Good News Agency – Year IV, n° 2



Weekly - Year IV, number 2 – 24 January 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 developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnvironment and wildlifeCulture and education



International legislation



UN Security Council appeals to States to take a number of steps to combat terrorism 

New York - On 20 January, the Security Council, in a meeting attended by 13 Foreign Ministers, called for all countries to take urgent action against terrorism and to comply fully with Council resolutions addressing this threat. In the declaration, the Ministers appealed to States to take a number of steps to combat terrorism, including becoming a party to all international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and cooperating in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of terrorist acts. States must also ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism are in accordance with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law. The Council stressed that continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden the understanding among civilizations “will contribute to international cooperation and collaboration, which by themselves are necessary to sustain the broadest possible fight against terrorism.”



Corruption Convention moves forward

Vienna, 10 January (UN Information Service) - Further negotiations on a United Nations Convention against Corruption will take place in Vienna next week (13 - 24 January 2003). The fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption will continue the second reading of the draft convention. Discussions will focus on three key areas: private sector corruption, asset recovery and the way the convention will be monitored. It is expected that the second reading of the draft text will be completed.

The question of whether private sector corruption should be criminalized under the Convention is one of the difficult issues delegates will be addressed at the fourth session. There is some opposition to including it in the convention because of concerns about the possible negative impact on businesses in terms of restraining trade. Recently the European Union agreed on a framework decision on the criminalization of private sector corruption, which may have a bearing on the negotiations at the Ad Hoc Committee. (...)

There are two more sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee planned for 2003 and then the convention is expected to go before the United Nations General Assembly for approval at its fifty eighth session later this year. The General Assembly in its resolution GA57/169 has approved the holding of a High-level Political Conference in Mexico for the purpose of signing the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003.


103 countries ask UNESCO to prepare an international convention against doping in sport

Paris, 10 January - The ministers and senior officials of physical education and sport from 103 countries today asked UNESCO to elaborate, with the United Nations and other competent agencies, an International Convention against doping in sport. Meeting for two days at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for a Round Table of Ministers of Physical Education and Sport, which finished this evening, 45 ministers and numerous senior officials of physical education and sport from 103 countries adopted a communique in which they called for sport to be given its rightful place in education systems, for improved protection of young athletes against the risks of high level sport, and to fight doping, notably through the elaboration of an international instrument. (...)

They committed themselves to "accelerate the preparation of an International Convention against doping based on the Council of Europe's Convention against doping and request UNESCO, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization, other competent UN system agencies and the Council of Europe, in close collaboration with other concerned bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and IICGADS (Intergovernmental Consultative Group on Anti-Doping in Sport), to coordinate the preparation, if possible before the Summer Olympic Games of 2004, and the adoption, if possible before the Winter Olympic Games of 2006, of a universal international instrument for this purpose." (...)



Human rights



Japan backs protection of South Asian girls from trafficking and HIV/AIDS

17 January - Japan is allocating US$1.03 million through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security for a UNDP initiative to protect adolescent girls in South Asia more effectively from trafficking and HIV/AIDS, and care for those so affected. The project will help governments, civil society groups and communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan increase such protection and care.


Uzbekistan: Release more Human Rights defenders

New York, January 10 - Uzbekistan should follow up the recent release of a human rights defender by releasing many others still in prison, Human Rights Watch said today.

On January 3, Yuldash Rasulov, a member of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU), was released from prison under an amnesty announced last month. Rasulov, a human rights defender and practicing Muslim, had been sentenced to seven years in prison in a politically motivated trial in September. (...) Rasulov, who had helped people persecuted for their religious beliefs and affiliations, was convicted on charges of "attempting to overthrow the constitutional order" and distributing "extremist" literature. The evidence presented against him, however, showed only that he prayed five times a day and had listened to tapes on Islam commonly available in the mid-1990s. (...)

Four other members of HRSU remain in prison, after being sentenced in 2002. (...)



Economy and development



World Bank assistance strategy for Colombia projects up to $3.3 billion in loans over four years

Washington, January 16 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today discussed the new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Colombia, involving a lending program of up to US$3.3 billion and significant analytical work through June 2006.

This amount of projected lending is in the high-case scenario, assuming that the Government of Colombia achieves key economic and social reforms, including public spending, taxation and banking regulation, and the implementation of its Social Support Network for the country’s poorest people (Red de Apoyo Social).

The World Bank’s new CAS is based on the recognition that greater social and economic stability can be achieved by increasing economic growth, reducing poverty and creating opportunities for all Colombians. (...)


Africa: Third big table to focus on mutual accountability – 18-19 January, Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, 15 January - Effective implementation of the new development cooperation agenda will be the subject of the third Big Table, an informal consultation between Finance ministers from several African countries and their counterparts from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) development co-operation ministries, to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 18 - 19 January 2003. (...)

The Big Table is an initiative designed by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to promote frank, constructive dialogue between African finance ministers and their OECD counterparts. The format and agenda are designed to allow for maximum interactive dialogue, with no formal statements.

This year's discussions will focus on approaches to monitoring the performance of Africa and its partners towards meeting shared goals in the context of mutual accountability.

The notion of mutual accountability is a hallmark of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and a manifestation of its appeal for a new "compact" between Africa and its external partners. This compact calls for African countries to undertake the political and economic reforms needed to place their economies on a path towards sustainable growth. In turn, external partners would invest -- through aid, debt relief, and market access -- the resources needed to help African countries in this effort. (...)


Revision of the UNECE Trans-European North-South Motorway (TEM) project standards and recommended practice

Geneva, 7 January - The UNECE-sponsored Trans-European North-South Motorway (TEM) Project published the 3rd Edition of its Standards and Recommended Practice containing motorway design, construction and operation as well as newly required safety measures in motorway tunnels. (...) In the course of the present revision, the UNECE European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries and the 1997 update of the Highway Capacity Manual (US Transportation Research Board Special Report 209) were taken into account.

In addition to these sources, the chapter on tunnels was revised basically in order to incorporate the newly required safety measures in motorway tunnels, including the recommendations of the UNECE Ad hoc Multidisciplinary Group of Experts on Safety in Tunnels established in 1999. The topics covered are: planning; design parameters; traffic regulation and safety; facilities; environmental considerations; bridges; tunnels; and maintenance related to design.

Although their primary application will be to the Trans-European North-South Motorway, the Standards are available to other United Nations member countries, which may find them beneficial for the formulation or updating of their national standards. (...)


New forms of assistance for developing countries

FAO and Italy sign programme of decentralized cooperation

Rome, 7 January -- For the first time, a programme of decentralized cooperation has been signed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian government representing a new kind of partnership between local authorities in Italy and in developing countries to focus on food security and rural development.

Over the next two years an Italian trust fund of $2.3 million will launch pilot projects aimed at improving the lives of rural communities in a number of developing countries.

Representing a new approach to fighting hunger and food insecurity, the initiative will enable FAO to work not only with the central government but also with local authorities - at municipal, provincial and regional levels - of both developed and developing countries.

Italy's approximately 8000 municipalities, 100 provinces and 20 regions give some idea of the potential of the new initiative whose objective is to mobilize the social, human and financial resources of local Italian authorities to fight hunger and malnutrition.

As civil society and local authorities play an ever increasing role internationally in the fight against hunger and poverty, decentralized cooperation establishes solid, cross-cutting partnerships between organizations while encouraging active participation in democracy and the mobilization of resources. (...)


World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil, January 23 - 28

The World Social Forum brings together an international collection of representatives of people's organisations, community organisations, popular movements and other civil society groups. There will be five days of celebration, debate, and discussion of concrete strategies and alternatives to current social and economic policies.

This year's Forum will highlight five main themes:

§                     Democratic, Sustainable Development

§                     Principles and Values, Human Rights and Diversity

§                     Media, Culture and Counter-Hegemony

§                     Political Power, Civil Society and Democracy

§                     Democratic World Order and Peace

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the gathering. "The WSF will debate alternative means to building a globalisation in solidarity, which respects universal human rights and those of all men and women of all nations and the environment, and is grounded in democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples".

This is the third global gathering in Porto Alegre for groups "engaged in building a planetary society centred on the human person... opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital."

Regional gatherings have also been held - see, for example, The event will coincide with the World Economic Forum held at Davos in Switzerland.






Canadian Rotarians help immunize nearly one million children against polio in Cameroon, part of Rotary's global effort to eradicate polio worldwide by 2005

January 18, Ontario, Canada - As polio still threatens children in parts of Africa and South Asia, Rotary has made eliminating this crippling disease its top priority.  In support of this global endeavor, 32 Rotary club members from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta will depart Toronto for Cameroon on the evening of Saturday, 18 January and will return on Sunday, 27 January. While in Cameroon, the volunteers will help administer drops of oral polio vaccine, assist parents in getting their children vaccinated, transport health workers, deliver the vaccine to health clinics and recruit fellow volunteers during Cameroon's polio immunization campaign on 21 January.  The goal will be to immunize children under the age of five against polio. (...)

In order to eradicate polio by 2005, every child must be reached. Gaining access to children in areas of civil unrest and upholding political commitment despite the decline of the disease are the major challenges to a polio-free world.  Most critically, a funding shortfall of US$275 million is the greatest threat to polio eradication, according to the World Health Organization.

To help meet this funding challenge, Rotary members worldwide have embarked on a major campaign to raise US$80 million by 2003.  (...)

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children's  Fund (UNICEF).


UNDP helps keep remittance lifeline to Somalia open

17 January - UNDP Somalia is helping to keep open a crucial financial lifeline -- remittance companies (hawala) -- that transfer US$750 million to $1 billion a year from Somalis abroad to families and businesses in their home country. This is by far the largest foreign currency infusion into the economy -- more than international aid from all sources - and its shutdown would bring a major crisis. Somalia has been without a central government and a commercial banking system since 1991 because of civil strife.

Following the closure of Al-Barakkat, the largest Somali remittance company, after the 11 September attacks, due to allegations that it was used by terrorists, other such companies faced the threat of sudden closure. (...)

A UNDP Somalia study indicated that the hawala companies remain an integral part of Somalia's economy because they enjoy customers' trust, serve nearly the whole country, as well as Somalis elsewhere, and are less expensive and far more efficient than other financial companies. Traditional ties between extended families and clans reinforce these advantages.

A UNDP Somalia team went to the US, UK, Norway and the United Arab Emirates, meeting with governments and financial institutions to emphasize the importance of the remittance companies, while calling on the companies to comply with all international laws and host government rules and regulations. (...)


Ethiopia: Helping the displaced

16 January - In the past few days, staff and volunteers of the Bale branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, aided by ICRC personnel, have distributed emergency non-food relief supplies to some 36,000 displaced people in Oromia region's Bale zone.

The aid recipients had fled their harsh living conditions in drought-stricken Western and Eastern Hararghe and Arsi. These lowland zones in Oromia region offer little arable land. In Bale zone, many of them found shelter far from any health-care facilities. For the time being, the Ethiopian government is providing them with medical care and monthly food rations while at the same time looking for a durable solution.

The aim of the relief operation was to alleviate suffering, especially of the many thousands of women, children and the elderly who are particularly vulnerable so far from their homes. Each family received blankets, cooking pots, soap, jerrycans and tarpaulins. This is but one example of the many ongoing Red Cross activities countrywide.


Senegal's new national Goodwill Ambassador supports action against poverty and HIV/AIDS

13 January - Soccer star Aliou Cissé, designated national Goodwill Ambassador for 2003-2004 last week by UNDP Senegal, has pledged support for efforts to overcome poverty and stem HIV/AIDS, both Millennium Development Goals. The Senegal Lions' captain, who plays with Birmingham City in the UK, visited UNDP projects in Bambey, Senegal's poorest department, noting that they help people make real progress with small-scale investments.



Peace and security



USA: Internet group of 600,000 Americans finances controversial TV campaign to pressure Bush administration to "let the inspections work"

January 16 - The landmark 1960's TV ad scene of a little girl in a field of daisies is being recreated as part of a new controversial advertising campaign to put pressure on the Bush administration against rushing into war in Iraq.

The new TV ad, financed by more than 10,000 individual members of the Internet group, hits the airwaves today in 13 major U. S. cities. "Our message is simple: 'Please let the inspectors do their job,'" says Eli Pariser of "As long as the United Nations team is still hard at work there's no reason to send in our troops and unleash forces that could escalate into the overthrow of friendly governments or chemical and biological warfare or even nuclear warfare." (...)

Leaders of initially asked their membership to contribute $27,000 to finance a modest ad campaign, but more than 10,000 members responded with donations averaging $35 each for a total of $400,000. (...) The ad is airing on TV stations in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Cleveland, Portland and Seattle. (...) is a key player in Win Without War, a coalition of organizations, including the National Council of Churches, NAACP, Sierra Club, NOW, and others, representing millions of Americans who favor allowing the U. N. inspectors to finish their work in Iraq.


Poet Fuaz Hussein - Guest of the Iflac Dialogue Forum

January 13 – Professor Ada Aharoni, President of IFLAC Pave Peace*, informed us that the Druze poet Fuaz Hussein, from Hurfeish Village in the High Galillee, was the Guest of the Iflac Dialogue, together with Reyad Amer, also from Hurfeish, a young labor activist and staunch supporter of Amram Mitzna, on 10 January. (...)

A lively and fruitful dialogue took place between the guests and the participants. It was good to see that despite the Intefada, the suicide bombings, and the reprisals - IFLAC Pave Peace remains a place of sanity, harmony and understanding between the two nations and a bridge between the two cultures. 

Fuaz concluded by saying, "Perhaps IFLAC is the model of relations between the two nations, for we all recognize the fact that early or late, due to necessity or to realization - we will reach co-existence of Israelis and Palestinians. Most of all we have to remember that cooperation begins and ends with human beings, and that mutual respect is the only key to harmonious relations. IFLAC in my view fulfills an important national function as a bridge, even though a narrow one as yet - between the two nations and the two rich cultures. "

*For information on IFLAC:


Norway backs media project for peace in South Asia

7 January - The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation is providing US$500,000 for seminars, a quarterly magazine and a web site for South Asian journalists and media professionals on the role of media in promoting peace and human development. The UNDP Paragon project will include a forum for Indian and Pakistani journalists and parliamentarians to discuss peace and cooperation. Paragon is the UNDP Asia regional governance programme.


TRANSCEND Peace University: a dream coming true

Some welcoming words by Johan Galtung, Rector, TPU

On February 3, 2003 TPU opens with six 15-weeks courses, Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means; Nonmilitary Aspects of Security; Global Conflicts and Nonviolence; Peace-building and Empowerment; Peace Journalism; The Roles of Arts in Peace-Building. (...)

The general purpose so far is to provide people who work for peace by peaceful means, development by developmental means and environment by environmental means with more knowledge and skills. Thus, at the present stage our primary concern is to be useful to practitioners of all kinds and ages; including students. Later on TPU will also launch more theoretical courses in peace, conflict and development theory, preparing participants for MA and higher level, all the time combining our on-line and on-site courses. (...)

We live in a world where governments desperately defend their monopoly on violence, fighting wars by belligerent means. And the NGO opposition is often limited to a language with one word: NO! Important, but not good enough. We are among those who show both government and non-governments that there are so many other possibilities, so much that should, must, can be done.


Course in Peace Journalism and Progressive Media Through Radio

An intensive 4-week course with optional Spanish component at the RFPI studios in Costa Rica

Radio For Peace International is an independent media voice broadcasting on short wave. The programs deal with peace and conflict, human rights, social justice and the environment and have been operating from Costa Rica for the last 15 years. RFPI is a non-profit organization bringing independent news and information on vital issues of the day to a world wide audience.  All proceeds raised from the course go straight back into the radio station.

RFPI has trained over three hundred independent peace journalists who now work all over the world. The 4-week course includes various subjects of the radio production and analysis of progressive and independent media.

Session dates: session 1: January 27th - Feb 21st; session 2: March 3rd - 28th; session 3: April 7th - May 2nd;  session 4: June 16th - July 11th; session 5: July 21st - August 15th;  session 6: August 25th - September 19th; Session 7: September 29th - October 24th.






Forty new countries given low cost access to health journals

17 January, Geneva -- Forty-three new countries were added to the list of eligible participants in the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) this week, giving them online access to 2,200 high-quality medical journals at drastically reduced prices.

The 43 countries, which all have gross national products per capita of between $1,000-$3,000, join the 69 low-income countries (GNP/capita below $1,000) whose hospitals, medical schools and research institutions already access the package for free.

The total value of the publication package offered is in excess of $750,000. While the poorest countries can access the publications for free, countries eligible under this second stage will pay an annual fee of $1,000 beginning with a six month free trial. Access for eligible institutions is granted through admission to a portal maintained by the World Health Organization. The 28 participating publishers are contributing the fees collected to a fund to train librarians and researchers to make the best use of the vast amount of information now being made available.

HINARI has been developed by the World Health Organization and its publisher partners to support the health sector in developing countries by enabling access to high quality, timely, relevant scientific information at affordable prices. (...)



Environment and wildlife



Brazilian consumers can now buy certified timber

São Paulo, Brazil, 17 January - Last night's opening of a pilot retail shop which will exclusively sell FSC-certified timber opens new possibilities for Brazilian consumers, as well as for producers with certified forests and certified chain-of-custody.

The new EcoLeo shop in São Paulo, Brazil, belongs to Leo Madeiras, a large retailing group in Brazil. The store sells several species of Amazon native tropical wood, as well as pine, eucalyptus and other timber from plantations, in the form of sawn wood, boards, blades, plywood, MDF, and other products — all of which are FSC certified.

The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) seal provides a guarantee that forest materials and products come from legal, sustainably managed forests. Socially, the FSC seal means that all forestry activity is legal, that taxes and labour obligations are regularly paid, that there is no forced labour or child labour, that all workers are duly registered and enjoy all legal rights, that workers are well qualified for the job, and that local and traditional communities are respected.

Environmentally, the practices and technology required by FSC ensure the integrity and longevity of the forest, as well as biodiversity conservation and all its associated values: water resources, soils, landscapes, ecosystems and ecological functions, the protection of threatened species and their habitats, fighting predatory practices, and complying with environmental laws. (...)


Chile's Coastal Range Road rerouted!

16 January - Good news for the temperate Valdivian rainforest of southern Chile: on 11 January, the government of Chile signed an agreement to redefine the routing of the Coastal Range Road and establish mechanisms for the creation of protected areas along the country's Coastal Range — home to the oldest and most diverse rainforest remaining in southern South America. The agreement was signed with the Coastal Range Coalition, an NGO group spearheaded by WWF that includes more than 12 institutions, ranging from indigenous groups to leading scientists, interested in the conservation of the remaining temperate rainforest of the Coastal Range. (...)

The agreement represents an outstanding conservation result. Twenty per cent of the 200-km road that is already under construction will be changed from a logging penetration road (speed limit of 70 km/h) to a minimal environmental impact road (speed limit of 40 km/h). Additionally, the remaining 80 per cent of the road, currently under study, will be routed outside forested areas (east of the range) and use existing minor roads. Significantly, each segment will be subject to a full environmental assessment, which is not required by law. Finally, the plan also considers the establishment of protected areas, since less than five per cent of the Coastal Range is currently under protection.  (...)


UNDP helps Haiti in disaster management

9 January - UNDP has helped Haiti establish a national disaster management system that includes more than 90 local committees in high risk, low-income areas outside of Port-au-Prince, the capital. It is allocating US$500,000 for a new phase covering 2003-2005, and the European Commission and other donors have pledged support. Haiti is prone to floods, droughts and earthquakes and hurricanes, one of the most devastating being Georges in 1998, claiming nearly 200 lives.


About World Water Day 2003 (22 March 2003)

The goal for World Water Day 2003 is to inspire worldwide political and community action and encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use and conservation. The theme for this year’s event is “Water for the Future”, calling on one and all to observe sustainable approaches to water use for the benefit of future generations.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the lead UN agency for World Water Day 2003, aims to work with governments and key partners worldwide to plan events that achieve this end. It is notable that World Water day, this year, coincides with celebrations marking 2003 as the International Year of Fresh Water.



Culture and education



UNESCO Publishing brings out first free-verse Arab translation of Dante's 'Divine Comedy'

Paris, 16 January - The first-ever free-verse Arabic translation of The Divine Comedy, written by Italian poet Alighieri Dante in 1321, has just been published. Until now, this literary masterpiece had only appeared in Arabic in prose. The new translation, from the original Italian and several French translations, is the work of Iraqi-born French poet and literary critic Kadhim Jihad, who is a senior lecturer at France’s National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations. It is co-published by UNESCO and the Arab Institute for Research and Publishing (AIRP), based in Beirut (Lebanon).

The Divine Comedy comprises 14,233 three-line verses (tercets) making up 100 songs, and divided into three parts describing hell, purgatory and paradise. By transcribing this long poem into free-verse (unrhymed verse without a metrical pattern), Kadhim Jihad sought to safeguard its musical quality. “Arabic and Italian metrics do not obey the same rules and it would be very difficult to do a translation that kept to the original verse structure,” he said. “I chose free-verse tercets because they got closer to the music of Dante’s words.”

In a long introduction he points out that the Arab-Islamic world and The Divine Comedy are not strangers to each other, even though Dante was a Christian and strongly influenced by St Thomas Aquinas. (...)


UNICEF contributes US$ 2.5 million toward free primary education in Kenya

Nairobi, 15 January - UNICEF announced today an immediate contribution of US 2.5 million dollars to urgently support the Kenyan government's pledge to provide free and compulsory primary education. The UNICEF funds - for use over the next three months - will benefit 450,000 girls and boys from grade 1 to 3 with learning and teaching materials in eight districts and Nairobi. Specifically, UNICEF will provide education kits, recreational kits, support the training of five thousand teachers, and assist in the repair and rehabilitation of primary school classrooms and their water and sanitation facilities.

"The new government's education initiative is a milestone and we are heartened at the speed with which the government has moved to fulfill its election promise and the provisions of the Children's Act", UNICEF Representative Nicholas Alipui said today.

On the heels of the inauguration of the new Kenyan government and its announcement it would immediately abolish fees at all government schools, some 1.5 million previously out-of-school children turned up to attend classes. UNICEF said it is working with the government to swiftly assess those children most in need, as a priority.  (...)


Timor-Leste to become a member of UNESCO

Paris, 9 January - The President of Timor-Leste, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, has announced his country's intention to become a member of UNESCO in a letter to the Organization's Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura. President Xanana Gusmão said in his letter: "UNESCO has long been a reference to peace-loving peoples throughout the world. Accordingly, the time has come for Timor-Leste to become a Member State of UNESCO in our overall process of integration into the international community."

Mr Matsuura welcomed the announcement: "I look forward to the imminent arrival of Timor-Leste and to working closely with this, our newest Member State. I am particularly heartened to see that Timor-Leste has taken the decision to join our Organization as part of becoming a full participant in the international community, so soon after acceding to independence. I also welcome the fact that with Timor-Leste joining our Organization, and with the return of the United States, we are just one step away from universal membership and I look forward to the day when Singapore, the only United Nations Member State which is not in UNESCO, will announce its return." (...)

Timor-Leste joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002. UNESCO currently has 188 Member States. That number will rise to 190 when the U.S. and Timor-Leste complete the membership procedure, while the United Nations number a total of 191 Member States.


HM Queen Rania to be Royal Patron of the Global Summit on Peace through   Tourism - February  5-8, Geneva, Switzerland

Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Second Global Summit on Peace through Tourism will be held at the International Conference Center Geneva (CICG) February 5-8. The Summit, being organized by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), is in support of the U.N. Decade for Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

The Geneva Summit will feature leaders of the Travel & Tourism Industry from different regions of the world, as well as leaders in other sectors. (...) The aim of the Summit is to continue "Building a Culture of Peace through Tourism" and to harness the world's largest industry, Travel and Tourism, as a leading force for Poverty Reduction.

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

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


XXIII World Congress of Poets, October 2003, Hangzhou, China

The XXIII World Congress of Poets will take place in October 2003 in Hangzhou, China (l hour from Shanghai). All WCP's are based on a pre-registration,  and a VISA is needed.

Write for Invitation Letter to Mr. Zhong Guo-Miao,9E, Jingjing Mansion, No.2l6, Daomao Alley, HANGZHOU 310003, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, PRC, e-mail




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Next issue: 7 February 2003


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