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Good News Agency

In spite of everything, a culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour

monthly, year 15th, no. 229 –  14 November 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

U.N. Secretary General remarks on Climate Change synthesis report


International legislation


UN rights expert urges ratification of treaty against torture, ahead of 30th anniversary

3 November – As the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of an international legal framework to prevent torture and other types of inhumane treatment or punishment approaches, a United Nations rights expert urged the committee charged with monitoring its implementation to use the momentum garnered in the celebrations to accelerate efforts to move towards universal ratification of the treaty.

Speaking today at the opening in Geneva of the fifty-third session of the Committee against Torture, Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), stressed that events this week to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, should be seen as opportunities to address the achievements and challenges in the promotion of universal ratification and in the implementation of the Convention’s provisions by State parties.

The session will conclude on 28 November.



Guyana accedes to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

1st November – The Republic of Guyana has become the 88th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, having deposited its instrument of ratification on 31 October 2014.

Speaking at a meeting of CARICOM states on the margins of the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in New York last month, First Secretary Ms Bibi Sheliza Ally of the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations said, “Joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions is a moral responsibility that we all share. When you consider the victims of cluster munitions are predominantly civilians; children going out to play should not be at risk from this weapon.”

Guyana is one of nine CARICOM member states to have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Just five states remain (Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Suriname) to accede before reaching CARICOM’s stated aim “to ensure that all its members join the Convention as soon as possible.” Belize recently acceded to the treaty on 2 September 2014.

Guyana’s accession brings the number of states on-board this lifesaving convention to 115.



Guinea ratifies Global Cluster Bomb Ban

22 October – The Republic of Guinea has become the 87th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, having deposited its instrument of ratification on 21 October 2014.

Guinea participated in the Oslo Process that created the convention, including the Dublin negotiations in May 2008, and was one of 94 signatory states to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. The convention will enter into force on 1 April 2015 for Guinea, in accordance with the waiting period mandated by the Convention.

Guinea is one of 42 African states to have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Twelve African States, have yet to join the 114 states already on-board this lifesaving convention.




Human rights


‘States obliged to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women, girls’

7 November - For the first time, two United Nations human rights committees have joined forces to issue a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls, such as female genital mutilation, crimes committed in the name of so-called honour, forced and child marriage, and polygamy.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 5 November 2014 released the Joint General Recommendation/General Comment, which also highlights other harmful practices such as virginity testing, binding, widowhood practices, infanticide, and body modifications including fattening, neck elongation and breast ironing.*

“Harmful practices are frequently justified by invoking social or religious customs and values often embedded in patriarchal cultures and traditions” said Violeta Neubauer, from CEDAW, the UN expert body that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, known informally as the “CEDAW convention.”



US: tobacco giant’s move could reduce child labor

5 November 2014 - The tobacco giant Philip Morris International has adopted a change in policy that could protect many child workers from danger on tobacco farms in the United States. Philip Morris International announced that it will begin buying US-grown tobacco exclusively through third-party leaf supply companies, rather than directly from tobacco farmers. This change will require the world’s largest tobacco leaf suppliers – Alliance One International and Universal Corporation – to implement Philip Morris International’s detailed child labor policy on all US farms from which they purchase tobacco. Of the world’s 10 largest tobacco companies, Philip Morris International has the most rigorous standards, prohibiting children under 18 from many of the most hazardous tasks on tobacco farms.



Special International Day of the Girl events celebrate Iraqi girls

BPCS program and partners shine a spotlight on women’s rights activists, share new toolkit

October 24 – Iraqi women and girls face daily societal challenges, barriers, and even violence that inhibit their ability to fully engage in society and benefit from Iraq’s development. But with time, stories are emerging of women who have struggled and excelled despite the constraints around them.

In recognition of the International Day of the Girl on October 11, ACDI/VOCA’s Broadening Participation through Civil Society (BPCS) program partnered with local civil society organizations (CSO) to host girls’ empowerment events in four Iraqi provinces.

The events focused on the unique challenges that Iraqi girls face in their communities. Speakers also highlighted the role positive interventions, particularly those focused on girls’ education, can play in preventing and addressing gender equality and gender-based violence.



Syria: monitoring the prohibition of child soldiers by Kurdish armed forces

7 October – Following the signature of the Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) last July, 149 child soldiers were demobilized from the armed forces and given the opportunity to join educational centres; two for girls, two for boys. Geneva Call recently conducted a monitoring trip to Syria and visited these centres. Most of the children are between 15 and 17 years old and they are now being given basic education and kept far away from hostilities.

A few children returned to their families, but for many, going back to their homes is not seen as an option; armed operations, closed schools, poverty in their families, domestic violence, and their own desire to join the armed forces make a safe and sustainable return unlikely. According to the Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava, “After a visit to their family, some boys don’t want to come back to the centres, and without informing those in charge, try to re-join local military units.”

A continuous effort to keep children away from hostilities needs to be made by YPG-YPJ. A number of allegations mentioning young boys and girls seen with YPG-YPJ forces have been reported recently and are now under investigation by Geneva Call.




Economy and development


United Nations NGO Conference Declaration on Post-2015 released in six UN languages

Provides global platform for civil society support of post-2015 development agenda

New York, 10 November - The 65th Annual Department of Public Information (DPI) Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference, entitled “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”, ended successfully on 29 August with the adoption by civil society representatives of a Conference Declaration. The Declaration outlines a civil society vision for the post-2015 development agenda, and includes recommendations on Monitoring and Accountability, the Sustainable Development Goals, Means of Implementation and a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.  The Outcome Document, comprised of the Conference Declaration and a Resource Document, was adopted by acclamation after a global consultation process which culminated over the course of the three-day Conference at United Nations headquarters in New York City. Over 2,200 civil society participants representing an estimated 700 NGOs from 100 countries around the globe, gathered to share their ideas and to develop a common platform to advocate for an ambitious and successful post-2015 development agenda.

Conference Chair, Jeffery Huffines, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, UN Representative, heralds the Declaration, “as a clarion call by NGOs worldwide that urges governments to take the strongest possible action to adopt next year and to advocate with maximum impact from this common platform, built on consensus, for a truly ambitious set of SDGs that leave no one behind.”

Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the UN Department of Public Information stated, "The unprecedented participation in this Conference demonstrates the resolve among civil society to capitalize on the success of the Millennium Development Goals and help construct the post-2015 development agenda. The United Nations will continue to engage closely with civil society around the world as we work towards building as inclusive an agenda as possible."



USA gives $27 million to help children in Laos eat & learn in school

November 3, Vientiane - The U.S. Ambassador to Laos PDR, Daniel Clune, announced today that the U.S. government, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), would support WFP’s mid-morning snack and lunch programmes in Laos with US$27 million to assist more than 170,000 children over the next three years.

School meals provide children not only with food, but also with the vitamins and micro-nutrients necessary to help them concentrate on their lessons, rather than on their empty stomachs. In addition to distribution of schools meals, support is also given to  promote literacy, produce and distribute reading books, set up school gardens, support farmer groups and provide fuel efficient stoves. The support from the United States, which will reach a total of 1,747 schools, will also strengthen the capacity of the Lao government to implement the recently-approved National School Lunch Policy, paving the way for a handover of WFP-assisted schools to the Ministry of Education and Sports.   

With this new donation, support from the United States to WFP activities in Laos over the past decade amounts to nearly US$53.8 million. The USDA is assisting four WFP school meals programmes in the Asia region: in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and  Nepal.



International Year of Soils – Thailand to Chair the international steering committee

29 October,Rome, Italy- World Soil Day, and the launch of the 2015 International Year of Soils, is just around the corner, on 5 December. Numerous key events related to soils are already taking place around the globe.

Advocacy, awareness raising, and education are at the core of this International Year with theme “Healthy soils for a healthy life”. The year aims to increase knowledge and understanding about the importance of soil for food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.

The Permanent Representation of Thailand to FAO was elected to Chair the International Year of Soils (IYS) Steering Committee today during the first IYS Steering Committee meeting held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters. The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) is part of the IYS Steering Committee representing the world’s farmers and supporting awareness raising among civil society and decision-makers about the profound importance of soil for human life.



Investing in agriculture and sustainable rural development in Myanmar

October 22, Rome – A project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will reduce poverty and help the country to increase food security and re-establish itself as a major agricultural producer and exporter in the region. The project will benefit 183,400 vulnerable women and men in Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw region, located in the central dry zone. 

IFAD is providing US$18.7 million to finance the Fostering Agricultural Revitalization in Myanmar Project. The total project cost is $27.8 million. The project will develop a sustainable model for smallholder agriculture and rural development for Myanmar’s central dry zone. If successful, the model can be used in the country on a larger scale. Myanmar, one of the poorest nations in Asia, has embarked on a path of political and economic reforms to reduce poverty and food insecurity, foster economic growth, and to promote inclusive social development.

Since 2012, IFAD has invested a total of $19.5 million in two grants and one project in Myanmar, with a total cost of $28.6 million, including co-financing.



National Geographic/FAO: Raising awareness on hunger and nutrition

17 October, Rome - The National Geographic Society and FAO today agreed to work together to provide information and raise awareness about hunger and nutrition. In particular, when reporting on food and agriculture, National Geographic will utilize food and agricultural statistics as well as trends and data sets, sourced from FAO's statistical service, FAOStat. The FAO and National Geographic partnership envisages cooperation, a regular dialogue and access to FAO expertise, knowledge exchange, content-sharing, cross promotion, joint activities and participation at events and on publishing platforms.

National Geographic magazine's in-depth eight-month Future of Food series, began in May 2014, and has included food and agricultural statistics and trends on topics such as feeding megacities in a world of changing demographics, reducing food loss and waste, and global forestry issues. FAO is also providing material for articles and graphics for the NatGeoFood.com website.



China pledges $50 million to FAO in support of South-South cooperation

October 15, Rome - China has announced a $50 million donation to FAO to support the Organization's program of "South-South cooperation" to improve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development over the next five years. Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang made the announcement today in a speech at FAO ahead of tomorrow's World Food Day celebrations.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva praised China's efforts to tackle food insecurity both at home and abroad. He noted that the country has already achieved the 1st Millennium Development Goal's hunger target of halving the proportion of its population experiencing chronic hunger, ahead of the 2015 deadline. Since 1990, China has successfully lifted 138 million people out of chronic hunger.

Overseas, China has been one of the strongest proponents of the South-South approach to development cooperation. In 2008 it established a $30 million FAO trust fund to support technical field missions with Chinese agricultural experts in developing countries. So far, 30 thousand Chinese experts have shared their knowledge and experience in over 100 countries. Over one hundred thousand farmers and their families have already benefitted from this collaboration and thousands of technicians have been trained in appropriate technical solutions.



Post-harvest equipment to benefit 1.5 million Ethiopian farmers

Co-op members better able to increase incomes, reduce post-harvest losses

October 14 – Access to the right technology can have a transformative effect for smallholder farmers in developing countries. In Ethiopia, 1.5 million farmers recently gained access to key new equipment that will help them cut crop losses and thereby earn higher incomes.

Ethiopian farmers’ cooperative unions received new post-harvest equipment from the USAID-funded Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) project. This new grain grading equipment will enable farmer unions to reduce post-harvest losses and boost crop quality, particularly for wheat and maize. With USAID’s support, AGP-AMDe has invested $340,000 in new grain grading equipment. The project provides market linkages and technical support to maximize its impact.

This initiative serves as part of AGP-AMDe’s broader support to farmers’ cooperative unions in Ethiopia. The project also supplied post-harvest handling equipment, including grain cleaners, maize shellers, fumigation sheets, and bag stitching machines that are easily transportable.






WFP provides cash transfers to families affected by floods with funding from DFID and ECHO

November 6, Dhaka – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has provided unconditional mobile phone cash transfers to assist people whose homes and livelihoods were severely affected by the devastating floods in the Northwest of Bangladesh in August.

Thanks to a donation of US$2.6 million from the United Kingdom (DFID), and a contribution of US$527,009 from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), WFP has reached nearly 19,500 ultra-poor households – almost 100,000 people who have suffered from the flooding. In coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and local government authorities, and working through local NGO partners Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO), Manab Mukti Sangstha (MMS), RDRS and Solidarity, WFP distributed mobile phone SIM cards to facilitate the money transfers.

Since women are generally in charge of preparing and distributing food within the household, the SIM cards were given to female members of selected households. The transfers make an important contribution to help affected families recover from the flooding.



UN, MasterCard join forces to launch online donation platform in Italy

 6 November – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), MasterCard and the Italian postal service are launching the world’s first online donation platform that will allow Italians to automatically make micro-donations to support school meal projects in developing countries every time they use their card. To support the launch, new research looked into the donation habits of Italians and found that Italians are strong supporters of charitable contributions, especially for causes relating to scientific and medical research (32 per cent), hunger in developing countries (17 per cent) and humanitarian emergencies (17 per cent) followed by the support to the poor in Italy, medical care and animal protection.



Facebook offers an easy way to donate to Save the Children's ebola response

Fairfield, Conn., USA, November 6— Facebook announced today an exciting new initiative to help fight Ebola. Over the next week, people on Facebook will see a message at the top of their News Feeds with an option to donate to Save the Children’s Ebola relief efforts.

“For Facebook users in 34 countries, this initiative provides a simple and desperately needed way to donate to the worst Ebola outbreak in history,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “This groundbreaking initiative gives us the chance to raise the funds we sorely need to turn the tide on Ebola and stop the disease in its tracks.”

Save the Children is working in the affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by training health workers, teaching people how to limit the risks to themselves and their families, distributing protective kits, and providing much-needed medical equipment. Our teams are also providing psychosocial support to survivors and helping child welfare committees identify and refer unaccompanied or abandoned children to appropriate services.



Arby's raises record $34 million help end childhood hunger America

In-store fundraiser benefits share Our Strength No Kid Hungry®

Atlanta, GA, USA, November 5 - Arby’s® restaurants across the country raised a record-breaking $3.4 million in just six weeks to end childhood hunger in America, a 10% increase over fundraising efforts in 2013. From August 18 through September 28, participating Arby’s restaurants across the country teamed up with guests to collect donations for the Arby’s Foundation in support of its mission benefitting the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry Campaign. Guests were encouraged to donate $1 to show their support, and received a pin-up card to sign and display on the walls of their local restaurant.

Many Arby’s franchisees and team members played a crucial role in achieving this year’s unprecedented fundraising results. Nationally, as a Core partner with No Kid Hungry, these funds have helped connect kids struggling with hunger to more than 107 million additional meals. At the local level, Arby’s has supported organizations fighting childhood hunger in all 50 states.

Arby’s is the largest restaurant chain to partner in a nationwide effort with No Kid Hungry. This promotion is part of an overall joint effort to raise awareness around the issue of childhood hunger in the U.S. and to ensure that every child has the ability to reach their full potential, because preparing a child for success starts with a meal. 



Gifts of $1-million or more rose sharply to $26.3-billion in 2013, study finds

By Megan O’Neil

4 November – Gifts of at least $1-million from donors in six parts of the world totaled $26.3-billion in 2013, up more than a third from the previous year, according to a newly released study. Education was the biggest beneficiary, with $9.06-billion, or 34 percent, going to institutions of higher education.

The "Million Dollar Donors Report," published by financial-services firm Coutts and IndianaUniversity’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, focused on gifts of $1-million or more from individuals, foundations, and corporations in seven regions around the world; the United States, Britain, Russia, Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

American philanthropists led the way, with 1,173 donors giving a total of $16.9-billion. It was followed by $2.1-billion from 166 donors in Britain and $1.8-billion from 27 donors in the Middle East.

"While philanthropy is a lagging economic indicator, in the U.S., we are seeing an increase in the total value of $1-million-plus gifts, even though the number of donors declined compared to 2012," said Una Osili, director of research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, in a statement.

After educational institutions, foundations were the second biggest recipient of $1-million-plus donations, according to the report. (…)



IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign returns; it’s already improved the lives of 11 million children

Fairfield, Conn., USA, Nov. 4 - The IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign, a good cause partnership between the IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and Save the Children, was first launched eleven years ago. The idea is simple; for every Soft Toy or children’s book sold from Nov. 9, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation donates 1 euro (approximately $1.30)* to UNICEF and Save the Children for children’s education projects. *(based on $1.30 US dollar to one euro 10/2014)

"The Soft Toys for Education campaign aims to provide quality education to vulnerable children living in poverty in developing countries. Since the campaign started, donations from the annual IKEA Soft Toy Campaign have totaled $90.4 million** (€67 million), helping more than 11 million children in 46 countries enjoy their right to a quality education. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply education materials, and increase school attendance rates. **(based on $1.35 US dollar to one euro in 12/2013)

A love for reading opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children’s book based on IKEA soft toy characters as part of the annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign.



A day with Turkish Red Crescent in camps for Syrian people

by Tommaso Della Longa – IFRC

30 October – “Be a doctor”, “Help people in need”, “Live in a safe place without bombs”, “Return home”, “Become a Red Crescent member as the people that is supporting us”. These are some of the hopes and dreams that Syrian children share with us during a Red Cross and Red Crescent partners meeting in Islahiye camp in Turkey, 40 kilometres from the Syrian border. Here, all the participants to the meeting had the opportunity to experience first-hand the activities of Turkish Red Crescent is implementing.  In this camp, ten thousand Syrians are living with services provided by Turkish Red Crescent in close cooperation with partners inside and outside the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. 2,700 students are served by a school where they can follow programmes based on Syrian educational ones to be able to return in the future in a Syrian class. On the other side, they will learn also Turkish and English, along with other formal education. (…)

AFAD, Turkish Red Crescent and other relevant partners provides all services inside the 21 camps that are hosting 230 thousand Syrians, from food and not food items to shelter, educational and recreational activities and psychosocial support. After visiting some tents, all the group was accompanied by several Syrian children all around the camp, from the school to the place where they were drawing their dreams. As in many other emergency situation, children seem to have great energies to react to the tragedy of war. Their smiles and eyes  were  fascinating for all the Red Cross Red Crescent group. But when it comes to questions about their dreams, a lot of kids change their expression and start to speak about a world without war, a life without the ugly sound of the bombs, their will of returning to their home. This is why all the activities carried out by Turkish Red Crescent are more than fundamental: not only life-saving activities, but also a vision on how to save an entire generation.



Fountain House/Clubhouse International receives $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Hilton Foundation CEO Steven M. Hilton presented award to NYC-based global organization whose innovative clubhouse program helps people living with mental illness lead productive lives.

New York City, October 27 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation tonight presented the 2014 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million to Fountain House/Clubhouse International, a pioneering organization that has created a proven model to help those suffering from mental illness reclaim their lives and realize their potential through work and the support of a caring community. The Hilton Foundation gives the annual award, the world's largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering. Fountain House/Clubhouse International was selected for the 2014 Prize by a prestigious independent international jury.

Today Fountain House/Clubhouse International directly affects the lives of more than 100,000 people who participate in 340 clubhouses in 32 countries.



ADRA partners with USAID in Food Security Program to reach 264,380 people

Michael Rohm, ADRA International

Antananarivo, October 23 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is one of two agencies partnering with USAID in a $75 million food security initiative in Madagascar.  The five-year ADRA program titled Asotry* will reduce vulnerability and food insecurity among households and communities in the regions of Amoron’i Mania, Haute Matsiatra, and Atsimo Andrefana.

The program will directly benefit 264,380 children under five, women, and men and comprises the following objectives: improve health and nutrition, increase sustainable access to food, improve disaster preparedness and response, and improve natural resource management. (...)

Because of the high rates of malnutrition and stunting in children under five, ADRA will work with women and children to improve health and nutrition. Women’s groups will deliver education and promotion regarding maternal health, breastfeeding, caring for common illnesses, sanitation, and hygiene.

Additionally, farmers will receive technical assistance to sustainably increase crop yields and sales of products.  Farmer Field Schools will introduce farmers to agricultural innovations, including drought-resistant seeds, soil management techniques, and pest control. (...)



Spanish Cooperation Agency continues support for WFP in the Saharawi Refugee Camps

October 20, Algiers/Madrid – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of EUR 1.5 million from the Government of Spain to provide food assistance to the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf in western Algeria.

The Spanish donation will go towards the purchase of wheat flour, barley, rice and nutritious food to supplement the basic food basket of the refugee population. In addition, it will cover the transportation costs of an in-kind contribution of 500 metric tons of sugar donated by the Government of Cuba.

Since 2010, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) has contributed US$12.3 million to WFP programmes in the refugee camps of Tindouf.

In the context of the current operation, WFP provides 90,000 general food rations and an additional 35,000 rations to the most vulnerable, with a nutritional value equivalent to 2,166 kilocalories per day.



The Republic of Korea supports WFP’s fight against malnutrition in Sudan

October 13, Khartoum – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$300,000 from the Government of the Republic of Korea to assist WFP’s nutrition programme in Sudan.

WFP will use part of the funds to purchase Plumpy Sup, a specialized nutritional product for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition. This nutritious paste will be provided to around 2,500 children under the age of five and pregnant and nursing women from South Sudan who have sought refuge in White Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan states in Sudan. The remaining funds will be used to buy 149 metric tons of Super Cereal, a highly nutritious porridge, for WFP’s nutrition programmes in North and South Darfur states. 

Nutrition activities are a key component of WFP’s emergency response in Sudan where more than 2 million children suffer from life-threatening acute malnutrition every year.  

During the last five years, Korea has contributed a total of US$1.4 million to WFP operations in Sudan.



European Union and WFP help 62,000 families in Central Mindanao

October 13, North Cotabato – Families displaced by conflict in Central Mindanao have made significant gains in rebuilding their livelihoods through a two-year peace-building project implemented by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The €5.9 million EU grant under the Aid to Uprooted People Programme supported more than 62,000 families from Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in asset creation and livelihood training. The projects helped uprooted families normalise their lives by providing livelihood opportunities that aim to not only increase household incomes but also contribute to overall food security. Projects include the construction of inland fishponds, tree-planting and building dikes for flood control.

In addition to the €5.9 million grant to the Aid to Uprooted People Programme, the EU has also previously supported people displaced from their homes by conflict in Mindanao with a €6.4 million grant for the Food Facility programme to similarly support food-for-assets activities.




Peace and security


Lebanon: inauguration of the Legal Training Center in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp

28 October – A milestone of Geneva Call’s project in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon was reached on 25 October with the inauguration of the LegalTrainingCenter in Ain al-Hilweh camp. The Legal Support Unit (LSU) to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) is now formally established. The LSU will develop programmes to train all members of the Palestinian National Security Forces (PNSF) in Lebanon on international legal standards including the use of force.

The PNSF are in charge of preserving security inside the camps, protecting civilians, institutions and property, and preventing any security threats towards Lebanese citizens outside the camps. After a three year project by Geneva Call, training on humanitarian norms has become an integral part of the training programmes of the PNSF. The establishment of the LSU will sustain this increase in knowledge and attitude change, whilst further enhancing the PNSF’s capacity to train their forces on humanitarian norms.

Geneva Call has assisted the PLO in setting up the permanent LegalTrainingCenter and provided advice for recruited staff. Geneva Call is now ready to hand over the entire project to the PLO and the PNSF.



Disarmament Week - 24-30 October

The annual observance of Disarmament Week, which begins on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, was called for in the Final Document of the General Assembly 1978 special session on disarmament (resolution S-10/2). States were invited to highlight the danger of the arms race, propagate the need for its cessation and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament.

Arms Trade Treaty: This year during the annual United Nations Treaty Event, much of the attention was focused on the Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed by 27 countries – including the United States – and ratified by three, bringing the total number of signatures to 113 and the total number of parties to seven. “It is of particular significance that the largest arms-exporting country in the world, the United States, is now also among those countries who have committed themselves to a global regulation of the arms trade,” a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry signing the treaty.

The ATT will come into force 90 days after it has been ratified by 50 nations. 






Rotarian doctors tackle maternal mortality in India

Six Rotarian doctors are heading to North West India in November to help reduce maternal mortality in the region. With an estimated 136,000 deaths a year, India has the highest maternal mortality in the world, with most deaths caused by a lack of basic emergency care and skilled birth attendants.

Rotary International in partnership with the Government of India National Rural Health Mission has set up an innovative programme called CALMED (Collaborative Action in Lowering Maternal Encountered Deaths). The initiative aims to reduce maternal and new born mortality by increasing training in the emergency care of pregnant women and new born babies particularly in rural and remote areas.

The CALMED project is the brainchild of Medical Director and Rotarian Dr Himansu Basu, a Consultant Gynaecologist at the Oakfield Clinic in Kent.  Dr Basu and his team of doctors will be training up to 25 local master trainers from six rural areas at the AdaniInstituteMedicalCollege in Bhurj. The master trainers will then use these skills to train local doctors and midwives through a process of fast track knowledge and skills transfer, leading to capacity development and sustainability in creating a large cohort of trained professionals.

The CALMED Project is supported by the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors and the Rotarian Action Group on Population Development. The project is funded by 85 Rotary clubs in the South East of England in partnership with Rotary clubs in India.



Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research in global health and development

5 November - Today, Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development(PCD)announced it has been awarded by Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Through the initiative PCD will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled, ‘Using Mobile Phones for Transparent School Feeding Tendering’.

The project will develop a software platform, which uses everyday items such as mobile phones, to improve market information within Kenya’s Home Grown School Meals programme – a government-led intervention which procures food used in school meals locally from smallholder farmers. This and other similar programmes are commonly referred to as Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF), which have been described as a ‘win-win’ for both children and farmers alike; with well-fed children more likely to attend and stay in school and farmers more secured of a livelihood. Specifically, the project will improve the tendering process between the programme’s schools (buyers), traders (buyers and sellers) and farmer groups (sellers).

As global leader in the field of School Health and Nutrition, PCD conducts quality research to best inform governments to deliver effective nutrition and health programmes in schools. PCD currently provides technical support to government-led HGSF programmes in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania.  For press queries please contact: charlotte.broyd@imperial.ac.uk


Save the Children opens Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone

Fairfield, Conn., USA, Nov. 4 - Save the Children is opening its first specialist Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Sierra Leone, as part of its wider fight to treat and stop the spread of Ebola. Located in Kerry Town, 40 kilometers outside the capital Freetown, the 80-bed facility provides diagnosis and treatment to infected patients, while ensuring that children receive the care and protection they so desperately need. The center will increase local capacity to rapidly assess and hospitalize patients, while helping to reduce the risk of further infecting friends and relatives at home.

The EbolaTreatmentCenter will have more than 200 frontline medical staff, including a contingent of Cuban doctors, with around 50 on shift at any one time. A further 50-70 non-clinical support staff and more than 100 hygienists will also be based at the Kerry Town site, with 100 to 120 staff working at the center at any given time. In addition, the center will house a small separate clinic run by the UK Ministry of Defense to treat both Sierra Leonean and international health workers, should they become infected with the virus.



WFP and World Bank scale up Government logistical capacity in response to Ebola

October 21, Freetown –With World Bank funding to the Government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has airlifted 20 ambulances and 10 mortuary pickup trucks to scale up the Government logistical capacity in response to Ebola. This delivery constitutes the first set of 74 vehicles worth US$4 million to be brought in by WFP from its logistical hub in Dubai to Freetown. This follows a memorandum of understanding between the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN Agencies to implement the US$ 28 million World Bank-funded Ebola Response Project, of which US$ 9.5 million was allocated to WFP to deliver food and non-food items. As of 20 October 2014, WFP has already reached more than 300,000 Ebola-affected people in Sierra Leone with 4,000 metric tons of food. These include patients in treatment centres, survivors, quarantined families and communities.

Since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone, WFP has been supplying key technical assistance including construction, storage, procurement and transport particularly to medical partners to ensure the best possible humanitarian response to the health emergency.

To ensure continued assistance over the next six months, WFP requires a further US$24 million for its Ebola emergency operation in Sierra Leone.



China contributes US$6 million to WFP in fight against Ebola in Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone

October 20, Beijing - The Government of the People’s Republic of China has contributed US$6 million to the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) emergency operation to assist 1 .3 million people impacted by the Ebola virus outbreak in the three most-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This substantial and timely contribution will be divided equally between the three countries, enabling WFP to purchase vital food supplies - mainly rice, lentils or yellow peas, and blended fortified cereals -  for emergency rations for more than  300,000 people for one month, as well as specialised  nutrition products to help prevent malnutrition.

In recent weeks, the food supply in affected countries has been threatened at many levels. Farmers are abandoning their crops and livestock as they seek areas they perceive as safer away from exposure to the virus. Travel restrictions and displacements have led to increased food prices in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries.

Since April 2014, 9145 metric tons of WFP food have been provided to nearly 530,000 people directly affected by Ebola. With this contribution from the Government of the People’s Republic of China, WFP has now received one third of the US$179 million it needs for its regional emergency interventions against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak through February.



Rotary marks World Polio Day 2014 with $44.7 million in grants to fight polio

October - With the world very close to eliminating polio from the planet, the effort is receiving an additional $44.7 million boost from Rotary International to support immunization activities, surveillance, and research spearheaded by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which aims to end the disabling viral disease worldwide by 2018.

Rotary’s new funding commitment, announced in advance of the Oct. 24, 2014 observance of World Polio Day 2014, targets countries where children remain at risk of contracting this incurable, but totally vaccine-preventable, disease. About $18.5 million will go to the three remaining polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Another $9.5 million is marked for previously polio-free countries currently reporting cases “imported” from the endemic countries. And $10.4 million will go to polio-free countries that remain at risk of reinfection. The remaining $6.3 million will go toward polio eradication research.

Rotary provides grant funding to polio eradication initiative partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which work with the governments and Rotary club members of polio-affected countries to plan and carry out immunization activities. Mass immunizations of children via the oral polio vaccine must continue until global eradication is achieved.

To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.3 billion to fight polio. Through 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match two-to-one every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication (up to $35 million a year). As of 2013, there were only 416 confirmed polio cases in the world, down from about 350,000 a year when the initiative launched in 1988. (Source: Rotary International)




Energy and safety



WFP Telecoms and Logistics teams support humanitarian surge in Iraq

October 28, Baghdad – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has deployed a ten-person emergency team of telecommunications and logistics experts in Iraq to ensure humanitarian partners are equipped with the means to provide rapid delivery of aid to people in need. The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and the Logistics Cluster, which fall under the leadership of WFP, have helped the entire humanitarian community in its operations that aim to assist over 1.8 million displaced people, by setting up reliable internet and radio services in the field and securing the necessary warehousing for aid. A contribution from the Kuwaiti government of US$2 million has helped the cluster groups carry out their work.

The Logistics Cluster provides coordination and storage services to the aid community. The ETC, a global network of organizations, provides common communications services in humanitarian emergencies.  

WFP has assisted more than one million displaced people since the outbreak of the Iraq crisis that began in Mosul in June.



USA - Energy Department announces $53 million to drive innovation, cut cost of solar power

October 22, Washington –  Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced more than $53 million for 40 innovative research and development (R&D) projects that aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly. Supporting the development of next generation photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies and advanced manufacturing processes, and addressing both hardware and non-hardware “soft” costs of solar installation, these awards support advancements that will help reduce the cost of solar energy and make solar electricity more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

“As U.S. solar installation increases and the cost of solar electricity continues to decline, solar energy is becoming an increasingly affordable clean energy option for more American families and businesses,” said Secretary Moniz.



Sweden’s national pension fund to divest from 20 fossil fuel companies

Louise Hazan

20 October, Göteborg, Sweden - The international divestment movement and the Swedish fair pension campaign #schysstapensioner campaign are celebrating a major win today as the Second AP Fund – one of several Swedish national pension funds – announced it would begin divesting from fossil fuels.

In a move designed to reduce the financial risks of its investments in fossil fuel-based energy, the Second AP Fund announced today it will no longer have investments in 12 coal and 8 oil-and-gas production companies. This represents a divestment of holdings with a total market value of about SEK 840 million (€91 million or $116 million).

Following a comprehensive risk analysis of all Second AP Fund holdings in fossil-fuel based energy companies, based on climate impact, the Fund has decided that divestment was the prudent option.

“Our starting point for this analysis has been to determine the financial risks associated with the energy sector. By not investing in a number of companies, we are reducing our exposure to risk constituted by fossil-fuel based energy. This decision will help to protect the Fund’s long-term return on investment,” says Eva Halvarsson, CEO of the Second AP Fund.

The majority of the turnover generated by the coal-production companies identified in the Fund’s analysis derives from the sale of thermal coal. These companies face considerable climate-related financial risk, due to the negative environmental and health impacts of coal, which affect demand. (...)




Environment and wildlife


First-of-Its-Kind survey finds $23 billion global market for conservation investing, with $2 billion from private investors

Survey also discovers 10 private investors account for 80 percent of total, significant room for growth

Arlington, V.A., USA, November 6  - The first-ever survey of conservation impact investing reveals a fast-growing market totaling approximately $23 billion in the five-year period from 2009-2013. During the same period, private investments accounted for almost $2 billion of this market—an amount that is growing at an average of 26 percent annually, and is expected to reach more than $5.6 billion by 2018.

Investing in Conservation:  A landscape assessment of an emerging market is the first data-driven study of the market for conservation-related investments based on direct feedback from investors. Conservation investments, also referred to as conservation impact investments, are intended to return principal or generate profit while driving a positive impact on natural resources and ecosystems.

The report was co-authored by EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest division. It was overseen by a steering committee that also included the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The report presents findings from a survey of 56 investors, including five for-profit and nonprofit development finance institutions (DFIs) and 51 private investment organizations.



Nations agree to slash Eastern Pacific catch of bluefin tuna

5 November  – Countries fishing the Eastern Pacific Ocean for bluefin tuna have largely accepted scientific advice in almost halving fishing quotas for the prized but beleaguered fish. The decision, taken yesterday at a reconvened special meeting of the  Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), raises expectations that many of the same nations will also heed advice to dramatically cut Bluefin Tuna catch quotas elsewhere in the Pacific at a crucial meeting in December.

WWF has applauded the IATTC decision to establish a catch quota of 6600 tons of Pacific Bluefin tuna for commercial catches spread over the next two years 2015/2016 (approximately 3300 tons for each year or a 45 per cent reduction, compared to International Scientific Committee advice for a 50 per cent reduction to  2750 tons). The IATTC also agreed that no country can exceed 3500 tons of catches in 2015 and that the fishing nations have to establish a catch documentation system.

WWF will continue to urge IATTC to adopt a long-term Pacific Bluefin recovery plan, containing well defined harvest control rules and mandatory management responses to indicators that catches may be approaching recovery plan limits.



India gets its first MSC certified fishery

Kochi/New Delhi, 5 November - Sustainable fisheries in the developing world have taken a significant step forward today with the certification of India’s first clam fishery in Kerala, southern India.

The Ashtamudi short neck clam fishery is only the third fishery in Asia to have received this recognition.

“WWF-India initiated the MSC Certification of the Ashtamudi short-neck clam fishery in 2010 recognising the possibility of bringing in global sustainability standards for the benefit of conservation and local livelihoods. We are very pleased to see the culmination of these efforts with the recognition of India’s first MSC certified fishery” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.

The clam fishery in Ashtamudi dates back to 1981 and supports the livelihoods of around 3000 fishers involved in collection, cleaning, processing and trading the clams. AshtamudiLake is a Ramsar wetland of international importance and has extensive mangrove habitats harboring nearly 90 species of fish and 10 species of clams. MSC certification will mean the implementation of measures to ensure that this valuable resource is not overfished and its ecosystem is protected.

The MSC certification was a joint effort by WWF, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Kerala State Fisheries Department and the local fishing community. The certification demonstrates the power of collaboration between partners and the importance of grass-roots activism of fishers to protect the environment and their livelihoods.



EU and FAO step up action against desertification in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.

October 22, Brussels/Rome - The European Union (EU) and FAO in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) have launched a €41 million, 4.5-year programme to bolster sustainable land management and restore drylands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The programme, named Action Against Desertification, is crucial in fighting hunger and poverty, fostering stability and building resilience to climate change in some of the world's most vulnerable areas.
In Africa, the programme's efforts build on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, established in 2007, which has become Africa's flagship initiative to combat the effects of climate change and desertification. Action Against Desertification will continue supporting local communities, government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal in the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands.

Although located on the other side of the globe, both the Caribbean and the Pacific face similar challenges as Africa. Action Against Desertification will concentrate on Haiti in the Caribbean and Fiji in the Pacific, and be an example of increasing South-South cooperation by building on lessons learned from Africa's Great Green Wall Initiative to help local communities adopt improved sustainable land- and forest-management practices, while enhancing capacities of governmental and non-governmental organizations to support these efforts.

Action Against Desertification is a joint FAO and ACP-EU programme, whose funding includes €20 million from the European Development Fund.  




Religion and spirituality


Pupils will study two religions in new 'broader' RS GCSE in England

By Judith Burns, Education reporter, BBC News

7 November - Pupils in England will have to study two faiths under government proposals for a new "more academically rigorous" religious studies GCSE. The aim is to ensure pupils have a strong understanding of the central role of religion on British culture, says the government. The plans have been welcomed by leaders of major faith groups. "This GCSE will better prepare students for life in modern Britain," said Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

The Department for Education says it has worked closely with experts from "all the major faith groups" to develop the qualification which is due for first teaching in September 2016.

'Sources of wisdom' - Under the proposals, pupils will study "the beliefs, teachings and sources of wisdom" of at least two religions for the first half of their GCSE. The second half of the syllabus will allow pupils to study one or both in depth: looking at religious practice, religious texts and how faiths tackle philosophical and ethical issues. Students may choose from Buddhism, Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism.



Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam’s interfaith journey leads to Sikh Research Center

6 November - Dr. Islam is a professor of World Religions and Culture and Director of the Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue of Dhaka University in Bangladesh. In addition to founding the Warm Heart Association, he has established several groundbreaking programs at Dhaka, among them the Dr. Mahanam Foundation for Peace and Solidarity, the Swami Swarupanda Foundation for Moral Education and Interreligious Harmony, and the Foundation for Dialogue Among the Members of the Family of Abraham. Dr. Islam has become an inspiration for his students, a formidable academic, and a guiding light for interfaith activists around the world. After years of studying the world’s religions in the US, India, and Japan, Dr. Islam returned to DhakaUniversity with a newfound mission: to establish a center for interreligious dialogue and a SikhResearchCenter.



“Can a religion accept other faiths as true?”

London, 20 October - iWonder, the BBC’s interactive educational site, has featured the Baha'i Faith today in its newest piece.Titled “Can a religion accept other faiths as true?”, the multimedia article highlights the central Baha'i belief that all of the world’s great religions are equally valid. It also provides a brief historical account of the origins of the Baha'i Faith and the vision of its founders.

The author, Rev. Peter Owen Jones, hosted “Around the World in 80 Faiths”, an eight-part television series which aired on the BBC in 2009. The show covered a wide range of faith traditions from across the planet and had a segment on the Baha'i Faith, which has been incorporated in iWonder’s new feature.




Culture and education


Latin America: teachers at centre of post-2015 education agenda

5 November – Ministers and high education officials attended the Ministerial Regional Meeting on Education for All last week in Lima, Peru. An EI delegation attended in an observer capacity together with other representatives from civil society, bringing the voice of teachers to this forum.

The plenary discussion on Education for All in Latin American region was followed by the approval of a declaration with the regional vision and priorities on the post-2015 education agenda. And, while Qian Tang, assistant director general for education at UNESCO, lauded the major educational achievements in Latin America in recent decades, it was noted that the “voice of the region is weak in the global educational debate”. Tang called on governments and the civil society in Latin America to get involved more actively in the process of the post-2015 agenda and to contribute their regional perspective.



UN applauds donation by Malala Yousafzai for reconstruction of Gaza schools

29 October – As the United Nations ramps up its reconstruction efforts of war-ravaged Gaza, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai, has announced a contribution of $50,000 to help with the rebuilding of UN schools heavily damaged during the recent fighting in the enclave. According to a news statement released today by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Ms. Yousafzai made the announcement as she accepted the prestigious World Children's Prize in Stockholm, Sweden, commending UNRWA's “heroic work” in helping the Palestinian children and noting that the needs in the Palestinian territory were “overwhelming.”

“We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace.” Ms. Yousafzai said. The Nobel Laureate noted that the $50,000 donation would help towards the rebuilding of the 65 schools damaged during the recent 51-day conflict which saw entire neighbourhoods flattened and almost one-third of Gaza's population uprooted.



Homeless World Cup 2014

63 teams from 49 countries will participate at Chile 2014

The 12th edition of the Homeless World Cup takes place from  19-26 October 2014 at Plaza de la Constitución, Santiago, Chile, where homeless and socially disadvantaged men and women from across  the world will unite to represent their countries in this unique  football tournament.

Street Soccer organisations currently operate in 74 nations across the world with an accumulative reach of 100,000 each year. The Homeless World Cup is the final stage of the year-long programmes offering an alternative to a life of isolation, gangs, addictions and homelessness. President and Co-founder of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young explains, “With more than 80% of players returning to full-time accommodation, education and employment after taking part in the Homeless World Cup, they are literally transformed by the experience of representing their nation.”

The idea of the Homeless World Cup started at a conference  on homelessness in Cape Town in 2001. Mel Young and Harald  Schmied believed that it was possible to change the lives of  homeless people through football, and two years later, the first tournament was held in Graz in Austria...



Back-to-School supplies given to 7,500 Cameroonian children at 150 elementary schools

October 16 - In Demsa, Cameroon, many families don’t have the money to buy pencils or workbooks for their school-age children. Without these simple tools, children cannot attend school. Last week, 350 of Demsa’s most vulnerable children received the school supplies they needed and now are enrolled in elementary school. This year alone, Counterpart’s Food for Education program has provided backpacks, textbooks, and pencils to 7,500 children at 150 schools throughout Cameroon.

“I’m happy to have these supplies because now I can join my class,” said Bouba Ibrahim, a student at BogareGaschigaElementary School. Since partnering with the program in 2012, BogareGaschigaElementary School has seen increased enrollment and improved performance. The percentage of students to pass their year-end exam has jumped from 66 to 86 percent.

Counterpart, in partnership with communities, has built 146 school kitchens and storerooms, 150 school libraries, and 150 community gardens, and served more than 16 million meals since 2012. Additionally, 42 latrines and 12 boreholes have been built. Food for Education is a three-year program implemented by Counterpart and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.




* * * * * * *



“(...) If we continue business as usual, our opportunity to keep temperature rise below the two degrees centigrade threshold will slip away within the next decade. Even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come. The good news is that if we act now, immediately and decisively, we have the means to build a better and more sustainable world. (...)”





Copenhagen, 2 November 2014


It is a great honour and pleasure for me to speak a few words at this historic occasion of launching the synthesis report of the Fifth Assessment of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change].

We are doing this at a very historic and crucially important timing for humanity.

Sound science must be at the core of our efforts to meet the challenge of climate change.

For more than a quarter century, the IPCC has been at the forefront of increasing understanding about this issue, climate change. Most recently, the IPCC provided the scientific foundation for the successful Climate Summit that I hosted in New York this September.

It brought together government leaders, business executives and finance officials and many civil society leaders. They all expressed strong commitment for a meaningful, universal climate agreement. Public and private financing sources showed the way forward for mobilizing funds. We made progress on carbon pricing, strengthening resilience and forming new coalitions to meet the climate challenge.

The Summit had enormous popular support. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York City and other major cities around the world to demand climate action. I was inspired to see so many global citizens taking to the streets and raising their voices loud and clear. While marching together with them, I hoped that world leaders should and could heed their voices.

The report we are launching today – the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment – was compiled by hundreds of scientists from around the world. It is the most comprehensive appraisal of climate change ever undertaken. This Report offers three key messages:

One: Human influence on the climate system is clear – and clearly growing.

Second, we must act quickly and decisively if we want to avoid increasingly destructive   outcomes.

Three: We have the means to limit climate change and build a better future.

The Report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem. 

The atmosphere and oceans have warmed. The amounts of snow and ice have diminished. Sea levels have risen.

I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Her Excellency Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

As I am not a scientist, I am not able to speak in a scientific way. That is why during the last eight years as Secretary-General, I have been travelling all around the world, wherever and whenever I was able, to see the impacts for myself so that I could add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man, without knowing [science].

Whatever I saw, I conveyed from the scenes: From Antarctica to the North Pole, the AmazonRiver basin, Lake Chad, Aral Sea. Please name any places which I have not been – that much I have been committed. I am adding my political voice to what scientists have been [doing], working very hard. I really appreciate them.

If we continue business as usual, our opportunity to keep temperature rise below the two degrees centigrade threshold will slip away within the next decade.

Even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.

The good news is that if we act now, immediately and decisively, we have the means to build a better and more sustainable world.

Many tools and technologies are already available. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value.

Action on climate change can contribute to economic prosperity, better health, and more liveable cities, while reducing the risks of further environmental degradation. Economic growth and climate action can be mutually reinforcing.

There is a myth which is shared unscientifically and uneconomically that climate action will cost heavily but I am telling you that inaction of climate action will cost much, much more. Climate action and economic growth are two sides of just one coin.

With this new Synthesis Report, science has spoken yet again with much more clarity and greater certainty. Citizens are increasingly restive – but also eager to seize the opportunities of building a sustainable future.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank most sincerely all the scientists of the IPCC who have done outstanding work in showing the world the perils of climate inaction – and the potential of climate action.

You do not answer to any interests except our planet and the truth. You are trusted and most respected around the world. You have been at the centre of the global dialogue on climate since long before people started marching in the streets demanding action.

You – and the hundreds of scientists around the world who contribute to the IPCC – provide the hard evidence we need to make a change in our world, and human history.

This report gives a major push to the discussions at the Climate Conference in Lima in December – and to success in Paris next year. Without a global agreement, we will not mobilize action to the extent necessary to get the world on to a 2-degree pathway.

Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.

Let’s work together to make this world, our only planet earth, sustainable economically, socially and environmentally for our succeeding generations. Let us preserve our only planet earth in a sustainable way.

Thank you for your leadership.





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Next issue: 12 December 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


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* 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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