Good News Agency – Year III, n° 12
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.
56 Countries sign international treaty crucial to food security
Rome, 13 June - The World Food Summit: five years later is ending with positive results for food security and sustainable development, as 43 new signatories to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, bring the total number of signatories to 56, including 35 developing countries and 20 developed countries, and the European Community.
The Treaty was adopted by consensus at the FAO Conference in November 2001. Its objectives are the conservation of plant genetic resources, their sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use, including monetary benefits resulting from commercialization.
Plant genetic resources are essential to sustain agriculture and food security for humanity now and in the future. FAO estimates humans have used some 10 000 species for food throughout history. Today, no more than 120 cultivated species provide around 90% of our food. In addition, most of the biodiversity of these cultivated species has been lost in the 20th Century.
This binding International Treaty provides for farmers rights, and establishes a multilateral system to exchange the genetic resources of some 64 major crops and forages important for global food security.
Geneva, 3 June - The 90th Session of the International Labour Conference opened today, electing as its president, Mr. Jean-Jacques Elmiger, Secretary of State of the Federal Department of the Economy of Switzerland. (…) Delegates to the International Labour Conference are to consider a wide range of issues, from decent work in the informal economy to safety and health, child labour and the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories.
The annual Conference will meet until 20 June and is expected to draw some 3,000 delegates, including labour ministers and leaders of workers' and employers' organizations from most of the ILO's 175 member States. Each member country has the right to send four delegates to the Conference: two from government and one each representing workers and employers, each of whom may speak and vote independently.
The role of the International Labour Conference is to adopt and oversee compliance with international labour standards, establish the budget of the Organization and elect members of the Governing Body. Since 1919, the Conference has served as a major international forum for debate on social and labour questions of worldwide importance.
New York, 6 June - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has "warmly welcomed" today's signing in Kabul of a decree establishing the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
"The signing of the Decree is symbolic of the close cooperation between the Afghan Interim Administration, Afghan civil society and the United Nations," Mary Robinson said in a statement released in Geneva. "The process has been transparent and inclusive, and the decree vests the Commission with broad scope and competence for promoting and protecting the human rights of the Afghan people," she added. Mrs. Robinson assured the Afghan authorities of her Office's continued support "as this important institution faces the challenges of becoming effectively established and appropriately equipped to discharge its mandate."
Geneva, 5 June - The first World Day Against Child Labour will be observed worldwide on 12 June 2002. The International Labour Organization (ILO) will formally launch this global day with an event at its Geneva offices on 11 June, the eve of the first World Day.
Around the world, the World Day Against Child Labour is expected to see an array of activities, ranging from gatherings of child workers and their supporters to school events, children's art shows and drama performances, child-adult information workshops, activities organized by worker and employer representatives, media events and other public activities.
"This first World Day Against Child Labour is intended to help spread the message that child labour remains a serious problem and that we must do more to combat it," said International Labour Office (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia in a statement for the day. (…)
The World Day will be held annually to intensify support for the global campaign against child labour. The World Day will also serve as a catalyst for enhancing the growing worldwide movement against child labour, as reflected in the steadily mounting ratifications of ILO Conventions Nos. 182 (on its worst forms) and 138 (on minimum age), as well as the work of the ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). (...)
4 June - This year the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has decided to dedicate World Refugee Day to women refugees in recognition of the vital role they play in refugee camps and in keeping their uprooted families together. A photo gallery showing the many roles refugee women play throughout the world can be visualised on: http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/womengallery
Progress among women reported in seven Arab countries
1 June - Women’s access to education and healthcare has increased considerably in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territories, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Yet the fight for gender equality remains a continuous battle, according to the recently launched UNIFEM report, 'Paving the Road Towards Empowerment.’ The report states that women’s participation in the economy, environment and decision-making spheres is steadily growing, but that the patriarchy within Arab society is sustaining gender inequality through the socialization process. It also states that the proportion of men who are active participants in the call for gender equity is low and, regrettably, efforts to involve them have been limited.
The UNIFEM report tracks the achievements made and challenges encountered by Arab women’s governmental and non-governmental organizations in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action’s 12 critical areas of concern, in an effort to report on progress regionally, much as ‘Progress of the World’s Women’ does globally.
For more information or to get a copy of the report, contact Dana Malhas, National Programme Officer, UNIFEM, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report of the UNMAS Emergency Mine Action Project in Sudan: May 2002
3 June - The UN Emergency Mine Action Project in Sudan is now in its second reporting month and continues to make steady progress. The Mine Action Co-ordination Office in the Nuba Mountains is now operationally active; to date some 37,000 sq m has been cleared. (…)
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) was formed in October 1997 to serve as the UN focal point for mine action. At the global level, it is responsible for coordinating all aspects of mine action within the UN system. At the field level, it is responsible for providing mine action assistance in the context of humanitarian emergencies and peacekeeping operations.
Unanimous approval of final declaration for World Food Summit: five years later
182 countries call for international alliance against hunger
Rome, 11 June - A total of 182 countries renewed their commitment to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world no later than 2015, according to the final declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later. Heads of State and Government unanimously approved the Declaration on the opening day of the four-day Summit, calling on governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector "to reinforce their efforts so as to act as an international alliance against hunger." These efforts are aimed at ending the tragedy of more than 800 million people going hungry around the world.
The countries invited the Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to "elaborate, in a period of two years, a set of voluntary guidelines to support Member States' efforts to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate food."
The Declaration said, "With a view to reversing the overall decline of agriculture and rural development in the national budgets of developing countries, in official development assistance (ODA) and in total lending in international financial institutions, we call for an adequate share for those sectors of bilateral and multilateral ODA, lending by International Financial Institutions and budgetary allocations of developing countries. We urge developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance to developing countries."
The Declaration stresses that a "speedy, effective and full implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which should be fully financed through additional resources, is critical." In addition, all countries are urged to implement the outcome of the Doha Conference regarding the reform of the international agricultural trading system. (…)
New York, 10 June - The United Nations International Labour Organization will soon establish an urgent plan for creating jobs in the occupied Arab territories, the head of the UN agency announced today, calling on the two sides to do their part to achieve peace.
"I appeal to Palestinian and Israeli constituents to take the risk of embarking on social dialogue across the present divide," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said in his address to the 90th International Labour Conference, which is meeting in Geneva. "We shall assist and support you in all possible ways," he pledged.
Addressing delegates from the 175 ILO member States, which include representatives of governments as well as worker and employer organizations, the Director-General said the agency's jobs plan for Arab workers and other constituents aimed to address "the humiliation and frustration felt by Palestinians as a result of the combination of closures and military action by Israel." Pointing out that peace and security remain "the deepest hope of the large majority of Palestinians and Israelis," Mr. Somavia underscored international responsibility for achieving this goal. "The world must help them to get there," he said.
Lagos, 10 June - The World Bank has approved loans totaling US $237 million for Nigeria to improve its health sector and reduce poverty in urban areas, officials said.
A statement by the World Bank country office in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on Friday said $127 million will be used to develop management capacity in the health system. Another $110 million will be devoted to poverty reduction efforts through community-based urban development projects.
The Bank said public spending per capita on health was less than $5 and as low as $2 in some parts of Nigeria, contrary to $34 recommended for low-income countries by the World Health Organization. The funding will be used to redress the decline in the provision of basic health care services in 35 of Nigeria's 36 states, it said. (…)
7 June - The German government has agreed to provide funding to the sum of 18.450 billion CFA (about US $26.6 million) for development projects in agriculture, health, water and sanitation in Burkina Faso. This was announced on Tuesday by Burkina Faso's Finance Ministry.
The funding is a result of negotiations launched last year between the two governments. It will be used, among other things, to build and improve rural roads, and to boost HIV/AIDS protection by increasing the distribution of condoms.
7 June - The Eritrean government has commissioned an extensive study into the commercial potential of Assab, the country's second-largest port after Massawa. Starting next month, a team of US-based consultants will assess how to upgrade the port and its facilities to an international standard, so that it can become a regional hub for shipping in the Horn of Africa. The government is hoping to attract Ethiopian and Sudanese regional and transit trade, lost during the recent border conflict with Ethiopia. Before the war, most of the cargo that came through Assab was coming to or from Ethiopia, which has no direct access to the Red Sea. However, when the border dispute began in 1998 Ethiopia switched to nearby Djibouti.
Full story at: http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=28061
6 June - Delegates of five least developed countries and international experts are meeting in Geneva (6-7 June) to share their experiences and develop best practices on efficient and transparent investment promotion practices at a workshop organized by UNCTAD. The workshop is part of a larger UNCTAD initiative, launched at the May 2001 Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, on upholding good governance in investment promotion and facilitation and thereby building national capacities in developing countries to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
Officials of investment promotion agencies from Ethiopia, Lesotho, the Maldives, Mali and Tanzania will be joined by international experts from UNCTAD, the United Nations Development Programme, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Transparency Switzerland, other international organizations and the private sector to exchange views on enhancing the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of their FDI promotion services. These five countries are committed to developing a client-oriented and transparent administrative system that will encourage inward investment by foreign companies. (...)
5 June - Small farmers across sub-Saharan Africa, many of them women, are at the centre of a strategy to introduce new rice varieties developed in West Africa that can dramatically boost harvests, reduce poverty and save millions of dollars in imports.
The new varieties, known as NERICA (New Rice for Africa), combine the best qualities of African and Asian species. They can yield up to 50 per cent larger crops without fertilizer than varieties now grown, produce up to twice the yield with fertilizer and improved management, and are substantially richer in protein. Because of their high productivity, it is estimated that NERICAs will save West and Central African countries $88 million in rice imports by 2005.
The African Rice Initiative, spearheaded by the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), will invest more than US$15 million over the next five years to spread the new rice among farmers in seven pilot countries, focusing on small-scale and women farmers. The countries include Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Togo. The initiative will also promote the rice in another 18 countries across the sub-continent.
Prime Minister Pascal Affi N'Guéssan of Côte d'Ivoire launched the initiative in March in Yamoussoukro, the Ivoirian capital, in a ceremony that brought together farmers, agricultural scientists, government ministers and representatives of donor agencies. (…)
IFAD provides USD 11.76 Million to boost support to community development in north and central province in Cameroon
Rome, 29 May 2002 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will loan USD11.76 million to the Republic of Cameroon to finance the Community Development Support Project in North and Central Province, totally amounting to USD 18.29 million. A loan agreement was signed today at the Fund’s Headquarters, by His Excellency Mr. Michael Tabong Kima, Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon in Rome, and Mr. Cyril Enweze, Vice-President of IFAD.
The project will cover two provinces. The first is the Extreme North Province, a semi-arid Sudano-Sahelian zone with 2.5 million inhabitants. The second, the Central Province, is a humid forest area of bimodal rainfall, with 2.3 million inhabitants. In both provinces, extensive agricultural activity with low productivity typifies the livelihood of the majority of the population. (...)
The African Development Bank (ADB) has signed an agreement with the Tanzanian government to provide a loan of over US $46.8 million and a grant of over $1.6 million to finance a water supply and sanitation scheme for the commercial capital and largest city, Dar es Salaam.
The rehabilitation initiative was intended to "improve the economic and social wellbeing of the people... by providing them with better access to clean water, thereby reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases among vulnerable groups", according to the bank. (…)
New York, 7 June - A top United Nations aid official today welcomed the announcement by the United States Agency for International Development that it would contribute an additional 100,000 metric tons of food aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The donation came after the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima and the heads of the UN World Food Programme and the UN Children's Fund appealed on 30 April for increased humanitarian funding to prevent conditions in the country from deteriorating. (…)
The Emergency Relief Coordinator voiced confidence that other States would also provide support to the humanitarian programme in the DPRK. According to the UN's mid-year review of the Consolidated Appeal for the country, a critical lack of funding in the health sector, particularly for essential drugs and emergency nutritional rehabilitation programmes, places vulnerable groups at risk of dying preventable deaths.
7 June - The government of Japan on Monday contributed US $2.85 million to Nigeria's fight against polio, officials of the Nigerian health ministry said. The money would allow Nigeria to buy polio vaccine, 104 storage refrigerators, vaccine carriers and cold boxes. The money is part of a $17-million Japanese fund to eradicate the disease in five countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana and Sudan. The aid falls short of the $15 million which, according to the coordinator of Nigeria's National Programme of Immunisation, is necessary to eradicate the disease by the end of the year. Polio is endemic in Nigeria.
7 June - Following the deaths of 10 Somali refugees from malnutrition and disease, the local authorities in northeastern Kenya have allowed aid workers to set up three supplementary feeding centres, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported. Construction work on the first centre, near the town of Mandera, is set to begin on Wednesday, and is expected to be completed within a week, a UNHCR spokesman said in Geneva. This centre will cater for refugees at a nearby makeshift camp - which hosts up to 5,000 Somali refugees - along the volatile Kenya-Somalia border area. The other two centres, to be set up in Mandera itself, will meet the supplementary feeding needs of the local population and refugees living with family and friends. http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=28151
7 June - The Kenyan government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have jointly sent emergency food aid to some 47,000 residents of Tana River District, eastern Kenya, who have been cut off by heavy rains that have caused flooding in western and eastern parts of the country in the past few weeks.
A road convoy carrying relief food left the north eastern Kenyan town of Garissa on Monday under military escort, heading for Ijara division, Tana River District, where some 40,000 residents were in urgent need of emergency relief. Tana River is the latest area to be affected by heavy rains and flooding in recent weeks, considered the worst since the El Nino phenomenon in 1998. (…)
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, June 6 - In early June, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Georgia began providing counseling and health services to 150 survivors of the earthquake that struck on April 25, 2002, in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
The local government met the immediate needs of shelter, food, clothing, and blankets for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. In coordination with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), ADRA Georgia has organized a three-month program that provides medical assistance and psychological counseling for 150 homeless survivors. (...)
Indonesia - ICRC seminar on emergency treatment for wounded patients
6 June - From 27 to 31 May, in cooperation with the provincial Ministry of Health and the Indonesian Red Cross Society (IRCS), the ICRC held a seminar in Banda Aceh on "Advanced first-aid and emergency techniques for wounded patients" for health personnel working in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) province.
The seminar, which was led by ICRC head surgeon Chris Giannou, was opened by the provincial Minister of Health, the ICRC head of sub-delegation in Aceh and the chairman of the Aceh chapter of the IRCS. It drew on the ICRC's long experience of the treatment of war casualties to show how lives could be saved by improving emergency care for patients with wounds or other injuries requiring surgical treatment before they can be transferred to medical facilities. More than 50 doctors from district hospitals and health centres attended, along with IRCS doctors and medical staff from the police and armed forces. (...)
UNDP helps rebuild homes in war-torn Sierra Leone
6 June - UNDP is cooperating with the Government in a community reconstruction programme in the Kambia district in northwest Sierra Leone to rebuild homes destroyed in the country's ten-year conflict. (…)
The eight-month initiative, launched in December with funding from the Swedish Government, provides support for rebuilding homes, training in construction skills and creating job opportunities. Participants build three and four bedroom homes using local materials. So far, 240 of the 400 houses planned are constructed up to lintel level and roofed. All the houses need to be covered by roofs by July to protect the mud bricks and concrete plastering on the exteriors from heavy rains expected then.
More than 4,000 people will benefit from the project. (…)
Baltimore, June 5 - Heavy rains in parts of Central America have resulted in flooding and landslides in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, with rainfall exceeding norms by 278 percent in Nicaragua's capital city of Managua. Officials have reported four deaths in Honduras and El Salvador, and nearly 3,000 people have been evacuated from the Pacific regions of Nicaragua because of tremendous material damage. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has responded immediately by working with partners to assess damages and monitor the weather conditions throughout the region. (…) CRS is working with local partners throughout the region to provide immediate assistance to victims of the floods. (…)
But more help is needed as the country rebuilds
Kabul (June 4) - CARE’s emergency shelter and rehabilitation project has improved the lives of 120,000 needy people here, creating jobs, providing shelter and rehabilitating the city’s key infrastructure. The just-completed project, funded by The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), generated jobs for more than 8,000 people, improved city sanitation by removing almost 16 million cubic feet of garbage and debris and digging nearly 125 miles of drainage ditches. Workers also resurfaced more than 100 miles of roads with gravel, allowing traffic to move more smoothly.
In addition, CARE provided materials to help tens of thousands of people repair war damage to their homes, including displaced families in the former Soviet Embassy compound. (...)
Kabul, 31 May - Essential medical equipment and supplies, valued at over $200,000, were delivered to two of Kabul's principal maternity care facilities this week. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided the lifesaving equipment to the Malalai Maternity Hospital, and the Rabia Balkhi Women's Hospital in response to an urgent request from Afghanistan's Minister of Public Health, Dr. Sohaila Siddiq. (…)
Ambulances for each of the facilities were provided earlier, and are now in daily use transporting patients to the hospitals, and delivering major cases to other referral facilities when needed.
The material was procured and shipped to Afghanistan under a major emergency assistance project funded with contributions from the Governments of Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. (...)
New York, 7 June - Three United Nations agencies today announced plans to team up with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in the fight against diseases spread through tsetse flies, which cause sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in livestock.
The proposed strategy brings together the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization in an effort which the agencies said would incorporate new technologies while protecting the environment. The "area-wide integrated pest management" approach will involve active tsetse control strategies, including the use of sterile flies to ultimately eliminate the tsetse population and the diseases they carry.
Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis, a disease unique to Africa, threatens 50 million people and 48 million cattle. (…)
Global alliance between the European Commission and WHO to fight against communicable diseases, tobacco and other health threats
Brussels, 6 June - The European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) today held a series of high-level consultations in Brussels to take forward their global alliance in tackling tobacco and other health threats. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne met WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland to discuss joint strategies to address a wide range of health issues, including combating smoking, fight against communicable diseases, and nutrition and food safety. Dr Brundtland then had meetings with Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson as well as senior officials from the Commission's Directorate-General Environment to discuss co-operation in further key areas such access to medicines, health and development, health research, and environment and health.
The range of issues addressed during the second high-level meeting between Commissioner Byrne and Director-General Brundtland show the extent of co-operation between the Commission and the WHO. (...)
New York, 10 June - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today welcomed the signing of an agreement by southeast Asian nations designed to prevent a repeat of the suffocating smog caused by forest fires that plagued the region in 1997 and 1998.
On Monday in Kuala Lumpur, environment ministers signed the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which was drafted with the assistance of UNEP. The agreement, which addresses policy and technical matters relating to monitoring, preventing and mitigating smoke from forest fires, follows four rounds of negotiations arranged by the ASEAN Secretariat.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer congratulated the ministers on the accord, saying the legal framework provided another layer of resolve and preparedness against future forest fire episodes. (…)
7 June - Fish and birds have returned to Havana Bay in Cuba in the last five years as pollutant levels have decreased. But sources of pollution remain, particularly the highly contaminated Luyano River. The UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) unit and the Government are funding construction of a sewerage treatment plant upstream on the Luyano, and Italian Cooperation is funding a similiar plant already under construction downstream. The UNDP/GEF share is US$3.7 million and the Government share is $714,000. As part of the initiative, the Government of Norway is providing funding through UNDP for construction of "zero emission" homes near the bay that release no pollutants.
One million people live or work on Havana Bay or visit its shores, underscoring the importance of efforts to revive it, noted Luis Gómez Echeverri UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator. UNDP has supported ongoing efforts to clean up the bay, Cuba's most important, since 1994. The Government of Belgium has also provided funding for the clean-up through UNDP, and Japan is considering contributing support for the effort as well. (...)
WRI, Cameroon Ink Pact to monitor forests, curb illegal logging
Yaoundé, Cameroon and Washington, DC, June 6 - The World Resources Institute's Global Forest Watch and the Government of Cameroon signed an agreement today to share data and maps about the country's forests in a bid to curb rampant illegal logging. (...) This is the first map-based monitoring agreement of its kind in Africa, and is the first entered into by the two-year-old Global Forest Watch. (…) The agreement stipulates that Cameroon's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MINEF) will provide Global Forest Watch with information on forest concessions and allocations in the country. In turn, WRI will produce reports on the state of forest concessions in Cameroon and create maps that will enable MINEF officials to detect illegal logging in the country.
Maps of logging roads created by Global Forest Watch from satellite imagery, combined with accurate information on where logging may legally take place, will permit the identification of problem areas and prioritize them for field audits. (…) The information will be publicly available and can be accessed through the website, http://www.globalforestwatch.org. (...)
Paris, June 6 - UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education to the City Montessori School (India) on June 5 following its recommendation by the prize's international jury. Meeting on June 3 and 4 at Organization Headquarters, the jury commended the school "in recognition of its efforts to promote the universal values of education for peace and tolerance and to renew the principles of secularism at a time when these values and principles are increasingly being challenged."
The City Montessori School (CMS), founded in 1959 in Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is not a school like any other. It is distinctive not only for its size -- with 25,000 pupils from kindergarten up to high school level, it figures in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest private school in the world -- or the quality of its teaching. Its students systematically score higher on exams than the national average. More than anything it stands out because of it its philosophy: for more than 40 years it has educated students to respect the values of tolerance and peace and sought to make them citizens of the world. (...)
Paris, June 5 - The Fila Cup - Open des Jeunes Stade Français - Paris 2002 tournament, which will bring together some 300 12 to 14-year-old tennis players from about 50 countries, will be held under the auspices of UNESCO from July 4 to 14. The Organization will put on a range of educational and cultural activities, as well as games, transforming this high-level sporting meeting into a major inter-cultural event.
In a space at the centre of the tournament site's "Rainbow Village", UNESCO will present participants and spectators with a range of films, videos, publications and exhibitions highlighting the co-operation among its 188 Member States to place education, culture, science and communication at the service of development. Workshops on culture and heritage, AIDS prevention education and a culture of peace will also be held. (…) Throughout the tournament, UNESCO will be running a game, a kind of journey of initiation to the essential values that make a champion such as respect, tolerance, dialogue, and solidarity. (...)
Paris, June 5 - Reconstruction work on the Stari Most, or the Old Bridge of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), which was destroyed during the war in the former Yugoslavia, is about to begin, after more than two years of scientific and archeological research to consolidate its foundations and those of the banks of the Neretva River. (…
The reconstruction of the bridge, built in the 16th century by the Ottoman architect Mimar Hajreddin and destroyed at the end of 1993 during the fighting in the former Yugoslavia, is the final phase of a project on which UNESCO, the World Bank, and local authorities have worked for more than two years. (…)
Italy, Turkey, France, the Netherlands and other donors contributed US$15 million for the rebuilding of the bridge and its two towers, as well as the rehabilitation of the 11 buildings in the historic section of Mostar that were badly damaged during the fighting. Of the total budget, US$2 million dollars came from the municipality of Mostar and US$660,000 dollars came from the Croatian government. (...)
UNITED Youth for Understanding
The aim of the training is to promote the idea of understanding and non-violent conflict resolution by learning and exchanging knowledge on history interpretations as a source of conflicts and misunderstandings. Special attention will be given on educating caring and responsible citizens open to other cultures and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means. The Course will have a look at regional and European historical developments, to enlarge knowledge about history as science and see how it is taught in school. An important part of the training is to see how the media, state and society are dealing with history.
Linked through UNITED, more than 550 organisations, many prominent individuals, private supporters and volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds, from all European countries, work together on a voluntary basis.
Pause The World Day – September 2, 2002 : Calm Down, “Cool Out”, Be Nice and Plant A Seed to celebrate the Wonderful World that we all live in.
“ We are asking the world to Pause. This special day is entitled "Pause The World" and will be observed on September 2, 2002. The date is significant because it will bring recognition to the up-coming UN World Summit for Sustainable Development (Rio+10) to be held in South Africa from 26 August to 4 September.
“ September 2, 2002 is also Labor Day in America (USA is supposed to Pause!). This date will now become the day for our annual event. An important way to participate in Pause The World Day is to stop what you normally do and give attention to the environment and for peace on Mother Earth. (…)
"Please join us in celebrating this day, endorse the Earth Charter (www.earthcharter.org), partake in activities that are being organized, or do your own thing to show your love for the Earth and our fellow brothers, sisters, animals and all living things. We ask the media companies of the world (who are, after all, just "human beings") to only put good news on their front page/prime time because that is all we will watch/listen/read. (…) ”
Plans to continue successful education programme in Ethiopia
June 6 - Ethiopia is aiming to extend an education programme for millions of children to ensure it meets the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Getahun Gebru, who heads an Ethiopian education programme at the World Bank, told IRIN on Thursday the Bank was considering funding a second round of the five-year programme aimed at boosting primary education across the country.
Under the current US $100 million Ethiopia Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP), the number of children attending schools has increased dramatically. Just 30 percent of children were at school when the scheme started in 1998 and now some 50 percent are attending school. "It has been successful in achieving the access objective," Getahun said. (...)
Bridging the gender digital divide in Jordan
1 June - UNIFEM’s partnership with Cisco Systems, the Government of Jordan, YMCA, UNRWA and UNDP is helping to bridge the gender gap in the nation’s information technology (IT) sector. Two hundred and seventeen female students recently underwent a two-month training in IT skills. The training was specially designed to help female students build upon their technological knowledge to improve their competitiveness in the job market. A job-placement program, established in cooperation with the private sector, will now help students put their newly acquired skills to use. The UNIFEM-Cisco project also includes a tracking system to follow the careers of graduates in an effort to evaluate the benefits of the training courses.
For more information, contact Deema Bibi, National IT Program Manager, UNIFEM, at email@example.com.
World Congress on Global Vision and Strategies for Peace, Non-Violence and Harmony
10-14 August 2002 – The Temple of Consciousness, Aliyar, India
Themes of the Congress include: Review of the major problems of humanity and their time-bound solutions; Realization of Cosmic Connections; Economic Order for Global Prosperity; Social and Spiritual Obligations of Science and Technology; Role of Religions and Intellectuals; Inner Peace and Personal Development through Holistic Education; One World Government for Humanity through Strengthening the UNO; Activities and Practical Strategies of the World Community Service Centre for Peace and Harmony.
World Community Service Center (WCSC), Chennai, founded by Vethathiri Maharishi in 1958, aims at individual peace through practices of systematic meditation, introspection and physical and psychic exercises combined with understanding of the Self, Society, Nature and the Law of Cause and Effect.
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TO THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT - ROME, 10 JUNE 2002
At the World Food Summit here in Rome in 1996, the international community set the goal of cutting by half the number of hungry children, women and men by 2015. Nearly a third of that time has already passed, and progress has been far too slow.
We have no time to lose if we are to reach our target – which is also one of the Millennium Development Goals agreed by world leaders in September 2000.
Every day, more than 800 million people worldwide – among them 300 million children – suffer the gnawing pain of hunger, and the diseases or disabilities caused by malnutrition. According to some estimates, as many as 24,000 people die every day, as a result.
So there is no point in making further promises today. This Summit must give renewed hope to those 800 million people by agreeing on concrete action.
There is no shortage of food on the planet. World production of grain alone is more than enough to meet the minimum nutritional needs of every child, woman and man. But while some countries produce more than they need to feed their people, others do not, and many of these cannot afford to import enough to make up the gap. Even more shamefully, the same happens within countries. There are countries which have enough food for their people, and yet allow many of them to go hungry.
Hunger and poverty are closely linked. Hunger perpetuates poverty, since it prevents people from realizing their potential and contributing to the progress of their societies. Hunger makes people more vulnerable to diseases. It leaves them weak and lethargic, reducing their ability to work and provide for their dependents. The same devastating cycle is repeated from generation to generation – and will continue to be, until we take effective action to break it.
We must break this cycle, and reduce hunger and poverty over the long-term. About 70 per cent of the hungry and poor of the developing world live in rural areas. Many of them are subsistence farmers or landless people seeking to sell their labour – who depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their earnings.
We must improve agricultural productivity and standards of living in the countryside by helping small subsistence farmers and rural communities increase their incomes and improve the quantity and quality of locally available food. For that, we must give them greater access to land, credit, and relevant technology and knowledge that would help them grow more resistant crops, as well as ensuring plant and animal safety.
But success will also depend on developments beyond the farm gate, such as improvements in rural health care services and education, and in rural infrastructure, which includes roads, the supply of irrigation water, and food safety management. Such improvements would also do much to stimulate private sector investment in downstream activities, such as food processing and marketing.
And we must secure a central place for women, who play a critical role in agriculture in developing countries. They are involved in every stage of food production, working far longer hours than men, and are the key to ensuring that their families have adequate supplies of food.
Nowhere are strategies for sustainable agricultural and rural development more important than in Africa, where nearly 200 million people -- 28 per cent of the population -- are chronically hungry. Indeed, today -- for the first time in a decade -- several countries in southern Africa face a risk of outright famine over the coming months.
We must therefore bring all our innovative thinking to bear on helping Africa fight hunger. The African-owned and led New Partnership for Africa’s Development must be supported as a potentially important tool in that fight.
We must also fulfill the promise given at last November’s meeting of the World Trade Organization in Doha, and make sure that the new round of trade negotiations removes the barriers to food imports from developing countries. For instance, the tariffs imposed on processed food, like chocolate, make it impossible for processing industries in developing countries to compete.
We must also evaluate carefully the impact of the subsidies that are now given to producers in rich countries. By lowering food prices in the poorest countries, they may help to alleviate hunger in some cases and in the short term, but dumping surpluses can also have devastating long term effects – ranging from disincentives for national production to unemployment – while making it impossible for developing countries to compete on the world market.
However, even if markets in developed countries were opened further, these countries would still need help to take advantage of these opportunities, especially in the agriculture sector. The application of some international norms and standards cannot be met without technical assistance and further investment.
The fight against hunger also depends on the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, which contribute to food production. With world population expected to reach well over seven billion by 2015, pressure on the environment will continue to mount. The challenge of the coming years is to produce enough food to meet the needs of one billion more people, while preserving the natural resource base on which the well-being of present and future generations depends.
But the hungry poor also need direct help today. Food aid can make a big difference -- both in emergencies and in situations of chronic hunger. Direct nutritional support to pregnant and nursing women helps their babies grow into healthy adults. School feeding programmes not only feed hungry children but also help to increase school attendance – and studies show that educated people are best able to break out of the cycle of poverty and hunger.
If we want to reverse the current trends and halve hunger by 2015, we need a comprehensive and coherent approach that addresses the multiple dimensions of hunger, by pursuing simultaneously wider access to food, and agricultural and rural development. We need an anti-hunger programme that could become a common framework around which global and national capacities to fight hunger can be mobilized.
We know that fighting hunger makes economic and social sense. It is a key step towards achieving all the Millennium Development Goals. It is fitting, therefore, that this summit comes in the middle of a crucial cycle of conferences aimed at helping us improve the lives of people everywhere -- from trade in Doha, via financing for development in Monterrey, to sustainable development in Johannesburg.
Hunger is one of the worst violations of human dignity. In a world of plenty, ending hunger is within our grasp. Failure to reach this goal should fill every one of us with shame. The time for making promises is over. It is time to act. It is time to do what we have long promised to do -- eliminate hunger from the face of the earth.
(UN Information Centre, Rome)
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