Good News Agency – Year IX, n° 10



Weekly - Year IX, number 10 – 18th July 2008

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 4,000 media in 49 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



UN agency applauds Security Council resolution on sexual violence during wars

25 June - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has welcomed the Security Council’s call for an immediate end to all acts of sexual violence against women and girls in conflict situations.

Calling the resolution, adopted unanimously last week, “a historical achievement,” the Fund’s Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said it would go a long way to protect the dignity of women and girls. “While sexual violence against women in conflict has often been ignored and considered a marginal concern, it in fact cuts to the very core of the existence of the women who are victims of this crime.” The resolution, which says sexual violence against civilians is often a tactic in war, demands all parties to conflicts take concrete measures to prevent and respond to violence, such as by training troops and upholding military discipline procedures. It also says sexual violence crimes should be excluded from any amnesties reached at the end of conflicts, and calls on States to strengthen their judicial and health-care systems to better assist victims. (...)


International conference on marine affairs and the Law of the Sea

by eitand

3 July - In connection with its 50th anniversary, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) will on 21-23 August 2008 organize an international conference on marine affairs and the Law of the Sea in Oslo, Norway. The conference is entitled “The World Ocean in Globalization: Challenges for Marine Regions”, and is to provide an independent and qualified forum for the exchange of views, analyses and comments on challenges for seas and marine regions, and their resources, in the face of increasing globalization.

This is the third international conference organized by the FNI to discuss challenges for international cooperation on oceans in general, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in particular. Further information is available at


International Law Observer among top 100 Law and Lawyer Blogs  

by Dominik Zimmermann

3 July - After one year of blogging on international law related subjects we (the authors) were glad to see that International Law Observer has now been chosen to be one of the top 100 Law and Lawyer Blogs by the Criminal Justice Degrees Guide. This recognition is all the more enjoyable when considering that International Law Observer was one of only ten law blogs focusing specifically on international law and foreign law (from the perspective of the US). Other blogs that were listed in this category were long-running classics such as Opinio Juris, International Law Reporter and EU Law Blog.

We will of course use this recognition as an incentive to keep providing our readers with news, commentary and reports on international law related subjects.



Human rights



Signed the Draft Agreement between Italy and Romania for combating human trafficking

The European Social Fund in Support of Victims of trafficking

July 9 - The new transnational cooperation between Italy and Romania is born today in Bucharest to activate concrete actions to combat human trafficking. It is born with the Draft Agreement “declaration of aim of cooperation for combating human trafficking”.

The  fundamental objective of the Protocol is to guarantee  the social and occupational inclusion to the victims of trafficking through actions funded mainly with ESF.

The signatories of Protocol are: Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities in Romania, the Ministry of Labour Health and Social Policies in Italy,  Department for Equal Opportunities -  Prime’s Minister Office in Italy and ten Italian Regions (Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Sicily, Tuscany,  Autonomous Province of Trento, Autonomous Province of Bolzano and Piedmont leader) with the Technical support of Tecnostruttura. (…)

The Protocol originated from the “Ways Out” project, that focused on phenomenon of human trafficking and realized by the Italian Department for Equal Opportunities -  Prime’s Minister Office, ten Italian Regions (Calabria, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Sicily, Tuscany, Autonomous Province of Trento, Autonomous Province of Bolzano and Piedmont leader Region). They proposed to European Commission to activate actions to support  victims of trafficking also in other Countries of the European Union. For information: Tecnostruttura of the Regions for the ESF – Comunication Department, Roberta Giangiorgi: The Draft Agreement can be downloaded at


Strasbourg: Tripartite high level meeting

7 July - At a high-level meeting in Strasbourg, representatives of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations agreed that the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the management of cultural diversity remained among the priorities of their organisations.

The participating organisations discussed different aspects of intercultural dialogue and their collaboration in this area, particularly the role of human rights, the promotion of intercultural competences through education as well as the link between intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention. Participants declared their determination to strengthen co-ordination and co-operation between them in the area of intercultural dialogue, and discussed additional opportunities for joint action in the field of human rights protection, education and conflict prevention.


Rwanda: First training course for military legal advisers in international humanitarian law

Kigali - From 7 to 11 July 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) are running a training course in Kigali for legal advisers in international humanitarian law within the RDF and other State structures involved in the national application or implementation of humanitarian law. The main bodies concerned are the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the national police force.

The aim of the course, which is the first of its kind to be organized by the ICRC in Rwanda, is to strengthen the capacities of the authorities and the RDF and to establish within them a permanent body of people who are qualified and able to assume the role of legal adviser in humanitarian law. (…)

The training course is being taught by ICRC and RDF experts and is part of a long-term ICRC commitment to provide support for the Rwandan authorities in the process of adhering to the treaties of international humanitarian law. It is intended to strengthen their capacities to implement those instruments.



Economy and development



Italy gives €14 million for food security

Italian Government strengthens commitment on hunger

Rome, 16 July - The Italian Development Cooperation will make an additional contribution of 14 million euros to the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety, Italian authorities have announced. The Italian Government said the payment was a contribution to resolving the current world food crisis following the Food Security Summit hosted by FAO last month. (…)

At the FAO Summit in June, and at the last G8 meeting held in Japan, the Italian Government confirmed it intended to keep issues such as food security, the fight against poverty and sustainable agricultural development high on the international political agenda. Food security, with a special focus on Africa, will be a priority during the Italian G8 presidency in 2009.

Italian contributions to the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security have so far helped fund 29 rural development projects, almost half of them in Africa (14) with others in the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean and Pacific regions. A common feature of all these projects is that they identify agriculture and rural development as key factors for reducing poverty and ensuring food security. They also offer training initiatives to conserve biodiversity and help local producers’ associations find commercial outlets for their products, with special emphasis on strengthening local markets. (…)


Energy for sustainable development

15 July - With nine of its member countries accounting for some 56 and 30 per cent of oil and natural gas world supplies, the UN-ESCWA region is especially rich in these resources, said Executive Secretary Bader Omar AlDafa. At the same time, other member countries have little or no gas or oil reserves.  Such disparities among and between countries of the region had kept average growth over the past two years at about 5.6 per cent. AlDafa was tackling the subject of energy for sustainable development for Western Asia, at the Dialogue of the Regional Commissions with the Second Committee of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Dialogue was held within the framework of the ECOSOC Annual Substantive Session.

Since Agenda 21 (1992) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (2002), UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary said, member countries have made concerted efforts for achieving energy sector sustainability. The region is indeed continuously working to improve its energy efficiency, by promoting, among others, relevant policies, codes of practice, enabling regulations, performing energy audits and implementing energy efficiency field projects. Despite limited progress in the areas of renewable energy, member countries took steps in promoting the use of solar water heaters, and in making use of wind and solar energy. (…)


Planting underway in Burkina Faso

FAO initiative focuses on local production to offset high prices

Rome, 11 July - FAO is moving into the final stages of an intensive month-long distribution of millet, sorghum, maize, cowpea and peanut seeds to 33 000 farmers in the regions of Burkina Faso that have been hardest-hit by a devastating combination of soaring food prices and severe weather that has vastly reduced the local food supply. (...)

FAO has just finished one of the last distributions, of nearly 20 tonnes of improved seed varieties and just under 30 tonnes of fertilizers, in the villages surrounding Gourcy, the provincial capital of the arid Centre North region. Recent distributions covered much of the country’s eastern and central zones. In all for the current planting season, about 600 tonnes of improved seed varieties and 432 tonnes of fertilizers have been made available to impoverished farmers in Burkina. (...) In addition to seeds being provided of the main staple grains, quality vegetable seeds are also being distributed to be planted in the dry season, September-October, to take advantage of planting areas that with irrigation can still produce. (...) FAO is also training local producers in quality seed multiplication, to continuously augment the amount and quality of seed available, as well as to raise crop yields. (...)


Initiative on soaring food prices now covers 54 countries

Vulnerable populations are the main target

Rome, 9 July - FAO has just approved a series of projects in 48 countries (...) for a total value of US$ 21 million to help small farmers and vulnerable households mitigate the negative effects of rising food and input prices. The projects will provide farmers with agricultural inputs as of this month for an expected duration of one year. Funded by the Technical Cooperation Programme - i.e. FAO’s own resources - they are part of FAO’s Initiative on soaring food prices (ISFP).

With six countries already benefiting for a total amount of nearly US$ 2.8 million (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal), FAO’s own funding under the Initiative on soaring food prices now covers 54 countries. The immediate objective of these projects is to ensure the success of the next planting seasons and, in the longer term, demonstrate that by increasing the supply of key agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers, small farmers will be able to rapidly increase their food production. (...) The provision of seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs to small farmers is intended to encourage donors, financial institutions and national governments to support the provision of inputs on a much larger scale. (...)


Young people meet with G8 Leaders

Recommendations on pressing global issues presented

Toyako, Japan, 8 July - Young people from Group of 8 (G8) industrialized nations and from the developing world met yesterday with the G8 leaders in Toyako, Japan to present their recommendations as part of the Junior 8 (J8) Summit. The J8 Summit, an initiative spear-headed by UNICEF, is an annual parallel event to the Group of 8 (G8) Summit where young people from around the world meet and discuss global issues, sharing their solutions with G8 leaders and the world community. Nine young people - eight representing G8 countries and one from the developing world - will represent the thirty-nine J8 participants and will have the chance to voice their concerns directly to G8 leaders when they met them face-to-face on Monday.  The recommendations, taking the form of the Chitose Declaration, revolve around three topics: climate change, poverty and development, and global health. “The J8 delegates… believe that it is imperative for G8 leaders to listen to the voices of young people,’’ states the Chitose Declaration. “Together let’s turn young people’s ideas into actions, and not just words.” (...) The J8 participants are also supplementing their recommendations with an action plan and steps for follow-up. Full copies of the Chitose Declaration are available at:


ECLAC creates network to disseminate successful experiences for achieving millenium development goals

The network website contains information on projects in 17 Latin American countries to combat poverty, hunger, gender inequality.

30 June - With the aim of encouraging information exchange on programmes that contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) implemented the Network for Interchanging and Disseminating Excellent Experiences for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (Net IDEEA-MDGs). To date, the website includes 100 activities being carried out by 48 governmental and non-governmental institutions in 17 Latin American countries.

Each file provides information related to the initiative: its objectives, indicators, success factors, activities, obstacles in its implementation and costs. (...) In order to present the most significant initiatives, seminars will be held in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. (...)


ECLAC Develops Project to Improve Trade Relations Between Asia-Pacific and Latin America

Project will analyze the effects of transportation infrastructure and logistic business services between countries of both regions.

27 June - The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the government of the Republic of Korea signed an agreement to implement the project “Latin American Logistic and Infrastructure Connection and the Potentials for Improving Trade Relationships with Asia-Pacific”. (...)

The Korean government will provide funds to finance the initiative. The project includes an analysis of the physical, economic and operational conditions of transportation corridors in order to determine the influence of infrastructure and logistics costs on Latin American development. Complementary investment in infrastructure and possible measures to improve the business environment will also be studied. ECLAC data shows that economic and political ties between Latin America and Asia-Pacific have grown enormously through direct Asian investment in the region and greater trade between both regions. (...)


IFAD to provide additional US$4.2 million to Cape Verde to help poor rural people gain from economic growth

Supplementary loan will bring total IFAD funding to US$13.5 million for Cape Verde Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme that will run until 2012 at a total cost of US$36.1 million.

Rome, 26 June - A US$4.2 million supplementary loan to Cape Verde from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will assist poor rural people to further integrate into the country’s fast-growing economy. The agreement was signed today in Rome by José Eduardo Barbosa, Cape Verde’s Ambassador to Italy and IFAD President Lennart Båge.

The new IFAD financing will allow the existing Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme - costing a total of US$36.1 million - to be expanded to cover all rural areas of the West African islands. It will make use of legal, institutional and financial mechanisms that have already proved effective in reducing rural poverty during the first two stages of the programme. Food security and nutrition will be improved, incomes and market access will be improved and productivity in agriculture, fisheries and livestock will be increased. About 60,000 poor rural people, particularly women, will benefit. “This model programme is becoming a major national policy instrument to fight poverty in rural areas” said Mohamed Béavogui, Director, West and Central Africa Division, IFAD. (…)






Ghana: Red Cross helps victims of fighting in north

Abidjan, 10 July - With support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Ghana Red Cross Society today began distributing a first consignment of food aid to over 5,000 people affected by armed violence in the northern town of Bawku.

“We are trying to help the most vulnerable people here in the area to cope with food shortages in the coming months,” said Christophe Driesse, an ICRC economic security expert who is overseeing the distribution. “Poor security conditions have prevented local people from tilling their fields and the Red Cross is currently the only organization addressing this situation.”

Altogether the Red Cross will provide 120 tonnes of maize, 40 tonnes of beans, two tonnes of salt and 40,000 litres of palm oil to 1,000 households in Bawku. These supplies will arrive in two consignments and will be distributed from 10-14 July and from 15-20 August. (…)


West Bank: ICRC helps Bedouins facing acute water shortage

Jerusalem / Tel Aviv, 10 July - After three successive years of drought and a very cold winter, Bedouin and herder communities in the occupied West Bank are on the brink of an emergency, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned today. Their plight is aggravated by tightened restrictions on movement imposed by the Israeli authorities. Israeli settlements, bypass roads, military zones, nature reserves - all are preventing herds from moving and gaining access to free grazing areas and to water, a crucial factor for the livelihood of some 50,000 Bedouins and herders living in the West Bank.

The ICRC has started an emergency distribution of water for 1000 people and their 50,000 sheep in the southern district of Massafar Yatta, which is one of the worst-affected areas. (…) Many have had to reduce the size of their herds since they could not find enough food and water for them. Animal health problems and a fourfold increase in fodder prices have made life even more difficult. (…)

The ICRC will continue distributing water until other organizations take over. In the longer term, it plans to help the herders to cope with veterinary problems and provide assistance to better overcome the deteriorating situation.


Nicaragua: restoring livelihoods after hurricane Felix

by Marie Louise Belanger, regional communications officer for Mexico, Central America and Panama

3 July - Nicaraguan communities devastated by 2007’s Hurricane Felix have taken another step towards recovery, thanks to a food security and water and sanitation project set up by the Nicaraguan Red Cross.

The Red Cross Red Crescent provided seeds and technical guidance on how best to plant and nurture crops, improve production levels of plants such as tomatoes and chiltoma, and work the land efficiently. The project benefited a total of 1,910 families in 14 communities in the municipalities of Puerto Cabezas and Waspam, and was supported by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and a number of other partners. (…)

The Red Cross Red Crescent food security project was supported by local authorities and government institutions, the World Food Programme, SINAPRED and the Catholic Church.


Agreement reached as first US ship arrives in DPRK with food aid

Pyongyang, 30 June - WFP announced an agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that paves the way for a rapid expansion of its food assistance to more than 5 million hungry people throughout the country. (...) Following the signing on Friday of the agreement, a US ship arrived Sunday in the port of Nampo carrying 37,000 tons of wheat, the first installment of a US food aid pledge of up to 500,000 metric tons, which would provide enough food to allow WFP to expand feeding operations from the 1.2 million persons currently being fed to more than five million.

The new agreement with the DPRK Government will allow WFP to send nearly 50 more international aid workers to the country, who will oversee and monitor the delivery of food to make sure it reaches hungry people most in need. It allows the organization to expand into 128 counties, up from just 50, including the remote and traditionally food-insecure Northeast and some counties never before accessible to humanitarian agencies. In the two northwestern provinces of Chagang and North Pyongan, US NGOs will distribute up to 100,000 metric tons of the US-contributed food aid to schools and hospitals in rural areas hardest hit by food shortages. (…)


United Way of King County awarded grant for work to end chronic homelessness  

Grant brings foundation support to the public-private partnership that will provide housing for the county’s most vulnerable.

27 June - United Way of King County today announced the receipt of a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its Campaign to End Chronic Homelessness in King County.

The United Way initiative - in partnership with the City of Seattle, King County, the Seattle Housing Authority and the King County Housing Authority - will focus on 1,000 individuals in King County who have both experienced long-term homelessness and been intensive users of publicly-funded support systems.

To read the full press release, visit the United Way of King County Web site.


GE and GE Foundation to provide additional $1.2 million to address Darfur crisis

Money and products to support work of International Medical Corps

Total GE assistance in the region surpasses $5 million

Fairfield, CT, 24 June - Today the GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of General Electric Company, has awarded International Medical Corps (IMC) $700,000 in an emergency grant directed toward humanitarian efforts for the impacted population in the Darfur region of Sudan. In addition, the GE Corporation will be donating nearly $500,000 in health care equipment, training and supplies to support the organization’s efforts in the region. (…)

The grant will allow International Medical Corps to continue its existing activities in response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in the region, including assisting the displaced population in the areas of health and nutrition, emergency supplies and other critical needs. Health care equipment included in the donation to International Medical Corps includes mobile x-rays, ultrasounds, baby warmers, patient monitors, electrocardiogram (ECG) and related supplies and training. (…)



Peace and security



USA - Department of Peace Bill has bipartisan support in Congress

Maryland’s Representative Wayne Gilchrest is First Republican to Support the Bill

Washington, DC, July 16 – HR 808, the proposed legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence, now has bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland joined 69 Democrats to support HR 808.  He is currently the second Maryland Congressman cosponsoring the legislation, joining Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings. (…)

If created, the Department will be headed by a Cabinet-level Secretary of Peace appointed by the President (with the advice and consent of the Senate), and will focus on expanding the nation’s capacity to resolve conflict nonviolently, prevent violence by addressing its root causes, and promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. (…)

The Peace Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization leading a growing grassroots movement active in all 50 states to pass legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace. The bill, HR 808, is currently co-sponsored by 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including the original sponsor. 

Contact: Patty Kuderer, National Director of Communications,


Indonesia and UNDP launches major programme in support of 2009 Elections

Jakarta, 9 July - Today Indonesia and UNDP signed a major Multi-Donor Programme in support of the 2009 general elections.  The Multi-Donor Programme - Support to Indonesia’s Democratic Elections was signed by Mr. Bambang Sutedjo, Deputy to the Minister of National Development Planning, and Håkan Björkman, Country Director of UNDP Indonesia. The ceremony was witnessed by his Excellency Paskah Suzetta, State Minister for National Development Planning and Hafiz Anshary, Chairman of the General Elections Commission. With some 174 million eligible voters, over 700,000 polling stations, and five million poll workers, elections in Indonesia are a major undertaking by any standard. Since its transition to democracy 10 years ago, Indonesia has conducted two successful free and fair general elections in 1999 and 2004 with support from UNDP, as well as frequent local elections in some 500 administrative districts. The Multi-Donor Programme will take a broad-based and longer-term approach to strengthening elections in Indonesia, using the 2009 elections as a rallying point for international assistance. (...)


DynCorp International builds mine awareness in Afghanistan

8 July - In a corporate goodwill initiative, DynCorp International is helping a non-profit organization teach Afghan children to avoid mines and unexploded ordnance. DynCorp International is working with the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR) to reduce casualties from mines - a dangerous legacy of years of conflict in Afghanistan. OMAR converted a small jet plane into a classroom for children, and DynCorp provided audio-visual equipment, including a DVD player and a flat-screen television. More than 2,000 Afghan children in the Kabul area have learned about the hazards of handling or playing with mines or unexploded ordnance. OMAR was established in Kabul in 1990 solely as a mine awareness organization, but has since also been involved with mine clearance. It has received a U.S. Department of State grant for mine awareness work in Afghanistan. Under contract to the Department of State, DynCorp International is supporting mine clearance, weapons removal and abatement in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Lebanon, Georgia, and Paraguay. (...)


Sudan: More land returned in Kapoeta

The latest phase of MAG’s work at the barrier minefield surrounding the southern town of Kapoeta has seen a further 85,523 square metres of land handed over to local authorities.

8 July - Sudan is suffering the effects of the longest civil war in the world, a conflict that raged on and off for 40 years (...). Central to this human catastrophe is the legacy of combat: landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and caches of weapons and munitions. (...)

The town of Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria experienced high levels of conflict during the civil war. The strategic importance of the town resulted in a minefield believed to have been laid around its northern, eastern and southern borders (…) This barrier minefield covered an area of approximately 250,000 square metres and has been a priority for MAG since in 2006. (…) The work consists of five phases, the latest of which (Part 4) saw MAG hand a further 85,523 sq/m of land over to local authorities in July. This followed the handover of 51,000 square metres in April. (…) The clearance will also benefit the substantial numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to the area following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). (…)


Cambodia: clearance helps hundreds in Malai district

2 July - Since beginning the clearance of landmine-contaminated land in the Malai district of Banteay Meanchey province in July 2006, MAG has located and destroyed 507 anti-personnel mines, two anti-tank mines and 30 other items of unexploded ordnance (UXO).

This 282,782 square metres of cleared, safe land has been returned to communities for development purposes - not only do landmines pose a deadly threat to life and limb, but they also block much needed development work and access to services for many of the most vulnerable families in rural Cambodia. Directly benefiting are the 410 adults and children, who make up 74 families in the area. One such family is that of 49-year-old Pen Kourm, who was born in Borvel 1 village in Battambang province but moved to Kbal Tumnob village in Malai in 1996 with his wife Phal and their four children. (…) A MAG demining team deployed to his village under funding from Church World Service (CWS) to clear land for resettlement and cultivation, finding and destroying 199 anti-personnel mines in the process. For Kourm and the other villagers, this means not just peace of mind but also hopes for a better future and plans to achieve that goal. (…)






International AIDS Conference 2008 – Mexico City, 3-8 August

The world's attention is shifting to Mexico City where the next International AIDS Conference (IAC) is scheduled to take place from August 3-8, 2008. Mexico city will be the first Latin American country to host a conference of this size; over 21'000 people attended the AIDS 2006 conference in Toronto.

Held every 2 years, the conference provides many opportunities for the presentation of important new scientific research and productive, structured dialogue on the major challenges facing the global response to HIV and AIDS. Conference organisers are developing a wide variety of session to meet the needs of various participants, and to support collective efforts to expand delivery of HIV prevention and treatment to communities worldwide. The transfer of knowledge and the sharing of best practices will be central to many of these sessions. In addition to the conference sessions, there are a number of activities, including satellite meetings and exhibitions, Global Village, a cultural programme, that are integral too delegates' experiences at the conference. (…)


MSF responds to the cyclone in Myanmar

Calls for immediate and unobstructed escalation of assistance

9 July - Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, formerly called Burma, on May 2, 2008, affecting several areas of country. (...) By May 21, five Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo planes carrying a total of 190 metric tons of relief supplies, including tents, medical material and drugs, water and sanitation equipment, and ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat malnutrition, had arrived in Yangon.

MSF is now working in the areas of the Delta that need the most assistance. Teams are running mobile and fixed clinics, trying to reach an additional 350,000 people. Thousands of cyclone survivors in the worst-affected areas continue to struggle with day-to-day survival, and there is a significant shortage of aid and assistance in many areas. MSF medical teams are treating patients for diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, malaria, dengue fever, and malnutrition. (...) MSF is also integrating a mental health and psycho-social program into its emergency response. (...)


Engagement of Chief Ministers of Sindh and Balochistan, following technical consultation on polio eradication in Pakistan

1 July - A targeted supplementary immunization activity targeting 17.8 million children is being held in 67 selected districts of the country from 1-3 July. Staff have been moved from non-participating districts to campaign districts to ensure the intensified supervision required for a high quality vaccination activity.

Spurred by the increase of polio cases in Pakistan, particularly centred in Sindh, the Federal Ministry of Health convened a technical consultation meeting from 24 to 25 June 2008 in Karachi. The meeting was attended by the Federal Secretary of Health, the Federal Director-General of Health and senior health officials of Sindh and North West Frontier Province. Dr. David Heymann, Representative of the WHO Director-General on Polio Eradication also addressed the meeting. A high-level delegation later met with the Chief Minister of Sindh, His Excellency Mr. Qaim Ali Shah, who guaranteed his full support of polio eradication activities in his province.

In Balochistan, the campaign was launched in Quetta by the Chief Minister, His Excellency Mr. Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani, here shown marking a child’s finger after vaccination. In Punjab, the vaccination campaign was launched by a renowned religious leader Maulana Mazhar Saeed Kazmi in the southern Punjab district of Multan.


India among top five in per-country contributions to Rotary Foundation, type 1 polio on historic decline

30 June - From large-scale community development projects to polio eradication, Indian Rotarians are improving people’s lives on a broad front through their support for The Rotary Foundation. In the past three years, India has moved from ninth to fourth in per-country total giving to the Foundation worldwide.

An aggressive campaign against type 1 poliovirus has led to historic low levels of type 1 polio in India (5 cases to date). Type 1 is the more paralytic of the two surviving types of wild poliovirus. Mindful of the fragility of this success, and as an additional measure to protect its own residents and the world from possible spread of polio, India now requires prospective pilgrims for the Hajj (annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) to receive vaccination before applying for travel. By late May, nearly half the would-be pilgrims were vaccinated with oral polio vaccine. This new policy has cast the “vaccination net” wider than in previous years, when only those already accepted for Hajj were required to be vaccinated.


Project HOPE receives donation for Basrah children’s hospital from Triple Canopy, Inc.

Millwood, Va., 25 June - Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, received a grant from Triple Canopy, Inc., to support continued health professional training for the Basrah Children’s Hospital in Iraq. Scheduled to open later this year, the Basrah Children’s Hospital is a modern, state-of-the art, 94-bed pediatric referral hospital for children suffering from cancer. The facility is being built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Project HOPE is responsible for equipping the hospital and training hospital staff to provide the best medical care for the children of Iraq. (...)

The Basrah Children’s Hospital represents the first new hospital constructed in Iraq since the 1980s and will provide Basrah and the southern governorates with high-impact children’s health services with an oncology focus including cancer prevention, early diagnosis and cures using standard therapies otherwise unavailable in the country. Childhood cancers are 8 to 10 times more common in Iraq than in developed countries. The hospital will also become a center of excellence in technology, practice, training and administration, creating a revolution in health systems across Iraq. (…)


WHO welcomes G8 agreement to annual reviews of commitments to progress in global health

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the agreement announced today in Japan by G8 leaders and their commitment to full, annual measurements of progress in meeting their pledges to improve global health. “Many noble commitments have been made over the last decade to support health,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “And now G8 nations are saying they will ensure an accounting of those promises every year. This is commendable. WHO and its partners will do everything possible to support their efforts.” The G8 also agreed that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted by the UN in 2000, should be supported in a comprehensive manner. In particular, G8 noted the need:

·      to greatly increase progress on maternal, newborn and child health;

·      to reaffirm, sustain and extend previous commitments on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as on polio and neglected tropical diseases; and

·      to strengthen health systems, including social health protection and building an adequate health workforce with a voluntary code of practice regarding ethical recruitment of health workers.



Energy and safety



EU to limit energy use of electronics on stand-by   

8 July - A range of electric devices in the EU will in future be required to use significantly less energy when idle or in stand-by mode. The rules are expected to be endorsed by Parliament later this year and would take effect as of 2010.

Computers, televisions, printers and similar devices should, by 2010, consume no more than one or two watts when on stand-by. From 2013, that level should then be lowered even further to 0.5 or maximum one watt. The rules, proposed by the Commission in its Regulation to reduce the energy consumption of electrical appliances used in homes and offices, were approved yesterday (7 July) during a vote in a special regulatory committee composed of member-state representatives. The committee was formed as part of the implementation of the EU's 2005 eco-design of energy-using products (EuP) directive. 

The electricity savings produced by the lower watt levels would be equivalent to the yearly electricity consumption of Denmark and would prevent up to 14 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, according to Commission calculations. (...)


Clean energy investments charge forward despite financial market turmoil

With end of cheap oil, renewables and energy efficiency attracts fast-growing interest. New investment surpasses $148 billion in 2007, a 60% rise from 2006, Growth continues in 2008, UNEP study says

Climate change worries, growing support from world governments, rising oil prices and ongoing energy security concerns combined to fuel another record-setting year of investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in 2007, according to an analysis issued Tuesday July 1 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “The clean energy industry is maturing and its backers remain bullish. These findings should empower governments - both North and South - to reach a deep and meaningful new agreement by the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009,” Achim Steiner, the head of UNEP, says. 

Over $148 billion in new funding entered the sustainable energy sector globally last year, up 60% from 2006, even as a credit crunch began to roil financial markets, according to the report, “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008,” prepared by UK-based New Energy Finance for UNEP’s Paris-based Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative. Wind energy again attracted the most investment ($50.2 billion in 2007), but solar power grew most rapidly:attracting some $28.6 billion of new capital and growing at an average annual rate of 254% since 2004, driven by the advent of larger project financings. (...) The report offers a host of insights into sustainable energy investment worldwide. (…)


EWEA welcomes European Parliament support of full ownership unbundling for EU electricity grids

19 June - The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) welcomes yesterday’s European Parliament vote in favour of full ownership unbundling of vertically-integrated power companies, and its rejection of the Independent Systems Operator and Independent Transmissions Operator options. The votes demonstrate the Parliament’s support for a properly liberalised energy market and a level playing field for renewables.

“Allowing power generation companies to own the transmission grid makes no more sense than allowing an airline company to own the sky,” commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. “The European Parliament has shown its commitment to fair access to the electricity grids, which is essential if the EU is ever to attain effective competition in the power market while meeting its objective of 20% renewable energy by 2020.”[tt_news]=1350&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=a8b4d9a580


RES - the School for Renewable Energy Science

Akureyri, Iceland - The main academic objective and goal of RES is to offer excellent education programs in renewable energy science and technologies, as well as to strengthen future cooperation between leading Icelandic and international academic and research institutions in the utilisation of renewable energies.

RES is headquartered in Iceland, a country renowned for its unique geological conditions and for the highest use of renewable energy per capita in the world. We are a young and ambitious school, committed to the quality of our education, rigorous curriculum, international faculty of highest standards and a creative study environment.

RES offers an intensive one-year MSc Programme in Renewable Energy Science. The Programme is offered in cooperation with The University of Iceland and The University of Akureyri, as well as in partnership with a number of leading technical universities in Europe. In 2008 the school will focus on three specialisations of study: Geothermal Energy, Fuel Cell Systems & Technology and Biofuels & Bioenergy. Now accepting applications for 2009. (…)



Environment and wildlife



5th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations includes celebrities, special events, and opening ceremony on International Youth Day

5th anniversary Youth Assembly at the United Nations to host 800 national and international youth leaders in New York, August 12-14.

New York, July 16 - In solidarity with the U.N.'s International Youth Day, the 5th Annual Youth Assembly (YA) will convene on August 12. The YA will join the International Youth Day's Youth and Climate Change efforts and collaborate in a special Climate Change and Youth launch in collaboration with UNDP. The youth delegates will have the opportunity to participate on the International Youth Day stage and in other International Youth Day activities.

The ceremonies and launch will kick off a three-day conference including a select group of youth leaders from more than 50 countries to discuss successful, youth led development approaches to the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals, the corner stone of the United Nation's better world effort.

This year's theme for the YA, "STEP UP: Taking Plans into Action," will train the 18-26 year old delegates to develop successful MDG campaigns, NGOs, or otherwise participate in projects that will benefit the Millennium Development Goals. (…) This year's lead sponsor is the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations. Fourteen other missions to the United Nations are also endorsing or sponsoring the program as well as international NGOs affiliated with the United Nations.

Friendship Ambassadors Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information


Spotlight on forest monitoring

Remote sensing and field inventories to monitor forests worldwide

Rome,16 July 2008 – With global concern growing over deforestation, loss of carbon stored in forests and the role of forests in climate change, the spotlight has been turned on forest monitoring in a bid to safeguard forests and monitor emissions from deforestation.

Earlier this year, countries and FAO reconfirmed their commitment to jointly prepare the next Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), a comprehensive data collection on the state of the world’s forests which is scheduled for release in 2010.

As part of the FRA 2010, FAO, its member countries and partner organizations will undertake a global remote sensing survey of forests. The survey will substantially improve knowledge on land use change including deforestation, reforestation and natural expansion of forests. The assessment will cover the whole land surface of the Earth with about 9000 samples. (…)


Important research expedition flies Explorers Club flag

11 July - Launched by Green Cross France on June 4th, 2008 the Pax Arctica expedition has been approved as a flag research expedition under the Explorers Club of New York. On a mission to engage in scientific and cross cutting research on environmental issues affecting the Arctic archipelago, the research expedition can continue the early goals laid down by the Explorers Club founders in 1904 - to engage in scientific exploration and share the results for the progress of humanity.

The Explorers Club flag has been flown in countless research expeditions around the globe in extraordinary places such as deep seawater and moon exploration. Today, the flag represents a history of accomplishments and courage, and an international community of explorers and field scientists worldwide.

Led by Luc Hardy, the Pax Arctica expedition will serve to uncover the true environmental situation of the Arctic habitat and the extent of the impact of climate change on this fragile environment. (...)


Three UNEP projects win UN-wide awards

Nairobi, 11 July - Three projects by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have won UN-wide Awards. The UN21 Awards, announced today, are given out every year by the UN Secretary-General to recognize outstanding initiatives across the organization. This year, more than 70 projects were nominated from across the global UN Secretariat. Remarkably, the 15 winning projects include three UNEP initiatives: the Billion Tree Campaign, the Indian Solar Loan Programme and the Iraqi Marshlands projects. “I am delighted that three outstanding projects from the UNEP stable have been recognized by their United Nations peers as beacons of creativity and transformational change,” said UN UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The three projects, which join 12 others from across the entire UN system, reflect the new or perhaps newly understood challenges facing the UN in the 21st century. Namely climate change and the key role of the environment towards peace, stability and development.” (...)


UNEP partner to host new WWF Channel

8 July - WWF has launched its own dedicated television channel to bring high quality campaign and conservation videos to a worldwide audience. The new WWF channel is hosted by the online environment channel, a partner project of the United Nations Environment Programme. It can be accessed at and through the WWF website Ade Thomas, Founder of, said:  “ is extremely proud to be working with WWF, the world’s leading conservation organisation, to show WWF’s great films on both our broadband TV channel and via our video podcasts. We hope to bring a large international audience to WWF’s content.” WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The organisation has a long track record of using film and video to raise awareness of environmental challenges and using the web to inspire audiences and create change. (...)


UN-HABITAT partners with private firms for solid waste collection 

Nairobi, 7 July -  Working in collaboration with two Kenyan engineering firms, UN-HABITAT has developed innovative tractor trailer system and a small pick up vehicle to meet the solid waste collection needs of small towns. In a clear demonstration of public-private sector partnership which it has been championing, UN-HABITAT tapped Farm Engineering Industries Limited based in the western Kenya town of Kisumu and Ndume Engineering of Gilgil town, also in Kenya to develop the inventions. “This is going to be a major boost in our war against waste in the municipality,” said a technician given training on the new system last week. “We are really grateful to UN-HABITAT for coming up with this idea.” In Kisumu, the participants were also addressed by Engineer Patrick Ombogo the Chief Executive of the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board, a one of the UN-HABITAT implementing partners under the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative. Mr. Ombogo challenged the technicians, operators and officials of local authorities in the project towns and their bosses to cultivate a culture of maintenance for their equipment. He said regular good maintenance will in the long run ensure that the machines last longer and are cost effective. (…)


Continental plan to protect the monarch’s migratory journey

Trinational plan focuses on protecting habitat in overwintering sites in Mexico and along the butterfly’s migratory routes that span North America

27 June - Canada, Mexico and the United States are joining forces to protect and conserve the Monarch butterfly, which has become a symbol of North America’s shared environment.

Although the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is not in danger of extinction, its unique multigenerational migration spanning the continent is considered an endangered biological phenomenon due to threats to the monarch’s habitats throughout the flyway. Because monarchs depend upon a wide range of habitats in Canada, Mexico and the United States, conservation of the migratory phenomenon requires trilateral cooperation.

The North American Monarch Conservation Plan, announced this week by the environment ministers of the three countries, outlines concerted actions to be taken in each country. (…)


USA: House approves bill to help our nation’s k-12 schools go green

Washington, DC, 5 June - The House of Representatives has passed legislation that will provide nearly $7 billion in grants to help our nations’ K-12 schools go green. Called the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 3021), the bill, sponsored by Ben Chandler, will help schools to become more energy efficient and healthier. There is a special emphasis on low-income schools where children are most at risk from unhealthy facilities and on schools that still suffer from the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.    

According to Earth Day Network’s Green Schools program, close to 60 million students spend up to 40 hours a week in facilities that are often unhealthy and a hindrance to their ability to learn. Green schools reduce sick days, significantly improve the health of students with asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and increase student morale and confidence. (...) Earth Day Network works to green schools across the country and has an agreement with the William J. Clinton foundation to green all US schools within a generation. (...)



Religion and spirituality



Building an interfaith community

Bossey, Switzerland, 7-31 July - “How can we affirm our identity as Muslims, Jews and Christians not in separation or against each other but in relation to one another?” This is the question 25 young adults from different European, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and American countries are exploring during a July summer seminar at the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Institute in Bossey. Activities include spiritual and academic exercises as well as sports, recreation and everyday tasks.

At a time when the monolithic society created on the old pattern “one nation, one culture and one religion” is rapidly becoming a relic of the past, the one-month programme “Building an Interfaith Community” prepares the future generation of leaders in churches, other faith communities and society at large for the challenges of living peacefully in a world of religious plurality. (...)


A multimedia platform for World Youth Days 2008:

Sydney, 30 June (wydcrossmedia) - “All for one, and one for All” is the slogan that has already brought together Afriradio (Comboniani), Centro televisivo Vaticano, Donboscoland (Youth Movement Salesiano Triveneto), H2onews, Korazym,Lamorfalab, Lemiedomande (question and answer site about religion), MISNA, Movimento dei Focolari, One o five live, Pj Online (St. Paul Pastoral Vocation), Radio Vaticana, Telepace and ZENIT in a single resource sharing project to offer, through the internet, a united communication service about Sidney’s World Youth Day (15 July 2008) available on


A Road map for interreligious dialogue

13 June (SIR) - “A sort of road map with concrete proposals to be submitted to priests, bishops and all the other brothers and sisters”: Card. Jean-Louis Tauran spoke those words during the annual plenary assembly of the Papal Council for interreligious dialogue, presided over by him, which lasted until 9th June. During the assembly, they also talked about the new guidelines for interreligious dialogue. With respect to the previous ones issued at the beginning of the nineties, said the Cardinal to, these ones (which are not ready, yet) “should be more concrete, and we intend to adapt them to any situations”. (...) There are no first class and second class religions. Interreligious dialogue - he added - is neither a sociologic analysis, nor a political strategy. It is a religious activity, and the language of religion is prayer”. Among the words heard at the assembly, there was also “reciprocity”. Tauran said: “What is good for me is also good for the neighbour. (...)


Interfaith study with the Dalai Lama

Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 20-24 July - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, will visit Madison, Wisconsin July 20-24 to offer teachings from the Tibetan tradition. The four days of teaching by His Holiness are about Shantideva’s Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Cho-jug) and Kamalashila’s Middle Stages of Meditation (Gomrim Barpa). These two texts, important in Buddhist practice, will be made available in multiple languages free to those in attendance.

The Dalai Lama’s visit is being coordinated by representatives from the North American Tibetan Association and The Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, WS, with spiritual guidance from Geshe Lhundub Sopa. For more information about the event, please e-mail

In conjunction, an interfaith group is being organized to participate in this event. Up to 19 people from different traditions will stay together at Holy Wisdom Benedictine Monastery in Madison, attend the Ceremonies and Teachings by the Dalai Lama, and share their reflections and insights with one another in the evenings. (...)



Culture and education



Latin America and the Caribbean: time to tackle inequalities in higher education

13 July - Reducing stark inequalities in higher education, along with improving access and quality emerged as clear priorities at the Regional Conference on Higher Education of Latin America and the Caribbean (Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, 4- 6 June). This massive stocktaking exercise involved 3,500 members of the regional academic community, who concluded in the conference declaration, that “higher education is a social public good and a universal human right”. 

The first Higher Education Map in Latina America and the Caribbean, presented at the CRES-2008 conference, showed stark contrasts and inequality in the region, despite recent progress. Brazil, for example, has the highest percentage of illiterates, but also has the most solid graduate education system, producing approximately 11,000 PhDs per year. (…) CRES-2008 was organized by UNESCO-IESALC and the Ministry of Education of Colombia.


European Youth Event in France

“Youth - actors and intermediaries in the intercultural dialogue”

Marseille, 9 July - Intercultural dialogue is the main theme of the European youth event organised by the French EU presidency in Marseille from 6 to 9 July 2008. The event, entitled “Youth - actors and intermediaries in the intercultural dialogue” will have a Euro-Mediterranean character: Around 120 young people from some 50 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will participate. They will discuss different themes related to intercultural dialogue, such as mobility, multilingualism, cooperation North-South, integration of immigrants etc.


Intercultural dialogue for the greater Europe: The European Union and the Balkans

7 July - Academics, religious leaders, policy-makers and NGO representatives came together at a conference in Zagreb on 23-24 June 2008 to discuss the role of intercultural dialogue for the Balkan region and for Europe as a whole. The theme of this conference, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture, was chosen in light of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. It also follows the tradition to discuss this subject at Jean Monnet Conferences, annual high-level events on current policy priorities in the field of European integration. The relevance of intercultural dialogue both for peace and stability in the Balkans and for the European perspective of the Balkan countries was an important reason to hold the conference in this region. (…)


What should our schools be like in the 21st Century?

3 July - In its Communication “Improving Competences for the 21st Century: An Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools”, presented on 3 July, the Commission is proposing an agenda for cooperation among the Member States in three main areas, to make school systems more relevant to the knowledge-based Europe of the future.

First, there needs to be a focus on giving all pupils the competences they need for life in our rapidly changing knowledge society. This includes: increasing levels of reading literacy and numeracy; reinforcing learning-to-learn skills; and modernising curricula, learning materials, teacher training, and assessment accordingly. Second, there needs to be a commitment to provide high quality learning for every student. This involves generalising pre-school education; improving equity in school systems; reducing early school leaving; and improving support within mainstream schooling for students with special needs. Third, we need to strive to improve the quality of teachers and school staff. This will require more and higher quality teacher education; more effective teacher recruitment; and help for school leaders to focus on improving learning.


Migrant children and education: challenges and opportunities for EU education system

3 July - With its Green Paper “Migration & Mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems”, adopted on 3 July 2008, the Commission wants to open the debate on how education policies may better address the challenges posed by immigration and internal EU mobility flows. It raises issues such as how to prevent the creation of segregated school settings, so as to improve equity in education; how to accommodate the increased diversity of mother tongues and cultural perspectives and build intercultural skills in the EU; and how to adapt teaching skills and build bridges with migrant families and communities. The Green Paper forms part of the Renewed Social Agenda, the Commission’s package of measures, adopted on 2 July 2008, to reinforce Access, Opportunities and Solidarity among all EU citizens. (...)


New SIGNIS media (2/2008): media, conflict and reconciliation

Brussels, 1 July - The new issue of our magazine SIGNIS Media focuses on the role of the media in the processes of conflict and reconciliation.

Conflict, and violent conflict is very much part of our human reality. Heroic efforts to reconcile protagonist of violent conflict, combating stereotypes and hate have also been part of our history. The role of the media in conflict and reconciliation came to the fore with the infamous Radio Mille Collines incitement to genocide in Rwanda and with a highly mediatised process of Truth and Reconciliation in post-Apartheid South Africa. This issue highlights the growing recognition of the role of the media in conflict and reconciliation. We look at reconciliation in Australia, the efforts of a TV station in Lebanon, and the first Deutsche Welle Forum on “Media in Peace building and Conflict Prevention” and other stories.


“Idol Gives Back” preschools open in Mozambique

More than 3,000 children mark their first day of school

Westport, Conn., USA, 1 July - As July 4th festivities and summer vacations begin in the United States, thousands of children, ages 3 to 5, are starting preschool in five districts of the southern province of Gaza in Mozambique, thanks to American Idol viewers. The global humanitarian organization Save the Children announced today that 96 preschools in 42 communities, funded through a grant from the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF) from donations raised through Idol Gives Back 2007, opened in May and June. Many of the children attending the preschools have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. (…) Yet, only 4 percent of young Mozambican children go to preschool, according to the Mozambique Ministry of Women and Social Action.

Donations raised through Idol Gives Back are helping to fund teacher training; the purchase of school materials like floor mats, blackboards and pencils; and construction materials. Local community members in each village, including several skilled carpenters, volunteered their time to build classrooms. Other community members are donating their time to teach at the schools. (...)


EDC to share open source math curricula on Curriki

Collaboration offers teachers new ways to use educational tools

Newton, MA, USA, 30 June - Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), a global nonprofit research organization known for its teaching tools and professional development, today announced that it will team up with Curriki, an online community for creating and sharing open source K-12 curricula. To start, Curriki will make available EDC’s standards-based middle-grades algebra course, allowing teachers to not only access the free curricula, but to add to it or adapt it for use in their classrooms.

Starting today, educators will be able to use EDC’s online mathematics course Building Algebraic Thinking in the Middle Grades on the Curriki site ( The course, specifically designed to build the expertise of teachers at the middle level, focuses on the algebraic concepts of patterns and functions. It was designed and developed by mathematics and curriculum specialists at EDC and funded by the National Science Foundation as part of a research initiative to explore the comparative benefits of online professional development. (…)



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Next issue will be released on September 12th in order to allow our editorial team - all volunteer co-workers - to take a well deserved summer break.


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