Good News Agency – Year III, n° 19



Weekly - Year III, number 19 – 1 November 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. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti. 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 Safety

Environment and wildlifeCulture and education



International legislation



Baltic, south eastern Europe law enforcement experts receive training in Vienna

Vienna, 18 October (UN Information Service) -- Five law enforcement experts from the Baltic countries and South Eastern Europe have been attending a training course on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Standards in Law Enforcement in Vienna this week, from 14 to 18 October 2002. The pilot course included lectures by criminal justice experts from the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), the Ministry of Interior of Austria, the Austrian Police Academy and the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution.  (...)

The Centre for International Crime Prevention is mandated to promote the UN standards and norms in criminal justice and to assist Member States in their application through technical assistance and advisory services. (...)


Political rights for migrants important (EU)

18 October - Earlier this week, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference on the integration of migrants attended by some 200 representatives of civil society organisations, many of which deal directly with the integration of immigrants and refugees into European society. A wide range of speakers spoke in support of a "civic integration, based on bringing immigrants' rights and duties as well as access to goods, services and means of civic participation progressively into line with those of the rest of the population..." "The discussions that we have had at the conference show that the debate has moved on: it is political rights that are at the top of the agenda," remarked EESC rapporteur Miguel Pariza. The main conclusions were that there is a need for a set of fundamental rights for all residents of the Union, and that the Convention should propose an overall package of rights and obligations as part of a European civic citizenship for all residents of the Union. (...)




Human rights



"Exploring Humanitarian Law" handbook adapted for Harari region

On 12 October, in Harar, Alain Aeschlimann, ICRC head of delegation in Ethiopia, presented a locally adapted handbook for the ICRC's "Exploring Humanitarian Law" programme to Ato Fuad Ibrahim, President of the Harari People's National Regional State

The programme comprises five interactive modules introducing secondary school students to the basic rules and principles of international humanitarian law. By stressing the need to respect life and human dignity, especially in times of violence or armed conflict, it encourages young people to counter indifference and feelings of helplessness and to take an active part in community initiatives to promote solidarity and prevent or defuse violence. (...)



Economy and development



FAO launches new country profile to support World Food Day theme

22 October - The World Food Day theme, ‘Water; Source of food security’ was supported this year by the launch of the Water and Food Security Country Profiles website which provides focalised information on the state of water resources and food security globally in a country by country format. FAO and its partners in this project from the World Resources Institute, the Development gateway, International Water Management Institute, and the CGIAR aim to give users enriched results on the subject in order to enhance decision-making and promote advocacy in the sustainable use and conservation of water and in issues related to food security.  Available in five languages the website is also set to complement the UN’s 2003 International year of Freshwater.

Web page


Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development, workshop 9-10 December in Monterrey, Nuevo León

Montreal, 18 October – Investing in North America's Future: Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development, a public workshop organized by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of North America in cooperation with the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC), will take place on 9 December at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores (ITESM) in Monterrey, Nuevo León. The main objective of this workshop is for participants to obtain a better understanding of the links between financial communities and sustainable development, and assist the CEC in revising a draft summary on financing environmentally preferable goods and services. The CEC was established by Canada, Mexico and the United States to build cooperation among the three partners in implementing NAFTA's environmental accord. The CEC addresses environmental issues of continental concern, with particular attention to the environmental challenges and opportunities presented by continent-wide free trade.

On the morning of 10 December at the same location, JPAC will hold its regular session 02-04. During this meeting, an update will be given on the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) Article 13 report concerning the potential effects of transgenic corn on traditional maize varieties in Mexico. Following this update, JPAC members will discuss a potential advice to the CEC Council (composed of the environment ministers of North America) on sustainable development and the private sector. (...)


WRI launches project to support China’s green entrepreneurs

Shanghai, China and Washington, DC, October 8 -- The World Resources Institute (WRI) will launch a project in China aimed at accelerating investments in the country’s sustainable business enterprises, especially in organic agriculture, renewable energy, and clean technology.

From 1976 to 2000, China’s economy sustained an average annual growth rate of over 10 percent, creating a much wealthier country of 1.3 billion people. Its growth, however, has relied heavily on material- and energy-intensive production processes which have depleted the country’s natural resources and increased environmental pollution.

The project in China is the first time that the New Ventures investment model is being implemented in Asia. WRI started the New Ventures project in Latin America three years ago. It facilitated the transfer of $4.4 million for seven projects, with an additional $3.25 million currently under negotiation. (...)


First independent Russian micro credit unit handed over by US aid agency

Contact: Caesar Layton --

Khabarovsk, Russia, September 27 -- The first US Government funded micro enterprise facility to become an independent lending entity was handed over to local control in this Russian Far East city this week. The innovative lending facility was developed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) working with the American non-profit development organization Counterpart International. (...) 

Kent Hill, the USAID Director for CIS and Europe, said the fund now "moves to another stage, with the formal transfer of the assets of the program to this Russian organization, which will continue to operate as a successful, profitable, and sustainable small business loan company." "This program began with the vision of Counterpart International and capital provided by the US Russia Investment Fund," he added. (...)

Counterpart International has programs in the areas of enterprise development, civil society, humanitarian, conservation, food security, sustainable tourism and agriculture. Counterpart is involved in programs spread over some 60 countries.


Switzerland contributes $1 million to UNCTAD investment promotion projects

Switzerland has announced a US$ 1 million contribution to UNCTAD over the next three years for technical assistance projects on investment promotion. The contribution is part of a facility known as the “Quick Response Window” (QRW), which allows the UNCTAD secretariat to respond quickly to urgent requests from developing countries and economies in transition.

The current contribution was agreed to after an extensive evaluation in 2001 of UNCTAD technical cooperation activities supported to date by the QRW. The evaluation was positive as to the impact of the projects on investment promotion initiatives in beneficiary countries but recommended a further streamlining of project procedures. Projects funded under the facility, which as its name implies reduces the decision-making time to 10 calendar days, cover counselling, legal advice, training and workshops on investment-related matters. (...)

Switzerland is among the largest contributors to UNCTAD’s technical assistance work for developing countries and economies in transition.

Projects completed under the QRW facility in the period 1998-2001 include advisory work and training activities in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Kenya, India, Pakistan and Uganda.


International training programme on fruit and vegetable processing sector: December 2 - 20, 2002, Mysore, Karnataka, India

In developing countries, only a small fraction of domestic production of fruits and vegetables is processed despite the fact that tremendous potential exists for global marketing. The technology for the sub-sector is increasingly turning out into a system technology involving integration of all aggregates starting right from raw material, selection & grading and going upto efficient utilization of utilities. (...)

Responding to the situation, a training programme on Industrial Project Preparation and Appraisal (IPPA) with a special focus on Fruit and Vegetable Processing Sector has been planned. The programme is offered by the Inter-Regional Centre (IRC) for Entrepreneurship and Investment Training created by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Government of India at Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI). This is the thirteenth programme in the series. (...)






Food for Hungry International-Ethiopia:  2002-2003 Famine Prevention Programme

October 3 – Food for the Hungry International (FHI)/Ethiopia is preparing to aid thousands who face potential famine in Amhara State. Through a grant from the European Union, FHI has already assisted 22,000 people with regular food distributions for the months of July through September, in Simada woreda, South Gondar region. But hundreds of thousands in Simada and neighbouring woredas have suffered from insufficient rainfall for much of 2002. As a result crop yields are low, livestock are dying and market prices are soaring. FHI has submitted proposals to various donor agencies in hopes of feeding as many as 388,000 people per month, between November 2002 and June 2003. (...)

This October FHI begins work with a new three-year grant worth $US$ 3.7 million in Lay Gayint, Tach Gayint and Simada woredas. The program will include projects in crop production, forestry and fodder development, water supply, access road construction, micronutrient supply, and environmental rehabilitation. A contributing donor to this programme is the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).

Food for the Hungry International (FHI) is a global partnership that is motivated by Christ’s love to meet both physical and spiritual hungers of the poor.


Counterpart and USDA  Partnering for Success in rural Senegal

Washington, DC, September 26 -- The United States Government and an American non-profit development organization have launched a pioneering food aid program in West Africa.

Through a US Department of Agriculture commodities grant, Counterpart International has just conducted the first successful U.S. food aid monetization by a non-profit organization in Senegal's history. Working with USDA's Global Food for Education Initiative (GFEI), Counterpart was given a total of 7,000 metric tons of U.S. rice and non-fat dried milk to be sold to local buyers in Senegal, West Africa. Counterpart's entire tonnage of non-fat dried milk was sold in Senegal. A large rice shipment enters Senegal ports next month.

Through monetization, a commodity is sold in a country's market to local buyers in a method that benefits that country's economy. When conducted by a non-profit organization, the sale's proceeds are used to fund humanitarian programs in the given country or region.

Last week's sale will fund Counterpart's programs in nutrition, education, sustainable agriculture, and small grants programs in the Fouta-Toro region of northern Senegal. (...)

Contact: Sara A. Jones --


Rotary International makes steady progress in Africa

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.

Rotary clubs are located in 53 countries in Africa. There are more than 831 clubs with almost 20,000 members who subscribe to a common motto, "Service Above Self." Rotary clubs bring together business and professional leaders within the community to assist those in need. Rotary projects range from immunizing children against polio, AIDS prevention education, development of healthcare systems, literacy projects, agricultural training and development of clean water resources.

The Rotary Foundation recently announced a Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative to better coordinate Rotary's work in Africa. The initiative will direct more Rotary Foundation resources to the region and encourage the development and strengthening of Rotary clubs, Rotaract clubs (Rotary-sponsored clubs for 18- to 30-year olds) and Interact clubs (Rotary-sponsored clubs for secondary students). To date, The Rotary Foundation has provided approximately US$70 million for humanitarian and educational programs in Africa.

Through the Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Program, Rotary has approved more than US$12 million for humanitarian projects in Africa. The Foundation has also awarded more than US$9.7 million in Matching Grants for projects benefiting 44 African countries.

The Foundation's Ambassadorial Scholarships Program has awarded more than 700 scholarships to African students in the world's largest privately funded international scholarship program.


Democratic Republic of the Congo : Relief for isolated groups

The residents of Kisele, Mwema and Kintya, in the Mitwaba area of Katanga province, have long been isolated by the conflict and are suffering the effects. The ICRC has therefore distributed seed for food crops to enable them to resume agricultural production and tide the population over until trade links can be restored. (...) The operation is aimed at helping the people concerned make a fresh start after four years of conflict. It will give them the support they need to progress towards food security and general economic self-sufficiency.

Over the years, the ICRC has unfailingly come to the aid of civilians affected by the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2001, for example, some 275,000 people received basic necessities, farming tools and seed.



Peace and security



Peru : Mine-awareness campaign

24 October - In late September the ICRC conducted a major campaign in cooperation with the Peruvian national police to raise awareness of the dangers of antipersonnel mines in 14 villages particularly affected by the problem. (...) The Unidad de Comunidades Campesinas de la Sierra Central del Perú (an association of Andean farming communities) also took part in the project.

Although the mine-awareness programme was mainly designed for children, who are particularly at risk, all the inhabitants of the villages concerned, parents included, showed keen interest (...) This campaign – the first of its kind in Peru – will be followed by other activities aimed at preventing mine accidents.


Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to present Awards this month

On October 24, the Foundation will present its 2002 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award to His Excellency Arthur N.R. Robinson, President of Trinidad and Tobago, for his critical role in the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC).  A posthumous award will also be made to Dr. Robert Woetzel, the founder of the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, for his lifelong work toward the Court's creation. 

The Foundation will also present its 2002 World Citizenship Award to Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor Emeritus of the UN University for Peace and a former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, for his efforts in global education and humanitarianism. 

The following day, the Foundation will host a full-day symposium on International Law and the Quest for Security.  President Robinson will be making the keynote address on the International Criminal Court at the symposium. 

Source: The Sunflower, Oct. 2002 –


New United Nations website on the question of the UN Arms Inspections in Iraq

Vienna, 14 October - In  view  of  the  strong  media interest in the question of the UN arms inspection  in  Iraq  we  would like to draw your attention to a new United Nations website.

On  the  general news page or specifically under the direct link

you  will find the new web "UN Arms Inspections in Iraq; Disarming Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction". This  page  contains  actual  press  information  and  Security  Council documents and background information:

Further on you will also find chronological data of UNMOVIC (1999-2002), of the IAEO (1991-1999) and of UNSCOM (1991-1999) as well as useful links, e.g. to the office of the UN Oil-for-Food Programme or the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs.

United Nations Information Service:


Economists Allied for Arms Reduction: suit against South Africa’s government

The South African chapter of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction and its chairman, Terry Crawford-Browne, have lodged a class action suit against the government. The South African Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world. Its Bill of Rights guarantees food, water, health care, education, and housing. In testing the strength of the new Constitution, the suit challenges that SA’s $5 billion armaments program for new warships and warplanes compromises the country’s ability to reduce the nation’s poverty. About 35% of the population is unemployed, and more than 50% are in the “poverty” classification. The suit contends that government money should be used for human security rather than military expenditure.  Website:

Source: NGO Reporter, September 2002-10-28






US Rotary club members travel to Africa for National Immunization Days

More than 150 US Rotary club members help immunize millions of children - part of Rotary's global effort to eradicate polio worldwide by 2005

Evanston, Illinois, USA, 30 October - As polio still threatens children in parts of Africa and South Asia, Rotary club members worldwide have made eliminating this crippling disease their top priority.  In support of this global endeavor, Rotary club members from Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; and Grand Rapids, Michigan are traveling to Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria, respectively, to immunize local children against the poliovirus.

While overseas, the volunteers will help administer drops of oral polio vaccine, assist parents in getting their children vaccinated, transport health workers, deliver the vaccine to health clinics and recruit fellow volunteers during each country's National Immunization Day (NID).  Their goal is to immunize millions of children under the age of five against polio. For as little as US .50 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. Great strides have been made in polio eradication-as of June 2002 the Americas, the Western Pacific Region and European region had all been certified polio-free. (...) The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Joint programme launches new initiative against workplace violence in the health sector

Geneva, 24 October - Faced with a mounting toll of violence afflicting on average one of every two health workers worldwide, a joint programme of labour, health and public service organizations today launched a new initiative aimed at helping health professionals fight fear, assault, humiliation and even homicide where they work.

The joint task force - comprising the International Labour Office (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Services International (PSI) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) - has launched a set of "Framework guidelines for addressing workplace violence in the health sector" during a meeting at ILO headquarters in Geneva.

The initiative comes in the face of a mounting problem in hospitals and other health workplaces worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. Research* shows that nearly 25 per cent of all violent incidents at work occur in the health sector and that more than 50 per cent of health care workers have experienced such incidents. (...)


Luxembourg to Support Drug Control Projects in Lao People's Democratic Republic

United Nations Projects Aimed at Assisting the Country Implement Its Balanced Strategy against Illicit Opium Cultivation

Vienna, 22 October (UN Information Service) - The Luxembourg Fund Fonds de Lutte contre le Traffic des Stupefiants will provide support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for two drug control projects in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Luxembourg's contribution of 300,000 euros will be used for projects aimed at helping the country implement its national strategy -- A Balanced Approach to Opium Elimination in Lao PDR -- which includes both monitoring and prevention of opium poppy cultivation in critical provinces as well as assistance to farmers in the form of alternative development strategies. The ODC efforts have been focused on greater food security, increased cash incomes from alternative sources, such as livestock, crops and non-agricultural activities, and improved market access and marketing.

The Lao PDR is the world's third largest producer of illicit opium after Afghanistan and Myanmar. (...) Since 1996, the Luxembourg fund has supported ten ODC projects with a total of over US $4 million (...)


In turning the tide against HIV/AIDS, education is key

Washington DC, October 18 - With more than 40 million people worldwide now estimated to be infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, UN and World Bank officials warned today that education plans to get 115 million boys and girls into primary school by 2015 needed to be intensified if the world was to have any hope of blunting the spread of the epidemic.

Meeting in Washington, members of the UNAIDS Interagency Task Team on Education released a new action plan-HIV/AIDS and Education: A Strategic Approach-which will help countries fight the spread of HIV infection by stepping up their national efforts to achieve the Education For All (EFA) goal of offering a quality primary school education to all children by 2015. (...)

Established in January 1996, UNAIDS brings together eight United Nations system organizations to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to the epidemic. (...)


South Africa: Traditional medicines offer promise in fighting AIDS

Traditional healers methods and indigenous plants are central to a new project seeking to identify treatments for HIV and AIDS at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban. The United States National Institute of Health is considering funding the project to test traditional medicines and therapies for treating AIDS patients holistically. Traditional healers from Mwelela Kweliphesheya, a development arm of KwaZulu-Natal Indigenous Healers, are providing information on the indigenous flora used in their methods, with the hope of testing their ingredients and eventually developing trial studies of patients.

Source: [Sunday Times (Johannesburg)], October 6, 2002


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces Global Fund for Women grant to improve women’s health in developing countries

Seattle and San Francisco, USA, September 30 — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today a $1 million grant to the Global Fund for Women, a grantmaking foundation that will provide smaller, strategic grants to women’s groups striving to transform their communities by improving access to quality health care, education and economic opportunity for women.

The challenges facing women in communities, cultures, religions, traditions, and countries include inequalities in social, economic and political status. These inequalities have a devastating impact on women’s well-being. As a result, sexually transmitted diseases afflict five times as many women as men worldwide. In Africa, many women lack access to quality care during pregnancy, delivery and following childbirth. And in parts of the continent, adolescent girls are six times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than boys.

The Gates Foundation grant will help to further the work of the Global Fund for Women, including funding organizations such as Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK). As the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to spread, more and more families carry the burden of caring for family members with HIV/AIDS. WOFAK organizes home-based care teams of nurses, caregivers and counselors to help women caring for family members with HIV/AIDS. (...)


The world’s businesses realize the economic toll of HIV/AIDS

In some parts of the world it is necessary to train two workers for every job, since one may succumb to the disease. In a display of corporate responsibility, the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS has assembled multinational companies pledged to commit to programs to combat the disease in their workforce.  



Energy and safety



Dry cleaning solvent helps win Nobel Prize in Physics

15 October - A large tank of perchloroethylene (PER) dry cleaning fluid installed in a gold mine 1,500 metres below the earth’s surface helped Raymond Davis Jr, one of this year’s three Physics Nobel Prize winners, detect and count sub-atomic particles emitted by the sun.

The PER was used because it is mostly composed of highly-reactive chlorine atoms that interact with extraterrestrial neutrinos penetrating the earth to create a detectable and measurable radioactive isotope of argon. Argon is a colourless odourless inert gaseous element found that forms almost 1% of the Earth's atmosphere and also found in volcanic gases; it is used in welding, lasers, and electric bulbs.

For more information, please read Eurochlor (the European federation representing chlor-alkali producers) press release.



Environment and wildlife



WWF launches Gold Standard for Kyoto Protocol projects

29 October, Delhi, India – WWF, the conservation organization, today launched draft gold standards for greenhouse gas reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI). The launch coincides with the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP8) being held in Delhi, where the operational procedures for these projects are set to be finalized.
The “Gold Standard” for CDM and JI Projects has been developed by WWF in consultation with a range of environmental, business and governmental organizations, and seeks to ensure that projects provide both climate and sustainable development benefits. The CDM and JI allow governments and firms to offset their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions through new investment in clean technology projects. (...)


UNESCO launches global change monitoring programme

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, October 28 - UNESCO's unique network of Biosphere Reserves is set to have a new role - monitoring global climate change. Out of the 408 biosphere reserves in 94 countries, 138 are in mountain areas. And mountains are proving to be extremely sensitive to global warming. (...) In a partnership with the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) based in Berne (Switzerland), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), UNESCO is selecting biosphere reserve sites from each of the major mountainous regions of the world as the focus for this new global climate change monitoring programme. And in addition to its assessment of environmental impacts, the study will also see how global change is affecting the socio-economic conditions of mountain people.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will announce this project when he addresses the Global Mountain Summit, due to open in Bishkek on October 29, the culminating event in the International Year of the Mountain that comes to an end in December.


Latin American and Caribbean forests grow into a global model

28 October - A network of model forests being set up in Latin America and the Caribbean is showing how partnerships with local communities and improvements in government policies can lead to more effective forest management, environmental conservation and poverty reduction. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and UNDP are joining Argentina, Chile, and the Dominican Republic in supporting the project. Its regional centre, in the UNDP office in Santiago, Chile, aims to be a global model. (...) The initiative is based on Canada's Model Forests Programme, launched a decade ago at the Earth Summit, and includes six model forests, some established and others being developed. (...)

The regional centre will have initial funding of US$1.8 million, with CIDA contributing $1.5 million over three years, and the founding member countries providing the rest of the funding. Forests in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Peru may also join the project.

The model forests support the UN Forum on Forests and international environmental pacts, such as those on biodiversity, climate change and desertification. They are also closely aligned with other international initiatives, including the Montreal process on sustainable forest management and the Action Programme on Forests of the G8 countries.


Europe's Top Environmental Prize Awarded To UNEP Executive Director

27 October- The Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Europe's largest environmental foundation, has honoured Mr. Klaus Toepfer for his outstanding achievement in environmental protection. He received the prize from Germany's Federal President, Johannes Rau, at a ceremony in Osnabruck, Germany.


Groups sue EPA over neglect of San Joaquin Valley particulate air pollution

Fresno, CA, USA - 22 October -- As particulate matter air pollution season approaches in the San Joaquin Valley, community, environmental, and medical groups held a press conference at Fresno City Hall today announcing the filing of a lawsuit in federal court today against the federal Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to take actions addressing the Valleys air quality problems nearly a decade ago. EPA was required by December 17, 1993 to impose sanctions on the Valley and develop a federally enforceable plan to regulate particulate matter (PM or soot) pollution. Today, the region still has no federally approved plan to regulate this deadly pollutant.

Because local officials in the Valley had not fulfilled their duties in regulating the pollutant, the Clean Air Act required EPA impose highway and stationary source offset sanctions, as well as to impose a Federal Implementation Plan by 1993, but EPA never fulfilled these duties. More than eight years later, EPA has still not imposed a plan or sanctions actions that would have had significant impacts on pollution levels in the Valley. (...)


Confronting land degradation - key to environment and sustainable development

Beijing, China, 18 October - A new basis for partnership towards sustainable development has been set in place with the adoption of land degradation as a focal area of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) said the President of IFAD, Mr. Lennart Bage during the Second Global Environmental Facility Assembly taking place in the Chinese capital. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Bage emphasized that "The campaigns against poverty, hunger and environmental degradation are not separate efforts. Rather, they are mutually reinforcing processes that must advance as one if they are to have a lasting and meaningful impact. Poor people do not have the luxury of the longer term view when they are struggling to survive from one day to the next."

IFAD is actively involved in combating land degradation and has been working with the Global Mechanism of the Convention to Combat Desertification and is developing partnerships for the land degradation focal area. (...)


Toxic clean-up programme in Africa receives international funding support

16 October, Beijing, China - WWF applauds the decision by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to endorse the Africa Stockpiles Programme (ASP), which aims to clean-up and safely dispose of over 50,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticide waste stockpiled throughout Africa.

Meeting this week in Beijing, the GEF Council gave phase one of the programme its official endorsement, pledging US$25 million with the understanding that US$35 million in co-financing will be contributed by government aid agencies, the private sector, and other donors, and that participating countries will ratify the global Stockholm persistent organic pollutants (POPs) convention. (...)

Initiated by WWF and Pesticide Action Network in late 2000, the African Stockpiles Programme is a multi-stakeholder initiative that holds great promise for tackling pesticide contamination throughout Africa. The programme is expected to take 12-15 years to complete, with the 2003-2006 phase one involving about 15 countries. Virtually every African country has stockpiles of obsolete pesticides that have accumulated over the past several decades. Many of these chemicals and their containers are in poor condition, threatening local and regional environments and human health through contamination of soil, water, air and food. (...)


India: Champions of urban water bodies assemble to seek ways to revive dying wetlands

New Delhi, October 3-4 - In a two-day workshop on 'Protection of Urban Wetlands', organised by Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, a core group was formed to promote the movement to revive dying urban wetlands. The team comprises of individuals from across the country who have made significant efforts to protect ailing lakes, ponds and tanks in their respective cities. (...)

The mandate of the core group, constituted at the conclusion of the workshop, is to document facts on the ecologically fragile and sensitive urban wetlands and to assemble detailed case study dossiers in order to create a comprehensive national database -- a challenging and an unprecedented exercise. Their findings and reports are to be made public over the Internet. (...)



Culture and education



UNESCO celebrates 30 years of preserving world heritage -  Venice, November 14 to 16

Paris, October 25 – The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which gave rise to the World Heritage List, is 30 years old this year. It was adopted in Paris on November 16, 1972 and came into force in December 1975, when the minimum requirement of 20 countries had ratified it. Today, with 175 States-Parties, it is UNESCO's most widely-backed legal instrument. To mark this anniversary, UNESCO will hold an international congress ("Shared Legacy, Common Responsibility") in Venice from November 14 to 16, with the support of the Italian government and the city council.

The Congress will bring together more than 500 experts at the Cini Foundation, on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore, to analyse the successes and problems over 30 years of applying the Convention; to work out ways of making the Convention and UNESCO's efforts to protect World Heritage better known; and to strengthen future partnerships for World Heritage Conservation. (...)

Venice and its lagoon, which has been a World Heritage site since 1987, provides the ideal setting to assess the evolution of the Convention, whose importance is highlighted in the preamble which affirms that "the deterioration or disappearance of any item of cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world."


2002 Global Citizenship award to Robert Muller

Robert Muller, UN Assistant Secretary General to three Secretary Generals and University for Peace Co-Founder is the recipient of the 2002 Global Citizenship award  from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

At the awards dinner in California on UN Day October 24, 375 guests received a signed copy of Robert Muller’s biography, Prophet—The Hatmaker’s Son, The Life of Robert Muller by Douglas Gillies. A mother and daughter whose lives have been deeply touched by Robert Muller's inspiration made the generous donation so each peace activist could have his own copy.

In his acceptance speech, Muller encouraged everyone to follow their dreams and to write down their ideas for a better world. Nearly 100 students were in attendance and were especially inspired by Muller's optimism for the future. The publication date of Robert Muller’s biography is March 2003. A limited number of first edition advance copies, signed by the author and Muller, are now available at or by calling 1-800-942-7617.


Education Development Center receives $7.5 million to establish National Suicide Prevention Resource Center; funding awarded by U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Newton, MA, USA, 2 October—The division of Health and Human Development Programs at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) will establish a national suicide prevention resource center, with a grant of $2.5 million per year for a total of 3 years, to provide information about and assistance to communities implementing suicide prevention programs. (...) The center, to be based at HHD/EDC's Newton, Massachusetts headquarters, allows the organization to build on its current work developing indicators to measure progress in suicide prevention and providing training on best practices. (...)

The mission of Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) at Education Development Center, Inc. is to promote healthy lifestyles and to create healthy and safe environments where people live, learn and work. Information on HHD is available at

Education Development Center (EDC) is an international non-profit organization, which manages more than 350 projects in 40 countries to advance learning and healthy development for individuals of all ages and institutions of all types. (...) For more information, visit


"The Cosmological Imagination"—conference in Berkeley, CA, USA, November 1-3 

It is sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies and other groups.  Thomas Berry, now age 87, is making a rare  trip from North Carolina to be present for a 90-minute tribute  to him on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, as a main feature of the conference. The galaxy of speakers includes, among others: Stanislav Grof, Robert McDermott, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Matthew Fox, David Ulansey, Lauren Artress, Larry Edwards, Ralph Metzner, Christian de Quincey and Robert Hand. The setting is the beautiful sanctuary of  St. John's Presbyterian in Berkeley.

What new principles, what new structures - social, political, economic, intellectual, psychological, spiritual - will emerge to shape our future? It is no exaggeration to say, everything is at stake, from the deep ecology of our planetary biosphere to the deep ecology of the human spirit. (...)

We have assembled many of the most creative thinkers of our time to address these looming questions, so that all of us might move more deeply into this great rethinking.

For more information and registration, go to:


Second Annual National Inclusive Schools Week is December 2-6

Denver, CO, USA—The 2nd Annual National Inclusive Schools Week will be celebrated December 2- 6 in classrooms, schools, and communities throughout the country to highlight the nation's progress in providing a quality education to an increasingly diverse student population.

National Inclusive Schools Week, which involved tens of thousands of participants in more than 2,000 schools and school districts in nearly all 50 states in 2001, is sponsored by the National Institute for Urban School Improvement, a project of the U.S.Dept. of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. (...)



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Next issue: 22 November  


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