Good News Agency – Year III, n° 9



Weekly - Year III, number 9 –  3 May 2002

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day.

Good News Agency is 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.




International legislation - Human rightsPeace and safety - Economy and development

Solidarity - Health - Environment and wildlife - Culture and education


International legislation



UN Agencies announce major review of international food code

New York, Apr 22 - Aiming to address emerging health and safety concerns, two United Nations agencies today jointly announced plans to review the international food code. The review by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) marks the first time that the "Codex Alimentarius"- already in operation for 40 years - will be evaluated.

(…) In announcing the review, the agencies noted that since the Codex Alimentarius Commission was established 40 years ago, public concern over food safety issues has grown dramatically, with consumers "much more aware of what they regard as threats to their health, and of their rights to full information on foods." (…)

The review, which will be carried out by an independent Evaluation Team and an Expert Panel, is scheduled to be completed in early 2003.


Forum on Biodiversity adopts first-ever global guidelines on genetic resources

New York, Apr 19 - A United Nations conference on biodiversity concluded today after adopting guidelines encouraging companies to pay countries for the right to acquire local plants used in making drugs and fragrances.  In addition to these guidelines, the two-week meeting in The Hague on the Convention on Biological Diversity also approved an international work programme on forests and guiding principles on combating alien invasive species. (…)

The Convention was adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and sets out commitments for maintaining the world's ecological underpinnings as it relates to economic development. The Convention establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.



Human rights



In Sierra Leone, UN and partners adopt new measures to prevent sex abuse

New York, 26 April - The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), along with key partners, has established a committee to look into recent allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation of children by aid workers in the region.

The panel, officially known as the Coordination Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, includes representatives of UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Government of Sierra Leone, has also released a document setting forth principles of responsibility for all those who are engaged in relief activities. (…)

Among other provisions, the Standards of Accountability for all Humanitarian and Development Workers call for aid workers to promote fundamental human rights without discrimination of any kind and treat all persons with respect and courtesy, observing Sierra Leonean law, international law and local customs.


United Nations member states poised to endorse wide-ranging goals for children

Global effort to reduce mortality, AIDS, exploitation, and poverty among children

Geneva / New York, 26 April - Member States of the United Nations are expected to adopt a wide-ranging series of goals at a global conference next month in New York that will place children back at the top of the world's agenda and address the pressing issues of child mortality, AIDS, exploitation and poverty.

The 21 proposed goals promise to have far-reaching impact on the well-being of the world's young people. They form the basis of the 8-10 May UN General Assembly Special Session on Children and are contained in the conference's draft outcome document, A World Fit for Children, which United Nations Member States are currently finalizing as part of a yearlong consultative process (available at specialsession/documentation/index.html). (…)

At the Special Session on Children - rescheduled from last September due to the attacks - governments will review what has been achieved for children over the last decade and, crucially, what has not. The meeting is set to conclude with official agreement on the draft outcome document and its 21 goals, which will make a vital contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders two years ago.  (…)


Helping China's trade unions protect workers' rights

22 April - The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), whose affiliates represent 120 million workers, is launching an initiative to help workers laid off in the transition to a socialist market economy and strengthen unions' ability to protect workers' rights and interests. UNDP and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are supporting the project. The ACFTU is one of China's largest civil organizations and one of the largest national trade union federations in the world.

With China's economic transition and entry into World Trade Organization, reforms by state-owned enterprises have dramatically changed old arrangements, which assumed that the interests of unions, management and employees were in harmony. As these enterprises have restructured and made technological advances, they have let many workers go, and their fate has become one of the most pressing issues for the ACFTU. (…)


Boost for workers' rights in Saudi Arabia

Geneva, 18 April - Workers in Saudi Arabia are now able to defend their rights through committees at the workplace, a move welcomed by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia as another step in promoting social and labour rights in the Middle East.

After a visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year by a team of ILO experts, the Saudi Minister of Labour, Dr. Ali Al-Namlah, has now signed into law new labour rules that allow workers in Saudi Arabia - both national and foreign - to establish committees to guard their interests at workplaces where 100 or more are employed. (…)

In Bahrain, the ILO has provided similar technical assistance in helping workers' committees move to full Trade Union status. (…)

Mr. Somavia visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in October 2001 and signed a cooperation agreement with the labour Ministers of the Gulf States, under which these countries will benefit from ILO technical programmes to promote core ILO standards in the fields of trade union rights, forced labour, child labour and equal opportunities. (…)



Peace and safety



Mozambique: Army hopes to destroy stockpiles by next year

Johannesburg, 26 April - The Mozambican army hopes to destroy the more than 30,000 landmines it still has in stock by next year, the National Institute for Demining (IND) said on Friday. A batch of 2,500 of the killer devices was destroyed on 19 April and immediate plans are to destroy another 10,000 in the central and southern regions, IND national director Artur Verissimo said. Besides the army's stocks the IND was also continuing programmes to find the estimated one million mines still in the ground, he said.

Clearing started in 1993 after a protracted civil war which saw landmines laid around strategic towns and installations across the country. (…)

The country is a signatory to the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottowa Convention, and has committed itself to destruction deadlines. The treaty prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines in all situations, and it also forbids their development, production, stockpiling, and transfer. In addition, it requires the destruction of mines, whether held in stockpiles or already emplaced in the ground. (…)


Sudan: US sends mine-clearance team to Nuba Mountains

26 April - The United States announced on Tuesday that it would send a landmine-clearance team to the Nuba Mountains region of south-central Sudan, where a ceasefire between the government and southern rebels is currently in operation. "The Quick Reaction Demining Force's mine-clearance operations will lessen the likelihood of additional casualties, as refugees and internally displaced persons begin relocation into areas where mines are known to exist", a statement form the US State Department said. An advance party had already left for Sudan on 19 April, and the main deployment, comprising two squads of 10 persons each, were expected to arrive in approximately two weeks, the statement said.

Between 1989 and 2001, 1,135 persons had become victims of landmines in the Nuba Mountains, the statement quoted the Sudanese government as saying.

An agreement to implement a ceasefire in the 80,000-sq km Nuba Mountains region of Southern Kordofan was signed by representatives of the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in Burgenstock, Switzerland, on 19 January.


Clear progress in nuclear safety worldwide: review meeting of International Convention concludes

The Second Review Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety concluded on April 26, 2002 at the Headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. (…) The objective of the Convention is to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety worldwide. During the two week Review Meeting, parties engaged in a "peer review" process in which the National Reports from individual States were collectively examined and discussed, with written replies provided to all the questions raised. (…)

The Contracting Parties praised the IAEA's various safety review missions and services, which they use widely to help enhance the effectiveness of their national safety arrangements.

Forty-six contracting parties participated at the Review Meeting with over 400 delegates attending, including many heads and senior officers from regulatory bodies and experts from industry. To date, the Convention has been signed by sixty-five States and ratified by fifty-four, representing 428 of the 448 nuclear power reactors worldwide.

A summary report of the meeting will be issued separately. For background information on the Convention, see


More than 320,000 Afghans repatriated as returns gather pace

New York, Apr 23 - Repatriation movements of Afghan refugees have been gathering pace the last six weeks, with more than 320,000 Afghans returning home from neighbouring countries with assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Since 1 March, Afghan refugees have been returned home from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, a spokesman for UNHCR said at a press briefing in Geneva. (…)

Since December, the UN refugee agency has helped more than 25,600 IDPs return to their homes in central and eastern Afghanistan and plans to assist the return and reintegration of some 400,000 IDPs in 2002. Afghanistan has more than 1.2 million IDPs.

For more details go to UN News Centre at



Economy and development



UN Development Agency plans $400,000 emergency relief effort for Palestinians

New York, 25 April - Concerned about the evolving humanitarian crises in the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced plans for a $400,000 emergency relief and recovery plan to help rebuild the area.

The UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, using funds provided through the Islamic Development Bank, will distribute food, baby milk, bedding, medical kits and essential household items to those worst affected by curfews and house demolitions during the recent operations, especially in Nablus and Jenin.

The agency said that while it is too soon to accurately estimate the cost of the damage, it could well run to hundreds of millions of dollars. (…) To that end, UNDP has received approximately $40 million in new contributions from donor governments to immediately repair the area's infrastructure, including roads, water supply systems and damaged buildings. Earlier this month, an initial sum of $1.5 million has already been used to purchase and distribute urgently needed medical relief supplies and to begin immediate infrastructure repairs in the affected areas.


Mali groups use -- and conserve -- forest bounty

24 April - Communities in the Kita district in south-west Mali are selling wood, honey and other products from local forests to increase their earnings while improving forest management to ensure that future generations can enjoy the bounty.

A project supported by UNDP has helped set up more than 90 rural groups to manage marketing of wood from the forests. The groups cooperate closely with the Ministry of Rural Development on sustainable use of forest products. These efforts have helped put more than 110,000 hectares of forest under management and set up seven protected forest areas. The project also aided 15 villages in setting up land management plans.

The International Labour Organization is a partner in the initiative, along with the Ministry of Rural Development. The governments of Mali and Norway and UNDP have provided US$1.7 million for the project, begun four years ago. (…) The project supports these activities through training -- conducted in Bambara, the local language -- in management, forestry, sustainable charcoal production, and soap making. The project has also provided training for elected officials from local communities and the district in public administration to promote decentralization and natural resources management.


Lesotho looks to trade to help reduce poverty

23 April - A recent national conference in Maseru, the country's capital, marked the launch of an initiative to make trade a part of the government's poverty reduction strategy.

Textiles, the major driver of Lesotho's economic growth, got a big boost from the US African Growth and Opportunities Act last year, with exports to the US surging more than 50 per cent, creating about 10,000 new jobs and attracting more than US$100 million in new foreign investment. The US law provides only a temporary advantage, however, and Lesotho is seeking new strategies to add exports, investment and jobs. (…)

The first step will be an in-depth study on linkages between trade and poverty, market access, services, and investment climate, coordinated by the World Bank. A UNDP-administered Integrated Framework Trust Fund is providing $300,000 for the study. UNDP is providing additional funds for trade and investment policy reviews, and Ireland Aid and the UK Department for International Development have given technical assistance to support the initiative. (…)

Building on Lesotho's experience, the World Bank and UNDP are working to extend international collaboration on an integrated framework on trade and poverty reduction to other countries in the region.


IFAD Executive Board approves USD 98.85 million for six development projects

Rome, 23 April - The 75th Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) met at the Headquarters in Rome, and approved loans for 6 development projects for a total worth of USD 113.61 million. The projects approved are for Cameroon, Eritrea, India, Laos, Haiti and Egypt. The Executive Board also approved seven Technical Assistance Grants. (…)

IFAD is a specialised agency of the United Nations with the specific mandate of combating hunger and poverty in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Since 1978 IFAD has financed 603 projects in 115 recipient countries and in the West Bank and Gaza for a total commitment of approximately USD 7.3 billion in loans and grants. Through these projects, about 250 million rural people have had a chance to move out of poverty. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available to low-income countries on very favourable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of up to ten years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.


Draft World Development Report 2003: sustainable development in a dynamic economy

The "World Development Report 2003: Sustainable Development in a Dynamic Economy" will be the World Bank's contribution on development, the environment and other sustainability issues to the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August 2002.  The report discusses the many experiences and lessons learned in the area of environmental and social development over the past couple of decades.

A draft of the WDR and comments on its approach and content are on line at: .

For more information, please contact






Afghanistan: UN agencies bring more relief supplies to flood-stricken town

New York, Apr 25 2002 - United Nations and other humanitarian agencies have continued to deliver relief supplies to a flood-stricken province in northwest Afghanistan, a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) said today in Kabul. (…) The deliveries rushed to the area included oil, high energy biscuits and 13 tons of wheat flour, as well as tents, blankets, clothing, sleeping bags and medical supplies from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and Medicins Sans Frontiere, the spokesman added. (…)


WFP welcomes Japan’s aid in Sri Lanka, urges more help for war victims

Colombo, 25 April – The United Nations World Food Programme in Sri Lanka today welcomed a donation from the Government of Japan of $1.1 million to be used for the purchase of canned tuna for some 217,000 people whose lives have been damaged by the country’s long civil war.

The Japanese Government will give a total of 280 metric tons of canned tuna to WFP for distribution to programmes designed to assist conflict-affected people as they try to build new, and stable, homes amid the hopes inspired by a ceasefire and upcoming peace talks. (…)

Taft-Dick, WFP Country Director in Sri Lanka, noted that the donation replenishes the WFP food “pipeline” as the country moves slowly toward peace after 19 years of war. (…)


Afghanistan - ICRC starts food aid for detainees

25 April - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last week started a therapeutic feeding programme in Shibergan prison, in northern Afghanistan, after delegates detected malnutrition at the end of March among detainees being held there. The organization immediately distributed rations of the food it had on hand and began taking the logistical steps needed to provide nutritional therapy. Four large tents, each with a capacity of over 500 patients, were brought in and set up inside the prison compound. The prison's 2,800 detainees were then screened to select the most severely malnourished cases requiring intensive treatment. (…)  The ICRC is supplying the remaining detainees rice, legumes and ghee to increase the quality and quantity of their food intake. Special high-protein and vitamin-enriched biscuits are also being distributed.

Meanwhile the organization is making representations at all levels – local, national and international – with a view both to ensuring that the detaining authorities shoulder their responsibility to provide proper conditions of detention and to bring about a lasting solution. (…)


ADRA completes Bethel secondary school in Rwanda

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, 25 April --The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has completed the third and final phase of the Bethel Secondary School project. This school serves more than 240 students in the Gitarama Province, located in the southern part of Rwanda.

In 1998, ADRA Rwanda built Bethel Secondary School with funds provided by the Canadian International Development Agency. (…) In Phase II, the government of Japan allocated funds to build six additional classrooms (…) After community participation helped complete Phase II under budget, the Japanese government expanded the project in December 2001 into its third phase (…)


ADRA distributes medical supplies in Serbia

Silver Spring, Maryland,  USA, 23 April - In February 2002, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Germany completed distribution of essential medical supplies in Serbia. The project provided medicines and medical supplies to homes for physically-challenged children (…)

Special surgical thread for use after mothers give birth is an example of the desperately needed medical supplies. This project provided to the maternity clinic in Novi Sad enough of the scarcely available thread for 3,436 mothers.

The German Government donated USD $210,000 to the medicines and medical supplies project, while ADRA Germany and private donors contributed USD $30,000.

In the past year, ADRA Germany has shipped more than ten truckloads of new and nearly new medical equipment to the territory of the former Yugoslavia.






Architecture for Humanity Announces International Design Competition: mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic for Africa

May 1 - Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that promotes architecture and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises, announces its 2002 International Design Competition. For this year's project, participants are asked to develop designs for a fully equipped, mobile, medical unit and HIV/AIDS treatment center specifically for use in Africa.

The deadline for design submissions is November 1, 2002. In mid-November a team of internationally renowned architects, HIV/AIDS professionals, and representatives from relief and research organizations in the field will jury the entries.

Founded in 1999, Architecture for Humanity’s advisory board members include architects Shigeru Ban (Japan), Frank Gehry (U.S.), Rodney Harber (South Africa) and Reuben Mutiso (Kenya). For this project, the advisory board has been joined by HIV/AIDS medical professionals Kate Bourne (IAVI, U.S.), Dr. Johannes van Dam (Horizons Project, Population council), Dr. Sunanda Ray (SafAIDS, Zimbabwe), and Dr. Michael Sweat (John Hopkins University, U.S.). Finalists will be announced on World AIDS day (December 1, 2002) at an exhibition to be held in New York City. Money raised from the $35 entry fee, donations and additional fundraising activities will be used to build a prototype of the winning concept.  Once developed, it is hoped that refined versions of this cost-effective and mobile design can be built for Africa-and eventually, easily replicated in other regions around the world. A detailed set of design criteria, developed by a team of advisors, will be available  at

Contact: Cameron Sinclair, Founder/Executive Director,


Pfizer Foundation: International HIV/AIDS Health Literacy grants initiative

26 April - Call for proposals: The Pfizer Foundation is launching the International HIV/AIDS Health Literacy grants initiative. The Pfizer Foundation will award a total of up to US $1,000,000 in 2002 to support five to eight organisations with one year grants. Final decisions will be made in July 2002.

(…) The Foundation will support programmes that use creative approaches to effectively convey key messages regarding HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. This year the grants programme is targeted at the 20 countries where Pfizer Inc's Diflucan Partnership Programme is operating and expanding this year: Botswana, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Applications are due June 3, 2002. For more information: e-mail to

Organisations selected for grants will be invited to a workshop on health literacy to assist them in implementing their programmes.


Ethiopia: EU to fund organic pest control project

Addis Ababa, 26 April - The European Union has pledged almost one million euros (about US $897,400) to fund an innovative organic pest control-farming project in Ethiopia.

Millions of farmers in the north of the country are expected to benefit from the scheme, which was set up by Save the Children Fund UK (SCFUK). The three-year project, which uses naturally-found, environmentally friendly pesticides rather than chemicals, has won plaudits worldwide.

The EU pledge comes just days after the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned of a "toxic time bomb" facing Africa from highly poisonous chemicals currently used by farmers.

Under the scheme - known as Integrated Pest Management - SCFUK has been teaching farmers in rural areas how to use natural pesticides to control pests and improve soil fertility. (…)


Nigeria: Polio on the decline, river blindness in north

26 April - The spread of the polio virus has declined sharply in Nigeria but river blindess is affecting tens of thousands of people in the north of the country.

The UN Children's Fund said this week that 57 cases of poliomyelitis were recorded in 2001 against 2,000 in the previous year. Nine cases have been recorded this year from a surveillance of 12 of Nigeria's 36 states, UNICEF added on Thursday. About 40 million children under five years were immunised against the virus in 2001, achieving over 95 percent coverage.


West Africa: Regional efforts to fight tuberculosis underway

26 April - Regional efforts are underway to fight tuberculosis with last week's creation of the West Africa Tuberculosis Control Initiative (WATCI).

One of the ways WATCI aims to foster joint efforts to combat tuberculosis is through the exchange of information. It aims to set up a joint tuberculosis data base as well as the publication of a twice-yearly scientific bulletin on the disease.

WATCI was created in Togo at a 16-18 April meeting that brought together the heads of anti-tuberculosis programmes and departments from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.


Africa: Ministers to review new drug control strategy

26 April - The first ministerial meeting organised by the Organisation of African Unity on drug control in Africa will be held on 6-11 May in the Ivorian capital, Yamoussoukro, the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) said in a news release. The ministers will review a proposed drug control strategy developed by African experts and UNDCP, and commit their governments to more decisive action against drug trafficking and abuse.


Tanzania: Funding boost for fight against malaria

26 April - As the continent marked its second Africa Malaria Day on Thursday, it was confirmed that Tanzania was to receive a substantial amount of money to fund its fight against the disease, which kills up to 100,000 people in the country every year. The UK government's Department for International Development (DFID), told IRIN on Wednesday that both DFID and the Royal Netherlands Embassy had set aside a "considerable" amount of money jointly to fund a continued Insecticide Treated Net (ITN) and social marketing campaign in the country.

Paul Smithson, DFID's Health and Population Adviser, told IRIN the anti-malaria campaign was an ambitious one. "It has been approved, and we will be supporting a major ITN and social marketing campaign that we hope will help us to achieve our aim of 80 percent ITN coverage all over the country," he said. At the moment, there was 25 percent ITN coverage in Tanzania, but this was hoped to expand to 60 percent by 2005, and to 80 percent by 2007, he added. (…)]


Communities roll up their sleeves to roll back malaria

Home based management initiative saving thousands of children's lives each year

Geneva/New York, April 25 - In celebrating Africa Malaria Day, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and other Roll Back Malaria partners have commended a new government-led initiative that is providing rapid, appropriate, effective and affordable malaria treatment to poor populations in some African countries.

The Home Based Management approach to the treatment of malaria is a simple and effective initiative that is revolutionizing the treatment of malaria, putting knowledge and essential drugs into the hands of those who need them most - mothers, caregivers and neighbours. (…)

Home Based Management has been tried in selected areas in several African countries with good results. In Ethiopia, the provision of basic training and simple antimalarial drugs to mothers to treat their sick children at home reduced under-five mortality by 40 per cent. In Nigeria, pre-packaging of anti-malarial drugs, with the correct dose for the age of the child, was shown to double the proportion of children who received proper treatment.  (…)


New Global Fund disburses over $375 million to fight AIDS, TB and malaria

New York, Apr 25 - A new Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, first championed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, today awarded $378 million to programmes to prevent and treat the three diseases in severely affected countries. The grants, which cover 40 programmes in 31 countries, support a wide range of prevention and treatment programmes over a two-year period, including the provision of antiretroviral treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS in 21 nations. The Board also agreed to fast-track an additional $238 million for 18 proposals in 12 countries, plus three multi-country proposals, provided certain conditions are met. This would bring the total funding over two years to $616 million. Funding after the second year will be approved based on performance.  (…)

UN agencies sit on the Global Fund's Board as non-voting members, and provide technical assistance to interested States in preparing grant proposals.


WHO takes major steps to make HIV treatment accessible

Treatment guidelines and AIDS medicines list announced by WHO

22 April - In a decisive move to strengthen action against AIDS in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has today announced the first treatment guidelines for HIV/AIDS in poor settings. Parallel to that, WHO has endorsed the inclusion of AIDS medicines in its Essential Medicines List. The action is a breakthrough in a comprehensive "prevention through care" package that could contribute to dramatically wider access to treatment over the coming years.

WHO estimates that nearly six million people living with HIV/AIDS need access to care and support including antiretrovirals (ARVs). Currently, fewer than five per cent of those who require treatment in developing countries can access these medicines. WHO believes that at least three million people needing care should be able to get medicines by 2005 — a more than ten-fold increase. (…)



Environment and wildlife



New "Life-Cycle Initiative" launched to help combat environmental impact of rising consumption patterns

UNEP global Cleaner Production meeting opens in Prague

Prague/Nairobi, 29 April - In response to the growing environmental risk created by rapidly rising consumption patterns around the world, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a new way to make production processes and products cleaner.

The "Life-Cycle Initiative," a collaboration between UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), will help governments, businesses and consumers to adopt more environment friendly policies, practices and life-styles. It will develop and disseminate practical tools for evaluating the opportunities, risks and trade-offs, associated with products and services over their whole life cycle. (…)

The Life-Cycle Initiative was launched here today at the start of UNEP's 7th International High-Level Seminar on Cleaner Production (CP-7), the biennial global forum that looks at progress made in promoting sustainable production and consumption. The seminar brings together senior-level decision-makers from around the world to address the challenges facing sustainable production and consumption.  Over 300 participants from 85 countries are attending the meeting which is hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.


Albanians and Serbs work together on environmental project

22 April - After years of mistrust and fear, Albanians and Serbs are coming together over a common interest:  protecting the environment.  In a project funded by the Norwegian and Dutch governments, environmental groups in Kosovo are setting up an electronic network to enable the former enemies to share resources and information on protecting the environment.  The network, known as Sharri.Net, was created in February, and a website dedicated to the cause should be up and running by June.  "It's sort of a success for a multi-ethnic Kosovo," said Blerim Vela of Kosovo's Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, which is coordinating the program. Ethnic conflict in the region exacerbated environmental problems, including water pollution, deforestation, and heavy urban smog.


Goldman Prize to Native Americans opposing oil drilling in wildlife refuge in Alaska

22 April - Three Gwich'in Native Americans who battled oil development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have been doubly rewarded for their efforts:  Last week, the Senate voted to block oil drilling in the refuge, and today, the activists are being honored with this year's Goldman Prize, the world's biggest and most prestigious award for environmentalists.  Other recipients of the prize include a Somali fighting deforestation, an ecologist restoring mangroves on the Thai coast, a Guyanese-Amerindian trying to stop mining in native territories, a Polish organic-agriculture advocate, and an entrepreneur opposing open-pit mining projects in Puerto Rico.  The brainchild of San Francisco philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the $125,000 prizes have been awarded since 1990 to individuals who are acting to protect the environment at "great personal risk" on each of the planet's six inhabited continental regions.



Culture and education



World Press Freedom Day to be observed at UN Headquarters on 2 May 2002

Panel of journalists to discuss ‘covering the war on global terror’

New York , 29 April -  The UN Department of Public Information will hold an observance of World Press Freedom Day at Headquarters on 2 May 2002 beginning at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 2.  The theme of the observance, which is taking place in the context of the meetings of the Committee on Information, is “Covering the War on Global Terror”. (…)

A panel of distinguished print and broadcast journalists will discuss freedom of the press in the context of terrorism, addressing such issues as national and international security vs. freedom of the press, televised coverage of terrorism trials, and safety of journalists. (…)

World Press Freedom Day (3 May) was established by General Assembly decision 48/432 of 20 December 1993, with reference to the Windhoek Declaration, adopted at the Seminar on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press, which was co-sponsored by DPI and UNESCO in Namibia in 1991.  The Declaration states that "the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development" and defines an independent press as free "from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines, and periodicals", and a pluralistic press as having no monopolies of any kind and "the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community".

The World Press Freedom Day observance will be webcast live on the Internet.  The webcast can be accessed via the special web page created for WPFD at

Source: UN Information Centre, Rome.


First 12 students in the world earn an Online Master of Arts in Gerontology

Inaugural USC Online Class Graduates and Focuses on Aging Issues

29 April -  Mich felt it was a kind of “calling” that would help him better serve elderly residents of rural Oklahoma communities. Ann wanted to be a pioneer in the dynamic field of aging and strengthen her entrepreneurial and consulting opportunities in New York City. Mike, who has cerebral palsy, recognized that quality services for the aged in Northern California often mix a little bit of teaching with a little bit of theatre arts. These three professionals bring diverse perspectives to the field of aging, but they share with 9 others a unique accomplishment: the first students in the world to earn an Online Master of Arts in Gerontology. The Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California confers the Master of Arts (MAG) degree to its inaugural online class during commencement ceremonies May 10.

Administered by, the online division of the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC, the MAG program is the first online graduate program to be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Since November 1998, the program’s goal has been to meet the needs of professionals who work in organizations serving older adults but cannot enroll in a traditional on-campus academic program. The multidisciplinary nature of the MAG program encompasses study in areas as diverse as health and long-term care, business, housing, government, research, and education. (…)

For additional information, contact: Maria Henke, Program Manager Andrus Gerontology Center University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Ethiopia: two teenagers to promote child concerns at UN session

Addis Ababa, 26 April - Two Ethiopian teenagers are set to make history at a landmark United Nations session dedicated to children. Zerihun Mamo and Weinshet Asfaw, who are both 15 and have never travelled outside Ethiopia before, are to act as special ambassadors for every child in their country. They will fly to the UN headquarters in New York in May and urge member states to help end the suffering of children in their country. The teenagers will join hundreds of other children from around the world in attending the first-ever UN Special Session on Children, specifically aimed at helping young people. It will also be the first time ever that such a large number of children have actively participated in debates at a major UN conference. (…)

The Special Session - to be held from 8 to 10 May - will hear how 150 million children across the planet are still malnourished and 100 million do not go to school. At least half a million children have died of AIDS and two million were killed in conflicts in the 1990s. The startling figures will be spelt out at the UN conference, which is to be attended by a record number of world leaders.

The conference will also spell out a Plan of Action to improve the lives of children over the next 10 years and issue a UN Declaration.



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Next issue: 17 May 2002




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Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 2,400 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 46 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway,  Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site:

It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontŕ 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:


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