Good News Agency – Year V, n° 10



Weekly - Year V, number 10 – 23 July 2004

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 48 countries, as well as to 2,500 NGO and service associations.

It is a service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it has been included as an international organization in the web site




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and development

SolidarityPeace and securityHealthEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education



International legislation



The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on track to become law by the end of the year

The Treaty closes for signature with nearly 90% of countries having signed and over half the ratifications needed for its entry into force

Geneva, 2 July  - The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) closed for signature this week, with nearly 90% of countries having signed and over half of the required ratifications, keeping the Convention on track to become binding international law by the end of 2004. The WHO FCTC has become one of the most rapidly embraced United Nations' conventions, with 167 WHO Member States and the European Community (EC) signing, and 23 countries ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to the Convention, just one year after it opened for signature in Geneva. (…) The rapid response to the WHO FCTC demonstrates the increasing commitment worldwide to control the tobacco epidemic, which continues to expand at alarming rates, especially among people in less-developed countries. (…)

The WHO FCTC has, as of 30 June 2004, 168 signatories (including the European Community) and 23 ratifications or equivalent. (…) The WHO FCTC has provisions that set international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, labelling, illicit trade and second-hand smoke. The Treaty will enter into force and become law for the countries that are parties to it 90 days after the 40th ratification or equivalent instrument. Seventeen more Parties are needed for the entry into force of the Treaty. (…)



Human rights



ESPN award for courage goes to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

George Weah accepts honour on behalf of children in war

Los Angeles/New York, 14 July – The global sports network ESPN today honoured UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador George Weah with the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his fearless work on behalf of children caught up in wars worldwide.  Actor Denzel Washington presented the award before a star-studded audience at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood during the ESPY awards, to be broadcast Sunday 18 July on ESPN.

Mr. Weah dedicated the award to the world’s children, especially those in war-affected countries like his own, Liberia.  The award caps a decade of volunteer work for children’s rights that has seen the soccer star use his fame to draw attention to the most vulnerable children in the most remote locales. (…) He returned to his native country as soon as the war there ended in January of 2004 to help UNICEF in the difficult task of disarming and rehabilitating thousands of children who had been recruited as soldiers and forced to fight. 

As of July, nearly 4,000 children have gone through the disarmament process and with the help of UNICEF and other partners a total of 2,267 children have been successfully reunited with their families.  UNICEF has plans in place to reunite 2,000 more children with their families in the coming weeks.  Beyond that, there are currently 2,070 former child soldiers still going through the process of rehabilitation.  Each day new children are showing up to give up their guns and leave the fighting forces.  The work is still ongoing and may take years. (…)


New housing and social integration programme gets underway for Serbian refugees

Belgrade, 13 July – UN-HABITAT on Tuesday announced the launch of a major new housing and social integration programme for tens of thousands of war refugees and other vulnerable people in Serbia with financial support from the Italian Government. The Settlement and Integration of Refugees Programme in Serbia (SIRP) is rooted in a Memorandum of Understanding UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka signed with the Government of Italy in September 2002. Under its terms, Italy has provided 15 million euros (US$ 18.6 million) for the programme which will start in coming months and run for three years.

After initial assessments, an MoU was later signed with the Serbian Government which designated the seven municipalities of Cacak, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Nis, Pancevo, Valjevo and Stara Pazova for implementation of the programme in agreement with Italy and UN-HABITAT. The Ministry of Capital Investments and the local governments are the main implementing  partners of the programme.

The programme has been planned around three main components – to provide some 670 new dwellings for 3,000 of the most needy direct beneficiaries and build institutional capacities for social housing development, assist the social and economic integration of refugees and displaced people, and help boost the development capacity of local governments in their development planning and municipal information systems. (…)



Economy and development



Creating a Global Alliance of Investors

UNEP and investors join forces to launch New Responsible Investment Initiative

London/Nairobi, 15 July  – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will work with major institutional investors to develop a set of globally recognized principles for responsible investment by September 2005. The new principles will protect both the planet and long-term shareholder value by integrating environmental, social and governance concerns into investor and capital market considerations.

Today’s launch of the so-called “Responsible Investment Initiative” follows a meeting of  more than 40 investors and fund managers held last month in Paris. At the meeting, organized by the UNEP Finance Initiative and hosted by Groupama Asset Management, participants proposed a global alliance of investors to guide responsible investment best practice. The initiative is being launched by UNEP in response to this proposal and the results of a 14-month study published last month by UNEP on the financial impacts of sustainable development. (…)

The global public and private investor community, which has a duty to protect long-term asset values, is a key sector in bringing environmental, social and governance disciplines to the heart of capital market considerations.  (…)


FAO: New project to help Gabon develop its fishing sector

Rome, 14 July - Fishers in Gabon will benefit from a new FAO project aimed at boosting the country's fishing sector, the UN agency announced today.

While small-scale, artisanal fishing does provide many with income and food, most modern commercial fishing in Gabonese waters is conducted by foreign vessels. Just 10 to 20 percent of the crews on those ships are Gabonese nationals. And due to poor port infrastructure, most of these vessels offload their catches in other countries, meaning jobs lost in related sectors, like fish processing. At the same time, Gabon's yearly fish production - estimated to be between 40 000 and 50 000 tonnes - falls short of meeting national demand. Each year Gabon imports over 7 000 tonnes of fish products, FAO noted.

With $270 000 in support from FAO, Gabonese fishery officials will streamline procedures aiming to assess and monitor Gabon's fishery resources and will wrap up with the creation of a national strategy aiming to promote the commercial fishing sector in the west African nation. (…)


Codex adopts more than 20 food standards

New guidelines on animal feeding and milk products, while trade concerns stall progress on specific products

Rome/Geneva, 9 July -- The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) adopted over 20 new and amended food standards during its annual meeting, which finished 3 July. Among new standards and other texts that will protect consumers' health and facilitate fair practices in the food trade worldwide are ones concerning animal feeding, milk products and a newly adopted definition of traceability/product tracing.

The CAC also looked at means of improving the function of Codex, including further increasing the participation of members from developing countries, and streamlining its committee structure.

However, in areas where intellectual property concerns were important, such as the labelling and composition of parmesan cheese, no consensus was reached and the CAC referred these and other issues to its next session or back to Codex committees for further work. (…)


New project will restore watersheds and boost farm production in The Gambia

Rome, 15 July  – Farmers trapped in poverty because of declining soil fertility and low crop yields will benefit from a new eight-year project to restore degraded lands in The Gambia. The project will target 12,000 farmers throughout the country, who depend on upland crops and lowland rice cultivation. The USD 17.5 million project will be financed partly by a USD 7.1 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A further USD 7.1 million will be contributed by the African Development Bank. The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by Yusupha Kah, Ambassador of the Republic of The Gambia to the Kingdom of Belgium, and IFAD President Lennart Båge.

Low crop yields have resulted from problems including salt and acid build-up that decrease soil fertility. In addition, runoff and erosion from the upper parts of the watershed endanger crop production in the lowlands. The project will help farmers to reverse this damage and to form farmers’ organizations that can develop a coordinated approach to managing the watershed environment. (…) With this loan, IFAD will have financed seven projects in The Gambia for a total of approximately USD 39 million.


A new South-South Cooperation (SSC) project

6 July, UNDP, Beijing - A new South-South Cooperation (SSC) project assisted by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “Promoting South-South Cooperation in the 21st Century”, was officially launched in Beijing with a paperwork signing ceremony on 6 July. The project aims at supporting China’s efforts in promoting SSC in the changed context of globalization and regional economic integration. (…)

The 58th UN General Assembly stressed that South-South Cooperation, as an important element of international cooperation for development, offers viable opportunities for developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development. (…)


4ED Sustainable Communities Conference 2004 in Vermont, USA, 14-18 July

As part of the goals of The Sustainable Communities Conference is to demonstrate ways in which communities are using the principles of the Earth Charter, Local Agenda 21 and other instruments to move forward on their commitment to sustainability. The conference will also offer the space to promote best practices by showcasing innovative local initiatives to make cities more sustainable.  The City of Burlington, the Global Community Initiatives, and the University of Vermont are hosting this gathering, which is taking place in Burlington, Vermont from 14-18 July.


ACDI/VOCA’s Rural Credit Program Ends in Russia

Washington, D.C., 30 June —ACDI/VOCA’s Mobilizing Agricultural Credit (MAC) Program officially ends today after six years of success that some doubted was possible. The project’s legacy is the Rural Credit Cooperation Development Fund and 47 accredited rural credit cooperatives which, together, are the backbone of a robust private rural credit system that has already disbursed $24 million in loans.

ACDI/VOCA’s representative Fred Smith came up with the idea, but it took him two years to convince USDA and USAID to invest the initial funding. While there were many skeptics, ACDI/VOCA demonstrated that lending to Russian private farmers could be profitable and that farmers would borrow and repay at market interest rates. ACDI/VOCA subsequently received four cost extensions from USAID to expand the project. A recent letter from USAID in Moscow states, "The MAC program led by ACDI/VOCA for six years in Russia is one of the most successful programs in the mission's portfolio. The MAC program has demonstrated tangible results and outstanding progress in establishing a rural finance system in Russia." (…)

ACDI/VOCA is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth and the development of civil society in emerging democracies and developing countries.






Rural poor people in post-war Democratic Republic of Congo to get help in rebuilding livelihoods

Rome, 15 July – A new programme to rebuild structures and services in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo will provide a new lease on life for 70 000 poor households in the rural hinterlands of the Equateur Province.

The USD 22.6 million programme will be financed partly by a USD 14.7 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). A further USD 6.0 million will be contributed by the Belgian Government through the Belgian Survival Fund. The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters by Innocent Mokosa Mandende, Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Italy and IFAD President Lennart Båge. (…)

At the core of the programme are community organization networks that provide training and capacity building. For instance, farmers will learn how to raise crop yields by using seeds and fertilizer, and fishers will increase the value of their catch by drying or smoking it. Better communications, including rural radio, will bring market information to remote communities, helping farmers to gain the best price for their yield.

With this loan, IFAD will have financed four projects to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a total of approximately USD 80 million.


Democratic Republic of the Congo: Aid for families in distress

9 July - Between 28 June and 5 July, the ICRC came to the aid of over 3,300 families in the area of Punia, Kailo and Pangi in Maniema province, in the east of the country. Each of these families, which live in the most isolated parts of the province, received soap, cooking salt, children’s clothing, cooking utensils and blankets. Each also received soya seed, a hoe and fishing tackle.

Working in conjunction with the Congolese Red Cross Society and the local authorities, the ICRC carried out this operation in order to help people whose situation has been made increasingly difficult by years of armed conflict regain their self-sufficiency.


Siyathemba: Tackling AIDS and Building Goals in South Africa

New York, NY - Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that promotes architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises, announces Siyathemba, an international design competition to develop a football (soccer) facility for young girls in Somkhele, South Africa. ‘Siyathemba’ is the Zulu word for hope. (…)

Starting July 1, 2004, Architecture for Humanity is challenging the creative world to design the perfect pitch in Somkhele, an area with one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. This facility, run by medical professionals from the Africa Center for Health and Population Studies, will serve as a gathering place for youth between the ages of 9 and 14, and will serve as the home for the first-ever girls football league in the area. The pitch will also act as a place to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and eventually as a service point for mobile health care.

Participants will be challenged to employ sustainable and/or local building material using local labor to realize their design. The facility is to include a youth-sized field, sideline benches, and a small changing room. The entire facility should be built for US $5,000. The entry fee for the competition is $20 ($30 for late registration) and designs are due by October 15, 2004. As with all Architecture for Humanity projects, entries from developing countries and communities in need are waived. (…) The winning design will be announced on World AIDS day (December 1, 2004) at
an exhibition to be held in New York City.



New day dawns for 175 cataract patients in Ethiopia

By Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga - Rotary International

9 July  - It was the dawn of a new day, literally, for each of the 175 Ethiopians who benefited from an avoidable blindness mission by an international team of Rotarians and medical volunteers on 15-23 May. Getachew Hirpo of the Rotary Club of Lancaster Sunrise, Pennsylvania, USA, was the driving force behind the project. Born in Ethiopia, he has firsthand knowledge of the agony and frustration that comes with lack of access to medical care.

Thus, three years ago, when he met Dr. Albert Alley, an ophthalmologist and Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Rotarian, at the District 7390 conference, he saw an outstanding opportunity to do something about the plight of sight-impaired Ethiopians. More than 900,000 of the country's 65 million people are blind and an additional 3 to 4 million are at risk of losing their sight. Eighty percent of Ethiopia's blind could have been spared that fate if they had had access to treatment.(…)

After securing the support of World Blindness Outreach, a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Alley, Hirpo persuaded his club to consider sponsoring a medical mission to Ethiopia. Through fundraisers and a Matching Grant contribution from The Rotary Foundation, the project received US$24,000 for the purchase of medical supplies and lens implants. A team of three lay Rotarians, a nurse, and eight doctors from Ecuador, Kenya, and the United States, traveled to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Mobilized by Dr. Berhanu Tadesse, assistant governor of District 9200, five local ophthalmologists and several Ethiopian nurses joined the team at Addis Ababa's Ras Desta Hospital. (…) For more information about the support World Blindness Outreach extends to Rotarian eye missions, visit the organization's Web site.


Formula One star Jarno Trulli puts the brakes on child hunger

Rome, 2 July – Formula One star Jarno Trulli is helping put the brakes on child hunger by appearing in a United Nations World Food Programme public service announcement (PSA) that indicates the speed at which malnourished children are dying around the world.

The Italian racing driver, who won his first-ever Grand Prix at Monte Carlo earlier this year, warns that hunger claims the life of a child in the same time it takes his Renault F1 car to reach 200 kilometres per hour. “In five seconds, my Formula One racing car can go from 0-200 kilometres per hour. Every five seconds, a child dies of hunger – that’s 720 children an hour, all day, every day. We can’t stop time, but we can stop the dying,” says Trulli in the TV spot.

Several international broadcasters have started airing the 30 second TV spot worldwide.

Trulli joins a team of international sports stars, who have recently appeared in television PSAs to help WFP raise awareness of the world’s number one threat to health: hunger and malnutrition. They include world marathon record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya, a former beneficiary of WFP’s school feeding programme, and Rugby World Cup winners Nick Farr-Jones and David Kirk. (…)



Peace and security



Basic Demining Course' training completed

13 July - On 7th of July 2004, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) Training and Quality Assurance Team (TQA) completed the 'Basic De-mining Course' (BDC) training for 13 attendants. The BDC training started on the 1st of June and continued up the 7th of July.Two-part training was conducted in two regional bases of ANAMA, the first 3 weeks in Horadiz Regional Base and last 3 weeks in Khanlar Regional Base.

The participants had a chance to practice the demining techniques in different types of soil. The training took in account the lessons learned from previous trainings.

At the end of the training the participants were tested and encouragingly enough all of them successfully passed the test. They were then offered job contracts as deminers (…) This training and contracting of the new de-miners were initiated by ANAMA and funded by UK Government (…) Being responsible for planning and coordination, management and monitoring of mine action related activities all over the country, ANAMA is the executing agency in Azerbaijan Mine Action Programme, the joint project of the Government of Azerbaijan and UNDP signed on April 2, 1999 (Project No.AZE/98/003, Thematic Area: Crisis Prevention and Recovery).


11 Days of Global Unity – 11-21 September, worldwide

A declaration derived from the Earth Charter will be publicly signed in 100 cities

The Global Declaration of Interdependence, elaborated based on the Earth Charter, will be publicly signed as part of the activities of the 11 Days of Global Unity.  This international initiative will be held concurrently in more than 100 cities worldwide on 11 - 21 September.  The event has the purpose of raising awareness about humanity's major challenges, and accelerating action towards sustainability and peace. For more information please visit or


The launch of a Palesitinian-Israeli Radio Station

The first Palestinian-Israeli Internet Radio Station "All For Peace" is now on the air at

 The Palestinian organization Biladi - The Jerusalem Times and the Israeli organization The Jewish-Arab Centre for Peace, Givat Haviva, which are partners in the youth magazine Crossing Borders and maintain a long-standing, good and egalitarian working relationship, propose to create a joint radio station broadcasting in Hebrew, Arabic and English, which aimed at a wide audience amongst both peoples and provides messages of peace, cooperation, mutual understanding, coexistence and hope.

The idea of a joint Israeli-Palestinian radio station is unique and innovative, and one through which we can bring the vast accumulated experience of both the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva and the Palestinian organization Biladi - The Jerusalem Times to bear through the electronic media and reach a new audience, previously not exposed to the message of peace, and bring to them our message. (…)

A central aspect of the conflict between the two peoples arises from the distance and alienation between them. Common sense dictates that the more we know each other the less we will hate, be angry at and fear each other. A large portion of each of the two populations does not know the other side at all, except for what they learn through the local media, which do not always paint a picture truly reflecting the other side. (…)

One of the items most lacking in the Middle East is hope. The loss of hope is also the greatest threat to both peoples. Both populations have undergone periods almost impossible to bear in recent years, and many people have ceased believing that the situation can change. The existence of a sane voice, which invites its listeners to become part of an involved group of citizens who are not willing to forgo a better future, can assist by serving as the ray of light at the end of the tunnel. (…)


The Earth Charter Youth Initiative will participate in The World Peace Smmit

The Earth Charter Youth Initiative will participate, as strategic partner, n the World Youth Peace Summit.  This is a major youth conference to be held in Nairobi in October 2004. Plans are on the way to bring together 2000 elected youth from all over the world to discuss matters of world peace
with Nobel Prize laureates and distinguished political and religious.





Russian Federation/Chechnya: Gudermes hospital reopens following major repairs

13 July - Central Hospital No. 1 in Gudermes (Chechnya) reopened on 6 July following major repairs financed by the ICRC. Work included rebuilding the surgical department, trauma department and laundry and restoring the hospital's water supply. The work was carried out by a private company at a cost of $95,000. To mark the reopening, the ICRC provided a range of vital equipment including operating tables, sterilization units, cots and electrocardiographs.

The ICRC regularly supplies 10 central hospitals in Chechnya with drugs and equipment, and has already funded major repair work at hospitals in Shaly, Urus-Martan and Argun.


UNFPA welcomes UK's fund increase to an annual $36.4 million for four years

United Nations, New York, 9 July  - UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has welcomed the decision of the United Kingdom Government to increase its annual contributions to UNFPA from about $30.2 million to some $36.4 million to expand access to reproductive health services, support safe motherhood initiatives and HIV/AIDS prevention in developing countries. The country also pledged the new sum to the Fund for the next four years. The higher dollar figure is based on a conversion of the United Kingdom’s four-year pledge of an annual 20 million pounds.

“This multi-year pledge will support UNFPA’s efforts to increase access to reproductive health services, skilled birth attendance and HIV/AIDS prevention for needy women and men in developing countries,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA’s Executive Director. “Multi-year commitment of substantial resources and predictable funding will help UNFPA and other United Nations development agencies translate internationally agreed development goals into concrete national programmes to promote health and reduce poverty. I hope more donor nations follow this example.”


An advance for HIV/AIDS treatment access in the developing countries 

1 July - A fixed-dose combination of generic antiretroviral drugs is validated in a clinical trial. 

Combination therapy with three generic antiretroviral drugs in a single tablet has been validated for the first time in an open clinical study in a developing country. Follow-up of 60 patients treated in Yaoundé, Cameroon, has demonstrated the excellent efficacy and safety of a generic fixed-dose combination. The results of this clinical trial (ANRS 1274) have been published in The Lancet by a team of researchers from the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Cameroon and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Switzerland.

Generic fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of antiretrovirals are a key factor in access to treatment of HIV/AIDS infection in the developing world. FDCs combine three antiretroviral drugs in a single tablet and have the twofold advantage of being simple to use and substantially cheaper than brand name drugs.

Lack of scientific evidence for the efficacy of FDCs has until now caused some international AIDS donors to refuse to fund the use of these treatments, even though they have recently been prequalified by the WHO. ANRS 1274 is the first trial to provide scientific evidence for the efficacy and safety of an FDC in a clinical study. The results were published in the 3 July 2004 issue of The Lancet. (…)


Upcoming national measles campaign: September 13 – October 8, 2004, Madagascar

Measles is a leading cause of childhood death. In 2000, it caused nearly half of all the 1.7 million childhood vaccine preventable deaths around the world. Of all health interventions, measles immunization carries the highest return for money – just US$0.26 per dose.

Although in Madagascar, measles officially accounted for 1% of all hospital based deaths and 350,000 reported illnesses in 2002, only half of all children in the country are completely vaccinated and therefore protected. (…)

From September 13 – October 8, one of the largest immunization drives in Madagascar’s history will be launched – a nationwide measles campaign to vaccinate 7.5 million children all around the country. The campaign is an extraordinary undertaking for a country whose sheer size (think France, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Belgium all put together), topography, poor communication infrastructure and limited human resources present enormous challenges. (…)

This campaign is without precedent and involves the mobilization of thousands of  community health workers, students, teachers, private sector companies, local healers, traditional chiefs, soldiers, religious groups and medical students amongst others to ensure that every child between the ages of nine months and fourteen years is vaccinated against measles. (…)


Cambodia protects 75% of children against parasites, becoming first country to reach key target

Geneva, 2 July  - With the recent completion of its latest treatment campaign against intestinal parasites, Cambodia has become the first country to protect three out of four school-aged children against intestinal parasites and reach WHO's anti-parasite target – six years ahead of schedule.

Just five years ago, more than 70% of Cambodian children were infected with intestinal worms. The impact of these parasites is stark. Not only do affected children weigh as much as two kilograms less than healthy children, they also have a much higher chance of becoming anaemic. Once anti-parasite treatment is administered, infected children show a dramatic increase in their short- and long-term memory, as well as their reasoning capacity and reading comprehension. School absenteeism drops by as much as 25%.

In 2001, WHO set a target of covering at least 75% of school-aged children with regular treatment as the global goal for parasite control for 2010. According to reports sent in from the more than 6500 schools where the campaign took place, more than 75% of Cambodia's nearly three million school-aged children have now been treated. (…)


New ADRA initiative fights HIV/AIDS throughout africa

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, July 15 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) initiated a project to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the continent of Africa. The three-year project, funded for $526,000 by the Swedish government through ADRA Sweden, will train trainers of counselors in the care, support, and counseling of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. A curriculum is being developed to train health professionals, teachers, and influential community or religious leaders. Once the selected trainers have been trained, they will, in turn, train others to provide counseling in hospitals, clinics, schools, communities, and other related institutions.

“The precedent for this project was set by the experience ADRA has gained in dealing with HIV/AIDS in other countries in Africa and around the world,” said Charles Sandefur, president of ADRA International. “Other similar projects have had tremendous impact on a smaller scale.”

One such project, the HIV/AIDS Awareness for Youth Project in Kenya, trained 2,470 young people who then disseminated information about HIV/AIDS to other youth (10-19 years of age). The project reportedly reached more than 90,000 youth. A second similar program implemented in Uganda also aimed to decrease transmission of HIV/AIDS through this method by educating 12,000 children in 40 schools. It is estimated this project has now reached 29,000 people with the life changing information it provides.


Feature your NGO in our on-line directory

EPHA is launching an EU funded project to boost collaboration with non-governmental organisations based in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. Our goal is to create an extensive and comprehensive online directory of NGOs working on health issues.

This Directory will be searchable and freely available on the internet. One section of the Directory will list all the major pan-European networks active on health issues and the second section will feature national NGOs in each of the CEE, SEE and NIS countries. To ensure that your NGO features in the directory, please fill in a questionnaire with information about your organisation, its structures and policy areas. EPHA’s primary objective is to ensure the representation of health NGOs at European and international level.

EPHA also works in a number of stakeholder dialogues and partnerships including the EU Health Policy Forum, the WHO European Environment and Health committee, the Platform of European Social NGOs and the European Commission DG Trade’s civil society contact group.

By providing us with information about your organisation, you will let us respond more effectively to your needs and priorities. In addition, featuring your NGO in the directory will give you unique networking possibilities, allowing you to share experience and information with other organisations throughout Europe and find partners for common projects.

To enter the details of your organisation in the Directory, follow this weblink:



Environment and wildlife



Tampa becomes national office for Earth Charter USA Community Initiatives

The Institute for Ethics & Meaning launched the Earth Charter Community Summits in 12 cities in 2001 and now over 30 cities are represented in the grassroots network Earth Charter Community Alliance.  Because of this effort, the Institute has become the national office for Earth Charter USA Communities Initiatives. With Steven Rockefeller, Earth Charter Commissioner, and Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of Earth Charter International Secretariat, in attendance at a recent reception in Burlington Vermont, Rick Clugston, Director of Earth Charter USA Administration and Research, announced the office and partnership. This recognition is due to
the work being done around the country by Summit organizers who have put their hearts and energies into bringing the Earth Charter to life in their hometowns.


Liberia strengthens efforts to help protect global environment

13 July - Liberia has launched a US$215,000 one-year initiative funded by UNDP and Global Environment Facility to help build up government capacity and examine ways to help address global environment concerns such as biodiversity, climate change and land degradation. Liberia's Environmental Protection Agency will examine the human, institutional and material resources with the aim of implementing the three Rio Conventions on sustainable development.


Papua New Guinea to protect valuable eaglewood forests

Papua New Guinea, 15 July - Four sites in remote areas of Papua New Guinea have been selected for establishing Eaglewood Management Areas — forests that are to be protected for the extraction of eaglewood and other non-timber forest products.  Eaglewood, also known as gaharu or aloeswood, is a fragrant resin used in incense and perfumes, and can sell for many thousands of US dollars per kilogram. The Eaglewood Management Areas are believed to be the first in the Pacific specifically set up to manage a forest product other than timber. (…)

The Papua New Guinea Forest Authority will implement the Eaglewood Management project with funding from the Un Food and Agriculture organization (FAO).  WWF and Partners with Melanesia will assist in carrying out an environmental impact assessment of eaglewood utilization.

An Interagency Committee on Eaglewood has been set up to coordinate between stakeholders and assist in the smooth implementation of the Project. (…)


Underwater World Singapore and WWF make a splash for marine conservation

Singapore, 12 July  – Underwater World Singapore (UWS) and WWF today launched an exhibit to raise awareness of the threats to Southeast Asia’s coral reefs and the importance of marine parks and public aquaria as a means of protecting them. (…)

The Asia-Pacific region hosts the most biologically diverse coastal and marine ecosystems in the world, and is home to roughly two-thirds of the world’s coral reef ecosystems and mangroves. The global centre of marine biodiversity and a fifth of the world’s total coral reef area are in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.  However, Southeast Asia also has the world’s highest incidence of unsustainable and destructive fishing methods such as bombs and poisons, which is destroying coral reefs that take 50 years or more to recover. This is compromising productivity in the region and destroying precious marine resources.

Altogether, more than a quarter of all the world's coral reefs have already been virtually destroyed, and up to 70% of coral reefs are threatened by human activities. (…)

The new exhibit supported by UWS and WWF features marine protected areas and their role in restoring fish stocks and safeguarding critical ecosystems. Marine parks and public aquaria like Underwater World Singapore, are also an important tool for educating visitors and introducing them to the beauty and complexity of the tropical marine environment.  (…)



Religion and spirituality



The Parliament of the World's Religions results in thousands of commitments to address religious violence and other urgent issues facing the world

The Barcelona meeting of 8,000 religious leaders and lay people is deemed a success

Barcelona, Spain, 14 July - As the Parliament of the World's Religions came to a close after a week of debates by nearly 8,000 members of diverse religious communities centered around commitments on the issues of religious violence, access to safe water, the fate of refugees worldwide, and the elimination of developing countries' debts, religious leaders who convened the gathering deemed the event a success.

The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religion's Executive Director Dirk Ficca said that one fundamental difference between this gathering and others discussing the same subjects was that, "when people of faith commit to address religious violence and other pressing issues facing the global community they follow through. We make a commitment not only to the world, but out of a deeply rooted religious or spiritual conviction. That is what makes the Barcelona Parliament commitments so special, and why this year's Parliament in Barcelona is going to make an impact." (…)

The Parliament's priorities over the next five years are to assist the world's religions in meeting their commitments. "Our organization's work does not start or end here", said Ficca. "The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions has established a network of interreligious movements in partner cities around the world", said Diane Goldin, founder of the Annual Goldin Institute for International Partnership and Peace. "These strong grassroots partnerships are a powerful vehicle for implementing these commitments." (…)


The Paul Carus Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Interreligious Movement

The Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions announced today the first recipient of The Paul Carus Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Interreligious Movement. Bishop McLeod Baker Ochola II and the Acholi Religious Leaders' Peace Initiative (ARLPI), a multi-faith peacegroup in Northern Uganda, were selected from international nominees for their work to end violence in their region. (…)

The Bishop and his fellow Anglican, Roman Catholic and Muslim religious leaders have been anything but cowards in their seven-year long struggle to bring a peaceful solution to the 18-year old war that has devastated the people and many of the villages of the Acholi region of Northern Uganda. Chiefly, the ARLPI has served as a link between the LRA Rebels (Lord's Resistance Army) and the Ugandan Government, a position that has, at times, made them a target of both groups.

At one point, the rebel leader issued orders to kill the religious leaders. On a number of occasions, carefully planned peace talks have been sabotaged by one of the groups breaking promises. On occasion some of the religious leaders have narrowly escaped death.

Nevertheless, the religious leaders group, with widespread popular support, has kept at their peacemaking task. The Bishop is emphatic that the role of ARLPI is not to mediate peace talks. There are others in the international community to do that task. According to the Bishop, religious leaders should be a bridge that builds the level of trust and confidence on both sides, and their strategy is to put pressure on the rebels and the government to stop fighting and talk peace.


Center for Purposeful Living: a program of practical spirituality

July - The Center for Purposeful Living is taking applications for its Soul Centered Education program. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, the program provides free room, board and tuition for students accepted into the intensive one year program of personal and spiritual development. 

With its emphasis on "practical spirituality" the program has become a model for assisting those who aspire to world service to manifest their potential and pursue their life purpose.  Students range in age from 17 to 70 and come from all parts of the world.  For those who aspire to become World Servers, the Center for Purposeful Living is the place to take that next step.  An application form and other information may be found at



Culture and education



Students discuss the future of Russia-EU relations

14 July - From the 2nd until 11th of July 2004, in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, AEGEE's International Politics Working Group successfully organised a large-scale international conference devoted to Russia-European Union relations in the field of culture and politics after the latest EU enlargement.  After a profound analysis of the cultural and political relationships between EU and Russia and their future development, as well as problems and perspectives of collaboration in the light of EU enlargement, the discussions in the circles of Russian and European students, scientists, diplomats and experts in the field of international relations brought a concrete outcome of several proposals to improve the mutual relations between the two regions. (…)

AEGEE is one of Europe's largest interdisciplinary and voluntary student associations, operating without being linked to any political party, promoting a unified Europe, cross-border co-operation, communication and integration in academic environment, and at the same time striving to create an open and tolerant society by involving students and young graduates in valuable projects and discussions over the topics of importance for the communities they live in. It is represented in 260 university cities, in 42 countries all around Europe and has about 17000 members.


ICAF – Global art competition involving more than one million children

Washington, D.C., July 7 –  This fall marks the beginning of ICAF’s next Arts Olympiad, based on the theme “My Favorite Sport”.  The theme was chosen to shed light on the importance of holistic health. It will provoke creative expression through the arts while promoting physical activity.

The Arts Olympiad is a comprehensive art program that begins with local, regional and international lesson plans, art festivals and art exhibits for child artists ages 8 – 12.  The program includes a global art competition involving more than one million children, who submit art on a designated theme. Finalists of the Arts Olympiad competition are then invited to the International ChildArt Festival, traditionally held in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall.

The Arts Olympiad is good news for children all over the globe, because it offers a language independent medium to communicate peaceably with other youth of the world, promoting global unity and understanding of diversity. 

The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing children for a creative and cooperative future through art.  It is recognized as the leading art and creativity organization for children in the United States. ICAF’s upcoming events will take place over the next four years, concluding in a prospective strategic alignment with the Olympic Games in 2008.  ICAF calls this four-year process the Arts Olympiad 


A Master's Degree for Change Agents uses the Earth Charter

A new master's in community and organizational change is under development at National-Louis University, USA.  The program has adopted the Earth Charter as its values statement. The degree, which would draw faculty from several colleges, is designed for people who see themselves as change agents to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.  For more information on the development of this master's degree, please contact Marie Nelson at


Egypt promotes Millennium Development Goals through radio

13 July - A leading Egyptian radio network, Voice of the Arabs, will air a weekly 15-minute programme in 26 episodes, featuring documentaries and interviews aimed at raising awareness of the Millennium Development Goals. The UNDP-supported progamme is the result of a successful pilot radio broadcast ""2015: Keeping the Millennium Promise," begun a few months ago to highlight Egypt's challenges towards the Millennium goals. Topics include poverty, education, women empowerment, health and human rights in Egypt.



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Next issue after the summer holidays:  10 September 2004.



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