Good News Agency – Year III, n° 18
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.
Combating trafficking in women and children should be high development priority
Bratislava, Slovakia, 4 October - Trafficking in women and children for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation is a crime against humanity, and efforts to eliminate it should be an integral part of national policies addressing population, gender and reproductive health issues, an expert meeting agreed here today.
More than 60 parliamentarians, government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations from over 25 countries from around the world gathered in Bratislava for the "Consultative Meeting on Trafficking in Women, Girls and Children". Various United Nations agencies were also represented at the international gathering, organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, with technical support from Kvinnoforum, a Swedish private organization that works on women's empowerment. (...)
As a way to boost advocacy for anti-trafficking efforts, participants recommended the establishment of regional networks to monitor and control trafficking activities. UNFPA can play a major role by promoting awareness of trafficking, both at the grassroots and the decision-making levels, and to develop early warning systems. (...)
3 October - In order to enhance knowledge of the rules of international humanitarian law, the ICRC held the first advanced course on the subject for civil servants and members of academic circles in Russia and the rest CIS from 24 to 27 September.
The course, which took place in Moscow, brought together over 70 leading experts from 11 countries of the former Soviet Union. The participants discussed major trends in the development of the law, matters such as the protection of civilians, particularly children and journalists, in the event of armed conflict, and issues relating to international justice, primarily the ad hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court. (...)
Today the ICRC's programme for academic circles is in contact with more than 60 universities in the CIS. Thanks to this cooperation, international humanitarian law is now taught in the international relations, journalism and law faculties of various universities. In addition the ICRC's Advisory Service, set up at its Moscow delegation in 1996, assists the civilian and military authorities in implementing the humanitarian rules by making recommendations, providing legal expertise and organizing seminars.
Geneva, 3 October - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan will visit the International Labour Office (ILO) on Thursday 3 October to meet ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and other senior officials of the Organization. Her Majesty has a special interest in children's issues and her visit will focus on the launching of an expanded programme against child labour in Jordan by the ILO International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), and on Her Majesty's support for the ILO's campaign against child labour nationally and internationally.
Her Majesty will also be briefed on the ILO Programme on Decent Work in the Arab States Region setting the challenge of eliminating child labour in the broader framework of providing decent work for parents. (...)
New York, 27 September - At a Headquarters press conference this morning, President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste spoke about his country’s admission to the United Nations, describing today as an important occasion for himself, his people and their history. Asked how he felt, as a former freedom fighter who had struggled so long for his country, to get so far, President Gusmao replied that he felt overwhelmed by the difficult challenges facing him, but also very proud.
In response to a question about his relationship with West Timor and Indonesia, the President said he had a very good relationship with the Indonesian Government and was trying to forge more regional cooperation. With regard to West Timor, both Timor-Leste and Indonesia had made strong efforts to repatriate the East Timorese refugees there and to improve cooperation in terms of trade and culture. (...)
Source: UNIC Rome
Brussels, 26 September - On 24 September, following protracted deliberations, the King of Bahrain issued a decree ratifying a law granting workers in the country the right to choose to join a trade union. According to Labour and Social Affairs Minister Abdulnabi Al Sho'ala, the legislation means that workers in any company or organisation in Bahrain are now legally entitled to form a union, regardless of the number of employees. (...)
In June this year, the General Assembly of the General Committee of Bahrain Workers took a democratic vote to establish the General Federation of Bahrain Workers as a free trade union. Only days later, the Minister of Labour demanded that the vote be rescinded. However, under international trade union pressure, the latest move indicates a significant change of heart on behalf of the Bahraini government, and a significant step in the Gulf States, where trade union rights are routinely violated.
ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder cautiously welcomed the news, stating that "while ICFTU experts are still studying the new law in order to clarify its full implications, it is an important step forward for workers in the Gulf region." The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) represents 157 million workers in 225 affiliated organizations in 148 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org
1 October - Russia's Interior Ministry has announced it will introduce measures to improve national laws to combat slavery; but has yet to provide any information on what steps it will take. The announcement, made by the Interior Ministry's chief lawyer, Yevgeny Sadkov, at the end of August, is in response to the growing problem of human trafficking in Russia.
Even though human trafficking has been a problem in Russia for over 10 years, affecting thousands of women and men, there is no law against it; traffickers go unpunished and victims receive no help....
For details about trafficking in Russia and how you can help to stop it, see 'country action' on Anti-Slavery International's new campaign website: www.stophumantraffic.org
Improvements noted at INS Detention Center - better guard training and oversight needed
Los Angeles, October 4 - In a nine-page letter to U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials, Human Rights Watch commended officials for progress made at a major INS detention center in San Pedro to improve detainee living conditions and treatment, but also noted areas where improvements are still required.
During the course of Human Rights Watch's inspections, several improvements were observed. Perhaps most significantly, the problem of overcrowding - which was acute in 1999 - appears to have been alleviated. Officials also planned to improve detainee access to medical care; enhance communication with deportation officers; translate the detainee handbook and orientation films into additional languages; provide required legal materials; fully inform detainees about how the grievance procedure works; and track the investigation and outcome of complaints. (...)
ABA awards grant to Arizona project providing pro bono legal help to detained immigrant and refugee children
Washington, D.C., September 27 – The Detained Immigrant and Refugee Children’s Initiative of the Florence Project has received one of six $10,000 grants from the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono to provide legal services to immigrant and refugee children.
Sponsored by the Arizona Bar Foundation for Legal Services and Education and the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, the Children’s Initiative aims to meet the legal needs of detained, unaccompanied minors in Arizona and address conditions of confinement. Unaccompanied immigrant children who enter the United States are put in Immigration and Naturalization Service custody and placed in various shelters throughout the country.
The Children’s Initiative will use the grant to raise awareness in the legal community about INS detainees in Arizona via training sessions with the State Bar of Arizona for lawyers representing immigrants in detention, local media and bar association sponsored events, and development of a pro bono representation project based on an ABA model.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detains more than 5,000 children annually nationwide. The six grants are part of a nationwide effort to encourage comprehensive pro bono representation programs for children who may be detained for months, even years, during complex immigration proceedings. The ABA has provided more than $1 million in grants to more than 80 state and local bar associations for pro bono representation of immigrants, refugees and newcomers to the United States.
London - Public launch of Human Traffic, Human Rights: Redefining victim protection
On 24 October, Anti-Slavery International is presenting the findings of its two-year research study concerning measures taken to protect adult victims of trafficking in 10 countries: Belgium, Colombia, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
The report, Human Traffic, Human Rights: Redefining victim protection looks at good and bad policies and practices, from the point of view of prosecuting traffickers and protecting trafficked people's human rights. It makes 45 recommendations covering areas such as investigation and prosecution, residency status, protection from reprisals, in-court evidentiary protection, support and assistance, and legal redress and compensation.
There will be a panel of four speakers, a presentation about the report by Anti-Slavery International, followed by a discussion with participants present from each of the 10 countries.
Sofi launch and World Food Day 2002 at FAO
Rome, 10 October - On Tuesday 15 October, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will release its annual hunger report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2002 (SOFI), simultaneously in Rome, London, Washington D.C., Bangkok, Nairobi and Cairo. The report will include a breakout showing where hunger is most prevalent. (...)
On 16 October, the World Food Day ceremony will start at 10.30 a.m. in the Plenary Hall, building A, at FAO headquarters. A keynote speech will be delivered by President Chávez of Venezuela. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf and Italy's Minister of agricultural and forestry policies Gianni Alemanno will also deliver speeches and a message from Pope John Paul II will be read by a representative from the Holy See. This year's World Food Day theme is "Water: source of food security".
At the same ceremony, Dr. Diouf will introduce newly-appointed FAO Ambassadors, including two famous soccer players Roberto Baggio and Marcos Cafu and 200-meter Olympic champion Debbie Ferguson as well as renowned American singer Dionne Warwick and Italian artist Massimo Ranieri. Also, the Associazione Nazionale Italiana Cantanti will be appointed. (...)
African ministers to discuss implementation of NEPAD
Addis Ababa, 5 October - African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development are due to meet in South Africa from 19 - 21 October to discuss what it will take to effectively implement the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
This will be the largest gathering of Ministers and experts dealing with economic policy in Africa on NEPAD since its endorsement by African leaders at the inaugural summit of the African Union in Durban in July 2002. In addition to the Ministers, more than 500 participants -- including central bank governors, leading academics and researchers, civil society and private sector representatives, and the international community -- are due to attend. A meeting of the Committee of Experts from 16 - 18 October will precede the Conference.
The 2002 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development is organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under the theme "Accelerating Africa's Performance and Progress: The challenge of NEPAD". The theme is in response to a request by the Ministers at last year's Conference in Algiers that ECA convene the next Conference specifically to discuss and agree on the way forward in effectively implementing NEPAD.
The Conference, hosted by the Government of South Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, takes place at a crucial time in the evolution of NEPAD. (...)
New software for trade negotiations launched by UNCTAD and FAO
3 October - Seemingly intractable agricultural trade negotiations may be hastened by the release of the Agricultural Trade Policy Simulation Model (ATPSM), a new UNCTAD/FAO software program for analysing trade policies. In launching the model at an FAO symposium held yesterday in Geneva, Carlos Fortin, UNCTAD’s Deputy Secretary General, called it a significant milestone in providing assistance to developing countries in the area of agricultural trade policy.
(...) The model is truly global, covering almost every country individually, plus a wide range of commodities. It provides detailed information on a wide range of policies including out-of-quota and within quota tariffs, applied tariffs, import and export quotas, export subsidies and domestic support; it also treats quota rents. (...)
The software is available free of charge on CD-Rom. UNCTAD will also provide training. For this project, UNCTAD has received 110.000£ from the UK Department for International Development.
Catholic groups appeal to World Bank /IMF for improved debt relief policy
September 26, Washington, DC, USA - Representatives of Catholic development agencies working for the reduction of global poverty called on world leaders today to grant deeper debt relief for the world’s poorest countries, especially those severely affected by global health crises such as HIV/AIDS. The group, which included staff from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), gathered as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prepared to have their annual meeting in Washington, DC. (...)
The Catholic groups seek reform of the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative, the official program administered by the World Bank and IMF for reducing debt of the poorest countries. Although as many as 42 countries were expected to receive debt reduction under the program to bring their debt to manageable levels, the World Bank now admits that at least half of the 20 countries now receiving HIPC debt relief still carry unsustainable debt levels. (...)
7 October - Former US president Bill Clinton joined Ghana's president John Agyekum Kufuor at the recent launch in Accra of a foundation to help poor people register land and other property to gain access to loans to improve livelihoods and promote development.
The Ministry of Justice established the Foundation for Building the Capital of the Poor and is promoting reform of the country's property laws. The initiative is supported by UNDP and inspired by the ideas of Professor Hernando de Soto of Peru, author of The Mystery of Capital: Why capitalism thrives in the West and fails everywhere else and head of the Institute for Liberty and Justice there, who also joined in the launch.
The foundation plans to set up a regional training centre in Accra to help other countries learn about its property reform programme. A premise of Professor de Soto is that the poor often have considerable property but lack title to it and thus cannot use their resources to get ahead. (...)
ADRA assesses food shortage and HIV/AIDS crises in Southern Africa
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, October 1 - During September, two groups from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) conducted field assessments of the food shortage and the HIV/AIDS crises affecting countries in southern Africa. Data gathered during the trips is being analyzed as part of the creation of an agency-wide response strategy.
According to United Nations reports, the food shortage now threatens more than 14 million people throughout the southern Africa region, an increase of nearly two million since last May. It is estimated that within many parts of southern Africa up to a third of the adults are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, there are more than four million orphans in that region, approximately half due to AIDS. A number of factors have contributed to the food shortage, including prolonged drought periods, flooding, disruption of farming, food transportation issues, fluctuating market prices of maize, and depletion of grain reserves. (...)
Twelve individuals were divided into two assessment groups, with each group including technical and administrative staff from ADRA International headquarters, country offices, and ADRA’s regional office for Africa. The groups traveled throughout Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana.
30 September - The U.S. is contributing an additional $9.25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), according to the U.S. embassy in Jordan. The new grant will bring total American contributions to UNRWA for 2002 to $119.25 million. The funds will be used to care for some 3.9 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza. The U.S. is the largest donor to the agency, contributing 25%-30% of its annual budget. Most of the new money will go to help provide education, health care, relief and social services. (AFP, 9/24/02)
36.S Rotary International in Europe and the Middle East makes a significant difference
Across the globe, the activities of Rotary clubs differ as each responds to the needs of its respective community and seeks solutions to the social issues affecting that part of the world.
Today, Rotary is found in 49 nations throughout Europe: 7,499 Rotary clubs and 302,276 members belong to the humanitarian organization. Eastern and Central Europe alone account for 1,420 clubs with 61,555 members. In the Middle East, more than 5,000 members belong to 158 clubs in six countries.
Beyond polio eradication efforts, Rotary members in Europe and the Middle East have made a significant difference in their communities and those around the world through their humanitarian work. In cooperation with The Rotary Foundation, nearly 8,000 Rotary clubs in the region have developed and supervised a range of projects to address today's critical issues, such as the protection of children, hunger and poverty, illiteracy, AIDS awareness, drug abuse prevention, and the environment.
Additionally, the members of Rotary contribute financially to the association's global humanitarian network. Since 1993, Rotary members in Europe and the Middle East have donated more than US$45 million to The Rotary Foundation, nearly 20 percent of the Foundation's funding for projects worldwide. Such generous support strengthens Rotary's ability to mobilize its vast international grassroots network and meet needs where government resources cannot.
When "Fondation Espoir" and "Healing Hands for Haiti Foundation" asked ArtMedia Haiti to organize and conduct an art auction, to take place during a gala evening in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on September 21st, they generated an immediate and enthusiastic response from the entire team at ArtMediaHaiti.Com. The evening was a resounding success and marked the conclusion to the kickoff of the campaign, whose goals are to increase the awareness of the Haitian community to the problems encountered by the disabled of this country. (...) Outstanding art, artists and musicians were present that evening. (...) The highlight of the evening was the auction hosted by Marie Alice Théard Ravix, Seventeen artists responded to the call by donating their work for the cause. (...)
“Women For Peace is a grassroots peace group that formed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA last year after September 11. We've been extremely active the last year and have gathered a membership of over 75 people. Not all of them are active, but all seem committed to the ideal of peace.
“Last year we conducted an Afghan Relief project, collecting literally a ton of warm clothing and blankets to send there. We worked through a Christian aid agency in Washington State, the only place we could find, with much effort and research, which would accept donations of THINGS. Most only wanted cash. We had to pay $800 or so to truck 10 huge containers of things to Seattle.
“This year we did the same collection, but earlier, since it takes another 6 weeks to get the stuff from Seattle to Afghanistan by boat. We were even more successful. It took a lot of work and coordination with 3 local drop off points. We gathered 4 tons of warm clothing, blankets and school supplies this year (an addition from last year's appeal). We are delighted with the generosity of people and groups as far away as Waterloo and Iowa City. We can imagine hundreds of children pulling our blankets and quilts around them on winter nights to come.
In Iowa City 70 women got together to finish off dozens of handmade quilts to include in the shipment. (...)”
Marybeth Gardam for Women For Peace Iowa
Each fall, thousands of churches around the country observe Bread for the World Sunday as an opportunity to renew their commitment to ending hunger in God's world. This year, on October 27—or another suitable Sunday between World Food Day, Oct. 16 and Thanksgiving, Nov. 28—worshippers will have an opportunity to make a long-term commitment to end hunger. Click here to view the list of honorary co-chairs of this year's event.
Bread for the World invites all people of faith to reflect on how God's overflowing love in Jesus Christ is a harvest of hope for all people...to pray for our hungry brothers and sisters...and to take specific steps that will make a difference in their lives. (...)
Workshops in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan discuss measures against money laundering and financing of terrorism
Vienna , 4 October - Measures against money laundering and financing of terrorism are essential components of economic reforms and a tool to combat international terrorism, said the participants of two-day national workshops in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (30 September - 1 October) and in Astana, Kazakhstan (2-3 October).
The Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML) of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Governments of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan respectively organized these workshops to implement the Action Plan endorsed by the December 2001 Bishkek conference on enhancing security and stability in Central Asia. (...) The workshop participants expressed a wish to continue with similar initiatives on the issues discussed.
For further information, please contact Dolgor Solongo, economist, Global Programme against Money Laundering, UNODCCP, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suu Kyi winner of the 2002 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for Tolerance and Non-Violence
Paris, October 4 - Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar was named laureate of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today on the unanimous recommendation of an international jury. The Jury, presided by Nasser El-Ansary, Director General of the Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris), declared: "Aung San Suu Kyi was the laureate of the 1991 Nobel [Peace] Prize for having attempted to establish democracy in Burma. An international symbol of peaceful resistance to oppression, she is still pursuing her non-violent struggle for democracy and tolerance in Myanmar."
The jury also decided to attribute five Honourable Mentions, including a posthumous one to the late American journalist Daniel Pearl. A second posthumous Honourable Mention was attributed to nine journalists killed in Afghanistan in the exercise of their profession in November 2001 (...).
The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence will be presented in a ceremony at Organization Headquarters on November 16, International Day for Tolerance which is also the anniversary of UNESCO's foundation. (...)
The US$100,000 Prize is dedicated to advancing the spirit of tolerance in the arts, education, culture, science and communication. It is awarded every two years to an individual or an institution for exceptional contributions in the field of tolerance promotion. The Prize was created in 1995 thanks to the generosity of Indian writer and diplomat Madanjeet Singh, who is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. (...)
Delegation Joins 'Religious Leaders' Action Days on Iraq'
American Baptist News Service (9/26/02)--Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of American Baptist National Ministries, led a delegation of American Baptists to Washington, D.C., yesterday to meet with senators and congressional leaders and urge them to pursue peace, not war, with Iraq.
Specifically commissioned by and representing American Baptist General Secretary Dr. A. Roy Medley during the National Council of Churches-sponsored "Religious Leaders' Action Days On Iraq," Wright-Riggins, along with the National Ministries delegation, joined ecumenical partners and other Christian leaders in calling for moderation and restraint with respect to Iraq. (...)
At the initiative of the First Lady of Egypt, Ms. Suzan Mubarak, the Women for Peace Movement was launched in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, during an international meeting held on the 21st and 22nd of September. The Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Ms. Mervat Tallawy, delivered the message of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Meeting. In his message, the Secretary-General pointed to the increasing recognition that women posses particular skills and experiences that enable them to contribute to all stages of a peace process.
The two-day Meeting entitled "Women for Peace: Dialogue for Action", was co-organized by the Egyptian Government and the National Council for Women in Egypt and co-sponsored by the Cairo-based United Nations agencies in collaboration with ESCWA providing substantive servicing. (...) The Meeting brought together over 150 high-level participants, dignitaries and government officials, women activists, and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, judicial bodies, civil society, and academia from all over the World. (...)
The meeting will pave the road for a much larger conference envisaged in 2004 to institutionalize the "Women for Peace" Movement, where an action plan will be charted.
2 October, Geneva -- Today’s announcement of the decoding of the genomes of the most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and of the most important mosquito which transmits it, Anopheles gambiae, signal a turning point for global public health. Now, the most advanced tools of science are at last being trained on one of biggest killers in the developing world. (...)
Drugs targeting the parasite are losing their effectiveness. Today, resistance to choloroquine, which is the cheapest and most widely used antimalarial, is common throughout Africa. The next most effective but more expensive drug, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), is also succumbing to resistance in highly endemic areas of eastern and southern Africa. (...)
To open new research paths, TDR and its partners, including its co-sponsor the World Health Organization, have pushed for over a decade to bring genetics into the struggle against malaria.
Timor-Leste joins WHO - Top priority is health of mothers and children
1 October - The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) has become the 192nd Member State of the World Health Organization (WHO). This followed directly after the newly independent country's admission to membership in the United Nations on 27 September. (...)
Membership of WHO is open to all states. Timor-Leste became a sovereign country on 20 May 2002, after three years of United Nations administration. Members of the United Nations may become members of WHO by signing or otherwise accepting its constitution. As depositary of the Constitution, the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan formally accepted Timor-Leste's instrument of acceptance on 27 September.
Improving health and saving lives of mothers and children is the main public health priority.The infant mortality rate is estimated at 70-95 deaths per 1000 live births. The mortality rate of children under the age of five may also be characterized as unacceptably high. (...)
Drinking water community and Arnot Ogden Medical Center join forces to effectively diagnose and treat waterborne illness
Denver, Colorado, USA, August 5 - The American Water Works Association (AWWA), the authoritative resource on safe drinking water, today announced the launch of a unique online resource to provide medical professionals with critical information that will assist physicians in better diagnosing symptoms of waterborne diseases in patients.
The online Physicians' Reference Guide, 'Recognizing Waterborne Disease and the Health Effects of Water Pollution' (www.waterhealthconnection.org), provides a repository of educational materials and preparedness resources to help physicians recognize and treat waterborne disease and the health effects of acute and chronic exposure to water pollution. (...)
AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of drinking water in North America and beyond.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 5 October - A media awards programme has been launched to promote and encourage more informed and consistent reporting and analysis of the information society and issues related to the development potential and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The AISI Media Awards Programme was named after the African Information Society Initiative, a framework, launched by the Economic Commission for Africa six years ago to help develop national information and communication infrastructure plans and to engender an information society in African countries.
The AISI Media Awards are aimed at individual journalists and media institutions that are promoting journalism that promotes a better understanding of the information society in Africa. The categories covered by the awards are Radio, Print, Television and a fourth category which covers Broadcaster of the Year, Promoting African Languages in the Information Society, Media Personality Award (sustained analysis in the news media), Media and ICT application, and the African Diaspora Media.
The deadline for applications is 28 February 2003. Detailed information on the awards, including instructions on how to submit entries, is available at: www.uneca.org/aisi/mediaaward.htm (...)
Africa still at far end of digital divide, but areas of rapid growth are opening up
New York, 30 September - Even as expansion of information technology has slackened in many parts of the world, the pace of growth in Internet and mobile phone usage in Africa is gaining momentum, according to a background paper released today at the meeting of the UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, at UN Headquarters in New York.
Dial-up internet subscribers increased by 20 per cent from 2001 to mid-2002, and the emergence of new remote access technologies, such as Ku-band satellite access and Wi-Fi, have significant potential. The last five years in Africa have seen the mobile-phone explosion, with more cell phones activated than land line connections installed over the last century, and wireless users outnumbering traditional fixed line users in many countries.
Overall, the strongest growth consistently remains in northern Africa and South Africa, and among the higher income sectors. But remote access is beginning to penetrate into off-grid areas unlikely to receive traditional communication infrastructure in the near future. (...)
Source: UNICT New York thru UNIC Rome
Ottawa, Canada, 5 to 6 November
A Workshop on Aviation Operational Measures For Fuel and Emissions Reduction will be held in Ottawa, Canada from 5 to 6 November 2002 under the sponsorship of the Canadian Government.
The goal of the workshop is to highlight information on fuel and emissions reductions contained in a circular being published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and to share practical experiences and successful programmes that have contributed to emissions reductions in all aspects of the aviation industry.
The workshop is free to participants and will have a technical format intended for the professional staff members of civil aviation authorities, airlines, airports and other stakeholders from the aviation industry with responsibilities for environmental issues, and fuel policy and planning. It will included panels on aircraft, air traffic management, airline planning, flight operations, and the airport - including the air and ground side. The working language will be English with simultaneous translation to French. (...)
Geneva, 7 October - A Memorandum of Understanding between the International Federation and UNEP was signed today in Geneva. (...) Within the framework of a three-year project, costing an estimated US$1.7 million, the Red Cross Red Crescent and UNEP will support local and national actors in conducting a review of current policies and early warning systems in ten selected countries. Based on the results of vulnerability studies, they will also prepare seasonal emergency contingency plans. (...)
The countries that could benefit from this joint initiative are: Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Floods, droughts and other national disasters are putting increasing pressure on already fragile lands, leading to the displacement of people and wildlife, as well as exacerbating soil erosion and the silting up of rivers, dams and coastal waters. (...)
By Olivier van Bogaert
Antanarivo, Madagascar, September 28 - WWF today welcomed the establishment of the Zombitse -Vohibasia National Park, in Madagascar. Inaugurated today by the Malagasy government, the new park is located in the South-western semi-arid region of Madagascar.
The Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park covers 36,000 hectares of what are the largest remnants of the island's deciduous dry forests, and is home to 86 species of birds. It is also one of the few Malagasy regions in which the Ring-tailed Lemur and Brown Lemur live together. Towards the end of 1998, the area came under threat when deposits of sapphire were discovered nearby, attracting tens of thousands of migrants within a few weeks. However, an action plan was put in place with WWF's help, to ensure proper management of the sapphire mining. (...)
APA Tapped to Assess Firewise Program
APA (American Planning Association) has been chosen by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to conduct an assessment of its Firewise Communities program, another sign of APA's growing reputation as the place to go to for information about hazard mitigation planning.
The program was developed by the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program (WUI) in the late 1990s to convey information to communities through workshops and publications about how to minimize risks associated with wildfires. APA senior research associate Jim Schwab led a small team of research staff people in responding to a July 29 RFP issued by NFPA. A $150,000 contract will be entered into by the end of September 2002, for an October 1 project start.
The focus of the program is to assess the impact Firewise workshops have had on community and individual behaviors aimed at reducing wildfire losses through a variety of mitigation and planning techniques. The workshops began in October 1999, with the last ones scheduled for November 2003. To date, more than 1,100 participants from 47 states have attended 15 such workshops across the country.
APA plans to conduct a web-based survey, five regional focus groups, and individual interviews with geographic coordinators for the Firewise program. APA will be teaming with Continental Shelf Associates, Inc., a Jupiter, Florida, consulting firm to complete the work.
Information on Firewise's stakeholders and partners, which include APA, can be found at: www.firewise.org/communities/stakeholders.html
3rd World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates – Rome, October 19th –21st
Rome, 11 October - The 3rd World Summit of the Nobel Peace Prize, organised by the Gorbachev Foundation with the patronage of the City of Rome, will be held in Rome from 19 to 21 October 2002, on the theme of globalisation and sustainable development, with special consideration for the tragic “water emergency” problem. As of today, confirmed participants include Nobel Peace Laureates Mikhail Gorbachev, Shimon Peres, Joseph Rotblat, Betty Williams, Lech Walesa, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchù Tum, Nobel Laureates Rita Levi Montalcini and Carlo Rubbia, and top officials of the United Nations, UN High Commission for Refugees, UN Peace-keeping Forces, Medicins sans Frontiers, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, International, Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Institut de Droit International, International Peace Bureau, Pugwash Conferences, International Labour Office, International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Source: The Gorbachev Foundation – Commune of Rome
Educating for sustainable living with the Earth Charter
With a start in September 2002 and a date of completion in September 2004, this project is to be developed in partnership with the governments of Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Niger, and with UNESCO and many important NGOs. The general goal of the initiative is to provide education and training for local leaders and communities regarding the fundamental principles of sustainable development, and how to incorporate these principles into decision making processes. The Earth Charter will be employed as the primary educational instrument in this process. Toward this end the Earth Charter will be integrated into professional training and community development programs as a guiding framework for implementing sustainable development.
Specific objectives are: train community development leaders in utilising the Earth Charter as an educational tool for educational reform towards a more just, sustainable and peaceful world; integrate the Earth Charter into the curriculum of selected organizations of global and regional reach; develop in partnership with significant international educational organizations new curricular and educational materials that use the Earth Charter as the framework for understanding and promoting sustainable development.
The Earth Charter sets forth a global ethics involving the fundamental values and principles governing sustainable ways of living. It builds upon and extends the ethical vision in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and includes the fundamental values and principles articulated in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
Earth Charter Initiative: www.earthcharter.org
New text books and curriculum for afghan children
Paris, October 2 - An agreement establishing a funds-in-trust to finance the upgrading of textbooks and renewal of the education curriculum for some three million school children in Afghanistan was signed today by UNESCO and the Government of Germany.
More than two decades of conflict have left the education sector in Afghanistan in a state of collapse. Although demand is rapidly expanding, access to education remains poor and resources are very limited. Learning and teaching are largely based on outdated pedagogical methods and materials. Rebuilding a modern curriculum and producing textbooks will take several years. This new project is aimed at jump-starting the process.
Germany has contributed US$450,000 to the project, which is part of a long term programme undertaken with the government of Afghanistan to renew the entire education curriculum and reinforce the capacities of the Afghan Ministry of Education. Training ministry staff in curriculum development, textbook design and the preparation of teachers' guides and materials is considered a top education priority by the Afghan authorities. (...)
The two winners of the 2002 North-South prize - Xanana Gusmão, President of East Timor and Albina du Boisrouvray, founder of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Association - will receive their prize at an official ceremony to be held in Lisbon at the end of November 2002 in the presence of high representatives of the Portuguese authorities, the Council of Europe, and leading figures from North and South. Xanana Gusmão, the first President of East Timor, was (...) one of the main figures behind the referendum vote of 20 May 2002 which led to independence.
Albina du Boisrouvray is the founder of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Association, which campaigns for the welfare of orphaned children suffering from AIDS. (...)
The North-South prize is awarded each year to two personalities, one from the North, one from the South, who have actively contributed to the development and defence of the rights of the individual, pluralist democracy, and the partnership between North and South.
Previous winners have included Mário Soares, the former President of Portugal, Graça Machel, the President of the National Organisation of Mozambique Children, Mary Robinson, Patricio Aylwin, the former President of Chile, and Peter Gabriel.
22nd World Congress of Poets – Iasi, Romania, October 28-November 1
Poets around the world are invited to participate to the XXII World Congress of Poets that will take place in Iasi, Romania from October 28 to November 1 under auspices of the World Academy of Arts and Culture. President of the Congress is Dr. Dorin Popa, and information and an invitation letter can be obtained at his e-mail address: email@example.com
The objectives of the World Academy of Arts and Culture, Inc. is to organize and celebrate in different parts of the globe, a World Congress of Poets, to substitute peace for war in the minds of men, promote world brotherhood, and engender interchange of culture for mutual understanding of peoples from diverse cultures striving for excellence in uplifting mankind through poetry and literature. President of the Academy is Ms. Rosemary C. Wilkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
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It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, the Club of Budapest, the Earth Charter, Radio For Peace International and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing. Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail: email@example.com
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