Good News Agency – Year VII, 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 (in charge) and Elisa Peduto. 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 and to 2,800 NGOs.
It is an all-volunteer 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
EC takes action to combat surface water pollution from dangerous substances
Brussels, 18 July - Europe's rivers, lakes and coastal waters, as well as human health, will be better protected against pollution from a range of dangerous substances under new legislation proposed today by the European Commission. The proposed Directive will set limits on concentrations in surface waters of 41 types of pesticides, heavy metals and other dangerous chemical substances that pose a particular risk to animal and plant life in the aquatic environment and to human health. These limits will have to be met by 2015. The proposal will contribute to the Commission's Better Regulation initiative by replacing five older directives, allowing their repeal. (…)
Pollutants get into the aquatic environment from a variety of sources including agriculture, industry and incineration. Chemical pollution can disrupt aquatic ecosystems by damaging or destroying habitats and the plants and animals that inhabit them, reducing biodiversity. Pollutants may accumulate in the food chain and harm predators consuming contaminated prey. Humans can be exposed to chemical pollutants by eating contaminated fish or seafood, drinking polluted water or through recreational activities.
The proposed Directive on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy is the final major piece of legislation needed to support the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the cornerstone of EU water protection policy. The WFD requires that all EU waters should achieve good status by 2015. It establishes a new regime for the prevention and control of chemical pollution of water. The new proposal will implement this for surface waters; ground waters are already being addressed through the proposal for a ground water Directive currently being considered by the Council of Ministers and European Parliament. (…)
To become law the proposal requires approval by the Council and European Parliament under the co-decision procedure. Once it is adopted, member states will be required to include the measures needed to achieve the agreed standards in their River Basin Management Plans, which must be prepared under the WFD by 2009. For further information on the Water Framework Directive and the new proposal: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-dangersub/pri_substances.htm
UN workshop in Monrovia aims to help Liberia meet treaty obligations
12 July – United Nations experts are helping Liberia meet obligations under the many international treaties it has entered into as it emerges from over a decade of civil conflict, through a five-day workshop in the capital Monrovia. The workshop, which runs until 14 July, was requested by Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs who said at Monday’s opening that while the country was no stranger to international treaty law it was lagging behind in implementing some treaties from which its people could greatly benefit. Participants from all Liberian ministries, as well as the legislature and civil society organizations, are taking part in the five-day programme. “The problem of treaty law management and implementation lost its focus due to the 14-year-plus armed conflict which has destroyed every sector of the Liberian society,” said Foreign Minister George Wallace (…) UN President Coordinator Steven Ursino said that the workshop would help Liberians leave war behind and develop “a legacy of recovery” in the capacity-building process that in turn would allow problems to be solved. Bradford Smith, of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, added that the UN system and its partners were ready to support Liberia, especially in the area of international treaty reforms.
Montenegro Becomes 179th ILO Member State
Geneva, 6 July 2006 (ILO/06/36
- ILO News) - The Republic of Montenegro has become the 179th Member State of
the International Labour Organization (ILO) following receipt in Geneva of a
letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miodrag Vlahovic, stating, on
behalf of the government, that the Republic of Montenegro formally accepts the
obligations of the ILO Constitution.
The Republic of Montenegro's membership became effective on 14 July. The country has been a member of the United Nations since 22 June 2006.
New EU strategy for a better protection of children's rights
The Commission has launched a new strategy for the promotion and the protection of children's rights. On 4 July, it unveiled a Communication in which it set out objectives for the future and a number of short-term measures to address urgent issues.
Recent events have once more put children's rights in the centre of public debate. There is a broad consensus that children in the EU and throughout the rest of the world need a better safeguard of their fundamental rights. In an effort to increase the scale and effectiveness of EU action, the Commission came forward with a cross-cutting document including internal and external policies on children's rights. (…) Before the end of 2006, the Commission wants to attribute two six-digit telephone numbers to missing and sexually exploited children and to support the banking sector to combat the use of credit cards for the purchase of sexual images of children on the internet. In 2007, it will launch an Action Plan on Children in Development Cooperation to address children's priority needs in developing countries. Simultaneously, it will promote a cluster of actions on child poverty in the EU. (…)
Through broad and coordinated action, the new strategy seeks to add value to the efforts of the Member States and to strengthen recognition of and respect for the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) both within the Union and beyond.
ILO hails new UN Declaration on strengthening global efforts to promote Decent Work for poverty reduction and sustainable development
Geneva, 6 July (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) today hailed the adoption by the United Nations of a Ministerial Declaration on full and productive employment and decent work, saying it would help strengthen efforts by the UN and the multilateral system aimed at creating jobs, cutting poverty and providing new hope for the world's 1.4 billion working poor during the next decade. The high-level segment of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted the Ministerial Declaration following three days of intense discussions on national and international policies needed to generate decent work for all as a vital foundation for global efforts to achieve international development goals to cut the numbers of people living in extreme poverty by half by 2015. (…)
The Declaration marks a further important step in the effort by the ILO to promote a decent work agenda for reducing poverty and obtaining equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The meeting was the first major international gathering to take up the recommendations of the 2005 World Summit to seek a fair globalization and make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of national and international macro-economic policies. (…) http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2006/36.htm
Sudan: World Vision supports teachers’ training on children’s issues
by Dan Teng'o – World Vision Sudan Communications
World Vision Northern Sudan has supported the training of 24 pre-school teachers on wide-ranging issues pertaining to children and their rights. The teachers, drawn from 11 pre-schools in displaced camps and slums on the edges of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, graduated last week after an enlightening two-week training session that equipped them with a range of skills.
The teachers underwent training in early childhood development, child rights, developmental child psychology, children and the environment, rights of displaced children, child protection, holistic inclusion and integration of disabled children into educational institutions and how to prepare teaching aids from affordable local materials. They were also trained on how to take better care of children in their pre-schools, how to pass information to children by means of song, play and participation; and the need to reduce or stop caning in pre-schools. The World Vision training was conducted by El Hadi Eljaily, a seasoned consultant who has worked with various Sudanese and international non-governmental organisations on children’s issues. (…)
The training was part of World Vision’s overall pre-school and livelihoods support programme in Khartoum State, which is funded by World Vision UK, World Vision Canada, the European Commission, the Dutch Embassy in Sudan and CHF.
World Vision International is a Christian relief and development organisation working for the well being of all people, especially children. (…) Working on six continents, World Vision is one of the largest Christian relief and development organisations in the world.
WFUNA Seminar on the Human Rights Council – Geneva, 26-28 July
For the fourth year in a row, WFUNA is organising a three-day Seminar in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The 2006 edition will be focused on the new Human Rights Council. The Seminar will take place at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, from 26 to 28 July 2006. It is open to Government representatives, members of WFUNA, NGO representatives as well as students.
The purpose of the Seminar is to introduce the Human Rights Council, to highlight the changes brought to the human rights system by the creation of this new body whilst stressing its continuity with the work of the Commission on Human Rights. The Seminar will cover specific topics such as the importance of the Human Rights Council; procedural matters; urgent measures; special procedures; universal review and treaty body reform.
ZWRCN launches Beyond Inequalities 2005 – Women in Zimbabwe book
31 May, Harare - The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) has launched a book entitled Beyond Inequalities 2005 – Women in Zimbabwe, an update to an earlier publication under the same title in 1998. Using a gender perspective to analyse the situation of women since 1995, Beyond Inequalities assesses current economic policies; women in politics and decision-making; laws and legal reform; education and technology; socio-cultural context; health and gender, HIV and AIDS; media and information; women and the environment. The gendered impact of various policies and programmes introduced in Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2004 is also analysed. This analysis reveals that while some positive changes in the lives of women and girls in Zimbabwe have occourred, there has been no significant shift in unequal power relations between women and men.
As a way forward, the book recommends an ideological shift towards ensuring transformation of social structures and systems for gender equality including constitutional reform to outlaw discriminatory practices; incorporating the gender dimension into HIV and AIDS polices and programmes; eradicating violence against women; increasing women’s participation in decision-making; strengthening institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming; building knowledge through research and data; and strengthening the women’s movement.
New UN study urges greater regional cooperation to bolster growth in landlocked developing countries
New York, United Nations, 24 July - Strengthening regional cooperation with transit countries is key to the economic progress of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), according to a new study launched today by the UN Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). The report entitled, ”Geography Against Development – A Case for Landlocked Developing Countries” highlights the specific problems facing LLDCs primarily because of their relative isolation from world markets.
Co-written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for LLDCs, Mr. Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Senior Programme Officer for LLDCs, Sandogdorj Erdenebileg, the study emphasizes that although LLDCs occupy 12.5 percent of the world’s total surface area, this group of 31 countries account for just 2 percent of the developing world’s total GDP. Sixteen of the 31 countries are classified as least developed, and the 2005 Human Development Index records that 10 of the 20 lowest-ranking countries are landlocked.
UN envoy commits $1million towards Liberia’s emergency jobs programme
17 July – Aiming to foster stability in Liberia, which has emerged from civil war with a democratically elected Government but still faces an extremely high unemployment rate, the senior United Nations envoy there has committed $1million towards the creation of employment opportunities for the country’s youth. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Alan Doss, made the funds available through the Liberia Emergency Employment Programme, which was launched by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Monrovia yesterday. Special Representative Doss characterized peace building in Liberia as “jobs, jobs and jobs.” Recounting the old proverb ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop,’ he stressed the importance of creating immediate employment opportunities for young people. (…)
In another development, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today announced that, working in partnership with Liberia’s Government, it will construct 10,000 three-seat benches for distribution to 100 government schools that will benefit some 30,000 students. Government officials voiced gratitude for the donation, noting that schools in the country, which recently emerged from a civil war, desperately need furniture. (…)
New agreement governing high-seas fishing in Indian Ocean
Successful outcome of multilateral talks hosted by FAO
Rome, 12 July - Following two days of talks at FAO's Rome headquarters last week, six countries (the Comoros, France, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand and Seychelles) and the European Community have signed a multilateral agreement on the management of fishing in a vast area of the high seas in the South Indian Ocean. The South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) is aimed at ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources other than tuna in areas that fall outside national jurisdictions (see map).
A number of concrete actions must be taken under the Agreement, including: establishing effective mechanisms to monitor fishing in the SIOFA; providing annual reports on fishing operations, including amounts of captured and discarded fish; conducting inspections of ships visiting ports of the Parties to verify they are in compliance with SIOFA regulations, and denying landing and discharging privileges to those who do not comply.
FAO helping Georgian wine sector protect appellations, capture new markets
Rome, 20 July - Despite a winemaking tradition that dates back several thousand years, Georgia’s greatest liquid asset – today wine is the country’s third biggest export – is at risk, threatened by counterfeiting and the wine sector’s failure to diversify its markets. Georgian wine exports generated more than US$80 million last year, but fraud continues to plague the country’s wine industry. (…)
FAO has been supporting the development of the Georgian wine sector since 2000 when, at the request of the Government, it provided assistance in drafting Georgia's first wine law.(…)
FAO is working to help streamline the tracing system and fill in the few remaining gaps. For example, although documents are required at almost every stage of wine production, there are no documents required for the transport of wine in bulk or in bottle within Georgia.
Côte d'Ivoire: Seed distributed to more than 1,400 households
11 July - The ICRC has completed a food and agriculture programme in 23 villages of the "confidence zone," situated southeast of Bouaké. Under the programme, which was conducted from 21 June to 5 July in cooperation with volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire, 156 tonnes of yam seed and 15.6 tonnes of maize seed were distributed to 1,481 households (12,500 people), the purpose being to improve their food security.
A preliminary assessment carried out by ICRC delegates had shown that several villages were in a precarious situation and that the population as a whole was facing pauperization, owing partly to the influx of farmers fleeing the west and north of the country because of the crisis, and partly to the difficulty of reaching this area and trading there. Another contributing factor was the lack of rainfall last year. The ICRC will provide the farmers with technical assistance until the next harvest. http://www.icrc.org/
Grassroots women bring breath of fresh air to World Urban Forum 3
July 6 - From June 19 – 23, 2006 grassroots women from over 30 countries joined NGO professionals and institutional partners to form a Huairou Commission delegation of 250 women to the World Urban Forum 3 in Vancouver, Canada. The World Urban Forum 3 was a global conference on urban sustainability hosted by UN Habitat and the Government of Canada that attracted 10,000 participants. The Huairou Commission is a global coalition of networks and partners working to advance the work of grassroots women in creating sustainable communities.
The delegation’s efforts enabled grassroots women to speak for themselves about their accomplishments in their communities: secure homes, day care centers run by local mothers, rebuilding of communities struck by disaster and partnerships with local governments, to name a few. The group included slum dwellers, small farmers, indigenous women and women recovering from disaster and genocide. Partners such as mayors, representatives of donor agencies, UN officials, researchers, parliament members, and United Cities and Local Governments joined the delegation’s activities and spoke in support of grassroots women’s activities. (…)
The Huairou Commission delegation entered the WUF3 as a breath of fresh air, bringing Actionable Ideas that are tried and true. Their efforts well recognized in newspapers, on TV and public radio, they proved themselves a contributing stakeholder in urban sustainablity. They return home to continue as local agents of change in an ever stronger global movement of women.
2006 African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference – Bermuda, September 27 to October 1
The International Institute for Peace through Tourism is proud to be a sponsor of the 2006 African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference taking place September 27 to October 1, 2006 at the Bermuda Fairmont Hamilton Princess. IIPT has a particularly strong affinity for the African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) as it was conceived by the late Hon. David H. Allen, Bermuda Minister of Tourism, during the First Global Summit on Peace through Tourism in Amman, Jordan, in which he participated as a keynote speaker. The aim of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail, in the words of Minister Allen, is to “Identify, conserve, and promote historic sites linked with the development and progress of people of African descent.” (…) To view the full Conference brochure, please visit our website at http://www.iipt.org/ADHTbrochure.pdf As you will note, the conference addresses a wide range of topics related to marketing the African Diaspora Heritage Trail--topics related to history, culture, dance, music, religion and more. (…)
For more information, please visit website at www.adht.net
China emerges as world’s third largest food aid donor, UN agency says
20 July – In the same year it stopped receiving food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), China emerged as the world’s third largest food aid donor in 2005, according to the latest annual Food Aid Monitor from INTERFAIS, the International Food Aid Information System, the agency said today. Global food aid grew by 10 per cent to 8.2 million metric tons in 2005, a slight upturn in an overall declining trend, according to the INTERFAIS database, which is hosted by WFP to track all donations of food aid, not just those handled by the agency. “Donations of food made the difference between life and death after the tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake and in Sudan, so we are extraordinarily grateful to all who gave last year,” said James Morris, Executive Director of WFP, which delivered 54 per cent of the world's food aid last year, reaching some 97 million people. (…)
China accounted for more than half of the rise in overall food aid donations in 2005, with a 260 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Donations from China were mostly directed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), with small quantities donated to a dozen other countries. Canada increased its donations by 42 per cent. Other relatively new donors, such as the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, doubled or even tripled their support from 2004 to 2005, the report said. Donations from non-governmental organizations, such as the American Red Cross, increased by 64 per cent. The United States remained the world’s most generous food aid donor, providing 4 million tons, or 49 percent of all donations. Overall donations from the European Union totalled 1.5 million tons, WFP said, citing the report.
Caritas Lebanon’s overwhelming task of caring for civilians
Vatican City, 20 July – Caritas Lebanon says it is providing aid and every possible kind of assistance to more than 25,000 people throughout the country, which has been coming under wholesale and indiscriminate attack from Israel, even in remote areas thought of as safe from the military onslaught. An unknown number of others are being helped by field offices in the south, working in isolation since transport and communications have been almost totally cut off by air attacks and land and sea blockades. “Practically every one of the Lebanese regions is being bombarded,” Caritas said in a press statement. “Even the regions that were considered sheltered from aggression have become targets.” (…)
More than 500,000 people have been displaced by Israel’s offensive, which began eight days ago. Schools, convents, and public buildings are inundated by people seeking refuge, while many other people are being taken in by friends or family, and even strangers, Caritas said.
Caritas Lebanon has mobilized a fleet of mobile health clinics around the country, which are visiting schools and other shelters, bringing aid to the most vulnerable: children, the old and the sick. They are also educating people about how to look after their health during this period of crisis. Caritas in Beirut and its various field offices through Lebanon are providing emergency food and supplies such as soap, medicine, milk and baby products. A major concern is that prices are increasing and such supplies could soon become unavailable on the market. Caritas, with trucks supplied by the Lebanese Army, is funneling aid to particularly hard-hit areas such as Tyre and Marjeyoun. (…)
Congo-Kinshasa: ICRC distributes aid to 11,000 displaced people in South Kivu
Press release issued by the ICRC delegation in Kinshasa
Kinshasa, 20 July – From 13 to 17 July 2006 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) distributed basic relief items to 2,184 displaced families (11,000 people) who had fled the hostilities in Shabunda. The families left their villages two months ago owing to the deteriorating security conditions in the Lulingu and Katchiungu areas north of Shabunda, in South Kivu. Since tension between the weapons bearers in the area remains acute, they have so far been unable to return to their homes. (…) The ICRC will continue to monitor the situation of these families and the security conditions prevailing in the area. In so doing, it will draw attention to the basic humanitarian rules that all weapons bearers should observe, in particular respect for the civilian population. The ICRC is a neutral and independent humanitarian organization with a mandate to protect and assist the victims of armed conflict. It has been present in the country since 1978.
UN assists in response to Ecuador volcano eruption
New York: 17 July - The United Nations agencies are offering humanitarian assistance in support of the Government of Ecuador’s response to the eruption of the Tungurahua Volcano, which began on Friday, 14 July. According to national authorities, more than 3,600 people have been evacuated from high-risk areas near the volcano. No deaths have been reported. The volcano began erupting on Friday evening, with several strong explosions, a 6 kilometre ash column, and pyroclastic flows in the Juive Grande rift recorded. By Saturday, the volcano’s activity had become variable, while by Sunday morning, there were large explosions occurring every 30 to 40 minutes. The Government of Ecuador has not requested international assistance. However, the United Nations Emergency Technical Team (UNETE) has been in contact and coordinating with the provincial authorities, who are leading the national response, as well as with the Civil Defence and the national Red Cross.(…) Tungurahua Volcano is located 135 kilometres southeast of the capital city, Quito, with an altitude of 5,106 metres. The last major eruption occurred in October 1999.
A new Rotary District chartered in Russia
On June 17, Rotary International District 2220, the first Russian Rotary District has been chartered. It includes all Clubs of Western Russia and Urals, the territory where almost 90% of Russians live. The Chain symbolizing the rank of Governor has been personally placed on DGE Andrey Danilenko by the President 2005-2006 of Rotary International, Carl Wilhelm Stenhammar.
More than 300 Rotarians gathered to celebrate this turning point in their lives, along with Rotarians from Western and Eastern Russia, Sweden, the USA, France, Australia, Italy, Germany, Finland, Austria, Romania, Spain, Moldova, Serbia, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Canada, Madagascar and other countries.
Earthquake in Indonesia: HKI has been implementing its Supplementation with Micronutrients (SUM) program in the affected areas.
23 July - HKI's Yogyakarta and Central Java earthquake response program consists of Supplementation with Micronutrients (SUM) to children and families living in the affected areas. First, HKI is providing multivitamin-mineral sprinkles (multi-micronutrient supplements) to 130,000 children (30 sachet per child) through the support of USAID which is funding the operational costs, including training, distribution, supervision and monitoring and evaluation. HKI provides the technical inputs required to ensure that the optimal benefits of the sprinkles are experienced by the target population. HKI is also providing iron-fortified soy sauce to 16,000 households (20 sachet per household) in collaboration with the distribution of food aid and other commodities by Church World Services. Finally, HKI is providing 9,600 vitamin A capsules and 31,400 zinc tablets to the provincial health office of Yogyakarta. We have received an additional donation of 200,000 zinc tablets by Nutriset of France that we hope to distribute soon. (…)
Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International (HKI) is among the oldest international nonprofit organizations devoted to fighting and treating preventable blindness and malnutrition. HKI is headquartered in New York City, and has programs in 25 countries around the world. HKI builds local capacity by establishing sustainable programs, and provides scientific and technical assistance and data to governments and international, regional, national and local organizations around the world.
Save the Children announces new approach to provide housing to tsunami survivors in Indonesia
Westport, CT, USA, July 17 - Save the Children announced today a new contract with a Canadian supplier, Britco Structures, to provide pre-cut, panelized houses to Indonesian families who remain without permanent housing 19 months after an earthquake and tsunami killed over 160,00 people in Aceh province, Indonesia.
Save the Children also has received support from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), which has agreed to provide training to staff to supervise and train communities on how to assemble the houses in Aceh province.
Save the Children will erect a first batch of 300 of the new pre-cut, panelized houses in Aceh province — with the first shipments due to arrive in mid-September. The houses are made of SPF (spruce, pine and fir) wood and treated with borate and Akaline Copper Quat (AQH), a wood preservative and termite treatment. This initiative is part of the agency’s continuing efforts to address serious housing issues that have delayed construction of permanent homes. (…)
Save the Children and Britco plan to review the first assembled home at Britco's headquarters in Vancouver on Friday, July 21, and the agency expects the first shipment of pre-cut homes to arrive in Indonesia by September. (…)
USAID’s Civil Society partners celebrate achievements in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan
13 July - USAID’s Civil Society Support Initiative held a Local Projects’ Fair in Turkmenistan to summarize successes of community development initiatives on June 20. Community activists, NGOs and local governments met to discuss their cooperation with USAID’s project and lessons learned and to review successful social, economic and health activities. Over the past three years, USAID’s project, implemented by Counterpart International, provided direct benefits to more than 338,000 Turkmen citizens through 140 community action grants worth over $661,000.
Meanwhile, the Association of Civil Society Support Centers in Kyrgyzstan, with assistance from USAID, organized an NGO Trade Fair in Bishkek on June 22. More than 700 people visited informational booths where 50 NGOs and ten community-based organizations from all oblasts displayed information about their projects and activities. The fair provided a great opportunity for the public, the government, the private sector and the media to learn about the non-governmental sector’s work in the country. Visitors commented that the fair increased their knowledge and understanding about NGO activities in the country.
Counterpart has been working in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan for over a decade, supporting NGOs and local communityorganizations to give people a stronger voice in their future. Through trainings, mentoring, grants, loans, partnership facilitation and other activities, Counterpart fosters organizational growth and financial sustainability to ensure that programs and partnerships are successful long into the future.
High-level UN team to leave for Nepal to discuss assistance for the peace process
20 July – A high-level United Nations team will travel to Nepal next week to discuss proposed UN assistance for the peace process, after Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that recent developments have provided an “unprecedented opportunity” to achieve a negotiated solution to the 10 years of conflict in the Himalayan kingdom. “Through consultations with all concerned, the mission will seek a common understanding of the nature and scope of responsibilities the United Nations could undertake in the peace process,” Mr. Annan said in a statement read out by his spokesman. The assessment team will be led by Staffan De Mistura, who until recently was the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Iraq. The team is scheduled to be in Nepal between 26 July and 3 August.
Preparing aid shipments to Lebanon, UN agencies amplify appeals for safe access
20 July – With the crisis in Lebanon continuing to escalate and hundreds of thousands of displaced people finding it increasingly difficult to obtain food and other essentials, United Nations humanitarian agencies are stepping up their appeals for safe corridors to deliver the supplies they are preparing to ship to the country. “We ask all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality and impartiality of aid workers and to allow unfettered access to all areas, to allow us to reach these very needy people as quickly as possible,” said Naila Sabra, Regional Director for the Middle East and Central Asia of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). (…) In addition to providing food assistance on behalf of the UN agencies working in Lebanon, WFP personnel on the ground have the lead role in coordinating logistics and telecommunications in support of UN staff safety.
The agency is finalizing an emergency plan to reach the hardest hit people, part of a planned appeal for funding and other resources to be issued in the next few days by all UN agencies and their partners. In helping to put together that appeal and in preparing its own response, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reiterated today that children constitute a large portion of those hardest hit. (…) Both agencies are working with Lebanon’s Ministry of Health to provide emergency medicines and supplies for acute and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as chlorine tablets to ensure safe drinking water and prevent waterborne diseases. (…)
Communiqué from the Second Peoples' Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace
Victoria, BC, Canada – June 19-22, 2006
The Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace gathered at Royal Roads University, Victoria, Canada, to advance the establishment of ministries and departments of peace in governments worldwide. Government and civil society delegates from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Solomon Islands, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States united to develop an effective global and national architecture for peace. In plenary sessions and working groups, the foundations were established for local, national, regional, and international campaigns that will work towards conflict resolution and peace-building.
The Global Alliance is committed to partnership and cooperation with governments, organisations and institutions nationally and internationally working for the achievement of these goals and the promotion of peace by peaceful means. Governments such as those in the Philippines and Solomon Islands who have already established secretariats and departments for peacebuilding, conflict transformation and reconciliation are pioneers and examples to the world.
Turkey: PKK declares halt to anti-personnel mine use
Author(s): Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan <yeshuaSPAMFLTER@SPATMFLTERicbl.org> .
19 July - The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) declared that they will no longer use anti-personnel landmines in their armed struggle in Turkey, Geneva Call, a Swiss based NGO announced on 18 July in Geneva.
PKK political and armed leadership signed their names to Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment which commits the organization not only to refrain from mine use, but also to cooperate in a program to destroy any mine stocks they may hold. They will further be expected to cooperate in the clearance of mines which they or others may have laid previously in their areas of operation.
The PKK's declaration that it will forego any further anti-personnel mine use follows that of neighboring Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq. Both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), now part of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, sent letters to the UN Secretary General in 1999 and 2000 ensuring that the principles and obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty would be realized by their organizations in Northern Iraq.
Both organizations also later agreed to the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. Mine action programs in areas under the control of the KPD and PUK in northern Iraq have been carried out by humanitarian demining NGOs under the auspices of a mine action center coordinated by the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq. (…) The agreement to the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment is considered to indicate a broader willingness by a non-state armed group to commit to other humanitarian norms. (…)
Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia destroys all mines retained for training
Author(s): Site Admin <webmaster2SPAMFLTER@SPATMFLTERicbl.org> .
13 July - On 10 July 2006, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia destroyed all 4,000 antipersonnel mines that it previously planned to keep for training purposes as a State Party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. (…)
The Mine Ban Treaty requires destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines within four years, but allows States Parties to keep “the minimum number absolutely necessary” for mine clearance training and research. The ICBL and several States Parties have questioned the need to retain any live mines for training purposes. The ICBL has expressed concern that many States Parties have not adequately determined the minimum number of mines to retain, and have not been actively using the mines for the permitted purposes, thereby abusing the exception in the treaty. (…)
FYR Macedonia completed the destruction of its 38,921 stockpiled antipersonnel mines in February 2003, ahead of its treaty deadline, and announced it would keep 4,000 mines for training. The subsequent decision to destroy all of the retained mines is a positive example for other States Parties. (…) The destruction event was held at the Krivolak army field, and was attended, among others, by the military attaches from Germany, Greece, China, and Russia, representatives from NATO, KFOR and the OSCE, media, and the Landmine Monitor researcher for FYR Macedonia.
Integrated community Mine Action plan projects starts
July 5 - On 14 June 2006 works on integrated community Mine Action plan project site in Brčko District started. The projects on location Čađavac are financed by UNDP Bosnia Herzegovina and Brčko District through ITF. The project comprising of three demining and three technical survey locations has an area totaling 264.489 sq.m. The UNDP ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as representatives from Canadian Embassy in Bosnia Herzegovina, representative from SIDA, the Mayor of Brčko District and Mr.Goran Gačnik, ITF Director attended the ceremony.
Mines Advisory Group: new technology doubles clearance speed
Story by Tom Morgan
Cutting-edge unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection equipment introduced to Laos by Mines Advisory Group (MAG) will double the speed the organisation can clear land. This in turn paves the way for other organisations in the UXO sector to benefit from the latest technology.
‘Based on tests we have conducted since September last year, we are confident that we will see a 100% increase in clearance speed. This means we can double the amount of land we clear in a day,’ said Stefan De Coninck, MAG’s Technical Operations Manager.
MAG team leaders completed training on operating the new equipment last week. They are now able to use two types of detectors manufactured by Italian company CEIA and will in turn train other team members and villagers involved in MAG’s Village Assisted Clearance methodology.
The new detectors make such a huge difference to clearance speeds for two reasons. Firstly, they are able to distinguish between laterite (high metal content in the soil), metal fragments and UXO. In the past, clearance was slowed by the need to investigate every reading from a detector.
Secondly, the new detectors are the first active detection equipment used in Laos designed specifically for finding UXO rather than landmines. This means that operators can search by walking in a straight line down marked lanes – which is much quicker than using mine detectors which necessitate the use of a ‘side to side’ search. (…)
DDR: Reintegration has been completed in time and within costs in Afghanistan
1 July - The completion of the reintegration phase of DDR by June 30th, 2006 has marked the end of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration process in Afghanistan - in time and within costs (USD 141 million). In addition, as the reintegration phase was brought to an end, 25% of the ex-combatants have found a long-term and sustainable activity (…) The approach to reintegration has been holistic and reintegration options have ranged from agriculture, vocational training and job placement, small business opportunities, demining, teaching, government jobs, wage labor and joining Afghan National Army (ANA) or the Police.
One of the key problems encountered during the DDR process was the close bond between former commanders and their soldiers, which resulted in a strong social network of dependency and a potential threat to security. To address this issue, much attention has been given to the demobilisation and reintegration of former commanders through different reintegration packages such as financial redundancy package, training and trips abroad, in-country training and government positions. Since it was incepted in mid 2004, CIP project has reintegrated approximately 320 commanders and 150 Ministry of Defence generals.
The Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme (ANBP) is also looking at providing direct services to women and children from the ex-combatant community. (…) These gender mainstreaming efforts signal the beginning of a fundamental shift in the DDR strategy and activities related to women. (…) http://www.undp.org.af/media_room/press_rel/2006_07_01_DDR.htm
Immunization campaign aims to eliminate tetanus in Madagascar
by Misbah Sheikh
Miandrivazo, Madagascar, 20 July – Dr. Mamy and Sister Henriette have walked 5 km under the sun to reach a small village in Miandravazo, southeast Madagascar. Their team of health workers is here with vaccinations to protect mothers like Maximillian, 24, against tetanus. (…) During the third round of a tetanus immunization campaign launched last year by the Ministry of Health, women of childbearing age in 19 of the country’s 111 districts will be protected against the deadly disease. These 19 districts have been identified as high-risk areas due to their low immunization coverage rates. “UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health to conduct supplementary immunization campaigns to ensure that no woman is left out,” says UNICEF Health Officer Nilda Lambo. “It we can ensure timely antenatal care, and at the same time promote the importance of newborn care, early and exclusive breastfeeding – along with the simple treatment of diseases such as malaria – we can contribute greatly to reducing child mortality in this country,” adds Dr. Nilda. With tireless support from mobile health teams like the one led by Dr. Mamy, UNICEF and its partners are determined to eliminate tetanus and other preventable diseases that kill thousands of children in Madagascar each year.
AIDS Medication for Mother Theresa's Ethiopian Orphanage
Mother Theresa once said, "Peace begins with a smile." Despite difficulties, this children's orphanage on the outskirts of Addis Ababa is one of the most peaceful on earth.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 July – Sister Maria runs an orphanage for more than 400 children with AIDS on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital city. “We used to lose children every week. But now, thanks to Counterpart International, SkyLink Aviation and other kind souls, we are able to reduce the deaths to one every four months or so,” said Sister Maria. The shipment of antiretroviral therapy drugs (ART), assembled by Counterpart International, was airlifted free of charge by SkyLink Aviation of Canada to the Mother Theresa Orphanage Center, which sits tidily on the side of the hill a few miles from the center of Addis Ababa. The orphans are drawn from the poorest of the poor of Ethiopia. Many are the orphaned children of prostitutes killed by AIDS.
Walter Arbib, President of SkyLink Aviation, told the dignitaries assembled at the handover ceremony he was honored to be able to help such a worthy organization. The orphans, bright-eyed and brimming with life despite living with AIDS, sang and danced against a background of cartons of pharmaceuticals piled high behind the assemblage, which included bishops, representatives of the Papal Nuncio, the Minister of Health, and other government and municipal officials. (…)
The Counterpart/Skylink airlift contained more than US$400,000 worth of ARTs and other medications requested by the Mother Theresa Orphanage Center.
Bringing hope to Angolan children: mass health campaign begins to help 3.5 million
Washington, 12 July -- The government of Angola, and its partners in the Measles Initiative, the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative are launching a major health campaign to provide life-saving interventions for Angolan children. The integrated campaign is targeting more than 3.5 million children with measles and polio vaccinations, vitamin A, de-worming medication, and, in seven provinces, long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s). The campaign begins on July 12 in Luanda, with an official launch event on July 13 in Mbaza Congo.
This campaign is a follow-up to a previous measles campaign in 2003, which reached 96 percent of the targeted group. The current campaign demonstrates the importance of follow-up immunization activities in a country where only 64 percent of children receive routine measles immunizations. As a part of the Angolan government’s Maternal and Child Health Mortality Reduction Program, the campaign will focus on vulnerable children, especially those in border regions where there has been a re-emergence of measles outbreaks. (…)
The integrated campaign will be carried out with support from the Measles Initiative, a partnership formed to reduce measles deaths in sub-Saharan Africa that is led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (…)
Herat Rotary club backs soybean project to reduce malnutrition among Afghan women and children
Kabul, Afghanistan, 6 July - Soybeans may hold the key to reducing malnutrition among women and children in Afghanistan, while helping the country’s farmers become more competitive in the international market.
In partnership with the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and the non-profit Nutrition and Education International, the Rotary Club of Herat is building the first in a series of soybean processing plants, which will produce soy flour and soymilk. The plants will produce 500 liters of soymilk a day, enough to provide a cup a day to 2,000 women and children. Afghans sustain a loss of 165 infants for every 1,000 live births because of malnutrition, according to a UNICEF 2003 report. It is the world’s fourth worst infant mortality rate.
In April, the Herat Rotary Club and Nutrition and Education International held a workshop to build the soymilk plant, train farmers and establish a distribution company targeting mothers and children at risk for malnutrition. Nutrition scientists and soybean experts from Nutrition and Education International, the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University conducted the training for agronomists from the Ministry of Agriculture and 20 Afghan provinces. The Rotary club distributed 35 soybean bags of 50 lb each to farmers and the government agronomists at the workshop. The participating organizations purchased about 14 tons of soybean seeds from Pakistan for June and July planting in Afghanistan. The Herat Rotary club will continue to receive seed shipments and distribute them to farmers.
The Herat club will host another workshop soon to raise awareness and understanding of the soybean project among farmers and local merchants, says Sadiq Tawfiq, president of the Herat club and past member of Laguna Beach, California chapter. (…)
A website for a safe and healthy workplace
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has launched a website to provide both employers and employees with information about how to make a safer and healthier work environment. The Healthy Workplace Initiative" (HWI) gathers information about risk assessment tools and already addresses the inclusion of people with disabilities, the prevention of biological hazards and the prevention of harrassement and violence on the workplace. The project wants to present practical information that can be used by entreprises to improve the work environment. Together with the website, the HWI project will organise seminars in new Member States and will provide information leaflets.
Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes the adoption of new guidelines for the Trans-European Energy Networks
Brussels, 24 July - Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, has today welcomed the Council decision to adopt the Commission’s proposal for a revision of the Trans-European Energy Network (TEN-E) Guidelines. The European Parliament already endorsed these Guidelines on 4 April. “The guidelines identify a European-wide electricity and gas transmission network, which is indispensable for the correct functioning of the internal energy market and to improve security of supply. The new rules will make authorisation procedures easier and attract the necessary investment for cross-border projects of high European interest”, said Commissioner Piebalgs.
In particular, the guidelines integrate fully the ten new Member States into the network and present 42 projects of European interest. In addition, they provide the framework for increased coordination, exchange of information and the possibility of the appointment of a European Coordinator. The revised guidelines clearly reflect the three main objectives of Europe’s energy policy, namely sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply. (…)
Queensland Government backs Green Cross campaigns on water and solar energy
July 24 - The Queensland Government will support in principle and endorse Green Cross International’s Right to Water Campaign and its Solar Energy Campaign, Premier Peter Beattie announced today. “Our Smart State strategies encompass the need for a sustainable future and these two campaigns deserve our support,” said Mr Beattie. “We have obviously poured an enormous amount of effort into ensuring that Queensland has an adequate and secure water supply as we face the problems being caused by global climate change. And we have had a long-running rebate scheme for the installation of solar hot water systems and this scheme was responsible for establishing the acceptance of solar heating in Queensland. (…)
The Solar Campaign is designed to meet the energy demands of the developing world. In particular it is aimed at lowering the cost of solar energy to combat energy poverty, reduce urban peak demand and stem climate change.
ADRA improves access to electricity in Nepal
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, July 11 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing access to electricity for thousands of residents in Nepal, by distributing compact pedal generators to homes in rural areas.
Outside Nepal’s major cities, homes and villages are widely scattered, making the task of centralizing power very difficult. Local renewable energy sources are often unavailable or uneconomical, and to date, no affordable method has been found to redistribute power from more highly industrialized areas to more remote villages and homes. The pedal generators will improve the employment and educational opportunities of rural people in Nepal by improving their access to electricity. The generator’s innovative design combines a pedal generator with battery storage and a distribution system. (…) An estimated 200 homes will receive generators, impacting approximately 10,000 people. The program will also establish local production, distribution, maintenance, and international licensing opportunities for the pedal generator technology, originally developed by EcoSystems, a small transport and energy company based outside of Kathmandu. The 24-month pilot project is expected to start in July of 2006, and will continue until June of 2008. Valued at $167,000, the project is funded by a grant from the World Bank.
Hilton Foundation expands its major commitment to water development in Africa with $13 million in additional funding
Los Angeles, July 5 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the philanthropic leader in water development for needy populations, has awarded grants of $13 million to six non-governmental organizations that are leaders in delivering clean drinking water and sanitation systems in Africa. Coupled with previous Hilton Foundation-funded water projects, the new programs are expected to deliver potable water to nearly 1.6 million people over the next five years. The grants also expand water development to Ethiopia, an area of critical need in East Africa, while filling gaps in the Hilton Foundation’s current projects in three West African countries. (…)
In keeping with the Hilton Foundation’s objective to form collaborative partnerships, the majority of the new Hilton grants, $7.2 million, will go to the Millennium Water Program, a consortium of the Millennium Water Alliance -- World Vision, CARE, Living Water International and WaterAid. This consortium enhances efforts to extend potable water and sanitation to the millions in Ethiopia lacking these basic life sustaining services. The Millennium Water Alliance will serve as secretariat for this initiative. (…)
Based in Los Angeles, the Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by the late hotel entrepreneur and business leader, Conrad N. Hilton, who left his fortune to the foundation with instructions to help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout the world without regard to religion, ethnicity or geography. (…)
Summer University on water in Britanny, France: 28/9/2006 - 15/10/2006
Lorient/Guidel (France) - 28-30 September 2006
As a follow up to the first Dialogue on "Water, the solidarity of people and territories" held in Rennes on 12 December 2005 with the participation of Mikhail Gorbachev, Green Cross and the authorities of Brittany are organizing the first Summer University on this theme. The main objective is to mobilize the decision-makers and the citizens to participate in the international cooperation efforts to provide clean water and sanitation to the people of developing countries by allocating 1% of the resources from their water and sanitation services.
Queensland Government to work on creating Australian HQ for Green Cross
July 24 - The Queensland Government will work with Green Cross International and President
Mikhail Gorbachev to establish an Australian headquarters for the international organisation, Premier Peter Beattie announced today (Monday). “Green Cross International, which was founded by President Gorbachev to lobby for a sustainable future for the world, does not have an office in Australia at the moment,” said Mr Beattie.
The mission of Green Cross International is to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity’s relationship with nature. Green Cross International provides unbiased environmental analysis and expertise, information dissemination, education, objective evaluations for public debate, scientific studies, and social and medical support.
“Australia is missing from Green Cross International’s list of national organisations which is displayed prominently on the front page of its website,” said Mr Beattie. “Our Smart State strategy has a strong focus on a sustainable future, ranging from preserving the Great Barrier Reef and our forests to a major investment in developing clean coal technology and our support for alternative and renewable fuel sources. So Queensland is the obvious site for an Australian headquarters for Green Cross International.” (…) “Brisbane City Council will make office space and support staff available for the first two years and the State Government will work with our universities on the permanent siting and development of an Australian headquarters in Queensland. www.thepremier.qld.gov.au
New web-based air pollution monitoring system
Users can track ozone levels across Europe
Copenhagen, July 18 - Ozone Web, a new internet tool, released in Copenhagen today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), offers users the opportunity to monitor and track ground level ozone incidents on a pan-European scale, for the first time.
Ground level ozone presents one of the most prominent air pollution problems in Europe. Data from more than 500 air quality monitoring stations is sent to the EEA in Copenhagen every hour and displayed in (near) real time on the new web site. Either by entering a place name or by clicking on a map of Europe, users will be able to follow air quality locally and on a European scale. The web site will also include information on the health implications of the ozone values users are experiencing. (…)
Putting the Environment at the Heart of Sudan's Future Peace and Prosperity
UN Environment at Sudan National Planning Environmental Management Workshop
Khartoum/Nairobi, 18 July – A detailed post-conflict assessment of Sudan is underway with the aim of pin pointing environmental issues and priorities during the country’s reconstruction phase. The post-conflict involvement in Sudan by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began in May 2004 as the focal point for the environment within the UN and World Bank Joint Needs Assessment process. As a follow-up, UNEP was asked to conduct a further detailed assessment in order to identify environmental impacts, pressures, risks and priorities during the reconstruction process. To that effect UNEP embarked on the assessment in December 2005 and, as of July 2006, has conducted four field missions to each of the main geographic areas. These findings will be presented in the UNEP report “Sudan – Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment” scheduled for release in October 2006, and can hence be incorporated into national policies, plans and laws for resource management in Sudan.
As part of the ongoing activities in Sudan, UNEP is a sponsor and co-host of the Sudan National Planning Environmental Management Workshop, organized in Khartoum 18 - 20 July 2006. The event is seen as an important event in support of the environment in Sudan, and other international co-hosts include the Nile Basin Initiative, the European Commission, and UNDP. (…) UNEP is currently preparing a programme entitled Capacity Building for Environmental Governance in Sudan, which will cover the period 2007-2009.
New generation of recyclers to tackle Victoria's waste problems
12 July - Geelong primary students will be the first in Victoria to take part in a new environmental initiative launched jointly today by Clean Up Australia, Alcoa Foundation and Barwon Regional Waste Management Group aimed at helping manage waste in schools. Victoria needs a new generation of recyclers if it is to win the battle against waste and Clean Up Australia is focusing on school children as part of a project to protect the environment year-round. Supported by the Alcoa Foundation, Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO today launched the Triple Bin Challenge at Tate Street Primary School in Geelong with localstate Member Ian Trezise. (…) Tate St Primary students today took part in a teams 'rubbish relay' to see which team could sort and recycle school playground rubbish the fastest. This followed a talk with Ian Kiernan at a school assembly.
The targeted schools in the region fall under four local government areas: City of Greater Geelong, Colac Otway Shire Council, Surfcoast Shire Council and Borough of Queenscliff.
Alcoa Foundation is a global resource that actively invests in the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide. With more than $410 million invested since our inception in 1952, Alcoa Foundation has positioned itself as a source of positive community change and enhancement.
Out of that legacy has emerged a set of strengths and competencies that reflect community aspirations and needs around the world. In 2005, Alcoa Foundation made over $22 million in grants around the world.
School of the Nations, Macau, receives land grant from government
Taipa, Macau, 6 July 2006 (BWNS) -- It may seem to a passerby that the plot of land between the Hyatt tennis court and the car park of the Buddhist Temple in Taipa, Macau, is just another vacant lot. But in the mind of Saba Payman, director of the Baha'i-inspired School of the Nations, he can already see the wide open space as the long awaited extension to the school, with numerous art and science laboratories, a 400-seat auditorium and a gymnasium. It was this same vision that saw beyond the original five pupils who enrolled in the kindergarten in 1988 to the 220 students currently attending the kindergarten, primary and secondary school, coming from countries all over the world. In a territory where land is scarce, it is a sign of respect and recognition that this valuable 2,500 square meter plot has been given to the school by the Education Department of Macau, which is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. (…)
While most schools in Macau focus on the intellectual aspects of education, the School of the Nations is considered a pioneer in developing the moral and character component of the School curriculum, the Character Development Program. In 1998, for instance, the school's Character Development Program received awards, both locally and internationally, for innovative curriculum development. (…)
The Character Development Program focuses on developing capabilities, and putting what is learned into action. Concepts such as responsibilities and contributions as a family member, unity in diversity, world citizenship, and consultation are taught within the classroom. Skills, attitudes and habits are developed and these are simultaneously put into practice in various acts of service to the wider community. With time, the aim is that these acts of service become a way of life (…) http://news.bahai.org/story.cfm?storyid=460
‘Junior 8’ delegates present youth concerns in historic meeting with G8 leaders
by John Varoli
Pushkin, Russia, 17 July – (…) Following a year of preparations and a week of intensive work here finalizing their recommendations, youth delegates representing each G8 country sat down with the heads of state for a 40-minute discussion on HIV, education, tolerance and violence, and energy security. “When we first had this idea after the Group of Eight meeting last year, our best hope was just to get our foot in the door with five minutes,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Russia, Carel de Rooy. “We never expected that G8 leaders would spend 40 minutes with the youth.” (…) Only eight representatives, chosen by each national delegation, were allowed to meet with leaders in the palace’s ornate hall. The remaining delegates watched via closed-circuit television in the complex’s press center. The session was also carried live on national Russian TV. (…) After brief welcoming remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Junior 8 delegates took the floor to present their views to G8 leaders. (…)
Global Media Compact to boost awareness of development challenges facing world’s poorest countries
New York, United Nations, 10 July - In a bid to create greater awareness of the challenges facing the world’s 50 poorest nations, the United Nations envoy for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Anwarul K. Chowdhury today launched a ‘Global Media Compact’ in partnership with the media company, MediaGlobal. The ‘Compact’ aims to encourage international and local media companies to increase their coverage of developmental issues in vulnerable countries through innovative media initiatives. Mr. Chowdhury appealed to editors and owners of newspapers to feature stories that would raise international awareness on issues of poverty, disease and hunger in Least Developed Countries. (…)
Media for Global Development (MediaGlobal) is one of the world's leading providers of information on global development issues facing vulnerable countries of Africa and Asia. MediaGlobal's message reaches leaders of developed countries, the global media, policymakers in donor countries, non-governmental organizations and key personnel in the United Nations Secretariat, its agencies and managers in the field worldwide. The Global Media Compact will be a “network” of newspapers contributing to informed perceptions of these vulnerable countries to the rest of the world. MediaGlobal will work towards increasing the level of media participation and bring in media leaders to work towards this initiative.
Nonprofit establishes $1-million foundation from contributions of volunteers
A charitable foundation with a $1-million endowment wouldn’t attract much attention these days—not with gifts to philanthropic, political, and educational organizations in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But suppose that endowment was raised a dollar at a time? Or by its staff foregoing its salaries for sixteen years? Something like this has created the Foundation for Purposeful Living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
For two decades, the volunteers of the Human Service Alliance (HSA) have been serving their community in various ways—first, by caring for disabled children and terminally ill adults and providing health and wellness and mediation services; and now, by conducting purposeful parenting workshops and operating one of Winston-Salem’s most popular and critically praised restaurants, California Fresh Buffet. Through their relatively modest but regular giving, their careful stewardship of resources, their sound investing, and their unpaid labor—and with no large grants or donations from major benefactors—they have amassed a million dollar (and growing) fund with which to help support human service work around the world.
The Foundation, which was announced in early May, will support individuals, groups, and organizations that are all-volunteer or primarily volunteer-based and are involved in projects in the United States and abroad. Those motivated by selfless service and altruism and whose work is practical, inclusive, a source of inspiration to others, a demonstration of goodwill, and a response to clearly identified needs will receive serious consideration. Up to 5 percent of the Foundation’s value at the end of the previous year will be available for grants in any calendar year. The Foundation will be administered by volunteers. HSA will cover any administrative expenses incurred. For more information about the Foundation for Purposeful Living go to www.purposefulfoundation.org To submit a grant application contact Mikaela Vinick at email@example.com For information about HSA, CPL, and their programs, go to:
Tsunami, Chaos And Global Heart – book by Dr V.S. Rambihar available free on the web
“The tsunami may illustrate the fragility of human life, but the response to it represents the strength of the human spirit .” Bill Clinton.
This book is meant as a memento, something tangible to hold and feel, to remind us of that day in 2004 when the earth shook, unleashing one of the biggest natural disasters in recent history, leading to the largest humanitarian aid effort ever, a self organizing emergence of support worldwide. It describes the global heart emerging after the tsunami as a manifestation of chaos and complexity and proposes its use in creating change, from heart health to peace, poverty eradication and development. It invites us to rethink the world and to use chaos and complexity to make a better world, and it proposes a Global Heart Day. “For now we have changed our 25th Annual Valentine's Day for heart to include Global Heart, as heart disease and sharing and caring for humanity” states the author, Toronto cardiologist Dr Vivian S Rambihar.
This book is available free on the web for full access to anyone anywhere, in the spirit of global sharing.
World Wisdom Alliance launch in Toronto, Canada - July 26 to 28
The World Wisdom Council (WWC), convened in 2004 by the CoB, is a global 'think/action tank' providing leadership toward the needed shift to a sustainable future. The WWC will meet in a special session in Toronto from July 23 to 25, hosted by The Club of Budapest Canada. Following this special WWC meeting, the CoB Canada, WWC and partners will join together from July 26 to 28 to create a new, global network - the World Wisdom Alliance!
The World Wisdom Alliance (WWA), being launched at the Toronto gathering, will be a new 'on-line community' of like-minded organizations, groups, and individuals actively addressing our societal and environmental challenges and opportunities - both global and local. What the world needs most at this critical time in our history is to find collective wisdom. New thinking, new actions and new collaborations are urgently called for. Join Ervin Laszlo, Elisabet Sahtouris, Ashok Gangadean, Michael Laitman, "Uncle" Angaangaq, other global visionaries, and many 'better world' activists from around the planet in Toronto in July to launch the new Alliance!
Central African Republic: thousands attend football match, to celebrate youth on the occasion of World Population Day
New York, 11 July - Thousands of miles away from the recent enthusiasm of the World Cup, over 3,000 people gathered in the stadium of the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, for a football match between two teams from local high schools. The event was the centrepiece of a ceremony marking World Population Day, organized by the Government with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The theme of this year’s Day was “youth”. “Throughout the world, the youth want to be heard and to take part”, wrote UNFPA Executive Director Ms. Thoraya Obaid in her official declaration for the occasion.
In the misery-stricken African nation, UNFPA works for the rights of the youth to education and work, to health and dignity. In a country where men still yield far more power than women, UNFPA has been struggling, since its arrival thirty years, to promote female empowerment. “When you educate a man, you educate one person. When you educate a woman, you educate one family, one community, one nation”, said Hamadou Logué, acting Representative of UNFPA, as over 50 journalists gathered at a press conference before the event. (…)
Findhorn Foundation in partnership with Global Ecovillage Network present:
Ecovillage Design- Training of Trainers 2006, October 7 - November 4
based on the Gaia Education Ecovillage Design Curriculum- developed by 23 leading edge sustainability educators from around the world. You are invited to join this four-week comprehensive training of trainers on the fundamentals of sustainability design for urban and rural settlements, covering all elements of an ecovillage-based education.
This will entail training at three distinct levels: First, we will explore the content of each of the four key pillars of ecovillage-level sustainability: ecology, economy, community and worldviews. Second, we will weave together insights and discoveries made in each of these areas into an integrated design process, with hands-on practical application exercises. Third, we will explore different approaches to the delivery of the Ecovillage Design Curriculum.While the course will be facilitated by a very experienced team of ecovillage educators, it will be highly collaborative in nature, with all participants drawn in as rich resources for the learning community.
Ecovillage Design - Training of Trainers is an advanced training course aimed at individuals involved in sustainable community initiatives of all kinds; students and professionals in architectural, engineering and building careers; permaculture and other sustainability designers; sustainable land use and regional planners; social workers, educators and business people interested in ethical development. The programme is based at the Findhorn Ecovillage and comprises four separate week-long modules, which may be attended as a whole or separately. It will provide a practical forum for learning and developing skills needed to work effectively with design for sustainability at all levels. The Findhorn Ecovillage received Best Practice designation from the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements in 1998. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org On line bookings www.findhorn.org/ecovillagedesign
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From water wars to bridges of cooperation: Exploring the peace-building potential of a shared resource
Despite widespread perceptions that water basins shared by countries tend to engender hostility rather than collaborative solutions, water is an often untapped resource of fruitful cooperation. Water, a vital source of life, has been known for centuries to be a major cause of tensions or conflict -- within countries, as well as among nations. With world demand for water increasing six-fold over the 20th century, there was no let-up in disputes over transboundary water issues, prompting some experts to predict that the wars of the 21st century will be fought over water. While freshwater's propensity to strain relations among countries frequently makes headlines, the other side of the coin - water as an agent of cooperation - rarely gets sufficient attention.
Nevertheless, research has shown much more historical evidence of water playing the role of a catalyst for cooperation, rather than a trigger of conflict. There are examples of workable accords on water reached even by States that were in conflict over other matters, including the cases of India and Pakistan, and Israel and Jordan.
With more than the 260 water basins in the world transcending national borders, it is hardly surprising that the situation is widely perceived as being fodder for hostility. On the other hand, as UN experts point out, given water's importance for practically every aspect of life - health, environment, economy, welfare, politics and culture - it is well beyond the scope of any individual country to resolve many of the issues unilaterally. This offers an opportunity to transform a situation fraught with conflict into an opening for mutually advantageous solutions.
What are the practical ways of reaching that goal? In an effort to find answers to this question, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched a project, From Potential Conflict to Co-operation Potential (PCCP), as part of a UN-wide initiative to promote water security in the 21st century. The project aims to foster cooperation between stakeholders in the management of shared water resources, while helping to ensure that potential conflicts do not turn into real ones. Addressing the challenge of sharing water resources primarily from the point of view of governments, it focuses on the development of tools for the anticipation, prevention and resolution of water conflicts.
There are more than 3,800 unilateral, bilateral or multilateral declarations or conventions on water: 286 are treaties, with 61 referring to over 200 international river basins.
The past half century has witnessed more than 500 conflict-related events over water, seven of which have involved violence.
According to UNESCO, 145 nations have territory within a transboundary basin, and 21 lie entirely within one. Twelve countries have more than 95% of their territory within one or more transboundary basins. Approximately one third of the existing 263 transboundary basins are shared by more than two countries.
In a case study demonstrating the effectiveness of the cooperation approach, Bolivia and Peru, the two countries sharing Lake Titicaca, have recognized how crucial it is to work together on management of the water resources of the basin through the creation of the Autonomous Water Authority.
The Northern Aral Sea is being successfully restored after its surface had shrunk to less than half its original size as a result of a massive diversion of water under the Soviet Union, which had drained the two rivers feeding it and devastated the surrounding environment. The Aral Sea is shared by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but its fresh water basin also encompasses Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Thanks to a World Bank project, the sea has now begun to fill up following the completion of the Kok-Aral Dam. Newly rehabilitated waterworks along the Syr Darya River are benefiting farmers by irrigating their lands. The next step is to improve the irrigation efficiency of two-thirds of the land in the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea basin. Better water resources management will benefit Central Asian countries by allowing them to address energy and conservation needs more efficiently and potentially even earn revenue from the sale of hydropower to upstream countries.
Women, who produce between 60 and 80 per cent of the food in most developing countries, are major stakeholders in all development issues related to water. Yet they often remain on the periphery of management decisions and planning for water resources.
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Next issue: 15 September 2006.
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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. It is also distributed free of charge to over 2,800 NGOs around the world and it is available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
It is an all-volunteer 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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