by social movements from nine Amazon countries, supported and give safe harbour from the outset by Mayor Edmilson Rodrigues, it has already drawn participants and speakers from all over the world. As it is to take place only a week before the World Social Forum, some of its supporters are spreading a tempting suggestion, both in the Amazon and in other countries: Go to Porto Alegre via Belém! (…)

Visit the official site of the meeting.



Culture and education



UNESCO Director-General visits Afghanistan

Paris/Islamabad, January 10 - UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will visit Kabul on January 11 to offer UNESCO’s support to the Afghan administration in its work to rebuild the country. Mr Matsuura is undertaking the journey to take stock personally of the Afghanistan’s immediate and longer-term needs in education, culture, science and communication. (…)

UNESCO will support Afghanistan in its reconstruction and development work which will, inevitably, take several years. The Organization will focus on assisting in the creation of an efficient education ministry, the improvement of teacher training, and the development of curricula and textbooks not only for primary schools, but also for secondary, technical and higher education. It will also launch a major community radio programme to provide basic education for populations which, for nearly 25 years, have been kept out of all types of educational systems, women in particular. (…)


The Volunteers' Odyssey

A game combining the pleasure of taking part in a quiz with the discovery of voluntary action

The Volunteers' Odyssey© is part of the 2001 UN International Year of Volunteers and is financially supported by the United Nations Volunteers and the Belgium Government, and closely collaborates with the European Service of Volunteers of the European Commission.
The Volunteers' Odyssey© is a televised game presented on a short version made of 49 programmes eight minutes long and on a long version consisting of seven programmes 52 minutes long. The Odyssey is produced in three different language versions: English, French and Spanish. The participants are seven teams of three film students from 18 to 28 years old coming from different countries. (…) Prospective International collaborates with a director and a producer for each language version and coordinates the whole project. Governments, supporting entities, TV channels, sponsors as well as the teams' members officially launched the Volunteers' Odyssey during the Volunteer's Day of the International Year of Volunteers, December 5, 2001, from the Prospective International Internet platform whose address is


Brussels Action Plan - Women's Leadership in the Reconstruction of Afghanistan

27 December – (…) The Brussels Action Plan (…) emerged from a consultation that UNIFEM co-organized with the Government of Belgium from 9-11 December 2001. The consultation provided nearly 40 women - including women from within Afghanistan, and Afghan women living in Pakistan, Iran and the West - to discuss their hopes and plans for re-building the country with nearly 40 donors, representatives from UN agencies and NGOs. For your convenience, the Brussels Action Plan, as well as the Declaration from the Afghan Women's Summit (which also took place in Brussels from 4-5 December and was organized by Equality Now, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the European Women's Lobby and other international women's organizations in collaboration with UNIFEM) could be found on the UNIFEM web site: Together, these two documents provide the beginning of a roadmap that Afghan women are creating to guide future leadership and work to achieve their rights. (…)


European Network for Peace and Human Rights Launch Conference

A conference to launch the European Network for Peace and Human Rights will take place from 31 January to 1 February in the European Parliament in Brussels.  The aims of the conference are:

o To explore closer cooperation among European peace movements to develop full spectrum resistance to the deployment of "son of star wars", the militarisation of space, and the expansion of NATO at the expense of the United Nations, all of which are part of the military gameplan known as "full spectrum dominance".

o To re-establish the habit of large-scale, combined and united  action across frontiers and at every level, which defeated the installation of theatre nuclear missiles in Europe in the 1980s.

o To appeal to public opinion and the organizations of civil society to defend international agreements restricting missiles and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

o To establish the European Network for Peace and Human Rights as a permanent presence.

o To define practical projects which can translate these general objectives into appropriate action.

For more information on attending the conference, please contact:

Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Russell House, Bulwell Lane, Nottingham  NG6  OBT, England -   

Source: Sunflower, January 2002 - Nuclear Age Peace Foundation


Symposium on Best Practices in Humanitarian Information Exchange

5 - 8 February 2002 Geneva, Switzerland

Over the past five years, there has been a tremendous increase in the humanitarian community’s use of new information technologies such as the Internet, web sites, database applications, and geographic information systems. But how have these technologies actually improved humanitarian operational effectiveness and enhanced inter-organizational coordination? What impact has the proliferation of systems and the overload of information had on the humanitarian community’s ability to retrieve and use essential information for operations and decision-making regarding humanitarian assistance?

These key questions will be addressed at the Symposium on Best Practices in Humanitarian Information Exchange, hosted by the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on 5 - 8 February in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of this symposium will be to challenge the assumptions made about humanitarian information and decision making, to discuss lessons learned, to compare various models and systems, to evaluate best practices in humanitarian information management, and to identify emerging technologies and approaches that may improve operational effectiveness and better facilitate information exchange among organizations. The symposium will be a forum for the frank exchange of ideas and experiences. (…)


Three outstanding women will open Conference on Conflict Resolution Through Culture

III IFLAC International Conference, London, 14 to 17 March 2002

Member of Knesset Dahlia Rabin, Deputy Minister of Defence, and daughter of the late Peace Leader, Yitzhak Rabin, will be opening the Conference, together with the British Member of Parliament Louise Ellman, and Palestinian leader Saida Nusseibeh, and inaugurating  the London Chapter of IFLAC – The International Forum for the Culture of Peace.  The conference, jointly organised by IFLAC (Haifa), the Spiro Ark (London), and the Moshe Sharett Educational Center (Jerusalem) will bring together academicians, specialists, writers, poets, peace researchers, media, and women leaders, from a broad range of fields, to discuss the impact of the social dimensions of Conflict Resolution through cultural bridges, and its key roles in the development, definition and construction of identity in the Middle East and in other conflicted areas.

Themes to be examined and discussed at this conference by participants will include: national and cultural identity in an era of globalisation; women and peace; the communications revolution and social change, and the importance of the creation of a peace culture and a peace media.

Restore the Earth! Conference – Findhorn, Scotland, March 30-April 5

Preparations are well advanced for the Restore the Earth! Conference next Easter (March 30-April 5), jointly hosted by Trees for Life and the Findhorn Foundation, dedicated to highlighting and catalysing positive steps to return the planet to sound ecological health sooner rather than later.

The Conference will include a call for the  21st century to be dedicated to restoring the earth’s polluted and fragile eco-systems. This declaration will reverberate outwards to all world leaders as organisers seek to persuade the United Nations to adopt it and prioritise the healing of our wounded eco-systems. , ,

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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 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:

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:


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