Good News Agency – Year VII, n° 7



Weekly - Year VII, number 7 – 26th May 2006

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (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



International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education



International legislation




The European Commission welcomes the creation of a “Certificate on European Law on Immigration and Asylum”

Brussels, 19 May 2006 - The European Commission welcomes the announcement of the creation of a “Certificate on European Law on Immigration and Asylum” by the Odysseus Academic Network. The Commission considers the creation of this one year programme of training as an interesting contribution of the academic community to the development of a common policy on immigration and asylum. There is indeed a growing need for specific training on those issues in the Member States and offering training opportunities is also a significant element of capacity building for third countries cooperating with the EU to improve immigration and asylum management. (…)

The programme which is the first of this kind, will offer its participant a deep understanding of the developing European Law on Immigration and Asylum from a theoretical as well as practical point of view. It is made of one introductory module followed by two specialised modules on immigration and asylum and a research paper.

The “Odysseus Network” is the Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe” created in 1999 with the financial support of the European Commission. The courses will start in September 2006 in Brussels and are given in English. All information is available on the websit


Treaty on explosive remnants of war to enter into force

Geneva (ICRC), 16 May 2006 – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the 20th ratification on May 12 of the 2003 Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War. This ratification ensures the entry into force of the Protocol, which is the first multilateral treaty of international humanitarian law requiring parties to an armed conflict to clear all unexploded and abandoned ordnance that threatens civilians, peacekeepers and aid workers after the fighting is over.

The Protocol was adopted in response to an ICRC initiative launched in September 2000. Concerned about the large numbers of civilian casualties claimed by unexploded artillery shells, grenades, cluster-bomb submunitions, mortars and similar ordnance, the ICRC called on the States party to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to draw up new rules in this area. While the international community has made great progress in reducing the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines, other forms of unexploded and abandoned ordnance continue to pose an equally grave threat to civilians.

The Protocol was concluded by the 91 States party to the CCW, including all the major military powers. It requires parties to an armed conflict to:

· Survey, mark and clear explosive remnants of war (ERW) in areas under their control after a conflict.

· Provide technical, material and financial assistance for the removal of ERW left by their armed forces in areas not under their control.

· Record information on explosive ordnance used or abandoned by their armed forces and share that information with organizations involved in clearance activities.

· Take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of ERW, including marking and fencing off dangerous areas and warning them of the risks. (…)

Reiterating this position, the ICRC calls on all States that have not yet ratified this important treaty to do so urgently.


Lebanon adheres to a UNECE Transport Convention

Geneva, 5 May -- On 22 March 2006, Lebanon deposited with the UN Secretary-General an instrument of accession to the UNECE Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). This brings the total number of States Parties to this Convention to 47. On the same date, Lebanon also deposited an instrument of accession to the Protocol to the CMR Convention, thus bringing the total number of States Parties to this Protocol to 32. In accordance with their respective provisions, both legal instruments will enter into force for Lebanon on 20 June 2006. The CMR Convention fixes the conditions for the contract for the carriage of goods by road between the forwarder and the carrier. In particular, it provides for the use of the consignment note and establishes the conditions for liability, for example in the case of loss of the goods or delays.  (…)


European Citizens’ Initiative to be launched in May 2006

An alliance of European civil societies have launched a campaign entitled the "European Citizens’ Initiative".

The European Citizens’ initiative (ECI) would require the European Commission to respond to a proposed change in European law signed by at least one million EU citizens. This would enable European citizens and civil society organizations to directly influence the political agenda of the EU for the first time in history.

The idea of this campaign is to collect one million signatures of people from all over the European Union demanding the introduction of the ECI by the EU. At the moment, there is no possibility for European citizens to iniciate or to modify European legislation.

The proposed start of the campaign is 9 May 2006, and the campaign should not last longer than 18 months. In order for future Citizens’ Initiatives to work the regulation must be designed in a citizen-friendly way, so guidelines will be published on how this can be ensured.

The European Civil Society states that the time has come for the European project to be driven by the people, and not only by an elite. They argue that when implemented, the ECI will be the first transnational tool of democracy. It will give citizens a right of initiative that is equivalent to that of the European Parliament, and much more effective than the current European citizens’ right of petition. (…)



Human rights



UN Human Rights Council: a new beginning for human rights

Amnesty International

May 10 - Amnesty International today congratulated the first members of the Human Rights Council on their election, saying that: "Each member has a duty to ensure that the Council will be strong and effective and give the best possible protection to victims of human rights violations all over the world." New Council members have a heavy responsibility to create the right structures and procedures for a Council that marks a fresh start in the UN's efforts to promote and protect all human rights in all countries, and that sets aside past practices of selectivity, double standards and excessive politicization. (…)

Some elected states have a record of serious human rights violations or failure to cooperate fully with the human rights mechanisms established by the Commission on Human Rights. These states must improve their human rights performance and now also fulfil their distinct obligation to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as resolution 60/251, which established the Council, specifically requires them to do. Human rights organisations will monitor how, and if, these important promises are put into practice.

This has been the first election to a United Nations political body by absolute majority of the General Assembly; each new member of the Council had to achieve at least 96 votes in favour to secure a seat. A further welcome advance on past practice is that for the first time, candidate countries’ human rights records and pledges played a distinct role in the elections, as the resolution required. (…)


May 21: Global Walk Against Child Hunger

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners are mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to walk together on 21 May to call for an end to child hunger. This will be the most comprehensive and diverse demonstration in history focused on hungry children and the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of hungry people globally by 2015.

On Sunday, 21 May 2006, more than 700,000 people in over 100 countries across 24 time zones are expected to walk five kilometers to highlight the battle against child hunger.  This number includes children throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some 100,000 children are expected to walk in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Most of these are beneficiaries of WFP’s innovative and hugely successful School Feeding Programme. (…)

 “Fight Hunger: Walk the World” was initiated three years ago by TNT, global provider of express, mail and logistics services. The event is the primary organizing vehicle for engage citizens globally in the struggle to achieve an end to child hunger and the first Millennium Development Goal. (…)


Army officers in Democratic Republic of the Congo receive training in humanitarian principles

Kinshasa,  17 May - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Child Protection Division of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have concluded in the eastern town of Bunia, Ituri Province, a training for 45 officers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) on humanitarian principles and the protection of civilians. The officers were commanders of platoons, sections, companies and battalions. Notably, the participants were trained on international legal instruments and norms pertaining to the involvement of children in armed forces, as well as the role of armed forces in the protection of children and women against sexual violence.

During the training workshop, the participants identified opportunities for raising awareness among the troops they command, and the modalities of applying these principles in the field. Ten humanitarian actors, based in Ituri and representing UN agencies, international and national NGOs, also received the training on humanitarian principles and the absolute necessity to abide by them, particularly in this pre-electoral period to better guarantee the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian action.(…)



Economy and development



Towards a common market in Africa

Two Italian-financed projects to improve food security through a regional approach

Rome, 25 May - FAO announced today the launch of two new projects to promote food security in five countries in eastern and southern Africa, worth a total of $4.5 million. Both projects are being financed by the Italian government under the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security*.

The projects both focus on modernizing agricultural systems and on promoting market access to provide outlets for what is mainly subsistence farming as part of the broader strategy agreed in 2001 by the member countries of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development). (…)

The first project, worth $3 million, will be implemented in the districts of three bordering countries, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, in the Great Lakes region. Working together will strengthen cooperation between all three, and each will be able to capitalize on the experience of the others. There is a very little recourse to irrigation, and agriculture is highly rainfall-dependent. The project will therefore encourage the efficient use of available water resources and aim at strengthening small farmers' organizations through training courses and "field schools."

The other project, in which $1.5 million is to be invested, will improve cassava production in Malawi and Zambia. Recurrent droughts and poor yields of traditionally produced maize, which is oversensitive to climatic variations, have encouraged the widespread farming of cassava, making it Africa's fastest growing food crop today. In Zambia it is the staple food of over 30% of the population. The aim of the project is to enhance cassava's commercial potential by processing it, for example into starch, which can also be exported.(…)

* The FAO Trust Fund for Food Security was launched in 2001 by the Director-General of FAO, Jacques Diouf, in the wake of the World Food Summit, to give a greater impetus to combating hunger. Italy was one of the first FAO member countries to respond to the appeal, with a pledge of 100 million euros, 60 million of which have already been disbursed.


US$8.4 million IFAD loan for project to rehabilitate poor areas of the Congo

Rome, 22 May - Better seed distribution, disease-resistant plant cuttings, stronger markets and better financial services are some of the proposed benefits from a new development project to help rehabilitate some of the poorest rural areas of the Congo.

 The Rural Development Project in the Departments of Niari, Bouenza and Lékoumou will be funded partly by a loan of US$8.4 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters in Rome (…) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund) is providing cofinancing of US$7.5 million to the project.

The Congo is rich in natural resources - mainly oil, water, forests and arable land, but poor management in the 1980s and conflict in the 1990s led to a steady decline in the country’s prospects. Since the end of the war in 1999, economic recovery has been slow. Although the Congo is Africa’s third largest oil exporter, there is vast inequality in the distribution of income from oil and severe poverty is widespread, especially in rural areas. (…)

The people in Niari, Bouenza and Lékoumou are primarily subsistence farmers with little access to markets and financial resources. Women and young people are particularly vulnerable. The project will support the rehabilitation of roads and improve access to markets. Distribution of better quality seeds and planting material will be promoted, in particular disease-resistant cuttings for cassava. The project will also work with farmers’ groups to boost their management and negotiating skills.

The project will take a participatory approach to planning and implementation, with special attention being given to enabling vulnerable and marginalized groups to express their needs. (…)


Land reform in Madagascar to be strengthened by new project

Rome, 19 May – Madagascar’s land reform programme will be strengthened by a new development project that aims to improve security of land tenure for rural poor people. The project will also promote social stability, reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth.

The US$23 million Project to Support Development in the Menabe and Melaky Regions will be financed partly by a US$13.1 million loan and a US$365 000 grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The loan agreement will be signed on 19 May by the Assistant President of IFAD, Ana Knopf, and the Ambassador for the Republic of Madagascar in Rome, Auguste Richard Paraina.

Menabe and Melaky, in western Madagascar, have high levels of poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy. The populations in both regions are made particularly vulnerable by insecure land rights and the high incidence of natural disasters. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and this project will specifically help small farmers with little or no land, who face severe malnutrition during the year. About 200,000 people are expected to benefit directly from the eight-year project. (…)

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


Somalia: EC aids political transition and fight against poverty

Nairobi, 19 May (IRIN) - The European Commission will support Somalia's political transition and fight against poverty through a €70 million (US $89 million) aid package for the Somalia Recovery Programme. The announcement of the funding on Friday followed a memorandum of understanding signed on 28 March by EC President José Manuel Barroso, EC Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Gedi. (…)

Somalia is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 43.2 percent of its population living on less than $1 a day and an infant-mortality rate of approximately 22 percent. The Horn of Africa nation has had no functioning central government since the collapse of the regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre in 1991. After a national reconciliation conference, transitional federal institutions, comprising the federal government and parliament, were formed in January 2005. (…)

On Wednesday, the British international development secretary, Hilary Benn, visited Somalia and announced that his department would provide US $18 million to support the transitional parliament and ministers, provide humanitarian relief for drought-affected people and support education programmes with the United Nations Children's Fund.


FAO and China forge strategic alliance to improve food security in developing countries

Around 3 000 Chinese experts and technicians will share their skills

Rome/Jakarta, 18 May – The Government of China expressed its intent to provide the services of at least 3 000 experts and technicians over a six-year period to help improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and fishers in developing countries, under an agreement signed today with FAO. This FAO-China collaboration is part of FAO's South-South Cooperation initiative, which aims to strengthen cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development to improve agricultural productivity and ensure access to food for all.

The Chinese specialists, with practical expertise in irrigation, agronomy, livestock, fisheries, post-harvest handling and other fields, will be gradually deployed for three-year assignments over a total period of six years. The recipient countries will be jointly selected from a list of potential beneficiaries provided by FAO.

China is a major provider of South-South Cooperation experts and has already signed agreements with Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria, as well as with 14 Small Island Developing States under regional programmes.


ECA Workshop Adopts Natural Resources Cluster Development

by Yinka Adeyemi

18 May - A workshop aimed at disseminating the findings of ECA’s landmark cluster study of South Africa and Mozambique, has ended in Maputo with broad recommendations on a better and integrated understanding of the mineral resources sector and what it takes to maximize its linkages with local economies and improve its legacy beyond the currency of mining. The workshop on “Integrated Resources Planning: Fostering Minerals Clusters”, was organized by ECA in collaboration with UNCTAD, CEPMLP, SEAMIC, MINTEK and the government of Mozambique. It was attended by 85 participants including high-level policy makers from Ministries of Mines, Finance and Planning of 16 African countries.

The workshop was premised on the realization that government policies and institutions were critical to realizing the potential of mineral resources in Africa, and that institutional and capacity gaps still exist in many African countries to manage the sector to foster growth and development of the continent. The workshop also provided the tools for minerals policy design and implementation, and enhance participants’ knowledge and capacity on mineral-related subjects.(…)


New investment initiative aims to improve fisheries management and reduce poverty in Africa

The new funding scheme is the first of its kind

Nairobi/Rome, 16 May – A new partnership aimed at restoring depleted fisheries and reducing poverty in Africa was launched today by the African Union (AU), the World Bank, WWF – the Global Conservation Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This partnership includes a commitment of US$60 million from the Global Environment Facility which is to be matched 3-1 in funds from other donors for a total of approximately US$240 million over the next ten years. The new funding scheme is the first of its kind focussed on sustainable fisheries in the large marine ecosystems of Africa and will work to reduce poverty in coastal communities and curtail overfishing of marine resources. The funding will be used to assist countries' efforts to better manage their marine fisheries and improve the living conditions of fishing communities. (…)

The World Bank, FAO and WWF, through an extensive consultative process with stakeholders, have over the last two years designed the investment fund and promoted the partnership with the African Union and coastal countries that underpins it. The African Union will chair an advisory committee that includes regional fisheries management organizations and which will oversee the fund and partnership activities.(…)


Teheran, Iran - Groundbreaking event for handicrafts and tourism

Teheran, 15 May  - An enthusiastic response from high level local and international tourism and handicrafts experts has brought more than 500 participants from 35 countries to the world's first Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts opened last Saturday in Tehran. Its aim is to define the links between handicrafts and tourism. This three day International Conference is organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) with the support of UNESCO and will focus on employment opportunities, alleviation of poverty and discovering new ways to promote tourism and handicrafts.

In his inauguration speech, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General referred to the Conference as a ground breaking event: “Tourism and handicrafts have a great effect on the lives of the people in today’s world”, he said, “and Iran, with its great historical heritage, is a natural choice as the host country for this conference.(…)  “Handicrafts and their interactions with tourism can be used as an instrument in creating a dialogue between peoples and nations in the coming global society.The First International Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts is a suitable measure in achieving this goal,” said Esfandyar Rahim Mashaee, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the President of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. (…)

Above all, the Conference aims at addressing how handicrafts and tourism could serve to reduce poverty especially in remote rural areas within a broader framework of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


Tanzania’s poorest livestock farmers to be helped by new development programme

Rome, 8 May – Tanzanians who are very poor and depend heavily on farming animals for their livelihoods will be supported to increase their incomes through improved production and better access to markets and livestock services when a new US$39 million development programme gets underway. The Agriculture Sector Development Programme – Livestock: Support for Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Development will be partly funded by a US$20.0 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and cofinanced by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Belgian Survival Fund. The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD’s headquarters in Rome (…)

Implemented under the Agricultural Sector Development Programme, it will target the poorest pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in 11 regions and will launch a wide range of initiatives that will boost animal production and broaden opportunities for people to improve their livelihoods, especially women, young people and marginalized groups.(…)


UNDP supports rickshaw project for tsunami victims

Sigli, Indonesia – Tsunami victims are receiving assistance to restart their businesses and return to normal life. In Sigli, in the province of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, rickshaws are being handed over to small traders and porters. This project is supported by the United Nations Development Programme and is being implemented by Islamic Relief in partnership with the local NGO Maimun Centre. In consultation with the community, the beneficiaries were chosen among the most vulnerable families. The rickshaws are not a donation. The project is organized as a micro-credit system. Each recipient agrees to pay back its value in weekly instalments. The money returns to the community fund, so that new rickshaws can be purchased and benefit more families. This way the local economy is boosted and the beneficiaries develop a sense of empowerment and responsibility towards the project.;jsessionid=aEN5AHzlWVr6


Latin America and the Caribbean's Gross Domestic Product to Grow 4.6% in 2006

The region should maintain last year's growth rates, amidst favourable international conditions.

18 April - The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will grow 4.6% in 2006, up slightly from last year (2005). For 2007, growth is expected to slow a little to around 4%. This is the projection from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its report América Latina y el Caribe: proyecciones 2006-2007 (Latin America and the Caribbean: Projections 2006-2007) (…)

In 2006, growth rates for Latin American countries will range from 3% to 6%, except for Argentina and Venezuela, which will grow by more than 6%. As in previous years, the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay) and the Andean Community posted the most growth, at 6.9% and 5.7%, respectively. Argentina, with growth expected to reach 7.5% in 2005, will lead in the Southern Cone, thanks to strong domestic demand, especially from investment. In Brazil, lower interest rates, reflecting less restrictive monetary policy, should stimulate a significant response from domestic demand, taking growth to 3.5%. The 7% growth forecast for Venezuela should boost the average for the Andean Community overall.(…)






Afghanistan: Red Cross / Red Crescent help flood victims

Kabul, 18 May -  The ICRC, the Afghan Red Crescent Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have come to the aid of some 300 families in the remote Gurziwan and Belchiragh districts of Fariab province, in northern Afghanistan, following heavy spring floods that partially or completely destroyed their houses. (…)

Each family has received essential household items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets and jerrycans. Families whose houses were completely destroyed have also received a tent. In addition to an initial food ration distributed immediately after the flood, about 200 families in Gurziwan valley and 36 families in Belchiragh district have also received 200 kg of rice, beans and oil – enough for two months.

The Red Cross / Red Crescent is closely consulting with other humanitarian organizations regarding possible future aid. Northern Afghanistan is frequently affected by natural disasters such as landslides, floods and earthquakes. Backed by the ICRC and the International Federation, the Afghan Red Crescent stands ready to respond should the need arise.


U.S. Department of State and Charities provide effective aid to Central Asia

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. May 15 – A little known humanitarian initiative launched by the U.S. Congress may prove the most cost effective mechanisms for delivering aid. 

“Operation Provide Hope” has spent only $3.9 million to distribute $3.9 billion worth of assistance to the former Soviet Union. Jerry Oberndorfer, U.S. Department of State Director of Coordination for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, said the program provided “big bang for the buck” while speaking to implementation partners and beneficiaries in Bishkek.

Lelei LeLaulu, President of Counterpart International, one of the managers of the initiative, agreed noting that “the leveraging made possible by the program’s partners makes it one of the most productive uses of public money.”  He added that “for every taxpayer dollar, the operation provides almost $10 of aid – most of it coming from private American charities.”

Each year, 80 U.S. groups collect approximately $11 million in critically needed commodities which Counterpart ships.  On any given day, about 100 containers worth of goods are in transit through Counterpart’s logistics system. (…)


ADRA provides food aid in drought-affected Ethiopia

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, May 19 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is providing emergency food aid for 13,000 people in the severely drought-affected area of Gode, in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.

The primary goal of the project is to ensure the survival of those living in the hardest hit area of Ethiopia, in the southern Somali region. ADRA is working in one of the worst affected areas, Adadle Woreda, a district in the Gode Zone that consists of 40 villages, where malnutrition and death rates are higher than most other parts of the country.

The project targets groups most vulnerable to the drought. "We want to focus primarily on extremely weakened children under the age of five, because they are at the most serious risk of dying,” said Gaby Heuser, disaster response project coordinator,ADRA Germany. “We also will provide support for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and HIV and AIDS patients."

Recipients will receive special therapeutic food during the worst period of the drought, starting June 1. Each will receive enough food to last them for one month. Those who suffer from HIV and AIDS will also receive more than six pounds of a high-energy, vitamin-enriched food supplement.

The project, worth nearly $300,000, is funded primarily by the German Government, in partnership with the ADRA office in Germany. The intervention will continue through August. (…)


UN Disaster Relief Fund makes first donations for under-resourced emergencies

UN News

May 10 - The newly launched United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) today announced its first disbursements for the world’s most under-funded emergencies, with 12 States, 11 of them in Africa, benefiting from a total of $32 million.  The Fund, which has so far received $254 million of its $450 million target reserve, was launched two months ago to jump-start relief operations and save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to delay under the then-existing Central Emergency Revolving Fund, with only $50 million in resources.

A third of CERF’s resources is reserved for making up shortfalls in chronically under-funded emergencies, and today’s allocations cover long-term refugee crises and other impacts of instability and insecurity due to civil or regional conflicts.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, who manages the Fund, said the beneficiaries would be Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe, all in Africa; and Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Forty countries and two private sector donors have so far contributed to the Fund. (…)


Smart partnerships bring hope to Sudan

Darfur, Sudan’s conflict-ridden northwest region, has been called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Rough estimates put the death toll at 400,000, with 3.5 million suffering from starvation and 2.5 million have been displaced throughout the region, living in tent camps without adequate nutrition, sanitation, shelter or medical supplies.  Counterpart International partnered with Relief International’s medical teams to bring life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the affected communities. (…)

Mobilizing donated goods and services, Counterpart delivered over $1.8 million in medical supplies and $3.7 million in pharmaceuticals to Al-Fashir, the capital of northern Darfur.   The medical supplies, including syringes, needles, catheters, bandages, wheelchairs and hospital beds, were donated by Gleaning for the World, a longtime partner.  Medicines for Humanity, generously supplied the pharmaceuticals, including de-worming medicine and antibiotics. Shipment costs and logistical arrangements were in part donated by Skylink Aviation, a Canadian based firm.

The medical supplies and pharmaceuticals will be used to stock both mobile and stationary clinics that serve the most isolated, and severely affected, regions in Darfur. (…)

Counterpart International, an international development organization with 40 years of experience in over 60 countries, has delivered almost $1 billion in aid around the world since 1991.



Peace and security



World Cup: UNICEF, FIFA partnership for children

New York/Geneva/Zurich/London, 16 May - UNICEF and the world’s governing soccer body Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) today officially kicked off their partnership campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ under the banner Unite For Children  Unite For Peace.  The campaign spotlights the power of soccer in promoting values of peace and tolerance within communities and at the international level.

FIFA and UNICEF are joining forces during the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ to use one of the world’s great sporting events as a platform to show how sport can create self-esteem, self-confidence and trust among children. ( (…) The dedicated campaign website spotlights these top “Team UNICEF” players as well as highlights video stories of 11 children who have overcome various situations of violence and conflict through the power of football. As part of the campaign, UNICEF, FIFA and the non-governmental organization Family Violence Prevention Fund will launch a manual for football coaches to use to help address issues of violence and discrimination, particularly against women and girls. (…)  The manual will be published in English, French, Spanish, and German and will be distributed globally.


From soldier to deminer

by Line Brylle

5 May - It is a happy day for the two DanChurchAid deminers Mayumbu Kamenga aged 42 and Mbungu Vangu aged 38. They have just been demobilised from the national Congolese army, in which they both served almost half of their lives, 23 years and 18 years respectively. (…)

When a soldier leaves the army in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) he receives 110 US dollars, two pairs of civilian trousers, a tent, a plastic bucket and two cooking pots. After that the ex-soldiers are left to survive on a support of 25 US dollars per month during another 6 months after which the army no longer provides for them.

The two DanChurchAid deminers have just received the red band on their military service card which signifies that one is demobilised or has left the army – for good. The services of that person can no longer be required by the army. (…) The two former soldiers now turned deminers just want to be seen as ordinary people and to be respected as civilians: “We just want to be disciplined and commit ourselves to the work of DCA. We are at DCA orders now!” they say,very seriously at first, then they both start laughing.

DCA’s demining programme in DRC will now look to recruiting more ex-soldiers, as a contribution to the national demobilisation process. (…)


The Kingdom of Norway remains committed supporter to Mine Action in SE Europe

12 May - On the 9.5.2006 the H.E. Mrs. May Britt Brofoss, the Kingdom of Norway Ambassador in Slovenia, handed over the signed Memorandum of Understanding to Mr. Goran Gačnik, director of ITF, at the Kingdom of Norway embassy. The Kingdom of Norway thus contributed an amount of USD 4.975.619,13  to ITF earmarked for demining an technical survey projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.  Part of the donation, in amount of USD 24.880 will be earmarked  for the rehabilitation of mine victims from the region of SE Europe.

In the past eight years, Kingdom of Norway donated more than $ 32.2 million US  confirming to be one of the biggest supporters to Mine Action in SE Europe through ITF as well as worldwide. The regular and generous donations for mine action activities made by the Kingdom of Norway substantially contribute to resolution of mine problem in SE Europe.


Zimbabwe : Army embarks on de-mining exercise

by Oscar Nkala,

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has said it has embarked on a fresh exercise to clear landmines from parts of the country’s eastern border with Mozambique.

Johannesburg, 9 May (AND) - According to ZNA public relations officer Colonel Ben Ncube, the de-mining exercise will cover a 50km stretch between the Sango Border Post and Cross Corner Minefields in the south-eastern corner of the country.

Col. Ncube said the clearance would free up previously inaccessible parts to border community villages and facilitate the free movement of people between Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. The ZNA, which began the de-mining exercise in the late 1980s with help from the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) said it was going to carry out the exercise using its own resources. It has already accomplished other tasks despite the cutting of US-EU aid in the diplomatic rows of 2000-2003. “We are doing this project using our own personnel and resources.” The Zimbabwe Defence Forces Engineers have just finished work on de-mining the Victoria-Falls –Mlibizi (Binga) area and the liberated land has been handed back to the people.

The Sango Border Post de-mining exercise is also meant to facilitate the development of new Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park, an extensive project aimed at enhancing conservation and facilitating tourism between Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.  (…)






Immunization response to polio case in DR Congo

19 May - Response planning is underway following confirmation of a case of imported polio in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the country's first case in nearly 6 years.  The mop-up immunization activity is expected to take place in the high-risk areas of Bas Congo Province, Kinshasa and neighbouring parts of Angola and Congo-Brazzaville, targeting up to 3 million children, starting 9 June.

After the two and a half year-old girl was reported to have developed paralysis in Bas Congo province, laboratory testing confirmed poliovirus as the cause on 10 May.

Genetic sequencing has determined that the virus is closely related to a strain from Angola, of Indian origin.

Over 80% of children in Bas Congo have had oral polio vaccine, making the province one of the best-immunized in the country.  The swift response being planned - in accordance with standard guidelines issued by the Advisory Committee on Polio Eradication for countries with importations of polio - is expected to prevent further spread. Importations such as this re-affirm the urgency of interrupting poliovirus transmission worldwide.


ICRC donates field hospital to health ministry in Pakistan-administered Kashmir

Islamabad/Geneva (ICRC),19 May – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today formally handed over its 100-bed field hospital in Muzaffarabad to the Ministry of Health of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. This handover follows the successful completion by 67 Pakistani medical personnel of an intensive two-week training course organized by the ICRC, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Ministry of Health of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The aim of the course was to enable the participants to operate the field hospital on their own should another natural disaster hit the area or other emergencies occur.

The Finnish and Norwegian Red Cross societies provided the field hospital for the ICRC as part of the humanitarian response to urgent needs arising from the earthquake that struck Pakistan-administered Kashmir last October. The ICRC ran the hospital for five months, treating 848 inpatients and several hundred more outpatients.

Some 50 expatriate staff worked permanently in the Muzaffarabad field hospital from October 2005 to February 2006, when it was officially closed.


Niger Red Cross volunteers begin massive “Hang Up” campaign

11 May - Health workers in Niamey, the capital of Niger, are worrying about the start of this year’s rainy season. While everyone is delighted to see the rains come after months of prolonged drought and famine, the health workers know that the rains also mark the beginning of the malaria season with much illness and death. But this year, and thanks to the nationwide free distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) in December 2005, and in March 2006, the people of Niger all have mosquito nets to protect themselves against the dreaded mosquitoes.

In order to be sure these nets are used correctly for protection, armies of volunteers are being mobilized to visit families throughout the country. They will encourage them to hang-up the nets and ensure that children and pregnant women who are at highest risk sleep under the nets every night during the rainy season. Working closely with the National Malaria Programme, the president of the Niger Red Cross, M. Ali Bandiare is leading more than 5,500 volunteers who will visit more than 10,000 villages and communities during the next two weeks of May. (…)

This “Hang-Up” effort during the last weeks of May is demonstrating how volunteers who are also beneficiaries can be mobilized for community education. This is a vitally important follow-on to Niger’s nationwide distribution of 2.3 million nets which was made possible with support from the Global Fund, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Swiss Tropical Institute, Niger Ministry of Health and its Malaria Programme, Niger Red Cross, Canadian CIDA through the Canadian Red Cross, Center for Medical Research (CERMES) Niger, Polio Eradication, WHO, UNICEF, the CDC, country NGOs, Norwegian Red Cross and NORAD, American Red Cross, and other national and international donors.


WHO announces pharmaceutical companies agree to stop marketing single-drug artemisinin malaria pills

Washington, D.C./Geneva, 11 May -- The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that 13 pharmaceutical companies have agreed to comply with WHO's recommendation to phase out single-drug artemisinin medicines for oral treatment of malaria. This group includes the main producers of high quality artemisinin monotherapies. The companies will now focus their marketing efforts for malaria primarily on Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs), in line with WHO recommendations.

The use of single-drug artemisinin treatment, or monotherapy - especially on a wide scale for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria - hastens development of resistance to artemisinin in malaria parasites. When used correctly in combination with other anti-malarial drugs in ACTs, artemisinin is nearly 95% effective in curing uncomplicated malaria and the parasite is highly unlikely to become drug resistant. Therefore, in January 2006, WHO appealed to all companies to stop marketing oral artemisinin monotherapies and to re-direct their production efforts towards ACTs. Following the January appeal, an additional 23 companies were identified and informed of WHO's recommendation. 13 companies said they would comply with the WHO guidance. Additional companies have said they are willing to collaborate with WHO in this endeavour. (…)



Energy and safety



Introducing the International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP)

May 2006 - The International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP) is being presented to the international community in the energy, agriculture and environment sectors as a mechanism for organizing and facilitating a multidisciplinary and global approach. IBEP is expected to provide analysis and information for policy and decision-making support; to build and strengthen institutional capacity at all levels; to enhance access to energy services from sustainable bioenergy systems; and to facilitate opportunities for effective international exchange and collaboration. (…)

The number of people living on less than US$1/day is about the same as the number of those lacking access to commercial energy: two thousand million people. Extending an electricity supply grid to remote households in a rural setting can mean costs of up to US$0.70 per kilowatt-hour, seven times the cost of providing electricity in an urban area. In this context, the availability of more bioenergy in its two main forms — wood energy and agro-energy — can help provide cleaner energy services to meet basic energy requirements. This century could see a significant switch, from a fossil-fuel-based to a bioenergy - based economy, with agriculture and forestry as the main sources of biomass for biofuels such as fuelwood, charcoal, wood pellets, bio-ethanol, biodiesel and bio-electricity.


Eritrea - The solar cooker project keeps on growing

The Eritrea solar cooker project organized by the foundation Solar Cooking Eritrea Netherlands (SCEN) continues to spread solar cooking knowledge in the Anseba region. As of January 2006, women from eight villages in the region, who previously purchased CooKits, attend monthly classes to further their skills and work through any issues. SCEN hopes to extend these classes to 32 more villages in the region by the end of this year.

Local women are fabricating CooKits in the city of Keren. One hundred CooKits have been made, and more are in the works (pending re-supply of aluminum foil, which must be imported). According to SCEN representative Janine Pater, local fabrication is important: “This is a major step forward in accomplishing the objective that now, and in the future, everyone in Anseba will be in a position to buy and/or make a CooKit without restriction.”

Contact: Clara Thomas, Solar Cooking Eritrea Netherlands, Prof. van Reeslaan 11, 1261 CS Blaricum, Netherlands. E-mail: , Web:


Paraguay – European Solar Prize to commitment for the use of renewable energies

Paraguay continues to be an exciting place when it comes to transforming lives through solar energy. Responsible for a long chain of successes are two closely entwined organizations: la Fundación Celestina Pèrez de Almada and the Center for Solar Energy (CEDESOL). Led by Professor Martin Almada and engineer Jean-Claude Pulfer, the twin organizations bring solar energy out of the laboratories and universities to people in need. Their projects provide enough solar equipment and training to transform whole villages, creating solar futures in several villages, and bringing those futures into the present, one village at a time.

With support from the Swiss Embassy in Paraguay, the Almada-Pulfer team recently supplied solar cooking equipment to two schools for lunch preparation. Solar dehydrators will provide out-of-season healthy fruit snacks to students. Dr. Almada was recently awarded a prestigious European Solar Prize from EUROSOLAR, the European Association for Renewable Energies. The award honors his “commitment for the use of renewable energies in order to give people hope and find a way out of poverty.” Congratulations! For more information on this award, and to view a short video of Dr. Almada’s work, visit .

Contact: Dr. Martin Almada, Fundación Celestina Pèrez de Almada, Av. Carlos Antonio López, 2273 Asunción, Paraguay. E-mail: ; Jean-Claude Pulfer, CEDESOL, Boqueron 532, 1404 Asunción, Paraguay. Tel: 59 5 21579831, e-mail: 


Rotarian  spreads solar cooking in Turkey – Now begins expanding to Armenia

Rotarian Abdullah Paksoy and his solar energy/fuel efficiency team from Misis, along with trainers from the United States, led multi-day demonstrations in the cities of Gazientep and Adiyaman. Rotary Club members attended presentations and saw examples of solar cookers and fuel-efficient wood stoves in action. Fifteen household solar cookers and one community solar cooker were on display at a village square demonstration witnessed by more than 70 people. Bulgur, chicken, rice, and eggplant were among the dishes cooked. A fuel-efficient wood stove was used for baking bread. Forty women attended a demonstration held in a cotton field where they worked. The women brought food to be solar cooked for their midday meal.

During the past five years, the Adana-Seyhan Rotary Club, with leadership from Mr. Paksoy, has developed a functioning education center in Misis for teaching about solar cookers and for housing inventory and equipment. About 3,000 CooKits have been manufactured in Adana, and over half have been distributed. Mr. Paksoy admits that teaching women to adopt changes in their long-established, traditional cooking habits is a very slow process. Firewood shortages and rising gas prices play an increasingly important role in this transition.

Mr. Paksoy’s team has also begun to spread solar cooking to Armenia.

Contact: Abdullah Paksoy, Adana-Seyhan Rotary Club, Kurtulus Mah, Sinasi Ef. Cad 9/1, 01120 Adana, Turkey. Tel: 903224540733, e-mail: 



Environment and wildlife



Red Cross in Americas prepares for hurricane season

17 May - The Atlantic hurricane season will officially start on 1 June, and meteorological experts are predicting that the Caribbean and Central America could witness above average levels of activity. Experts forecast that the season, which lasts until the end of November, will produce up to 14 tropical storms, with six to eight of these becoming hurricanes, of which two to four may be classified as major hurricanes.

Red Cross preparations for the hurricane season are well under way. Today, in St. Lucia representatives of 23 Central American and Caribbean national Red Cross Societies, Overseas branches and other actors such as ECHO (European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department), Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI), United Nation's office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Carribean disaster and emergency response agency (CDERA) will gather for a three day meeting on disaster preparedness.

Participants will revise and update contingency and co-ordination plans. The meeting will specifically focus on strengthening disaster management networks in the region. (…)


USAID-Funded NGOs lead a successful environmental advocacy campaign

8 May - A public advocacy campaign by the Karaganda Civil Society Support Center (CSSC) EcoCenter and the NGO Reflection has recently resulted in a government decision to delay the construction of a mercury disposal site until citizens’ concerns are addressed. The campaign was initiated when local authorities selected a popular recreation site three kilometers from Temirtau City for the disposal of mercury from a long-closed Karaganda Oblast (region) industrial plant. Because the proposed site is so close to the rapidly expanding city and many people visit the area, the risk of current and future mercury exposure to the general population is high.

The CSSC EcoCenter along with the NGO Reflection, both USAID grantees through the Community Action Grant Program, conducted a series of public hearings to gauge public opinion on the controversial issue and to ensure compliance with environmental conventions. In response to voiced concerns, the two organizations initiated an advocacy campaign to facilitate local citizen participation in the decision-making process. The campaign attracted attention from a variety of government institutions, including Parliament. As a result, the construction of the site has been postponed indefinitely. for more information.



Religion and spirituality



Folding paper flowers for religious harmony

Singapore, 11 May (BWNS) -- Young members of the Baha'i community here recently gave support to a national interfaith project aimed at bringing Singaporeans of all races and religions together.

About 40 youth gathered at the Singapore Baha'i Center on 15 April 2006 to fold paper lotuses as part of the Project Million Lotus 2006, which is sponsored by the Singapore Buddhist Federation.

The effort aims to have young people of all races and religions make a million paper lotuses as symbols of purity and harmony. "The idea of folding a paper lotus is taken from the symbolic meaning of a lotus that grows in muddy water and yet emerges into a pure and beautiful flower," said Lynette Thomas, Secretary of The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Singapore. (…) The 40 young people who gathered at the Singapore Baha'i Center included many from Chung Cheng High School who are not Baha'is. (…)

The project has received support from Singaporean President S.R. Nathan, as well as from the Central Singapore Community Development Council, Trust Central, the Inter Religious Organisation (IRO) of Singapore, and several Singapore corporations.

The lotuses were scheduled to be displayed at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on 6-7 May 2006 as the highlight of the "Growing Compassion, Harvesting Harmony," Singapore celebration of the Vesak Festival. (…)



Culture and education



Afghanistan - Girls’ attendance doubles in Afghan schools

by Mary Kate MacIsaac – World Vision Afghanistan Communications Manager

17 May - Girls’ school attendance has doubled in Afghan schools supported by World Vision and USDA, according to statistics collected by World Vision school monitors. Using baseline numbers from 2004 when World Vision began its school enhancement programming, 8,522 girls were attending schools under the USDA-supported Food-for-Education programme. Two years later, in March 2006, records show attendance at 16,909. (…) Boys’ attendance during the same time period increased 31 per cent. (…) During the former Taliban regime (1996-2001) the education of girls was strictly forbidden, while boys received religious training. (…)

World Vision International is a Christian relief and development organisation working for the well being of all people, especially children. Through emergency relief, education, health care, economic development and promotion of justice, World Vision helps communities help themselves.


UNOPS & UNICEF rebuild schools in four counties

Monrovia, Liberia, 17 May – UNICEF and its partner, UNOPS, the United Nations Office for Project Services, have completed the rehabilitation and refurbishment of 13 government schools in four Liberian counties. The physical rehabilitation of the schools was undertaken by UNOPS with funding from UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. The cost for the entire project was more than US$500,000. The rehabilitation work ranged from repairing walls, roofs, and installing windows and doors to building a brand new schoolhouse in Kpotomai, Lofa County.(…) Counties benefiting from the physical rehabilitation and refurbishing of schools were Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado, and Nimba. With the exception the Dinplay Public School in Dinplay, Nimba County which is nearing completion, all of the rehabilitated schools have been turned over to Government authorities and are currently being used for instructional purposes. (…)


Rotary promotes peace scholarships in Africa

Nairobi, Ethiopia, 15 May — Rotary International, the world's largest privately-funded source of international scholarships, has launched a promotion of its newest educational program to potential beneficiaries in Africa. Beginning in Nairobi this week, the promotion is aimed at encouraging more Africans, Kenyans in particular, to apply for the scholarships to earn a master's level degree in peace and conflict resolution studies. The awards are part of a Rotary program, called the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution, to train future diplomats, government officials, and social leaders in the art of peace-building and conflict resolution.

Africa , which bears the brunt of most of the world's armed conflicts, especially needs the services of professionals with the skills to help prevent wars and broker peace efforts. According to Frank Devlyn, trustee chair of The Rotary Foundation, the program is part of Rotary's effort to promote peace through education. "You have only to pick up a newspaper to realize how vitally important it is that our world leaders be skilled in the arts of conflict resolution and peaceful negotiation," says Devlyn. (…)

Through a world-competitive process, the program annually awards fully funded scholarships to up to 70 students, who are officially known as Rotary World Peace Fellows, to study at the centers. Required applicant qualifications include an undergraduate degree, excellent leadership skills, and a demonstrated commitment to peace and international understanding through service, academic, or professional achievements. The centers are located on the campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan; Sciences Po, Paris, France; Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England; University of California, Berkeley, California, USA; and University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Art from European Festival to travel the world

3 May - This year’s largest international children’s celebration– the First European Festival of Children’s Art & Creativity -- will be held on May 27-31, 2006 at the Olympia Park in Munich, Germany. Children from across Europe and special guests from the United States as well as Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates will together paint a 100-meter long mural-flag at the Olympia Park. Children will have the opportunity to experience and express their collective creativity, depicting their imagination and fantasies, joys and concerns for the future. The colorful flag-mural will symbolize the hope of children around the world for a peaceful and creative global community.

On May 31st the flag-mural will be hoisted in a televised ceremony onto the Olympia Park Tower. This will be a historic moment because permission to use the Olympia Park Tower has never been granted before, and now children have won the right to showcase their art and creativity and its relationship to sport and peace building. On May 31st, the Olympia Park Tower will be transformed into an international icon for peace and friendship. (…)


IV World Congress Verbania 2006: “Positive side effects” – June 8-11

Side effects are part of a chain reaction: a snow flake becomes an avalanche; the simultaneous presence of sun and rain produces a rainbow. Positive side effects are the best “medicine” that exists; negative side effects are the worst “poisons” for body and mind as well as for the environment. Peace Education helps us to understand how to create positive and beneficial effects as well as positive and beneficial side-effects; how to minimize those causes that produce harmful, negative and violent sideeffects. In this way we may create a better quality of life both for ourselves as well as for future generations. Inner peace is the most powerful means to create positive side effects and it is the most solid foundation for world peace.

In order to liberate ourselves of all negative and violent side effects, it is essential that we work united, in the field of research as well as dialogue: that we create a world network of positive and peaceful side effects in the fields of education, economy, media information, science and spirituality.

Thursday 8 June: 16h Opening Ceremony; 18h Keynote & Special Guest Speakers;  19h Cocktail and musical entertainment. Friday 9 June: 09h “Education” with positive side effects for your health; 15h “Media” with positive side effects for your health. Saturday 10 June:  09h and 15h “Science” with positive side effects for your health. Sunday 11 June: 09h “EconomY” with positive side effects for your health; 11h “Spirituality” with positive side effects for your health. 15h Conclusions. Registration form and complete programme on the web site:


UNA-USA & UNA-NCA Annual Meetings  Washington, DC: June 7-11

One of the big events of the UNA year is taking place on Thursday, June 8, through Saturday, June 10, right here in Washington -- the national conference of UNA local leaders from around the country. This is not a "business meeting," but rather an unusual opportunity to be brought up-to-date through a series of workshops and plenary sessions, on: 1) the major issues confronting the UN (and the US!); and 2) the latest thinking on how to run a successful UNA chapter (membership building, fund raising, public relations, etc.).

Some of the highlights are:

 1) The "Day on the Hill" on Thursday, June 8 where there will be briefings by such luminaries as Senator Chuck Hagel (R, NE) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D, MN), as well as visits to Congressional offices and for the first time students get the opportunity to participate in “Day on the Hill” for free. For more information and to register, visit: .    

2) The UNA-NCA will have its 54th Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 10th at 5:30 PM at the Marriott Metro-Center Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. 2006 election results for Officers and Board members will be announced.  A renewed UNA-NCA Strategic Plan will be presented. We welcome the participation of Chapter and Division members from around the country attending the CCD Annual Meeting, and encourage use by all of the UNA-NCA Annual Meeting as a forum for exchange and learning among UNA-USA members. This meeting is free of charge but RSVP is required no later than June 5th at  or at (202) 223.6092.

3) The Saturday night banquet with journalist Barbara Crossette (who covered the UN or the New York Times) as master of ceremonies and Kemal Dervis, the new head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and generally considered #3 in the UN Secretariat, as principal speaker. (…)


The World Wisdom Alliance: invitation to co-create a new global alliance!

Toronto, Canada, July 26 to 28.

The Club of Budapest Canada is hosting the gathering at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville hotel, following the World Wisdom Council special meeting, and is the organization coordinating the creation and implementation of the Alliance in partnership with numerous other groups.

The core of the Alliance will be a new, 'on-line community' of like-minded organizations addressing our growing, societal and environmental challenges and opportunities, both global and local, via a unique web portal now being built.

 It will be certainly be an exciting and inspirational 'action-oriented' gathering to launch the World Wisdom Alliance. Ervin Laszlo, Michael Laitman, Ashok Gangadean, Elisabet Sahtouris, Lybert 'Uncle' Angaangaq, Nancy Roof and many others from around the world will be here. Your participation and support is essential to the co-creation and on-going success of this major initiative! Please click this link to directly register for the Alliance launch and to book your hotel accommodations: . Please note that registration and participation is free! However space is limited.


Star of Hope

Star of Hope, The Life and Times of John McConnell, by Robert M. Weir, with a foreword by George Gallup, Jr., first edition, 338 pages and 72 illustrations.

Star Of Hope, the biography of John McConnell, founder of Earth Day, by Robert M. Weir can be ordered directly from Swan Books for the special price of $ 20.--, including postage. Please send your check to Swan Books, Box 953, Pine Plains, NY 12567. Orders are also accepted by e-mail ( ) or fax (518 398 6012).



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Next issue: 16 June 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, and it is also available in its web site:

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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.         

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