Good News Agency – Year IV, n° 9



Weekly - Year IV, number 9 – 23 May 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 wildlife  Culture and education



International legislation



Human trafficking, especially in women and children, to be the focus of UN Crime Commissio n Meeting -- 40-member body to hold 12th session in Vienna from 13 -22 May

Vienna, 13 May - Human trafficking, especially in women and children, will be the focus of discussion at the twelfth session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice beginning today.

While there is a dearth of reliable statistics worldwide on human trafficking, UNODC's newly-established global database, which focuses on such trends, allows for some general conclusions. The findings confirm that the majority of victims of human trafficking are women and children, and sexual exploitation is the most common form of such abuse. Persons are typically recruited from moderately poor countries, transported through countries which provide safe routes, and end up in more affluent parts of the world. Asia, the Former Soviet Republics and Africa are the major regions of origin. (…) The main destination regions can be found in the industrialized world and in Asia. (…)

The main topics to be discussed at the twelfth session are: (a) Trends in trafficking in human beings; (b) Investigating and prosecuting cases on trafficking in human beings: national and international law enforcement cooperation and assistance; and (c) Awareness raising and social intervention: victim support and the role of civil society.

In addition, a Workshop on "Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially in Women and Children: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications" will be held on 15 May. (…)



Human rights



ILO, Myanmar agree on facilitator to help end forced labour

Geneva, 14 May - The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia, today welcomed a formal understanding negotiated between the ILO and the Union of Myanmar for the establishment of a facilitator to assist possible victims of forced labour in Myanmar.

In a letter to Mr. U Tin Winn, Minister of Labour of Myanmar, Mr. Somavia said:

"I welcome both the Formal Understanding on the Facilitator to assist possible victims in Myanmar to seek remedies available under the relevant legislation and as provided under the Forced Labour Convention No. 29 (1930) and the reaffirmation of your government's commitment to eradicating forced labour, expressed in this Formal Understanding.” (…)


ILO launches first global report on discrimination at work

Says workplace discrimination remains a persistent global problem,with new, more subtle forms emerging

Geneva, 12 May - While the most blatant forms of discrimination at work may have faded, many remain a persistent and daily part of the workplace or are taking on new, more subtle forms that are cause for growing concern, according to a new study by the International Labour Office (ILO). What's more, the ILO's most comprehensive study to date on discrimination, entitled "Time for Equality at Work" 1, warns that neglecting to tackle "widening socio-economic inequalities" in the world of work not only amounts to accepting a "waste of human talent and resources" but could have "disastrous effects on national social cohesion, political stability, and hence growth" in the years to come. (…)

The report shows that many of those who suffer from discrimination - especially on the basis of their sex or colour - face a persistent "equality gap" that divides them from dominant groups who enjoy a better life, or even from their own peers who have benefitted from anti-discrimination laws and policies. (…) The ILO report lays the blame for continuing discrimination on prejudices, stereotypes and biased institutions that have resisted decades of legal efforts and policy measures undertaken by governments, workers and employers against unequal treatment at work.  (…)


Ethiopia: First course on law of war for instructors of the Ethiopian Ground Forces

12 May - The first corps-level course in Ethiopia for law of armed conflict (LOAC) instructors has just come to an end in Awassa. Organized and taught by the ICRC in coordination with the Ethiopian Army's Department of Operations, the 10-day course provided training for 38 commanding officers of the Awassa Military Corps and officers from the Legal and Training Departments.  (…)

LOAC regulates the means and methods of warfare, and consists of the Geneva Conventions, their Additional Protocols, and other international treaties. Better known outside military circles as "international humanitarian law", it does not prohibit war, but rather strikes a balance between military necessity and the demands of humanity. It requires belligerents to maintain a degree of humanity on the battlefield – to avoid harming non-combatants, for instance – and imposes limitations on means and methods of warfare. (…)



Economy and development



Rural poor people in Chad to benefit from IFAD-backed development project

Rome, 15 May - Water for farming in the ouadis of Chad will soon become a reality, with approval of a USD14.3 million rural development project for the Kanem region. An ouadis is a type of populated oasis where farmers plant their crops.

The project will be financed largely by a USD 13.0 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the Republic of Chad. Signing the loan agreement today at IFAD headquarters is H.E. Mr. Djimrangar Dadnadji, Minister of Planning, Development and Cooperation for the Republic of Chad and the IFAD President, Mr. Lennart Båge.

Almost the entire rural population of this poorest region of Chad will benefit from the eight-year project, which will address the needs of poor farmers and especially women, by providing access to credit. (…)

With this project, IFAD will have financed four projects in Chad, totaling USD 41.3 million.


UNDP supports Azerbaijan's $3 billion poverty reduction initiative

13 May - Azerbaijan is embarking on a US$3 billion poverty reduction and economic development programme, as part of which UNDP will help mobilize resources to expand job opportunities and develop a framework to use oil revenues for social development.

President Heydar Aliyev approved the initiative, which runs until 2005, earlier this year. UNDP is helping to set up a poverty monitoring unit in the Ministry of Economic Development to track progress, with resources from the global UNDP Poverty Reduction Trust Fund. (…)

The latest household surveys show that one in two people lives below poverty line on less than US$25 a month, a benchmark for poverty reduction included in the strategy.

If the economic growth rate, buoyed by oil revenues, continues within the range of nine per cent a year, Azerbaijan will be able to halve poverty rate by the year 2015, reaching the Millennium Development Goal target, provided that the benefits of growth are shared amongst the general population, said UNDP Resident Representative Marco Borsotti. (…)


UNECE and SITPRO to develop toolkit of electronic trade documents for world trade community

Geneva, 13 May - The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), together with Britain´s trade facilitation agency, SITPRO Ltd., will jointly develop a Toolkit containing a set of United Nations electronic Trade Documents (UNeDocs). The Toolkit, which is expected to be released towards the end of 2003, is intended to support and complement national and sub-regional initiatives in trade facilitation, to increase trade, attract investment and help countries become more integrated in regional and world trade.

In technical assistance projects the Toolkit can serve as a national blueprint, transferring experiences and lessons learnt. Its flexible design will allow countries to enter the project at whatever level they choose, according to their readiness to implement trade facilitation standards and electronic business. (…)

 The UNeDocs project is a technical cooperation activity of UNECE to promote the knowledge-based economy and to help countries integrate into global trade. The UNeDocs project management is supported by an Advisory Board of stakeholders, which directly represents the interests of donors, implementing agencies, recipient countries, UN regional commissions and other UN agencies.

For further information:


Emergency programme creates more than 125,000 jobs in Peru

12 May - A government emergency job creation programme in Peru has provided temporary four-month employment for more than 125,000 unemployed poor in 22 of 24 regions of the country, according to a UNDP study. The programme, called Let's Work - Urban, has helped 1.8 million people, including families of those getting work and people in communities that have benefited from the renovation of urban infrastructure that it carried out.

President Alejandro Toledo (…) said that Let's Work - Urban had enhanced the self-esteem of people who need to regain their confidence. (…) Women's participation in the jobs programme has been outstanding, accounting for 90 per cent of participants in the Lima area and 60 per cent in the provincial urban areas. The initiative is part of the Government plan against poverty, which affects more than 13 million Peruvians. Unemployment and underemployment rates stand at 9 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. (…)


IFAD to support local initiative promotion project in the Republic of Niger

Rome, 9 May - A loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by Mr. Adam Maiga Zakariaou, Councellor at the Embassy of Niger, and by the IFAD President, Mr. Lennart Båge. The USD 10 million loan will help finance the Aguié Local Innovation Promotion Project in the Republic of Niger, which will have a total cost of about USD 17.6 million. Cofinancing will be provided by the Belgian Survival Fund for about USD 3.8 million.

The goal of the eight-year project is to improve the incomes and living standards of the rural poor in the department of Aguié, with a high emphasis on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable groups, particularly women and youth. (…) Sustainability of the natural resource base will be an overriding factor in the selection of activities and technologies to be supported by the project. (…) With this project, IFAD will have financed six projects in the Republic of Niger for a total loan amount of USD 75 million.


Landless women to benefit from IFAD-backed microfinance project in Bangladesh

Rome, 8 May - Landless women will be the main beneficiaries of a USD 20.2 million microfinance project in Bangladesh.  The project will be financed largely by a USD 16.3 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. (…)

Microfinance programmes extend small loans at reasonable interest rates to poor people who, with limited assets and little savings would be unlikely to access credit directly from banks. In Bangladesh, microfinance programmes have had a significant impact on improving quality of life, particularly when credit is extended to women. (…)

The project area will cover 13 districts, with a rural population of 20.85 million. (…) It will benefit 276,000 households. Women, especially women without access to land, will be the main target group. (…)


Africa Business Forum 2003: Building Partnerships & Foundations for African Business - Durban, South Africa, 24 - 25 July

A partnership between Financial Times Business and Deloitte & Touché, the Forum will focus on the promotion of intra-Africa trade and investment. The idea for the forum came from delegates to the Second Africa-Asia Business Forum held in Durban, South Africa in July, 2001, who saw an untapped potential for intra-Africa trade and investment. The Second Africa-Asia Business Forum realised approximately US$80 million of signed business, and organizers of July's Africa Business Forum are confident of repeating that success. The Forum will be a concrete step in supporting the economic and business mandates of the African Union, which seeks to create a political and economic union of African States. The event has been endorsed by the NEPAD and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of South Africa.






Rotary recognizes members of Congress as "Champions" in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio

Washington DC, 14 May - Rotary International today recognized select members of Congress with the Polio Eradication Champion Award for their ongoing support in securing critically needed funds to achieve a polio-free world. In fiscal year 2003, Congress appropriated $133 million to the global polio eradication effort. (…) First time recipients of the award include: Rep. Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). (…)

To date, Rotary has contributed more than $500 million toward polio eradication, and over one million Rotary members have volunteered their time and personal resources to help immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Additional support for the global polio eradication effort is provided by the U.S. Coalition for the Eradication of Polio, a group of committed child health advocates lead by Rotary that includes, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the United Nations Foundation.


Morocco helps WFP feed Iraq

Rome, 12 May - The UN World Food Program today thanked the government of Morocco for donating about 200 tons of food for emergency operations in Iraq. The in-kind donation of 139 metric tons of rice and 58.5 metric tons of plain dried skimmed milk is worth more than US$ 216,000. (…)  Over the coming five months, WFP is gearing up to deliver 1.6 million tons of food to Iraq – enough to feed the entire population, some 27 million people, 60 percent of whom are estimated to be entirely dependent on monthly food handouts.

The Programme has already transported more than 100,000 tons of food aid into Iraq during the past four weeks, using corridors through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran. Deliveries are to be increased massively over the coming weeks, to reach a target of 500,000 tons a month to all 18 governorates, including the milling of bulk grain through three hubs – Baghdad in the centre of the country, Mosul in the north and Basra in the south.

With nearly 200 aid trucks rolling into northern Iraq every day, WFP announced last week that it has achieved pre-war food security levels in northern Iraq and is now reaching out to cover the food needs of the central and southern regions of the country. (…)


War-affected women in Freetown get help

6 May - On the outskirts of Freetown, up a red clay road gashed by hard rain, sits a makeshift shelter some women call home. One of these women is 19-year-old Khadija Bah. “I found this place a long time ago,” she said. “I was living a bad life and met Auntie Juliana.”

“Auntie Juliana” is Juliana Konteh, a 42-year-old Evangelist missionary who started the Women in Crisis project in 1997. “I met some ladies in a brothel and decided to help them,” she explained. “They needed food, clothing, care and attention.”

Today, some 400 women and girls, many who suffered terribly during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war, receive care and attention at this hilltop site. (…) The Women in Crisis project offers a lifeline to women like Khadija, who have nowhere else to turn. Since 2001, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has been providing support to bolster services. Drop-in centers offer counseling and training, and clinics offer services to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections. (…)



Peace and security



Secretary-General condemns suicide attacks against Israelis, urges protection of civilians

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 18 May:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the suicide bombings and attacks against Israelis that have occurred in the past 24 hours.  These murderous attacks fuel the cycle of violence, revenge, fear and distrust and are the greatest impediment to peace.  The Secretary-General passes on his condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in these attacks.

The Secretary-General urges the Palestinian leadership to do everything in its power to de-legitimize and stop terrorism.  He calls on the Government of Israel to show restraint, to act in conformity with its obligations under international humanitarian law and to ensure that its security forces take measures to protect the safety of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The Secretary-General calls on both sides not to allow those who carry out such repugnant attacks to hijack the peace process and set the agenda.  The Secretary-General believes that the safety and security of the people of the Middle East is best insured by fully implementing the Quartet's Road Map.



Japan gives another $1.2 million for Palestinian 'Road Map' reforms

16 May - Japan is adding US$1.2 million to the $10 million it has already provided to UNDP to help reforms in the Palestinian Authority in support of the Road Map for peace. During her recent visit to the region, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawguchi said the assistance will facilitate efforts by newly-appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to carry out the reform agenda.

Welcoming the support, Timothy Rothermel, Special Representative of UNDP in Jerusalem, said the Japanese Government has shown an unwavering commitment to the development of the Palestinian people whether in emergencies or peace, in a humanitarian crisis or in reforms. "UNDP very much values this close partnership with Japan," he said. (…)

Drafted by the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, the Road Map is a plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state in three years. (…)

The UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People has played a central role in supporting reforms. Japan has contributed most of the funding, with UNDP allocating about $2 million from its own resources. UNDP is participating in support groups in reforming ministries and the civil service, elections, the judiciary, financial institutions and local government. (…)


UN Security Council decides to establish a UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire

On 13 May, the Security Council decided to establish a United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire after determining that the situation in that country is a threat to international peace and security in West Africa. The Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the new Mission, to be known as MINUCI, to help guide efforts to implement a French-brokered peace accord reached in January. The accord calls on the government, rebels and political opposition to share power in a transitional government until elections in 2005. The Council also tentatively agreed to postpone a planned eight-day mission to explore opportunities for progress towards peace and stability in West Africa.

Source: United Nations DPI


Afghanistan destroys the first pile of more than 500 landmines to demonstrate its commitment to the Global Mine Ban Treaty

On 12 May, Afghanistan destroyed the first pile of more than 500 land mines to demonstrate its commitment to the global mine ban treaty, a Defence Ministry statement said. The mines, mostly anti-personnel, were blown up in the outskirts of KABUL, following the March 2003 signing of the treaty by Mr. Karzai's Government. Afghanistan's Defence Ministry said it was ready to speed-up the mine destruction process, if the UN and donor countries provided assistance.


Congos seek support for landmine clearance

Brazzaville, 9 May (IRIN) - The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighbouring Republic of Congo (ROC) have sought the support of the international community to eradicate antipersonnel landmines. The plea came in a statement issued on Friday at the end of a two-day conference held in the ROC capital, Brazzaville, which representatives from Angola, Burundi and Chad also attended. (…)

 The Canadian ambassador to the DRC, Roland Goulet, said his country was ready and willing to lend both financial and material support to mine-clearance activities in an effort to encourage countries in the region to ratify the Ottawa Landmine Treaty.

Signatories to the treaty agree to never, under any circumstances, use, produce, acquire or transfer landmines, nor assist anyone in such activities. Furthermore, signatories must also destroy all pre-existing landmines, regardless of their location in secure military depots or in situ in the field. However, it is permissible for signatories to retain a certain number of landmines for the sole purpose of training of personnel in mine clearance and destruction. (…)


UN-HABITAT to establish a special Human Settlements Programme in the occupied Palestinian Territories

Nairobi, 9 May - In an unprecedented move, Governments at the 19th Session of the Governing Council adopted a resolution requesting UN-HABITAT to establish a special Human Settlements Programme in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The programme seeks to address the difficult housing situation in the occupied territories by improving shelter and basic urban services. The resolution urges the international donor community to support UN-HABITAT in the immediate mobilisation of financial resources for a Technical Coooperation Trust Fund of US $ 5 million for an initial period of two years. (…)

This resolution marks an important precedent for UN-HABITAT which until now has never undertaken programmes in the occupied Palestinian Territories. It was the result of successful negotiations among the different parties facilitated by the Secretariat of UN-HABITAT at the request of representatives of the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Unlike previous resolutions about the occupied territories, this resolution was passed by consensus and did not need to be put to the vote. (…)






Financial innovation in drive to eradicate polio in Pakistan

Washington, May 15 - In a major push to eradicate polio globally, the World Bank announced today the approval of a US$20 million no-interest loan for the purchase of oral polio vaccine for the Government of Pakistan. The loan is part of an innovative financing partnership between the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and the United Nations Foundation, which together comprise the Investment Partnership for Polio, a worldwide initiative to help eradicate polio by 2005. (…)

The loan will be funded through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's soft-loan arm for the poorest countries. In a new approach to development aid, the partnership will buy down a country’s IDA loan upon successful completion of the project. Because of the generous loan terms, each grant dollar unlocks US$2.50 to 3.00 for affected countries to fight polio.  (…)


Changing epidemiology of polio prompts tactical shift in the world's largest public health initiative

Supplementary Polio Immunization To Be Narrowed to Key Countries

Tokyo/Brussels/Geneva/Washington DC, 13 May - The Polio Eradication Initiative announced today that leading experts deem an unprecedented tactical shift essential in the campaign to free the world of polio. (…) The shift comes in response to the changing epidemiology of the disease, with polio more geographically contained than ever. Only seven countries remain endemic: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Niger, and Somalia (listed from highest to lowest burden of disease). Virtually all the world's polio cases (99%) are concentrated in just three countries: India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Throughout the remainder of 2003 and during 2004, the eradication campaigns will focus only on the seven endemic countries, along with six other countries considered at high risk of polio reinfection - Angola, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nepal, and the Sudan. (…)

The shift was announced by the core partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF. The new tactic will shift 297 million additional doses of oral polio vaccine into the tightened geographic target zone, along with US$ 35 million in additional resources in 2003. (…)


OUTREACH: Design Ideas for a Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa - June 5 - July 4, San Francisco

New York, May 21 - Architecture for Humanity, the International Medical Corp and the AIA San Francisco Gallery proudly present OUTREACH: Design Ideas for a Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa, the critically-acclaimed exhibition showcasing selected and winning entries from Architecture for Humanity's latest design competition. This will be the last North American show before it leaves for Europe and Africa. Photographs documenting International Medical Corp's (IMC) HIV/AIDS medical relief operation in Kibera, Kenya will also be on view – revealing a rarely seen union between architectural design and humanitarian outreach.

Launched in May 2002, the Architecture for Humanity competition was an open response to the AIDS epidemic, which has claimed more than 25 million lives since it was first diagnosed 20 years ago. It challenged architects, designers, and medical professionals from around the world to design a mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic for Sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly three-quarters of the world's AIDS population resides.

By the project deadline, more than 530 teams representing 51 nations answered the call. (…)  More than sixty schemes will be on display in the AIA SF Gallery, showcasing a remarkable range of talent and innovation (…)

Founded in 1999 by designer Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity seeks to create and promote architectural and design solutions to global, social, and humanitarian crises.



Environment and wildlife



Environmental Performance Reviews 18 countries on a new CD-ROM

Geneva, 16 May - A new CD-ROM containing the Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs) of countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia has just been issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). (…)

The EPRs are undertaken in countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia under a mandate given by Ministers at the second Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Lucerne, Switzerland, 1993). The EPRs are intended to assist countries in transition to improve their management of the environment by establishing baseline conditions and making concrete recommendations for better policy implementation and performance; to promote dialogue among UNECE member countries; to integrate environmental policies into sectoral policies and to integrate further health aspects into environmental performance; to harmonize environmental conditions and policies throughout the region and to contribute to sustainable development.


Consent decree with EPA will clean up valley air pollution

Effective particulate pollution plan, over a decade late, will be developed and enforceable

San Francisco, CA, May 14th, 2003 -- Community, environmental, and medical groups and the Environmental Protection Agency lodged a proposed consent decree with the Northern District Court of California today resolving an October 2002 suit challenging EPA’s failure to address the San Joaquin Valley’s air pollution crisis. Plaintiffs agreed to settle the claim in exchange for a commitment by EPA, subject to Court Order, to enact an aggressive federal plan to control particulate matter pollution in the Valley. Particulate matter is the most deadly form of air pollution. The San Joaquin Valley has exceeded public health standards for particulate matter since they came into effect in 1990.

The settlement will require EPA to step in and develop a plan to regulate particulate matter pollution in the San Joaquin Valley by July 31, 2004. Unless the regional air district comes up with a plan that the EPA can approve before then, the EPA will be required to take control of the process. (…)


Closer cooperation on climate change to environmental education agreed between UNEP and Finland

Helsinki/Nairobi, 13 May - A strengthened relationship between Finland and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was announced today with new agreements signed in areas including pollution prevention, climate change, air quality monitoring and education

Dr. Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, concluded three signings with the Finnish Environment Institute, the Finnish Meteorological Organization and the University of Joensuu.

The agreements (…) will boost UNEP’s ability to deliver its work programme on behalf of Governments. They will also assist in the delivery of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development last year. (…)



Culture and education



Community-managed schools offer a model for Nepal

15 May - The 120 schools established in rural communities in Nepal by the Community Owned Primary Education (COPE) programme supported by UNDP offer a unique model for equal opportunity for girls, quality education, teacher training and community commitment.

Operating in six districts in remote areas of the Terai region in southern Nepal, the schools have opened the doors to education for many children -- especially disadvantaged children and girls, who would have otherwise been left home to look after younger siblings or to do household chores. COPE schools have enrolled 6,275 students, half of them girls and two-thirds from disadvantaged families, reflecting their mission of ensuring that every child in the community attends primary school.

The communities' enthusiastic response shows that the approach can help spur national progress towards the second Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. The country's primary school enrolment rate rose from 64 per cent in 1990 to 74 per cent in 2000, but only about half the children reach grade five. Girls still face obstacles, though the enrolment ratio of girls to boys climbed from 56 per cent in 1990 to 78 per cent in 1999. (…)


India: Mucherla Global School offers a model in global education

NGO with consultative status with UN-ECOSOC gets vitally needed water for its 160 students

Mucherla, India, May – In his May newsletter, Dr. Richard Schneider writes: “After two false starts, we have two borewells and vitally needed water. We had to go 250 feet for the well at the school. We are in a two year drought and water has become a serious and even critical problem over much of India. (…) Check with Fay Loomis if you have major contributions of books, computers, school supplies, good used clothing (sizes 6-20) as a container is being planned. Her email is (…)”

Mucherla Global School provides a dynamic and creative educational experience to prepare rural children in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India to become responsible participants in their own community and the larger world. Dr. Richard and Ruth Schneider co-founded the school in 1994 in response to their dream of upgrading the education and living standards in rural India. The school was begun with 30 children; enrollment for the 2002-2003 school year is 160 students, ages four through fifteen.

Mucherla Global School was designed as a demonstration model of the world core curriculum articulated by Dr. Robert Mueller, former Assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations. 


Business leaders support African women’s access to information technologies

UNIFEM launches Digital Diaspora Initiative in Uganda

United Nations, New York – To respond to and help bridge the growing digital divide that particularly affects women, African IT executives from the Diaspora who are successfully running IT companies abroad, government representatives, civil society organizations and UN system representatives concluded a conference in Kampala, Uganda, with the adoption of a Declaration outlining specific ways to support African women in the use of information technologies. Participants to the Digital Diaspora Initiative were brought together by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in collaboration with its UN partners - the UN Development Programme, the UN ICT Task Force, the UN Fund for International Partnerships, and the UN Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries.

The meeting, held from 5-7 May 2003, to launch the Digital Diaspora Initiative, was hosted by the Government of Uganda. Representatives from the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), as well as from eight African governments were among the meeting's participants, signaling a clear commitment to prioritizing ICT on Africa's development agenda.  (…)


Nokia, International Youth Foundation, Pearson and UNDP launch Bridgeit

Global program to deliver digital education materials to schools using mobile technology

Manila, Philippines, May 16 - Nokia, the International Youth Foundation (IYF), Pearson and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launch Bridgeit — a new, innovative program that uses mobile technology to bring interactive, multimedia learning materials to local classrooms around the world. The program will be tested in the Philippines in an initial countrywide pilot, beginning in June, with a view to expanding its geographic reach and range of educational content. A fast and easy-to-use service, Bridgeit combines existing mobile technologies to deliver these digital multimedia materials to teachers and students who otherwise would have no access to them. (…)

Globally, the combined research and development resources of Nokia, IYF, Pearson and the UNDP in the areas of technology, content, training and processes make up the Bridgeit platform. These four organizations have together coordinated and integrated the efforts and commitment of local Philippines organizations who have similarly donated their time and services. (…)


XXIII World Congress of Poets, November 22-30, Taipei Taiwan

The venue and location of the XXIII World Congress of Poets, that was originally scheduled for October in Hangzhou, China, have been changed. The Congress will now take place November 22-30, 2003 in Taipei, Taiwan. All WCP's are based on a pre-registration.

Write for Invitation Letter by July 1 to: Dr.Wang, Chi-lung, Organizing Chair of XXIII WCP, P.O. Box 13-95, Taipei Taiwan or Fax 886-2-2365-4988; Tel: 886-2-2363-8884; or e-mail:



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