Good News Agency – Year V, n° 16



Weekly - Year V, number 16 – 17 December 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 3,700 media in 48 countries, as well as to 2,500 NGOs 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 securityHealthEnergy and Safety

Environment and wildlifeCulture and education



International legislation



Historic world union congress concludes by electing first woman president

Brussels, 13 December -  On Friday December 10, the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) elected Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, to the post of ICFTU President. Burrow will be the first woman to hold the position. The board was meeting immediately after the close in Miyazaki, Japan of the ICFTU Congress, the world's largest and most representative meeting of trade union organisations.
(…) The election of the first woman president of the ICFTU is historically significant for the global trade union movement and occurs at a time of high participation for women at the ICFTU Congress with over 25%, the highest ever number, of positions on the ICFTU's Executive Board now held by women. (…)

A Palestinian will sit on the ICFTU Executive Board for the first time ever, with the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions holding one of the two seats reserved for trade union organisations from the Middle East. The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), with 28 million members, takes up seats on the ICFTU Executive Board and Steering Committee for the first time. (…)

The Congress also considered issues of concern beyond its own structures and working methods. In addition to the Prime Minister of Japan, two heads of state addressed the Congress (Finland and Tanzania) as did the ILO Director-General and the Executive Director of the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  Special sessions were held on two important global issues for unions - the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the fight against HIV and AIDS. (…)



Human rights



FIFA and WHO to join forces to promote a human rights approach to HIV/AIDS

Geneva, 10 December - To mark world Human Rights Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) are joining forces to address stigma and discrimination in the context of HIV/AIDS. A cartoon booklet called "HIV/AIDS - Stand Up for Human Rights" is being distributed via five of FIFA's national football associations: in Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Events will also be organized in these countries to promote education and awareness-raising among young people.

To raise awareness of the key linkages between HIV/AIDS and human rights and to combat the myths and taboos associated with HIV and AIDS, the cartoon booklet “HIV/AIDS - Stand Up for Human Rights" has been designed to empower young people to promote human rights in relation to HIV/AIDS. (…)


‘ABC:  Teaching Human Rights’ booklet launched at headquarters

As Panel discusses human rights education in schools

10 December - “ABC:  Teaching Human Rights -– Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools” was the title of an educational booklet launched at Headquarters this afternoon, in conjunction with a panel discussion on practical experiences with introducing human rights education into school systems.

As the United Nations General Assembly marked the conclusion of the Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), unanimously proclaiming the establishment of a World Programme for Human Rights Education, a panel of teachers, students, media professionals and human rights activists presented the booklet, which offers practical advice to teachers to foster human rights awareness and action among primary and secondary school children.

Rather than placing an extra burden on an already overloaded curriculum, the book aims at infusing human rights issues into subjects already taught.  It lay out principal human rights concepts and the fundamentals of human rights education; makes suggestions for nurturing younger children’s sense of worth and respect for others; and presents more sophisticated activities for older children. (…)


Humanitarian values - back to school in South Ossetia, Georgia

8 December - In November 2004 four seminars for a total of 96 teachers were held in South Ossetia within the framework of the ICRC's educational programme for international humanitarian law. The programme offers the basics of IHL including the rights of victims of war and the obligations of the parties to conflict.

The first seminar was held on 12 November 2004 for 25 teachers of Russian language and literature in Tskhinvali. The primary aim of the seminar was to familiarize the teachers with the manual "World Around You". 746 pupils' books and 34 teachers' manuals were distributed in 10 schools in Tskhinvali.

The three other seminars were conducted on November 24-26 for more than seventy teachers in the villages of Eredvi, Tigvi and Kurta, Georgian communities in South Ossetia. The manuals "Know Yourself" and "What Enmity Has Destroyed" were distributed to cover 19 schools in and around these villages.


Liberia: New ICRC tracing campaign

8 December - The ICRC launched a new tracing campaign today in cooperation with the Liberia National Red Cross Society. Entitled “Help us come home,” the campaign will use posters and booklets showing pictures of 343 Liberian children registered by the ICRC in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone to help to reunite the children with their families.

The materials will be displayed and distributed in markets, hospitals, schools and refugee camps in Liberia and surrounding countries. Awareness-raising activities, such as a play performed by members of the Liberian Red Cross, will clarify the purpose of the campaign and the use of the printed materials.

ICRC delegations and National Red Cross Societies throughout West Africa have joined forces with other humanitarian organizations and community members to trace the relatives of Liberian children separated from their families during the civil war. In Liberia alone, over 200 National Society volunteers are involved in tracing activities. (…)



Economy and development



Dry zones in Sri Lanka target of new IFAD loan

Rome,  15 December – About 80 000 rural households in the districts of  Anuradhapura, Badulla, Kurunegala and Moneragala in Sri Lanka will benefit from a new USD 30.4 million programme. The programme is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and production, as well as adding value to produce in the dry zones of the country.

Of the total amount, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide US$22 million. The loan will be used for assisting vulnerable families in the four districts to improve their incomes and living conditions through increased access to water and land, improved agricultural technologies and better access to markets. (…)

The communities participating in the programme will identify their needs and set priorities through participatory assessments. The solutions that will emerge out of discussions will be implemented, as pilot initiatives, in Farmers Field Schools before its application by individual farmers. Promoting marketing and enterprise development will be a key component of the programme. Farmers will learn about forward sales contracts and inventory credit schemes to improve their business. (…)

With this loan, IFAD will have financed 11 programmes and projects in Sri Lanka, totalling approximately US$134.6 million. Sri Lanka was the first country to receive an IFAD loan.

For more Information: Farhana Haque-Rahman,  Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes 


UNODC unveils new initiative aimed at recovering stolen assets

Vienna, 9 December - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today launched a new initiative aimed at assisting the Governments of Kenya and Nigeria to recover assets stolen by corrupt officials. In the 90s, corrupt officials in Nigeria looted and exported at least US$2.2 billion, and embezzled US$5.5 billion. Similarly, it is estimated that over US$3 billion has been lost to corruption in Kenya. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Vienna, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said, “The recovery of stolen assets is one of the most promising and concrete aspects of the fight against corruption.” Today marks the first anniversary of the signing conference of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, in Mérida, Mexico, and also the commemoration of the first International Anti-Corruption Day. (…)

UNODC will conduct in-depth assessments of the institutional and legal frameworks that presently exist in Nigeria and Kenya, and recommend all necessary measures designed to overcome obstacles to asset recovery. Asset recovery under the United Nations Convention against Corruption represents a major breakthrough: it establishes the return of assets as a “fundamental principle,” and mandates that Member States afford one another the widest measure of assistance. (…)


Global cereal output hits record high

Cereal stocks rise for first time in five years

Rome, 9 December - Global cereal production is expected to hit a record 2.04 billion tonnes in 2004, which would lead to an increase in cereal stocks for the first time in five years, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today in the December issue of Food Outlook.

According to the FAO report: "With this level of production, even after allowing for an expected increase in global cereal utilization in 2004/05, a significant surplus is expected, for the first time since 1999/2000." This means that "global cereal reserves should increase by the end of the 2004/05 seasons, a positive development for world food security after sharp drawdowns in the past four years," the report says. (…)


IFAD approves US$ 319.5 million in loans and US$ 6.4 million in grants to combat rural poverty in 17 countries

Rome, 7 December - The Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved US$ 319.5 million in loans and US$ 6.4 million in grants to improve the living conditions of rural poor people in 17 countries.

The 83rd session of the Board, which met at IFAD’s headquarters in Rome, approved loans and grants to support rural development projects and programmes in Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nepal, the Sudan, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia.

The Board also approved three grants totalling US$ 3.9 million to support a range of agricultural activities, including emergency assistance to control the spread of desert locusts in northern and west Africa. In Rwanda, a grant will strengthen the implementation of a national agriculture strategy and action plan. In seven Pacific Island countries, a grant will improve the capacity of poor, rural communities to address development challenges posed by their remoteness and isolation.

IFAD loans to countries in the Asia and the Pacific region amount to US$ 88.4 million. (…)


Palestinian Authority and UNCTAD launch first automated customs site in Ramallah

Project supported by European Union

7 December - The Palestinian Authority General Directorate of Customs and Excises and UNCTAD are today convening a workshop to mark the official handover of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA++) site at Customs Headquarters in Ramallah. (…) With the opening of this central ASYCUDA data processing site, Palestinian Customs will benefit from a suite of integrated software modules that will fully automate the processing of customs declarations and help create a national database on trade and revenue information. The system also enables the PA to create an autonomous customs administration and includes flexible arrangements that will allow that administration to adapt to different trade policy options.

The ASYCUDA system is part of the PA´s comprehensive programme for modernizing and strengthening its institutional capacity in the area of customs management. Implementation began in July 2001 within the context of a three-phased plan aimed at equipping the Authority with the capacity needed to maintain and upgrade the system. Phase I, funded by the World Bank, was completed with the development of the ASYCUDA++ Palestinian prototype and the establishment of a core team of Palestinian Customs IT and functional experts. (…)


WFP, India build new alliance to end hunger, fight HIV/AIDS

New Delhi, 6 December – The head of the United Nations World Food Programme, James T. Morris, today hailed the growing cooperation between the UN food aid agency and the Government of India in their common cause of reducing global hunger and promoting good nutrition among the poor, especially children. Speaking today on an official visit to India, Morris said that the Asian economic powerhouse has both large grain reserves and vast experience in public food security programmes that can be marshaled for the benefit of the millions of hungry poor in Asia and around the world. “WFP’s partnership with India has tremendous potential for identifying innovative solutions to the problems not only of food insecurity but also the rising HIV rates and the natural disasters endemic to the region,” Morris said.

During the five-day visit, WFP and the Government of India signed a cooperation agreement for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Sound nutrition is critical for people who are HIV-positive. When a patient develops AIDS, family food supplies often plummet. WFP will supply technical expertise in a three-year project that uses food in a variety of ways to encourage prevention, care and support of people living with HIV and AIDS as well as the treatment of opportunistic infections like tuberculosis.  (…)


Canada increases its financial support to UNFPA

United Nations, New York, 1 December — The Government of Canada today announced that it would substantially increase its contributions to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, over the next four years. The total Canadian support for UNFPA over that period will reach Can$67.4 million – or almost Can$17 million per year, compared to Can$13.1 million it gave to UNFPA in 2004. Out of the total amount, Can$9 million will be used to provide reproductive health supplies needed by developing countries.

UNFPA welcomed the Canadian decision, announced today by Aileen Carroll, the Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, during an observance of World AIDS Day. UNFPA was particularly encouraged by the multi-year funding commitment – the first ever made by Canada to the Fund – which would provide UNFPA with a more predictable source of financing. (…)






CARE responds to disaster in the Philippines

Agency urges long-term rehabilitation

Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 8 December - In response to damage caused by four typhoons that hit between November 14 and December 3, CARE has helped the government of the Philippines assist more than 500,000 people with shelter, food and water. CARE continues to work with local authorities to assess damage and the need for medical attention, and to distribute relief in hard-to-reach areas of the country.

In coordination with local authorities, CARE helped send 4,000 bags of goods to the Quezon Province and 4,000 food relief packs to the Catanduanes Province following the disaster, which killed more than 600 people and destroyed houses, farmlands, and infrastructure. Although there appears to be sufficient food to help the people left homeless by the storms, non-food items such a blankets, mosquito nets, mats, cooking utensils, fuel, medicine, and emergency shelter materials remain in short supply in the hardest-hit areas.

While the immediate emergency is being addressed, CARE urges donors and governments to plan for and support long-term rehabilitation.


Sister Cities International Partners Globally With Gifts In Kind International

Nation's Third Largest Charity to Supply Donations for the Citizen Diplomacy Movement

Washington, 3 December - Sister Cities International announces a  global partnership with Gifts In Kind International, the nation's third  largest charity, to provide donations of supplies and equipment for the  growing sister city movement. Now operating in 128 countries, sister city member organizations will  benefit from Gifts in Kind International's proven record of excellence in  securing donations of newly manufactured and donated products and services  that improve people's lives, say organizers. The partnership was approved by the Gifts in Kind International board in November. (…)

In 2003, Gifts In Kind International and its network helped charities  access nearly $800 million worth of newly manufactured, donated products  and services around the world. (…) Members of Sister Cities International will benefit from this partnership through access to an extensive database of low-cost high-quality products  and services donated by top companies. Gifts in Kind International's partnership network includes Dell Inc., The Gillette Company; IBM; HP; Sears, Roebuck and Company; the National School and Office Supply Association; the General Motors Company; the International Sanitary Supply Association, Inc. and The Gap, Inc.

Representing more than 2,600 communities in 128 countries, Sister Cities International ( is a citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities  abroad. (…)

Gifts In Kind International ( is the world leader in product philanthropy and the 3rd largest product and service philanthropic provider in the United States. (…)

Media Contact: Ami Neiberger-Miller, Sister Cities International, 


ADRA Philippines responds to three typhoons

Metro Manila, Philippines, 9 December - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) office in the Philippines is providing relief items to those affected by three typhoons that recently raged over northern parts of the country. Items provided include food, blankets, clothing, and building materials.

With the help of volunteers, ADRA Philippines is working in three areas, targeting more than 16,000 people. …) ADRA International, ADRA Asia, and ADRA Philippines funded the response, valued at $43,000. (…)

To avoid duplication of assistance or services, the response will be made in collaboration with the local Social Welfare and Development Office who recommended needy beneficiaries, and with the Non-governmental Organization (NGO) Network for Disaster Response, which includes the local Adventist Community Services (ACS).


Five cities to get UN Awards

Bogotá, Colombia, 3 December – Five cities are to receive United Nations awards for positively promoting the spirit of volunteerism as a contribution to local development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Known as the “City with Heart” prize, the award was set up by the United Nations and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The cities are: Bogotá (Colombia), Esmeraldas (Ecuador), Falmouth (Jamaica), Natal (Brazil), and Tegucigalpa (Honduras). (…) In particular, Bogotá is receiving its award because of the various programmes promoted by the municipality in recent years. These include: “Think about Others – Feed your Heart”, “Health for the Home”, “Serving with the Heart”, and “Bogotá against War”. All these programmes have one feature in common – the promotion of urban volunteerism.

Bogotá was selected as a winner by a committee of experts from the United Nations Volunteer Programme (UNV), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and the IDB’s Inter-American Initiative on Social Capital, Ethics, and Development.

To be considered for the award, Bogotá demonstrated that its volunteers have a high level of commitment, are agents of change, and offer their services within a sustainable structure that guarantees the continuity of voluntary action.


FAO ramps up relief efforts in Sudan

Seeds, supplies and animal health services to go to 40 000 of Darfur's hardest-hit households

Rome, 2 December - FAO is providing vegetable seeds and gardening tools to 35 000 of the poorest and most vulnerable households in conflict-affected areas of Sudan's Darfur region for use during the upcoming 2004 winter cropping season.

FAO will also help improve the health of donkeys belonging to approximately 5 000 households currently living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

The UN agency today announced that it has directed US$390 000 towards provision of 9 tonnes of vegetable seeds, more than 35 000 gardening tools, veterinary supplies and technical assistance by agricultural extension experts in the conflict-stricken region. (…)


WFP feeds demobilized former fighters in Burundi

Bujumbura, 2 December – Supporting the reintegration of former rebels and troops into civilian life that is vital to Burundi’s peace process, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today started providing food to ex-combatants being demobilized at three centres in the war-torn country. In this new programme, which will expand in coming years to include all 55,000 former combatants identified by the National Programme for Demobilization, Reinsertion and Reintegration, WFP gives food to each participant during a mandatory 10-day preparation for reintegration into civilian life. “Providing food to ex-combatants in the demobilization centres will enable them to participate actively in the orientation programme before they go back to their communities of origin,” said Zlatan Milisic, WFP Country Director in Burundi.  (…)



Peace and security



Youth Declaration to the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World

Mines Action Canada, Nairobi, Kenya, 8 December 

Thousands of youth from six continents hereby affirm our commitment to this Summit as an opportunity to celebrate achievements in eradicating the scourge of landmines and to agree on a practical and ambitious plan of action to finish the task of building a mine-free world. (…)

Summative declaration

It is our challenge to maintain the momentum of the campaign and propel it into the future.

We declare our commitment to see that compliance with the Ottawa Treaty becomes universal, that mine clearance and stockpile destruction obligations are met, that adequate assistance is provided for all survivors and mine-affected communities and that donor countries be encouraged to make bold pledges of assistance. (…)

Symposium Declaration

We, the 39 young people of the International Youth Symposium, representing 24 different countries affirm the preceding declaration. We share the vision for a mine-free world and recognize the progress made by those who have dedicated themselves to the anti-landmine effort.

(…)   We understand there are more challenges ahead, including the need to encourage states not yet party to join the Ottawa Treaty and for non-state actors to adhere to its norms. As young leaders with a vision of a mine-free world we are ready to embrace the challenge. (…)


‘Roots of Peace’ back demining/ecotourism project in Angola

Mines to be cleared for thousands of migrating elephants

Nairobi, Kenya, 2 December  - An ambitious project to clear deadly land mines from a wildlife sanctuary in southern Africa is being launched today in a bid to give thousands of elephants and local villagers new hope. The initiative, backed by the California based ‘Roots of Peace’, underlines that land mines are an environmental as well as a humanitarian concern.

It was announced during the Nairobi Summit for a Mine-Free World taking place at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The one million US dollar project initially aims to clear mines, sown during the Angolan civil war, to help restore an ancient elephant migration route linking Botswana with Zambia and Angola.

It is part of a wider plan aimed at creating a vast transfrontier conservation area which is being supported by the governments of Switzerland and the United States. (…)






WHO tobacco Treaty set to become law, making global public health history

Key milestone reached as 40th country ratifies WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Geneva, 1 December - The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) will enter into force and become part of international law in 90 days, following ratification by 40 countries in the past 17 months. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will improve health by contributing to the reduction of tobacco consumption, currently the cause of premature death for nearly five million people every year.

Peru became the 40th state to ratify the Treaty on 30 November 2004. In less than a year and a half, forty countries from all regions of the world have taken the necessary steps to become Contracting Parties to the Treaty, making it the first international legally binding public health treaty under the auspices of WHO. (…)

The WHO FCTC was unanimously adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly in May 2003 following almost three years of negotiations. During the year that followed, while it was open for signature, 167 countries and the European Community signed, and 23 countries became Contracting Parties to the Framework Convention, making it one of the most rapidly embraced UN Treaties of all time.

The WHO FCTC will enter into force on 28 February 2005, in 90 days. From that date on, the 40 Contracting Parties will be legally bound by the provisions of the Treaty. These provisions set international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, labelling, illicit trade and second-hand smoke. (…)


CARE and World's Children unite to take action on HIV/AIDS

More than 3 million children participate in "Lesson for Life," to demand more support for children and young people affected by the disease

Atlanta, Giorgia, USA, 1 December - Millions of children around the world will participate in a "Lesson for Life" on World AIDS Day as part of a massive effort to educate children about HIV/AIDS prevention and spur them, their communities and governments to accelerate action on behalf of children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS. (…)

Providing a platform for children directly affected by HIV/AIDS to share their experiences, concerns and ideas, the Lesson for Life has been organized by the GMC, the world-wide movement of organizations and individuals, including children, uniting efforts to build a world fit for children. In all, tens of thousands of schools and other venues in more than 50 countries will participate in the initiative. Children, young people, youth groups and schools will use discussions, plays, dramas, and writing to learn about HIV/AIDS and find ways to act on behalf of affected children.

Countries across every continent are involved: In Honduras, CARE, Oxfam and UNICEF will work with partners to involve mothers and children, religious leaders and nearly 2,000 institutions, including schools, churches and colleges in the Lesson for Life. In Ukraine, the Ukraine National Network for Children and the Ministry of Family, Children and Youth Affairs will join forces with a quarter of a million children in Lesson for Life activities. And in Africa, hundreds of thousands of children will take part in Lesson for Life activities. (…)



Energy and safety



Major corporations, WRI announce third round of renewable energy purchases

Washington, DC, 7 December - The World Resources Institute (WRI) and members of its Green Power Market Development Group today announced 62 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy purchases and projects. The announcement, made at the American Council on Renewable Energy’s "Renewable Energy in America: The Call for Phase II" summit on Capitol Hill, brings the total purchases by the Green Power Group to 174 MW over three years.

The Green Power Group is a unique commercial and industrial partnership dedicated to building corporate markets for green power. Its members are Alcoa Inc., Cargill Dow LLC, Delphi Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, FedEx Kinko’s, General Motors, IBM, Interface Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Pitney Bowes, and Staples. 

"Renewable energy is available, affordable and offers companies economic and environmental benefits today," said Jonathan Lash, president of WRI. "Natural gas prices, electricity reliability issues, and environmental concerns are all driving companies to diversify their energy purchases."

The 62 MW – enough to power 46,000 homes – represent purchases made in the past year for more than 80 facilities in 18 states (…)



Environment and wildlife



A wishing well for Malaysia

9 December - WWF-Malaysia has placed a 'wishing well' in a busy Light Rail Transit (LRT) station in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, to raise public awareness about the country's environment.

The wishing well is surrounded by a special interaction floor sticker that allows the public to learn more about WWF's activities aimed at conserving Malaysia's unique wildlife and natural resources. (…) An estimated 170,000 passengers per month use the LRT system. SPNB, the company managing the LRT system, is working with WWF-Malaysia in a partnership to raise public environmental awareness.

WWF-Malaysia is currently planning to test out two more wishing wells in popular shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur and the eastern province of Sabah. (…)


WWF and Vodacom link small island to mainland Tanzania

Mafia Island, Tanzania, 7 December – WWF and telecommunications giant, Vodacom, were instrumental in linking Mafia Island with mainland Tanzania under a network system for the first time, with the hope of improving communications and the environment. (…)

WWF, together with the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP), hope that the new telecommunications system will benefit the small island community through the improved ability of patrol units to report and prevent illegal fishing incidents, as well as report accidental turtle and dugong catches back to the authorities in the capital, Dar-es-Salaam, about 120km away.

Tanzania’s world-renowned Mafia Island Marine Park — a group of five islands whose coral reefs, sea grass beds, and mangroves host some of the richest life on the east African coast. Marine turtles, humpback and sperm whales, 400 species of fish, a host of corals, sponges, molluscs, starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, and even the occasional dugong, all claim the waters as home. Some 15,000 people also call the islands home. Most people earn their living from harvesting coconuts and fishing the turquoise seas. (…)


Air Pollution Protocol Boosted by U.S. Ratification

Executive Body wraps up jubilee session

Geneva, 3 December - With the ratification by the United States, the Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone is now only two ratifications away from entry into force. The US ratification was announced at a meeting of the Executive Body of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva this week to mark the Convention’s 25th anniversary.

The United States, together with the European Community, will also head a new task force to study the hemispheric transport of air pollution. A new expert group on fine particles, another priority under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, will be directed by Germany and the United Kingdom. Its work may lead to either a change to the Gothenburg Protocol or a new protocol specifically on fine particles. (…)

Another goal for the Executive Body over the coming years is to push eastwards. It intends to redouble its efforts to involve East European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries in its work. At present all except Albania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are Parties to the Convention, but few have signed up to its Protocols.

Finally, the Convention continues its practice of “naming and shaming” those Parties that fail to either fully meet their obligations under the Protocols or to report on their compliance. Since its introduction in 1997, this practice has greatly improved compliance. Greece, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia and Spain fell short on their commitments under one or more Protocols. (…)


Victory for endangered sea turtles along Florida coast

Emergency Sea Wall Construction Plan could become statewide model

Tallahassee, FL, USA, 2 December -  A long struggle seeking protections for endangered sea turtle nesting areas has finally ended as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that guards wildlife and could potentially serve as a model for future emergency sea wall construction statewide, environmentalists said today.  ()

The conservation plan includes an innovative approach to counter beach erosion resulting from emergency sea wall construction. Indian River County will implement provisions that include protections of coastal nesting areas, controls for predators such as raccoons, a sea turtle monitoring program, and restriction on beachfront lighting, which disorients baby turtles, causing them to crawl landward towards parking lots and roads rather than the ocean. ()


Rotary to provide windbreak forest belt to combat dust storms in Asia

Evanston, IL, USA, December - Rotary clubs, in cooperation with environmental experts and the government of Mongolia, today announced a bold project to help reduce the Yellow Wind dust storms that blow off the Gobi desert into Korea, Japan, other countries in the region, and even as far as the west coast in United States. The project will develop a windbreak forest belt consisting of 100,000 newly planted trees and an irrigation system that will help control desertification in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. Desertification, the rapid formation of deserts, is a major factor in the increasing dust storm problem.

The US$360,000 project is funded by contributions from Korean Rotary clubs and the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and is intended to commemorate Rotary’s Centennial in 2005. The government of Mongolia is an integral partner in the effort, providing US$50,000 funding for the project. Mongolia’s 1996 National Action Plan calls for efforts to combat desertification through sustainable and integrated land management and land rehabilitation. Japanese Rotary clubs will also participate in the project. (…) The project will culminate in May of 2005 when a contingent of Korean Rotarians will travel to Mongolia to help plant the 100,000 young trees. It will also create an estimate 1,000 jobs in the region to develop, expand and maintain the forest belt.

The size of the windbreak forest belt will be 1,000 square meters, including a two-hectare tree nursery, which can produce one million seedlings per year. Sixteen deep wells and an irrigation system will be built to supply water to the forest belt effectively. (…)



Culture and education



Nigeria to lead the way in girls' education

UK government invests $50 million

Abuja/New York, 8 December - One of the world’s largest girls’ education projects will be launched tomorrow in Nigeria, supported by a $50 million grant from the UK Government.

The project is a decisive step forward to achieving gender parity and universal basic education in Nigeria, the most populous Sub-Saharan African nation. About 7.3 million Nigerian children of primary school age remain outside the school system, of whom 62% are girls.

The Federal Ministry of Education of Nigeria will implement the project with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UK Government, through its Department for International Development (DFID).  The direct beneficiaries will be more than 360,000 pupils in 720 schools in 2005.  Many more will benefit indirectly and the project will be scaled up over the following two years to include 15 different states in the country. (…)

The funds will be used to increase girls’ access to school and improve the quality of education, through training, support for policy in favor of girls’ education, community participation in school management, provision of better facilities for all students and sensitization of the population on the benefits of educating girls. (…)


Enhancing the quality of life for a “graying society”:  2005 ICT student design competition

Berlin, December 7 -  As 1.2 million people monthly turn 60 worldwide, new solutions and products are essential for that “Global Sleeping Giant: The Agequake,” which is fast approaching. By 2050 the number of people over 60 will reach 2 billion and older persons will out-number children (1-14) by a ratio of 2:1. In response to this the International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC) has organized the first worldwide ICT Competition focused on “ICT for All Generations”.

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students and is concerned to: • Stimulate a bridge between research and practice. • Promote dialogue and solutions concerning older persons. Students from around the world are being asked to develop solutions towards integrating older persons into the fabric of the community and fully include them in all social, cultural and productive activities. • Emphasize the message that the next generation must, and can, proactively plan for a society of diverse ages. • Harness information technologies as instruments of social cohesion and social inclusion.

Entry forms are due by May 31, 2005. Competition entries are due by September 1, 2005.

Awards: first prize: US $10,000, second prize: US $5,000; third prize: US $2,500.

An exhibition of the project and the winning entries will be held in various related venues worldwide. The first exhibition is to be held at WSIS in November 2005. A further exhibition will be held at the UN Headquarters during the Commission for Social Development February 2006 (attended by 200 Government delegations from both the public and private sectors).


Nelson Mandela Foundation and UNICEF announce joint international education campaign

Cape Town, South Africa, 6 December - The Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNICEF and the Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Democracy and International Law, today launched a joint international campaign “Child Friendly Schools for Africa”, which aims to accelerate access to quality basic education for children, with special focus on girls, orphans and vulnerable children in six African countries, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. (…)

In the “Child Friendly Schools for Africa” programme, UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have joined forces to mobilize villages and communities throughout Africa to take responsibility for making sure that the schools built are “child-friendly”. At minimum, a child–friendly school serves children’s education needs better by adopting a participatory learning methodology and ensuring a safe and protective environment for children.  Such schools make sure that children learn and play in healthy spaces and provide access to clean water and sanitation. In addition, they are gender sensitive, have strong links to surrounding communities and have outreach services for orphans and other vulnerable children, UNICEF says.

The campaign will support the construction and rehabilitation of schools and the provision of education materials. It will develop training programmes for teachers and strengthen school governance and management. As a first step, “child-friendly” schools shall be set up as models in the six countries and, together UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a worldwide call for donations in support of the school building programme will begin. (…)


ILO launches electronic library collection of over 1,000 publications

Geneva, 10 December - The International Labour Office today announced the availability of a new electronic library that will simplify access to essential ILO publications on globalization, HIV/AIDS, fighting poverty and other issues concerning the world of work.

The collection, called ILO Insight, is a fully searchable archive of over 1,000 publications covering such issues as labour, employment, social protection, women at work, occupational safety and health, child labour, management, training, labour statistics and more.

The ILO has partnered with MyiLibrary, a company specializing in online content, to create this large and diverse collection. Available on a subscription basis, it includes key ILO books, monographs, official documents of the annual International Labour Conference, complete text of Conventions and Recommendations, reports, working papers, codes of practice and more. Many of the publications are offered in French and Spanish as well as English.

Further information on this new service can be found at (…)



* * * * * * *


Next issue: 14 January 2005



* * * * * * *


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to over 3,700 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 48 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway,  Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site:

It is a service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979 and associated with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations.

The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing.         

Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail:

* * * * * * *