Good News Agency – Year III, n° 16


There were lights and shadows at the World Summit - amply covered by the media… However, the range of good news reported here from all over the world is tangible evidence that the process of development is definitely being pursued by the peoples of the planet, by their institutions and by their groups, thus giving voice to a new public opinion.  And this is a fact that will also one day produce a more determined political will. 


Weekly - Year III, number 16 – 6 September 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 published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next.  It 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.

It is a service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



Senior Judges adopt ground-breaking action plan to strengthen world's environment-related laws

World Summit on Sustainable Development given pioneering principles for fighting poverty and delivering environmental justice

Johannesburg/Nairobi, 27 August - An action plan to strengthen the development, use and enforcement of environment-related laws has been drawn up by over 100 of the world's most senior judges in a move that signals a new era in the quest to deliver sustainable development.

The High Court and Supreme Court judges, whose action plan or "programme of work" was announced today at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), believe a key to improving the adoption and implementation of environment-related laws hinges on improving the capacity, training, funding and education of legal experts particularly in developing nations. (…)

The so called Johannesburg Principles on the Role of Law and Sustainable Development (see notes to editors for the full text and declaration) were adopted last week at the Global Judges Symposium organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The pioneering principles have been kept confidential until today so that they can be delivered first to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the WSSD. (…)


Women are citizens too: shedding light on women's rights in the Arab world

21 August - Leading experts and members of civil society organizations from the Arab world met earlier this month in Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss critical impediments to women's citizenship in the region and ways to overcome them. They focused on three areas where women are unable to claim their full rights as citizens: voting and nationality, family laws, and social security legislation and practices. The UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) and Maroc2020, a leading Moroccan civil society group, co-sponsored the event. (…) Participants brainstormed on strategies to help women gain full rights as citizens. They cited the importance of using non-governmental organizations as partners to promote policy debates, the vital need for action-based research, and the importance of raising awareness and educating the media. (…)

The workshop is part of a UNDP initiative on governance reform in the Arab world. "Mainstreaming gender in all of our activities is one of the most important aspects of our work," said Adel Abdel Latif, regional coordinator of the Governance Programme in Arab States. Also, the UNDP- sponsored Arab Human Development Report, released last month, highlights the lack of women's empowerment, together with political freedom and knowledge, as a major deficiency in the Arab world.

The meeting identified key elements for a regional project on gender and citizenship, focusing on nationality laws and civil registration procedures, that RBAS will carry out in partnership with the International Development Research Centreof Canada and civil society groups from the region.


State of Nevada against US Federal Government on establishing radioactive waste dump

28 August - Armed with $4 million, the state of Nevada is preparing for the legal battle of a lifetime:  the effort to keep the federal government from establishing a high-level radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain. Charles Cooper, one member of the high-profile legal team retained by the state, said yesterday that he was "very encouraged" about Nevada's prospects of prevailing in court.   The team of attorneys has declined to reveal its plan, but options include challenging the constitutionality of the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which provides the framework for siting and developing nuclear waste dumps. Even without a constitutional challenge, though, the dump could be derailed by the courts:  other pending legal actions against Yucca Mountain include lawsuits against the U.S. EPA over groundwater protection, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission over licensing and safety issues, the Department of Energy over site suitability rules and the project's environmental impact statement, as well as against President Bush and DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham for backing the Yucca site in the face of scientific uncertainty about its safety.



Human rights



Meeting at UN, states elect 12 experts to monitor women's anti-discrimination accord

New York, Aug 30 - Meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York, countries party to a major international treaty protecting women's rights have elected a dozen experts to serve on the committee monitoring implementation of the accord. In two rounds of voting on Thursday, the States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women elected 9 new members and re-elected 3 current members to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Although nominated by governments, the 23 expert members of the Committee serve in their personal capacity.

Often described as an "international bill of rights for women," the Convention provides for equality between women and men in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee is mandated to consider reports from the treaty's 170 States parties and to make suggestions and general recommendations in response. (…)


Eritrea: Hundreds of Ethiopian prisoners of war return home

Geneva, 29 August - A group of 279 Ethiopian prisoners of war returned to their country on 29 August under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). (…)

With this release operation, the last prisoners of war registered and regularly visited by the ICRC in Eritrea have been released and repatriated. Pending individual cases of presumed or alleged prisoners not visited by the ICRC will be followed up as required with the Eritrean authorities. Since a peace agreement was signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Algiers on 12 December 2000, as many as 997 Ethiopian and 937 Eritrean POWs have been repatriated under ICRC's auspices.

Under the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, which was referred to in the Algiers Agreement, all prisoners of war must be released and repatriated without delay after the close of hostilities. The ICRC promotes application of and compliance with the Geneva Conventions and has been entrusted by the Algiers Agreement with supervising the release and repatriation of the prisoners of war.


August 28: Children in Charge at WSSD

On August 28th children will present a side event "Children: Vital Partners in Globalization and the Preservation of the Earth" at Sandton Convention Centre during the World Summit on Sustainable Development  The side event is being organized by a partnership of four different organizations: Ark of Hope (USA), Peaceways-Young General Assembly (international), Gauteng Alliance for Street Children (South Africa), and the International Save the Children Alliance (international).

The colourful Ark of Hope, a wooden chest filled with books made by children and the Earth Charter (  scribed on papyrus, will be carried in by HIV/AIDS orphans from the Diepsloot camp in Johannesburg. Two of the young people, Cloete Mbaduli and Samuel Sebatalo Moyo, will talk about the meaning of the Earth Charter. (…)

Blessing David and Temidayo Israel-Abdulai, children from Nigeria, will represent the well over one million children worldwide involved in Peaceways-Young General Assembly, an international organization that has been designed, established by charter, and is run by children themselves on a global scale. The Young General Assembly aims to strengthen the goals of the United Nations through the participation of children. (…)


Economy and development



Community role vital in water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity initiatives

30 August - UNDP launched a series of strategic partnerships at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg yesterday to promote local community participation in sustainable development. The partnerships aim to mobilize human, institutional and financial resources for initiatives in water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity (WEHAB) - areas UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has outlined as the focus of WSSD.

Speaking at the launch, UNDP Associate Administrator Zéphirin Diabré pointed out that the greatest successes in sustainable development have occurred at the local level. "Over the last decade, UNDP has observed that throughout the world, communities have been courageously and effectively working to eradicate their own poverty while protecting the environment that sustains them," he said.  (…)


Tajikistan: European Union resumes technical assistance

Islamabad, 30 August (IRIN) - The European Commission (EC) has resumed its assistance project known as TACIS (Technical Assistance to CIS) to Tajikistan following a four year suspension, an EC official confirmed to IRIN on Friday. "This time there will be a regional strategy for all of the Central Asian Republics," team leader of the Tacis project in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, Pierre-pul Antheunissens said.

The programme was suspended in 1998 after two French programme experts were taken hostage by a terrorist group - one died during the rescue operation. The programme has been resumed in the light of events in the region post 11 September, Antheunissens said.

Launched by the EC in 1991, the TACIS Programme provides grant-financed technical assistance to 13 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and is aimed at enhancing the transition process in these countries. With a budget of 150 million euros (US $147.719055 million) for a three year period for all of the five Central Asian Republics (CAR's), there will be a regional and national approach. (…)


UNESCO launches the world's largest encyclopedia on sustainable development

Johannesburg/Paris, August 29 -UNESCO will launch the largest and most comprehensive encyclopedia ever published on sustainable development on September 3, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. With contributions from more than 5,000 scientists, this Internet-based resource will be regularly updated and made available for free to universities in the least developed countries. It aims to provide the knowledge base required for sustainable development in all its myriad aspects, from ecological issues to human security.

The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) is the result of an unprecedented global effort and a decade of planning. Never before has an encyclopedia gone beyond ecological sciences to cover all aspects of sustainable development. EOLSS is the only series to comprehensively examine the origins and threats facing all the systems that support life on Earth - from the climate to the world's oceans, forests, water cycle and atmosphere. The contributions offer step-by-step explanations on how to apply the abstract or pure sciences such as mathematics , to assess environmental pollution or to predict food consumption patterns. However, technical solutions alone won't resolve the current ecological crisis. EOLSS therefore covers a diverse range of social issues - from international human rights law and poverty eradication to the psychology of religion. (…)


Local Sustainable Development: a decade of lessons learnt

28 August 2002: A workshop jointly organized by UNDP and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) yesterday reviewed a decade of achievements in local dialogue, partnerships and initiatives in sustainable development.

The side event at the World Summit for Social Development in Johannesburg summed up lessons learnt from the Local Initiative Facility for Urban Environment (LIFE) and Local Agenda 21 (LA21).

Started at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, LIFE and LA21 have demonstrated the importance of local participation in bettering the lives of the poor. LIFE has supported the same 12 developing countries since 1992, chalking up an in-depth, long-term experience.

LIFE was one of the first UNDP programmes to provide direct funding — through small grants of up to US$50,000 — to community-based organizations, NGOs and local governments. It also promotes local-to-local dialogue and partnerships among key actors and deploys an innovative “upstreaming—downstreaming—upstreaming” approach to improving the living conditions of the urban poor and influence policies that promote participatory local governance. (…)


Nine countries achieve freshwater milestone and set example for sustainable development at World Summit

Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 August - WWF, the conservation organization, today publicly lauded the commitment of nine countries for their contribution of more than 500,000 hectares of wetlands each, thus securing access to water and its myriad indispensable benefits for people and nature.

Wetlands are crucial for flood control, water purification and food supply, yet half of the world's wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years alone. Such loss is directly related to the type of catastrophic flooding seen recently along the major rivers of Central Europe. In 2002, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Chad, China, Guinea, Peru, Tanzania and Zambia have together committed to conserve 22 million hectares of wetlands by including them in a special list under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands ; this number equals 25 per cent of the total area registered under Ramsar between 1974 and 2001. (…)


FAO launches global study "World agriculture: towards 2015/2030"

Global food production will continue to outstrip population growth –

Serious food security and environmental problems in many countries need to be urgently addressed

Rome, 20 August  - Globally there will be enough food for a growing world population by the year 2030, but hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will remain hungry and many of the environmental problems caused by agriculture will remain serious, according to the summary report of "World agriculture: towards 2015/2030", a study launched today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Population growth will slow down and many people will be better fed. As a result, the growth in demand for food will be lower. The pressure emanating from agriculture on natural resources will continue to increase, but at a slower pace than in the past.

For many of the currently more than 1.1 billion people that are living in extreme poverty, economic growth based primarily on agriculture and on non-farm rural activities is essential to improve their livelihoods, the report said. The majority of the poor live in rural areas. Promoting agricultural growth in rural areas and giving rural people better access to land, water, credit, health and education, is essential to alleviate poverty and hunger. (…) The report is available at:


ADRA’s new food security initiative in Mozambique to benefit 18,000

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, August 30 - Eighteen thousand people in the Pebane District will directly benefit from the Integrated Food Security Initiative that the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in Mozambique began implementing in July.

The three-year program includes components addressing agriculture, marketing, and health and nutrition issues. Strategies that promote community involvement are at the core of the project. Clients are participating in every step of the planning process, from identification of needs and possible solutions through offered services to evaluation of project progress and achievements.

The agricultural component will increase availability of certain food crops as well as improve client access to food through the production of cash crops. ADRA is selecting and training farmers to establish on-farm demonstration plots for improved crops and techniques. (…)

Participants are being chosen based on need, with 20 percent of the clients to be households headed by females. Pebane District is located along the Mozambique Channel in the northeast corner of Zambezia Province. The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has funded this integrated program through ADRA’s office in Australia. (…)






Zambia: School feeding scheme for AIDS orphans

30 August - The World Food Programme (WFP) in Zambia is planning an urban school feeding programme to help keep AIDS orphans in class, and support AIDS-affected families struggling to cope with the impact of the disease and rising food prices.

Extended families, the last line of defence for the poor, are under pressure in Zambia. Households are stretched by the increasing numbers of AIDS orphans, and the impact of the current food crisis in which 2.3 million people are in need of food aid.


Colombia: Emergency aid for displaced people in Atrato region

29 August - Last week the ICRC provided emergency humanitarian aid for 1,766 people who had fled to Turbo, Riosucio and Montaño following armed clashes between members of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ACCU (Peasant Self-Defence Force of Córdoba and Urabá) in the Truandó and Chintadó river basin in western Colombia. A total of 3,260 parcels were distributed to 390 families sheltering along the Atrato river, who had previously received assistance under the ICRC's overall programme for displaced persons in the country.

An ICRC mobile health team is also active in the region, caring for civilians whose access to public health services has been cut off by the fighting. In the first six months of 2002, the team provided some 4,000 people with medical and dental consultations and vaccinations. It also carried out disease-control, health and sanitation activities.

ICRC delegates regularly monitor the situation of civilians in this region, where the fighting began to escalate in early 2002. They also maintain contacts with all the parties to the conflict in order to promote compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law.


WFP offers web users a chance to help the hungry

Rome, 22 August - The United Nations World Food Programme launched an online donation feature on its web site on Thursday, giving individuals the chance to make their own contribution to the Agency's global fight against hunger. Visitors to the How to Help section on WFP's web site can now use their credit cards to help the aid agency feed hungry people around the world. (…)  With a donation of just US$100, WFP can provide 5,000 cups of rice; US$1,000 will pay for 2,000 pounds of high energy biscuits, vital in the early stages of an humanitarian disaster when people are on the move and unable to cook food; and, US$10,000 will buy a medium-sized warehouse for storing food aid. (…)

To date, WFP's US$ 507 million regional appeal has raised just US$ 118 million -- 23 percent of the total amount needed for the Agency to feed millions of hungry people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. (…) There are 300 million undernourished children worldwide and school feeding helps improve their nutrition and encourages them to attend school. It takes just US$34 to feed a child for an entire school year.

WFP is entirely reliant on voluntary contributions to finance its humanitarian and development projects. The vast majority of donations, whether cash, food or services, comes from donor governments but, in recent years, there has been growing interest from private individuals in contributing to the agency's work. (…)



Peace and security



Annual UNDPI/NGO conference ‘Rebuilding Societies Emerging From Conflict: A Shared Responsibility’ to be held 9-11 September in New York at UN Headquarters

New York, 3 September - The fifty-fifth Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), entitled “Rebuilding Societies Emerging from Conflict: A Shared Responsibility”, will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 11 September.  The Annual Conference, which has become the premier NGO event at the United Nations each year, is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) in partnership with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee.  "Rebuilding countries emerging from conflict is a theme about which there is a great deal to learn and many opportunities for joint action, pooling the resources and expertise of the United Nations, governments and NGOs", says Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his message to the Conference. (…)

Speakers at the five plenary panels and 30 NGO midday workshop will include senior United Nations officials from offices such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department for Disarmament Affairs, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office of Legal Affairs, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Volunteer Programme and the World Bank; government representatives; and NGO representatives from organizations such as Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee and Médecins sans Frontières.

Topics to be addressed by the Conference's plenary panels include re-establishing the rule of law and good governance in post-conflict societies; restoring social services; economic recovery; psychosocial reconciliation; and the process of military demobilization. (…)

Over 1,700 NGO representatives associated with DPI and in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council from about 90 countries around the world are expected to attend the Conference, which will explore the role of the international community in supporting societies emerging from conflict.  Focusing on those contemporary examples that have been the subject of concerted United Nations involvement, the Conference will examine the common experiences of these efforts, their successes and shortcomings, and the best practices that people have developed to live together peacefully.

The future of humanitarian mine action

Conference on the Fifth Anniversary of the 1997 Mine Ban Convention

“The Future of Humanitarian Mine Action,” is an international conference to be held on 12 – 14 September 2002 in Oslo, Norway on the fifth anniversary of the successful text negotiations that took place during the Oslo Diplomatic Conference in 1997. The conference is a collaboration between the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norwegian People's Aid and the Norwegian Red Cross, with support from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The conference will bring together representatives of organizations and research institutions involved in humanitarian mine action, as well as state representatives and individuals who were instrumental in that process.

The purpose of the conference is to establish a platform for future policy and practice based on the lessons learned in mine action over the past five years. The conference will focus on field-based mine action projects as a component of broader humanitarian assistance efforts, of peace-building initiatives, and of longer-term development programs. (…)

The Conference will be closely coordinated with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) which will launch the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 in Oslo on 13 September.


Peace One Day - 21 September: the first ever day of global ceasefire and non-violence

If you build a house you start with one brick, if we want peace we must start with one day…and that day has arrived. Three years ago a young British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley had an idea to create a starting point for peace – a global cease-fire day. In September 1999 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Peace One Day was launched to a mere handful of individuals, organisations and press.  For the next two years, Jeremy Gilley travelled the world building the case for the Day, documenting the entire journey on film.  Progressively, he gained support from some of the world’s most influential figures including, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Shimon Peres, Secretary General of the League of Arab States Amre Moussa, UNHCHR Mary Robinson and many others.

On the 7th September 2001, UN GA Resolution 55/282 was unanimously adopted by UN member states at the General Assembly, formally establishing an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the United Nations International Day of Peace, fixed in the global calendar on 21 September.  The idea had become a reality. Peace One Day now has the support of countless individuals and organisations across the world. (…)

Peace One Day is an independent, apolitical, non-sectarian organisation, with no affiliation to any governmental, non-governmental, regional or religious organisation.


The Earth Charter at the Peace Summit, Vermont, USA, 28 September

A Peace Summit, organized by Children of the Earth and fifteen non-profit organizations, will take place in three different sites in Vermont on 28 September. Two Congressmen, Dennis Kucinich and Bernard Sanders, who co-sponsored the US Congressional Bill proposing the creation of a Department of Peace (and a National Peace Academy) as a cabinet level US agency, will address both youth and the public in two separate forums. Dr. Steven Rockefeller, member of the Earth Charter Commission, will present the Earth Charter.

The Earth Charter will be discussed as a document of principles upon which a National Peace Academy could be built. This event will be broadcast on an international webcast to more than 20 cities in the US and 5 or more countries. Voters at 22 town meetings throughout Vermont already endorsed the Charter last March. For more information on this event, please contact Children of the Earth at  or visit their website 

"A new global ethical framework is needed to guide our decisions and actions ensuring the common good. Use the Earth Charter as an instrument to understand and achieve a more sustainable future; think globally and act locally to express unity in diversity!”" -






Rotary presents Polio Eradication Champion Award to President Musharraf of Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan, 2 September - In recognition of the leadership and commitment to polio eradication by the government of Pakistan, Rotary today presented President Pervez Musharraf with the Polio Eradication Champion Award.

Abdul Haiy Khan, Rotary's National PolioPlus Chairman for Pakistan, presented the award to President Musharraf at the Secretariat of the Chief Executive during the launch ceremony of the national immunization day (NID). Within the next few days, approximately 30 million Pakistani children under the age of five will be vaccinated against polio.

As one of the 10 remaining polio-endemic countries, Pakistan has made steady progress toward eradicating polio in the last two years. Cases in Pakistan have been reduced to 116 in 2001, down from 199 cases in 2000 and 558 in 1999.

The award is in special recognition of President Musharraf's efforts to strengthen the Federal and provincial authorities and to ensure that sufficient government funds are available at levels that will support community mobilization during NIDs. (…) In addition to thousands of hours of local volunteer service provided by the nearly 2,000 Rotary club members in Pakistan, Rotary has provided over US$13 million in support of polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.

Rotary's Polio Eradication Champion Award was established in 1995 to acknowledge world leaders who have made outstanding contributions toward the goal of global polio eradication by 2005. (…) 


Central African Republic: UNFPA provides US $5.5 million for reproductive health

Bangui, 30 August - The United Nations Population Fund has agreed to finance the Central African Republic's (CAR) US $5.5-million project on family welfare and reproductive health.

In a departure from past practice, the money would be disbursed directly to women's NGOs rather than to the government, the agency's official in charge of programmes concerning population and development, Adam Ahmat, told IRIN on Thursday.

Under the agreement, signed on Wednesday in the CAR capital, Bangui, doctors to be sent by the agency to urban and rural hospitals will try to prevent mother-to-child HIV infection. The agency will also provide counselling. Ahmat noted that at least 14 percent of pregnant women in the country were HIV-positive.

In addition, the agency will carry out anti-AIDS campaigns directed at the youth. This will be done through appropriate programmes in primary schools and seminars for adults. The UN will support projects aimed at promoting gender equality, including efforts to eradicate harmful practices such as female circumcision. (…)


Opium production in Myanmar declines

"This is a step in the right direction, but new measures are needed and expected," UN drug control office chief says

Vienna, 27 August - The first-ever comprehensive opium poppy survey for Myanmar indicates the production of about 828 metric tons of opium in 2002, which is less than the estimated production in the previous year.

"This decline is a step in the right direction. There is the evidence that the government is aware of the damage caused to the country by opium cultivation. New measures are needed and expected," said Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), introducing the survey results in Vienna today.

The Myanmar Opium Survey is the first to be released in the 2002 series of ODCCP surveys on opium cultivation in the three leading opium producing countries in the world. Surveys on Afghanistan and Laos will be released in mid-September. (…)


South Africa: Public transport commuters and HIV/AIDS

23 August - With almost half of the country's population using public transport, South African commuters have become a large mobile audience for interactive HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns.

According to a study conducted by the Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE), the commonly held assumption that South Africans have not responded to HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns is incorrect. People have started to change their sexual behaviour, partly as a result of education campaigns run on the public transport system.


Congo: Education key to curbing HIV/AIDS, say NGOs

23 August Key NGOs in the Republic of Congo (ROC) have stepped up outreach and education drives to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the impoverished central African country.

The Association Panafricaine Thomas Sankara (APTS) leads neighbourhood campaigns against AIDS. The group uses trained outreach officers to inform and educate youth against the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


WTO agreements and Public Health – a joint study by the WHO and the WTO secretariat

Geneva, August 22 - The World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization Secretariat published today a joint study of the relationship between trade rules and public health. The 171-page study WTO Agreements and Public Health explains how WTO Agreements relate to different aspects of health policies. It is meant to give a better insight into key issues for those who develop, communicate or debate policy issues related to trade and health. The study covers areas such as drugs and intellectual property rights, food safety, tobacco and many other issues which have been subject to passionate debate. In this joint effort, the first of its kind, WHO and the WTO Secretariat endeavour to set out the facts. (…)

The study explains that countries have the right to take measures to restrict imports or exports of products when this is necessary to protect the health of humans, animals or plants. When liberalizing services, they retain the right to regulate in order to meet national policy objectives, in areas such as health. Eight specific health issues are covered - infectious disease control, food safety, tobacco, environment, access to drugs, health services, food security as well as some emerging issues, such as biotechnology – and, in each case, examples of challenges and opportunities in implementing coherent trade and health policies are provided. (…)



Energy and safety



Innovative business approach helps provide clean energy to world's neediest

Report finds NGOs and community based organizations can work together to jumpstart and sustain new energy enterprises

Johannesburg, South Africa, 30 August - A report jointly released today by the United Nations Foundation and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), at the World Summit on Sustainable Development details how an innovative approach is bringing affordable, clean, and efficient energy technology to the rural communities in Africa, Brazil and China.

Many of the world's poorest communities still rely on traditional forms of energy, mostly woodfuels, dung and crop wastes. These energy resources are often expensive, inefficient, and damaging to the health of humans and the environment. The resulting pollution is estimated to cost $150 ? $750 billion per year globally. (…)

The report, "Open for Business: Entrepreneurs, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development," details the findings of the $8.6 million partnership between the UN Foundation and the UNEP.  Their partnership, the Rural Energy Enterprise Development initiative, or  REED with U.S. non-profit clean energy investor E+Co is currently being applied in Brazil, China and five African countries to provide clean energy as a basis for long-term, sustainable development.

These organizations work with E+Co locally to deliver the business development services new entrepreneurs need to start their new enterprises and succeed. In Africa, these include businesses offering energy efficient cook stoves, windpump repair services, the supply and service of solar home systems and energy efficiency services.


If cars ran on sugar…

30 August - Along with emissions from power plants, pollution from vehicles is the major air-pollution culprit.  But that could change if cars ran on sugar, as a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has proposed.  In a paper published in yesterday's edition of the journal Nature, the scientists detailed a technique for breaking down a glucose solution into hydrogen and carbon dioxide.  The hydrogen would then be pumped into a fuel cell that would power a car or truck, and the carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere.  That might sound like a recipe for more global warming, but the scientists say the process does not produce any more CO2 than would be released into the air as the sugar sources biodegraded naturally.  The process is still in the early research stages, but its implications are potentially huge as the automotive industry seeks out clean, renewable energy sources.


Annual IAEA General Conference to convene on 16 - 20 September

Vienna, 30 August - Energy Ministers and high-level delegations from the IAEA's 134 countries will come together on 16-20 September for the 46th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference at the Austria Centre in Vienna. A wide range of issues will be addressed in the areas of nuclear security, safeguards, safety and nuclear science and technology. Media planning to cover the General Conference are requested to fill in the accreditation form, which is available on-line at (…)

This year's parallel Scientific Forum will focus on three issues: "Nuclear Power - Life Cycle Management; Managing Nuclear Knowledge, and Nuclear Security." The Forum will be held on 17-18 September in Room C at the Austria Centre. The Scientific Forum Agenda is on-line at: (…)



Environment and wildlife



Activists applaud commitment and steps towards Zero Waste at Earth Summit

Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 August - The United Nations, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Civil Society Secretariat, and the South African Government are together implementing huge steps towards designing waste out of the system of the 2002 Earth Summit Civil Society Global Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa (August 19-September 4). At the "Zero Waste, Not Incineration Forum" on 27 August, activists voiced hopes that the waste reduction systems would be implemented as planned by the Global Forum management, whose targets include: reduce total potential waste by 80 to 90%; reduce water and energy consumption by 20%; zero waste to incinerators. (…)

Earthlife Africa (Johannesburg Branch), with the support of GAIA, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, has been working to design waste out of the Earth Summit, and reuse, recycle and compost as many discards as possible. Zero Waste refers to a range of policies and practices designed to achieve a sustainable use of materials and the minimum of waste discarded.

Earthlife Africa is a volunteer driven South African organization that has been active on environmental and social issues since 1988. GAIA is an international alliance working on waste reduction, with over 265 members in more than 55 countries.


World's largest tropical forest park created in the Amazon, with WWF help

Brasilia, Brazil, 23 August – WWF welcomes the creation of Tumucumaque National Park, in the Amazon - the world's largest tropical forest protected area - for the implementation of which the conservation organization will provide US$1 million.

Located in the Brazilian state of Amapá, and bordering French Guyana and Suriname, Tumucumaque National Park covers 38,867 square kilometres (almost the size of Switzerland) and will ensure full protection of an important part of the Amazon Forest.  Many species live there that are found nowhere else in the world, especially fish and aquatic birds, as do jaguars, numerous primates, sloths, paccas and agoutis, freshwater turtles and the harpy eagle.

The borders of the park were strategically designed to protect its high biodiversity and were conceived by WWF-Brazil and Ibama (the Brazilian environmental agency), under the guidance of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment.  (…)



Religion and spirituality



New York, September 11: Invitation to a Celebration of Remembrance and Hope

The Interfaith Center of New York and The Temple of Understanding request your presence at the Annual Interfaith Service of Commitment to the Work of the United Nations, a celebration of remembrance and hope dedicated to the victims of violence everywhere, to mark the opening of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Special guests include: the President of the General Assembly Mr. Jan Kavan; Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mrs. Nane Annan; September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002 at 8:30 a.m., Btholomew's Church, Park Ave. at 51st Street Please be seated by 8:15 AM. The service will conclude before 10 AM.

For security reasons, no packages will be allowed in the church.

The Interfaith Center of New York, 40 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016, 212-685-4242



Culture and education



Pause The World Day – September 2

New York, 28 August - We are asking the entire world to Pause. This special day is entitled "Pause the World" and will be observed on September 2.  The date is significant because it will bring recognition to the United Nations General Assembly at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (Rio+10), to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on this date, and the Earth Charter, Values and Principles: 1.  Respect and Care for the Community of Life 2. Ecological Integrity  3. Social and Economic Justice  4. Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace.

9/2/02 is also Labor Day in America (USA is supposed to Pause!).  This date will now become the day for our annual event, we plan a concert later in the month or early October.  An important way to participate in Pause The World Day is to stop what you normally do and give attention to humankind, the animal kingdom, the environment and for peace on Mother Earth. Please join us in celebrating this day, endorse the Earth Charter (, 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. (…)

The LIVE Mega concert in NY Central Park  being planed late September early October will feature the contribution of famous singers, actors and entertainers from many countries.


Pakistan media project aims to change attitudes about women

20 August - An innovative UNDP initiative has worked for the past five years help the media in Pakistan examine the way women are portrayed and develop more balanced and positive approaches. The project has trained 400 media professionals, helping them develop ways to present women in Pakistan in a new light in programmes aired by the Pakistan Television Corporation and ensure that all the corporation's productions are sensitive to the issue of gender and avoid reinforcing biases against women.

The media in Pakistan often portray both women and men in ways that reinforce prejudices, researchers have found. Women are frequently presented as weak, dependent and uninformed, while men are usually portrayed as aggressive, manipulative and insensitive.

The project has established a system to monitor how women are portrayed on television. It commissions TV productions on gender issues, has helped integrated gender issues into television training curricula and has brought together media professionals to examine and address issues concerning gender and media. The initiative is also helping organize regional and international film festivals dealing with gender themes. (…)


Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, on the occasion of International Literacy Day, 8 September 2002

International Literacy Day is an occasion to celebrate the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies everywhere and to affirm the centrality of literacy within all struggles for sustainable human development. It is also an opportunity to send a message of hope and encouragement to the estimated 862 million adults, of whom about two-thirds are women, whose illiteracy currently excludes them from full participation in society. (…)

As we make the final preparations for the United Nations Literacy Decade, we must draw upon the lessons of experience. We know, for example, that one size does not fit all: instead of standardized programmes, more customized approaches are needed. We know that women and men have different needs and that these differences must be reflected in learning content and processes. We know that learning is most fruitful when it is an enjoyable experience undertaken with others. We also know that literacy is best acquired in connection with practical purposes and uses, such as building livelihoods, solving problems, and accessing new information - in short, ways in which people empower and transform themselves and their society.

Today, it is increasingly recognized that there are multiple 'literacies' which are diverse, have many dimensions and are learned in different ways. In all cases, however, each kind of literacy must lead to sustainable and meaningful use - this must be our goal for the forthcoming Literacy Decade. (…) The complete message is available at the site:


World Day of Planetary Ethics: September 22/23

September 22/23, the first spring day in the southern hemisphere, marks the second annual “World Day of Planetary Ethics.” On this special day, people from cultures and nations planet-wide will unite under the banner of the Club of Budapest’s “Planetary Vision Festival” to celebrate a new ethics for humanity through local dialogues and positive actions for a sustainable and peaceful future. (See

The central theme of this World Day is “You Can Change the World”, in support of the global initiative being launched by the international Club of Budapest ( A major program under this initiative, “Best Practice Projects for a Sustainable World”, will annually recognize the planet’s most ecologically and socially sustainable projects.

Planetary Vision Festival 2002 is an annual series of global events and programs celebrating our new planetary consciousness and its related ethics and actions. 


IFLAC: Peace Poetry and Conflict Resolution – Haifa, Israel, 22 September

IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, will be holding a Peace Poetry and Conflict Resolution  seminar on September 22. It will be attended by Israeli and Palestinian poets, as well as Peace Poets and Peace Researchers from several other nations. 

Among the poets that will be participating and will read their poems are: Ada Aharoni, George Farah, Judith Zilberstein, Mahmoud Zeidan, and others. 



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Next issue: 20 September 2002



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