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Good News Agency

Monthly – year 13th, number 206 – 5 October 2012


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. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities.

It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information via Internet*.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation



Historic high-level meeting on the Rule of Law held at the United Nations

On 24 September 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations held a High-level Meeting on “the rule of law at the national and international levels”. This was the first time that Heads of State and Government came together at the General Assembly to discuss the rule of law, highlighting the central place that the rule of law has assumed on the national and international stages.

Heads of State and Government adopted a historic Declaration on the rule of law. For the first time, 193 Member States reached a common understanding on definitional elements as well as setting out the full scope of the rule of law, from the peaceful settlement of international disputes to providing justice for vulnerable groups. The Declaration stressed the inter-relationship between the rule of law and the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, development and human rights. Underscoring this, it called for the rule of law to be considered in the post-2015 international development agenda.

The Declaration acknowledges the many voluntary pledges received from Member States aimed at strengthening the rule of law and encourages more pledges to be made in the future. The number of pledges received were beyond expectations as over 40 Member States and Observers used the occasion of the meeting to make over 250 pledges. The submitted pledges can be found at: www.unrol.org. For more information on the High-level Meeting:



California law on human right to water sets example for others – UN expert

28 September – The new law passed by the state of California in the United States on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is an “inspiring example” for governments, a United Nations independent expert said today. The assembly bill 685, adopted on 25 September in the most populated US state, with more than 37 million inhabitants, also provides for coordination among state agencies about the use of water for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes. With the new law, water and sanitation will be placed at the centre of policy formulation to ensure that all people in California have access to affordable, accessible, acceptable and safe water and sanitation in sufficient amounts to protect their health and dignity.



Peru ratifies cluster bomb ban

27 September – Peru has ratified the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, becoming the 76th State Party to the lifesaving treaty. Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Rafael Roncagliolo Orbegoso deposited the instrument of ratification at the annual UN Treaty Event at the United Nations headquarters in New York.The terms of the Convention will become active in Peru on 1 March 2013, after the mandated six-month waiting period, and at that stage Peru will be legally obliged to begin destruction of their stockpiled cluster munitions.

Peru was one of the core group of nations that took responsibility for the Oslo Process that created the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, hosting an international conference on the unacceptable harm caused by the weapons in Lima in May 2007.

Peru was one of the first countries to sign the Convention in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and has since continued to support the ban treaty, attending the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut, Lebanon in September 2011, intersessional meetings held in Geneva in April 2012 and the Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo, Norway, in September 2012.




Human rights



Top UN Rights Body extends mandate of independent probe into Syria violence

New York, September 28 . The United Nations Human Rights Council today voted to extend the mandate of the independent panel probing abuses in Syria, and called on all parties to put an end to all forms of violence.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, established in September 2011 by the Geneva-based Council, reported earlier this month that the scale and frequency of gross human rights violations in Syria has significantly increased in recent weeks, with indiscriminate attacks against civilians occurring on a daily basis in many areas of the country.

Syria has been wracked by violence, with an estimated 19,000 people, mostly civilians, killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago.

Today’s resolution was adopted by the 47-member Council by a vote of 41 in favour to three against (China, Cuba and Russia), with three abstentions (Philippines, India and Uganda).

The Council strongly condemned the “continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” by the Syrian authorities and the Government-controlled militia known as the Shabiha. It also strongly condemned the “increasing number of massacres” taking place in Syria, and requested the Commission to investigate all massacres.



Burma - Free remaining political prisoners

19 September - On September 17 the Burmese government announced the release of 514 prisoners, of which an estimated 88 were political prisoners. This was the fourth amnesty declared by President Thein Sein in the past year, altogether resulting in the release of nearly 500 political prisoners. The latest release coincides with separate, high-profile trips to the United States by Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Human Rights Watch urged the Burmese government to support a joint international and domestic monitoring mechanism to determine which prisoners are being held for exercising their basic rights under international law.

The Burmese government’s latest release of political prisoners falls short of meeting its commitment to release all political prisoners and shows the need for a transparent process to ensure that all political prisoners are immediately freed, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should allow independent international monitors unhindered access to Burma’s prisons to provide an accounting of all remaining political prisoners.



Bahrain: Act on UN Human Rights Commitments

19 September - -Bahrain should urgently carry out the key recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Council during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The outcome of Bahrain’s UPR, through which all UN member countries are examined once every four years, was adopted by the Human Rights Council on September 19, 2012. Many UN member countries called on Bahrain to set a time frame to carry out the recommendations from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which documented serious and systematic human rights violations by Bahraini authorities in crushing peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2011.

In its response to the UPR recommendations on September 12, Salah Ali, Bahrain’s minister of state for human rights, said the government fully accepted 143 of the 176 recommendations, and rejected 20 others. Thirteen were accepted with conditions.Bahrain also asserted in its response to the UPR recommendations that it had dropped all charges related to freedom of expression and that the authorities have taken steps to investigate past and present human rights abuses.



Afghanistan - Free women jailed for ‘running away’

18 September - High-level Afghan government officials have for the first time publicly confirmed that it is not a criminal offense for women and girls to “run away” from home, Human Rights Watch said today. The officials also confirmed fleeing violence or running away was not a basis for women’s detention or prosecution. Human Rights Watch urged the Afghan government to take immediate steps to end the unlawful imprisonment of women and girls accused of “running away.” Up to 70 percent of the approximately 700 female prisoners in Afghanistan have been imprisoned for running away, nearly always for fleeing forced marriage or domestic violence, a March 2012 Human Rights Watch report found.

At a September 16, 2012 meeting, Justice Minister Habibullah Ghalib, Women’s Affairs Minister Hassan Banoo Ghazanfar, and Deputy Interior Minister Baz Mohammad Yarmand each strongly condemned wrongful imprisonment of women and girls on charges of “running away.” http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/18/afghanistan-free-women-jailed-running-away



Economy and development



New global partnership to promote aquaculture in fighting hunger: European Union takes the lead in three-year initiative

October 1, Rome - - A major international initiative has been launched to better understand the role of aquaculture in food security in poor countries: bringing together a global alliance of development agencies, governments and universities, the initiative will help low-income food-deficit countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to develop sustainable policies for improving the livelihoods of millions of poor people. The European Union (EU) is funding the three-year project "Aquaculture for Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Nutrition - AFSPAN" with one million Euro, which is managed by FAO in partnership with a global alliance of 20 development agencies, governments and universities.

Fish is the primary source of protein for 17 percent of the world's population - nearly 25 percent in low-income food-deficit countries. The new partnership represents the world's regions where aquaculture plays a major role and supports the livelihoods of millions of small-scale fish farmers. It also includes key institutions with a strong expertise in research, development project implementation and dissemination. The project will develop new ways to quantify the contribution of aquaculture with better tools and more systematic and quantitative assessments.



Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao given Agricola Medal, FAO’s highest award

FAO and China also sign agreement to bolster collaboration

2 October, Beijing/Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today presented the Organization's highest award, the Agricola Medal, to Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China. "This medal is struck in your honour. By conferring it, FAO wishes to pay tribute to your life-long dedication to promoting food security and poverty reduction in the People's Republic of China, and in the world," Graziano told the premier at the ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People attended by over 150 senior government officials, representatives of Chinese farmers and of the academia.

Premier Wen Jiabao added that without the modernization of agricultural and rural societies in China there would be no modernization of the national economy as a whole. The Premier noted that China has had a ninth consecutive increase of crop production and that the latest grain harvest was 150 millions tonnes larger than in 2003.

During Graziano da Silva's first official mission to Beijing, FAO and China signed an agreement bolstering joint efforts to defeat hunger, increase agricultural production and improve rural livelihoods. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, lays out terms and conditions for joint actions and projects over a five-year period.



Ashoka Changemakers launch global competition for social intrapreneurship

Washington, September 28 - Ashoka Changemakers® is launching The League of Intrapreneurs: Building Better Business from the Inside Out, an online competition to find employees within multi-national corporations that are applying entrepreneurial skill sets to create positive social and environmental impact. The competition’s convening sponsor is Accenture, the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.

Although the concept of intrapreneurship is not new, it is now being applied to employees that are finding innovative ways to align business objectives with societal needs. This competition is supported by a unique collaboration between the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, Glaxo-Smith Kline, Standard Chartered, and Imaginals.



US$46 million IFAD loan and $1 million IFAD grant to improve Chinese smallholder farming families lives

September 24, Rome - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a loan of US$46 million and a grant of $1 million, to the People’s Republic of China to improve agricultural productivity and to diversify the sources of income of rural families living in poverty. The Hunan province will make up the balance of the total cost of the project, which is $93.2 million. The Hunan Agricultural Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project (HARIIP) will promote rural development and poverty reduction in nine counties of Hunan province, where about 1.4 million rural women and men will benefit from improved infrastructure and new technology to contribute to their food security.

Despite China's strong and sustained economic growth, poverty is still persistent, especially in remote rural areas. Approximately half of China’s population lives in the rural areas of the country. The aim of the project will be to increase about 280,000 farming families’ agricultural production and quality by scaling up innovative approaches and introducing enhanced technologies. This new project brings IFAD’s commitment to China to a total of $685.57 million. Since the Fund began working in China in 1981, 30 million people in 21 provinces have benefited from IFAD-financed programmes and projects



PRODEL program in Ecuador surpasses objectives

September 19 – ACDI/VOCA’s PRODEL (Programa de Desarrollo Económico Local) program is culminating five years of advancing local businesses in Ecuador’s rural economy.

By increasing skills, alleviating constraints and promoting a business-friendly environment, PRODEL created a foundation for growth along the northern and southern borders of Ecuador and a buffer against the surrounding narcoeconomy. The USAID-funded PRODEL program began in 2007 under FHI 360’s Financial Integration, Economic Leveraging, Broad-Based Dissemination (FIELD-Support) Leader with Associates award.

In a recent ceremony in Quito, the director of the program, Esteban Becerra, reported that PRODEL’s objectives—creating permanent employment and raising the incomes of families in rural areas—were not just met but surpassed. PRODEL improved the lives of 22,000 families and generated more than 18,000 permanent jobs. PRODEL utilized a value chain approach, recognizing the importance of each private and public sector actor in overcoming obstacles to long-term growth. The business development program facilitated the expansion of private enterprises by strengthening local producer groups and associations.



Alatona: feeding the future in Mali

September 12 – On August 24, ACDI/VOCA completed an ambitious three-year project known as the Agriculture Development Systems Activity (ADSA). It trained former cattle herders to farm rice and established a modern farm irrigation system in the drought- and famine-prone plains of northern Mali.The results have been dramatic. The 10,000 people in the project area, formerly challenged by food and water insecurity and lacking social services, now have access to housing equipped with abundant and clean water, new health and education infrastructure and, most promising, 5,000 hectares of irrigated land for food production.

The overarching initiative, the Alatona Irrigation Project (AIP), was a concerted effort by a consortium of Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Mali contractors, all focusing on the resettlement of 10,000 people of the Fulani ethnic group among 33 villages in the Segou region, 50 miles south of the Mauritanian border. ACDI/VOCA’s role, in collaboration with local partners, G-Force and Nyeta Conseils, was a cornerstone in ensuring self-government and the sustainability of 484 kilometers of water canals.



IFAD pledges US$41 million for agriculture and rural development in Yemen

September 7, Rome - The Consultative Group Meeting for the Republic of Yemen concluded deliberations in Riyadh with an announcement of US$6.4 billion in pledges toward the 2012 – 2014 short and medium term priorities of Yemen’s Transitional Program for Stabilization and Development. More than 280 participants from 27 donor countries, and 36 regional development and international financial institutions as well as observers from NGOs and the private sector attended the meeting held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 4-5 September. The Program, developed by Yemen’s Government of National Reconciliation with support from the European Union (EU), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), World Bank (WB) and United Nations organisations, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development, aims to enable the country to successfully implement its political transition and accelerate economic recovery.







Global grant provides drinking water for remote village in Thailand

By Arnold R. Grahl

4 October - Rotary District 5170 (California, USA) is providing safe drinking water to 800 people in Lamchoke, Thailand, a remote village 400 miles north of Bangkok, through a Rotary Foundation global grant.

The US$72,000 project was completed in August through District Designated Fund allocations, contributions from participating Rotary clubs, and a match from The Rotary Foundation. It involved three separate vocational training teams (VTTs): two led by California Rotarians to help launch and complete the project and one from the host club of Sawankhaloke North, which visited California to learn how to run a small water system.

According to Roy Russell, District 5170’s vocational training team chair and a member of the Rotary Club of San Jose, the project shows how VTTs foster cultural exchange while allowing Rotarians to use their vocational skills to benefit people in another country. (...)



Matching generosity helps WFP provide 400,000 school meals to underprivileged school children

September 24, Dubai - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) closed its Ramadan fundraising and awareness campaign with enough online donations – when matched by the Rotary Club of Dubai – to provide 400,000 school meals to underprivileged school children. Launched on the first days of Ramadan, the gift-matching campaign mobilised the region’s online community enabling WFP to provide school meals for an entire year to 2,000 children in the Middle East, with a focus on the occupied Palestinian territories, Egypt and Yemen. WFP, the Rotary Club of Dubai and Dubai Rotaract - in association with the UAE Red Crescent Authority - launched the campaign on the first days of the Muslim holy month: the Rotary Club of Dubai is matching every dollar (four dirhams) donated to WFP through a dedicated Ramadan page.

Online donations came from around 30 different countries across the world with the United Arab Emirates coming first by number and value of donations, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Canada and the Sultanate of Oman. Dubai-based communication agencies Pirana, Edelman and Socialize.ae lent their respective expertise and technical support to help roll out the campaign and reach out to potential individuals and corporate donors.



The ninth group of Gaza children at University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia

On 24 September, the ninth group of 10 children from Gaza arrived for the rehabilitation at the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (URI Soča). Children were accompanied by three physiotherapists who also arrived at URI Soča for on-the-job training.

ITF, established by the Government of Slovenia in March 1998, is implementing the “Gaza project” in cooperation with the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (URI Soča) and includes physical and mental rehabilitation of children/victims of conflict from Gaza and local/national capacity building in the field of rehabilitation.

Project is being implemented under the initiative of the President of Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo Türk and was initially launched at the end of January 2009. Thus far, 90 children from Gaza were rehabilitated and 15 physiotherapists received training at URI Soča.

Children and physiotherapists will be staying at URI Soča until 21 October 2012. http://www.itf-fund.si/News/The_ninth_group_of_Gaza_children_at_University_Rehabilitation_Institute_of_the_Republic_of_Slovenia_453.aspx


Ethiopia: access to safe drinking water for communities in the north

20 September – Addis Ababa (ICRC) – Some 1,500 people living in Tahtay Adiyabo, in the north of Ethiopia, now have access to clean drinking water thanks to four wells built in the district, located along the border with Eritrea, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Tigray Regional Water Bureau.

Since 2004, the ICRC, in cooperation with the regional water bureau and the local communities, has been carrying out various water and sanitation projects that have benefited about 250,000 people in remote areas of Tigray and Afar regional states, on Ethiopia's border with Eritrea. Sixty-two new wells, six springs and four water catchments have been completed in the last eight years. In addition, hand pumps have been upgraded and activities have been carried out to promote good hygiene and to enhance the ability of the regional water board to manage water resources.



New Caritas communications system to help serve poor

18 September – Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has launched a new internal web platform called ‘Caritas Baobab’ where Caritas members worldwide can connect and work together. Linking together staff in more than 160 countries, Caritas Baobab will streamline Caritas’ communication system and its ability to respond quickly to natural disasters and other emergencies, coordinate advocacy, provide training and share resources.

The Caritas Baobab system, or ‘Baobab’ for short, was developed with Caritas Germany. It has been piloted so far on emergency response, transparency and accountability capacity building, media and external communications, trafficking and regional coordination. Now Baobab will be open to all Caritas staff members, under the coordination of their regional or national Caritas office. http://www.caritas.org/newsroom/press_releases/PressRelease17_09_12.html


AFC Champions League joins fight against hunger. Asian Football Clubs to raise funds for FAO- led projects

September 17, Rome - The "Asian Football against Hunger" campaign is returning to stadiums across the continent for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC's) Champions League knockout stage matches: football fans will be urged to unite in a bid to foster support for people suffering from hunger. Following the success of last year's campaign, when the AFC and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) raised over $400 000 to help poor rural families and communities in Asia, the two organizations are teaming up once again to raise funds for FAO and AFC's joint projects in Asia. AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong explains: “AFC and Asian football are fully behind the ‘Asian Football against Hunger' campaign and we are proud to join hands with FAO in raising awareness of the importance of ending hunger”. By the final match in November, this solidarity campaign will have reached millions of fans through its eight participating clubs: team supporters will be invited to participate and make donations in support of AFC-FAO projects in Asia where more than half of the world's hungry live.

The "Asian Football against Hunger" campaign was launched in 2011 to highlight the unacceptably high incidence of hunger in the region and in the world. Funds raised last year were used to finance 42 new FAO-AFC projects.



Mali: ICRC intensifies aid effort in the north

Geneva/Niamey (ICRC) – The humanitarian situation in the north of Mali remains a matter of very serious concern, as people continue to be hit hard by the effects of the armed conflict and the ongoing food crisis.To cope with the most urgent needs, especially in terms of food and medicine, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for 25 million Swiss francs (over 20 million euros).This marks the second time in 2012 that the ICRC is requesting additional funding for its activities in this part of the Sahel. With this new request, the ICRC's operation in Mali becomes its fourth biggest in the world in budgetary terms.

The additional funding will enable the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross to provide food aid for some 360,000 needy people in northern Mali. In Mopti, in the middle of the country, food will be distributed to a further 60,000 people displaced from the north. Some 160,000 people have already received similar aid distributed in July and August in the north of the country.

The ICRC intends to maintain its support for Gao hospital – the largest in northern Mali – and for the Ansongo referral health-care centre, and to provide medicines and medical supplies for nine community health-care centres.




Peace and security



Security Council welcomes Sudan-South Sudan pacts as ‘breakthrough’ for peace

28 September - The Security Council today lauded the agreements reached by the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday as a “major breakthrough” for peace. The talks, held under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, were designed to enable the two nations to fulfill their obligations under a so-called roadmap aimed at easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.

The Council underlined the importance of the immediate and full implementation of the agreements as well as the need to continue working with relevant parties to resolve outstanding issues, such as the final status of the Abyei territory and disputed and claimed areas.

They also reiterated their grave concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile in Sudan, and urged the Government to expedite the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected civilian populations as rapidly as possible.

The two states, which lie on the border with South Sudan, have been beset by fighting between Sudanese forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) since last year.



Clearance of deadly unexploded ordnance continues in South Lebanon

Through the International Trust Fund (ITF), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) donates USD 439,373 to keep clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW) going in South Lebanon.

September 19 – In South Lebanon, DCA is clearing land in accordance with the Lebanese Mine Action Centre’s (LMAC) overall ERW and mine clearance plan, which focuses on mainly clearing agricultural, grazing and residential land.

The contaminated land represents enormous costs to families as they often lose their income and have to bear the economic costs of finding alternative ERW-free land to pursue their livelihood activities.

In certain cases, some are even forced to move from their property due to the contamination.

With the grant of USD 439,373, ITF and UNMAS contribute to the process of giving back land to the affected families and communities.



Danchurchaid's work with disaster risk reduction in Uganda

September 13 - In the Karamoja sub region, DanChurchAid works to building communities resilience to drought. This is currently done through support to Livestock Disease Surveillance, Drought Early Warning Systems (DEWS) and Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR). The semi-arid region of Karamoja in Uganda and Pokot, across the border in Kenya, is characterized by overwhelming poverty, frequent food shortages, high levels of illiteracy, high maternal and infant mortality rates, low access to safe water, cattle rustling and general conflict. This poverty is fuelled by the ecological conditions present in the region: frequent drought triggers other hazards such as water scarcity, conflict over resources, hunger, outmigration and diseases.

Since 2006, DCA has implemented cross-border projects under the Regional Drought Decision funded by the European Commission - Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) in Karamoja and North Pokot in Kenya through a consortium of NGOs made up of the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), the Institute for Cooperation and Development (C&D) and Caritas Moroto (SSD). In 2011, the fourth phase of the project focused on three main themes: Livestock Disease Surveillance, Drought Early Warning Systems (DEWS) and Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction.



Impressive progress on total ban on cluster bombs

Rapid destruction of stockpiles is saving lives

London, 6 September - Governments that have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions have destroyed nearly 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions to date, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2012, a global report released today in London.

Cluster Munition Monitor 2012 is being launched by the international Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) in advance of the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties, which opens in Oslo, Norway on Tuesday, 11 September. A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention, of which 75 have ratified or acceded, becoming full States Parties.







Rotary commits additional US$75 million to help end polio

27 September - Rotary International has made a new funding commitment of US$75 million over three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Rotary, which has already contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the GPEI, announced the commitment at a 27 September high-level side event on polio eradication, convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The side event -- “Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World” -- brought together leaders of the remaining endemic countries, and representatives of donor governments, development agencies, the GPEI partners, and the media to underscore the urgent need to finish the job of global polio eradication. Although the wild poliovirus is endemic only in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria, other countries are still at risk for re-established transmission of the virus through its “importation” from the endemics.

Ban urged UN member states to ramp up their support for the GPEI, launched in 1988 by Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The partnership now includes the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.



Global luminaries unite to issue urgent call for a polio-free world

New and existing donors underscore once-in-a-generation opportunity to end polio forever

United Nations, 27 September – In a display of solidarity, leaders from around the world today vowed to capitalize on progress achieved this year and to step up the fight to eradicate polio. Heads of state from Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan stood alongside donor government officials and new donors from the public and private sector to outline what is needed to stamp out this disease forever: long-term commitment of resources, applying innovative best practices, and continued leadership and accountability at all levels of government in the endemic countries.

Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that is more than 99 percent eliminated from the world. Today, there are the fewest number of polio cases in the fewest districts in the fewest countries than at any time in history. In 1988, when the global fight against polio began, there were 125 countries where polio raged. Today, there are only three: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India, long-regarded as the nation facing the greatest challenges to eradication, has been polio-free for more than 18 months.

Earlier this year, at the World Health Assembly, 194 member states declared the completion of polio eradication to be a “programmatic emergency for global public health.” In order to look beyond short-term challenges, however, GPEI is developing a long-term roadmap for ending polio.



Mali and Chad: A novel prevention programme has dramatically reduced malaria cases

Bamako, N’Djamena, Paris, New York, 23 September - A large-scale malaria prevention programme, consisting of the intermittent distribution of anti-malaria medicines, appears to be drastically reducing the number of new cases of the disease among young children during the peak transmission season, according to preliminary results from projects run by the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in two African countries.

Anti-malaria medicines have been administered to approximately 175,000 children between three months and five years of age in Koutiala district, southern Mali and in two areas of Moïssala district, Chad: due to their weaker immunity, young children are at a higher risk of dying from malaria.

Preliminary results from the programme, known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) show that the number of cases of simple malaria dropped by 65 per cent in the intervention area in Mali, and by up to 86 per cent in Chad. A significant decrease in cases of severe malaria has also been recorded.



WFP in Laos is expanding its successful Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Programme to a second province

September 21, Luangnamtha Province - Thanks to support from Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, Japan and France, WFP will be able to expand the “Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Programme (MCHN)” activities in 2012 to reach another four health centres and 42 villages in a third province in Laos. By the end of the year, more than 5,200 women and 16,300 children will be covered by the programme.Young children in the remote north of Laos simply love the food they receive through the programme: Plumpy’Doz is a specialised nutritious food that helps prevent malnutrition. In an area where 50 to 60 percent of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished, the peanut-based paste is key to keep children growing strong and healthy. MCHN programme aims to reduce the rate of chronic malnutrition in children under 2 years of age, and to promote the use of health centres among pregnant and lactating women. From the age of 6 months until their second birthday, children receive Plumpy’Doz as a supplement to their regular food to ensure they get all the nutrients their brains and bodies need to grow up strong and healthy.



Efforts reduce child mortality to new lows; Save the children says Americans can help finish the job

Threat of Us budget cuts could slow child survival progress, but new hit song and campaign aim to galvanize Americans

Westport, Conn., USA, September 12 - The United States has played a major role in reducing global child mortality to the historically low levels announced today, Save the Children said. But the international aid agency urged all Americans to speak up for such efforts now, warning that looming budget battles could threaten continued progress.

Annual child deaths have fallen below 7 million for the first time, the United Nations reported today. In an effort to accelerate that progress and end all preventable child deaths, Save the Children has launched its new Every Beat Matters campaign to give Americans easy and concrete ways to help achieve this goal.

The new U.N. report ranks the leading causes of child death as pneumonia, premature birth, diarrhea, childbirth complications and malaria. Every Beat Matters puts a special focus on training and supporting frontline health workers who can treat and prevent these causes of death in their own communities. The report also shows that as deaths to all children under age 5 have dropped, those occurring in the first month of life have declined more slowly.



Initiation of integrated telemedicine and e-health program for Cape Verde

September 3 - The Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program for Cape Verde (ITEHP-CV) has been developed upon implemented needs assessment mission by the ITF team in cooperation with its implementing partner International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation (IVeH) in November 2011, to reflect the actual needs of Cape Verde. The Program falls under Development Cooperation Program agreed between the Government of Republic of Cape Verde and Government of Republic of Slovenia for period 2012–2014 which has through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate for International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance, provided funds for the implementation to the ITF. The program anticipates to establish operational main national telemedicine center and 9 local centers countrywide in existing pre-selected hospitals, that will be connected into national network.

The Program will be implemented through the ITF by IVeH in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cape Verde. The IVeH is a non-profit organization that was created to assist in rebuilding the public healthcare system in developing countries by introducing and implementing telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual educational programs through the concept of the IVeH Network.




Energy and safety



USA - Department of Energy announces winners of 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management awards

October 4 - The Energy Department today announced the winners of the 31st annual Federal Energy and Water Management Awards. These awards recognize the commitment made by federal agencies to invest in efficiency measures that save taxpayer money and increase U.S. energy security. Through their actions, this year's award winners saved a total of 6 trillion Btu of energy, nearly 2 billion gallons of water, and almost $165 million during the 2011 fiscal year. Their initiatives also helped offset more than 78 billion Btu of fossil-based energy through a combination of renewable energy generation and purchases. The energy savings alone are equivalent to removing more than 100,000 cars from the road for one year or eliminating the average annual energy use of more than 55,000 households.

This year, 33 individuals, teams, and organizations from across the federal government received awards for a variety of outstanding and innovative efforts that have improved energy, water, and vehicle fleet efficiency.



Coca-Cola Company accelerates global production of plastic packaging made from plants

New partnership to deliver world’s largest facility

Atlanta, USA, September 27- The Coca-Cola Company today announced a partnership with JBF Industries Ltd. to further expand production of the plant-based material used in the Company’s PlantBottle™ packaging. The supply partnership will help Coca-Cola continue its leadership in bringing renewable, lower-carbon plastics to the marketplace and move the Company closer to its target of using PlantBottle™ packaging technology in all of its plastic bottles by 2020.

To support this partnership, JBF Industries Ltd. will build the world’s largest facility to produce bio-glycol - the key ingredient used to make PlantBottle™ packaging. The facility, which will be located in Araraquara, Sao Paulo, Brazil, will produce the ingredient using locally sourced sugarcane and sugarcane processing waste. Both materials meet The Coca-Cola Company’s established sustainability criteria used to identify plant-based ingredients for PlantBottle™ packaging. These guiding principles include demonstrating improved environmental and social performance as well as avoiding negative impacts on food security.




Environment and wildlife


UN recognizes wildlife crime as threat to rule of law

New York, 25 September – Poaching and the illicit trafficking of wildlife products were raised on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time Monday during discussions on strengthening national and international governance.

In a written statement, permanent Security Council member United States highlighted “the harm caused by wildlife poaching and trafficking to conservation efforts, rule of law, governance and economic development.” The rapidly-growing illicit international trade in endangered species products, such as rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger parts, is now estimated to be worth $8-10 billion per year globally.

Such organized crime is increasingly affecting the environment and biodiversity through poaching and illegal fishing,” Gabon’s President Ali Bongo said during the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law. “Gabon intends to strengthen its criminal justice system to combat this phenomenon. But such efforts will require a greater international legal cooperation.”



African religious leaders join forces to help stop illegal wildlife trade

21 September – WWF and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) today announced a first-ever partnership with faith leaders from across Africa to unite against the killing of endangered species caused by illegal wildlife trade. In an unprecedented move, 50 African religious representatives from different faiths and countries have come together to call for the end of illegal wildlife trade which is annihilating the continent’s elephant and rhino populations.

WWF and ARC have worked with leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and traditional faiths to align around the wildlife crisis facing Africa and held several meetings including a wildlife safari in Nairobi National Park during which the religious leaders discussed the role of religion in Africa to halt the trade. The leaders gave a moving tribute to all the wildlife exterminated due to the trade and also prayed for the wellbeing of local communities and for the many hundreds of rangers that have lost their lives protecting wildlife across Africa.




Religion and spirituality



Benedictine finds dialogue with Buddhists, Muslims help his prayer life

By Cindy Wooden – Catholic News Service

25September, Rome - Benedictine Father William Skudlarek said Buddhists have helped him learn to listen more when he prays, and Muslims have helped him show deeper reverence in prayer.Father Skudlarek, a member of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., is secretary-general of the international Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, a project of Benedictine and Trappist monks and nuns that promotes dialogue with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims in some version of monastic life.

He was in Rome Sept. 17-25 to lead a workshop for members of the Congress of Abbots of the Benedictine Confederation of Monastic Communities. The monastic dialogue began in the 1970s, and Father Skudlarek began participating in the mid-1990s. (…)



Robert Muller’s The Miracle, Joy and Art of Living - - Of Speaking

No dog, no cat, no animal looks at the sky and the stars. They see only their immediate environment. Humans alone can extend their senses into the infinite and eternity. A cell of my body cannot rise above itself and try to understand the secrets of my being, much less of the Earth and of the universe. Only humans can do that. This is the divine, cosmic spark in us. This is why our search for knowledge, or science, is in reality a spiritual quest. This is why we have the privilege and the duty to govern and manage our planet as a sacred trust, as a unique, miraculous, still evolving achievement of the universe.

Good Morning World #2501 - http://goodmorningworld.org/G1/Home.html



Culture and education



2012 Right Livelihood Awards go to UK, US, Afghanistan and Turkey

2012 Laureates define essential conditions for global peace and security

Stockholm, Sweden, 27 September - The 2012 Right Livelihood Awards go to four recipients. One award is an honorary award, the three other laureates will share the € 150,000 cash award.

Hayrettin Karaca (Turkey) receives the 2012 Honorary Award “for a lifetime of tireless advocacy and support for the protection and stewardship of our natural world, combining successful entrepreneurship with effective environmental activism”.

The Jury awards Sima Samar (Afghanistan) “for her longstanding and courageous dedication to human rights, especially the rights of women, in one of the most complex and dangerous regions in the world”. It is the first time that a Right Livelihood Award goes to Afghanistan.

The Jury recognises Gene Sharp (USA) “for developing and articulating the core principles and strategies of nonviolent resistance and supporting their practical implementation in conflict areas around the world”.

The Jury awards the Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK) “for their innovative and effective campaigning against the global trade in arms”.



UN Chief unveils $1.5 billion initiative to achieve universal education

New York, September 26 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced that he has secured $1.5 billion in commitments for a new initiative to increase access to, and the quality of, education for children worldwide. “Every one of us stands on the shoulders of our teachers, our communities, our families who believed in us and invested in our education,” Mr. Ban <http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6320>said at the launch of the Education First initiative, at the margins of the 67th session of the General Assembly in New York. “We are here today because we know every child everywhere deserves that same chance.”

Countries, private companies and foundations mobilized resources for the initiative, which will focus on three priorities over the next five years. These priorities are: putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship through education.

At the end of the 1990s, 108 million children of primary school age were not enrolled in schools. That number has fallen to 61 million today, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) global monitoring report. http://www.un.org/news


Eight year-old author of “Perilous Pink PcGee” donates her earnings to the International Child Art Foundation

Washington, September 12 – Katie Wilson is a talented, imaginative third-grader who loves drawing, stuffed animals, and writing books. The REAL Pink PcGee lives on Katie's desk. He's a stuffed pig that came to live with her one Valentine's Day. This is a tale of pirates and gold, dreams and magic. Katie wrote it with help from her daddy, who is a technologist, author, and CEO of Crossroad Press. “I chose the ICAF to donate my income because I want every child on the planet to be creative,” said Katie, whose book is now available as an eBook at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and through the Crossroad Press Store. It will soon be at Apple, Sony, Kobo, and most other outlets before September 19th which is the “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.”

Perilous Pink PcGee is Katie’s second book. Her first book, Mars Needs Pumpkins, was published when she was seven years old. She is currently completing her third book—The Adventures of Bob the Starfish, the story of a Starfish who wants to be a Shooting Star.

The ICAF has served as the leading art and creativity organization for American children and their international counterparts since 1997. The ICAF employs the art for the development of creativity and empathy – key attributes of successful learners and leaders. Every four years, ICAF launches the Arts Olympiad, the world’s largest and most prestigious art and sport program for children, which culminates in the World Children’s Festival in Washington, DC as ‘Olympics” of children’s imagination and co-creation.



Armenian youth leading change in their communities

Counterpart International brought together young leaders from Armenia's 41 Youth and Community Action Centers (Y/CAC) and transformed three ordinary hot summer days into a celebration of youth, community and action. The 2012 Youth Leadership Summer Camp (2012 YLSC) was a learning and sharing adventure for the young leaders from across the country.

During their three-day adventure the 41 young leaders discussed their role in sustaining the three pillars of Y/CACs: promotion of volunteerism; building on strengths of their communities; serving as a gateway of knowledge and progress.

The participants also defined outcomes of community engagement through the action planning process. Young leaders brainstormed on how to better engage community youth in the coming year based on past achievements and discussed lessons learned.



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Next issue: 9 November 2012


Good News Agencyis published monthly (except August) in English, Italian and Portuguese. Past issues are available at www.goodnewsagency.org . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi (sergio.tripi@goodnewsagency.org). Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (fabio.gatti@goodnewsagency.org), Elisa Minelli, Isabella Strippoli. Webmaster and media and NGO coverage: Simone Frassanito (simone.frassanito@goodnewsagency.org)


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 3,000 NGOs, 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as 23,000 Rotarians in the world.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.

The Association is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.


*In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly (http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf), Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information. In section A - International Organizations, the Report says:

"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet by civil society corresponding to para 6 in the 1999 Programme of Action calling for the promotion of a culture of peace through sharing of information among actors in the global movement for a culture of peace (p.7). Diffusion and exchange of culture of peace information via the Internet has become the major instrument for several international organizations, notably the Culture of Peace News Network, the Good News Agency and the Education for Peace Globalnet (p.12).

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