Good News Agency – Year VI, n° 10
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 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 in the web site http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/uk/uk_sum_monde.htm
Youth on Status of Kosovo
8 July - The Second session of the Kosovo Round-Table of political party youth organizations in the region starts today in Tirana, Albania. The gathering is expected to discuss the future status of Kosovo. One interesting aspect of the event is that Serbian and Kosovo participants travelled to Tirana together.
Representatives of political parties' youth organizations from Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia will participate in the Round-Table. The aim of the conference is to establish dialogue and trust which should replace the centuries-long tradition of war and hatred in the region.
Among other things, the young politicians will discuss the future status of Kosovo. The issues on the agenda of the Kosovo Round-Table in Tirana include the "European Integrations and Visa Regime", "Rule of Law", "Corruption", "The Hague Tribunal" and the "Final Status of Kosovo". Each of the discussions shall result in a declaration signed by all participants.
This is the second in a planned series of conferences. The first was held in Ulcinj, September 2004. The Round Table is organized by the Social-Democratic Youth, the youth organization of the Social-Democratic Union, with the support by the Swedish Social-Democratic Party.
Regional consultation on violence against children underway in Slovenia
July 8 - The Regional Consultation for the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children, Europe and Central Asia are now in progress in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event is supported by the Council of Europe, UNICEF, WHO, OHCHR, and the NGO Advisory Panel. Azerbaijan is represented here by members of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan, Ministries of Health, Youth, Sport and Tourism and the country non-governmental organizations. The Consultation to last till July 9 focuses on the issues concerning protection of children’s rights, and those related to creation of the international regional and national – level networks to fight violence against children.
Sudan: Detainees released under ICRC auspices
Geneva (ICRC), 6 July – The release of detainees held in connection with the long-running conflict in southern Sudan is under way. Some 100 persons formerly held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) arrived today in Khartoum. They were the first of more than 300 detainees expected to be released this week. The operation is being carried out under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose services as a neutral intermediary were requested by the SPLA and the Sudanese government.
The ICRC's role is to facilitate the transfer of released persons in accordance with the wishes of the parties to the conflict, who bear ultimate responsibility for agreeing upon and authorizing the releases. The ICRC’s main concern now is to ensure that the operation is carried out in accordance with humanitarian principles. It has therefore held private interviews with all detainees to establish that each is returning home of his own free will.
The ICRC had previously registered the detainees and visited them over the course of several years to monitor the conditions of their detention and help them communicate with their families.
Over many years the ICRC has repeatedly asked the Sudanese government to grant it access to detainees under its jurisdiction. No access has yet been granted. (…)
The release is a welcome development for the ICRC, the detainees and their families, and marks a significant step towards fulfilling the conditions set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The ICRC will continue to monitor the situation of those still detained and hopes that they too will soon be released.
Brussels, 30 June - The European Commission adopted today a proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. As the Commission has chosen the protection and promotion of fundamental rights as one of its basic policy objectives, the creation of the Agency is an important tool in meeting this objective. (…)
The proposal follows the decision of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the European Union, taken in December 2003, to extend the mandate of the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, based in Vienna, by converting it into a Fundamental Rights Agency. The European Parliament has also called for the establishment of the Agency.
The Fundamental Rights Agency will be an independent centre of expertise on fundamental rights issues through data collection, analysis and networking, which currently does not exist at European Union level. The Agency will advice the European Union Institutions and the Member States on how best to prepare or implement fundamental rights related European Union legislation. (…)
By proposing the establishment of the Fundamental Rights Agency the Commission is implementing the first priority of the recently endorsed Action Plan “The Hague Programme: Ten priorities for the next five years - The Partnership for European renewal in the field of Freedom, Security and Justice”.
Monaco: ICRC press prize goes to Croatian documentary
6 July - On 1 July the ICRC press prize was awarded to the Croatian journalist Suzana Hetrich and her team for the documentary Djeca – Zrtve Rata (Child Victims of War) at the 45th Monte Carlo Television Festival.
The 42-minute film, produced and broadcast by HRT (Croatian Radio and Television), seeks to find out what has happened to Anita, Martina, Zelkam, Tanja, Dragana, Ivan and Martina, seven children who were wounded at the outbreak of the war in Croatia in 1991 and had already been filmed at that time by Suzana Hetrich in the hospital where they were being treated.
Fourteen years later, the teenagers discuss the traumatic experiences they endured as children, their feelings about war and the lives they are leading now. Using archive material and footage shot in Zagreb, Vukovar and Vinkovci, Suzana Hetrich provides a discreet yet compelling account of the plight of innocent victims and the suffering inflicted on children in armed conflicts.
The press prize, which was created in 2003 with the support of the Red Cross of Monaco and the Monte Carlo Television Festival to mark the ICRC's 140th anniversary, is awarded to the documentary that has best promoted the principles of international humanitarian law by covering a conflict in terms of the suffering it has caused.
The Kyoto process: an additional opportunity for the poorest countries?
Natural resource experts recently met in Rome to discuss ways of giving poor countries incentives under the Kyoto Protocol to improve the use of fuelwood and reduce deforestation, loss of vegetation cover and land degradation.
Rome, 8 July - On the eve of the G-8 Summit in Scotland, where climate change and Africa were key subjects of discussion, natural resource experts met in Rome to discuss ways of giving poor countries incentives under the Kyoto Protocol to improve the use of fuelwood and reduce deforestation, loss of vegetation cover and land degradation. (…)
The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism does give credit for afforestation and reforestation projects. However, it does not provide incentives for a more sustainable fuelwood and charcoal production and use, which could lead to a reduction of deforestation, loss of vegetation cover or land degradation.(…) The G-8 and the European Union will have to take a decision prior to the next Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (Montreal in December 2005) on whether the poorest countries, who will suffer most from climate change, should continue to be, to a large extent, excluded from the Clean Development Mechanism that would at least provide some of the badly needed financial incentives to break the vicious circle of resource degradation and poverty, according to participants to the FAO-Joanneum Research meeting in Rome. (…)
Time for MDG Action is Now, Annan Tells London Gathering
London, 6 July - For the first time developed and developing countries have accepted their responsibilities for reducing poverty, while the targets for reducing vast socio-economic ills have garnered unprecedented political support, giving the world a make-or-break moment to improve the lot of the poor, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today. In an address at an anti-poverty event at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, he focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were approved at a UN summit in 2000 and which prescribe measurements and targets for the reduction or elimination of current socio-economic ills by 2015. Progress on achieving them will be reviewed at what is expected to be the world’s largest summit ever next September at the UN. “All of you are here because, like me, you know that this is a make-or-break moment for the Millennium Development Goals – and for the world’s poor,” Mr. Annan said. “You know that how we fare for the next 10 years hinges on decisions that must be taken within the next days and months.”
New US$40 million project to help the poor in remote mountain communities of Northwestern Algeria
Rome, 13 July - More than 190,000 people in remote mountain communities in one of the poorer parts of Algeria will benefit from a new US$40 million rural development project financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Algeria. IFAD will provide a loan of about US$11.8 million. The loan agreement was signed today by the President of IFAD, Lennart Båge, and Mr Mokhtar Reguieg, Ambassador of Algeria to Italy and Alternate Governor to IFAD, at headquarters in Rome.
The seven-year project will tackle poverty in the Traras and Sebaa Chioukh mountains in northern Tlemcen Province, helping local people, including smallholder farming families, women and unemployed young people to raise their standard of living through a range of initiatives, including improved management of natural resources.
According to the latest figures unemployment in the project area ranges from about 40 to 60 per cent, compared with the national average of 24 per cent, and is highest among young people.
The area was hard hit during the 1990s, when the security situation forced the exodus of part of the population from rural areas, worsening the poverty level in these mountains zones. As a result, many farmers lost their assets and equipment. People who left have now started to return to the land they had abandoned, and one of the aims of the project will be to help them rehabilitate their farms. (…) For more information: Farhana Haque-Rahman,
UN food safety and quality standards commission meets
Session expected to adopt new standards for vitamin supplements and foods
Rome, 4 July -- The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) meets today with representatives from more than 100 countries present, to adopt a number of new or revised food safety and quality standards that will safeguard the health of consumers worldwide and improve food quality and agricultural trade opportunities.
One of the draft standards up for consideration, on vitamin and mineral labeling, has sparked controversy recently. It is designed to give consumers information about maximum consumption levels for vitamin and mineral food supplements - taking into account the fact that too high an intake of such substances can cause health problems - and to guarantee that the minimum levels of the vitamins and mineral supplements claimed to be present in a product are actually present.
The basis for the proposed new international guidelines already exists as part of the national framework in some Codex Member States. If adopted by Codex, the guidelines would not replace existing national standards, or create new national rules where none exist, but they could be used as guidance by countries choosing to increase consumer information on maximum consumption levels of vitamin and mineral food supplements. (…)
African Women's Millennium Initiative (AWOMI)
Dakar, Senegal - The African Women's Millennium Initiative (AWOMI) is working to ensure the participation of African women in policy and decision making processes regarding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). (…) African countries must also cope with crushing debt; AWOMI notes that every African child is born with a $400 (US) debt burden.
African women are disproportionately impacted by this crisis of extreme poverty. Women represent 70% of those living on less than $1 a day; however, they are often the least informed about the MDGs, and underrepresented in decision making forums about resource allocation on the African continent. (…)
During the next several months, AWOMI will train women in policy formulation and advocacy around poverty reduction strategies; and, create and strengthen information networks between rural women and national women's organizations, and international global poverty and debt reduction campaigns. AWOMI is also organizing women to present alternative economic policies in venues including the G-8 Summit, World Trade Organization meetings, the African Union, and in World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy programs. The Global Fund for Women is supporting AWOMI's critical efforts to include African women in the MDG process with a $50,000 Now or Never grant. (…)
Women Entrepreneurs the 'Motor for Development' – Workshop in Istanbul, July 11-12
By Julio Godoy
Paris, July 7 (IPS) - Give Arab women the chance to become entrepreneurs by facilitating access to education, professional training and financial resources, and you will start the motor of economic development and democracy in the Middle East and North Africa region. That is the motto of the organisers of the workshop ”Building awareness of women's entrepreneurship in the MENA region”, to take place July 11-12 in the Turkish city of Istanbul, under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), which represents the 30 most industrialised countries of the world. The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region includes 21 countries, extending from Morocco to Pakistan, Turkey to Yemen.
The main objective of the meeting ”is to raise consciousness among policy makers, investors and bankers, and women and men in the Muslim world that women's entrepreneurship represents an untapped reservoir for job creation, economic growth and social cohesion,” Marie-Florence Estimé, deputy director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Local Development, told IPS. (…)
The workshop next week promises to draw policy recommendations addressed to both public and private decision-makers, which will be considered at the Ministerial Meeting of the MECA-OECD Investment Programme, slated for November in Amman, Jordan. (…)
Caritas closely monitors flooding in India
Vatican City, 5 July – Caritas Internationalis is keeping a close eye on the situation in several Indian states as unrelenting monsoon rains have unleashed flash floods and mudslides in the last few days, killing more than 140 people, leaving thousands homeless, and severely damaging infrastructure. (…) The government has declared a state of high alert and started evacuating people to safer ground. The army and air force have been called in to contribute to rescue and relief operations, and food packages have been dropped to many victims left completely stranded by the flooding.
Caritas India has been in contact with all the Diocesan Social Service Societies in the affected areas, and with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – Ahmedabad. Together they have contacted the Government Relief Commissioner to express their intention to assist with relief efforts. According to Caritas India, immediate needs include the setting up of relief camps, distribution of food, clean drinking water, and kitchen utensils, medical care, and temporary shelter for thousands of flood victims. Caritas India continues to monitor the situation closely and will keep the Confederation apprised of any new developments and needs in the coming days.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in 200 countries and territories.
Japanese business giant ties up with WFP to mobilize support to end child hunger
Yokohama, 5 July - The Japan
Association for WFP (JAWFP) announced today that one of the most prominent and
respected business leaders in Japan, Uichiro Niwa, Chairman of the Board,
ITOCHU Corporation, is to become Chairman of the Executive Board of JAWFP.
Niwa will give strong support to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its friendship association in Japan, JAWFP. “I would like to play a catalyst role to mobilize support from the Japanese business community and civil society to wipe out child hunger from the world,” said Niwa. “Participation by private companies in the fight against hunger will help enhance motivation and commitment of their staff members and employees.”
JAWFP is a non-profit organization, which was set up in 1999 to assist WFP in advocacy and private-sector fundraising in Japan. Niwa hopes to enhance the activities of NGOs in Japanese society through his new role as chairman of JAWFP. (…)The Council will rally support for the private fundraising activities of JAWFP through various events and programmes, capitalizing on the expertise and the networks of member corporations, organizations and individuals. (…)
Viet Nam: Swimming, a vital life skill for children
By Steve Nettleton and Jihun Sohn
Dong Thap Province, Viet Nam, 8 July – Not knowing how to swim can cost a child his or her life, especially in Viet Nam. Waterways outnumber roads in Dong Thap Province in the Mekong River Delta of southern Viet Nam, and annual flooding caused by monsoon rains takes a severe toll, particularly on children. Drowning accounts for more than half of all injury-related deaths of Vietnamese children between four and fifteen. Each day some forty children die from drowning. Most of these children could be saved - if they only knew how to swim.
Here, teaching children to swim requires some special precautions - as there are no swimming pools - so lessons must be organized in rivers or lakes, or even in the sea. UNICEF is supporting the training of instructors, and has helped design a simple swimming net to ensure the safety of lessons. (…) The swimming lessons are part of a broader, nationwide effort by UNICEF and the Vietnamese government to protect children from injury. It’s the first program of its kind in the world. By raising public awareness of common dangers, the project aims to change people’s attitudes and behaviour, and reduce death or disabilities from accidents.(…)
Physicians For Peace recognized by Charity Navigator
Norfolk, VA. USA – July 6 - In light of the public's renewed interest in Africa brought about by this past weekend's Live 8 Concert Series, Charity Navigator recognized 33 charities for their work in Africa and is recommending them to donors. Each of the 33 charities, including Norfolk, VA-based Physicians For Peace (PFP), was vetted by Charity Navigator’s analysts and has received either a 3 or 4-star rating for their overall fiscal health. For two consecutive years, Physicians For Peace has earned the highest 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, joining only five percent of the more than 4,260 charities evaluated thus far this year by Charity Navigator. (…)
Over the last 30 years, Physicians For Peace has actively brought medical aid, education and training to several African nations, including: Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Liberia, Morocco and Nigeria. Currently Physicians For Peace is active in Eritrea and Nigeria (…)
Using medicine as a peace-building tool, PFP has conducted programs in 44 countries over the past three decades, building bridges between diverse cultures, ethnicities and religions. Physicians For Peace is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that encourages financial and in-kind contributions to underwrite its mission-based work. For more information, please visit www.PhysiciansForPeace.org.
28 June - Four aid workers from Southwark-based charity CARE International will be taking a 100-mile cycle ride this week to raise awareness of the Make Poverty History campaign.
Raja Jarrah, of Barcombe Road, Streatham, Elliot Bates, of Deals Gateway, Deptford, Gigi Davies, of Brougham Road, Hackney, and Neil Munro, of St Hughes Close, Wandsworth, will be cycling from Newcastle to Edinburgh in two days and will join cyclists from all over the UK – expected to number in their thousands – as part of the Jubilee G8 Bike Ride.
The riders will converge on the Scottish capital where the G8 summit of world leaders will be discussing ways of eradicating poverty in the developing world. They will join a bike ride round Edinburgh on Friday then take part in the Make Poverty History rally on Saturday.
Jarrah, CARE International’s programme director, said: “Our day-to-day job involves working to eradicate poverty but we wanted to do a little bit more and help bring the issue to everybody’s attention. That’s what the ride and the rally is all about – making people aware that something can be done to make poverty history.”
Further information on the bike ride can be found on the website www.leedstidal.org/g8rides/ and on the Make Poverty History campaign on www.makepovertyhistory.org
ADRA assists Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, June 27 - On May 20, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) became one of the first humanitarian agencies to provide emergency supplies to 530 Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan.
The relief supplies included clothing, hygiene products, towels, blankets, medical supplies, books, toys, and other necessities valued at more than $20,000.
“This assistance was vital for suffering people looking for asylum in the Kyrgyz Republic, and we express our gratitude for the participation of the organizations that contributed to the project,” said Victor Zotov, director for ADRA Kyrgyzstan. The organizations that contributed to the relief effort include: ADRA, AmeriCares, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Sabre Foundation, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Kyrgyz Republic, and deputies from the local parliament in the southern region of Kyrgyzstan.
More than 500 Uzbeks fled to Kyrgyzstan after violence broke out in the city of Andijan, Uzbekistan, on May 13. The number of deaths resulting from the violence is yet to be determined.
ADRA is present in 125 countries, providing individual and community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, or ethnicity.
Rolls-Royce Adds Power to UNDP Thailand Tsunami Effort
Bangkok, 24 June - Rolls-Royce is putting jet engine power behind the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in helping to revitalize communities hard-hit by the tsunami in southern Thailand. More than 1,200 coastal families in 10 communities in Phang Nga Bay stand to benefit from this unprecedented collaboration between UNDP and Rolls-Royce. The partnership will help to create livelihood opportunities, assist in the repair of fishing boats, boat engines, nets and tackle for the affected communities. (…) Included in the project will be the reconstruction of the all-important wooden pier marketplace used by the communities for trading and selling goods and marine products. (…) Rolls-Royce has agreed to provide a cash contribution of USD 50,000 to UNDP’s overall USD 6 million tsunami recovery programme in Thailand.(…)
Global Young Leaders Conference
Author: Anne Capelle
On the 8 of July, the ICBL spoke at the Global Young Leaders Conference in Prague on the theme: “Landmines: a Hidden human Rights’violation, taking Action for Change”
Ali Srour, a young survivor from Lebanon and 2004 Raising the Voices Graduate started the conference by a testimony of his life. He then explained which of his human rights had been violated through the presence of mines in his country and his accident.
Anne Capelle, ICBL Executive Director, presented the general effects of mines on victims and population, as well as the ICBL and the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), highlighting in what ways the MBT was achieved through a unique process allowing new ways of making changes.
The conference was attended by 400 students aged between 16 and 18 years old from 40 countries. The Young Leaders conference is a two weeks program in Central Europe during which the students are introduced to diplomacy and multilateral relations. Through active and participative educational methods, they are learning how to bring upon changes in a complex environment. (…)
The following days, both Ali and Anne met with the students in smaller groups for more informal exchanges on the issues.
Links are now created between the ICBL and the GYLC and it is expected that further collaboration will develop as well as links with the Youth project from Mine Action Canada.
The Japanese Campaign to Ban Landmines at EXPO 2005 AICHI, Japan
by Virginie Andre
"One person can make a difference it is true but together we can win the world we want!"
Sister Denise Coghlan
Japan, 5 July - The Japan Global Exposition, EXPO 2005 Aichi, the first exposition of the 21st century, is now being held from April to September 2005. The EXPO emphasizes the participation of "citizens" including "NPOs/NGOs" in addition to the more traditional participation of "nations" and "companies" and is holding a "NGO Global Village". Ten million people have visited EXPO since it began in March 25.
JCBL participate to the "NGO Global Village" along with other national and international NGOs/NPOs. The Pavilion of JCBL is open from July 1st to 31st, focusing on the success story of the civil society calling for the total ban of anti-personnel landmines. The main organiser of the event in Nagoya is Maekama Masayo.
JCBL has a tent for the month of July and has invited international campaigners Tun Channareth and Denise Coghlan from Cambodia - first week, Freddy de Alwis and Ranawaka Arachchige from Sri Lanka, Purna Shova from Nepal and Cho Jay Kook from Korea along with survivor Kim Su Min. (…) A map of the world shows the countries that have not signed the treaty and people are invited to write on a yellow butterfly an invitation or a hurry up call for them to sign on. Butterflies are flapping all over the world and now are hanging from the ceiling. (…)
Anti-mine week in Sri Lanka
Colombo, July 5 - Sri Lanka's authorities have designated the first week of July and August as "National Mine Action" weeks to raise awareness about landmines that continue to kill in the country's north and east. According to the National Steering Committee on Mine Action, the months of July, August and September are the most dangerous for landmine injuries.
Each year at this time, people return to their fields to begin planting and harvesting crops. "It is then that the lands of the north and east, seeded with explosives, reap their deadly harvest," said a statement from Unicef. (…) During these two weeks, activities will be held in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Kilinochchi, Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee.
Across the country, radio spots will be aired to alert people to the dangers of landmines and how to protect themselves against injury or death. (…)
UNICEF and it partners focus on school and community-based initiatives to educate children and communities about the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
The UN body is also providing support to survivors and advocating that the government sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (APMBT) and for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to sign the Geneva Call (the APMBT for non-state actors). (…)
German aid for minesweeping in Bosnia
July 3 - Ten years after the end of the Bosnian war, landmines continue to threaten the lives of around 1.3 million people. Germany is now making funds available to speed up the mine clearance activities in the country.
More than 400 people have died in Bosnian minefields since the end of the war. Making the country mine-free is a difficult and time-consuming job that requires significant funds in addition to the technological know-how. In an attempt to help Bosnia in the demining process, Germany has pledged 1.7 million euros ($2 million) in aid for minesweeping in 35 locations across the country. (…)
Thanks to the help of the German government, which is one of the most important donor countries in Bosnia and Herzegovina, large minefields will be cleared beginning this summer. Around 2,000 square kilometers of land in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- two million square meters -- is abandoned and unusable because of existing mines. As much as they are a threat to human lives, landmines are responsible for significant economic losses in this country which is still struggling to recover from war. (…)
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: Think Outside the Bomb
National Youth Conference, August 15-21, University of California, Santa Barbara
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been at the forefront of educating and empowering young people to take action for a nuclear weapons-free future. From our work on the recent Guide to the Demilitarization of American's Youth and Students, to our Internship Program, UC Nuclear Free Campaign and Peace Leadership Trainings, our Youth Outreach Initiative is reaching more young people than ever.
This summer (…) we are pleased to have the opportunity to host a first-of-its-kind National Youth Conference on nuclear organizing called Think Outside the Bomb from August 15-21. The conference will bring together some 60 young leaders, disarmament experts, educators and activists from across the country to help teach and support young peace leaders working on nuclear issues. The conference will take place at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The conference is designed to bring together young people who currently are, or would like to be, active in efforts to promote a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons and redress the toxic legacy of the Nuclear Age. Conference participants will be empowered to become more involved in these issues nationally and will engage in dialogue, linking nuclear issues to other social, racial, economic and environmental justice issues. (…) Learn more by visiting the conference website at http://www.wagingpeace.org/menu/programs/youth-outreach/youth-conference/index.htm.
International conference draws up strategy to fight avian influenza
International animal and human health experts today unveiled a plan designed to reduce the risk of the H5N1 avian influenza virus spreading from poultry to humans and appealed for funds to make it work.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 6 July -- International animal and human health experts today unveiled a multi-point plan designed to reduce the risk of the H5N1 avian influenza virus spreading from poultry to humans, and appealed to the international community to come forward with funds to make it work and help stave off the risk of an influenza pandemic.
The strategy was drawn up at a three-day conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, attended by experts from around Asia, as well as by senior representatives of FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The plan will be the basis for
urgent actions by affected states and will be made available to the
international community to help donors focus on the areas of highest need.(…)
Delegates concluded that priority should be given to the situation in small-scale and backyard farms, the scene of the majority of human cases since the avian influenza outbreak became known in early 2004. (…)
WHO estimates the cost of an effective response on the public health front at about $150 million, mainly for capacity building in affected countries, including emergency support in the areas of laboratory diagnosis, vaccine development, surveillance and public education. Some of the funds would be earmarked for antiviral drugs and personal protective equipment for people most at risk of infection.
First generic medicines factory being set up in Afghanistan
Public-private partnership equips Afghan population to produce safe and effective generic medicines - Medicines production equipment arrives in Kabul
Kabul, July 5 (OCHA News) - Today the donated production machinery for a newly constructed generic medicines factory named "Baz International Pharmaceutical Company Ltd." arrived in Kabul. It will be the first medicine plant built in Afghanistan since the civil unrest. About 300 million to 400 million tablets of urgently needed medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics will be produced each year. Production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2005. The locally produced generic medicines will significantly improve the availability of safe, effective and affordable medication in the country. (…)
The project’s primary goal is to construct a pharmaceutical plant in Kabul to provide safe and effective generic medicines to the Afghan population. Currently, one-quarter of all Afghan children die before the age of 5, often from treatable infectious diseases due to the lack of proper medication. Approximately 40 local employees will be taught basic operating skills and production technology to allow them to be self-sufficient.
The plant’s equipment and materials, as well as pharmaceutical expertise and training are being donated by the European Generic Medicines Association (EGA), the official body representing roughly 500 pharmaceutical companies from the generic medicines industry in Europe. In September 2005, 14 Afghan technicians will be trained in EGA member companies in Europe in order to start production in Afghanistanby the end of 2005. (…)
Global health organizations recognize Rotary International’s unprecedented role in the fight to end polio worldwide
Geneva/New York/Atlanta 21 June – On the occasion of Rotary International's 100th anniversary, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative today paid tribute to the humanitarian service organization’s commitment to ending polio worldwide.
As a key partner in the Initiative – the world’s largest health drive which also includes the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF – Rotary is the leading private-sector contributor second only to the United States Government. Since 1985, when Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, individual Rotary members have collectively raised US$600 million and contributed countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. (…)
The spread of polio could end this year. Just over 1,000 cases were reported in 2004, compared to 350,000 in 1988– a 99 percent reduction. Of the remaining six endemic countries, four in Asia and North Africa have recorded just 30 cases between them in 2005. In west and central Africa, only three countries have reported cases this year: Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. This is despite a major epidemic that swept the region in 2004, causing outbreaks in 16 previously polio-free countries. (…)
At Rotary’s Centennial celebrations in Chicago, Illinois, the partners presented Rotary with a statue symbolizing the drops of oral polio vaccine that protect children from the disease. (…)
Radio helps communities access useful health information
(Source Weekly, 28 June) - Radio programmes can help communities to access useful health information, romote behavioural change and widen access to health services. This is the conclusion of a recent paper  from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) which draws on examples of initiatives using radio to promote better health for poor people.
Radio has a far better reach than television. It is estimated that in 2001 one in four Africans (205 million people) had access to a radio. A significant expansion recently of radio-based interventions is showing it can be a cheap and effective means of providing health information and stimulating both community dialogue and national debate on health policy issues. (…)
 Skuse, A. (2004). Radio broadcasting for health : a decision maker’s guide. Information and Communication for Development (ICD), Department for International Development. PDF file
Another Chinese lake reconnects with the Yangtze
Anqing, China, 5 July – Following the opening of a dyke in Hubei Province's Zhangdu in mid-June, another dyke in Anhui Province’s Baidang Lake has been opened as part of a WWF-HSBC freshwater initiative to restore the ‘web of life’ along the Yangzte River.
Depleted by intensive crab farming, as well as the unnatural disruption between the region’s lakes and the river, Baidang Lake has shrunk from 100sq km in the 1950s to its current size of 40sq km. Natural fisheries production in the region has also declined sharply.
The opening of Baidang Lake’s dyke – the result of a joint effort between WWF and the Yangtze Fishery Administrative Committee – will help the migratory flow of fish, allowing them to breed upstream into the Yangtze, and for young fish fry to return to the lake where they can grow to maturity. WWF experts believe the move will increase fish populations, allowing local fisheries to increase yields by five per cent within the next three years. (…)
Marshland restoration in Spain’s Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park, Spain, 1 July – Hundreds of hectares of agricultural land will be restored to original marshlands in Spain’s celebrated Doñana national park following a recent decision by the park's scientific board.
The Doñana 2005 Restoration Project's Scientific Board approved the restoration of 1,600ha of marshes, which were transformed in the 1970s into low-quality agricultural land, as well as the removal of 40kms of clay walls constructed in the 1980s around the park to initially prevent overflooding from the nearby Brazo de la Torre riverbed, an arm of the Guadalquivir River.
Having helped set up the scientific board in 1999, WWF has long called for the removal of these surrounding walls. “Connecting the Doñana marshes naturally with the river is an important step to returning the ecosystem back to its original state, as well as towards wetland management that respects natural variability,” said Guido Schmidt, Head of WWF-Spain’s freshwater programme. (…)
EDN Film Series reaches 1.2 billion Chinese viewers
Series highlights safe water, safe rivers
Washington, DC, June 30 – Earth Day Network, in conjunction with partner Global Village Beijing, has produced a series of films on the importance of water conservation. The film series, titled “Earth Day Special: Water from the Eyes of a Child,” is airing on government controlled Chinese National Television and was featured as part of a larger Earth Day awareness exhibit at the Sony Explora Center in Beijing.
This series is the second environmental film set aimed at educating the general public about the importance of water conservation. The films, produced at the request of Chinese National Television, aired continuously for three months reached an estimated 1.2 billion audience. (…)
Global Village Beijing is a Chinese non-governmental organization specializing in education through media and community activities. Founded by Sherri Xiaovi Liao in 1996, Global Village Beijing is currently the coordinator for the China Earth Day Committee, a group made up of six Chinese non-governmental organizations.
Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System formally established - Work begins on systems for the Caribbean and the Mediterranean
30 June - The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System formally came into existence today with the establishment of an Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) to govern it. The 23rd Assembly of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) also adopted resolutions establishing similar bodies for the Caribbean and adjacent regions as well as the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas. Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed the developments and encouraged participants “to maintain the momentum that has allowed a great deal of progress to be achieved in a few short months.” Mr Matsuura also stressed that “UNESCO would continue to support Member States in their efforts to provide the best possible protection for their populations against tsunamis and other ocean-related hazards.”
The ICG for the Indian Ocean system will be made up of the IOC’s Member States in the region and be supported by a secretariat, provided by the IOC. The Group is expected to hold its first meeting from August 3 to 5, in Perth (Australia).(…)
Researchers from the Middle East and Europe work together to halt Dead Sea degradation
(European Water Management News, 29 June) - The shrinking of the Dead Sea has brought researchers from Jordan, Israel and Palestine together, along with two EU partners, in order to establish how water management in the region could be improved. The five research teams are working towards the drafting of different scenarios - how different forms of interaction with the Dead Sea will affect natural resources - and hope to present these scenarios to stakeholders, including politicians. The project is funded under the International Cooperation (INCO) strand of the EU’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).
The Dead Sea Basin has been affected by the economic and demographic changes that have taken place over the last 50 years. The shrinking of the surface area by around 30 per cent makes the degradation visible to all. (…) The partners consider this research as fairly urgent. Not only because of the rapid degradation of the area, but because the World Bank is currently funding a feasibility study on pumping water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. As the water would need to be pumped upwards, this would be a very expensive solution, and is not favoured by the consortium. The World Bank study is intended to assess the feasibility of such a scheme, and is not addressing the likely environmental impact of the proposal.
WWF teams up with financial industry to tackle climate change
London, UK, 29 June – The financial industry needs to systematically screen climate change risks, according to a new report by the Allianz Group and WWF, which outlines specific steps for actions to better integrate risks from climate change into the insurance, banking, and asset management sectors.
Allianz, an international financial services provider, marked the publication of the report – Climate Change & the Financial Sector: An Agenda for Action – with a pledge to increase investments in renewable energies by 300 to 500 million euros over the next five years. (…) To tackle climate change risks more strategically, Allianz will address the issue at the board level and examine carbon risks in banking, asset management, and insurance. "The financial industry plays a pivotal role in helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and steer the world towards clean energy," said Robert Napier, Chief Executive of WWF UK. (…)
Europe can reach a low emissions future
The European Environment Agency in Copenhagen has identified pathways to achieve Europe's contribution to a global climate change target.
Copenhagen, 29 June - Global and European action is needed to meet the challenge of ensuring that global temperatures will never rise more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This commitment to take the lead towards a "low emissions future" was agreed by all countries in the European Union. (…)
Europe cannot achieve this goal alone. The report has looked at a contribution that would require a fall in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. The report projects substantial changes in the EU energy sector by 2030. The sector is currently responsible for 80 % of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the reductions required in the EU would be based on achievable technologies inside Europe, meaning more efficient electricity and heat generation and use of energy in households, industry, services/agriculture and transport, a switch to low-carbon fuels and increases in renewable energy mainly from wind and biomass. The remaining reductions would be achieved by international emissions trading involving the rest of the world. These are the key findings revealed in a new report launched today by the European Environment Agency. The report sets out a number of scenarios assessing what changes would be needed to ensure a low global emissions future at the lowest cost. (…)
Environmentally friendly weapon against locusts proves effective
FAO calls large-scale field tests of biopesticide in Algeria a major breakthrough
Rome, 28 June - For the first time, an environmentally friendly weapon against Desert Locusts has been successfully tested under large-scale field conditions, FAO said today.
During a field trial organized jointly by the plant protection authorities of Algeria and FAO near El Oued in eastern Algeria, the biopesticide, called Green Muscle®, was sprayed on more than 1 400 hectares of land infested by Desert Locust larvae. Locusts were clearly weakened and started moving slowly after four days and were then eaten by birds, lizards and ants. The new control method uses a natural fungus, called Metarhizium anisopliae, which infects locust hoppers in such a way that they stop feeding and die in one to three weeks. "This successful large-scale test is a major breakthrough in the battle against locusts," said Niek van der Graaff, Chief of FAO's Plant Protection Service. For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org FAO’s web page on Desert Locusts: http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/info/info/index.html
Support for South Pacific Coral Reefs with coral gardeners and reef guides
Coral gardeners and trained reef guides are new and vital professions for reef tourism areas, adding earning capacity and skills to local communities and to the Fiji tourism experience.
Counterpart International, in collaboration with Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF), is about to embark on a new three-year intensive coral reef restoration effort in Fiji.
The "Living Reefs – Cakau Bulabula" project will be part of the global Coral Gardens program and the new phase will continue the momentum of the existing programs but focus more on the tourism and aquarium aspects.
The East Asia Pacific Environment Initiative (EAPEI), which has pledged funding for the work, wants communities to become skilled in sustainable coral reef resource management, low-tech environmental restoration, marine park management, reef-based ecotourism, and sustainable coral farming, and Counterpart's proposals fit the bill perfectly. (…)
Coral gardeners and trained reef guides are new and vital professions for reef tourism areas, adding earning capacity and skills to local communities and to the Fiji tourism experience.
Funding for the EAPEI work, whose goal is to improve environmental conditions and quality of life by increasing environmental capacity and knowledge in the East Asia and Pacific region, will be channeled through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). (…)
Annual Meeting of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute – Geneva, 11-15 July
The first annual meeting of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute (Vi) will take in Geneva between 11-15 July 2005. The Vi brings together a network of institutions of higher learning from around the world who conduct teaching and research on globalisation, international trade and development. The Vi works to build the capacity of these institutions through exchanging research, expertise and resources among each other and with UNCTAD. The members of the Vi will share their experiences, exchange ideas and identify activities that can strengthen their teaching and research in UNCTAD-related areas. They will also find ways of making teaching and research practical, policy-orientated and locally relevant. At the meeting new resources on the economics of commodity production and trade, and the economic and legal aspects of international investment agreements will be discussed. Members will get to know each other in an informal setting, have opportunities to share and discuss their work, debate key ideas and issues and establish the basis for a sustainable relationship. The outcome of the meeting will be a plan for future activities and events that can be implemented in coming year.
International cooperation in higher education: Commission gives green light to 108 Tempus projects
Brussels, 8 July - The European Commission has selected 108 university co-operation projects under the Tempus Programme to start on 1 September 2005. Each project lasts for a period of two or three years and involves a minimum of three universities in the European Union and its neighbouring countries. The projects will be the EU’s contribution to the modernisation of the higher education systems of those partner countries . (…)
Tempus is the European Union’s programme for supporting the modernisation of higher education in 27 countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, mainly through university cooperation projects. (…) Tempus projects are organised as consortia between institutions in EU Member States and those in the partner countries. The projects fall into three categories, the most important of which is that of the Joint European Projects (… that) aim at transferring knowledge from EU universities to institutions in the partner countries in the areas of curriculum development, university management and institution building. (…) The other two project categories are Structural and Complementary Projects, which are designed to support national higher education reforms and strategic framework development, and Individual Mobility Grants, which target higher education professionals in the partner countries.
Nelson Mandela joins the ranks of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors
12 July - Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, has been designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, in a ceremony today at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Mandela has been awarded the title “in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination, in his country and worldwide; for his dedication to reconciliation between different communities; his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning; his support for all the oppressed of the Earth; and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding.” (…)
Mr Mandela served as his country’s first democratically-elected president from 1994 to 1999, overseeing South Africa’s transition from minority rule and winning international respect for promoting reconciliation. Since his retirement, he has been active on behalf of a number of social and human rights organizations.
As one of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors, Mr Mandela joins an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously accepted to use their talent and status to promote UNESCO’s work and ideals. They include Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania; H.R.H. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg; Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand; and Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1992.
ECLAC launches new website for the Information Society
It brings together a wealth of information, links and a bookstore offering publications by the United Nations regional body on this subject.
4 July - A new space within the ECLAC website was launched by the Information Society Programme of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Created as a space for promoting virtual meetings between specialists, business people, governments, international bodies and civil society, the website seeks to promote public policies, stimulate regional cooperation, monitor progress, provide analytical and technical assistance in preparing and implementing strategies for developing the information society. (…) This new website also offers all ECLAC publications, grouped according to the four eLAC Plan of Action themes: access to infrastructure; skills and know-how; content and public service; policy instruments. It offers direct links to other relevant web sites, among them the World Summit on the Information Society, which will take place in Tunis, November 2005.(…)http://www.eclac.org/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/prensa/noticias/comunicados/5/21985/P21985.xml&xsl=/prensa/tpl-i/p6f.xsl&base=/prensa/tpl-i/top-bottom.xsl
Adults receive a "C" from American teens
UCAN Teen Report Card Shows Adults Score Well in Some Areas, Need Improvement in Others
Washington, DC, June 17-- With most schools coming to a close for the summer, report card day has now come for American adults. The good news for adults is that they passed, but the bad news is their grades were mediocre. According to the 7th Annual UCAN Teen Report Card, which asked more than 1,000 teens ages 12 to 19 across the country to grade adults in more than 20 different categories, adults received an average overall grade of "C." (…)
In total, adults received B's in the following categories: providing a quality education for young people, providing young people with a safe place to live, creating job opportunities for the future, keeping schools safe from violence and crime, fighting AIDS, protecting teens and kids from gun violence, being honest, preventing child abuse, leading by example, making neighborhoods safer and protecting young people from terrorism. (…)
Adults received satisfactory C grades for the following subjects: fighting the war on terrorism (which dropped from a B last year), disciplinary tactics, combating prejudice and racism, preventing teens from running away, understanding the realities of teen sex, protecting the environment, protecting teens and kids from gun violence, stopping young people from using drugs, stopping young people from smoking, getting rid of gangs, listening and understanding young people, stopping young people from drinking, helping young people cope with depression and reducing bullying among young people. The only D grade adults received was for having a limited understanding of why teens runaway from home. (…)
Created and sponsored by the Chicago-based UCAN (Uhlich Children's Advantage Network), the UCAN Teen Report Card is an annual measure of adult progress on issues affecting teens, as graded by teens themselves. (…) A full copy of the UCAN Teen Report Card, including all grades and ancillary materials, can be found at: http://www.ucanchicago.org/reportcard . (...)
5th IFLAC PAVE PEACE CONFERENCE
Ayres Hotel, LA. California - August 3-6, 2005
IFLAC PAVE PEACE, The International Forum for the Culture and Literature of Peace, organizes this interdisciplinary conference. IFLAC is a network of women leaders, peace researchers, writers, poets, educators, journalists and media, working together to foster joint cooperation and understanding in our global village. The conference will bring together experts and participants from a broad range of fields, to discuss the impact of the cultural and literary dimensions for promoting the paving of a global Culture of Peace, which would creatively “pave” and promote a world beyond war. There will be: Panels, Roundtable, Workshops, Research Papers, Peace Stories and Poems, as well as International Cultural Feasts in the Evenings. (…)
Media sponsors: WomensRadio, Sister Space Radio, and Global Peace Solution TV. The Global Peace Network will be chairing a panel on "The Communications Revolution and its Effects on Culture.” For further information, please visit:
TRANSCEND Peace University – 20 Courses starting October 2005!
Announcing Registration for the October 2005 semester
Johan Galtung, the Rector of TPU and one of the founders of peace studies, invites you to join practitioners and students from around the world on-line. http://www.transcend.org/tpu
With faculty and Course
Directors drawn from amongst the leading scholars and practitioners in their
fields internationally, TPU is the world's first truly global, on-line Peace
University designed for government and NGO practitioners, policy makers and
students at any level working in the fields of peace, conflict transformation,
development and global issues. Since 1996 300+
on-site skills institutes have been offered for 6,000+ participants around the world, using the TRANSCEND manual "Conflict Transformation By Peaceful Means," published by the United Nations. There will be certificates; for single courses, diplomas for clusters of courses and eventually BA, MA; and PhD degrees. Participants may combine on-line and on-site courses. (…)
For more information or to apply on-line, please visit www.transcend.org/tpu.
Please note, the deadline for applications for the October Semester is September 15, 2005.
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The spreading of the Culture of Peace is substantiated by the very meaningful and comprehensive world report based on the reports of 670 organizations from over 100 countries. It was run by Fundación Cultura de Paz, whose President is Federico Mayor, former UNESCO Executive Director. This summary report, which shows that the culture of peace is advancing, has been formally submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General with the request that it be submitted to the 60th Session of the U.N. General Assembly for its consideration in the plenary meeting planned to be devoted to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010.
The final paragraph of the summary report stresses that “Sharing of information is essential to development of the global movement, as stated by the General Assembly in its resolution A/53/243”, and Good News Agency is included among the six organizations mentioned whose “important initiatives are already underway”.
The date of the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly devoted to the Decade will be announced when the General Assembly publishes its schedule, probably in September.
Decade for Culture of Peace and Non-Violence
CIVIL SOCIETY REPORT AT MIDPOINT OF CULTURE OF PEACE DECADE
The global movement for a culture of peace is advancing. This is the conclusion of most organizations from around the world, as they report progress toward a culture of peace during the first five years of the International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. It is documented by over 3000 pages of information submitted before May 15 by 670 organizations from over 100 countries which are freely available on the website http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/cgi-bin/ib3/ikonboard.cgi. This information is only the tip of the iceberg, since some organizations posted information later and many others that promote a culture of peace were not contacted or did not respond to the questionnaire for this report, as indicated by the many partnerships listed by participating organizations. They number in the many thousands, corresponding to the call for partnerships for a culture of peace in General Assembly Resolution A/53/243 (para B.A.6).
The advance is especially remarkable given that it has been only five years since UN General Assembly resolution A/53/243 first called for a global movement for a culture of peace. It is also remarkable because, as reported from around the world, the mass media has failed to report on news of the culture of peace, and the United Nations and the lead agency for the Decade, UNESCO, have given very little attention to it. In Brazil where 15 million people signed the Manifesto 2000, special credit is given to the International Year for the Culture of Peace for having launched the movement in the Year 2000.
The richness of the reports reflects the definition of a culture of peace provided by the General Assembly resolution A/52/13 that first called for a “transformation from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence”: a culture of peace consists of “values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.” And the Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace (A/53/243) adopted by the General Assembly in 1999 encompasses eight programme areas: Education for a culture of peace: Equality of women; Democratic participation; Sustainable development; Human rights; Understanding, tolerance, solidarity; Free flow of information and knowledge; International peace and security. Advice to the UN in all of these areas is given here from the reporting organizations.
This General Assembly definition of the culture of peace is positive rather than negative, going far beyond the previous definition of peace as the absence of armed conflict. This is not always easy for people to understand. For example, “in Japan people are apt to think that peace means the situation without wars and nuclear weapons through the experience of the World
War. Peace Education means the teaching of the nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, air raid attacks and the battles in Okinawa … We spent a lot of time to make understood the difference between peace and culture of peace to fellow groups or people who made efforts for peace.” Many other organizations also underline that it is important to explain the nature of the culture of peace.
Although highlights from reports are summarized here, the full information, available on the Internet, is far richer than any summary can indicate. Hundreds of photographs illustrate culture of peace activities, showing a complex picture of children, women, men working, playing, celebrating, demonstrating, engaging in hundreds of activities that promote life, cooperation, solidarity, hope, commitment to change and improvement of their lives and the lives of others, a view of the culture of peace that is not found elsewhere in such a global and all-encompassing vision.
It is generally agreed that, as one report puts it, there is a remarkable “scarcity and difficulty of access to resources for the promotion of the culture of peace, in comparison with the immense expenses for the promotion of war and violence.” One exception, perhaps, is the enormous resources devoted to tourism, which, as reported by the International Institute of Peace through Tourism, has a great potential to contribute to a culture of peace.
The qualitative indicators of progress reported by most organizations need to be further developed as quantitative indicators for a culture of peace during the second half of the Decade. Starting points are provided by the indicators of international peace and security, human rights and development provided by Escuela de Cultura de Paz, and indicators for peace education referenced by the Peace Studies Program of Clark University.
Sharing of information is essential to development of the global movement, as stated by the General Assembly in its resolution A/53/243, especially in view of the failure of the mass media to provide news of the culture of peace. It is generally agreed that systems of information exchange need to be greatly expanded in the second half of the Decade. Important initiatives are already underway, including those described in reports from the Good News Agency, the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, the Peace Research Information Unit Bonn, the Danish Peace Academy, Education for Peace Globalnet and the International Coalition for the Decade, as well as others in the planning stage such as the Signis Asia Assembly from Malaysia. All of the arts are employed, e.g.: Agencia Internacional para el Fomento de Acciónes con Hip-Hop; Conseil International de la Danse; International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace; Jipa Moyo Comics; The Art Miles Mural Project. Two other Internet sources of culture of peace information have already been supported by General Assembly resolutions: the CP Internet pages of the UNESCO Website and the Culture of Peace News Network.
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Next issue: 9 September.
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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: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
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: email@example.com
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