Good News Agency – Year III, n° 10



Weekly - Year III, number 10 –  17 May 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 free of charge through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 2,400 media in 46 countries, as well as to 1,000 NGO.




International legislation - Human rightsPeace and safety - Economy and development

Solidarity - Health - Environment and wildlife - Culture and education



International legislation



International Court of Justice

While the United States formally advised United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan that it does not intend to become a party of the Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court, Benin and Niger seised the Court of a boundary dispute between them.

By joint letter of 11 April 2002 the two States notified to the Court a Special Agreement, which was signed on 15 June 2001 in Cotonou and entered into force on 11 April 2002.

Under Article 1, the Parties have agreed to submit their boundary dispute to a Chamber to be formed by the Court, pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Court, and that each of them will choose a judge ad hoc. (…) The Parties accept as final and binding upon them the judgment of the Chamber rendered pursuant to the present Special Agreement. From the day on which the judgment is rendered, the Parties shall have 18 months in which to commence the works of demarcation of the boundary.

Finally, "pending the judgment of the Chamber, the Parties undertake to preserve peace, security and quiet among the peoples of the two States."

“The Statute has come into force; the court will come into being,” as stressed by the UN spokesman notifying the United States decision.



States parties to Law of Sea Convention conclude twelfth meeting, approve $7.8 million 2003 budget for International Tribunal

26 April - The States parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concluded their twelfth meeting this morning, approving a $7.8 million budget for the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea for 2003.

With a view to providing the Tribunal a subsidiary body created under the Convention, with the necessary financial means to consider cases next year, in particular those requiring expeditious proceedings, the meeting further approved some $987,000 as contingency funds.  All States and international organizations that were parties to the Convention would finance both the budget and the contingency (contained in document SPLOS/L.27).

In a related decision, the States Members also decided to provide the Tribunal -- chiefly a dispute-settlement forum with exclusive jurisdiction in matters concerning deep seabed mineral resources -- with a financial “safety net” of $500,000, enabling that body to provide advisory opinions and examine cases in the event of temporary shortfalls in funds.  Those funds -- savings from 2001 to be appropriated to the Tribunal's Working Capital Fund -- would be made available on an exceptional basis, pending a yearly review based on the Tribunal’s burden of cases. (…)



Human rights



Governments 'Say Yes' as agreement is reached on global goals and plan of action for world's children

UN Special Session on Children: 21 New Targets Are Set - Child Delegates Bring Openness and Inspiration

New York, 10 May  - The United Nations wrapped up its Special Session on Children late Friday with unanimous agreement on a new agenda for the world's children, including 21 specific goals and targets for child health, education and protection over the next decade, UNICEF announced. (Read the 21 agreed-upon goals)

The UN General Assembly Special Session on Children concluded after a week of inter-governmental negotiations on the new agenda for children, scores of supporting events delving into everything from immunization to child trafficking, and a refreshingly frank exchange between Heads of State and young people from around the world.

Friday evening, representatives from some 180 nations adopted the conference outcome document, entitled "A World Fit For Children." More than 18 months of consensus-building resulted in a strong future agenda focused on four key priorities: promoting healthy lives; providing quality education for all; protecting children against abuse, exploitation and violence; and combating HIV/AIDS. Elusive language on child rights, reproductive health, and other issues was resolved in good-faith negotiating sessions that lasted through the night Thursday and wrapped up successfully Friday evening.

"I am enormously proud and pleased at what has been accomplished this week," said Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. "If leaders keep the promises they have made, we can bring about enormous positive change in the world in less than a generation." (…)


Historic Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues breaks new ground for world’s indigenous peoples

10 May - The inaugural meeting of a new United Nations body, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues -- which will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, 13 May, - will bring together indigenous leaders and civil society from all parts of the world.  This is the first time that indigenous voices will be heard at such a high level by the world Organization.  The new Forum represents an historic advance in indigenous peoples’ efforts to reach the ear of the international community and make their needs and concerns known.  While they have made steady progress at the United Nations -- from their first approach to the League of Nations, to the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the subsequent establishment of the International Decade -- the creation of the Forum as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council is a breakthrough achievement. (…)


Trafficking of women in Peace Mission areas to be discussed by international experts at meeting in Turin

Vienna, 8 May - The trafficking of women in peace mission areas and how to tackle it will be discussed by international experts at a meeting this week in Italy.  The two-day conference "Trafficking, Slavery and Peacekeeping:  the Balkans Case" is being organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in collaboration with the Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at the American University from 9-10 May at the UNICRI headquarters in Turin, Italy.

A number of distinguished high-level experts will be involved in the meeting.  They will come from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) and other international organizations including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Staff College, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union, as well as from national governmental agencies and military forces and NGOs. (…)


European Union adopts declaration condemning racism

3 May - EU justice and home affairs ministers adopted a declaration condemning in strong terms racism and xenophobia (…) The declaration was initiated earlier this month by France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the UK in connection to racist violence sparked across Europe by the Middle East conflict. However, the declaration received a particular symbolic importance after that the Presidential elections in France brought the prospect, so far considered impossible, of an ascension of the far right to power. (…)




Peace and safety



East Timor leadership to open park built by UN Volunteers

Service of 3,000 UN Volunteers to be recognized at independence celebrations

Dili, East Timor, 15 May - During the past three years of transition towards independence for East Timor, the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) has built up its largest single presence ever. Some 3,000 UN Volunteers from more than 100 countries have supported the East Timor Public Administration, including electoral processes, and carried out a range of activities nationwide as part of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). No other UN operation has made such extensive use of UN Volunteers and their expertise.

UN Volunteers have been essential in preparing for the East Timor's Independence Day ceremonies and celebrations. UN Volunteers designed and built the International People's Park and Football Field (IPP) in Dili. The IPP will be officially opened on the occasion of the VIP reception, six hours before the UN flag will be lowered and the new East Timorese national flag will be raised. The reception, hosted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will be attended by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, president-elect Xanana Guzman and many other senior East Timorese, UniteNations and diplomatic delegation officials. (…)

Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is the volunteer arm of the UN system. It extends hands-on assistance for peace and development in 140 countries. Created by the UN General Assembly in 1970 and administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNV works through UNDP country offices to send volunteers--two-thirds of them from developing countries—and promote the ideals of volunteerism around the world.



Economy and development



Zanzibar water projects take load off women's backs

10 May - Tourists may find the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar a paradise of beautiful beaches, but living conditions for many Zanzibaris are difficult, not the least because of lack of clean and safe water. To help improve water supplies UNDP is supporting six projects to upgrade water and sanitation systems for more than 45,000 people on Zanzibar and its sister island of Pemba. The projects are "essential to improving the health and well-being of the people and supporting Tanzania's poverty reduction efforts," said Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Acting UNDP Resident Representative. "This initiative means that many women in Zanzibar will no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water," she said. Zanzibar's poverty reduction plan stresses development of water and sanitation systems to meet hygiene and sanitation requirements.

The UNDP Tanzania Small Grants Programme is providing US$245,000 for the two-year initiative, as part of the UNDP country programme that provides $1 million for community-based projects each year. Both the government of Zanzibar and the recipient communities will provide support in cash and in kind for implementing the water supply projects, and two projects are co-financed by the Government of Japan.  (…)


Lesotho-South Africa: Assistance for economic recovery

Johannesburg, 9 May - Lesotho's economic recovery has been given a boost with the launch of several projects that aim to provide work and training for the Basotho. The projects are a result of a Joint Bilateral Commission of Cooperation (JBCC) programme between the tiny mountain kingdom and South Africa. South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma and her Lesotho counterpart, M.T. Thabane, signed the JBCC agreement on Wednesday.

Lesotho has been struggling to overcome the economic impact of the 1998 riots that destroyed the capital Maseru's commercial district, and plunged the economy into its first recession in 40 years. There has also been a loss of remittances from mine workers who had been retrenched from South African mines. It is estimated that half its population live in poverty. (…)


Job programme helps to ease tensions in southern Serbia

2 May - A programme providing short-term jobs set up by UNDP in southern Serbia in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is providing relief for communities hard-hit by unemployment and social instability. The instability stems from ethnic tension stirred by the conflict in neighbouring Kosovo in 1999-2000, and the collapse of state-owned companies and lack of investment have produced widespread unemployment.

The Rapid Employment Programme, started in April, will generate temporary jobs for about 6,000 people in one of the Balkans' most underdeveloped areas. The European Agency for Reconstruction is providing US$3.5 million for the programme. The initiative carries out labour-intensive projects to rehabilitate public infrastructure and protect the environment. The UNDP team began consulting local communities in March to identify projects in the towns and rural villages of four municipalities -- Presevo, Bujanovac, Medvedja and Vranje -- where ethnic conflicts have been the most severe. With the planning phase almost complete and the projects underway, the programme is already having an impact. (…)






Catholic Relief Services responds to increased violence in Quibdó, Colombia

Baltimore, May 10 - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has committed an initial $20,000 to victims of the increased violence in Chocó, Colombia, in the Diocese of Quibdó, including those affected by the May 2 mortar explosion in the Church of Bellavista that killed 119 people and injured more than 100 others who were seeking refuge in the church. The funds will assist the CRS local partner in providing food, medicine, bedding, basic hygiene items, and trauma counseling for more than 2,900 people who have been displaced by the heavy fighting between paramilitaries and the leftist guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). CRS is also working with the Diocese of Quibdó to develop a comprehensive emergency response plan.  CRS and partners estimate that up to 20,000 people may be displaced by continued violence between the paramilitaries and guerrillas and by an aerial bombing campaign initiated by the Colombian Armed Forces in an effort to regain control of the area. (…)


Locusts threaten Afghan wheat harvest; FAO acts to protect the crop

New York, May 10 2002 - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today it was mobilizing a major campaign to combat what may be the worst locust outbreak to hit Afghanistan in 30 years. An infestation of Moroccan locust (dociostaurus maroccanus) threatens the wheat harvest in northern Afghanistan, just as the country is struggling to recover from years of war and deprivation, FAO said in a statement released in Rome. The 30-40 day emergency campaign aims to limit crop damage to the lowest possible level until the harvest is well under way, when the threat will pretty much be over. So far, the campaign has yielded encouraging results, according to the agency. (…)

Despite the difficulties posed by mountainous terrain, FAO is reporting progress in meeting its objectives, with only few reports of damage received so far. When the emergency campaign is completed, it will give way to a medium-term plan aimed at prevention through the use of even more environmentally benign materials.

The locust control campaign is being financed by FAO from its own resources, with major contributions from the US Agency for International Development and the British Department for International Development.  Its efforts are supported by several NGOs, including the Irish NGO "Goal", which is backed by the European Commission.


New alliance aims to improve children's nutrition; UNICEF lauds effort

New York, May  9 2002 - Philanthropist Bill Gates today joined the head of the main United Nations children's agency to launch the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) - a new initiative aimed at helping eliminate the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that threaten more  than 2 billion people. Hailing the new venture, Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund, stressed that good nutrition - both before and after birth - is essential to helping children's bodies and brains develop properly. Despite some successes in this area, micronutrient deficiencies are still common in populations in developing countries, she told a joint press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, where a special session of the General Assembly on children is currently under way.

Adding vitamins and minerals to staple foods like flour and milk has been a common practice in the industrialized world for decades. The new initiative "will bring the benefits that the industrialized world has had an opportunity to enjoy for some time much sooner to those who are not able to enjoy those at this point," she added. (…)

According to GAIN partners, funds available for the first year will be between $20 and $25 million, with more than $70 million committed over five years, including $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (…)


Malawi: US government provides food aid

Blantyre, 9 May - The United States is to provide Malawi with US $5.4 million in emergency food aid in response to the government's appeal for international assistance to help overcome the country's food crisis. A statement released on Wednesday said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) would provide the UN World Food Programme (WFP) with 11,330 mt of food aid, including 10,000 mt of maize, for shipment to Malawi in June and July.

The relief assistance would be distributed through an NGO consortium working closely with district authorities, the National Economic Council's (NEC) Safety Net Programme and the Department of Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation (DDPRR), the statement said.

USAID Malawi Assistant Director Dwight Smith told IRIN that the food would benefit 90,000 families or 450,000 individuals. The aid would be used for direct feeding to the most vulnerable, including children, pregnant and lactating mothers, people living with HIV/AIDS and the elderly.

The statement said the programme would also be complemented by food for work initiatives to provide food to those who are able-bodied but cannot afford to purchase maize at market prices. (…)


CARE receives $500,000 grant for Africa emergency

Donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help feed millions in Malawi

Atlanta, May 3 - CARE, a leading international organization fighting poverty, today announced receipt of a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide emergency food aid for more than 2 million people – many of them children – who are going hungry in the southern African country of Malawi. The money is part of a $1 million grant from the foundation being shared equally between CARE and the international aid organization Save the Children. (…)

CARE has a long-standing presence in Malawi and has broadened its programs in response to the increasingly short supply of food. CARE has expanded its agricultural activities and is distributing extra cuttings of cassava, a fast growing staple food, for farmers to plant. Together, CARE and Save the Children will begin a house-to-house survey in four districts of Malawi on May 15 to determine to what degree families are suffering from malnutrition. The survey also will serve to check the status of their food supplies. CARE also belongs to a network that has called for the government to distribute free maize to people most vulnerable to hunger, including children, and to establish a plan to keep this disaster from recurring. This network is distributing pamphlets in local languages to 90,000 farmers with information about what people can do to support members of their communities. In addition, CARE is preparing a long-term emergency response.


Sierra Leone: Major distribution of relief items to vulnerable farmers

2 May - In an effort to help internally displaced persons and refugees resettle in their home villages, the ICRC and the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) have begun distributing seed and farm tools to nearly 40,000 vulnerable farm families (about 240,000 people) in Kono and Kailahun districts. Also included in the relief package are shelter materials, blankets, buckets, kitchen sets, mats, mosquito nets, mugs, used clothing and soap.

The operation is the largest in the eastern region so far. For the communities involved, which face the task of rebuilding their lives after 10 years of crisis in Sierra Leone, it will provide vital support in their efforts to achieve food security and economic self-sufficiency.

The Red Cross is distributing rice seed, groundnut seed and hoes to about 20,000 families in seven chiefdoms in Kono district and to another 20,000 families in six chiefdoms in Kailahun district. The most vulnerable of the beneficiaries will receive non-food items as well. Before the operation was launched, needs were assessed and the beneficiaries were registered by community representatives using criteria set by the Red Cross. A joint ICRC/SLRCS team later checked that those registered were entitled to assistance. (…)


MSF starts emergency operation in Chipindo for 18,000 civilians in distress

After surviving three years of war, violence, looting and isolation, these people are now in immediate danger of dying from starvation.

Angola, 2 May - The international medical relief organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is starting an emergency feeding and medical programme in Chipindo, in the province of Huila in Angola to come to the rescue of 18.000 people, who had been isolated there with inadequate food supplies. (…) Chipindo is the fourth of these emergency situations that MSF has come across since it was able start exploring parts of the provinces of Huambo, Huila and Bie - which were inaccessible until the cease-fire at the beginning of last month. In the other provinces where MSF is working, the teams are seeing similar phenomena. (…)


UN ‘Convoy of Hope’ sets sail for Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, to restore trade and ensure food security

Kinshasa, 30 April - A convoy of barges has sailed from the port of the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, carrying more than 1,000 tons of medicines, food, salt, sugar, spare parts, construction materials, fuel, clothing, agricultural inputs and fishing materials.  The destination of the so-called “Convoy of Hope”, which set sail yesterday, is Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Oriental Province, where between six and seven million people are in critical need of food and other necessities. (…)

It will take the convoy three weeks to complete the 1,700-kilometre journey on the Congo River to Kisangani.  It is the result of a collective mobilization of resources by 26 partners:  Congolese organizations, United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and donors, including Belgium, European Union, United States, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. (…)






West Africa: Health update: HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Meningitis

10 May - Togo's Red Cross association launched a two-year project against the spread of HIV/AIDS this week, as part of a continent-wide health initiative by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The HIV/AIDS initiative includes an education and sensitisation campaign targeting those aged above 15, considered to be at most risk. The aims of the project include teaming up with religious, community and youth leaders to encourage the adoption of safe sex behavior, including use of condoms. (…)


Togo: Red Cross launches AIDS project

10 May - Togo's Red Cross association launched on Wednesday a two-year project against the spread of HIV/AIDS, as part of a continental initiative by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The education and sensitisation campaign targets those aged above 15, who are the country's most vulnerable. The Red Cross also aims to provide income-generating projects to those living with the disease, and team up with religious, community and youth leaders to encourage the adoption of safe sex behavior, including use of condoms.

More details:


New formula of oral rehydration salts to help millions of children, UN agency says

New York, May  8 2002 - A new formula of oral rehydration salts just released by the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to save the lives of millions suffering from acute diarrhoea and dehydration, a killer which particularly affects children under five.

Oral rehydration therapy has cut childhood deaths from diarrhoea in half over the past 10 years, and governments at this week's special session of the General Assembly devoted to children are expected to endorse a new goal:  reducing deaths from diarrhoea a further 50 per cent by 2010. To accomplish that, the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) must be expanded dramatically.

According to WHO, the use of the new improved formula, which is low in both sodium and glucose, will result in fewer hospitalizations and secondary infections, as well as lower health-care costs. And like its predecessor, it can be administered at home by family members. (…)


Rotary presents Polio Eradication Champion Award to Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation

New York, 7 May -In recognition of her involvement and leadership in securing US$110 million in contributions from the government of the Netherlands to support the global effort to eradicate polio, Rotary International today presented Eveline Herfkens, Minister for Development Cooperation, with the Polio Eradication Champion Award.

The award, presented by Luis Giay, chairman of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, was established in 1995 to recognize world leaders who have made outstanding contributions toward the goal of global polio eradication. (…) The donation is earmarked for poliovirus surveillance and response activities. (…)

A highly infectious disease that can cause paralyses and sometimes death, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in the remaining 10 polio-endemic countries, which are India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Niger, Somalia, Egypt, Angola, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Polio eradication is extremely close to completion. From 2000 to 2001, the number of polio-endemic countries was reduced from 20 to 10. The number of new cases globally was slashed by more than 80 percent, from 2,979 in 2000 to 537 in 2001. This represents a greater than 99.8 percent reduction since 1988, when polio paralyzed more than 350,000 children in 125 countries.

The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, as well as the Western Pacific region in 2000. Europe will be the next block of countries expected to be declared polio-free this year. Once eradicated, polio will be the second disease after smallpox ever to be eliminated worldwide. (…)


CARE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renew commitment to cooperate on health care in poor communities

Atlanta, May 6- CARE today announced it is renewing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of this Memorandum is to strengthen the capacity of CDC and CARE to assess, analyze and implement disease prevention and control programs with a primary focus on communities. Areas of collaboration for CARE and CDC include environmental health, public health management, public health emergencies, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and reproductive health. (…)

The original Memorandum, from 1997, has been revised to reflect the strong partnership between the two organizations and references successes from the first phase of collaboration, through the CARE-CDC Health Initiative (CCHI). For example CARE and the CDC joined forces to spread valuable knowledge to the international community. CARE staff combined field work in some of the poorest and most remote areas in the world with the CDC's scientific expertise to produce articles recently published in the American Journal of Public Health in its first ever global health issue. The papers included research on innovative ways to prevent cholera and diarrhea, novel public information campaigns using folk media to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and public health messages for safe motherhood.


ADRA Morocco launches anti-tobacco campaign in school

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, 3 May - Approximately 1,300 children aged 8-12 years in the Wilaya school district of the capital city of Rabat attended tobacco education programs organized and presented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Morocco. The programs were presented April 22-25, 2002. Using puppets, the presentations provided a thirty-minute program that explained the impact of tobacco. In addition, the program included thirty-minutes of interaction with the children. Teachers of the participating classes were given a packet with additional activities to reinforce the information shared during the puppet show. (…)

ADRA is part of the national committee in Morocco that is coordinating plans to fight the effects of tobacco. The committee includes representatives from the government ministries of Youth and Sports, Education, Agriculture, Finance, Religious Affairs, and Environment.  (…)


South Africa: Global Fund boost for HIV/AIDS programme

3 May - South Africa's HIV/AIDS programme received a boost last week with the announcement of a US $165.2 million grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria.

South Africa's grant awards cover two proposals, focusing on treatment, care, and support of people with TB and HIV. The Fund awarded almost US $93 million to the country's coordinating mechanism, the South African National AIDS Council.

More details:


UN Population Fund, Development Gateway launch portal on population and reproductive health

New York, 29 April - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)  and the Development Gateway Foundation today announced the launch of the POP/RH Portal, an Internet initiative focusing on population and reproductive health.  The Portal will provide a community-built database of shared population information, including data, research, projects, ideas and dialogue.  It will  also seek to promote innovative knowledge-sharing arrangements among expert organizations in the field.

The POP/RH Portal ( is being built in collaboration with 12 partner institutions from the population community, linking it to resources on their Web sites and to those of other population and development organizations.  It covers the key topics and actions identified in both the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) convened in Cairo in 1994 and the 1999 United Nations General Assembly special session which reviewed implementation of the ICPD.

With the launch of the POP/RH Portal, the UNFPA becomes the first United Nations agency to establish a topical Web site within the Development Gateway system.  The UNFPA will manage and “guide” the Portal with technical support from the Development Gateway team.  (…)



Environment and wildlife



UN Environment Programme and Tongji University open new Chinese Institute to aid environment and sustainable development

Shanghai, Bangkok, 9 May - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Shanghai’s Tongji University today announced the establishment of the UNEP-Tongji Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development.

The new Institute aims to develop new educational programmes to build research, technical and managerial capacity among developing countries of the region, contribute to UNEP’s global and regional environmental assessments, and disseminate information on best practices and technology developments.

The Institute is also expected to establish a field ecological station to monitor the long-term land use changes resulting from the construction of the Three Gorges Reservoir and the resulting relocation of 1.1 million people.

Its work programme will also assist environmental planning for the 2008 Olympic Games and China’s Great Western Development Programme. (…)


Socially responsible corporate partners 'Go Green' in Lebanon

9 May - UNDP and UN Volunteers (UNV) are teaming up with several private sector partners in Lebanon on a project to enhance awareness of corporate social responsibility and how it relates to environmental issues. The springboard for the initiative -- and the origin of its name -- is the 'Go Green' motto and environmental programme of Schtroumpf, a Lebanese restaurant chain. Coca-Cola Middle East, FTML-Cellis and Tetra Pak are the other corporate partners. (…)

Go Green is organizing an environmental awareness contest for university students, an environmental workshop to mark World Environment Day on 5 June, a three-day environmental forum, and activities for corporate volunteers. The contest, open to nearly 20,000 students, will award $11,000 in prizes for projects on environmental engineering and artwork on the environment. The partners have given seminars at seven of Lebanon's leading universities to sensitize students about corporate social responsibility and environmental protection. A press encounter encouraged media representatives to provide coverage on these issues.

The project is part of a programme that UNDP and UNV are carrying out in seven countries in cooperation with the New Academy of Business in Bristol, UK, to develop new models of business-community relations. The other countries are Brazil, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Philippines and South Africa. Go Green also serves as an example of new ways by which UNDP can forge national partnerships among the private sector, civil society and government ministries on issues relating to key programme priorities.



Culture and education



Ethiopia: Geneva Conventions translated into Amharic

Nairobi, 10 May - The Geneva Conventions have been published in Amharic - the first time ever they have been officially translated into an African language. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presented the 245-page document to the President of Ethiopia on Wednesday.

The four 1949 Geneva Conventions set out humanitarian rules for armed conflict and are the cornerstone of international humanitarian law.

The translation was prepared by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, Addis Ababa University and the ICRC over a period of two years. The President said the ICRC had been at the forefront in promoting international humanitarian laws and had always retained its neutrality. (…)


Non-Governmental Organizations are ‘Vital Partners’ in implementing aims and goals of Special Session on Children, UN Secretary-General Says

8 May - Following are some passages of the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the NGOs meeting held during the special session of the General Assembly on children:

“You non-governmental organizations give life and meaning to the concept of "We, the Peoples", in whose name our United Nations Charter was written. Let me also say that you are vital partners of governments in pursuing the United Nations agenda for peace and development, and in implementing the aims and goals of the special session on children and I have always maintained that without you, we cannot do what we do.

“In the long-standing debate over the proper place for civil society in the United Nations, I think we can all agree that the work for children is one area where the role of NGOs is beyond question.  You are indispensable to that work.

“We have had some success in treating children as a "zone of peace" in conflict zones.  Let us treat children as a "zone of consensus, of agreement" here at the United Nations.  Let us use the United Nations as common ground where governments, NGOs and the rest of civil society can work together for the common good –- and for our children and for our common future. (…)

“After the work to finalize the outcome document is over, you NGOs will have an especially crucial role to play.  Just as you have been so active in promoting the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we will look to you to act as watchdogs and monitor progress in implementing the promises that have been made at this session.  Do keep us on our toes!”

Fonte: UNIC, Rome


In time of global uncertainty, Buddha’s vision of peace more relevant than ever, says Secretary-General, in message on Buddhism’s day of Vesak

6 May - Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Day of Vesak, observed on 26 May:

It gives me great pleasure to send you my warmest greetings on this happy occasion, marking the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Guatama Buddha.

The Buddha’s lofty ethical and humanitarian ideals have given birth to a vibrant spiritual tradition that continues, more than 2500 years later, to ennoble the lives of millions of people.  Today, all over the world, Buddhists celebrate joyously the message of compassion, understanding and mutual respect that the Buddha brought to mankind. 

In this time of global uncertainty, the Buddha’s vision of peace and of humanity’s highest potentials may be more relevant than ever before.  Indeed, if we want to have a chance of overcoming the many challenges that face us today -- in the fields of peace and security, development, and the protection of our global environment -- we must think beyond our narrow, short-term self interests, and raise ourselves to a universal perspective from which the well-being of the broader human community appears as important as our own well-being.  Each of us shares the hope of a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future.  Our actions -- as individuals and as members of our communities -- must be guided by that common dream.

On this Day of Vesak, let us remember that whatever our origin, our race, our culture or our belief, we are not essentially different.  Above all, we share the same home, a shrinking planet on which we are bound to live together.  So, let us work together towards the common good and the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of all the world’s people.

I wish you all happy Vesak.


The IFLAC Dialogues between Israelis and Palestinians to build a culture of peace

Professor Ada Aharoni, President of IFLAC (International Forum for the Culture of Peace), wrote to the Good News Agency: “Despite the hard times we are going through in our region, our monthly IFLAC  Israeli Palestinian dialogue in Haifa at the International IFLAC Center is going strong, and even gaining impetus. It draws people from the silent majority who crave for peace from both sides, and who are asking for the end of the carnage and the return to the peacemaking table, leading to a peace Treaty that would satisfy both the Palestinians and the Israelis”.

The next IFLAC dialogue, organized by IFLAC and the Moshe Sharett Educational Center, will take place on 29 May in Haifa and Prof. Aharoni will introduce the guest speaker Prof. Amatzia Baram, who will speak on the theme: “SULHA: The Reconciliation”. After the lecture and the discussion session: readings of peace poetry in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

For further information:


Brussels: European Summer School on Immigration and Asylum, 1-12 July

Academic Network for legal studies on immigration and asylum in Europe is organising a European Summer School on European Union Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum, from 1-12 July, in Brussels. The aim of the Summer School is to provide its participants with an extensive understanding of the immigration and asylum policy of the European Union (EU) from a legal point of view. Each class is given both in French and in English. Participation in the Summer School is rewarded with a certificate of attendance.

For more information: Website:


The World Peace Prayer Society, Day of Prayer in Each World Nation, on Sunday May 19, Mt. Fuji, Japan.

More than 10,000 people will gather at the foot of Mt. Fuji Sanctuary to pray for peace of the world. Bonnie Mansdorf, founder of The Foundation for A Healing Among Nations, will be an emissary for peace, representing over 45 Los Angeles Spiritual and Peace based organizations from Los Angeles, The City of Angels. This event is the invocation that will culminate in The Peace Sunday, World Day of Prayer in Los Angeles, December 15, 2002. Ms. Mansdorf will be presenting the 'Heart of Humanity' award on behalf of the Unity and Diversity World Council to the World Peace Prayer Society. In addition, Bonnie will travel with a small team to Hiroshima and bring some offerings of healing and prayer to redirect the potential of any further nuclear abuses on our planet and in space.


19the General IPRA Conference: Korea, July 1-5

The next International Peace Research Association conference will be held at Kyung Hee university in South Korea on July 1-5, 2002. The general theme is  'Globalization, Governance and Social Justice: New Challenges for Peace Research'. The purpose of IPRA is to advance interdisciplinary research into the conditions of peace and the causes of war and other forms of violence. To this end, IPRA encourages worldwide cooperation designed to assist the advancement of peace research and, in particular: to promote national and international studies and teaching related to the pursuit of world peace; to facilitate contacts and cooperation between scholars and educators throughout the world; and to encourage worldwide dissemination of results of peace research. All enquires should be sent to IPRA secretariat c/o Kodama, Dept. of Humanities, Mie University, 1515 Kamihama, Tsu, Mie Japan 514-8507 tel/fax: +81-59-231-9156 e-mail:



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Next issue: 31 May 2002




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