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Good News Agency

A culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour

Monthly – year 15th, number 228 –10 October 2014


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 in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,500 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 It is a supporter of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) provided to the UN Secretary-General for presentation to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing an active role in the field of Information through Internet.* 




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

Global movement for a Culture of Peace


International legislation


South Sudan: Flawed Security Bill headed for vote

3 October - South Sudan’s lawmakers should overhaul draft legislation that would establish and regulate the powers of the National Security Service (NSS) to ensure that it conforms with international human rights standards. The draft law is pending before parliament and expected to be put to a vote on October 7, 2014. “As is, the National Security Service bill would sanction the national security service’s abusive and unlawful detentions and interrogations,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “South Sudan should insist on a higher standard instead of echoing Sudan’s draconian national security law.” The bill should be revised to bring it in line with international human rights standards, and South Sudan’s Bill of Rights, Human Rights Watch said.



UN treaty regulating global arms trade set to enter into force

25 September - Less than two years after its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, the Arms Trade Treaty has now received the 50 ratifications needed to trigger its entry into force, the world body announced today. Among other provisions, the Treaty includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms which would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes.



Human rights


USA: Tobacco group adopts child labor protections

2 October - A prominent tobacco growers’ organization announced a new child labor policy that could help protect children from dangerous work on tobacco farms in the United States. The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina, which represents more than 2,300 tobacco farmers in North Carolina and neighboring states, issued a policy on October 1, 2014 stating that it “does not condone the use of child labor.” The policy says that children under 16 should not be hired to work on tobacco farms, even with parental permission.



Mali: Armed groups learn about international humanitarian law

Members of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and of the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) are attending an ICRC course on international humanitarian law in Kidal today.

1st October – "This is one session in a series that began a few weeks ago. So far, we've raised awareness of international humanitarian law among more than 200 fighters from the MNLA, the HCUA and the Arab Movement of Azawad in Ménaka, Ber and Kidal," said Christoph Luedi, head of the ICRC delegation in Mali. "The long-term goal is to make these armed groups aware of their responsibilities in terms of respect for international humanitarian law, and to help them to better understand the rules of behaviour applicable in conflict situations."

The participants are made aware in particular of issues relating to the protection of civilians and people no longer taking part in hostilities, the treatment of people who have been captured, and respect for humanitarian principles. International humanitarian law is a set of rules designed to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects people who are not or are no longer taking part in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.



UN labour agency partners with retailer H&M on social sustainability

15 September - The United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) today announced a unique partnership with retail giant H&M to promote sustainable global supply chains in the garment industry. The new partnership will focus on industrial relations and wages, training and skills development for workers at H&M source factories, as well as strengthening employers’ and workers’ organizations in the global garment industry.




Economy and development


WFP launches major study into Brazil's success in buying from smallholder farmers

October 1, Johannesburg - The World Food Programme’s Centre of Excellence against Hunger is launching a research initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to analyse Brazil’s success in linking smallholder farmers with government demand for farmed food.

The aim of the research is to share evidence from the Brazilian experience to help other countries achieve similar success.  In the last decade, Brazil has gained widespread recognition for fighting hunger and extreme poverty, in part through its local procurement programme.

One major public programme is Home-Grown School Feeding which provides school meals to around 45 million students each day in Brazilian public schools. For students, it encourages attendance and helps them concentrate in class. For farmers, the predictable government purchases reduce risk and encourage improved quality and higher incomes.

The research results will be released in 2015.



Injection of $108m for Rural Development Programme in Ghana

September 25 - The International Fund for Agricultural Development has fortified $108m loan for the third phase of the Rural Development Programme (REP) and will be applied by the African Development Programme. 

Mr. Kwasi Attah-Antwi, the National Director of the REP, said the programme was introduced in the country in 1992 in the districts of Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo and gradually increases to 13 districts and it is running successfully. 140,000 rural people have been benefitted by the programme at the end of the first phase and by the end of the second phase in 2011, around 237,189 people were benefitted. He appealed to the District Assemblies to make the third phase of the programme very much successful which has been started in 2012 and supposed to be ended in 2020.



Mud crab milestone in Timor-Leste

Producer groups celebrate new aquaculture facilities in Dili and Liquica Districts

September 25 - To fight poverty especially in rural areas of Timor-Leste, ACDI/VOCA works to improve livelihoods and foster sustainable economic development.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), ACDI/VOCA’s Mud Crab and Fish Cultivation project recently held a special event marking a major milestone for farmers in the Dili and Liquica districts: the local farmers are now equipped with 20 new ponds to better support local cultivation of mud crabs—a high-value agricultural product that yields good incomes for these rural producers.

Mud crabs (Scylla serrata) are a prized delicacy throughout Asia, commanding high prices in restaurants and hotels. The Mud Crab and Fish Cultivation project works with coastal communities to raise mud crabs and fish and helps those communities connect to markets to sell their products.



World Bank finances family farming in Angola

September 23 - Mosap, a market-focused family farming project, underway since 2012 in the provinces of Bie, Huambo and Malanje, has funding of US$20 million from the World Bank, noted the World Bank representative in Angola. The funding allowed the consolidation of all activities including training of farmers, supplying seeds, fertiliser, and agricultural production equipment, as well as increased investment in agriculture.

Mosap is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, funded by the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and its target group is family farmers with an average area of ​​cultivation without irrigation of between 1 and 2 hectares with the possibility of expansion to 2.5 hectares. The project started in 2012 and aims to increase production of maize, beans, cassava and others, as well as the breeding of large, medium and small animals by rural families.



Innovative climate-risk solution expands to insure farmers in Malawi and Zambia

September 23, New York/Geneva - Vulnerable rural households in Malawi and Zambia will soon be able to better protect their crops and livelihoods against climate variability thanks to the expansion of the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4). The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) committed US$6.6 million at the Climate Summit today to expand the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) and Oxfam America’s R4 programme to the two new countries.

After showing significant impact in Senegal and Ethiopia, WFP and Oxfam America now aim to bring the resilience package to at least 4,000 farmers in Malawi and Zambia by 2017, and scale up the programme in the following years. R4 extends insurance protection against drought to vulnerable smallholder farmers, safeguarding their livelihoods so they can be confident that their investments will not be lost when a shock hits. R4 integrates four risk management strategies: improved natural resource management, agricultural insurance, and access to credit and savings. WFP and Oxfam America aim to reach a total of 100,000 insured farmers by 2017.



Bosnia's Federation gets $26.2 million international financing for energy efficiency, poverty

by Valentina Dimitrievska

September 23, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) - The government of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation said on Tuesday it has obtained two loans from international lenders of total $26.2 million (20.4 million euros) for energy efficiency projects and poverty reduction. The Federation will borrow $18.95 million from the World Bank’s fund, International Development Association (IDA) for energy efficiency projects, which is 60% of the total borrowing approved by IDA for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the government of the Federation said in a statement. IDA’s loan should be repaid within 25 years with a grace period of five years.

The Federation will also borrow $7.3 million for poverty reduction projects from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is 60% of the total sum approved for Bosnia.

Apart from the Federation, Bosnia has another autonomous entity, the Serb Republic.



Nigeria's E-Wallet System gets additional U.S. $150 million World Bank Support

By Chibuzor Emejor

September 20, Abuja — The World Bank says it has scaled up the funding support to Nigeria's electronic wallet system to $150 million for the implementation of the second phase of the agricultural initiative in the country. World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe, made this known at the inauguration of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) Policy Working Group in Abuja.

Oredipe, who said the Bank has been very supportive of the ATA in Nigeria since its inception in 2011, added that it would increase its financial support to the agricultural policies, as well as invest in the Fadama projects targeted at supporting the smallholder farmers in the country. (...)



New financing agreement to boost food security in Burundi

Rome, 19 September – The government of the Republic of Burundi and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today signed a US$1 million grant agreement for the Burundi National Programme for Food Security and Rural Development programme that will strengthen food security and rural development in the regions of Imbo and Moso. The programme is designed to help 225,000 rural people by reinforcing hydro-agricultural infrastructure and opening up access to production areas. It is estimated that at least 50% of the beneficiaries will be women and 30% young people, in particular, young orphans.






Government to offer $9-million in legal aid for migrant kids

3rd October – The Obama administration will $9-million over two years to fund legal services for some of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children who have streamed across the border illegally, The Washington Post writes. Funds in the first year will go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to arrange representation in nine cities housing large numbers of minors awaiting immigration proceedings.

The federal funds will provide representation for 2,600 children. The government’s move comes a few days after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $3-million legal-aid package for undocumented kids. The cities of San Francisco and New York have also committed to securing lawyers for children facing deportation.



Pro Bono Day NYC 2014 to connect hundreds of nonprofits, corporations, and volunteers

Citi Foundation, Taproot Foundation, and Pro Bono Provider Organizations help nonprofits access free, professional services; promote skills-based volunteerism among NYC businesses

New York, October 2 - After a successful inaugural year, Pro Bono Day NYC is back with an expanded program including free panels, workshops, and a breakfast reception to bring together the pro bono community. Organized by Taproot Foundation and supported by the Citi Foundation, Pro Bono Day NYC: Connecting Passion with Purpose takes place on Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at locations across the city.

Pro Bono Day NYC presents an opportunity for nonprofits and corporations to gain valuable information and secure vital resources to better their programs. Nonprofit leaders and staff spend the day meeting and working with skilled volunteers and networking with potential corporate pro bono partners. And, corporations garner visibility for their company’s CSR programs, meet potential nonprofit grantees, and develop a clear understanding of the challenges nonprofits face. 



South Sudan: UN agencies reach more than half a million people with life-saving aid

30 September – Two United Nations agencies have reached more than half a million people, including 100,000 children under the age of five, in the most remote and conflict-hit areas of South Sudan with life-saving supplies and services.

Using a combination of airdrops and airlifts, the joint emergency mission carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delivered food assistance and nutrition supplements, well as health support, learning materials and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

Both agencies also provided nutrition screening and treatment, as well as information and messages on nutrition, according to a news release issued today. They also assist with reunification for children who are separated from their families, or unaccompanied.



United States gives US$10 million to assist Central Americans hit by drought & coffee rust

September 29, Panama - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$10 million from the United States to assist people across Central America affected by severe drought and the Coffee Rust disease. The contribution, channeled through USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, will provide cash transfers and food vouchers to some 220,000 food insecure people. Cash and vouchers are especially useful when food is available in the market, but people cannot afford to buy it.

At the request of the governments of Central America, WFP plans to provide food assistance to nearly 1.5 million people, for which more than US$65 million is required.

The combined effects of a severe and prolonged drought, the ongoing Coffee Rust plague and the rise in staple food prices is seriously affecting the food and nutrition security of families in Central America. According to initial estimates, more than 2 million people may be in need of food assistance.



Red Crescent steps up as tens of thousands Syrians are forced to seek refuge in Turkey

Budapest/ Geneva, 29 September – The Turkish government recently announced scaling up its support for the massive number of people entering into Suruç, a frontier town in south-eastern Turkey.  More than 160,000 Syrians have entered the country so far, further stretching the coping mechanism and resources of host communities.

The Turkish Red Crescent has been distributing food and water to the Syrians, as well as, providing warehouse and logistics support for receiving and distributing relief items such hygiene sets, baby diapers, and other equipment. The National Society is present in ten provinces hosting displaced population along the Syrian-Turkish border. It had also set up mobile kitchens at the crossing-point in Suruc, which continues to provide more than 10,000 rations of hot meal a day, for those who are being accommodated in public buildings and transit shelters.



Dryden Rotary Club celebrates donating more than $1 million

by Grace Protopapas

September 20 - The Dryden Rotary Club, Ontario, Canada, celebrated a big milestone this week. Rotary announced that they have donated more than $1 million to local community groups.

The club has raised the money over the last 10 years with 90 groups from across the region benefiting from the fundraising, including the Dryden Regiona Health Centre, Rotary Park and the Tamarac House.
Over $148,000 has already been donated this year and Rotary has made a $100,000 commitment to Dryden Youth Soccer.



Norway donates $10 million to FAO South Sudan

September 11, Juba - Norway has donated approximately $10 million to help FAO provide conflict-affected farmers, fishers and herders in South Sudan with critical livelihood support. Norway’s gift will allow FAO to distribute emergency livelihood kits – including crop seeds, fishing tools, vegetable seeds and livestock health kits – to an additional 50 000 vulnerable households, enabling them to plant crops, fish waterways and protect livestock from critical diseases.

Working with the World Food Programme and UNICEF to deliver inputs to remote communities by airdrop, airlift, boat and truck, FAO has released emergency kits to reach more than 1.5 million people with vital inputs for fishing, farming and livestock rearing.

Thanks to funds already provided by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Africa Solidary Trust Fund, the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund, over 350 000 livelihood kits have been released to partners by FAO. 

FAO still needs an additional $48 million to reach its target of assisting 3.3 million people and begin pre-positioning supplies in time for the 2015 seasons. 




Peace and security


UNICEF welcomes release of 70 Kurdish children after 120 days in captivity

3 October - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today welcomed the release of 70 Kurdish children, who were kidnapped in May while traveling from their home-town of Ai’n Al Arab in the northern Syrian governorate of Aleppo to take their final school examinations. The children were kidnapped on 29 May and held in captivity for 120 days.



Honouring Gandhi’s legacy, UN Deputy Secretary-General reaffirms power of peaceful protest

2 October – In these dramatic and perilous times, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged the international community to reaffirm the power and potential of bringing about change through peaceful means, following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired today’s International Day of Non-Violence. “The response to violence is all too often more violence when, in fact, reconciliation and dialogue is needed,” Mr. Eliasson said in a special event for the occasion, held at UN Headquarters in New York. He called for embracing the fundamental values embodied by Mr. Gandhi: passion, compassion, and belief in the dignity and equal worth of all human beings. Mr. Eliasson recalled Mr. Gandhi’s warning that “an eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.”

The International Day, marked annually on Mr. Gandhi’s birthday, celebrates his non-violent philosophy and tactics have been adopted by leaders around the world. It was established by the General Assembly as an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness,” and has been observed annually since 2007.



Angola: European Union releases 20 million Euros for landmine clearing

Bailundo, 29September — Twenty million Euros have been released by the European Union this year to support landmine clearing projects in 11 Angolan provinces, Angop learned.

The information was released Friday in the municipality of Bailundo, central Huambo province, by the head of the National Multi-sector Demining and Humanitarian Assistance Commission (CNIDA), Rita Botelho Jesus Riba. She stated that four national and five foreign non-governmental organisations selected through a public tender will conduct the demining.

According to the official, 1.6 million Euros will be spent in Huambo province to back demining operations assigned to the non-governmental organisation Association of Angolan Professionals for Action against Landmine (APACOMINAS) in the districts of Bailundo, Huambo, Chicala-Chlohanga, Ucuma and Ecunha.



U.S. Department of State PM/WRA grant for clearance of explosive ordnance and risk education in South Sudan

29.September – DanChurchAid (DCA) has received a new grant of $ 698,054.79 USD from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) for a project in South Sudan aiming at reducing threats to civilians from landmines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).

The project comes in the midst of recent fighting between government and opposition forces where towns and rural areas were ravaged by the violence, affecting the livelihoods and safety of millions of people. Another consequence of the fighting was a great increase in the contamination of ERW and landmines continue to pose a humanitarian threat to the civilian population in South Sudan.

The project will be targeting the three states where the fiercest fighting took place – Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states and will reach an estimated 35.100 beneficiaries. The objectives will be achieved through the investigation and/or removal of the immediate threat from ERW as well as delivering Risk Education messages and training Community Focal Points, which will act as local experts on the risks of EWR, in areas of recent conflict. This project will run from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015.



Dialogue for peace in Norway

By Ema Talam, a university student from Bosnia and Herzegovina

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 16 participants from the Western Balkans to participate in a program for university students and young professionals, age 20 through 30, organized by The Rotary Club of Oslo Vest, Norway, and supported by other Rotary clubs throughout Norway and the Western Balkans. (...) I didn’t know much about Rotary and I knew only a little about the Young Friends program I was about to attend. But I can honestly say, after the seven weeks, I am richer in knowledge, and know more about human rights and the use of dialogue to build peace.

The first week we spent  at Nansen Academy in the small, cozy town of Lillehammer, Norway. Scholarship recipients from the Western Balkans met with Peace Scholars from the United States of America. All of us had an opportunity to interact and learn how dialogue can be used in conflict and post-conflict areas and how it helps to bridge ethnic, religious, cultural, national, or any other dissimilarities between human beings.  The remaining six weeks were spent at the International Summer School organized by the University of Oslo in Oslo, Norway, where we joined approximately 550 other students at the school. (...)

This opportunity provided by Rotary members in Norway and the Balkans has given me a great desire to find and join a local Rotaract club, so I can pursue friendships with people from all around the globe.






Liberia: Massive distribution of family protection and home disinfection kits underway in Monrovia

3 October – Teams from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have begun distributing more than 50,000 family protection and home disinfection kits in Monrovia, Liberia as part of the organisation’s Ebola response. The kits are designed to give people some protection should a family member become ill and also allow them to disinfect their homes, reducing the chance that others in the household could become contaminated. To distribute the kits, MSF’s teams work with local leaders in each community to give tokens to women in each household. Early in the morning on a designated day the token can be exchanged for a family protection and home disinfection kit. 



Mending the lingering effects of Japan’s triple disaster

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary News

2 October - More than three years after an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster triggered widespread devastation in Japan, the physical scars are beginning to mend. Debris has been removed. Coastal communities are being rebuilt. Farming and fishing have resumed, and thousands of people have moved in to new housing. But the Rotary Clubs of Koriyama West, Japan, and Englewood, New Jersey, USA, are concerned with the emotional and psychological impact caused by the triple disaster, known in Japan as 3/11, which claimed more than 19,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

In a country that prides itself on stoicism, it is difficult for survivors to seek and accept mental health care. "We believe that the first step to overcome the grief is to be able to talk about what they're going through and share their personal experiences," says Englewood club member Ikuyo Yanagisawa.

With a Rotary global grant, the clubs purchased mobile video conference equipment for four mental health clinics in areas most affected by the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. These tools now connect mental health care providers in Japan with trauma experts at the Arnhold Global Health Institute in New York City, where psychologists treated survivors and witnesses of the September 11 attacks.

To augment the new resources, Koriyama West members will organize multidisciplinary mental health care teams from Fukushima Medical University to make outreach visits to temporary shelters and schools in and around Tohoku, a town near Fukushima. (...)



DRC: MSF treating Ebola in Equateur province despite difficult conditions

Kinshasa (DRC) 2 October  – The Ebola outbreak that was declared in August in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not yet been contained. The Ebola response teams, including 50 members of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), are currently working in very difficult conditions because of the lack of roads in the area, the misinformation in the local communities about the disease, and the risk of not treating those who might have been in touch with the virus. Two treatment centres have been established, one in Lokolia (40 beds) and one in Boende (10 beds).

Surveillance activities, such as looking for patients with signs of Ebola in the community in order to treat them as soon as possible, and contact tracing and follow-up, are fundamental to limit the spread of the outbreak. While MSF is not directly responsible for them, it is cooperating with the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization staff to ensure a more comprehensive surveillance system.



Ebola update: ADRA & GlobalMedic send second shipment to Liberia and Sierra Leone

By Michael Rohm, ADRA International

October 1 – On October 8, ADRA International, in partnership with GlobalMedic and ADRA Canada, will send containers of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Cooper Hospital in Liberia and Waterloo Hospital in Sierra Leone. This follows up the partnership’s most recent shipment of $92,000 in equipment and supplies to Cooper Hospital and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak continues to accelerate, with almost 40 percent of the total cases occurring in the past 21 days.  (...) The large number of cases in high-population density settings and remote, hard-to-access villages makes the outbreak particularly difficult to contain.

In an effort to further reduce the number of cases in the worst Ebola crisis in history, ADRA is working toward community mobilization against the spread of infection in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  ADRA Liberia is implementing a three-month project with funding from ADRA International, activities of which include a community health education campaign, the establishment of community health committees and hand washing facilities, and the provision of household survivor kits. (…)



Save the Children builds its first ebola treatment center in Liberia

Fairfield, Conn., USA, Sepember. 27 -  A 70-bed Save the Children-built treatment center has now opened its doors in Liberia and is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC). Bong county – where the centre is located – is one of the five counties in Liberia worst affected by the outbreak, which experts claim could infect up to 1.4 million lives by January. Save the Children is to build another Ebola treatment unit in Margibi county, which is also heavily affected by the outbreak.

These treatment units include safe isolation wards and provide expert medical assessments, care and treatment until the patient's death or recovery. They will also reduce pressure on mainstream healthcare services, which outside of Monrovia, have almost all shut down because of the deadly toll they have had on healthcare personnel.



Polio -  Synchronized campaigns in western and central Africa

September 22 – This week, 18 countries across western and central Africa have been holding synchronised polio immunization campaigns to reach nearly 94 million children with oral polio vaccine (OPV). This is a monumental coordination effort, incorporating strong governmental commitment, global support from international organisations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF and the motivation of members of communities themselves to mobilize their friends and neighbours to ensure every child is protected.

National Immunization Days in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo and Senegal are working to build immunity across western and central Africa. Each child needs at least 3 doses of OPV to build immunity and end the transmission of the virus, making it crucial that campaigns such as this reach every child.

Africa is closer than ever before to achieving eradication, with only 22 cases across the continent to date in 2014 compared to 232 by the same point in 2013.



Int'l financial institutions to provide US$21.7 million to meet food needs as Ebola crisis deepens

September 18, Rome/Washington - The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) will receive $21.7 million from two international financial institutions. This contribution will help support the increasing need for food assistance amid the worsening Ebola epidemic.

WFP will receive approximately US$18.7 million from the World Bank through grants to Guinea (US$7.1 million), Sierra Leone (US$6 million) and Liberia (US$5.6 million). Separately, the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has pledged US$3 million to help WFP address food and nutrition security in rural communities across all the affected countries. WFP is scaling up its ongoing response to the Ebola emergency. The organization will provide assistance to about one million people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, including delivering food alongside the health response. 

The World Bank grants are part of a larger $105 million Ebola assistance package approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors in Washington on 16 September.




Energy and safety



USA - Energy department announces up to $25 million to reduce costs of algal biofuels

September 30- The Energy Department today announced up to $25 million in funding to reduce the cost of algal biofuels to less than $5 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) by 2019. This funding supports the development of a bioeconomy that can help create green jobs, spur innovation, improve the environment, and achieve national energy security.

Algae biomass can be converted to advanced biofuels that offer promising alternatives to petroleum-based diesel and jet fuels.  Additionally, algae can be used to make a range of other valuable bioproducts, such as industrial chemicals, bio-based polymers, and proteins. However, barriers related to algae cultivation, harvesting, and conversion to fuels and products need to be overcome to achieve the Department’s target of $3 per gge for advanced algal biofuels by 2030. To accomplish this goal, the Department is investing in applied research and development technologies that achieve higher biomass yields and overall values for the algae.



UNIDO and Dell join forces to implement sustainable solution for e-waste management in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Vienna / New York, September 26 - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Dell International LLC, the multinational technology solutions company, have signed an agreement to cooperate on identifying and implementing a sustainable solution model for e-waste management for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Developing countries are expected to account for the majority of discarded electronics by 2016, and twice that of developed regions by 2030. The aim of this agreement is to create awareness, build capacity, and engage in knowledge sharing and policy advocacy with regard to sustainable e-waste management; to support the creation of an operational and economically viable collection network, and dismantling and recycling facilities, to process e-waste in developing countries in a safe and environmentally sound way; and to support the development of local recycling infrastructure, contributing to the industrial development of these countries and creating sustainable, green economies.



KEA, Philips, H&M, Mars, Nestlé launch Campaign to lead business shift to 100% renewables

KEA, Swiss Re, BT, Formula E, H&M, KPN, Mars, Nestlé, Philips and Reed Elsevier were among businesses that joined a powerful group of NGOs and clean energy experts during Climate Week to launch of a multi-year initiative to encourage major companies to commit to using 100 percent renewable power.

With the goal that “by 2020, 100 of the world’s largest businesses will have committed to   100 percent renewable power,” the RE100 campaign will highlight the business and reputational benefits enjoyed by companies that make the commitment to use power exclusively from renewable energy sources. It will also help companies that wish to switch to renewables by providing guidance on selecting and implementing the best approach to utilizing renewable power, and information on the financial implications, risks and rewards of different options.

Leading businesses, NGOs and renewable energy experts have now come together in a coordinated effort to accelerate businesses across the world to commit to using 100 percent renewable power. Led by The Climate Group, in partnership with CDP and in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and others, the RE100 campaign will provide a powerful network to support and celebrate businesses that are increasing their use of renewable power.




Environment and wildlife


Countries impose tighter regulation of scientific whaling

Portoroz, Slovenia, 18 September – The killing of whales as part of scientific research programmes will now be under stricter oversight after a divisive vote by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) today. The decision comes after a judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in March that ruled previous “scientific” hunts by Japan to be illegal. The resolution, put forward by New Zealand, passed by a simple majority of 35 for and 20 against. Japan and other whaling nations voted against the proposal, which leaves the measures unbinding on them under treaty rules.

A moratorium prohibiting commercial whaling has been in effect since 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt thousands of whales by claiming that it was conducting scientific research. Today’s resolution gives a larger role to the commission in evaluating the legitimacy of scientific whaling proposals, as requested in the ICJ judgement.




Religion and spirituality


Spirited dialogue: Interfaith Round-Table on Africa

September 29 – Africare believes in the power of religious communities to affect change. Congregations across the United States, especially African-American-led churches, provided crucial support to Africare in the early years after our founding, and support from faith-based organizations has helped sustain Africare’s operations to this day.

On Saturday, September 27, Africare House in Washington, D.C. served as the venue for the Interfaith Round-Table on Africa, that fostered dialogue on matters of faith for all people of African descent and on how faith organizations can work together to improve the quality of life for African people.

Fifteen faith community leaders attended for spirited dialogue and discussion. Africare President Darius Mans participated in the event’s panel discussion, and all attendees made great strides in developing a commitment to supporting each other’s organizations.



Hindus welcome goddess Saraswati statue near White House erected by Indonesia

A statue of Hindu goddess Saraswati, about a mile away from White House in Washington DC (USA), was unveiled by Indonesian President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 25. “President hopes, the presence of the statue would open our hearts and minds”, according to a release posted on Indonesia Cabinet Secretariat. “Could end hatred and misunderstanding between us…”, it quoted Yudhoyono stating during the speech at the unveiling. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended Yudhoyono for installation of Saraswati statue; thus displaying religious pluralism, honoring diversity and respecting minorities.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population than any other country in the world; where Muslims form about 88% of the population and Hindus about 3%.



Promising environmental action, Faiths rise together at Religions for the Earth Summit

Nearly half a million people marched to save the only planet we have on the 21st of September at the People’s Climate March in New York City. After exceeding goals to stage the biggest climate march in history, the day ended with an interfaith service packing thousands into the largest Cathedral in the World, St. John the Divine. Leaders spanning the faith traditions of the world vowed there to commit unprecedented action to curb climate change.

In this historic moment the Parliament of the World’s Religions, in conjunction with partners Green Faith and Interfaith Center of New York, took part in the 3-day Religions for the Earth conference presented by Union Theological Seminary. Organized by Union Forum’s Karenna Gore, daughter of Former U.S. Vice-President and global environmental champion Al Gore, the conference that brought together more than 200 leaders of world spiritual communities and interfaith organizations also leveraged partnerships with the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the National Religious Partnership.




Culture and education


Critical thinking to achieve gender equality among Muslims

October 27 to November 2, 2014, the International Feminine Congress for a Culture of Peace "Women's Turn to Speak", under the patronage of the President of Algeria, will be held at Oran and Mostaganem in Algeria. Organized by AISA International NGO and the Djanatu al-Arif Foundation, this conference aims to initiate reflection on the importance of women and the feminine in the Muslim tradition in order to generate a profound change in our society where men and women should be equal and responsible. The Congress will try to highlight the key function of the feminine in the establishment of a culture of peace that will promote "better living together" which is so essential to our humanity.

More than 54 speakers and 3,000 delegates from around the world will gather for a week of major conferences, workshops, exhibitions and evening events illustrating the themes of the conference.

This conference will focus on five axes: Axis 1 - Different Perspectives; Axis 2 - Ethics and Education; Axis 3 -Tradition and Modernity; Axis 4 - Veiling and Unveiling; Axis 5 - Feminine and Culture of Peace.



Stand #UpForSchool

October 4 - Last week saw courageous young people take the lead at the United Nations as they launched the #UpForSchool petition demanding action to get every child into school, without danger or discrimination. These young people have the support of many leading businesses, faith groups, nongovernmental organisations and others. They’re now asking people across the world to sign their petition at www.UpForSchool.org 

On World Teachers' Day on 5th October, Education International - the world’s largest federation of unions, representing 30 million education employees in 170 countries - will launch their pledge to collect 6 million signatures for the #UpForSchool petition. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the EFA Global Monitoring Report will release a new paper showing the chronic shortage of trained teachers around the world and the numbers that will be needed to join the profession by 2020.
11th October is International Day of the Girl. It will also mark the six month point of captivity for the Chibok Girls. The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children takes place on 20th November, coinciding with Universal Children's Day. Faith leaders from around the world will be coming together to highlight the social injustice of 58 million children out of school.<



2014 Awards honour courageous and effective work for human rights, freedom of the press, civil liberties and combatting climate change

 Stockholm, 24 September - The 2014 Right Livelihood Honorary Award goes to:

Edward Snowden (USA) “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”; and to:

Alan Rusbridger (UK) “for building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.

Three Laureates will equally share the cash award of SEK 1,5 million:

Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) “for defending, protecting and promoting human rights in Pakistan and more widely, often in very difficult and complex situations and at great personal risk”. It is the first time that a Right Livelihood Award goes to Pakistan.

Basil Fernando/Asian Human Rights Commission (Hong Kong SAR/China) “for his tireless and outstanding work to support and document the implementation of human rights in Asia”.

BILL Mckibben (USA) “for mobilising growing popular support in the USA and around the world for strong action to counter the threat of global climate change”.



Africa - Applying practices of dialogue in Nigeria

Muslims & Christians creating their future

 In August, 2014, new models of African citizen-driven education continued giving voices and dignity to long-humiliated, disregarded, and abused citizens with handicaps.  In DR Congo, everyday citizens Elesse and Virginia Bafandjo have creatively and courageously brought together citizens with albinism and unaffected fellow Kinshasans.  They are humanizing the albinos, educating about their medical condition, and transcending ignorance and superstition that has stigmatized and separated this misunderstood minority.  The Bafandjo family has similarly brought their community face-to-face with physically handicapped youth and adults, and have convened in dialogue distanced Muslims and Christians, alienated married couples, and even abusive, "enemy" rival football fans.   These exemplary leading-edge DR Congo successes are illustrated at http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriadrcongo.htm 


Africa: Ethnic, religious, and tribal healing and community building -  Ivory Coast

Similarly in Cote d'Ivoire, Offuh James Offuh is in the hair clipper business to support his family.  But his growing passion for reconciliation has caused him and his small team to bring into dialogue traditionally alienated villages and warring tribes. In September, 2014, Offuh and his small team -- persistent relationship-builders -- almost-miraculously convened Ivory Coast citizens and also tribal chiefs to humanize and include historically abused, rejected citizens with albinism who have lived in misery and fear of superstitious ritual sacrifice.  Another positive step was Offuh's recent three-day training seminar for UNESCO and the Cote d'Ivoire Ministry of Education.  This Ivory Coast educational success story is at http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriaivorycoast.htm   



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Global movement for a Culture of Peace


September is the month for the International Day of Peace which is celebrated by millions of people everywhere in the world. It provides us with a measure of whether the culture of peace is advancing.


In Africa, the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Culture of Peace movement was celebrated on September 21 at Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire by UNESCO, the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research, and the Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa. At the same time, many local celebrations took place throughout Africa, exemplified by one reported in CPNN from Zanzibar.


Latin America saw extensive celebrations for peace in September. At the end of the month, Colombia hosted an international conference "Building Peace in the XXI Century" while at the beginning of the month, the civil society of Colombia celebrated a week of peace . In Bolivia, the International Day of Peace was celebrated in Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Tarija, an effort that was joined by 51 institutions, including the government, municipalities, universities, schools, colleges and NGOs.

And of special significance, the states of Michoacan and Zacatecas in Mexico have returned to the Manifesto 2000 for inspiration. During the International Year for a Culture of Peace in the year 2000, 75 million people signed the Manifesto, promising to cultivate a culture of peace in their community.


In the United States, in conjunction with the march of 400,000 people before the United Nations, calling for an agreement to stop global warming, an initiative for nonviolence and a culture of peace has been launched and now includes over 180 organizations.

The Culture of Peace News Network (CPNN) is a multi-lingual, on-line, interactive system launched by UNESCO during the International year for the Culture of Peace (2000) and recognized by UN General Assembly resolution A-61-45 (see paragraph 9) as a contribution to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). This network is run by volunteers and provides up-to-date coverage of news and media promoting a culture of peace.


CPNN is owned and managed by the Culture of Peace Corporation, based in Connecticut (USA) and composed of youth teams, including: - those who edited the World Civil Society Report for the United Nations Decade on the Culture of Peace;  - those who trained as reporters at the International Leadership Training Programme at Dynamo Camp, Italy;  - as well as other youth who have worked as reporters on CPNN and/or worked on the Youth Solidarity Fund of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

The founder and president of the Corporation is David Adams, who initiated CPNN at UNESCO during the 1990s (see his blog).        






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Next issue: 14 November 2014.


Good News Agency is 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), Isabella Strippoli, Chiara Bartoletti, Elisa Minelli. Webmaster, 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,  to 3,000 NGOs, 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities, as well as over 24,000 Rotarians in the world.


It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered, not-for-profit 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.


* http://decade-culture-of-peace.org/2010_civil_society_report.pdf - In section A - International Organizations, page 12, the Report says: ”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.”

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