Good News Agency – Year VIII, n° 10



Weekly - Year VIII, number 10 – 27th July 2007

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



Shipping nations ban toxic cleaning agent

London, UK, 13 July – After more than ten years of lobbying by WWF, shipping states within the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) have ratified legislation that bans the use of tributyltin (TBT) in anti-fouling systems of ships.

TBT is an organic compound often used as an additive in many marine anti-fouling paints, which kills algal and barnacle growth and anything else that attaches to ships. The problem is that the chemical is highly toxic to many marine organisms. Even at low concentrations it causes deformations in oysters and genital changes in snails. The decline of commercial oysters along the Atlantic coast of France and the UK in the 1970s is attributed to TBT contamination.

“This [the ban] is a tremendous victory for the marine environment, but one that is long overdue,” said Dr Simon Walmsley, Head of WWF-UK’s Marine Programme. “It has been over forty years since TBT’s negative impacts were first identified and seven years since legislation to ban TBT was agreed, yet we have only now achieved a global ban.”

Panama, which flags one of the world’s biggest shipping fleets, helped bring about the ban. A total of 25 states representing 25 per cent of world shipping tonnage had to ratify the IMO’s anti-fouling systems convention to bring the ban into force globally.

The global ban will be introduced in 12 months time. Any vessel still using anti-fouling paints which contain TBT will have to use a safer alternative.



Human rights



Trinidad and Tobago: Ministry of Education and ICRC agree to implement humanitarian law programme in secondary schools

On 10 July the ICRC and the Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago concluded an agreement in which they jointly undertook to implement the ICRC's Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) programme in the country's secondary schools. The main purpose of the programme is to ensure that young people aged 13 to 18 acquire a basic understanding of humanitarian rules and principles by making the topic an integral part of secondary-school education.

The agreement was signed, during the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on EHL, by Angella Jack, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago, and Max Furrer, deputy head of the ICRC's regional delegation in Caracas, which covers Venezuela, Suriname and the English-speaking Caribbean countries. Also present were Senator Hazel Manning, the minister of education of Trinidad and Tobago, and Charles Sabga, head of the ICRC's sub-regional delegation in Port-of-Spain.

On signing the agreement, Mr Furrer said that the ICRC and its sub-regional delegation were "fully committed to supporting the implementation of the EHL programme in the secondary schools of Trinidad and Tobago." He further stressed the importance of including international humanitarian law in the civics curricula of all secondary schools in the twenty-first century and recommended that the EHL programme be used to do so.

The ICRC's regional delegation in Caracas has been supporting efforts to introduce the provisions of international humanitarian law into domestic legislation since it opened in February 2000.


Protection of civilians - Learning from Darfur

29 June - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and DanChurchAid are pleased to announce the international seminar "Protection of civilians - Learning from Darfur" on September 10 - 11, 2007 in Copenhagen. Protection of civilians is one of the greatest challenges of our times. The rising levels of attacks on civilians, including women and children are in direct contravention with international law and the international commitment to the protection of civilians. (…)

The seminar will discuss protection of civilians by using the case of Darfur as a learning experience. Since 2003 protection of civilians from targeted attacks, murder, rape and looting has been a key challenge in Darfur. To meet this challenge local and international humanitarian, political and military actors have employed various strategies. When assessing Darfur’s current situation it must be concluded that despite achieving some positive results, the majority of protection efforts have had disappointing outcomes.

Based on an examination of practical experiences with protection of civilians the seminar will focus on the following aims: Clarify roles, responsibilities, mandates and capacities of humanitarian, political and military actors in protection work; discuss obstacles, weaknesses and strengths and come up with recommendations on strengthening implementation of protection measures, improve cooperation between actors and strengthen protection strategies. (…)


Refugees, internally displaced return to Kosovo

Ad Melkert, Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), urged continued support for returning refugees and internally displaced persons in Kosovo, and stressed the importance of creating employment and livelihood opportunities for them on the last day of a 4 day visit to Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). "It is important to provide a future for the young people in Kosovo so that they are not only encouraged to stay, but also are reintegrated into a society that has a place for everyone, Melkert said after a visit with two families who have returned.  “It is encouraging to see that there is an overwhelming wish on the part of the returnees to be able to continue their normal lives and that tolerance can reign again for the future development of Kosovo.In 1999, after the conflict in Kosovo ended, all of the Serbian inhabitants in the village of Vidanje in central west Kosovo fled to Serbia and their houses were completely destroyed. In 2004 the first group of Kosovo-Serbs returned to the village through the Government Assistance to Returns project, implemented by UNDP.  This project has resulted in the full reconstruction of more than 50 houses, a community centre, the electrical and sewage systems, and a road.(…)



Economy and development



Views on Development in Latin America

New publication presents 14 articles on economic growth, poverty and inequality.

20 July - The formulation of effective policies that contribute to greater well-being is based on accurate diagnosis. The need to assess diverse views and combine efforts grows in urgency in a world where interdependence is increasingly the norm. In this respect, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the CIDOB Foundation (Center for Research in International Relations and Development) have dedicated years to the study of the most relevant aspects of development. To contribute to the discussion of regional development, these two organizations are launching a new publication entitled "Visiones del Desarrollo en América Latina"  ("Views on Development in Latin America"), on Monday, 23 July 2007 at 3:00 p.m. at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago. Commenting on the publication will be Alejandro Ferreiro, Chile's Minister of Economy.

José Luis Machinea, ECLAC Executive Secretary, and Narcís Serra, CIDOB Foundation president, are the editors of this collection of 14 articles contributed by leading Latin American economists and political figures, including vice presidents, ministers, academics and top-ranking officials of key finance institutions.  The articles focus on the macroeconomic dimensions of regional policies - fiscal discipline, financial markets, currency exchange - and on analysis of the social institutions and policies that are charged with overcoming poverty and persistent inequalities. (…)


Secretary-General’s report shows continued strong economic performance of Least Developed Countries

New York, 19 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General’s fifth results-oriented annual progress report on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 shows continued strong economic performance by least developed countries, with fewer countries, mainly Pacific islands, lagging behind. It also suggests that social indicators are also improving, but overall socio-economic progress in African least developed countries has been significantly compromised by continuing population growth driven by the highest fertility in the world. (…)

The report recommends greater donor focus on enhancing the productive capacity of least developed countries, particularly in agriculture. (…) It calls upon donors to make significant efforts to increase their aid volumes in order to achieve the internationally agreed goals of 0.15 - 0.20 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the least developed countries by 2010 and improve aid effectiveness (ownership, harmonization, alignment, results and mutual accountability) as agreed in Rome and Paris.

The report underscores that strong commitment by least developed countries and their development partners to the objectives, goals and targets of the Programme and full adherence to the principles of country ownership, an integrated approach, result-orientation, genuine partnership and market considerations in its implementation are crucial to make further progress in the implementation of the Brussels Programme. (…)


Conference on happiness examines different approaches to development

UN in Bangkok, 18-19 July

Bangkok, 17 July  – The Asia-Pacific region has shown enviable economic growth as measured by GDP. However, this growth has come at a heavy environmental cost and has been accompanied by a host of social problems, calling into question whether GDP-driven development brings people more happiness. To examine these issues, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is co-sponsoring an International Conference on Happiness and Public Policy which will be held 18-19 July at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok.

The meeting, organized by the Public Policy Development Office (PPDO) of the government of Thailand, is an effort to establish a new paradigm for development that stresses the quality of growth over quantity. The meeting is expected to attract over 300 participants from the region and beyond and will feature high-level government officials such as the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Paiboon Wattanasiritham, the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan, Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley. Kim Hak-Su, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNESCAP Executive Secretary, will speak at the opening.


New project won – Azerbaijan: enterprise development and training program

July 13 - ACDI/VOCA has been awarded a multimillion dollar contract to implement the three-year Enterprise Development and Training Program (EDTP) being funded by BP and its co-venturers in Azerbaijan through their Regional Development Initiative (RDI).

The EDTP will be involved in the identification of potential local suppliers, introductory workshops for local companies, gap analysis for potential suppliers and, where appropriate, the creation and implementation of a tailored development plan. (…)

ACDI/VOCA will establish a new private company called Solutions, LLC, to provide financial training and business advisory services in cooperation with other local business service providers. The company will be commercially viable by project’s end. (…)

In Azerbaijan ACDI/VOCA also implements the SME Support through the Financial Sector Development Project and the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, and continues to support the activities of CredAgro, an Azeri rural finance institution founded by ACDI/VOCA in 2000.


Turkish Prime Minister receives Agricola Medal

New FAO Subregional Office inaugurated in Ankara

11 July, Ankara FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today conferred FAO’s highest award, the Agricola Medal, on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recognition of his contribution to agricultural and social development in Turkey. The ceremony took place at FAO’s new Subregional Office for Central Asia which the Director-General, together with Prime Minister Erdogan, formally inaugurated today. The Office was set up last year as part of FAO’s ongoing decentralization policy, with Turkey providing premises and contributing staff and funding. (…)

Under Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkey has launched a major Agricultural Reform Project which aims to provide direct incentives to farmers to significantly increase production and exports and raise rural incomes and food security.  Dr Diouf noted that Turkey is one of the few emerging countries directly participating in food aid operations, to which it has donated millions of dollars through the World Food Programme over the past few years.(…)

The newly inaugurated Subregional Office for Central Asia offers agricultural policy and technical expertise to seven countries – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. (…)


The Turkmenistan Community Empowerment Program gets off the ground

Counterpart International selects communities for participation in a new community empowerment program

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 10 July – On May 31, 2007, Counterpart International Turkmenistan selected 48 target and nine alternate communities across Turkmenistan to participate in the three-year, USAID-funded Turkmenistan Community Empowerment Program (TCEP).  The program is designed to promote greater participation of citizens in local governance at the community level. (…)

All selected target communities will have access to the program technical assistance, such as civic and business training, consultations, and access to information and grants. As a result, the communities are expected to benefit as follows: have stronger and more active adult and youth leadership, better project planning and management skills, stronger social partnership with local governments and businesses, better access to improved services, strengthened networks with other communities, stronger economies measured in terms of jobs, investment, easier access to credit and economic opportunities for youth, and access to legal services and resources through a combination of direct consultations, seminars and dissemination of materials. (…)

For more information, please contact Counterpart's Turkmenistan office at:


UNECE Countries in Figures 2007 released

Fast facts about the 56 UNECE countries

·                     Did you know that 46% of Armenia’s population is employed in the agricultural sector?

·                     Did you know that in 2005, exports of goods and services accounted for 87.1% of Belgium's GDP?

·                     Did you know that Iceland has the lowest youth unemployment rate (7.2%) within the UNECE nations?

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Statistical Division has developed and recently released a new fast fact guide - UNECE Countries in Figures 2007 . Each and every UNECE country in Europe, North America, the Caucasus, and Central Asia* has a two-page profile of social and economic indicators.  Data is presented for the most recent whole year available. The latest data is available on-line through the UNECE Statistical Database ( ). The UNECE Statistical Database contains internationally comparable statistics, and is regularly updated by statistical experts. UNECE Countries in Figures 2007 provides an example of the types of data available in that database. This publication is also intended for readers who are not so familiar with statistical terms or with interpreting statistical tables. It includes explanations of the terminology used, and translations of that terminology into French and Russian. (…)


How the Kenya Women Finance Trust became a model lender

Kudos to Kenyan Women

Sometimes, numbers speak louder than words. Six years ago, the Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) was losing around US$290,000 a year. By 2006, it was posting annual profits of US$1.87 million and changing the lives of more than 100,000 poor women. By any standard, this is a remarkable turnaround. But behind the numbers lies an even more remarkable story. The trust’s outstanding growth is testament to the importance of taking risks, and to not giving up on a good idea.

There is nothing magical about what KWFT has done. Its growth and success are based on sound financial practices that can be replicated in other rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. As its name suggests, the Kenya Women Finance Trust is a microfinance institution established by Kenyan women and offering services only to low-income Kenyan women. IFAD, in partnership with the Belgian Survival Fund, has been a major donor since 1992. (…) Management had to decide between two basic development options. The first, and safest, was to consolidate operations in existing areas, slowly increasing the amount and number of average loans and focusing increasingly on easy-to-reach clients in urban areas. This was an almost guaranteed way of providing slow, sustainable growth. The second, riskier, option was to aim for a bigger impact by expanding aggressively into rural areas, including the poorest parts of the country, to become a truly national institution. KWFT chose the second option. It paid off. By 2006, its financial self-sufficiency ratio had increased to 105 per cent; KWFT’s own income was more than enough to cover all its operating and financial expenses. This level of financial independence is rare for any microfinance institution, let alone one operating in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.(…) Looking ahead, KWFT plans to expand into two new regions in the next year. It aims to reach about 250,000 members by 2011, with an outstanding portfolio in the region of US$120 to US$140 million. (…)






Uganda: reliable water for 10,000 in Kampala

17 July - From today, over 10,000 people reliable access to drinking water, thanks to a new ICRC-built water tank at the Luzira Prison Complex in Kampala. "The ICRC built the new tank to improve the water supply for the 4,500 inmates of Luzira’s four prisons.

We are very happy that a total of 10,000 people, including prison staff and their families, will ultimately benefit from this project," said Beat Mosimann, the ICRC’s deputy head of delegation. He added: "The ICRC works to improve the living conditions of detainees in countries affected by violence all over the world. We have cooperated with prison authorities to bring safe water to prisons in a number of African countries, including Burundi and Rwanda."

The old water tank had been leaking badly, wasting large amounts of water – and money. Less water in the tank meant less pressure in the pipes, making the prisons’ water supply unreliable. The new tank sits 12 metres above ground level and can hold up to 330,000 litres, providing a reliable water supply to the Luzira Prison Complex and minimizing wastage.

The ICRC funded the tank, with both the ICRC and the Uganda Prison Services (UPS) contributing to the technical aspects. In cooperation with the UPS, the ICRC delegation in Uganda is currently improving access to safe water in Gulu, Ruimi and Ibuga prisons.

As well as conducting protection and assistance activities for people affected by conflict in the north of Uganda, the ICRC is monitoring the material and psychological conditions of detainees in prisons, police stations and military barracks countrywide. The ICRC discusses its observations regularly with the Ugandan authorities. These discussions are confidential.

In Uganda, as everywhere, the ICRC carries out its humanitarian activities in an impartial, independent and neutral manner.


Côte d’Ivoire: ICRC provides nearly 5,000 families with seed and fertilizer

15 July - The ICRC has just finished delivering rice seed, maize seed and fertilizer to 3,696 households in 122 villages in the departments of Korhogo, Ferkéssédougou, Boundiali and Bouna. The organization has been supporting 11 associations and 3 agricultural cooperatives as part of the same project.

The ICRC delegation in Abidjan issued the following press release on 15 July 2007. With the support of volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Côte d’Ivoire and an NGO, Animation rurale de Korhogo, the ICRC supplied 30,000 people with 42 tonnes of maize seed, 38 tonnes of upland rice seed, 18 tonnes of lowland rice seed, 370 tonnes of NPK fertilizer and 185 tonnes of urea.

At the end of April, the ICRC distributed 95 tonnes of maize, rice and yam seed to 1,274 households (11,083 individuals) in the region of Satama Soukoura, east of Bouaké.

The aim is to ensure a degree of food security for people living in rural areas that the ICRC has identified as particularly vulnerable. In 2006, the ICRC ran a similar programme in other regions.

As always, before launching the programme the ICRC carried out an analysis. This revealed that a number of areas were particularly vulnerable. It also highlighted the general impoverishment of the population. Factors include problems in the agricultural sector on account of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, i.e. isolation, a fall in prices and the disappearance of State support. The lack of rainfall has also hit agricultural production.

The ICRC will be providing technical support to farmers until the harvest is in.


ERD responds to flooding in Pakistan

July 11 - Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency aid to people in Southern Pakistan after flooding caused severe damage in the region.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, in the Sindh Province and surrounding areas. Over 300 people have died from storm-related damage and flooding. Many areas of Karachi are without electricity and basic amenities, and there is concern of the development of water-borne diseases due to slow cleanup efforts. In the Balochistan province, 200 people are missing and two million people in 15 districts were affected by flooding.

Gadap, the city worst affected by flooding, is located 34 miles outside of Karachi. Over 24 people were killed, over 200 others were injured, and one thousand homes were heavily damaged or completely ruined. The destruction was caused by 69 mile per-hour wind gusts followed by torrential rain that caused many of the homes and buildings in less developed areas to collapse. Residents are now dependent on contaminated water after the covers of the town’s concrete water tanks were blown away. The floods killed livestock and destroyed 75 poultry farms. So far, the storms have caused damage estimated at 200 million rupees, close to $3.5 million U.S.

ERD is working in partnership with Church World Service to provide emergency relief to 250 of vulnerable families in Gadap. Critical food supplies such as wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, tea leaves, iodized salt, powdered milk, and matches will be distributed to each family, particularly those most vulnerable such as widows, children, and the elderly.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will keynote 2007 Hilton Humanitarian Prize events

Los Angeles, July 10 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be the keynote speaker at the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Dinner on Wednesday, September 12, 2007, in New York City at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  The $1.5 million Hilton Prize, largest in the humanitarian world, will be awarded to an organization selected by an independent international jury for its work in alleviating suffering. (…)

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, which is designed to honor charitable organizations that are effective, innovative leaders in addressing the most pressing needs of humanity.  Each year more than 200 nominations are received from around the world.  The process includes a rigorous examination of each candidate’s work. A distinguished international jury makes the final selection. (…)

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is named for its founder, the late hotel entrepreneur, who left virtually his entire fortune to the foundation with instructions to help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout the world.  The Hilton Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California and Reno, Nevada (USA), and its related entities have assets of approximately $3.1 billion and to date has distributed close to $500 million for charitable projects throughout the world.  More than 50% of its grants fund international projects.   The foundation is an independent nonprofit organization and is not part of the Hilton Hotels Corporation.


CARE responds to cyclone in Pakistan

Atlanta, GA, USA, July 6 - CARE has begun emergency operations in some of the areas most heavily affected by Cyclone Yemyin that hit southwestern Pakistan last week, but relief supplies are running out. The storm brought widespread rain, high winds, and flooding particularly in the Baluchistan and Sindh regions. At least 150,000 people are left homeless and hundreds were killed in the disaster.

Immediate relief efforts have been hampered by limited communications and severe road damage in the worst affected areas. The casualties have gone into the hundreds, and are likely to rise as hundreds more people are still missing. The Baluchistan Province is said to be the worst affected, with a million people affected by the floods.

Although relief and rescue operations are underway by the government, United Nations and aid agencies, communities are facing severe shortages of medicines, food supplies, health facilities, safe drinking water and sanitation services.

CARE is providing emergency packs including water purification items, hygiene kits and kitchen sets to around 5,000 most vulnerable families, many headed by women with children. To meet the mounting health needs in the flood affected areas, CARE is also providing mobile medical health care facilities to hundred of patients. The medical facilities are focusing on the primary and reproductive health care needs of mothers and children.  CARE is now seeking funding to expand services immediately to 30,000 people. (…)


World Vision providing supplies, aid to victims of South Asia flooding

International agencies convene to plan relief efforts; urgent need in Pakistan, India

Mansehra, Pakistan, July 3 -  World Vision and other local and international humanitarian agencies will convene in Islamabad today in response to a request for aid by the Pakistani government, as some 1.5 million people in South Asia have been affected by Cyclone Yemyin and flash flooding. World Vision relief staff in India are already supplying hot meals to families who have been displaced by the storms. The consortium of aid agencies will determine needs and decide on a course of action. “The access to scattered groups of populations is very difficult,” said Graham Strong, World Vision Pakistan national director. “We can count on the technical capacity and experience of our team, and the collaboration with our partners, but there are considerable logistical challenges.”

The Pakistani Meteorological Department issued a warning that in the next two days heavy winds and rains will hit already damaged areas. Torrential rains have left an estimated 500 dead and missing and 250,000 homeless. Rising water levels have forced thousands of families to flee their homes and devastated buildings and grain stores, destroying food, clothing and school supplies.

Monsoons have wreaked havoc in six communities in India where World Vision runs programs for sponsored children. The agency is planning to help families rebuild their homes and is already providing support to minimize the disruption of schooling for children.

In India, one World Vision project is organizing medical camps, as many children are suffering from fevers and colds. Staff members on the ground continue to work alongside the government, completing assessments and monitoring the situation in other areas. (…)


Rotary - New intercountry committee stresses U.S.-Russian club ties

By Dean Golemis

13 June - Rotarians in Russia, the United States, and Canada took a big step toward promoting fellowship and coordinating international projects by launching the United States-Russia Intercountry Committee. The ICC chartering ceremony on 8 June coincided with the 12th annual Rotary in Russia Conference, held this year in Skokie, Illinois, USA. The new ICC, which encompasses 10 districts, is the largest intercountry committee in the Rotary world. (…)

Eighty delegates from all participating districts gathered at the three-day Rotary in Russia Conference to discuss projects, membership, and youth programs in their home clubs and districts, and chart a course for the new ICC.

Past District 5890 Governor Jon Eiche, who chaired the conference, said the ICC will form committees to promote twin club relationships, hold annual meetings hosted by member districts, identify RI materials and documents to be translated into Russian, and launch a bilingual Web site. Gian Paolo Marello, of the Rotary Club of Moscow Arbat and ICC national coordinator for District 2220, stressed that "club twinning" between Russian and North American clubs is an important first step for the ICC. (…)



Peace and security



Resolution against depleted uranium weapons is issued by Church of the Brethren General Board

Elgin, IL, USA, July 13 - A resolution against the use of depleted uranium weapons has been approved by the Church of the Brethren General Board. The action came at a meeting on June 30, held in conjunction with the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Declaring the use of depleted uranium weapons to be "a specific and compelling example of the sinfulness of war," the resolution appeals for a halt to their manufacture, lifts up the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams and the World Council of Churches, and directs the Brethren Witness/Washington Office to advocate for elimination of the weapons, among other actions.

Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, introduced the resolution as a partnership with Christian Peacemaker Teams and the World Council of Churches, which have worked against depleted uranium weapons and/or have made statements regarding use of the weapons. (…)

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts almost 130,000 members across the US and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.


Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled): ICBL acknowledged through Pailin Hawks Volleyball Team

Author(s): Nathaniel Powell

5 July - In acknowledgement of the ongoing need to keep the International Campaign to Ban Landmines high on the international public agenda, the Pailin Hawks volleyball team will carry the ICBL logo on their uniforms for the 2007 National A-League season.

The Pailin Hawks debuted during the 2006 National League season and impressed everyone with their dignity, determination and team spirit. Pailin Hawks Coach Khem Peng Thong subsequently won the 2006 Best New Athlete prize presented at the 2006 National League Grand Finals.

By acknowledging the International Campaign to Ban the Landmine through the Pailin ICBL Hawks, the CNVLD recognises that there has been a fundamental shift in public focus away from the Landmine issue even though the production, use, stockpiling and cruel legacies of the Landmine continue. This shift has come in favour of more ‘fashionable’ initiatives, focusing on the G8, demonstrating the largesse involved when celebrities take on high visibility causes for short – term publicity. The CNVLD and the Pailin ICBL Hawks urge the international community to re-invigorate the debate on the Landmine and the long-terms effects of UXO and not forget the daily casualties across the world without a public voice.

The CNVLD and the International Campaign to Ban the Landmine – Standing Up together in support of the Cambodian Survivors of the Landmine.


New class of Rotary World Peace Fellows announced

Contact: Sandra Prufer at +1-847-866-3208

Evanston, Ill., USA, 1 July - Amid today’s headlines of war, suicide bombings and ethnic and religious violence emerges some welcome positive news: Rotary International has named a new class of World Peace Fellows to study peacemaking and conflict resolution at the six Rotary Centers for International Studies.

Launched in 2002, this innovative approach to world peace is a master’s level program aimed at equipping the next generation of government officials, diplomats and humanitarian leaders with skills needed to reduce the threat of war and violence. The Rotary World Peace Fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive selection process based on their professional, academic and personal achievements.

The Rotary Centers are located on the campuses of leading universities in five countries: International Christian University, Japan; Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; University of Bradford, England; University of Queensland, Australia; University of California, Berkeley; and — in a shared arrangement — Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Like the members of the five classes preceding them, the 60 students in the 2007-09 class are a diverse group, representing 32 countries and a wide array of professional and cultural backgrounds. Their interests and areas of expertise include public health, education, international law, public policy, economic development, journalism, and social justice. (…)

The program is already showing results. Dozens of Rotary Peace Fellow alumni are making a difference in jobs within the United Nations, the World Bank, governmental agencies and international non-governmental organizations where their skills are tipping balance in favor of peace and conflict resolution.

Rotary is the world's largest privately-funded source of international scholarships and has more than 30,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographic regions.  For more information about the Rotary Centers for International Studies, please visit:


PeaceInsight - A new project by the Center for Peace

Peace in Sight is a joint initiative of the “PeaceInsight” Organization in Sussex, England, the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, and “PCAS” Organization of Ramallah.

At the base of the initiative is a program for bringing young Israelis and Palestinians - ages 16 to 18 - together with the goal of creating acquaintance, holding dialogue and forming an ongoing connection to influence the communities and the schools from which the participants come. The public and educational strength and power of the program is in its being a three-year program, enabling wide ranging acquaintance and dialogue over the long term.

The Peace in Sight program is aimed at a target population of young and future leadership within Israeli and Palestinian society.

We believe that only an in-depth and long term education program can achieve the objective - shattering stereotypes, acquaintance with and acceptance of the other, internalization of values of respect, coexistence and peace.







EU funded research results gives hope to HIV patients

19 July - A study conducted by the Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine and the Royal Free and University College London Medical Schools, and funded by the European Commission, shows that long term treatment of HIV-infected patients with the combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) effectively restores their immune function levels to levels similar to those found in healthy individuals. These findings are derived from an analysis of a long-standing European collaborative study, EuroSIDA, a research project that has been funded by the European Commission since 1994. (…)

The authors of the EuroSIDA study, Dr Amanda Mocroft of the Royal Free and University College London Medical Schools, and Prof Jens D. Lundgren, University of Copenhagen, can therefore conclude that a normalisation of the CD4 cell count in the blood of HIV-infected patients can be achieved if viral suppression with the cART therapy can be maintained for a sufficiently long period of time. The EuroSIDA study has shown that most HIV positive patients who can maintain a viral load at less than 50 copies per ml of blood continue to have significant rises in their CD4 cell counts even after five years of cART treatment. The EuroSIDA study also shows that HIV positive patients who started the cART therapy with a CD4 cell count of above 350 cells per microlitre of blood had CD4 cells counts approaching the level seen in HIV-negative individuals after more than three years of cART therapy.


Somali religious leaders join the fight against polio

80 Sheikhs from Puntland and Somaliland mobilize support for polio prevention

Nairobi, 18 July – The Puntland Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs, Abdirizak Yasin Abdulle, led 40 religious leaders from North East Somalia in a joint declaration of support for polio prevention and immunization today. "We have a big responsibility,” said Minister Abdulle. “It is now time for the Sheikhs to take in front of Allah their responsibilities for the eradication of polio. We must call for the vaccination of all children under five years of age and work for the benefit of the children."

The declaration could be a major breakthrough for the polio programme in Somalia, which has faced resistance from some parents who have cited religious beliefs as a reason to refuse immunization for their children. Polio re-emerged in Somalia in July 2005, after almost three polio-free years, with 185 cases confirmed in 2005, 36 in 2006 and eight in 2007. Announcing the declaration on behalf of the religious leaders, Somaliland Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahamoud Sheikh Sufi Mohamed said, "Islamic Scholars are required to effectively support community awareness about polio eradication and immunization in general. Knowing the facts and proving things is what Islam calls for on any issue. It refuses to follow untrue things and rumours that are not based on knowledge." The official support from the group of influential Sheikhs followed their participation in a two-day workshop in Garowe. During the workshop they met with Dr. Ahmed Ragaa A. Ragab, a well-known Islamic scholar at Al Azhar University and medical doctor, who dispelled rumours, myths and misconceptions about polio immunization and the polio vaccine. (…)


EUREGHA’s Summer Conference - Health and Nutrition in EU

The European Regional and Local Health Authorities Platform (EUREGHA) organised this summer 2007 the conference Health and Nutrition in the Regions of Europe that took place on 5 July in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels. The EUREGHA conference focused on exploring regional nutrition best practice examples from across the European Union.

During the event, the European Commission presented two nutrional initiatives, the White Paper on a strategy for Europe on nutrition, overweight and obesity and the EU Mini-chefs initiative, that aims to promote healthy cooking for young Europeans.

For more information about the event please contact


Project HOPE responds to emergency appeal

July - When a storm at sea sunk a crucial shipment of medical supplies and medicines on route to a Malawi health organization, the Ministry of Health in Malawi turned to Project HOPE for help.

CHAM, a network of health facilities in Malawi provides 40 percent of the health services in the country through its education and health facilities that include nine nursing colleges, 18 hospitals, 17 community hospitals and 128 health centers. Close to 90 percent of these facilities are located in rural settings.

Four of CHAM’s facilities were on the verge of closure this month because their annual shipment of medicines and medical supplies on route from Europe to South Africa sunk in a storm at sea this spring.  But Project HOPE, with help from Food for the Hungry, another non-governmental organization (NGO) working in Malawi, stepped in to insure the facilities would stay open. After assessing the critical needs of the health facilities, Project HOPE pledged approximately $1.7 million in  pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to arrive in Malawi by the end of June.

“Over the years Project HOPE has built strong working relationships with the various Ministries of Health in the countries we serve. This close relationship coupled with Project HOPE's reputation and dedication to helping others has allowed us to be uniquely positioned to offer assistance in time of emergencies (…)”  said Byron Owens, Director International Humanitarian Assistance and Gifts-in-Kind Programs. “By cooperating with other NGOs and working with our own flexible Humanitarian Assistance department, we were able to respond to this emergency request in a prompt and practical manner and help to continue providing accessible, affordable, quality health services for the people in Malawi.”


On Helen Keller's birthday, HKI launches an Integrated Child Survival Campaign in Guinea

Conakry, Guinea, June 27 – Helen Keller International (HKI), in collaboration with UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health, launched Guinea’s first bi-annual integrated child survival campaign for 2007 in the capital of Conakry. During the campaign, almost 2 million children under five years of age will be given life-saving vaccinations, vitamin A supplements and deworming medication. (…) The launch of the integrated child survival campaign coincided with the Month of the African Child and was attended by the First Lady, the Honorable Mme Henriette Conté, the Ministers of Justice and Social Affairs, and the wife of Prime Minister Lansana Kouyaté. Representatives from UNICEF, the Government of Canada, and WHO also attended the event, which was hosted by the Mayor of the Commune of Matam in Conakry. Funding for the campaign was provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the GAVI Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.) (…)

In addition to launching the integrated child survival campaign, the national vaccination program unveiled its new logo, and presented a radio jingle designed to encourage people to participate in vaccination programs was broadcast during the event. If the dancing and singing of attending school children were any indication, the new jingle will be very successful!



Energy and safety



Construction of the Green Cross Solar Park in Sri Lanka is complete

July 18 - The Green Cross Solar Park, a joint venture between Green Cross Sri Lanka and Green Cross Japan has recently been completed. After the installation of 17 units of solar powered LED lighting at the end of June, the park awaits only cosmetic touches before its official opening in mid September, which will be attended by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. The park is guarded by Navy soldiers 24 hours a day, and visiting families can enjoy a comfortable and safe time, even after dark under the solar powered lights. Use of cutting edge solar technology in the park is expected to be a milestone for further development of renewable energy in Sri Lanka.


European Solar Energy Conference & Exhibition attracts experts from all over the World to Milan, Italy – 3-7 September

Well over 3,000 Conference participants from the fields of research, energy management, industry and politics are expected to attend

This September, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be taking place for the 22nd edition. The Conference and Exhibition, which is supported by the European Commission, UNESCO, the Italian Government as well as industrial organisations and other agencies, is held every year in a different European country. The host this year is Milan, Italy. Over 3,000 experts and decision makers from industry, research and politics from over 75 countries are expected to meet from 3–7 September.

During these five days, the world’s leading experts will be discussing the latest developments in the area of solar power generation. The Conference is regarded worldwide as a leading platform for the transfer of information between research and industry. Running parallel to the Conference is the international industrial Exhibition, the biggest ever held in the area of PV solar energy. (…)

The EU PVSEC 2007 is supported by the European Commission, the UNESCO, the Italian Government, the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).


Pakistan cuts pesticide use dramatically

FAO-EU project shows way to higher profits, better health

Vehari, Pakistan – In the cotton-growing heart of the Indus Valley, Pakistani taxpayers are now financing what European Union taxpayers helped start – a movement to give farmers the skills and confidence to rein in indiscriminate and dangerous use of pesticides, while reducing their poverty at the same time. "Before, we used to follow what the neighbours did in spraying pesticide," says small-scale cotton farmer Muhammad Younis, 27. "Last year, I used six to seven applications and this year, after observing my field, I used commercial pesticides only three times and biopesticides like neem and aloe vera twice. The crop looks as good as last year, and I've saved money on the pesticide."

Mr Younis learned field ecology in a Farmer Field School, a method pioneered by FAO and first introduced in Pakistan to train cotton farmers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The FAO-EU IPM Programme for Cotton in Asia, worth US$12.4 million, promoted this approach to pest management from 1999 to 2004 in Bangladesh, China, India, the Philippines and Viet Nam, as well as Pakistan. Since 2004, Pakistan has committed US$7.7 million in public funds to integrate IPM into public policy, university curricula, provincial extension services and research and development. Projects at both national and provincial level are well on their way to using Farmer Field Schools to train 167 000 farmers in IPM over five years. (…)


How hi-tech nuclear science is feeding the poor

The hi-tech and often baffling field of nuclear technology may seem a world away from the poorest developing world farmers and families struggling to make a dollar a day.

Yet nuclear methods applied to agriculture are enabling millions of these farmers to grow more crops and rear healthier livestock. Since most of the world's 854 million hungry people live in rural areas where agriculture is the main livelihood, such technology can have a direct impact on poverty and hunger. In addition, despite public concern over nuclear technology, such methods have passed rigorous safety checks – in fact they increase the safety of food while benefiting the environment. Since 1964, FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency have harnessed such technology to help promote food security, through the Vienna-based Joint FAO/IAEA Programme. (…)

For example, scientists use a method called irradiation to create crop varieties that are more disease-resistant and grow better in poor soils, a massive benefit to countries across drought-prone Africa, where the poorest farmers try to survive on the most marginal lands.(…) Nuclear techniques can also be used to detect excessive pesticide or veterinary drug residues in food and monitor implementation of good agricultural and veterinary practices. There are numerous other areas where nuclear technology helps the environment. For example, one technique suppresses, or in some situations even eradicates, insect pests by the systematic release of sterilized males of the species – a type of birth control. This reduces the need for chemical pesticides that can harm other organisms and soils. Another example involves a nuclear technique that measures water storage and tracks water and nutrients in soil, reducing wastage of these valuable commodities. (…)



Environment and wildlife



2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership launched in support for the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity

Paris, 12 July - A multi-million dollar effort to track the fate and fortune of the world's biological diversity is being launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The 2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership aims to complete a set of indicators that will allow the international community to better assess whether conservation efforts are succeeding towards the target of 'reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010'. "This new partnership helps ensure that the bar is raised around the globe for accounting for biodiversity loss," stated GEF CEO Monique Barbut. "It is more important than ever for the biodiversity community to elevate its discourse and to reinforce the relevance of biodiversity conservation to sustainable economic development in the 21st Century. (…)" 

Several indicators already exist which are giving an insight into how well the world is addressing the biodiversity challenge. (…) The indicator of Protected Areas shows that around 12 per cent of the Earth's land surface is currently covered by more than 105,000 protected areas. However, the area of sea and ocean under protection is relatively tiny: just 0.6 per cent of the ocean's surface area and 1.4 per cent of coastal shelf areas are protected. This has major implications for the sustainability of marine resources including fish and shellfish and for the livelihoods of coastal communities that are reliant upon their continued supply. Other existing indicators include forest cover and the generation of nitrogen from sources such as fossil fuel burning, industry and fertilizer which can impact on biodiversity and wildlife habitats. (…)


Miss Nepal crowned WWF conservation ambassador

Kathmandu, Nepal, 17 July – WWF Nepal has appointed Sitashma Chand, Miss Nepal 2007, as the organization’s conservation ambassador. As such, Sitashma will play an important role in encouraging rural and urban youth to get involved with conservation, particularly freshwater and climate change issues effecting Nepal. During her tenure, she will visit WWF project areas and local communities. (…)

WWF Nepal started the conservation ambassador programme in 2004. The “ambassadors” have proved to be a valuable asset to the organization in disseminating important conservation messages throughout the country. In 2006, Sugarika KC, a former Miss Nepal and WWF’s second conservation ambassador, encouraged urban Nepali youth in Kathmandu on a popular radio show to be proactive on conservation issues. She also took part in a WWF-supported theatre programme in Chitwan National Park, home to endangered greater one-horned rhinoceroses.

The newly appointed Chand is also looking forward to partaking in WWF activities. "I will first do an internship at WWF to orient myself with various wildlife and conservation issues," Sitashma said. "Then I will contribute the best I can to making an honest effort [to conservation]."

Sitashma Chand will also represent Nepal in this year’s Miss World contest, which will be held in China on 1 December 2007.


WRI Receives $750,000 grant for climate policy research from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Washingon, DC, July 5 - As part of the first round of grants from its $100 million Climate Change Initiative, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) today announced that the World Resources Institute (WRI) is one of six organizations that will receive grants to deliver analysis and recommendations on different approaches to tackling climate change through government policy. The foundation is awarding a two-year grant of $750,000 for work by WRI's Climate and Energy Program in three areas. The first is to demonstrate the need for a mandatory federal greenhouse gas registry that is consistent with global greenhouse gas accounting standards. Such a registry will provide the foundation for measuring and tracking major emission sources and will be the basis for a federal cap-and-trade program. The second is to inform the debate regarding various climate policy design elements through the production of issue briefs and communication efforts. The third is to identify ways to integrate climate impacts and opportunities into the national energy security debate. (…)

Putting a price on carbon and developing a new international agreement that encourages nations like the U.S. and China to participate are the primary objectives in the first of three climate strategies DDCF will be supporting. The second strategy, which will receive the bulk of the funds from the initiative, will be to identify and promote policies that accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, particularly technologies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy and low-emission uses of coal. The third strategy will be to advance efforts to assess the likely effects of climate change and identify adjustments that can be made to lower the impact of those effects on people and the environment. (…)


17th August, 2007 - Global Green USA: release of The 11th Hour

Leonardo DiCaprio's “The 11th Hour” is a feature length documentary concerning the environmental crises caused by human actions and their impact on the planet. The 11th Hour documents the cumulative impact of these actions upon the planet's life systems and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity. (…)

With the help of over fifty of the world's most prominent thinkers and activists, including reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, “The 11thHour" documents the grave problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitats are all addressed, and their causes rooted in human activity. The combination of these crises call into question the very future not of the planet, but of humanity.

However, the most powerful element of “The 11th Hour is not a portrait of a planet in crisis, but the offering of hope and solutions. Scientists and environmental advocates such as David Orr and Gloria Flora paint a portrait for a radically new and exciting future in which humanity seeks not to dominate the earth's life systems, but to mimic them and coexist. “The 11th Hour" calls for a future now within our grasp that is both sustainable and healthier.


Towards Green Villages: November 19-23, 2007 - Anil Agarwal Green College, New Delhi

Why do some villages remain poor despite execution of development programmes? Why are certain villages prosperous? Why is the high growth in the Indian economy not translating into prosperous villages? Why is the gross national produce (GNP) not an indicator of real wealth? Why will the conventional development model not make villages poverty-free? Why is the GNP an answer to sustainable villages? How is a poverty line created? How can the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) be used to eradicate poverty?

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, announces a five-day refresher workshop on how to use the environment to eradicate poverty in rural India.

For more than two decades, CSE’s campaigns and research have shown that India’s poverty is ecological in nature. This means that to eradicate poverty, we have to regenerate our ecology. Many villages have done this. CSE has been studying their experiences.

The refresher workshop seeks to learn from these models and put in place a framework for sustainable villages. This highly interactive course is designed to clarify the linkages between environment and poverty, and to demonstrate its feasibility through a two-day field trip to Laporiya, a village of pastoralists who have collectively drought-proofed their village and created sustainable livelihoods. In addition to experienced CSE staff, the course faculty includes eminent development experts.


The fourth Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference

UNESCWA co-organized "The Fourth Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference- MENAREC4" in cooperation with the Syrian Ministry of Electricity, the United Nations Environment Programme - Regional Office for Western Asia, and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The conference was held in Damascus & Palmyra, Syria from 21 to 24 June 2007.

The main theme of the conference was "The Way Forward for Renewable Energy (RE) Development &Technology Transfer, EU-MENA Cooperation". The conference covered topics on Renewable Energy (RE) resources; potential and prospects in the MENA Region, State-of-the-Art of (RE/EE) technologies, enhancing MENA-EUROPE RE cooperation Initiatives and technology transfer, policies, legislations, financing and awareness tools, and for promoting RE applications in the MENA Region. Delegations and representatives from 38 countries, among them 19 national and international organizations, 15 ministers, 7 of them from Europe and MENA countries, participated in the Conference, including the former chancellor of the German Federal Republic, Mr. Gerhard Schroder.(…)

The participating ministers, delegations and representatives approved Damascus Declaration which focused on the need to diversify energy resources, to set national targets for RE deployment, to support the use of all forms of RE and the need to developed countries to scale up their technical & financial assistance to MENA countries for RE programs including technology transfer.



Religion and spirituality



The Interfaith Encounter Association participates actively to international dialogue

Istanbul, Turkey, July  -  IEA's research fellow participated in the 6th Annual International Conference on an Inter-faith Perspective on Globalisation for the Common Good, organized under the title: “A Non-violent Path to Conflict resolution and Peacebuilding”. He presented at the conference the IEA and the paper "Inter-religious Research as a Resource for Conflict Resolutions: Demonstrated in the case of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem".

Clearwater, Florida, USA, July - A coordinator of one of IEA's groups, who is also a member of IARF Council, represents IEA in the 33rd General Meeting of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF).


Trust across the world’s divides? Dignity for all

A series of international conferences - Caux, Switzerland,  5 July-19 August

Millions struggle for survival. Others want to protect their own wealth and interests. The challenges of the environment and global warming, the rising tide of greed and the explosive impact of humiliation all threaten our common future. Hunger, homelessness and ill health undermine the well-being of peoples. Globalization and the market need ethical values to meet these challenges.  All struggles are connected. Humans share in suffering. Every human life is precious, unique, of infinite value and justice and human dignity are indivisible. As regions struggle with the challenges of living with different cultures and languages, there is a growing need to work for an alliance of civilizations.

Never before have there been so many efforts to dialogue with ‘the other’. Though they can offer no simple answers in this violent, complex and interdependent world, these efforts do help us to draw inspiration from each other. Initiatives of Change continues to encourage building trust across the world’s divides, person by person, group by group and year by year. The alternative to conflict is a thorough review of personal and collective motivations, learning to live and work with one another in equity and dignity. Then trust can be reborn as others discover through our actions that we are trustworthy.


The Interfaith Summer Institute - Canada, 5-12-August

Building Interfaith Solidarity - Moving Beyond the Racialization of the Religions Other

The content of the 2007 summer institute is a response to current social and political crises. It addresses the critical intersections between religion, racism, and racial profiling - be it Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, communalism or the “clash of civilizations” - and how these are played out locally and globally. It increases participants’ understanding of the concepts and issues related to religious diversity. Central to the curriculum is the foregrounding of women, youth, and children, and their role in conflict and peacemaking; and Indigenous environmental logic and knowledge of place. The significant focus on Native peoples explores ways of righting the relationship between First Peoples, the land, and the settler history of colonialism in Canada .

The skills component of the summer institute is comprised of a range of practices in peacemaking. Each year specific skills are highlighted from the following areas: cultural production, community organizing, cross-cultural conflict resolution, restorative justice; instructional design for peace-making curriculum; education for environmental justice; active non-violence; popular theatre and the use of art, spirituality, and ritual to heal communities traumatized by violence. The importance of spiritual practice in peace and justice-making is explored through individuals sharing from their different traditions.


“Social Justice” Conference with the Inter Religious Council of Cambodia

Phnom Penh, 17 August - In cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

“Social Justice” in Inter Religious Perspective. The topic of the conference is the concept of “social justice” as understood by different religion groups in Cambodia: Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.


Religious Youth Service Paramaribo

Youth Peace Through Interreligious Dialogue and Action

Theme: “Young leaders of all faiths, serving together for peace”

Paramaribo, 18-30 August 2007 -We are inviting youth leaders between the ages of 18-30 years to attend the upcoming Religious Youth Service (RYS) in Paramaribo, Suriname South America August 18-30, 2007. The Suriname project brings together international youths in an effort to offer models of intercultural and interreligious cooperation through service.

Together with volunteers from the local communities, the RYS participants will be involved in the restoration of a Children facility (SOS Kinderdorp) and Habitat for Humanity. These projects will improve the living environment of children and families. The work project will include the rebuilding of sanitary facilities, repairing, painting, landscaping and construction.


Silent Meditation for World Peace – September 21

A peace movement rooted within the soul

Washington D.C., 3 July  - On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, The Zambuling Institute for Human Transformation invites you to a  Silent Meditation for World Peace on September 21, 2007  at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 12:00 to 2:00 pm.

We invite you to meditate, contemplate, pray or simply remain in silence, focusing your mind and awareness on world peace. It is through your power, the fullness of your silence, and our collective silence that the group will be able to reach every corner of the planet, to eliminate violence and conflict and to open the doors for world peace. (...) This Type of event is being organized in several countries of the world. (...)

You will experience how silence creates a unique and singular state of unbounded qualities.   Silence transcends all possible physical and nonphysical frontiers. It travels to every country and human and natural environments. It is in silence where we embrace activity. There is no activity that results from activity. Therefore, it is essential to extend our entire existence to the self realization of the fullness of silence. It is the fullness of silence that creates the conditions for inner peace. (...)



Culture and education



IMC Receives $2.7 million UNICEF grant to revamp education in Lebanon

July 6, Santa Monica, CA, USA - International Medical Corps (IMC) and UNICEF have joined forces to develop 25 Child-Friendly Schools in some of Lebanon’s most vulnerable regions. The Child-Friendly School concept seeks to promote a holistic approach to education, through activities that advocate good health and hygiene, initiatives to ensure children’s physical and emotional well-being, and environments that are conducive to learning.

UNICEF’s $ 2.7 million grant to IMC will benefit an estimated 6,000 children, aged 3-15, living in 25 villages covering four regions of Lebanon that have historically struggled with poverty and instability or were affected by last summer’s conflict. (…)

IMC’s new program, which began earlier this month, will dramatically re-shape 25 of these schools, transforming them into stimulating educational environments conducive to learning and development. To achieve these goals, IMC, in collaboration with Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and UNICEF, plans to train teachers to understand and identify behavioral problems in children and address them creatively; to offer teachers health education and first-aid training; to rehabilitate playgrounds and provide schools with toys and recreational equipment; and to encourage parents to become involved in decisions about their children’s health and well-being both at school and in the community. (…)

IMC was one of the first international NGOs to begin relief activities in Lebanon in July 2006, in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war between Hezbollah and Israel. Since launching operations there, IMC has rehabilitated approximately 40 health clinics and six water reservoirs damaged in the conflict, in addition to establishing nine child-friendly play spaces.

International Medical Corps is a Santa Monica-based global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. (…)


School teaches 'we' instead of 'me'

Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, Canada

2 July (BWNS) - It's only three words - a total of six letters. But the "Me to We" slogan helps students understand what service is all about, says the principal of the Maxwell International School, located in the woods of Vancouver Island. "By adopting what Canadian youth activist Craig Kielberger calls the 'Me to We' philosophy, we help our students to be less 'me'-centered and more centered on the needs of others," said the principal, Dan Vaillancourt. "Through service to others, students develop empathy and understanding while being exposed to many of the social issues that plague society," he said. "Working with the elderly, the handicapped, the homeless, the sick, the less fortunate - both here and abroad - will reinforce in our children the belief that we are all responsible for creating a better world."

Since its founding by the Baha'is of Canada nearly two decades ago, Maxwell International School - a college-preparatory institution, grades 7 to 12, with an enrollment of 150 students from some 25 countries - has placed heavy emphasis on service. (…) Overall, programs at the school reflect a spiritual view of humanity; use of practical, integrative and theme-based projects; the encouragement of creative and artistic expression in all aspects of school life; and the use of service as a tool for learning. "Maxwell's aim is to encourage students to become servants to humanity, to see the world as an arena for community action, and to determine their active roles as transformers of society," the principal said.

The students come up with projects on their own, through organized programs, with the assistance of faculty or staff, or at the request of outside parties. (…)


World Children’s Festival - Children from around the world create masterpieces for world leaders including Mandela, Bush and Gates

July 2 - The most creative children from around the world gathered in Washington, DC on June 23-25, 2007 to create spectacular artwork for global leaders (…) This was part of the World Children’s Festival, a three-day celebration on the National Mall that marked the tenth anniversary of the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF). Approximately 10,000 people attended, making it the largest celebration of children’s creativity and imagination in the world (..)

“Over the past decade ICAF has been at the forefront of efforts to foster children’s innate creativity,” said Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq, ICAF executive director. “Our Arts Olympiad program and educational festivals are designed to harness children’s imagination for positive social change. The World Festival promotes trust, friendship and cultural empathy by engaging American children, our finest ambassadors, in the development of future global leaders.”

The ICAF integrates the arts with science, sport and technology for the development of children’s creativity and empathy -- preconditions for a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world.

The weblink to the World Children's Festival is and to children's masterpieces is 


60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, UN Headquarters, New York, 5-7 September

Media Committee for the 60th annual DPI/NGO Conference: A Progress Report

By Joan Levy on NGO Reporter, July 2007

The media committee for the Annual DPI/NGO Conference has two goals: to publicize the Conference and its theme to interested parties in various parts of the world and to publicize the work of NGOs in partnership with the United Nations to combat the ills of climate change.

To date, the co-chairs of the Conference and members of the planning committee have conducted video and radio interviews on the work and goals of the Conference. A press conference was held in early May for United Nations journalists. Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, one of the opening round table speakers at the Fall Conference, spoke about climate change and responded to questions. Also, the committee was successful in placing a full-page ad in "The Interdependent", the official magazine of UNA/ USA (United Nations Association of the United States), a magazine with a wide circulation.

A Student Journalism Program, started last year as a pilot project, has been considerably expanded. College journalists are applying for accreditation to cover the three-day Conference with the intention of submitting articles to their local college newspapers. The committee has been working with the ArtCenter College of Design on climate change and global warming public service announcements, to be broadcast during the Conference. In addition, the committee has formed a core group of NGO press representatives who will relay Conference announcements and newsworthy information to their constituents.



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Next issues - After the August pause, the next issues will be on September 14 (English) and September 21 (Italian)



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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:

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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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