Good News Agency – Year IV, n° 13



Weekly - Year IV, number 13 – 25 July 2003

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 development

SolidarityPeace and securityHealthEnergy and Safety

Environment and wildlifeCulture and education



International legislation



United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime develops model laws to help combat terrorism

Vienna, 8 July  -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is providing member states a new form of assistance in bringing their national legislation in line with international conventions that address terrorism: model laws designed to assist states in meeting their obligations to counter the financing of terrorism. Within UNODC, the anti-money laundering, legal advisory and anti-terrorism programmes have joined together to produce the legal tools needed by States. An informal expert group, working under the auspices of the Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML), has completed a draft of two such model laws.

Building upon the UNODC Legal Advisory Programme's widely-used Model Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Bill (for Common Law systems), the first of the draft bills incorporates terrorist financing elements to construct a legislative scheme covering financial sector regulatory requirements, provisional measures (seizing and freezing assets) and confiscation of terrorist-related property.  The second bill implements the provisions of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and key Security Council Resolutions (including 1373 of 2001), and criminalizes various acts of terrorist financing.

The two bills are designed to work in tandem in providing States with a comprehensive system, adaptable to their individual circumstances, which takes full account of the widely recognized linkages between anti-money laundering measures (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT). (...)


UN Convention against transnational organized crime to enter into force on 29 September 2003

Vienna, 7 July - The fortieth instrument of ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was deposited with the Secretary-General on 1 July. In accordance with Article 38 of the Convention, it will enter into force on 29 September 2003. According to Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): "With the entry into force of the Convention, the international community will have demonstrated the political will to counter the worldwide challenge of organized crime by adopting a corresponding global response." (...)

The Convention is the first international instrument against transnational organized crime. By ratifying the Convention, States commit themselves to adopting a series of crime-control measures, including the criminalization of participation in an organized criminal group, money-laundering, corruption, and obstruction of justice; extradition laws; mutual legal assistance; administrative and regulatory controls; law-enforcement; victim protection; and crime-prevention measures.

At a High-level Political Signing Conference, held from 12 to 16 December 2000 in Palermo, Italy, the Convention received an unprecedented number of signatures by 123 Member States; 24 more countries signed soon after. (...)


ILO Body updates minimum wage for seafarers

Geneva, 8 July (ILO News) – A Sub-Committee of the Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) today agreed to extend the validity of the current ILO minimum wage for seafarers of $465 to 31 December 2004. That figure became applicable on 1 January 2003. It also agreed to increase this minimum wage to $500 effective 1 January 2005

The mechanism for setting the minimum wage for able seafarers is provided for by the ILO Seafarers' Wages, Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Recommendation, 1996 (No. 187). The ILO minimum wage takes into consideration a formula which reflects changes in consumer prices and exchange rates against the US dollar in 49 maritime countries and areas.

The application of Recommendation No. 187 is not mandatory unless a government chooses to make it so through legislation. It is nevertheless used by shipowners and trade unions in setting wage scales.  (...)

A substantial percentage of the world's more than 1.5 million seafarers are affected by changes in the recommended ILO minimum wage for able seafarers. (...) Ten nations, including the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Turkey, the Russian Federation, India, the United States, Ukraine, Greece and Japan supply almost 60 per cent of the world's seafarers. (...)



Human rights



Afghanistan: Training the trainers

17 July - The ICRC last week launched a programme to train officers of the future Afghan National Army in the law of armed conflict.

Fifty-eight officers, about half of the force's senior commanders, attended the first ICRC seminar, held in the capital Kabul. The event consisted of an introduction to the organization's programme to teach the law of war, informing the participants about how this body of law developed and dealing with subjects such as command responsibility and the International Criminal Court, whose statute was recently ratified by Afghanistan. The seminar will be followed by workshops designed for more junior army instructors. The response from last week's participants was overwhelmingly positive. (...)

Under the Geneva Conventions, it is the responsibility of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan to ensure that the rules and principles of the law of war are known and implemented by all members of the Afghan armed forces. The ICRC is assisting the country's authorities by organizing teaching and providing documentation.


Never Again! - European conference against racism and fascism

November 19-23, 2003 in Poland

Choosing Poland as the venue of this meeting is symbolic: it is a country that suffered under Nazi occupation during World War II and it is one of the current EU accession states. This will help the participants to see and analyse the implications of the new situation in Europe for minority rights as well as migration and refugee issues.

The UNITED conference in Poland will bring together activists from organisations from all over Europe to share experiences in these fields and find new ways to deal with the situations we are facing every day. The programme will emphasise on sharing good practices - successful examples of actions in the fight against racism and fascism.

UNITED for Intercultural Action is a European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees. It is based on the Voluntary cooperation of more than 550 organisations from 49 European countries working together - united in the biggest anti-racism network.



Economy and development



European Commission and FAO strengthen partnership

Poul Nielson and Jacques Diouf sign agreement in Brussels

Brussels/Rome 17 July -  The European Commission and FAO today signed an agreement designed to create a closer strategic partnership between the two institutions in the fields of development and humanitarian aid. Poul Nielson, the EC Commissioner for Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf signed the agreement under which the FAO will adhere to the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) recently concluded between the EU and the United Nations. (...)

The strategic partnership, to be designed in the coming months, will involve a closer programming dialogue between the European Commission and the FAO, and the prospect for more long-term financing in the case of development programmes.

Concretely, the FAFA will lower the transaction costs of joint projects or programmes, thereby helping the institutions to make better use of their resources for development and humanitarian relief to benefit those in need. (...)


Managing corn pest in Central and Eastern Europe

Italy funds three-year regional project under FAO Trust Fund for Food Security

Rome, 16 July - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will help seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe to control the spread of the Western Corn Rootworm, a major threat to corn production in the region.

A US$ 2 260 000 regional project was signed today in Rome by the FAO Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, Henri Carsalade, the Italian Director-General for Development Cooperation, Giuseppe Deodato, and representatives from the ministries of agriculture of the European countries.

During the next three years, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Slovak Republic will benefit from the 20-year experience of FAO in participatory Integrated Pest Management programmes (IPM). The project aims to enable farmers to monitor and control the pests in their fields, keeping the use of expensive and potentially damaging and dangerous chemical pesticides to an absolute minimum. (...)


Chad Government announces the start of oil production in the country

Washington, July 14 - Chad’s petroleum project enters its production phase today with the first flow of oil from wells in the south of the country.  Esso Explorations and Production Chad, Inc., the consortium drilling for oil in the Doba basin, and the government of Chad have informed the World Bank that implementation of the $3.7 billion project was a year ahead of schedule and oil should reach loading facilities off the coast of Cameroon and the international market around the end of 2003.  The official inauguration of the project is scheduled for September 30, 2003.

The project is expected to generate substantial revenues for Chad, and the government is committed to using its oil revenues for poverty reduction in accordance with a December 1998 law on revenue management passed by the country’s parliament.  The law set out the government’s poverty reduction objectives and arrangements for the use of revenues:

Ten percent of royalties and dividends will be held in trust for future generations;

Five percent will be earmarked for regional development in the oil producing area;

Eighty percent will be devoted to education, health and social services, rural development, infrastructure and water management. (...)


IFAD-backed management programme to boost community development in the Niger Delta

Rome, 9 July  – Extremely poor rural people in Nigeria’s nine Niger Delta States will benefit from a USD 82.2 million programme that will help communities organize to better manage their natural resources and take advantage of other opportunities for development. The programme will be financed partly by a USD 15 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters (...) An equal financing partner in this programme is the Niger Delta Development Commission (...)

A major challenge for the programme will be to reduce tension and conflict in the region, especially among young people who have not been able to take advantage of the riches produced by the Niger Delta’s extensive natural resources. Improving employment opportunities for young people will therefore be a focus of the programme. (...)






The Japanese Government provides two C130 aircraft for humanitarian aid for Iraq

Brindisi/Rome, 17 July - Two C130 aircraft belonging to Japan’s Self Defence Forces will begin flights today between Amman, Jordan and the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi, Italy.

On 4 July, the Japanese government decided to provide airlift service for humanitarian relief in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1483.  The decision follows a request to the Japanese government by the World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, to provide logistic support – in particular airlift service - to its humanitarian relief operations. WFP - through the UN Joint Logistics Cell (UNJLC), UN Humanitarian Air Assistance (UNHAS) and UNHRD - co-ordinates transportation and logistical arrangements on behalf of UN agencies and NGOs providing humanitarian relief assistance for Iraq and neighboring countries. The Japanese C130s will transport essential items for the humanitarian operation from Europe to the Middle East, although no flights will go to Iraq.

WFP welcomes the logistic air lift service provided by Japan – one of its most important donor which has already this year contributed US$117 million for the Agency’s worldwide operations. The Japanese operation will contribute greatly to both the humanitarian effort in the region and the population in Iraq. In carrying out the largest food aid operation in history, WFP intends to bring about 2.2 million tons of food commodities into Iraq by the end of October.


PEFC: For Polio Eradication, 7 acres of prime real estate in El Paso, Texas, USA

16 July - Seven acres of land in El Paso, Texas, USA, has been donated to the polio eradication fundraising campaign (PEFC) — a gift worth US$430,000 — as a result of two Rotarians from two clubs working together for one goal: to stop the spread of the crippling disease.

It all began when Alan Aiello, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla, California, USA, and an investment manager for the joint venture that owned the Texas property asked the property's listing agent if The Rotary Foundation would be interested in receiving the land. The agent was Rotary Foundation Trustee Sonny Brown and a member of the El Paso Rotary club. (...)

By 31 December 2002, the property had been transferred to the Foundation and each club received $215,000 credit toward the PEFC. But the fundraising didn't stop there. The clubs decided to share the credit with their respective districts and an additional $354,100 in matching funds were generated.

In total, Rotary District 5520 (parts of New Mexico and Texas) raised more than $750,000 to help eradicate polio, exceeding its goal of $350,000 by 101 percent. District 5340 (California) contributed more than $1 million to the PEFC, which included a personal donation of $118,000 from a member of the Rotary Club of San Marcos. When this Rotarian heard that the district's contribution level had reached $992,000, he decided to increase his original donation of $110,000 to bring the total to the $1 million mark. (...)


ADRA responds to drought in Bahia, Brazil

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, 16 July - More than 22,000 people living in the drought-affected northeast region of Bahia, Brazil will receive relief assistance starting in July, 2003, from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) offices in Brazil.

"The ongoing drought is in one of the poorest regions of Brazil and has caused a considerable reduction in the amount of food and water resources available. It has also had a severe economic impact on this agricultural region," said Frank Teeuwen, bureau chief for disaster preparedness and response at ADRA International.

ADRA Brazil is responding to the crisis by providing clean water to more than 18,400 people during the four driest months of the year. Food baskets will be distributed to the 3,500 people most affected by the drought - the worst the region has seen in 30 years. In addition, ADRA is making available seeds and training to eight villages to improve their vegetable production.

Rain last fell in this region of Bahia in January of 2002.


Republic of the Congo: help for 10,000 displaced persons in Brazzaville

15 July - Last Friday, the ICRC completed a further aid distribution programme for displaced persons living at eight locations south of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.

ICRC teams had spent ten days distributing soap, clothing and children's sandals to some 4,400 families, or almost 10,000 people. This programme follows other ICRC activities at these locations. (...) all these activities aim at improving health by improving hygiene.

The people the ICRC is helping come from Pool, a region south of the capital, and took refuge in the area following fighting in 2002. The ICRC is planning its assistance using lists maintained by the people responsible for each site and by village chiefs among the displaced persons.


Swedes donates US $ 5.6 million to UNICEF actions in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11 July 2003 – The Government of Sweden has donated US $ 3.9 million for UNICEF emergency programmes in drought-affected areas. The donation will support emergency interventions targeting millions of children in acute need of food, safe water, shelter and protection against preventable diseases. This is the second emergency contribution to UNICEF Ethiopia from the Swedish Government this year, bringing the total amount of assistance to nearly US $ 5.6 million.

“In an emergency like this children are always the most vulnerable,” said Erik Korsgren, Counselor for Development Cooperation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in Ethiopia. “We support UNICEF’s efforts to meet both their survival and development needs and we hope that other donors will follow our example and contribute toward fulfilling the immediate and longer-term needs of Ethiopian children”.

This contribution from the Swedish Government will provide 222,000 women and children with supplementary feeding under UNICEF’s emergency nutrition programme. The donation will also fund an emergency measles and Vitamin A campaign in 2004 targeting more than 8.3 million children between 6 months and 14 years. 100,000 people will benefit from emergency water supplies, sanitation and hygiene education, and 170,000 will receive shelter materials. (...)


MSF sending four cargo planes of relief goods to Bunia, DRC 

Bunia/DRC, 11 July - The international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today announced that it is sending four cargo planes full of emergency relief goods to the town of Bunia, the capital of the volatile Ituri district in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  In total, the planes will bring 50 tons of relief goods to Bunia (...)

MSF has set up a medical screening post for the families coming back to Bunia at one point of entry into town where first aid is provided and patients who need urgent care are referred to the MSF hospital. According to MSF workers at the screening post, the returnees are exhausted, many are ill, wounded and many children are suffering from severe malnutrition. (...)



Peace and security



Yemen begins second phase of landmine clearance

17 July - Yemen has made great progress clearing landmines, a bitter legacy of three decades of conflict, and is launching a second phase of its mine action programme.  (...) "Yemen has become a leader in all aspects of mine action," said UNDP Resident Representative James W. Rawley to the Council of Ministers in Sana'a last month. It is among the best of 20 UN-supported programmes worldwide, he said, and Yemen is to provide technical assistance and personnel to help Lebanon with its landmine problem — the first country in the region to give such aid.

The programme includes a full spectrum of activities, including surveying and clearing mined areas, educating communities about the risks, and assisting people injured by mines. In the second phase, it will be nationally managed, with UNDP providing administrative and logistical assistance and technical services through the UN Office for Project Services. (...)

The budget for the second phase is US$3.6 million. The Government has provided $400,000; Italy has contributed $750,000; UNDP $450,000, and the UK Department for International Development $250,000. (...)


Iraq: UN and NGOs work to mitigate the threat of landmines and unexploded ordinance

Ankara , 9 Jul (IRIN) - In a concerted effort, the United Nations and a group of leading NGOs are stepping up their efforts to mitigate the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) scattered throughout the country.

According to the United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI), landmines and UXO continue to represent a significant threat to many urban and rural communities in Iraq, while a lack of environmental control and security regarding munitions dumps could lead to massive explosions and loss of life.

Jennifer Reeves, coordinator of the Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme told IRIN from Baghdad that MRE coordination and technical working group meetings, in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as other specialists in the field, were now taking place each week. 'The meetings are held in both Baghdad and Basra,' she said. (...)


Action alert on Asia: for the Meeting of States Parties

Author/Origin: ICBL (International Campaign to Ban Landimes)

1 July - Help us stop production and use of antipersonnel mines in these seven countries in Asia: China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Vietnam. Urge them to take a step towards the Mine Ban Treaty in the lead-up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties (Bangkok, Thailand, 15 – 19 September 2003). As the Bangkok meeting slogan urges: "Hold hands against mines!”. Take Action!

·                     If you are a youth or student please focus on INDIA AND PAKISTAN and the Youth Against War Treaty.

·                     Or, for everyone, please write to NEPAL and SRI LANKA and urge them to ban mine use as part of their peace processes.

·                     And/or write to CHINA, SINGAPORE AND VIETNAM and demand that they stop producing mines (or promise never to produce them again). (...)

Remind them that the Fifth Meeting of States Parties (5MSP) takes place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 15 to 19 September 2003. This is the annual gathering of the 134 states that have joined the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and others, including the ICBL. This event will highlight the countries in the region that remain outside the international norm against mine use, production, trade, transfer and stockpiling. (For more info: 5MSP webpage.) (...)


Share the Spirit of Peace International Youth Summit – UN New York, September 19

We have begun a series of Global Peace Summits that are circling the globe as people respond increasingly to this new realization of Peace. The initial inspiration emerged as the We the People Summit for Peace in Vermont, USA on September 28, 2002, where youth and public forums featured the Earth Charter and the Department of Peace. The Summit’s success inspired a second Summit called Share the Spirit of Peace in Sydney, Australia on March 1, 2003, where politicians from the four major parties shared the platform with UNA President Margaret Reynolds and young people in a united appeal for peace.

The Share the Spirit of Peace International Youth Summit, honoring the International Day of Peace, will take place in New York at the United Nations on September 19, 2003, where youth will participate in a satellite teleconference and culminate in participation at the World Peace Prayer Festival on Sunday September 21, 2003. We have over 150 applications from over 40 countries, and a youth peer facilitation team that is just terrific. The fourth Summit will be in London early 2004, followed by Peace Summits in Geneva, Darjeeling and Tokyo.

The primary focus of the Global Peace Summits is a shared vision of Peace, including the proposal for a national Department of Peace, as presented by Dennis Kucinich as HR Bill 2459 in the U.S. Congress, and the Earth Charter, a global document promoting peace and sustainability. (...) 






Thailand Rotarians offer support for HIV-positive mothers and children

16 July - For vacationers seeking beautiful beaches, friendly people, and exciting nightlife, the island city of Phuket, off the west coast of southern Thailand, represents an ideal destination. But like a number of the world's most popular tourist and entertainment destinations, Phuket also harbors poverty and HIV/AIDS — a side to life on this island city that often goes unseen or unnoticed.

The 33 members of the Rotary Club of Phuket, however, do notice — and take action — to combat these problems. One way is through their annual barbecue. This year, the event raised 400,000 baht (approximately US$9,647), which the club earmarked for the Life Home Project — a local residence and education center for HIV-positive mothers and their children. (...)

Because they are stigmatized by society, HIV-positive women often cannot find work. The donation by Phuket Rotarians helps Life Home teach women the skills they need produce local arts and crafts, which they can then sell to the public to provide for their daily needs (...)

Currently the home of 40 adults and children, Life Home provides daily necessities as well as a nursery for HIV-positive children, plus counseling and medical services. (...)


Over $1 billion committed to immunize world’s poorest children

Over 30 million children have been reached to date; New funds urgently needed to continue success

Issued on behalf of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)

Washington, DC - 15 July 2003 -- Five-year commitments to immunize children in the world’s poorest countries have topped $1 billion, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and The Vaccine Fund announced today.  Angola, Chad and Congo were approved for funding by GAVI’s Board, bringing to 71 the total number of countries receiving support for health infrastructure, vaccines and supplies from The Vaccine Fund, GAVI’s financing arm.

In his report to the GAVI Board meeting being held at the World Bank, Executive Secretary Dr. Tore Godal reported that well over 30 million children have benefited already from the nearly $250 million in new vaccines and funding for infrastructure disbursed so far from GAVI and The Vaccine Fund. (...) Furthermore, GAVI estimates that countries have been able to provide basic vaccination to 8.3 million children who would otherwise have not been reached with any vaccines at all. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 deaths will be prevented because of the resources provided so far. (...)


Kabul Hospital rebuilt by UNFPA now provides lifesaving obstetric care

Kabul, 14 July 2003 — Mothers and infants in north-west Kabul have a far better chance of surviving childbirth, following the inauguration today of a modern hospital rebuilt and refurbished with support from the Government of Italy and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The Khair Khana Hospital, once filthy, overcrowded and woefully under-equipped, now has a clean delivery room and an up-to-date operating theatre where Caesarean sections can be performed. Its capacity has doubled, and the hospital now handles some 30-40 deliveries per day. The facility serves a poor, densely populated area with a population of 1 million.  (...)


Ethiopia's leaders endorse new women's coalition against HIV/AIDS

14 July 2003: - Ethiopia's Prime Minister and President are voicing strong support for a new National Coalition for Women Against HIV/AIDS that aims to promote women's leadership in efforts to stem HIV/AIDS and overcome poverty and harmful traditional practices making women more vulnerable to the deadly virus. (...) The coalition includes senior women officials, other prominent women, and women working with civil society groups and grass roots organizations. UNDP is providing it US$200,000 in seed money.

HIV/AIDS prevalence increased rapidly during the past decade, with 2.2 million people — nearly 7 per cent of adults — living with the virus. As in other countries, women are more vulnerable than men, accounting for more than half of those infected. Data from Ethiopia and several other countries indicate that women are infected at a much earlier age, often between 15 to 19.

The coalition will focus on gender and poverty-related factors fuelling the epidemic and use strategies employed by UNDP at the community level to change social norms, values and attitudes that contribute to the spread of the disease. (...)


ADRA provides urgently needed medical supplies for Iraq

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, 10 July - Health care professionals and patients in Tel Afar, Iraq will receive much needed medical supplies from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) when a shipment arrives in a matter of weeks. With a grant received by ADRA Germany from the German government, pharmaceutical and medical supplies valued at $458,000 will be provided to Tel Afar Hospital.

"Medical and pharmaceutical supplies have been limited at Tel Afar Hospital due to its remote location and the disruption of the distribution system since conflict began in Iraq earlier this year," said Frank Teeuwen, bureau chief for disaster preparedness and response for ADRA International. "ADRA is providing these supplies on a short-term basis until the distribution system in Iraq is able to service the Tel Afar region once again."

The Tel Afar Hospital serves about 22,000 patients each month and also supports an outpatient clinic that serves 4,700 patients monthly.

Additional funding for this project came from ADRA Germany, ADRA Sweden, and ADRA International. ADRA will purchase the supplies through its office in Turkey.


Aga Khan University: second Symposium and Workshop on Ethical Issues in Health Research in Developing Countries - August 14-18, Karachi, Pakistan

Organised by the Ethical Review Committee and Bioethics Group of the Aga Khan University, Stadium Road Campus, Karachi Pakistan. The themes that will be presented and discussed are: Ethics & Equity; Standards of Care Issues; Informed Consent in Research; Ethical Review Process.

Programme: Pre Symposium Workshop:  August 14; Symposium: August 15 & 16;  Workshop: August 17 & 18. For further information:;



Energy and safety



Strategy set to unleash biocontrols on cocoa pod borer in Sulawesi

11 July - Top researchers on biological control systems for cocoa pests and diseases gathered in Makassar for the last two days to review and select the best methods to control the cocoa pod borer insect using non-chemical controls. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the PRIMA Project, with funding from the Dutch Government and managed by Masterfoods/Holland, and the SUCCESS Alliance, funded by USAID and managed by ACDI/VOCA. The cocoa pod borer insect pest is a serious threat to Sulawesi cocoa production, inflicting significant losses and causing major quality problems for the crop.

The recommendations of this meeting will be immediately field tested and validated on 1,000ha of smallholder cocoa that are being closely managed and monitored by the PRIMA Project in South Sulawesi. The controls, once proven on the PRIMA Project location, will then be included in the SUCCESS Alliance training program, which will train over 38,000 Indonesian farmers in cocoa pod borer control over the next 3 years.



Environment and wildlife



New Dimensions Receives International Award

July 14, Ukiah, CA, USA - Michael Toms, founding president of New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network announced that The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature, Series III has been awarded a Silver World Medal, in the 2003 New York International Festivals Radio Programming Competition, a pre-eminent awards program, which recognizes outstanding achievements in communications media. The Series also placed as a finalist in the 2003 United Nations Department of Public Information Award given to honor radio programming which best exemplifies the aims and ideals of the United Nations, and was chosen from over 1400 entries from 42 countries. (...)

The Bioneers radio series is composed of 13 half-hour programs highlighting cutting-edge solutions to major environmental challenges and crises, along with broader social approaches for ecological and cultural restoration. The breakthrough ideas, technological innovations and bold activist social strategies make for compelling radio, powered by the charismatic voices of the Bioneers themselves.


WWF China calls for continued conservation of Three Parallel Rivers new World Heritage site

Beijing, China, 11 July - WWF welcomes the recent announcement of the Three Parallel Rivers Region in Southwest China's Yunnan province as a new UNESCO World Heritage site and calls for the continued conservation of this fragile area. The Three Parallel Rivers Region is considered an epicenter of Chinese biodiversity and is amongst the most biologically diverse temperate regions on earth. The area contains sections of the upper reaches of three of Asia’s great rivers: the Jinsha (Yangtze), Lancang (Mekong) and Nujiang (Salween).  This region is part of the Tibetan Plateau (ave. elev. 4,000 m), the highest and largest plateau on earth. It shelters a wide array of unique species, including the Tibetan antelope, Tibetan gazelle, wild yak, blue sheep, snow leopard, brown bear, Bengal tiger, and black-necked crane. (...) WWF is working to conserve the area through education programs, community development, and watershed management. (...)


UNESCO adds 15 new sites to world network of biosphere reserves

Paris, 10 July – Fifteen new sites in 10 countries have been added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, including the first members of the network in Slovenia and Yemen. Three extensions to existing biosphere reserves have also been approved, reflecting on-going efforts to improve existing sites, illustrating the vitality of the network. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves now consists of 440 sites in 97 countries. The new biosphere reserves and extensions were approved by the Bureau of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme at its meeting on July 8-11 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Biosphere Reserves are pilot sites, which perform three complementary functions: biodiversity conservation; development (integrating local communities) and logistic support (combining research, education, training and monitoring). (...) The global network that they constitute covers a representative - and growing - sample of the major ecological regions and human use systems of the earth. The biosphere reserves approved this year demonstrate an increasing interest in using the biosphere reserve approach to reconcile conservation and development in coastal areas and archipelagoes, and in protecting cultural values dependant on the maintenance of certain traditional uses. There is also an increasing interest in transboundary biosphere reserves, which straddle national boundaries, as frameworks for joint efforts to manage and conserve shared ecosystems.



Culture and education



Hungary: Promoting humanitarian principles among the young

18 July - The ICRC has organized a seminar for education specialists from government and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world to discuss the study of international humanitarian law and related issues in secondary schools. The event was held in Budapest from 5 to 11 July for over 100 participants from 39 countries.

The seminar took place in the framework of Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL), an educational programme for young people. Its objective is to introduce teenagers to the basic rules of international humanitarian law and to inculcate them with the principles of humanity, helping them to apply those principles in their daily lives and assess events at home and abroad in the light of them. The programme consists of five modules, which take about four hours each to work through. (...)  A summary of the presentations and discussions in Budapest will soon be available on the ICRC website.


Rotary International brings computer technology to Uganda schools

Kampala, Uganda, 11 July 2003 - A team of fourteen adults and teenagers from Seattle, Washington, USA are using their high-tech skills in computer installation and maintenance to improve the lives of students at five schools in the Masaka District, Uganda. The Rotary International-funded information technology (IT) project, entitled "Computers for the World," is utilizing the on-site expertise of students and faculty from Seattle schools Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart and Mt. Si High School to equip four schools with a 15-station computer lab and repair computers at a fifth location. Approximately 3100 students, most of them young women, will be served by this gift of technology. (...)

Initiated by a Seattle Rotary club, Computers for the World creates opportunities for secondary school students to partner with Rotary clubs to supply computers and computer training to communities around the world that lack IT resources. (...) The acquisition of computer skills will enable students to directly enter the workplace after secondary school and bridge the IT gap between Africa and the West.

Donated Pentium computers will be standardized and software installed in Talents College, Archbishop Kiwanuka School, Kaddugala Senior Secondary School and Christ the King Senior Secondary School. Six computers will be repaired at the Kako Senor Secondary School. In addition, the IT team will provide computer guides that explain how to maintain computer systems as well as address solutions for power outages. Computer classes and hardware and software maintenance will be taught on-site to Ugandan students and faculty by the teen-age members of the team, who traveled from the U.S. specifically to bring IT to their peer-groups in Masaka. (...)


UNESCO and INTERPOL reinforce cooperation in fight against traffic in Iraqi cultural goods

10 July - UNESCO and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) yesterday reinforced their cooperation in the fight against the illicit traffic in Iraqi cultural properties by signing an amendment to their Cooperation Agreement of 1999. (...) The amendment, which lays the ground for establishing and compiling a database on cultural properties stolen in Iraq, for which the scientific responsibility has been entrusted to UNESCO, was signed on July 8 at Organization Headquarters by the Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mounir Bouchenaki, and the Executive Director of INTERPOL’s Police Services, Willy Deridder.

This inventory, based on information supplied by UNESCO - which will provide scientific expertise alongside other national and international organizations -, will be distributed in a CD-Rom on stolen objects throughout the world that INTERPOL has produced and updated every two months since 2001. It is available in French, English and Spanish and it will soon also be accessible through the Internet. (...)


Innovations in Education: The Arts and Science Partnership - Qatar, 19-20 October

The Arts & Science Partnership symposium is the first in a series of symposia on Innovations in Education planned by the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar is the sponsor and organizer of the symposium. International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), Washington, DC, is the co-organizer.

The symposium in an innovative approach to introduce and strengthen arts education and education through the arts in the Arab world in particular and the developing world in general.

Arts educators, social scientists, physicists, brain scientists and other researchers will present their findings at the symposium, some for the first time to an international audience.

Symposium participants will include ministry of education officials from Qatar and other GCC countries, educators, art and science teachers, and educational policy makers and curriculum experts. Invited guests include editors of journals and magazines and prominent educators in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.

The symposium will be held at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Doha Campus in the Education City, Doha, Qatar on October 19-20, 2003.



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Next issue: 12 September.


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