Good News Agency – Year IX, n° 6
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 http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/uk/uk_sum_monde.htm
Final countdown - Just weeks until the Disability Rights Convention becomes law
3 April -
The Disability Rights Convention is hailed as one of the most progressive human rights documents ever created. It defines the equality, inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in society, and respect for their dignity and autonomy, as universal human rights. The treaty was negotiated with an unprecedented level of involvement and influence from non-governmental organizations, including people with disabilities. It will serve as a beacon for people with disabilities everywhere, giving them the tools they need to successfully advocate for their rights.
Survivor Corps had a major role from the start. As Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), we co-founded and helped lead the International Disability Caucus of more than 90 organizations, ensuring that the voices of people with disabilities were represented throughout the negotiation process. Government delegations and organizations alike relied heavily on the expertise we gained through our participation in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and our ten years of work with survivors with disabilities. (…)
to strengthen mine ban enters into force in
by Lois Carter Fay,
Geary Cox and
Following a royal decree on
April 1, 2008, the 2008 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban became law in the
States Parties to the Ottawa
Convention are obliged to make consistent progress toward eliminating the
threat posed by landmines, and
Rights Commissioner to visit the
Strasbourg, 18 April - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, will carry out a high-level assessment visit to the Russian Federation starting on Saturday 19 April.
will travel to the North Caucasus region, including the
The visit is part of the activities carried out in accordance with the Commissioner’s mandate to assess the implementation of human rights commitments by all Council of Europe member states.
media freedom representative launches guidebook on media self-regulation at
Organized by Internews Europe in
"I hope that our guidebook will encourage the further development of media self-regulation, boost the quality segment of journalism and, thus, help improve social support for media freedom in the OSCE area," Haraszti said in his address to forum participants.
"Media quality should never be a prerequisite to media freedom. On the contrary, ethical journalism can only develop in an atmosphere of guaranteed freedom. Journalists' self-restraint must be preceded and accompanied by governmental self-restraint in handling of media," added Haraszti.
The guidebook is a compilation
of questions and answers on the topic of media self-regulation, with renowned
international experts and practitioners contributing. The publication has been
financed by the Governments of France,
The Media Self-Regulation Guidebook is available in English, French and Russian from the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and is online at:
Cambodian campaigner wins World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child
by Jim McDonnell
The prize is given by the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC), which is supported by 17 million children in 37,000 schools in 92 countries.
Somaly Mam also won the Global Friends’ Award which is the result
of 6.6 million children across the world. Somaly Mam was subjected to abuse as a child and sold as a sex
slave. She now fights to liberate girls in
The World’s Children’s
Honorary Awards went to Josefina Condori,
Over 450 organisations, departments of education and media projects for young people all over the world support and co-operate with the WCPRC. More than 35,000 teachers contribute to the work of the WCPRC. The prize magazine The Globe and the prize website, www.childrensworld.org are produced in 10 languages and read by over 10 million young people.
of Europe film prize to be awarded at the end of the
Strasbourg, 14 April - The second Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE) will be awarded during the closing ceremony of the 27th international film festival (5-20 April) in Istanbul (…) The jury of the festival’s human rights section will reward the director whose film best raises public awareness and interest in human rights issues.
This year, ten films are competing in the human rights section (for further details see www.coe.int/t/dc/files/events/2007_prix_film_istanbul/default_en.asp). Both documentaries and feature films are eligible for the prize. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, will present the prize - which consists of a bronze sculpture and a cash prize of 10 000 euros - on behalf of Secretary General Terry Davis. (…)
The Council of Europe, which is a separate body from the European Union and includes 47 European countries, is well known as the organisation which runs Eurimages, the body which supports and funds co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinematographic works. (…) The decision to set up the FACE award is a reflection of the Council of Europe’s commitment to both cinema and cultural diversity, and a recognition of the contribution the world of cinema can play in developing human rights worldwide.
Geneva/Baku, 14 April - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan have signed an important new agreement to help clarify the fate of thousands of people who went missing during the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.
“Fourteen years have gone by
since the ceasefire was announced between
The Framework Agreement on Missing Persons in Relation to the Nagorny Karabakh Conflict will enable detailed data to be collected from the families of missing persons. The aim is to help identify their missing relatives. The data will be collected by trained volunteers from the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan and will then be handed over to the authorities to assist with future identifications.
The agreement was signed on 14
April by Mr Amacher and
Welcoming the announcement, IFAD President, Lennart Båge, expressed his “gratitude to His Majesty King Abdullah Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for this gesture of strong support to IFAD’s mission to increase food production through higher investment in agriculture in developing countries, particularly in the context of meeting the challenge of the present global food crisis.”
In light of these new challenges and the need to meet the Millennium Development Goals, IFAD is reviewing its programme of work for the period 2010-12 and assessing its financial requirements in consultation with Member States. The Fund is proposing to increase its programme of work up to USD 3 billion to help meet new demands and increase its impact on food availability and the livelihoods of poor rural people.
Båge expressed the
With its new contribution
At the same Replenishment
Warning system roots out hazardous consumer products
No hiding place in EU for dangerous goods on EU shelves. Annual report on Rapex early warning system reveals big increase in hazards detected.
17 April - European consumers are better protected from dangerous products than ever before: the number of unsafe products reported and withdrawn from the market in 2007 was 53% up on 2006. The annual Rapex report (out on 17 April) shows Commission efforts since last summer’s toy recalls are paying off.
Among several improvements,
the Commission is now working more closely with
The EU is also tightening the rules on product safety. After a review in September 2007, it put forward a number of proposals on:
Caritas signs up to women and development pledge
16 April - Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight has signed up to a pledge with other dignitaries from around the world aimed at ending poverty among women. The Caritas Secretary General was attending a meeting of the Women, Faith, and Development Alliance in Washington, 13 April and signed up to the pledge on behalf of the 162 national Catholic charities she represents.
United Nations statistics show that women account for 70 percent of the world’s poor; that women are owners of just one percent of the world’s titled land; and that two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women.
The Women, Faith and Development Alliance received more than $1 billion in financial commitments. The alliance aims to boost the economic status of women and fight for the changes that will make such improvements possible. Among those taking part in the initiative are Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Queen Noor of Jordan, former Irish President Mary Robinson, and former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell. (…)
Caritas Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Women and girls are at the centre of efforts to end poverty. They are the majority of the world’s poor. Caritas is fully behind efforts seeking to increase resources for the advancement of women. (…)
Its economic-security activities for war-affected people in Acholi districts are being adapted to fit evolving needs. Also, the ICRC’s new cash-for-work and income-generating schemes will complement its large-scale seed distribution programmes, which came to an end in March 2008.
Households participating in the cash-for-work scheme will carry out projects chosen by their own communities, such as opening up land for cultivation and restoring infrastructure.
On the completion of a project, participants will be paid in cash, at local rates. When people return home, they face a number of important challenges: for instance, limited income-earning opportunities and having to prepare land that has lain fallow for many years (as well as the competing claims of other essential tasks). (...) The sustainable-livelihood projects will also benefit the most vulnerable households - such as those headed by children, the elderly and the physically disabled - since the participants will be opening up land for them.
The cash-for-work projects will complement an income-generating scheme for vulnerable families. Groups of households will be provided with, for instance, irrigation pumps, brick presses and oil presses to enable them to increase their income. (...) The ICRC, through its various water, sanitation and health programmes, is striving to improve living conditions for over 500,000 people - the internally displaced in their camps and returnees in their home areas in Acholi districts.
Federation launches new five-year food security strategy in
10 April - Investing in
long-term food security projects in
More than 80 per cent of this budget will go directly to country level programming. It includes improving the capacities of National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to further develop food security programmes such as sustainable farming (including activities such as the use of appropriate technologies, seed banks and soil nutrient management), microfinance projects, small-scale irrigation schemes and the establishment of community-based food security monitoring systems. (…) To increase their efficiency, long-term food security programmes will be integrated with existing community-based healthcare projects – especially HIV - and water and sanitation programmes. (…)
Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies in Burkina-Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo,
conducts value chain workshop in
April 10 - ACDI/VOCA’s Local Business Development Program - Programa de Desarrollo de Empresas Locales (PRODEL), as it is known locally - in
collaboration with the Academy for Education Development (AED), organized and
conducted a value chain workshop in Quito, Ecuador, March 26-28. This workshop,
facilitated by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn of Impact LLC, brought together 35
participants made up of PRODEL program staff, USAID/Ecuador, Plan
The workshop was based on value chain training curriculum developed by ACDI/VOCA for USAID under the Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project-Business Development Services (AMAP BDS) project. Participants discussed key concepts, tools and guidelines for value chain development, including strategies for addressing bottlenecks, promoting private-sector ownership of the competitiveness process and catalyzing improved performance. The training prepared PRODEL staff to better implement key components of the project, including firm selection, identification of constraints and opportunities for sustainable growth, and development of strategic and individual assistance packages for firms.
ACDI/VOCA is a leader in value chain approaches to development and helps to increase incomes in poor communities and promote economic growth by enhancing performance and thereby competitiveness of micro and small enterprises. To learn more about value chain training, click here.
Africa recorded a high growth rate in 2007 and growth is projected to remain high in 2008, according to ECA
Indigenous peoples assistance facility
2008 Call for grant applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and their communities
The Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility invites applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities, as well as organizations that work with them, for grants to fund projects, innovative approaches and partnerships that promote the development of indigenous peoples and help them fulfil their aspirations. Grants range from US$10,000 to US$30,000. Applicants must meet specific requirements and their proposals should respond to the needs of indigenous peoples in any of IFAD’s Member States.
A panel made up primarily of indigenous members will work closely with IFAD staff to review proposals and make final recommendations on grant awards. The panel will review grant proposals on the basis of project relevance, feasibility and institutional capacity and make final recommendations on awards. Activities likely to be considered for funding will build on indigenous culture, identity, knowledge, natural resources, intellectual property and human rights. Projects should improve indigenous peoples’ access to decision-making processes, empower indigenous peoples to find solutions to the challenges they face and promote collaboration in the public and private sectors. Over the years IFAD has learned that entrusting direct management of resources and funds to indigenous communities and their institutions is an effective way to build capacity, self-determined development and ownership of programmes and projects. (…)
A billion dollars raised for gender equality and poverty reduction
70% of the world’s poorest are women.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu criticized organized religion for “failing to champion the cause of women and girls,” adding that religion has “too often been used to oppress women.” Speaking by video to a packed congregation at the huge National Cathedral in Washington DC, the Nobel Peace Laureate said religious leaders had “too often not named or failed to condemn” such discriminatory practices as child marriage, female genital mutilation and violence against women.
The former President of
Ireland, Mary Robinson, said the Breakthrough Summit: Women, Faith and
Some 70 organizations have
committed to providing a billion dollars worth of funded programs in support of
gender equality and poverty reduction. InterAction –
which comprises more than 160 of the leading
With more than 150 members, the Leadership Council includes former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Africare, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Children’s Defense Fund, Christian Children’s Fund, Counterpart International, Grameen Bank, Islamic Call Society, NOW, Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children, UNFPA, The Union for Reform Judaism, United Way, World Bank, World Council of Churches, World Vision, and other key players in the international community. www.counterpart.org
Costa Rican children score a goal against adversity
Professional football against hunger
The power of football, a key tool for advocacy
Lisbon/Rome, 14 April - The UN
Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of the European
Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) today signed in
The EPFL CEO, Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros, assured that the European professional soccer leagues are proud to cooperate with FAO: "We have 862 million reasons to correspond to FAO’s invitation for partnership." (…) These initiatives, in the framework of World Food Day and TeleFood activities, will draw attention to the plight of 860 million people suffering from hunger in the world and will raise funds to support FAO micro-projects designed to help families and poor communities to produce their own food. With this strategy, the two organisations hope that football will become a tool for advocacy with the ultimate goal of improving living conditions for the world’s poorest people and a means to mobilize resources in the fight against global hunger.
Empress Shôken Fund supporting projects all over the world
11 April - In 2008, the
Empress Shôken Fund will grant nearly 470,000 Swiss
francs ($463,000 USD/€295,600) to 11 projects carried out by Red Cross and Red
Crescent National Societies around the globe. A special emphasis is being
placed on African initiatives, which will receive around a third of this year’s
grants. The awarded projects focus on a range of themes including humanitarian
values in Mozambique, youth development in Argentina, human trafficking in
Lithuania, disaster preparedness in Benin and India and first aid in Syria and
South Africa. Others include social services in
The Empress Shôken Fund was established in 1912 by Her Majesty the Empress of Japan to support Red Cross Red Crescent activities worldwide. Since then, it has grown thanks to contributions from the Japanese government, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Imperial Family. (…)
Toys bring hope to children, troops overseas
by Aretha Fouch Price
Rotary International News, 9
April - Rotarian Jack Ham has collected close to 75 Beanie Babies over the
years, and was ready to part with his furry little friends, including his favorite, Wilbur, a plush, pink pig he was attached to
because of Ham’s last name. He wanted to give the stuffed animals to children
who had limited or no access to toys. Ham, a member of the Rotary Club of
Houghton, Michigan, USA, shared his desire to donate his collection with fellow
club member Lieutenant Colonel Dallas L. Eubanks. Together, they came up with
an idea of sending small stuffed toys to
Eubanks says giving gifts to
the youth overseas has a positive impact on the children as well as the
soldiers, which he experienced during his tour of duty in
Ham and Eubanks presented the
idea to their club and District 6220 (
The project grew well above what the club anticipated. “We thought we would receive about 500 to 600 stuffed animals,” Eubanks says.
Hundreds of toys too large to
ship overseas were sent to orphanages in
Internationalis is sending its tributes to member
7 April - Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation of 162 Catholic national charities, says that Caritas Bolivia has played an important role in combating poverty in its own country and in contributing to the work of the global network.
Secretary General Lesley Anne Knight said, “Congratulations to Caritas
6 April - The ACT Development
meeting took place on a small conference centre in
Around the table, a variety of
organisations were present: CHAM, who provides half of all health services in
Malawi and helps thousands of sick and poor people every day; There were
organisations like CARD, CCAP and ELDS who provide assistance to hundreds of
villages - helping poor farmers to food security. There were organisations, who provide relief and assistance, when the more and more
frequent floods and droughts hits in various places of the country with
negative impacts on millions of people. And then there were church-based
agencies from Europe and
Together they decided to form
ACT Development in
Author(s): Alessandro Palmoso
1 April - On 31 March, the
Republic of Sudan finished destroying its antipersonnel mine stockpile, just
ahead of its 1 April 2008 deadline under Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty. A
final destruction ceremony took place in Juba,
UN mine service considers new ways to clear land more effectively
17 April - The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) says it is considering the introduction of new and more efficient methods of checking land for mines that could drastically speed up the clearance of land in mine-affected regions for use by local communities.
Deminers currently use
detectors to comb all land suspected of being hazardous, even when there is no
credible evidence of landmines in the area. This process can be so slow that
many countries affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war struggle to
reach their targets of clearing land. But John Flanagan, the officer-in-charge
of UNMAS in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), yesterday told a
conference on demining in
A recent report by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining found that “general assessments and landmine impact surveys often overestimate the extent of land actually affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war.”
Under the new procedures, landmine experts would consider a range of indicators before determining whether to send deminers into a suspected hazardous area. (…)
donation for AMCO/DCA activities in
1 April - Federal Republic of
Germany has again supported the activities of the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance (ITF). The donation
agreement was signed today at the Embassy of FR Germany in
Ongoing implementation of demining strategy in
landmark African declaration to ban cluster bombs - only
by Site Admin
Governments from 39 countries
in Africa discussed the most controversial topics to be resolved during the
forthcoming two week diplomatic negotiation in
MSF welcomes new fixed-dose combination against malaria
Developed through a partnership between DNDi and Farmanguinhos, ASMQ combines artesunate (AS) and mefloquine (MQ) in one fixed dose.
In 2006, MSF treated 1.8
million people for malaria in its projects in Africa, Asia and
By combining two active pharmaceutical ingredients in one single pill, ASMQ greatly improves the treatment against malaria, both for adults and children. Advantages include multiple paediatric formulations, a reduced pill count, only three days of treatment, an at-cost price, and durability in hot climates, with no need for refrigeration. (…)
Governments meeting in ten days for important negotiations at the World Health Organization will consider further alternative R&D models addressing this link, and that can encourage the development of medicines that respond to the needs, and are priced within the reach, of patients and governments in developing countries.
Key Indian state turns the tide against polio
by Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 11 April - (…) Eighty percent of Uttar Pradesh’s 339 polio cases occurred in the Muslim community in 2007. But a Rotary-led initiative helped drop that rate to 30 percent of 20 cases during the first three months of 2008.
Overseeing the state’s effort to end polio is the Ulema Committee for Polio Eradication, established by Rotary International in July 2007. (Ulemas are leading Muslim legal experts in Islamic law.) (…) “The ulemas have done a remarkable job in making the polio program acceptable to hitherto ignorant Muslim parents,” said RI Director Ashok Mahajan, chair of the committee, at a meeting of the executive committee in January. “We want to spread the message of good health through the Ulemas, who are so much revered in the Muslim community.”
“Misconceptions and rumors
that were widespread in the community against polio have almost been removed,
due to the efforts of the Ulema committee, and we
will continue with our efforts until polio is eradicated,” said committee
member Maulana Khalid
Rashid Firangi Mahali,
president of the Ulema Council of India. “Our
religion is not against immunization. Even the Saudi Arabian government has
issued a directive that pilgrims visiting
In February, The Rotary
Foundation awarded US$5.65 million to the World Health Organization and UNICEF
for social mobilization activities and operational support focused on more than
4,300 high-risk communities in Uttar Pradesh and
World Health Day 2008 - Infant mortality drops almost 50% in Brazilian city
and State of
7 April - Within the framework
of World Health Day, the Brazilian programme "Four-leaf Clover" won
first place in the third cycle of the "Experiences in Social
Innovation" contest 2006-2007, organized by the Economic
The goal of the "Four-leaf Clover" strategy devised
by the Sobral city Health and Social Action
Department, in the State of
According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, every year almost 530,000 women die during pregnancy or delivery, over three million children are stillborn, more than four million newborns die within the first few days or weeks of life, and a total of 10.6 million children die before age 5. Within this scenario, "Four-leaf Clover" is an example of how to effectively resolve a problem affecting low and medium-income countries, and particularly the poorest, and coincides with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, two of which are to drastically improve the health of mothers and children before 2015. (…)
4 April - With less than 100 days to go before the onset of rains, detailed plans are being laid out by polio eradication partners in India for accessing families not regularly reached because of geographic isolation, flooding and mobile settlements along Bihar’s many riverbanks. One of the fundamentals of the strategy is getting microplans updated, especially where districts intersect – such as riverine areas. It is not uncommon for certain areas to get cut off from the rest of the district during monsoon months and have to be approached from a neighbouring district. When flood water recedes, leaving a rich topsoil, communities also spring up overnight. Therefore, a grid approach is now being used to plan, implement and monitor the programme in this sensitive area. This premise will also guide the communication and social mobilization component of the programme within this area.
and partners to eliminate neglected tropical diseases in
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 28
March - Over 2 million people in 60% of the communities in Sierra Leone suffer
from debilitating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
(…) Helen Keller International (HKI) in collaboration with the Neglected
Tropical Disease Task Force and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) recently
received a 3.5 million USD three-year grant from the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) to implement an integrated program for NTD
control in Sierra Leone. HKI, along with partners PLAN, Sightsavers
Using the community directed approach that has already been proven successful in controlling onchocerciasis, HKI will identify and train community volunteers to integrate NTD control into existing health structures and delivery systems; the objective is to make distribution of the drugs and treatment both cost-effective and self-sustainable. HKI will also provide training and education to communities about NTD control, develop communication tools and strategies, and enable free drug distribution (albendazole for lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminthes, and praziquantel for schistosomiasis) to the affected communities. (…)
WHO welcomes Noguchi awards for service to public health
energy holds promising future in
by Anupam Tyagi, Indian Correspondent
Ghaziabad, India, 18 April -
According to the 11th New and Renewable Energy five-year plan recently proposed
by the government of India, from 2008-2012 the renewable energy market in India
will reach an estimated US $19 billion. Investments of US $15 billion will be
required in order to add the approximately 15,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable
energy to the present installed capacity. The government of
The Indian government has also set specific targets for renewable energy: by 2012 it expects renewable energy to contribute 10% of total power generation capacity and have a 4-5% share in the electricity mix. This implies that growth in renewable energy will occur at a much faster pace than traditional power generation, with renewables making up 20% of the 70,000 MW of total additional energy planned from 2008-2012. (...)
Urban sustainability: a force for change
New Hampshire, USAs), 16 April - Over the last 50 years urban populations have exploded, causing a slew of environmental and social problems. However, many community planners see the world's urbanization not as a threat, but as a powerful force for addressing climate change and building a sustainable future.
The United Nations projects that sometime this year over 50% of the world's population will be living in cities. That's an increase of roughly 2.5 billion people since 1950. By 2020, the UN projects that 5 billion people will be living in cities. As this rapid urbanization continues, especially in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil, urban planners are trying to help cities become more environmentally and economically sustainable. (...)
"Certainly the city, if it is reconfigured in the right way, could become a very sustainable habitat for humanity," says Herbert Girardet, director of programs at the World Future Council and an expert on sustainable cities. "But we need radical new departures in urban planning and priorities for urban authorities for the city to ultimately become the solution." (…)
The eco-city of Dongtan may be the place where this change begins. Girardet is senior advisor to the project, which will be
Pure Power on the horizon - More than one third of the EU's new electricity generating capacity will be wind power
16 April - In its latest
report entitled "Pure Power - Wind Energy Scenarios up to 2030", the
European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) outlines the road towards large-scale
wind energy. Presenting three development scenarios for 2010, 2020 and 2030,
the report examines in detail the probable impact on electricity, greenhouse gas
emissions and the EU economy. It confirms the positive prospects of a
technology that last year became the leader in terms of net power capacity
additions in the EU. Wind power's share of new generating capacity is
forecasted to be 34% in the period 2005-2020 and 46% in the decade leading up
to 2030. Wind power's share of new capacity in
Wind power has experienced
dramatic growth over the past years. It currently meets 3.7% of the EU
electricity demand and has ranked second in terms of net power capacity
additions over the last eight years. This strong development can be maintained,
and further reinforced in the coming years, as long as the clear commitment
from the European Union and its
Pure Power shows that the European Commission’s goal of increasing wind power's share up to 12-14% by 2020 is within reach. "On average, wind power capacity needs to increase by 9.5 GW per year over the next 13 years to reach 180 GW and meet 12-14% of EU power demand in 2020. This is certainly achievable considering that the EU wind energy capacity increased by 8.5 GW last year" commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA's Chief Executive. (...)
Turtles to be climate change canaries
17 April - Just as canaries help miners monitor underground gases, marine turtles are emerging as excellent indicators of the effects of climate change. “Turtles are a really good way to study climate change because they depend on healthy beaches as well as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs and deep ocean ecosystems to live”, said Dr. Lucy Hawkes, coordinator of an initiative to develop adaptation strategies for climate change impacts to turtles.
As part of the initiative, WWF launched a new website today, Adaptation to Climate Change in Marine Turtles (ACT).
“Understanding of how climate change may affect the beaches, the reef and the open ocean will not only benefit endangered sea turtle populations, but also the millions of people who live along the coastlines of the world and depend upon marine resources and environmental services.”
The public, educators, conservationists and scientists will be able to share information and projects to try to gain a better picture of how climate change will affect turtles and what might be done to combat the impacts. (…)
Indian rhinos on the move to a better future
Manas National Park,
Assam, India, 16 April - After centuries of having their range contracted to
the point of extinction, India’s rhinos are on the move outwards again. In a
difficult operation, two male rhinos were taken back to a national park in
The return was an emotional
moment for local residents, who lost their last rhinos a decade ago during a 20
year period of civil disturbance that wrecked infrastructure in the famed
It was an emotional moment
too, for translocation organizers from WWF India and the government of the
State of Assam, who saw the successful translocation as a successful launch to
Indian Rhino Vision 2020, an ambitious plan to give
GCI welcomes new family member: GC Uzbekistan
Green Cross International is
pleased to announce the establishment of a national branch in
Addressing General Assembly, Pope stresses major UN role on raft of issue
Pope Benedict XVI arrives to speak at UN General Assembly Hall
18 April - Pope Benedict XVI today stressed the United Nations’ major role in seeking a better world as he highlighted, during an address to the General Assembly, the need to protect human rights, ensure development, security and reduce local and global inequalities.
“The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security,” he told the 192-member body in a half-hour speech that was greeted with a standing ovation. “Indeed, the victims of hardship and despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become violators of peaces,” he added speaking in French and English.
Pope Benedict called the UN the embodiment of aspirations for a “greater degree of international ordering” in response to the needs of the human family. “This is all the more necessary at a time when we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community,” he said.
Introducing the Pope, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said the visit provided “a unique occasion to remind ourselves of our noble mission” to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours. (…)
Religious leaders fight global poverty by focusing on women and girls
$1.5 billion investments pledged by faith, women, and development communities at landmark global summit; Religions for Peace to help lead way forward
Washington, DC, 15 April - Leaders of different faiths in Religions for Peace, the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition, joined together with members of the international women’s and development communities to launch a new initiative that places women and girls at the center of the fight against global poverty.
An unprecedented US$1.5
billion in commitments to women’s and girls' issues was announced Sunday at the
launch of the Woman, Faith, and Development Alliance (WFDA) at the Washington
National Cathedral. At the “Breakthrough Summit,” visionaries and executives
offered a historic look at the global needs of women and pledged support for
the WFDA. Religions for Peace is a co-founder of the
Secretary General thanks Alexy II for promotion of religions' dialog at UN
Alexy II voiced hope for further cooperation with the UN and said he was ready "to make a contribution to the UN's successful activity for the benefit of world peace." Ban affirmed the important role of religious leaders in the spiritual guidance of people. Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill said the meeting also focused on ways to form an advisory council of world religions at the UN.
World Shift Day - May 18, 2008
The 3rd Timely Transformation Event of The Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day , leading up to 2012: a call to unite our hearts as one in prayer and meditation for timely transformations
April 14 - World Shift Day
will launch a 24 hour meditation and prayer marathon to encircle the globe
starting with the
Link simultaneously with
Intellectuals and Artists for Multilingualism and Cultural Diversity
This event, organised by the Observatoire Européen du Plurilinguisme in the framework of the UN International Year of Languages 2008, will be held at UNESCO headquarters.
Intellectuals and artists will be invited to express their views on the question of languages, multilingualism and linguistic and cultural diversity in the context of globalisation.
"The prime expression of a people's genius is its language," said Stendhal. Mr. Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General, speaking on the occasion of International Mother Language Day February 21 2008, said that "far from being a field reserved for analysis by specialists, languages lie at the heart of all social, economic and cultural life. That is the meaning of the slogan launched by UNESCO for the International Year of Languages: “Languages matter!” Each individual has a unique way of viewing the world, which, by its very singularity, contains a share of universality. The same applies to languages and cultures, "[as] the challenge we must meet is, in reality, that of the irreplaceable nature of languages of culture, since each one effects a specific opening onto the human universal." (Heinz Wismann).
The event will include an on-line Visitors' Book, which can be consulted here. Intellectuals, writers, poets, philosophers, scientists, actors, film-makers, authors, composers, performers, painters, sculptors and artists the world over are invited to express themselves, in their own words, on the question of linguistic and cultural diversity through the Visitors' Book.
World Book and Copyright Day
18 April - More than 100 countries will take part on 23 April in the 13th celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, proclaimed by UNESCO in 1996. Publishers, book shops, libraries, schools, cultural institutions and authors’ societies from all over the world have undertaken to celebrate the Day and promote the enduring importance of books.
In 2008, proclaimed International Year of Languages by the General Assembly of the United Nations, UNESCO wishes to emphasize the linguistic aspect of publishing: “When a language has no access to the world of publishing, it is excluded - together with those who speak it - from a significant part of the intellectual life and economic activity of society” declared the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura in a message on the occasion of this celebration. (…)
On 23 April,
Indonesian cultural heritage takes center stage at WIPO supported event
Geneva, 17 April - As part of its efforts related to the protection of intangible cultural heritage, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has partnered with the Permanent Mission of Indonesia in Geneva, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) to support a performance of the Wayang Shadow Puppet Theatre, an exquisite portrayal of Indonesia’s living heritage.
Over 400 people attended the
performance, rich in skill, symbolism and legend, which took place at the Palais des Nations, UNOG on April 15, 2008. The
performance was provided by the Yayasan Redi Waluyo Foundation of
Speaking at the opening of the
exhibition, Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director
General of WIPO, noted that traditional cultural expressions are part of
and Nike sponsor Kenyan girls soccer team visit to
Kicking off their nationwide tour, the Kenyan team hosts a crash course clinic
17 April - CARE, the Atlanta-based humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, is partnering with Nike and the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA), a self-help youth organization linking sports with environmental cleanups, AIDS prevention, leadership training and other community service activities involving approximately twenty thousand young people (Mathare is a collection of slums in Nairobi, Kenya with a population of approximately 500,000 people) to bring a soccer team of Kenyan girls to Atlanta and other US cities to meet and play against local girls soccer club. (…)
MYSA, which is located in the Mathare area of
Global Action Week 2008
17 April - Global Action Week this year (21-27 April) will focus on quality education to end exclusion. A series of events will be organized to emphasize the importance of inclusive education as the only way to achieve Education for All, UNESCO’s absolute priority. On 23 April, UNESCO will hold a round table on “Quality Education to End Exclusion” bringing together young people with disabilities, teachers and youth from the suburbs of Paris (2 p.m., Room XII). (…) UNESCO will also take part in the “World's Biggest Lesson”, organised by the Global Campaign for Education. along with millions of other learners and stakeholders in education, all over the world (5 p.m. Room XI).
Moreover, a new website on quality inclusive education will be launched for Global Action Week* on UNESCO’s web portal, which is also hosting an online discussion forum on “Quality Education to End Exclusion.” The forum was opened on 1 April and will continue until 30 April.
Despite real progress since 2000 towards universal primary education, 72 million children are still not enrolled in school. (…) “Global Action Week offers us an opportunity to highlight an unacceptable situation that is slowing progress towards the provision of education for all,” the Director-General, Mr Matsuura, said in the run up to the event.
*Global Action Week is organized every year by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a UNESCOpartner.
The five-year program will provide direct support for 115,000 children in 200 schools and 50 early childhood development centers. Save the Children UK and Save the Children Sweden will work with Save the Children USA in implementing the programs in 200 communities across the country. In addition, with support from Dubai Cares, Save the Children will train 500 teachers to introduce basic literacy skills to children at an early age. (…)
The foundation has raised
nearly $1 billion from individuals and businesses in
Dubai Cares today also
announced funding for UNICEF to implement a two-year program in
The Fund will provide seed funding in amounts up to 20,000 USD to a very small number of outstanding youth-led projects in the following areas: Intercultural and Interreligious Exchanges; Youth Leadership Training: Youth Voices in the Media
The Alliance of Civilizations places great emphasis on funding projects that have long-term outcomes and that connect youth from previously unconnected communities with a view to overcoming perceived or real cultural and religious divides. 2008 constitutes the pilot phase of this initiative. The AoC will only fund projects that are entirely managed by youth for the benefit of youth. The age definition used by the AoC is persons between 18 and 30 years old. (...)
The deadline for submitting applications is 30 April, 2008. To request an application pack, please contact the AoC Secretariat.
UN launches new training course to help developing countries use ICT
Since 2003, Docteur Souris has equipped 50 children's services in 6 French hospitals. It has now accepted the challenge to use the same model in a Southern country. The association is elaborating a methodology for wide dissemination of this now-how, free of charge, in order to respond to educational needs of persons excluded from the traditional educational system (refugees, rural population, prisoners etc.).
WIPO Signs cooperation agreements with two leading Mexican educational institutions
The Technological Institute of
Monterrey, which has a student population of some 100,000 and specializes in
applied sciences and technical fields, including biotechnology, business
administration and education, is a multi-campus university system with academic
centers in different regions of the country. It
has a long tradition of teaching intellectual property in various disciplines,
including engineering, agriculture and business. The
This is the first time a
formal relationship is established between the
brings Internet to island schools in
Lamu town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
International Forum: Culture of Peace and Peace Education - Public Policies and Action -
For the first time in history the younger generations have skills, and knowledge that the former try to acquire – at times with much effort. Also for the first time the social dynamics acquire a horizontal quality, and relations do not follow predetermined roles – each situation requires a new configuration in the power structure. Everything is being revised, and the world offers, provokes and exacts new perceptions, new priorities, new choices, and also new uncertainties.
How can education/learning find its context in midst of such a shifting reality? Which values should guide our feelings, thought, and action? How can the growing freedom be matched with our urgent need for interdependent cooperation? What is the role of the school and the community in providing a framework of meaning capable of accommodating the many dimensions of human existence, its aspirations and creative potential? How can public policies promote values and actions capable of generating peaceful alternatives?
This Forum will count with the contribution of prominent world authorities and pioneers of Culture of Peace and Peace Education. It provides a unique opportunity to get in touch with the developments of democratic practices for, as Nilson José Machado has said: “Education will always be moved by that which is possible to imagine, and not only by that which we imagine to be possible – it can never be reduced to utopias, but will never live without them.” (…)
Announcing the 5th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations
The mission of the assembly is to gather youth leaders from around the world (18-26 years old) and involve them in the success of the un’s millennium development goals (mdgs).
The aim of the Youth Assembly is to empower young people through lectures, workshops, campaign rallies, and special events to learn ways of identifying successful approaches to MDG success (the corner stone of the UN’s better world approach to improving the lives of millions). This year’s event is titled: “STEP UP: Taking Plans Into Action”: Practical help is shared on how to start NGOs, administer and manage campaigns, networking that identifies existing work by governments, the UN, or civil society at home or abroad, and the implications for social entrepreneurship on MDG success from the for profit world, outside of civil society.
The Secretary General for the events at the UN is Dr. Elaine Valdov, of the International Institute for the Culture of Peace. Lead Sponsor in 2008 is the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations. More than ten other Permanent Missions to the UN currently endorse the events and that number grows each year. The events are also co-sponsored by International NGOs Affiliated with the United Nations, and is grateful for the participation of several United Nations agencies and affiliates. The project is administered by Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Ildiko Szcucs, Project Director. Patrick Sciarratta, the foundation’s Executive Director is cofounder of the events with Dr. Valdov.
Registration is now open for the free events (after initial application fee and acceptance) at the UN., the related Leadership Seminar, Meet New York, and other opportunities, too. Go to: www.faf.org and click on the Youth Assembly at the UN link for more details.
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