Good News Agency – Year IV, n° 18



Weekly - Year IV, number 18 – 28 November 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 47 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 SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education




International legislation



Treaty on hazardous chemicals and pesticides trade to become law

Rotterdam Convention will enter into force on 24 February 2004

Geneva/Rome, 27 November - Armenia has become the 50th country to ratify the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, triggering the 90-day countdown to the treaty's entry into force. (…) Jointly supported by FAO and UNEP, the Rotterdam Convention establishes a first line of defence against future tragedies that may be caused by hazardous chemicals.

The Convention enables importing countries to decide which potentially hazardous chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely. Most of the Parties of the Rotterdam Convention, so far, are developing countries.

When trade is permitted, requirements for labelling and providing information on potential health and environmental effects will promote safer use of chemicals.

The Convention starts with 27 chemicals but five more pesticides have already been flagged for inclusion, and many more substances are likely to be added in the future. (…)   


The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement expands

Geneva (ICRC), 21 November – At its meeting on 20 November 2003, the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) formally recognised the Kazakh Red Crescent Society and the Micronesia Red Cross Society. These two societies are the 180th and 181st National Societies to join the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The recognition of a National Society before it joins the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is subject to 10 conditions set out in Article 4 of the Movement’s Statutes. One of these conditions is that the Society respect the fundamental principles of the Movement and be guided in its work by the principles of international humanitarian law. (…)

The ICRC congratulates these newly recognised National Societies and asks their sister Societies to give them a warm welcome at the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which is being held in Geneva between 2 and 6 December. The main theme of the Conference is “Protecting human dignity” and it will be attended by representatives of the 181 National Societies, the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the 190 States party to the Geneva Conventions.


United Nations promotes action to prevent and counter trafficking in human beings from Nigeria into Italy   -  UN assists Nigeria and Italy in signing “Memorandum of Cooperation”

Vienna, 12 November (UN Information Service) -- Anti-mafia Chief Prosecutor, Pierluigi Vigna, and the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Akinlolu Olujinmi, signed a “Memorandum of Cooperation” in Abuja on 11 November 2003.

The Memorandum has been signed within the framework of the “Programme against Trafficking in Minors and Young Women from Nigeria into Italy for Sexual Exploitation Purposes” that the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is currently finalising. The main objective of this initiative, funded by the Italian Government, is to promote an effective cooperation between Italy and Nigeria, by upgrading analysis and legislative tools and operational instruments (Task Forces) to prevent and counter the trafficking in human beings, and provide assistance to the victims. (…)


Human rights



Kirchner receives sons of ‘desaparecidos’ at Casa Rosada

Argentina, 21 November - For the first time since the end of the military dictatorship (1976-1983) an Argentinean Head of State met several sons of the ‘desaparecidos’ recognised by the ‘Mothers of Plaza de Mayo’ at the ‘Casa Rosada’. The President of the Argentina, Néstor Kirchner, promised the youths that the government would present a bill to make it obligatory for presumed sons of ‘desaparecidos’ to carry out a DNA exam. “It is a project which purpose is that of bridging a prescriptive gap and not an action against the Supreme Court of Justice” specified Eduardo Luis Duhalde, secretary of human rights. The reference of the secretary in relation to the Supreme Court is not coincidental. Last October 1, the Supreme Court recognised the rights of Evelyn Vasquez Ferra, a young girl daughter of ‘desaparecidos’, to not carry out a blood test to verify, through a DNA test, the identity of her birth parents. The sentence provoked polemics. Tatiana Sfiligoy and María Moyano, two girls, daughters of ‘desaparecidos’ recognised by the ‘Mother of Plaza de Mayo’, which were taken away from their families, asked President Kirchner to promote projects for the reconstruction “of the collective memory of the terror that reigned throughout the country”. Furthermore, they urged the President to pass a law that obligates the State to do everything possible to recuperate the remains of the Argentinean ‘desaparecidos’, giving them a ‘Christian burial’. “Kirchner is the first President that has opned the door to us”, said Horacio Pietragalla, the last son of the ‘desaparecidos’ found by the ‘Mothers of ‘Plaza de Mayo’.


ICFTU Welcomes ILO Commission of Enquiry into Belarus

Brussels, November 20 (ICFTU Online) - The ICFTU has welcomed a decision of the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) to launch a Commission of Enquiry into ongoing violations of workers' rights in Belarus. (…) The ILO's Governing Body, comprising government, employer and trade union representatives, voted to set up the enquiry following a series of complaints by independent trade unions in Belarus and by the ICFTU and
other international trade union organisations. (…)

The ILO decision, made under Article 26 of its Constitution, sets in motion the strongest procedure available to the UN body, and reflects the frustration of worker, employer and many government members of the ILO Governing Body at the continued refusal of the regime to cease violating fundamental workers' rights.

The ICFTU represents 158 million workers in 231 affiliated organisations in 150 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions.

Two years of progress for Afghan women and children

UNICEF highlights successes but urges more be done

Kabul, Afghanistan, 20 November – Two years since the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, UNICEF this week highlights some of the progress that has been made for the country’s women and children since the start of the reconstruction process. Emphasising the prominent role of the Transitional Government, national NGOs and the Afghan people, UNICEF has applauded its partners for the unparalleled progress seen in areas such as health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and the protection of children’s rights.

UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Dr. Sharad Sapra, said today “In the last two years a number of important steps have been made in advancing the welfare of Afghanistan’s children and women. In the area of health, we have seen 16 million children immunized against measles, some 6 million children immunized against polio and more than 700,000 women have received life-saving tetanus vaccinations. The status of mothers’ health has improved, with the opening of new centres of excellence in maternal health in Kabul and Jalalabad, the refurbishment of provincial obstetric care facilities in every province, and with the training of 18 teams of obstetricians and midwives across the country. Two salt iodation plants have opened this year alone, which will greatly reduce the prevalence of  mental and physical stunting and goitre, while 5 million children have benefited from Vitamin A supplementation in both 2002 and 2003.” (…)



Economy and development



The World Bank approves $150 million to maintain fiscal reform program in Colombia

Washington, November 20, 2003 – The World Bank today approved a $150 million loan to Colombia to continue a four-year program of reforming public sector finances and financial management. The objectives of the Second Programmatic Fiscal and Institutional Structural Adjustment Loan center on strengthening the tax and budgeting systems while stepping up efficiency and accountability. (…) Specific elements of the new, second, phase include:

Making public finances more sustainable through the enactment and application of fiscal responsibility legislation;

Reducing losses, generating revenue, and providing new housing for the poor, by improving management of state-owned real estate assets, whose administration is now hampered by deficient, incomplete and unreliable information;

Improving budget management by monitoring results, making budget information available to the public, and bringing accounting practices into compliance with international standards.


10th ILO African Regional Meeting, Addis Ababa, 2-5 December

Delegates to examine how to fight poverty, create jobs

Geneva, 18 November 2003 (ILO News) – The Xth African Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is to hammer out priorities for action for the 53 ILO African member States and create a platform of support for the Extraordinary Summit on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa to be convened by African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in Burkina Faso in 2004. (…)

The Meeting (…) comes at a time when close to half of Africa's population, over 300 million people, live in extreme poverty on the equivalent of US$1 a day or less – the highest intra-regional poverty level and the widest gap between rich and poor in the world. Strategies for reducing such poverty and closing this gap through a job centred development agenda will be the main items on the table at the Meeting. (…)


Fluid financing: a new approach to investing in agriculture

Creating a network of international financing institutions

12 November, Budapest/Rome -- Creating a coordinated approach to financing agricultural development in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will improve investment in the region, FAO said.  At a two-day forum hosted on 12-13 November 2003 by FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Budapest, major international financial organizations, development agencies and private banks met to create a formal network of institutions financing agriculture.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism, many countries of the region faced a triple challenge - to build new states, found democratic institutions and create market economies.  Financial institutions such as the EBRD were set up to provide support to nurture the private sector in a new democratic environment.  (…)


Operation Acacia: boosting production of gums and natural resins

Italy funds project to support poor rural populations in six African countries

5 November, Rome -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Niger, Senegal and Sudan will receive funding to support the production of gums and natural resins as part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Operation Acacia, a project funded by Italy and worth approximately $3.5 million.

The project aims to increase the quality and quantity of acacia gum produced to help the rural poor who live in the semi-arid zones of the countries bordering the Sahara to achieve self-sufficiency. (…)

The project will be funded by the Organization's Trust Fund for Food Security. The US$ 500 million Trust Fund was created by FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf following the 2002 World Food Summit to provide new impetus to the global fight against hunger.

Italy has been the first among member countries to respond to this appeal and has committed itself to providing 100 million euros of which 50 million euros have already been received. Italy has already financed projects in the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe. (…)


Pan African Conference to discuss how to meet Africa's water goals – Addis Abeba, Dec. 8-13

Addis Ababa, 17 November (ECA) -- Delegates from about 43 African countries will attend the first Pan African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (PANAFCON) in Addis Ababa from 8-13 December 2003 (…)

PANAFCON will feature eight parallel thematic sessions (…)  It will also feature a multi-stakeholder consultation, a civil society segment and a segment specifically designed for African ministers and policy makers in charge of water to engage development partners. (…)

The Conference is co-sponsored by ECA, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN-Habitat, the African Development Bank (AfDB), NEPAD and the Ministry of Water Resources in Ethiopia.






UNICEF to celebrate 50 years of celebrity advocacy

Katie Couric, “ER,” Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte, Vanessa Redgrave, Nana Mouskouri and George Harrison To Be Honored

Los Angeles, 21 November 2003 – Today, virtually every non-profit organization in the world enlists the support of well-known individuals to help advance its work – but in 1953 it was a different story.  That was the year that a chance encounter on an airplane brought together the beloved entertainer Danny Kaye and the then-executive director of UNICEF, who together forged a new kind of partnership between celebrities and global causes. The following year, Danny Kaye became UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador, and began 33 years of traveling the world to promote the needs and rights of children.

On 3 December, at the UNICEF Goodwill Gala, UNICEF will celebrate 50 years of celebrity advocacy and honor the esteemed individuals – stars from stage, screen, sport and music – who have followed in Mr. Kaye’s footsteps.  UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Whoopi Goldberg will host the Gala and Halle Berry will serve as honorary event chair. (…) The gala, to be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, will benefit the “Audrey Hepburn All Children in School Fund” to help UNICEF provide 120 million children in developing nations access to a quality basic education. (..)


Indian artists wield brushes to help people living with HIV/AIDS

19 November - In a unique campaign against the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS, 22 well-known Indian artists have joined with people living with the virus to create path breaking works that breakdown stereotypes about the disease. At a recent art camp in the Amby Valley, Mumbai, the painters created 27 canvasses to support the Celebration of Lives campaign. The paintings will go on a travelling exhibition of five major cities. Half the proceeds from sales of the works will go to a UNDP-supported fund for people living with the disease.

Less than 1 per cent of adults in India are living with HIV/AIDS, but because of the country's large population that means almost four million people are infected with the virus. The challenges of stopping the spread of the epidemic are therefore great.

The campaign organizers are the UNDP Regional HIV and Development Programme for South and Northeast Asia; the Sahara India Pariwar company; and the Village Gallery in New Delhi. Among the artists participating are Jatin Das, Sunil Das, Shamshad Hussain, Achutan Kudallur, Subrata Kundu, Nupur Kundu, Manu Parikh, Madhavi Parikh, Surya Prakash and Rekha Rao. (…)


Ireland donates one million Euros for Unicef water and sanitation projects in SNNPR

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 18 November -  The Irish Government has donated onemillion Euros to UNICEF to fund new and rehabilitate old water supply and sanitation services at
communities, health institutions and schools to benefit 175,000 drought-affected people in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) over the next 12 months.

Coverage levels for water and sanitation in Ethiopia are among the lowest in the world. According to official figures, only 31 percent of households have access to safe water, and 17 per cent of households have access to sanitation facilities. (…)

The Irish Government has been supporting water supply in SNNPR in three zones for several years. During the present emergency, Ireland has increased its assistance to UNICEF by supporting water supply projects in an additional seven drought-affected zones.

Angela Walker Sampson, UNICEF Communication Officer


Episcopal relief and development helps after heavy storms in Rwanda

November 13  - Episcopal Relief and Development is giving assistance to families and school children in north central Rwanda. In late October, strong winds and heavy rains damaged and destroyed homes and schools in Buhita and Nyabyondo, in the District in Bungwe. At least 110 homes and two primary school classrooms were completely destroyed in the Diocese of Byumba. (…) On behalf of the Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief and Development has advanced emergency funds to the Diocese of Byumba to provide temporary shelter and materials for replacing the roofs on homes and classrooms. The funds will help purchase iron sheets, nails, and building sticks for rebuilding.


Rural communities in Niger build radio stations with Helen Keller Worldwide

Niamey, Niger, November 12 - Helen Keller Worldwide, an international development organization dedicated to combating blindness and malnutrition, is partnering with the government of Niger to generate empowerment through radio. Since free national elections in 1999 completed a return to democracy, the government of Niger has sought to improve conditions for Nigeriens and to generate civil society through a number of channels. Literally, in some cases. A growing number of radio stations in Niger, built by rural communities themselves, broadcast health messages in hopes of improving health practices. In the past year, Helen Keller Worldwide and partners have worked with communities across the regions of Diffa and Zinder, two of the most remote regions of the country, to install fifteen such stations, reaching an estimated 628,000 Nigeriens. Funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development. (…)

Many radio club participants are illiterate mothers, whom HKW and the government of Niger place a priority on reaching. (…) A significant number of female club participants surveyed by HKW have taken steps to follow the advice provided in the broadcasts. (…)



Peace and security



The Road to the 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World

Washington DC, 21 November - The 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World (the First Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer, of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction) is a key milestone in the life of the Treaty. It will mark the incredible progress since the birth of the Convention and chart the way forward for its full implementation and universalisation. The ICBL is geared to fully participate in the Summit and preparation process, starting with this launch. It is urging States Parties to the Treaty to send ministers to the Summit and use the road to Nairobi process to boost membership of the treaty and renew commitment to clearing mines and assisting landmine victims.

Cyprus, and neighbours Greece and Turkey, is amongst the Mine Ban Treaty's newest members. The mine-affected country will blow up its stockpiles of antipersonnel mines at the launch. This will be Cyprus' first significant step in fulfilling its Treaty obligations.

The launch coincides with the anniversary of the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa in 1997 and the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the ICBL and Jody Williams in Oslo. 3 December is also International Day for Disabled People. The ICBL will publish a press statement on 3 December:


DRC: Swiss foundation training landmine clearance teams

Nairobi, Kenya, 20 November (IRIN) - The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action has started training and deploying two landmine emergency teams in and around the town of Bunia, in the Ituri district of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The organisation said on Tuesday the undertaking was at the request of the UN Mine Action Service and that one Swiss supervisor had already arrived in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital. Two more are expected by the end of November. Supervisors from the foundation will begin the recruitment and training of 20 local mine clearing specialists in the next three weeks. “This will also provide job opportunities for ex-combatants and demobilised soldiers,” the foundation said.

Ituri has been the scene of inter-militia violence that peaked in May 2003. Hundreds of civilians have died and thousands others displaced by the fighting in which landmines were used. (…)

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council urged UN member states to support projects to clear landmines and unexploded ordnances from countries emerging from armed conflicts and to help rehabilitate mine victims. (…)


Resolving disputes between cities and their citizens in the use of scarce resource

November 19 - The rapid growth of towns and cities around the world is leading to increased competition for scarce municipal services and resources such as water, roads, electricity and land. UN-HABITAT is training experts to prevent disputes, arising from the use of these scarce resources, from escalating into conflict.

UN-HABITAT’s Training and Capacity Building Branch (TCBB) is holding Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops for Eastern and Southern Africa Sub-region on building bridges between citizens and local governments. The workshops are being held during the weeks of 17 to 22 November and 23 to 29 November 2003 in Nyeri, Kenya.

The overall objective of the workshops is to train a core pool of trainers and resource people to implement national training and capacity building activities on how local government and civil society organizations can manage differences of opinion between and among themselves.






Rotary members from Michigan, Indiana and Oregon will travel to West Africa to immunize children against polio  -  Part of Global Effort to Eradicate Polio Worldwide by 2005

Evanston, Ill., USA, 30 November - As the end of polio nears, the last vestiges of this crippling disease are stubbornly holding on in parts of Africa and South Asia. In support of Rotary International's top priority to eradicate polio worldwide, 12 Rotary club members (Michigan 7, Indiana 2, Oregon 3) will depart for the West African country of Niger on Sunday, 30 November and will return on Sunday, 14 December. While in Niger, the volunteers will help administer drops of oral polio vaccine to children, deliver the vaccine to health clinics and recruit fellow volunteers during Niger's national immunization campaign. The goal will be to immunize every child under the age of five against polio. (…)

In addition to protecting children from polio, members of the group - all contributing their personal resources to cover trip expenses - will each bring a second piece of luggage filled with children's clothing and other basic items to donate to various charities and orphanages. (…)


Russian Federation: Helping people in Daghestan

21 November - During the second week of November the ICRC delivered medicines and other medical supplies to the Central Hospital in Khasavyurt and technical equipment to the Orthopaedic Centre in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan. The republic was the scene of hostilities in 1999 and remains economically vulnerable.

Since 1999 the ICRC has been supplying the surgery and trauma units of Khasavyurt Central Hospital on a regular basis to enhance access to medical services for civilians. The hospital, which has a 995-bed capacity and a full range of services, is one of the largest in Daghestan. ICRC support is a boon to its staff, who carry out over 300 operations a month. (…)


Local leaders in Mali mount action against HIV/AIDS

21 November - Local leaders in Mali, meeting at a recent workshop in Bamako, have agreed to set up committees to intensify the campaign against HIV/AIDS, improve networking among communities and promote prevention activities.  Participants included members of the Alliance of Mayors and Local Elected Officials against HIV/AIDS, government officials and representatives from civil society groups, the media and United Nations agencies.

They concurred that Mali needs to take stronger measures to counter the epidemic, improve cooperation among those carrying out anti-HIV/AIDS activities, and gather more data on its social and economic impact at the community level.

Nearly 2 per cent of those 15 to 45 are living with the virus, and there is concern that unless steps are taken to increase public awareness about the dangers and to discourage risky behaviour, the epidemic would spread rapidly. (…)


Medical airlift model of public-private collaboration

Washington, DC, November 5  - A public-private partnership between SkyLink Aviation Canada and the development organization Counterpart International, will result in $1.5 million worth of medicines being distributed to the children of Iraq. (…)

The medicines, which treat childhood illnesses and water-borne diseases, are being flown from a Counterpart warehouse in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Kuwait City where they will be trucked into Basra, in southern Iraq. The Health Department and the World Health Organization (WHO) with Counterpart staff will supervise the distribution of medicines to clinics in the region with chronically bare medicine shelves. (…) The gift is being made in memory of UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Sergio Veira de Mello and other international relief agency workers who have died in the quest for peace in the war-torn Middle East nation. (…)

Counterpart International is a non-profit international human development organization founded in 1965 as the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific. We are headquartered in Washington D.C. and work in more than 60 countries.



Energy and safety



Armenia boosts access to Internet and e-governance

20 November - With the opening last week of a new information and communications (ICT) centre, Armenia is boosting access to the Internet and e-governance. The centre, opened by Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, in Yerevan, the capital, has 38 workstations and provides access to the Armenian Freenet, that has offered free email and other Internet tools in the Armenian language since 1998. Part of the National Academy of Sciences, it can accommodate 600 users a day.

UNDP funded 17 of the computers and the Open Society Institute 10 more. Internet access is provided by ARENA, the Armenian Research and Educational Networking Organization, through the NATO science programme.

The centre will promote ICT through research and training programmes, host public discussions, and serve as a hub for Freenet public access sites being established in many regions. It will also support e-democracy and e-governance systems, including the e-consulate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (…)


Region builds 'virtual Silk Road' for greater cooperation

18 November - The historic Silk Road linking Europe and Asia is quickly turning into a virtual Silk Road, with countries along the way providing their citizens with access to the Internet and other information and communications technology (ICT). This holds the promise of greater cooperation, trade, prosperity and mutual understanding in this vast region and the world, said representatives from 22 countries in eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at a recent forum in Baku, Azerbaijan. The meeting discussed ICT for development strategies and e-governance in preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva , 10 -12 December.

UNDP, the United Nations ICT Taskforce and the Government of Azerbaijan convened the event. Also attending were representatives from the World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency, Microsoft, the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network, Development Gateway and other international development organizations. (…)


Zero Emission Pledge.Com

Internet Campaign Launched To Spark Zero Emission Vehicle Marketplace

A worldwide, Internet-based campaign, Zero Emission, has been launched to spark a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) marketplace through a consumer pledge to only purchase a ZEV when shopping for a new vehicle. "With each passing day the environmental crisis that we have been warned about since the early 1980s, comes dangerously closer," says Pledge founder and developer Ben Mater.  "Zero Emission is a means for consumers to collectively use our purchasing power to drive change in the automotive industry towards a clean, renewable zero emission model today."

Zero Emission Pledge offers consumers and organizations the ability to band together with a common objective of creating demand for ZEVs with a boycott of oil consuming vehicles. Digitally signed and verified pledges are delivered to major automotive manufacturers to let them know the demand for ZEVs are real and growing. (…)

Taking advantage of the growing web-based activism trend, the ZEP campaign is being developed with an online focus to be followed by more traditionalmedia and marketing programs.  Zero Emission was created and is being implemented by Earthwaves, a U.S.-based media and social marketing agency.



Environment and wildlife



New WRI tool contributes to UN climate treaty negotiations

Washington, DC, November 20 - Drawing on a new climate indicator tool, experts from the World Resources Institute (WRI) today warned that current efforts by the global community, and in particular by the US, are inadequate to reverse the rapidly rising trends in global emissions. The warning was issued during a briefing previewing the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings in Milan, Italy, Dec. 1-12.

“While focusing on many of the operational details of emissions registries and offset projects, the Milan meetings will be the opening round of a post-Kyoto conversation on the mitigation of global climate change,” said Dr. Jonathan Pershing, director of WRI’s Climate, Energy, and Pollution Program and head of the institute’s delegation to the Milan negotiations. (…)

Pershing’s comments come as WRI is poised to roll out its new Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT), a database that provides perhaps the most detailed picture of the emissions contributions that countries are making to global warming. CAIT will be formally released during the UNFCCC negotiations in Milan. (…)


Emergency meeting to save the great apes

November 20 -  A crisis meeting to rescue the great apes will be held from November 26 to 28 at UNESCO Headquarters, at which representatives of 23 African and Asian states and scientific experts will develop a strategy to save humankind’s closest living relatives from extinction.

Every single species of great ape now faces a high risk of extinction either in the immediate future or at best within 50 years, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Representatives from all countries with great ape populations and donor countries will meet with leading scientific experts from non-governmental organizations and universities through the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), co-ordinated by UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). They will develop a Global Great Ape Conservation Strategy, to be released at a press conference at UNESCO, November 28th at 1:00 p.m.

Great apes, which include gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos, share more than 96 per cent of their DNA with humans. For chimpanzees, the figure is as high as 98.4 per cent. For many scientists, by losing a single species of great apes, we destroy part of the bridge to our own origins and part of our humanity. (…)


Golden lion tamarin no longer critically endangered

Gland, Switzerland, 18 November - The golden lion tamarin has moved from critically endangered to endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  The species, which is endemic to Brazil, was the only primate that shifted into a lower threat category on the list published today.

Just over 30 years ago, the golden lion tamarin was on the brink of extinction. In 1971, when WWF started working with its partners to protect the primate, there were fewer than 200 left in the wild. After tireless conservation work, the 1000th baby tamarin was born in March 2001. One-third of this population is the direct result of a WWF-supported programme to reintroduce zoo-born animals into the wild and to translocate isolated animals to bigger forest areas such as the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve. (…)


United Media Communications Group joins forces with UN environment to produce ground breaking “EcoWatch” TV Series

Boca Raton, Fl, USA, November 9 - A major new environmental television series, produced by United Media Communications Group (UMCG), will be drawing on the significant knowledge, expertise and scientific resources of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for series’ educational programming content. Under an agreement announced today, UNEP will provide story ideas and content for the new “EcoWatch” series. This series of television segments will bring the issues and solutions to solving some of the biggest threats facing human-kind into the living rooms of an estimated 60 million American homes on cable television networks such as the Outdoor Life Channel and through national syndication.

In addition, EcoWatch will air in various regional television markets on CNN and/or FOX News. The series will also reach a worldwide television audience through international syndication on WorldNet. The series aims to show in a down-to-earth way how every day decisions by individuals, companies and governments affect today’s environment and the environment of future generations. (…)



Religion and spirituality



Reconciliation in Judaism, Islam and Christianity    Interfaith Conference, Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Jerusalem, November 11 - Some forty participants came to the 6th Israeli-Palestinian interfaith conference, organized by the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA) and the Nablus Youth Federation (NYF). The conference was mainly funded by the European Commission and also enjoyed a generous grant from the Public Affairs Office of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv (…)

Following the opening remarks participants went into small groups, introducing themselves through personal information and through the sharing of a reconciliation story from their social life. The evening concluded with a performance of the join Jewish-Arab group of
Ofer Golani and Abu Nicola who sang songs in Hebrew and Arabic with the active participation of the audience. Friday started with the study of the Jewish view of reconciliation. (…)  Then we all joined the Muslim Jumaa prayer after which we started the Muslim session.  After the Jewish Kabalat Shabbat prayer and dinner we came together for a Hafla (a party). Saturday began with the Christian perspective delivered by Dean Ross Jones of St. George's College in Jerusalem and discussion on True reconciliation. (…)

The Interfaith Encounter Association is dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East through interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural study.



Culture and education



Dutch Government donates almost  $3.4 Million to UNICEF for girls' education

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 21 November - The Dutch Government has donated almost $3.4 million to UNICEF to be used over the next three years to enhance and promote girls'
education in six regions of Ethiopia and the rights of all children in the country to quality learning opportunities.  The money will be used in Oromiya, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) where there are the widest gender gaps and the lowest girls' enrolment. More than four million children, 2.7 million girls and 1.4 million boys, are not getting an education in these five regions, representing 80.5 per cent of the out-of-school children in the whole country. (…)

UNICEF's Girls' Education programme has developed a multi-pronged approach to
addressing the key factors that limit girls attending school in Ethiopia. Factors include harmful traditional practices (HTPs), like early marriage, the dowry system, abduction, female genital mutilation and rape, which affect girls' access to quality education. (…) To address these issues, UNICEF is advocating social mobilisation on the importance of girls' education for all segments of society as well as educating the public on the negative psychological impact HTPs have on young women. (…)

Angela Walker Sampson, UNICEF Communication Officer


A smart partnership warning young people, be smart when picking your partners!

Counterpart Caribbean is working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to get the media more deeply involved in the battle to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in the region. It is arranging a major regional media competition and awards ceremony in Kingston, Jamaica to encourage the media to cover the subject. UNFPA is offering more than US$6,000 in cash prizes, airline tickets and hotel stays for the awards ceremony.

This year's awards are open to all Caribbean-based journalists covering "Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" issues, which includes stories or reports on curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, early initiation of sexual activity, fostering behavioral change, promoting gender equality, sexual exploitation (including sex tourism) and population, poverty reduction and sustainable development. (…)

Counterpart International is a non-profit international human development organization founded in 1965 as the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific. We are headquartered in Washington D.C. and work in more than 60 countries.


World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology meets in Rio de Janeiro, December 1-4

November 18 - The third Session of UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) will take place from December 1 to 4 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, organized by UNESCO and the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. It is the first time that a formal session of COMEST has taken place outside Europe.

Scientific and technological advances are increasingly and evermore rapidly remodeling our societies. Confronted with the social and cultural effects of these changes, COMEST, created by UNESCO in 1997, has been given the job of setting out ethical principles to guide decision-makers who work in sensitive areas, providing them with criteria that are not purely based on economics. COMEST comprises 18 members from the fields of science and technology, philosophy, culture, religion and politics. They are all are appointed personally by the Director-General of UNESCO for a four-year term.  (…)


Annual flagship report

The State of the World's Children 2004 - Girls, education and development

UNICEF will launch its annual flagship report, The State of the World's Children, on 11 December 2003. The 2004 report presents girls' education as one of the most crucial issues facing the international development community.

The report is a call to action on behalf of the millions of children who are not in school around the world, most of whom are girls. The report argues that the theories, policies and practices of development have been marked by gender discrimination and that the standard approach to development has focused on economic growth rather than human welfare. Through The State of the World's Children 2004, UNICEF calls on every nation engaged in development to make the education of all children - with an emphasis on girls - a major focus of investment.


Transcend Peace University (TPU) - February Semester 2004

Johan Galtung, the Rector of TPU and one of the founders of peace studies, invites you to join practitioners and students from around the world online.

TPU is the worlds first truly global, on-line Peace University designed for government and NGO practitioners, policy makers and students at any level working in the fields of peace, conflict transformation, development and global issues. Since 1996, 300+ on-site skills institutes have been offered for 6,000+ participants around the world, using the TRANSCEND manual "Conflict Transformation By Peaceful Means," published by the United Nations.

There will be certificates; for single courses, diplomas for clusters of courses and eventually BA, MA; and PhD degrees. Participants may combine online and onsite courses.

In the 2004 February Semester TPU will offer 18 courses. Starting date: February 9, 2004
Deadline for Registration: January 23. Cost per Course: Euros 500.



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Next issue: December 19

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