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Good News Agency

Monthly – year 13th, number 207 – 9th November 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



UN - Global conventional arms trade pact is poised for passage

9 November (UN Wire) - The disarmament committee of the United Nations General Assembly, with the support of the U.S., approved a resolution Wednesday paving the way for passage of a UN conventional arms trade treaty as early as March. The treaty would require countries to adopt export controls already in place in the U.S. and would not infringe on domestic sales and ownership, diplomats said.

UN Wire is a free service sponsored by the United Nations Foundation. See also. Sources quoted:




Australia ratifies cluster bomb ban

10 October - Australia has become State Party 77 to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), having deposited its instrument of ratification on 8 October. Australia will formally become a State Party on 1 April 2013, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention. While the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) welcomes Australia as the newest State Party to the Convention, the network regrets that the Australian government recently passed seriously flawed legislation to enforce the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Australia participated extensively in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo signing conference, 3 December 2008. According to the Cluster Munition Monitor, Australia has never used or exported cluster munitions and has never had an operational stockpile.



Human rights



Suspension of anty-homosexuality laws in Malawi a historic step forward

5 November - Today’s statement by Malawi’s Justice Minister that laws criminalising same sex sexual conduct are suspended pending a decision on whether or not to repeal them is a historic step in the fight against discrimination in the country. Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said he wan. Sections 153 and 156 of Malawi’s Penal Code criminalize same sex sexual conduct between men and those convicted face up to 14 years imprisonment, with or without corporal punishment.

Criminalisation of individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity violates Malawi’s obligations under treaties it has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Malawian Constitution. These obligate Malawi to respect and protect freedom from discrimination, freedom of conscience, expression and right to privacy.



Uruguay: new sbortion law breaks ground for women’s rights

26 October - In a historic move this week, Uruguayan President José Mujica has signed into law a bill that waives criminal penalties for abortion in the first 12 weeks of gestation, with certain procedural requirements, and in the first 14 weeks of gestation in the cases of rape. The law marks a significant development in realizing women’s human rights and preventing unsafe, clandestine abortions in the region.



Eradicating sexual violence in conflict not ‘a mission impossible’ – UN senior official

18 October, Geneva - The elimination of sexual violence in conflict is not impossible, a United Nations senior official said today, stressing that to fully eradicate this scourge there needs to be a stronger political will from governments as well as adequate legal frameworks in place to prosecute perpetrators.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, outlined to the reporters six objectives she will pursue in her new capacity. They consist of: addressing impunity and justice for victims; protecting and empowering affected women; strengthening the political will for implementing Security Council resolutions pertaining strategies to combat and prosecute sexual violence; coordinating the response of the international community to sexual violence; understanding rape as tactic of war; and encouraging local and national ownership of the problem and its solution.




Economy and development



Guinea: two new boreholes provide water for 30,000 people in Pita

Conakry, 30 October – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is supporting Guinea's water board by drilling two industrial boreholes in the town of Pita. The first phase of this project, which will provide water for 30,000 people, includes a detailed geophysical survey.

"Residents of the town of Pita, located in the mountainous Fouta Djallon region, face a daily struggle to find water," said ICRC engineer Doudou Fofana. “The unfavourable geological conditions and the hard ground have led to major water shortages in recent years,” he explained. Welcoming the project, local resident Mariama Bah added: “It will make a real difference for us all, especially for the women – we are the ones who fetch the water and spend hours waiting our turn at the well."

Over the past 20 years, the water-supply network has fallen into disrepair while the population explosion has driven up demand. This combination is exacerbating shortages. The two new boreholes should reveal a hitherto untapped underground water supply, which will triple the national water board's production capacity. More than 30,000 people currently rely on Pita's water-supply network.



IFAD and Niger sign a $21.46 million financing agreement to boost small-scale irrigation

October 25, Rome - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$21.46 million loan and grant to the Republic of the Niger to improve the food security of smallholder farmers in the country. The loan is co-financed by the Spanish Food Security Cofinancing Facility Trust Fund.

IFAD Country Programme Manager for the Niger, Vincenzo Galastro, said: “Recurrent droughts over the last 40 years have had dramatic consequences on agropastoral production, food security and people’s livelihoods in Niger. A well-performing and sustainable small-scale irrigation system is vital to increase agricultural productivity and food security in the country”.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in the regions of Maradi Tahoua and Zinder; it will cover 30 communes in the farming and agropastoral areas and more than 65,000 poor rural households will benefit from the project, of which nearly 60 % are women and young people. One of the aims of the project is to increase the income of rural women and youth through viable microenterprises integrated to the local agricultural economy.



Save the Children receives $2 million from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. to fight hunger in Indonesia

Westport, Conn., USA, October 24 - Save the Children has received a $1.5 million grant from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) to fight hunger and improve the well-being of children in coffee-growing communities in Aceh province of Indonesia, a region where GMCR has sourced its coffee — much of it Fair Trade Certified™ and organic — for more than 10 years. This new grant brings GMCR's contributions to Save the Children programs in Indonesia to $2 million over the past two years.

The $1.5 million grant will fund a project called LINK — Livelihoods and Improved Nutrition for Kids, and is the second grant the company has given over three years to this project. The new funding will be used to expand the LINK program to additional families in the region. An initial $500,000 grant, awarded in 2010, targeted 5,500 small-scale coffee growing families. At the beginning of the project, 46% of families surveyed reported food shortages in the prior 12 months. After two years of education on food diversification, child health and nutrition, that number dropped to 6%.



Contest seeks ideas from charities for creating jobs

By Caroline Preston

October 24 – A new competition unveiled by the Huffington Post, Skoll Foundation, and Crowdrise seeks to reward nonprofits with ideas for how to put Americans back to work.

The “JobRaising” challenge is open to all types of nonprofits–not just job-training groups–so long as they have a plan for fighting America’s high unemployment, organizers said. Nonprofits that make it through an initial stage of vetting will have a chance to compete for donations from the public. Groups that raise the most cash will also win prize money totaling $250,000 from the Skoll Foundation.

Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation, said in an e-mail to The Chronicle that the three organizations were searching for a way to “change the narrative” about unemployment “from a blame game focused on deficits and problems to one focused on solutions and opportunity.”

They zeroed in on nonprofits, Ms. Huffington said via e-mail, because they are “among our country’s most underutilized resources—wellsprings for creativity, ingenuity, inspiration, and concern for the lives of others. Our hope for JobRaising is to make their jobs easier.”

Nonprofits “are rarely mentioned when we discuss job creation,” she added, even though they are an important source of ideas and inspiration. (…)



IFAD and Brazilian State of Paraíba sign agreement for new US$49 million social inclusion project

October 19, Rome - Representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Brazilian Ministry of Finance, and the Brazilian State of Paraíba signed a new loan agreement this week that will provide US$49 million in total funding for rural empowerment initiatives in the state of Paraíba.The Cariri and Seridó Sustainable Development Project (Procase) will directly benefit 18,000 poor rural families in 55 municipalities and will also reach an important number of indirect beneficiaries. Procase works to develop human and social capital, improve smallholder production and market competitiveness, combat desertification and promote sustainable management of the vulnerable semi-arid caatinga biome.

The project is slated to enhance economic activities and income of 18,000 rural households in the poorest regions of the State of Paraiba, create more than 4300 jobs and provide fellowships for 4000 young people to receive training in business development. In order to protect the delicate caatinga biome, the project will establish 250 agro-forestry systems and promote solid natural resource management practices among project participants.



South-South Cooperation for rural development: $20 million project aims to transfer Brazilian know-how in support of cotton farmers

October 17, Rome - Brazil and FAO signed a new South-South cooperation agreement worth $20 million that aims to channel Brazilian expertise in cotton production to other developing countries. The four year collaborative effort between FAO, the Brazilian Cotton Institute (IBA) and the external cooperation wing of Brazil’s Foreign Relations Ministry, will target participating countries with technical assistance and training in best practices in cotton cultivation and marketing. IBA is providing $10 million in financial support; the Brazilian Cooperation Agency is supplying an additional $10 million.

The project will initially focus on Haiti and the MERCOSUR zone of South America, with a possible later extension into other developing countries in Latin America and Africa. Beyond financial support, Brazil also has considerable experience in devising new technologies for the cotton production chain; FAO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean will contribute $200 000 worth of nonfinancial support, including the provision of expertise and technical information as well as mobilizing its international networks in support of the effort.



ACDI/VOCA-supported producer groups win African Green Revolution awards

Farmers' organizations earn high honors in Tanzania

October 11 – Faso Jigi, in Mali, won the 2012 African Green Revolution Forum Award for best farmer organization, and Neema Agricole du Faso (NAFASO), in neighboring Burkina Faso, won for best private sector organization. Both have been assisted under the USAID-funded West Africa Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP) project.

In addition, ACDI/VOCA has supported the AGRF winner for advocacy organizations, Tanzania’s Rural Urban Development Initiatives (RUDI), since 2007, first under the USAID-funded Smallholder Horticulture Outgrower Promotion (SHOP) project and now under NAFAKA.

ACDI/VOCA's roots are in the U.S. farmer cooperative movement of the early 1960s. Organizing farmers for self-help is still central to our identity.

The AGRF awards recognize excellence in and create awareness of public-private initiatives to build sustainable African agribusiness, inspire a Green Revolution in Africa and make Africa both food and nutrition secure.



Clothes, styling & job prep help disadvantaged women

By Kim Hughes

Posted on October 9 – (...) The mission of Dress for Success couldn’t be plainer: “to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to thrive in work and in life.” That means providing free clothing suitable for going on job interviews, hair and makeup advice, opportunities to practice crafting resumes and interviewing for jobs, and a positive, ongoing support network to ensure continued success once a job has been bagged. (...) In Toronto alone, the estimated number of women assisted in this way each year totals around 1,200 with another 500 to 600 local men also annually outfitted with free workplace-appropriate attire under the Dress Your Best aegis, although the men’s program functions independently and begins and ends with the clothing.

With nine affiliates nationwide assisting roughly 5,000 women each year, the 12-year-old Canadian Dress for Success program is more than just a stepping stone to achievement. It’s a game-changer and a crucial confidence builder.(...) Dress for Success receives no government funding and is wholly reliant on private and corporate donors for its continued existence as well as the efforts of volunteers. In 2011, some 360 souls provided more than 10,000 hours of time.

Dress for Success doesn’t function like a store. Clients must be referred by employment or government agencies or shelters already approved by Dress for Success. In 2011, referrals came from more than 100 agencies. (…)



International Year of Cooperatives

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.


Cooperatives are not just an economic phenomenon but also a philosophy. It is an entrepreneurial model which is based on values such as equality, solidarity and reciprocity – and democracy. According to Emmanuel Kamdem, an expert on cooperatives within the International Labour Organisation (ILO), it is: “a model which brings market logic together with social inclusion, making solidarity the focus of concern.”

The 2012 International Year of Cooperatives aims to promote the growth and development of this model which in today’s volatile economic climate is attracting increasing interest from economists and entrepreneurs around the world. Today cooperatives comprise more than one billion members around the world and employ more than 100 million people.

The Year of Cooperatives will also raise awareness of the founding principles on which Cooperatives are built. These principles can tend to be neglected when cooperatives become too big, says Kamdem, and the cooperatives’ responsibility of training and education be forgotten.

Many to Many - October 2012, www.peacethroughunity.info/manytomany_current.html






Toshiba kicks off second annual Helping the Helpers Technology Makeover contest

National Facebook video contest to award $226,000 in total prizes to non-profit organizations for doing good

Irvine, Calif., USA, October 25 - As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. (http://business.toshiba.com), is again looking to makeover five non-profit organizations. "Our first Toshiba Helping the Helpers contest resulted in nearly 150 U.S. non-profit charities entering a 2-minute video to the Toshiba For Good Facebook page. Toshiba is repeating the contest to award socially responsible non-profit companies making a positive impact in their communities or the world," said Bill Melo, vice president of marketing, services & solutions at Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.

The selected organizations will receive a donation of Toshiba products and services including new e-STUDIO™ multifunction printers, all-in-one desktop computers, Protégé® laptops, LED HDTVs, CAMILEO® camcorders, Excite™ tablets, a Toshiba Business telephone system and even energy-saving LED light bulbs to help them reduce costs, streamline operations and conserve resources. http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/34795-Toshiba-Kicks-Off-Second-Annual-Helping-the-Helpers-Technology-Makeover-Contest-


Libya: more aid distributed as fighting drags on in Bani Walid

Tripoli/Geneva, 23 October – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), together with the Libyan Red Crescent, began distributing aid today to thousands of people who have fled their homes in Bani Walid over the past few days because of the tensions and fighting in the city.

ICRC staff and Libyan Red Crescent volunteers are distributing plastic sheeting, mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets and hygiene items to the many displaced in Orban. In addition, 17 tonnes of basic food supplies (rice, oil, beans, salt, sugar, tea and tomato paste) and 7 tonnes of other items are leaving Tripoli today for onward distribution to displaced people in Orban, Temesla Wadi Mansour and other areas. Meanwhile, other ICRC staff are transferring about 60 foreign workers to Tarhuna, where the ICRC set up a temporary base for its humanitarian operations on 22 October. The workers, mainly from Bangladesh and India, have already walked at least 30 kilometres from Bani Walid.

Since the start of the violence in Bani Walid, the ICRC has entered the city on two occasions, on 10 and 19 October. It has delivered surgical supplies to treat some 100 weapon-wounded patients, as well as other urgently needed medical supplies, to Bani Walid hospital and the Dahra polyclinic. http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/news-release/2012/23-10-libya-aid-distributed-fighting-drags-bani-walid.htm


UN Central Emergency Relief Fund to provide $10 million to help flood victims in Pakistan

23 October - The United Nations will allocate close to $10 million to provide aid for more than one million people living in the areas of Pakistan that were most affected by the monsoonal flooding this year, according to the world body’s humanitarian arm. In support of the Government-led flood relief and recovery efforts, UN agencies and humanitarian partners will use the new funds to initially reach people in flood-affected communities in the seven hardest-hit districts of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces, according to the news release.

The new funds will provide almost 33,000 people with emergency shelter materials, blankets and kitchen sets, and almost 400,000 with food. More than 580,000 people facing malaria, dengue and cholera will receive emergency primary health care. The CERF allocation, the news release added, will also allow agencies to respond to “critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs,” and help families keep their livestock alive so that they may return to agricultural activities as soon as possible.



Preparedness initiatives in Latin America and Caribbean

By Tamara Braunstein

22 October – (...) With both the frequency and severity of disasters projected to increase in the near future, it is even more imperative for the world’s most vulnerable communities to become better prepared. Working with local field teams, the American Red Cross is training communities on best practices in disaster mitigation, from bolting furniture to walls and securing roofs, to reinforcing flood banks and digging drainage canals. (...)

The American Red Cross is now taking the next step in its life-saving disaster preparedness programming with an innovative integrated approach. Throughout the coming year, more than 100 communities across 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are participating in assessments designed to better engage residents in determining their vulnerabilities and plotting the best course to improve their disaster resilience. (…)



Girl from Kenya inspires 50,000 meals on World Food Day

October 19, Rome - A young girl from one of the biggest slums in Africa inspired WFP supporters to raise more than 50,000 school meals during a World Food Day campaign that surged past its goal in the final hours before the deadline.

The campaign revolved around a video about a girl named Molly growing up in Nairobi’s Mathare slum: much of the footage was shot by Molly herself using a video camera that was given to her last year by WFP staff in Kenya. Web Editor Martin Penner, said: “The footage she shot is amazing because it captures the real nitty gritty of everyday life for the poorest of the poor; it's her telling us how she lives, what's important for her. No film-maker could have gotten material as authentic and raw as this”. Like more than 20 million other children around the world, Molly and her classmates are getting an education with the help of WFP’s school meals programme.

The campaign gave supporters the chance to provide a meal to a child like Molly by watching a video illustrating the impact of that food on her life. Supporters also had the option of making a donation, which many did: the campaign raised over $10,000 for school meals programmes around the world.



8th Pan African Conference

From October 19 until 22, Red Cross Red Crescent leaders from more than 50 African countries will gather in Addis Ababa for the 8th Pan African Conference (PAC). Held every four years, the predominant theme of PAC 2012 will be “Investing in Africa.

The Red Cross Red Crescent in Africa serves millions of vulnerable people and delivers long-term development programmes in partnership with local communities in 54 African countries. The Red Cross Red Crescent has deep, local roots with more than 1.4 million volunteers in Sub-Saharan Africa and thousands more across the continent. Together, these volunteers contribute more than 117 million US dollars worth of services across the continent.



Caritas struggling to meet Syria crisis needs

16 October – More than a year of conflict has left over one million people displaced in the country. Three hundred thousand have fled Syria, giving rise to increasing humanitarian needs across the region. Caritas is reinforcing its response in all countries bordering Syria with particular focus on operations in Lebanon and Jordan. However, the increasing flow of refugees cannot be absorbed or integrated without straining the resources of the host communities.

Life for most Syrians is very difficult, but Caritas is particularly concerned about the long-term effects on children and their education. The school year just started but schools are doubling up as places of refuge for the displaced. Caritas Syria’s main focus now and the prime humanitarian challenge is to adapt the hosting conditions of thousands of families that have been displaced to the difficulties of the forthcoming winter.

The solidarity and hospitality demonstrated by the receiving countries has been remarkable nevertheless the international community needs to step up its efforts if they are to meet or maintain the basic needs required by the refugees.



WFP assists Syrians in Turkey with food E-vouchers

October 15, Kilis Camp, Southern Turkey- As Syrians continue to flee violence and pour into neighboring countries, there are now over 100,000 Syrians living in camps in Turkey. The Turkish authorities have been providing them with assistance but with the growing numbers of new arrivals, WFP is stepping in with a complimentary food e-voucher programme in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent.

WFP launched this week the Food E-card intervention in partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC). In five camps, one in Kilis and four in Hatay, initially for 25,000 Syrians, and will then be expanded to include a higher number of families, as cooking facilities and access to shops become available in other camps.

Each family member receives 80 Turkish Liras (US$ 45) each month loaded into the electronic card. The amount is enough is to provide a basic diet of at least 2,100 kilocalories for every person each day. This system also boosts the local economy.



Helping flood-hit Pakistan

11 October – Caritas has launched a three-month emergency programme to help families following severe flooding in Pakistan. The programme will cost US$1.4 million (€1.1 million).

Heavy rains in August and September hit the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and have left hundreds of dead and tens of thousands of people homeless. Caritas in Pakistan will provide tents, blankets, food and medical assistance for the next three months to many people who are in difficulty. Six thousand families will be given tents by Caritas Pakistan until they can find more permanent accommodation. Nine thousand five hundred families will receive food and hygiene kits. People can receive free healthcare in one of 80 medical camps that will be set up to offer diagnoses and treatment.

The food supply in the flood-affected areas is uncertain as some supply routes are blocked and food stores may be contaminated due to water logging and damp. The floods also damaged infrastructure and washed away 1.1 million acres of crops and over 8,000 head of cattle.



Counterpart begins food distribution in flooded eastern Niger

Counterpart International will distribute emergency food relief in Niger this week, delivering assistance to nearly 62,000 people in the three eastern provinces.

After heavy rains and flooding in September, Counterpart immediately worked with the affected communities to identify the most vulnerable households that needed help getting food. The food, which amounts to more than 1.2 metric tons of vegetable oil, bulgur, and corn soy blend, will be distributed over four or five days to more than 6,000 households, which include nearly 62,000 people in need, including more than 17,000 pregnant and lactating women. The rations are enough to last recipients one month.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, which supports the ongoing food security program in Niger, approved Counterpart’s humanitarian response, and asked fellow aid organizations to respond to the crisis by providing shelter and other commodities. Counterpart currently has a food security development program in Niger. The USAID-funded program in Niger is scheduled to conclude in July 2013.




Peace and security



Republic of Congo - A school reborn after Brazzaville arms depot tragedy

29 October - Had the series of explosions at the Mpila munitions depot that devastated Brazzaville earlier this year happened on a weekday rather than a Sunday, then the death toll of 282 could have been 20 times higher. Thankfully Pierre Ntsiete School, located half a mile from the blasts that launched hundreds of unexploded and unstable munitions across a 600,000m2 area, was closed for the weekend and its 5,000 pupils had a lucky escape. While severely damaged, the school was not completely destroyed, unlike three others in the area. And after a MAG Explosive Ordnance Disposal team cleared the site of unexploded ordnance (UXO), the authorities were able to rebuild the damaged classrooms. Now completely renovated, Pierre Ntsiete School has reopened and is also temporarily hosting students from those schools that were flattened.

With UXO continuing to pose the threat of death or injury in the surrounding areas, MAG Community Liaison teams carried out three days of Risk Education sessions at the school, to raise awareness of the risk and explain how pupils can keep themselves and their families safe. Murals were also painted on the walls, highlighting these safety messages.



Nations should step-up ‘Humanitarian Disarmament’

24 October - On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 90 representatives from nongovernmental organizations and coalitions gathered in New York City for a Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit convened by Human Rights Watch. These civil society representatives work in a variety of fields with the shared objective of protecting civilians from the harmful effects of armed violence. The communiqué calls for strong disarmament initiatives driven by humanitarian concerns to strengthen international law and protect civilians.



Nobel Peace Prize winning campaign celebrates 20 years of fight against landmines

New York, 19 October . The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is today celebrating 20 years of campaigning for a world free of landmines. Events marking this anniversary will take place in over 20 countries this fall. In October 1992, the ICBL, a global civil society movement, was born to put an urgent stop to a humanitarian crisis, which was leaving more than 20,000 people killed or maimed by antipersonnel mines every year.

ICBL’s efforts were crucial to the development, negotiation, adoption and signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the first treaty to ban a weapon in widespread use. Since then the campaign has continued working around the world to turn the words of the treaty into real change on the ground. Today, after two decades of ICBL campaigning worldwide, and 15 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed, more than 80 per cent of the world – 160 countries – have banned the weapon by becoming party to the treaty, and most of those remaining outside abide by the ban norm. Many hundreds of square kilometres of previously mine infested land have been cleared of mines, and more than 45 million stockpiled landmines in 87 countries have been destroyed. Most importantly, the number of new casualties caused by antipersonnel mines each year has dropped dramatically to fewer than 5,000 recorded cases.



Rotary Global Peace Forum - Berlin

In 2012-13, Rotary International will hold three Rotary Global Peace Forums. Each forum will be a two- or three-day program to engage and inspire Rotarians and community leaders to champion President Sakuji Tanaka’s RI theme, Peace Through Service. The forum in Berlin will emphasize the value of democracy and freedom. The forums in Honolulu and Hiroshima will focus on young people,

The Forum in Berlin - from 30 November to 2 December - will emphasize the value of Democracy and Freedom. It examines the role of democracy in building peace and promotes opportunities for all people to engage one other in international understanding and cooperation. Will celebrate and highlight role of intercountry committees in promoting understanding among nations.

The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace is one of the cornerstones of the Rotary movement. With Rotary's active presence in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, the organization has established itself as a world leader in fostering world understanding and peace.







US increases funding to combat influenza and emerging disease threats

October 29, Rome - FAO's commitment to fight emerging disease threats in "hotspot" regions worldwide is getting a boost with new funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The funding, totaling more than $20 million, will support the ongoing US-FAO partnership against H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and a widening focus on potential emerging pandemic threats.

The US assistance will help strengthen preparedness and response to HPAI in Southeast Asia and bolster laboratory and surveillance capacities in hotspot areas. The majority of the funding will support activities in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Viet Nam, which continue to experience outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in poultry as well as cases in humans, some fatal; funding will also go to regional coordination to combat avian influenza and to support surveillance and prevention in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Myanmar, which are threatened by the disease's continuing persistence in neighboring countries.



All aboard for a polio-free world!

Express train to eradicate polio

26 October – To mark World Polio Day, Rotary Germany engaged in an innovative partnership with German rail-network Deutsche Bahn. The ‘End Polio Now’ locomotive went on its maiden run on 26 October, departing Hamburg at 16.29 in direction of Dresden.

For the next 12 months, this locomotive will traverse Germany’s 14,000 kilometre-long railways, raising awareness about polio eradication and inviting tens of thousands of travellers to join Rotary in their noble fight against the disease.

The activity is just one of thousands being undertaken by Rotary’s 1.2 million members worldwide, to further garner global support for the eradication effort. Rotary was the first with a vision of a polio-free world, launching its PolioPlus programme in 1985. Since then, Rotary International has contributed well over US$1 billion to the cause.



Syria: aid reaches beleaguered population in Homs and Harasta

25 October – Hundreds of thousands of people affected by intense fighting have been receiving aid distributed by the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. In addition, the ICRC has succeeded in delivering medical supplies in some of the areas hardest hit by violence.

ICRC staff returned to Homs this week to deliver aid, in particular to hospitals and other health-care facilities. "While this is certainly a positive development, much more remains to be done," said Marianne Gasser, the head of the ICRC delegation in Syria. "We need to proceed with caution, however, as it is very risky for everyone, not least for our personnel and for Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers working in the most dangerous areas." Other field visits were carried out to several parts of Rural Damascus, including Harasta, and in Sweida in the south, where many displaced people have taken refuge.



World Polio Day

There’s a lot to celebrate this World Polio Day, 24 October

October 22 – In all but three countries of the world, governments supported by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have stopped transmission of this crippling virus. This year, fewer children (171) have been paralyzed by polio, in fewer parts of the world than ever before.

Since the launch of the GPEI’s Emergency Action Plan in May 2010, India – long thought to be the hardest place from which to eradicate polio – has stopped polio transmission. Polio now survives among the most marginalized communities of just three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Polio eradication is at a pivotal point, and the three countries and the partners supporting them are all in emergency mode. A massive surge of human resources – over 4000 people – has been deployed to assist the countries, but local ownership is at the heart of these efforts.

Failure to eradicate polio would lead eventually to at least 200,000 children paralyzed worldwide every year, and as recent outbreaks in polio-free areas such as Tajikistan and China have shown, increasingly, adults have also been paralyzed, and killed. Only eradication will ensure a polio-free world. And prove that every child, everywhere, can be reached with life-saving vaccines. To draw attention to this once-in-a-generation opportunity, join the world’s biggest commercial put together by Rotary International. And take action: write to world leaders, download an action pack. http://www.polioeradication.org/Mediaroom/Newsstories.aspx


Afghanistan: MSF to resume medical activities in Khost

Kabul/Khost, October 17 – The independent medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will resume medical activities in its maternity hospital in Khost Province, Afghanistan. MSF suspended its activities following an explosion in the hospital in April, 2012.

Prior to re-opening the hospital before the end of the year, necessary logistical work will be carried out and an all-female team of Afghan medical staff, including midwifes and nurses, will be recruited to work alongside international colleagues. These staff are essential for the resumption of high-quality medical care in the hospital.

Support from the community, and respect for the safety and security of patients, health facilities, and medical staff, make it possible for MSF to work in three other locations in Afghanistan, and in more than 70 other countries.




Energy and safety



USA - Solar Powering Communities from Georgia to Iowa

The SunShot Solar Outreach October 25 - Partnership (SolarOPs) just completed two regional solar tours throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Featuring 11 half-day sessions, the Solar Powering Your Community workshops provided an overview of policies that impact solar adoption and financing strategies for public-and private-sector solar projects.The workshops were designed to spread actionable information on overcoming local-level barriers to solar, addressing soft costs, and implementing a successful local solar program in areas including: - revising zoning codes and ordinances to allow for solar- streamlining permitting processes to facilitate solar installations- financing solar projects- installing solar on municipal and other community facilities.

Over the course of the tours, SunShot SolarOPs speakers heard from local governments across the Southeast and Midwest about successful solar programs, as well as how to address the challenges they face. The solar trainers were able to offer a wide range of resources for attendees and helped identify possible next steps to solar adoption.




Environment and wildlife



Russia boosts protection for tigers

30 October – Trade, transportation and possession of endangered species will all be considered crimes under new legislation proposed by the Kremlin, following discussions with WWF.

Tiger hunting is considered by many to be the biggest single factor in the decline of tigers this century - resulting in the world losing 97 per cent of its wild tigers, including four entire sub-species which have been driven to extinction. It is estimated that there may be as few as 3,200 of the endangered animals now remaining in the wild.

Unfortunately, until now, law in the Russian Federation, home to many of the world’s remaining tigers, only considered the actual killing of an animal to be a crime. Poachers who have been apprehended carrying the animals, or their parts, have attempted to avoid punishment by claiming they had found the animals already deceased. WWF and its partner wildlife monitoring organization TRAFFIC, are currently conducting a global campaign aimed at achieving greater protection for tigers and other major threatened species, such as rhinos and elephants.

Demand for ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts from consumer markets in Asia is driving wild populations of these species dangerously close to extinction. WWF is calling on governments to combat illegal wildlife trade and reduce demand for endangered species products.



Central African Republic begins independent ivory audit

Bangui, Central African Republic, 26 October – The Central African Republic’s decision this week to undergo an independent audit of its ivory stocks is a sign the country is serious about addressing rampant elephant poaching and related illegal wildlife crimes. WWF and TRAFFIC congratulate the government of the Central African Republic for this bold move and strongly urge the country to completely destroy these stocks once the audit is completed.

On Tuesday 23 October, government officials and WWF began auditing ivory stocks which were seized in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas complex and stored near the town of Bayanga in the south west of the country, about 20 km from both Cameroon and the Republic of Congo,” Jean-Baptiste Mamang-Kanga, the director of fauna and protected areas of the Central African Republic’s ministry of water, forests, hunting and fishing told WWF. “Over the next three months a further seven sites are to be examined and all audited ivory stocks will be sent to a secured warehouse in the country’s capital, Bangui,” he said.

Elephant poaching in the Central African Republic has reached crisis levels.



National Societies join forces in the name of disaster reduction

By Kate Roux in Thailand

23 October – Walking through the damp mud of an extensive mangrove plantation, wearing straw hats to keep cool from the mid-morning sun, the Red Cross societies of Lao, Thailand and Viet Nam along with the Southeast Asia regional delegation from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), took action last week to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction. Knee-deep in solidarity, everyone dug into the mud to plant mangrove trees, while smiles and laughter were shared. “Disaster risk reduction and preparedness is a necessity that we must realize and act upon,” said Mr. Tej Bunnag, Assistant Secretary General for administration at The Thai Red Cross Society in his opening speech.

These words ring particularly true for the region of Southeast Asia, which is so vulnerable to natural disaster that it is often referred to as ‘the supermarket for disasters’. In 2008 alone, the region suffered 152 natural disasters according to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The unique mangrove ecosystem is, therefore, particularly relevant in this part of the world. Mangrove plantations protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surges and tsunami as their massive root systems are effective in slowing down tidal water and collecting sediment when the tide arrives. (...)



WWF takes extreme measures to save rhinos

14 October – To secure critically endangered black rhinos from poaching and encourage rapid breeding, WWF has flown 13 to new homes this month.

Since 2003, WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP) has helped create eight new populations in an effort to increase the number of rhinos in South Africa.

Dr Jacques Flamand, the head of BRREP, says, “More than 130 black rhino have been moved to new homes, while over 40 calves have been born on project sites.”

Translocating rhinos requires dedicated, skilled teams, who constantly work to improve their translocation methods in an effort to reduce the stress caused to the animals. Flamand explains that during the latest translocation blood samples were taken for testing to ensure that airlifting sedated rhinos for short distances by their ankles does not stress the animals at all.

Already this year 430 South African rhinos have been killed by poachers. Rhino horns are in demand in Asia, particularly Viet Nam. The country lost its last rhino to poaching in 2010.




Religion and spirituality



Crossing religious borders - Six films for the public peace process

Six related films are now available to citizens worldwide to inspire a new quality of communication

in schools, homes, camp settings, offices, while demonstrating how to initiate and plan programs that help diverse communities, even “enemies," engage successfully. Released in February, 2007, DVD sets of the first two films have gone cost-free to over 5,000 individuals representing 1,957 institutions in 1,233 cities, 50 states, and 79 countries on every continent.


PEACEMAKERS: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp

THE PEACEMAKERS and their pursuit of understanding



DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future (new in January 2012)




Culture and education



Nominations for THE ONE 2013 are open until end January 2013

Recognition to noble and outstanding evidence of sacrifice - Award: US$100,000

THE ONE, a project by Rotary International District 3450 (Hong Kong, Macao & Mongolia), looks to find the hero that wakes up every morning and puts others before himself, that gives up his life to help those in need to alleviate pain, suffering, poverty and hunger. In other words, candidate must have provided outstanding and remarkable service to mankind; must have demonstrated daily dedication and continued devotion to humanitarian efforts; must have promoted integrity and advanced world understanding, goodwill and peace through his or her humanitarian efforts.

Nomination for THE ONE 2013 started on 1st October 2012 and will end on 31st January 2013. Each Rotary Club - over 33,000 clubs with over 1.2 million members in the world - is eligible to nominate more than one candidate. In addition to the prize,also every finalist will receive US$5,000. Nominations guidelines are available at http://www.theonerotary3450.org/?page_id=9

Last June, Valerie Browning from Ethiopia was the first recipient of THE ONE award. Valerie is an activist for the Afar Nomads in the Horn of Africa, and she will be using her prize money of US$100,000 to provide clean water, vaccinations and general healthcare to the Afar people, a million nomads who are living in North Eastern Ethiopia, one of the hottest inhabited places on earth that in the past years experienced seven recurrent droughts, which in turn have reduced Afar people’s supply and access to food and water.



Florens 2012 Culture is quality of life

International Biennial of Cultural and Landscape Heritage - Florence November, 3 - 11

Florens is held every two years and is currently in its second edition. 9000 attendees were recorded at conferences during Florens 2010, and around 200.000 at the other events.

Florens 2012 aims to unite organizations and individuals who deal with the relationship between economy and culture, and believe that long-term prospects for economic growth must be based firmly on the revitalization of culture. They will convene in Florence, in order to develop ideas and innovative proposals, cultural institutions, banking foundations, companies and associations, and will include the most important people, both nationally and internationally, in the different fields of the economy of culture.

It is the combination of these themes, subjects and experiences which enhances quality of life and it is from this extraordinary heritage that we will be able to define a new model of development and new proposals for Italy, boosting economic growth in this necessary time.

The program of Florens 2012 will include the International Forum on Cultural and Environmental

Heritage, more than 40 round tables and conferences, 7 keynotes, exhibitions, cultural aperitifs, musical events, installations and shows.



Finland - High quality educators for Early Childhood Education

26 October - The Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö (OAJ), one of Education International’s national affiliates, has celebrated the 120th anniversary of preschool teacher education in Finland. OAJ president Olli Luukkainen reasserted the need for well-trained teachers at all education levels, including Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Good teacher education is key to a quality education systems,” said Luukkainen. “It is important that all teachers are well-educated to a high-level in universities. There is no reason why early childhood education teachers should have lower levels of education than their primary school counterparts. Finland must upgrade preschool teachers’ education to masters level.”

He also stressed that ECE is a very important step in a child´s life: “We all know that in ECE we can influence a child´s whole education career and smooth the social effects of a disadvantaged social background.”



Italian President presents Earth Charter Youth Contest 2012 awards

Rome, October 20 - The Earth Charter Youth Contest awards ceremony, held on October 19th at the Quirinal Palace, was part of the traditional “Autumn Fest.” President Napolitano presented Elio Pacilio, President of Green Cross Italy, with a commemorative plaque to acknowledge the organization's efforts to promote environmental education during the past 20 years.

Approximately 600,000 students from at least 10,000 schools have participated in the competition during the past two decades, with nearly 500 schools recognized for their work and provided with support to conduct 320 micro-environmental projects.

The contest enjoys strong support from Italian civil society, including from Professor Rita Levi Montalcini, honorary president of Green Cross Italy.



EDC to manage new national Center on Early Learning

Waltham, MA, USA, October 4 – EDC will provide support to early childhood specialists in state departments of education nationwide under the auspices of a new national center. Announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Education, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes is 1 of 23 comprehensive centers across the country awarded a total of $52 million to help districts and schools meet student achievement goals

Working closely with the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University and the Council for Chief State School Officers, the new center will seek to raise the bar in early education by supporting the use of data, authentic assessments, effective professional development, and outstanding instructional practices.

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that addresses some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC manages more than 250 projects in 23 countries. Visit www.edc.org.




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Next issue: 7 December2012.



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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