Good News Agency – Year III, n° 21



Weekly - Year III, number 21 – 14 December 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



Canada ratifies the Kyoto Climate Protocol

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, December 10 (ENS) - The Parliament of Canada voted today to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, bringing the treaty to limit greenhouse gases one step closer to entry into force. Environmentalists cheered the vote, but industry remains opposed to the binding emissions limits. (...)

The Kyoto Protocol becomes law when a minimum of 55 countries covering at least 55 percent of 1990 greenhouse gas emissions have ratified. Canada's vote brings the total to 98 countries, covering 40.7 percent of greenhouse emissions.

Russia's ratification, expected to take place in June 2003, will see the agreement take effect globally. (...)


West African states and the UN identify gaps in the joint fight against human trafficking

Vienna, 6 December (UN Information Service) -- The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African experts called for immediate action by States to implement the sub-regional Plan of Action against trafficking in human beings. The ECOWAS/UN Office on Drugs and Crime Joint Expert Group Meeting, which was held in Lomé, Togo, at the ECOWAS Fund Conference Center from 2 - 3 December 2002, adopted a series of recommendations which underline the need for urgent legislative and institutional measures, such as the ratification of international conventions, the criminalization of trafficking in human beings, the establishment of National Task Forces and special law enforcement units or the adoption of bilateral cooperation agreements to facilitate repatriation of victims. (...)



Human rights



UN rights expert salutes Timor Leste's adoption of Migrant Worker's Treaty

New York, Dec 11 - A United Nations human rights expert today hailed the adoption by Timor-Leste of a global treaty protecting migrant workers and their families, a move that gave the accord the force of international law. Gabriela Rodriguez Pizarro, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the question of the human rights of migrants, said the entry into force of the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families "is a great success for all those who have voiced the suffering of migrants and who have campaigned for the establishment of an international legal framework for the protection of the human rights of migrants."

Yesterday, Timor-Leste became the twentieth country to sign on to the Convention, which was adopted 12 years ago by the UN General Assembly. (...) According to the Special Rapporteur, the Convention "offers a holistic approach to the human rights of migrants and summarizes in a single instrument a broad gamut of rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights."


Security Council debates measures to protect civilians in armed conflict

New York, December 10 - As the United Nations Security Council discussed measures to protect civilians in armed conflict, UN officials today stressed the urgency of finding practical ways to improve the safety of individuals and provide for them after the fighting has ended.

Speaking at the outset of the Council's meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the question is among the most urgent, and most important, for the Council and for the UN as a whole in addressing the effects of fighting around the world. (...)

Noting that today is Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General also emphasized the "unambiguous linkage" between improving the security of the individual person and securing and sustaining peace and preventing violent conflict, calling for practical measures and a clear path from policy to implementation. "We need to move forward and develop a more systematic approach to this issue," he said, urging a solid structure through which analysis and policy, and an awareness of best practices, can be translated immediately into action that makes a difference in people's lives. (...)



Economy and development



At a press conference on 17 December, ECLAC will present: Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2002

9 December - José Antonio Ocampo, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), will offer a press conference to present the Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2002, next Tuesday 17 December, at 11 am, at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile, Raúl Prebisch Room (Av. Dag Hammarskjöld s/n, Vitacura).

This publication, one of the most important prepared by this regional commission of the United Nations, includes official data through 30 November and analyses economic trends and estimates for all of 2002. Projections for 2003 will also be presented.

The report summary and a Power Point presentation will be available on 17 December in Spanish and English on our web site,   or , from GMT 15:00 hours on (noon, Chile time).


UN Volunteers use Internet to boost business in Ecuador

9 December - United Nations Volunteers (UNV) are harnessing the Internet to help start new businesses, ranging from canning and freezing fish to artisans joining forces to market wooden crafts, in a new initiative in Esmeraldas Province in north-west Ecuador.

The project, in cooperation with UNDP, is expanding to eight more provinces through alliances with local partners. It aims to promote business start-ups and local development to create jobs and reduce poverty. There are more than 2,000 fishing families in Esmeraldas selling on the local market at low prices, for example, and the project is helping them find other markets.

The initiative is vital to the province's economic, social and cultural development, said Ernesto Estupiñan, Mayor of Esmeraldas, the provincial capital. "It will help create a business culture in the province," he said. (...)


The future of regional food security and agriculture in Africa
High-level meeting in Abuja

9 December, Rome/Abuja -- African leaders will seek better ways to spearhead regional food security programmes at a high-level meeting in Abuja on 11-12 December.

In addition to President Obasanjo of Nigeria, eight Heads of State or their representatives are invited to the Abuja meeting in their quality of chairpersons of Africa's Regional Economic Organizations. (...) Dr Omar Kabbaj, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chairperson of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Steering Committee, and high-ranking officials from African Regional Economic Organizations, representatives of Farmers Associations and multi-bilateral development and financial agencies will participate in the meeting which is jointly organized by the NEPAD steering committee, ADB and FAO.

Ways and means to harmonize the activities of the regional economic organizations with the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are on top of the agenda. Discussions will focus on the role of the regional economic organizations and how to secure their commitment to agriculture, particularly in agricultural trade facilitation, food safety measures to protect the consumers in the Continent and to promote agricultural trade, and regional support to national food security and agricultural development efforts.

Participants will also discuss cooperation between regional and international financial institutions in support of increased investments in agricultural and rural development. (...)


13th International Training Programme on industrial project preparation and appraisal with special focus on fruit and vegetable processing sector

December 2 - 20, 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. (...) UNIDO studies reveal that skills for a systematic approach to project formulation is a major constraint in tapping opportunities and taking judicious investment decisions.

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. (...)


Livestock survey started in Afghanistan

More than 30 000 villages involved - Results expected by July 2003

3 December 2002, Rome/Kabul - A national livestock census has started in Afghanistan.

More than 30 000 villages and farming communities will be visited over the coming months to provide detailed information on the number of animals and livestock production practices, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO is conducting the survey in close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan and non-governmental organizations, with financial assistance from the government of Italy. (...)


ESCWA to launch arabic version of “Visible Hands”

Beirut, 1 December - The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) will be launching the Arabic version of "Visible Hands" in a press conference to be held on Monday the 2nd of December 2002 at 11:00 am at the United Nations House, Riad Solh Square, Beirut.

"Visible Hands", a report of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), explores recent efforts to reassert the value of equity and social cohesion in an increasingly individualistic world. Markets in themselves have no capacity to imagine or create a decent society for all. Only the "visible hands" of governments and public spirited people can do that. Too much confidence in the "invisible hand" of unregulated markets has been matched by too little understanding of the necessary relation between public policy and development. Efficient markets require the contributions of a well-run public sector. They require a healthy and well-informed population. They require the social stability that grows out of democratic governance and an acceptable level of public provision. (...)






Pakistan: Aid for displaced families in Northern Areas

5 December - On 1 and 2 December the ICRC distributed aid to displaced people living in three camps near the city of Skardu, in Pakistan's Northern Areas.

The aid, consisting of blankets, shawls, quilts, soap, kitchen utensils, stoves and kerosene, was handed out to 291 families (some 1,700 individuals) in the presence of local and regional officials.

The displaced people had left their villages along the line of control in May owing to continuous shelling. (...) "This distribution was especially crucial as the temperatures are now falling below zero", said Muhammad Ali, an elder from one of the affected villages in the Gultari sector. "We hope that the authorities will live up to their promise to find us houses until the spring, when, if all goes well, we can return to our villages ".

The delivery of aid was delayed for a week owing to landslides that cut off the Karakorum highway leading to Skardu after an earthquake, followed by numerous aftershocks, hit the Astore region on 21 November. The ICRC trucks carrying the aid were the first to be allowed to use the road again once it had been cleared.


Sierra Leone: Boost for over 8,000 women farmers

5 December - Helping women to resettle and rebuild their lives after years of conflict is a priority for the ICRC in Sierra Leone. In 2002 the organization provided agricultural assistance for 415 women's associations in Kono and Kailahun districts, in the eastern part of the country, in cooperation with the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Agriculture. The community-based vegetable-farming project was specifically designed to improve the living standards of women and enhance their ability to generate income.

Prior to the delivery of the assistance, participants were taught how to prepare a nursery and where to locate a garden. They also learned about pest control and soil conservation and received information on marketing and other production issues. The package received by each group consisted of imported and local vegetable seed, hoes, shovels, metal buckets, machetes and wheelbarrows. Over 8,000 women are estimated to have benefited from the project.

In 2000 and 2001, 971 women's associations (71,442 beneficiaries) received similar assistance in the Western Area, Bombali, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Kambia, Port Loko, Bo, Pujehun and Kenema districts.


Relief food convoy arrives in Southern Somalia, despite major security obstacles

Nairobi, 3 December – The UN World Food Programme has condemned major obstacles imposed by various local authorities and militiamen in Somalia while recently transporting by road 700 tonnes of relief food to southern Somalia. The 24 truck convoy, which departed from the Port of Merca on 17 November and arrived only yesterday, was delayed at over 40 checkpoints, turning the typically three-day journey into a 21-day odyssey. “What should have been a quick and hassle-free operation, has instead taken three weeks of long and painstaking negotiations,” said Robert Hauser, WFP Country Representative for Somalia. “It is indicative of the extreme difficulties in conducting relief work in this part of Somalia.” (...)

The food aid to be distributed over the next week in the Bay and Bakool regions will be given to Mother and Child Health Centers (MCH) where WFP provides food rations to poor families with malnourished children, reaching some 1,600 families (9,600 beneficiaries).

The food is also being distributed in support of community based food-for-work projects, benefiting some 12,000 people to whom food is given in return for work on rehabilitation projects, such as the construction of water catchments. (...)


$4.75 million granted to CARE and Save the Children to relieve African food crisis exacerbated by HIV/AIDS

Seattle, December 3 - CARE and Save the Children have received grants totaling $4.75 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help avert famine in southern and eastern Africa. More than 22 million people -- 14 million in southern Africa and at least 8 million in eastern Africa -- are at risk of disease, malnutrition, or starvation resulting from severe droughts and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. (...)

The scarcity of food in southern Africa is a result of multiple factors, including lack of rainfall, depleted supply of grain reserves, and low production levels of maize and fertilizer. A high incidence of HIV/AIDS in most of the region also has contributed to the crisis. The majority of grant funds will support efforts by Save the Children and CARE to meet immediate human needs and lay the groundwork for rebuilding assets and livelihoods.  (...)

CARE and Save the Children used foundation funding earlier this year to distribute food and to develop a surveillance system that helps determine nutritional and food supply needs in Malawi. With this new grant, the organizations will continue to work together to identify the nutritional needs of families already weakened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. By training community health workers and volunteers in recognizing nutritional deficiencies, Save the Children, and CARE hope to limit the number of individuals at risk of disease and death.


New, creative website to help wipe out poverty and save the rainforests.

Gareth Ford-Williams, a happily married father of two from Ramsbottom, Lancashire, U.K., is the driving force behind a new website which aims to help alleviate third world poverty and slow down the destruction of the rainforests. Earlier this year, a six-year-old girl asked her father: "Why do people go hungry and babies die when we've got lots of food in our country?" Gareth decided to look at ways in which he and Molly could make a difference to some of the world's biggest problems, and help others do the same. "I don't want my kids to grow up thinking there's nothing they can do to help the world, even a little bit. There's always something you can do, it's just finding it. That is where the idea for the website,, came from."

He decided to launch a portal to bring together free donation websites; helping people to donate for free to a number of charities simply by clicking on Internet links. The concept is simple: you (the Free Donator) visit the charity website and are invited to click on a free donation button. When you do so, you are exposed to a few sponsorship messages for commercial websites. The funds raised from this form of advertising is paid directly to the charity from the sponsors. The Free Donator is informed of what click will contribute: for example, 1 bowl of rice to a street child in Brazil that would otherwise go hungry. There's no catch, absolutely nothing; you part with no money and the charity gets essential funds.

"Through our website it takes just a few minutes to reduce the amount of suffering in the world and help protect our children's future. I believe that alone it can feel hard to help the world, but if we all push together we can move mountains. is one place we can all push together and make a difference in people's lives and the future of our planet. Caring a little more can genuinely cost nothing. It's the drop of water idea: a few drops make a puddle, but millions can make an ocean." For more information, contact Gareth Ford-Williams and Molly at


Rotarians in India help reduce impact of deafness on poor rural students

The  Rotary Club of Nanganallur, India, completed two Matching Grant Projects on November 14th -- Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday, celebrated as children's day. One of the projects is providing group hearing aid systems to Jeevan Gnaodhaya high school for deaf at Chengalpattu, Tamilnadu, India; the other project is providing Science Laboratory equipments to upgrade the school to a higher secondary school level.

Thru these two Projects - that were carried out also with the financial assistance of Rotary Club of Davenport, Iowa, USA, and the Rotary Foundation -  about 120 poor hearing impaired students are brought at par with other children studying in other regular high schools, thus allowing them to reduce their mental and moral suffering and to improve their future employment opportunities.

Project contact: K.S.Srinivasan, Rotary Club Nanganallur, India,



Peace and security



Business meeting in Croatia fosters regional links and reconciliation

12 December - A regional business meeting held recently in Vukovar, Croatia, has set the stage for wider commercial cooperation, marking an important step in overcoming the bitter legacy of conflict during the past decade. More than 120 representatives of companies and Chambers of Commerce from four former Yugoslav republics - Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia - gathered for the business-to-business event organized by UNDP and the local Chamber of Commerce. They agreed to urge their governments to ease customs regulations and procedures in the region to encourage cross-border commerce.

The participants plan to hold further meetings on a regular basis to strengthen economic cooperation, and have scheduled the next for early April in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.

Vukovar, in eastern Croatia, reflects both the region's past and hopes for a brighter future: it lies at the crossroads of many traditional trading routes and was the scene of atrocious war crimes a decade ago.  (...)


Second Global Summit on Peace through Tourism: Geneva, Switzerland, February 5-8, 2003

Continuing to build a "Culture of Peace through Tourism" and harnessing the world's largest industry as a leading force for poverty reduction are the aims of the Second Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, February 5-8, 2003, at the International Conference Centre. From this historic setting, a  "Government - Industry - Donor, and NGO Round-Table" will feature leaders from these four key sectors exchanging ideas, and reaching consensus, on a coordinated strategy for poverty reduction.

Summit Outcomes will include a "21st Century Agenda for Peace through Tourism"; a beginning government - industry - donor - NGO collaborative strategy for the role of tourism in poverty reduction; Youth Travel initiatives; Educational Initiatives; Travel & Tourism related micro-enterprise initiatives; pilot projects that empower local communities to achieve jobs with dignity and sustainable futures; and the dedication of a Dag Hammarskjold International Peace Park as a legacy of the Summit. The Summit is being organized by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.

The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global business leaders forum. Members are chief executives from all sectors of the industry. The mission of the Council is to raise awareness of the industry's importance and to work with governments to create and implement policies that can unlock the industry's potential to generate economic growth and create jobs.






UNICEF and Cultural Olympiad partner to vaccinate 1.4 million children

A $7 million gift to immunization; UNICEF to produce special greeting cards.

New York / Athens, 6 December - UNICEF and the Cultural Olympiad, a new international organization set up to highlight the relationship between sports and culture, today began a partnership that will give over 1 million children a better chance of growing up free from disability and disease.

The Cultural Olympiad announced today that it will donate US $7 million to UNICEF's global immunization efforts, enabling UNICEF to reach 1.4 million children with life-saving vaccinations in poor, rural and hard-to-reach communities.

In exchange for the donation, UNICEF will gear its 2003 holiday greeting cards and 2004 spring greeting cards to themes related to sports and culture, conveying the spirit of goodwill and cross-cultural understanding that the Cultural Olympiad was created to promote.  (...)


Rotary International President Dr. Carlos Canseco (1984-85) receives PAHO Public Health Hero of the Americas award

Washington, DC, USA 2 December 2002 - In recognition of his role in establishing Rotary International as the catalyst to eradicate polio from the Western Hemisphere, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today presented Dr. Carlos Canseco of Monterrey, Mexico with the Public Health Hero of the Americas Award. This one-time award is part of PAHOs centennial celebration, and recognizes eleven individuals who have made invaluable contributions to public health in the Americas.

While President of Rotary International in 1984-85, Dr. Canseco worked with Dr. Albert Sabin, the inventor of oral polio vaccine, to establish Rotarys PolioPlus program, which aims to immunize the children of the world against polio by 2005 - Rotarys centennial anniversary.

As a result, Rotary, in partnership with PAHO, contributed US$38.5 million in PolioPlus funds and countless volunteer hours to the national immunization programs in 27 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Grants required the participation of Rotary clubs, and in each country, Rotary members brought different approaches and levels of support. (...)


WHO-NTI establish a Global Emergency Outbreak Response Fund

2 December, Washington D.C. -- Former Senator Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the World Health Organization, today announced the formation of a rapid outbreak response fund to strengthen the global response to infectious disease outbreaks, whether naturally occurring or from the release of biological weapons. The WHO-NTI Emergency Outbreak Response Fund will ensure that response teams can be on the ground within 24 hours of a detected outbreak wherever it occurs around the globe.

Crucial hours lost in the early days of a disease outbreak can mean the difference between a handful of cases and a major epidemic, said Dr Brundtland. As soon as an outbreak occurs, it is critical to get people on the ground as soon as possible. This revolving fund will enable WHO to provide medical experts and equipment immediately. (...)

The WHO-NTI Emergency Outbreak Response Fund, established in the amount of $500,000, removes immediate financial barriers to an urgent response and will allow the WHO to mobilize immediately. Until the establishment of the WHO-NTI Emergency Outbreak Response Fund, no contingency funds were readily available to respond to international public health emergencies.



Energy and safety



Briefing on human tissue irradiation technique that saves lives

Vienna, 3 December - Key experts from the IAEA and around the world will brief the media on Wednesday, 4 December on how a unique nuclear technique is saving lives. Know as tissue banking, the technique irradiates tissue grafts and bone to be used for transplants and in treating burn victims.

The IAEA has helped establish 66 tissue banks around the world and has invested millions of dollars in the program. Over 200,000 grafts from donors have been produced for the program. Recently, medical authorities in the United States began looking into adopting similar irradiation techniques following a number of cases of contamination of medical tissue used for transplant. (...)



Environment and wildlife



Launch of the International Year of Freshwater

Paris, December 10 - The International Year of Freshwater, 2003, will receive its official launch at a ceremony at the United Nations in New York on December 12. The aim of the year is to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and managing freshwater. The UN General Assembly resolution proclaiming the Year was initiated by the Government of Tajikistan and supported by 148 other countries.

In a message to be issued at the ceremony, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura says that "water can be an agent of peace, rather than conflicts, and UNESCO is looking at ways that will allow this century to be one of 'water peace' rather than 'water wars'. By developing principles and methods to manage this resource efficiently and ethically, while respecting related ecosystems, we move a step closer to the goal of sustainable development."

One of the main events of the International Year of Freshwater (IYFW) will be the 3rd World Water Forum, to take place in Kyoto (Japan), March 16-23. The Forum is timed to coincide with World Water Day, held on March 22 each year. At the Kyoto meeting, the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), a collaboration between 23 UN agencies involved in freshwater and hosted by UNESCO, will present its World Water Development Report. (...)


Basel Convention to adopt strategic plan for global action on hazardous and other wastes

UNEP calls for an industrial transformation to reduce wastes

Geneva/Nairobi, 9 December - Ministers and government officials are attending a major conference in Geneva from 9 - 13 December to decide on further action to alleviate the burdens imposed on society and the environment by hazardous and other wastes. The agenda features the launch of a unique partnership with major mobile-phone manufacturers, a ministerial roundtable on "e-wastes" and the release of new data on global trends in waste generation and transport.

The Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 6) to the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal will consider a strategic plan running through the year 2010 aimed at accelerating concrete action to protect human health and the environment from hazardous wastes.

The Meeting also expects to adopt technical guidelines on the disposal and recycling of lead-acid batteries, plastic wastes, biomedical and healthcare wastes, and obsolete ships. (...)


International effort results in new tool to calculate greenhouse gas emissions of pulp and paper mills

Washington, DC and Geneva Switzerland, December 2 - The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) in association with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the development of a methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from pulp and paper mills. The calculation tool will serve as a simple unified industry approach to emissions accounting.

"The development of this innovative calculation tool is another example of the forest products industry taking the worldwide lead in developing simple, transparent methods to calculate greenhouse gas emissions,” said W. Henson Moore, AF&PA president and chief executive officer. “The tool can be used on any scale, from determining emissions from a specific mill, from a specific company, or for our industry as whole."  



Culture and education



World Heritage has pride of place at UN Headquarters in New York

Paris, December 6 - The travelling photo exhibition of UNESCO's world heritage sites - Our Past, Our Future - organized jointly by UNESCO and the Chinese Permanent Delegation to the United Nations, was inaugurated on December 4 at UN Headquarters in New York, where it will be on show until January 31. The exhibition of large colour prints by internationally-known photographers shows the cultural diversity of our planet. It showcases in particular the riches of cultural heritage in Algeria, China, France, Jordan, Peru and Russia.

The opening of the exhibition in New York was part of a day of debate at the 57th session of the UN General Assembly devoted to the current UN Year for Cultural Heritage, which UNESCO has been coordinating throughout the UN system. (...)


African parliamentarians join forces to strengthen education

Dar-es-Salaam, December 3 - African parliamentarians from 45 countries have joined forces to strengthen education across the continent, in the quest to achieve education for all by 2015, the goal set at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal (April, 2000).

They will work through the new Forum of African Parliamentarians for Education (FAPED), created at a five-day meeting that ended in Dar-es-Salaam today. During the meeting the participants defined the new Forum's strategies and goals, established the secretariat - which will be housed at UNESCO's office in Dakar, Senegal - and set out a four-year programme and budget. They also adopted the Declaration of Dar-es-Salaam, which recognizes education as "the biggest challenge for Africa, the key to progress, individual and social well-being and peace" and that "ignorance and illiteracy are obstacles to development and the constitution of democratic societies." (...)


UNICEF to pick up pace on Girls’ Education

Major Campaign to Get Girls into School in 25 Priority Countries

Dar Es Saalam / Geneva, 3 December Declaring that the education of girls is key to real progress in overcoming poverty, UNICEF today announced a major initiative to get girls into school in 25 priority countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Speaking to a meeting of African education ministers here, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy announced the 25 by 2005 campaign to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education. The campaign, which includes 15 countries in Africa, focuses on countries where girls are furthest behind and where progress would make a real impact. Bellamy said UNICEF is prepared to do whatever is necessary to help the countries meet the goal of gender equality in education by 2005. (...)

The Millennium Development Goals agreed to by all the Member States of the United Nations have set 2005 as the first milestone, seeking to end gender disparities in primary and secondary education by the end of that year. (...)


Journalists form Food Security Network

Nairobi, 22 November - More than one hundred Journalists from twenty English-speaking African countries resolved to form the Network of African Journalists on Food Security (NAJFS) to highlight the need for the continent to be able to feed itself. The Network was formed at the end of a two-day workshop on Food Security and Sustainable Development held at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya, from 21-22 November 2002.

The workshop was organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT and the Coalition of African Organizations on Food Security and Sustainable Development (COASAD), to create awareness among participants on the need to fight against the scourges of food insecurity, famines and malnutrition affecting much of Africa.

According to the Journalists in their resolution, Africa today is faced with multifaceted developmental and social problems with food insecurity, famine and HIV/AIDS posing serious threats to millions of lives. They stated that it was their moral, professional and social responsibility to address these prevailing problems, focusing on how they can use their communication and advocacy skills to alleviate the problem. (...)



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Next issue: 10 January 2003


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