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

monthly, year 15th, no. 232 –  13 February 2015


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 developmen – Solidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education


International legislation


Mauritius and Seychelles: champions of international humanitarian law

February 3 - International humanitarian law (IHL) is relevant not only to nations suffering conflict, but also to peaceful states. Mauritius and Seychelles are two countries that clearly demonstrate this. While neither of these island states is likely to experience the consequences of armed conflict, both have displayed their support for IHL by ratifying and domesticating a number of IHL instruments.



33 Latin American and Caribbean states endorse Austrian Pledge and call for negotiations on a ban treaty

by International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

30 January - Latin American and Caribbean states have once again shown a united front and a clear vision for the future of nuclear disarmament. At the third annual summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), heads of state of all 33 countries, issued a declaration fully supporting the outcomes of the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna last December and formally endorsing the Austrian Pledge.

The Austrian Pledge, delivered by the deputy foreign minister of Austria at the end of the Vienna Conference, recognised the existence of a “legal gap” in the international framework regulating nuclear weapons and called on all states to join in efforts to fill this legal gap by pursuing measures which would stigmatise, prohibit and lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

CELAC is the first regional group of states to recognise that a treaty banning nuclear weapons is the best option to fill this gap.



UN lauds Somalia as country ratifies landmark children’s rights treaty

January 20 -The United Nations today applauded Somalia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – a move which was praised as being an “important step” towards protecting and promoting the rights of all children in the war-torn nation and an explicit commitment towards improving the lives of its youngest citizens. Nonetheless, its widespread adoption marked the first time that children were explicitly recognized as having specific rights and the treaty itself is considered to be a powerful human rights tool.

At a ceremony marking the ratification and held at a local school in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, welcomed the Somali Government’s dedication to improving the lives of its children alongside Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and before hundreds of schoolchildren.




Human rights


Community Works teams with U.S. Agencies on human trafficking and modern day slavery

Washington, February 5 - The community leaders of Toronto have called upon Community Works Canada to gauge modern day slavery, human trafficking, and sexual violence in North America with the support of United Nations War on Human Trafficking Association and U.S.Task Force on Human Trafficking Coalition. Human trafficking accounts for over 30 million in 2014 and the victims are very transparent in society to the extent where they blend within the communities of America.

UNWHT President Cary Lee Peterson comments, “We should never turn a blind eye on the issue.” Thus, United Nations War on Human Trafficking Association has worked to broaden awareness globally through events, interventions, and workshops.

CWAO has partnered with UNWHT in a joint venture to enable victims and work with law enforcement to prosecute traffickers and criminals who violate human rights of victims who may otherwise live life in fear and are not aware of their civil rights.



Innovation: Instant Network Schools open up a new world for Somali refugees

4 February 2015 - Thirty pairs of fascinated eyes watch the big white screen; fingers glide across new tablet computers. A class of students at the NasibSecondary School in north-east Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp complex, is enjoying a history lesson about the Portuguese in Africa.

Most have spent their whole life in the arid camps of Dadaab. They have never even visited the closest Kenyan city, Garissa, which is located two hours away by road. But today they are travelling through Africa and the past –online.

Nasib is one of 13 schools or vocational training centres in Dadaab that have been connected to the Internet under an education programme launched late last year by the UN refugee agency and the Vodafone Foundation, the charitable arm of British-based telecoms group, Vodafone.



New Climate Economy Report launch in Ireland: protecting food, forests and people from climate change

February 3 – The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) held a discussion on the New Climate Economy Report with Christopher Delgado, author of the Land Use Chapter Protecting Food, Forests and People, on Tuesday 03 February in Dublin.

The New Climate Economy Report, launched at the Climate Summit in New York in September 2014, explores how to advance the joint goals of economic prosperity and combating climate change.

Part III of the report identifies opportunities to boost investment and productivity while reducing emissions in the agriculture and forestry sector. IIEA hosted the Irish launch of the New Climate Economy Report to explore how the nexus of challenges associated with agriculture, climate change, food security and development can best be managed.

Speaking at the event, Mary Robinson said “To ensure that international processes truly protect Food, Forests and People from Climate Change we must ensure that human rights are the cornerstone of all sustainable development, poverty eradication and climate actions. A human rights framing for the post 2015 development agenda and the 2015 climate agreement would significantly increase the potential for equitable and effective results”.



The Caribbean Union of Teachers promotes LGBT Right

February 3 - Teacher union leaders have made an important step in their journey to develop a better understanding of LGBT issues from a human rights perspective, as the region shifts its tolerance and acceptance toward sexual diversity.In an effort to bring an end to the discrimination of LGBT students and teachers in Caribbean schools, teachers’ unions took small steps to find solutions to create acceptance of sexual diversity.Human rights were at the core of the argument led by one of the Caribbean’s leading politicians and former Foreign Minister of Belize, Lisa Shoman, as she facilitated a discussion on “LGBT rights of students and teachers” at the Caribbean Union of Teachers’ (CUT) 6thEducation Conference in Belize City, Central America in December.




Economy and development


IFAD loans 29 million dollars  to Government of Uganda in effort to bring financial inclusion, improved nutrition to 576k rural households

By Ananya Tiwari – Microcapital Brief

February 5 - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an agency of the United Nations that aims to alleviate poverty in rural areas, recently extended a loan of 29 million dollars to the Government of Uganda to support the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA). The project aims to help 576,000 rural households that are financially excluded and also increase financial access for rural communities at large. The project will last seven years and is expected to increase the income of participants, improve nutrition and food availability, and generally reduce the vulnerability of the target rural populations.

According to Michel Mordasini, the Vice President of IFAD, “the supply of financial services to rural areas in Uganda is still very limited, falling significantly short of demand. In these areas, community-based savings and credit groups are the only financial intermediaries responding to financial services demands of the rural people. The financing agreement we are signing today is tangible evidence of our ongoing joint collaboration with the Government of Uganda to alleviate poverty.”



Over $33 million for poverty alleviation in Ha Giang

February 2 - Thirty communes in five districts in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang will benefit from a 33 million dollars poverty reduction project, according to Nguyen Minh Tien, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee. The Commodity-oriented Poverty Reduction Programme will receive  20 million dollars in Official Development Assistance (ODA) capital provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), while the Vietnamese Government will provide 9.5 million dollars and the beneficiaries will contribute the remaining 4.2 million.

The programme, to run from 2015 to 2020, aims to sustainably improve income and reduce the risk of economic losses for poor households in the target communes in the districts of Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man, Vi Xuyen, Bac Quang and Quang Binh. One of the specific goals of the programme is to reduce the rate of poor households by half and malnutrition among children by 30% by 2020 in beneficiary communes. At the same time, the programme also seeks more balanced income between women-run households and men-run households.



Project to limit post-harvest losses in Uganda

January 29 - Uganda has launched a new project to explore increased use of roots, tubers and bananas (RTBs) and agricultural technologies to reduce post-harvest losses in the country

Diego Naziri, a post harvest specialist at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Uganda, said, “This project is supported by the EU and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project will improve food security for RTBs and the demand of post-harvest and processing technologies as well as value chain and capacity development in Uganda.”

Naziri added that unlike in Asia, the full potential of RTBs has not been realised in Africa despite their benefits. He noted that Africa lacks technologies for storing RTBs, resulting in an underdeveloped potential for value addition. The project would pilot a new weight-based pricing system and promote different consumer products, including peeled and preserved bananas.



Partnerships key for future development agenda, says UN Economic, Social Council President

February 12 – Multi-stakeholder partnerships hold the key to achieving global development goals, Martin Sajdik, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has said, stressing that ending poverty, transforming people's lives and protecting the planet will require more than the work of States alone and must draw from a diverse cross-section of actors. “I think that without an all-encompassing approach toward the implementation of the post-2015 agenda, we will not be able to really fully succeed and implement the agenda,” said Mr. Sajdik in a recent article for Devex Impact, an initiative between Devex and USAID.

The ECOSOC President's observations come as the world prepares to wrap up by the end of this year, the landmark UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed 15 years ago. There has been significant progress in meeting the targets. For example, global poverty has been halved well ahead of the 2015 deadline; in developing countries, 90 per cent of children now enjoy primary education; the number of people lacking access to improved drinking water has been halved, and the fight against malaria and tuberculosis has shown results.

Yet challenges persist, and with the deadline of the MDGs set for the end of this year, UN Member States are crafting a new set of targets, now known as sustainable development goals (SDGs). This new agenda will aim to address a raft lingering and emerging challenges, such as the fact that globally, 73 million young people are looking for work and many more are trapped in exploitative jobs.

Amidst a flurry of actions by bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations and non-profits, the agenda's framework and funding will include both private sector and other non-State actors.






Finland supports WFP’s Cash and Vouchers for displaced and refugees in Sudan

February 9, Khartoum - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution from the Government of Finland to WFP operations in Sudan. This new contribution of 3.46 million dollars will assist 330,360 internally displaced people and refugees who are currently receiving cash and vouchers in camps in Darfur in western Sudan and in Kassala state in central and eastern Sudan.

WFP first introduced vouchers in central and eastern Sudan in 2009 to assist former combatants under a Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Programme. Since then, the programme has expanded into seven states across Sudan, and will benefit a total of 660,000 people in 2015.

In 2014, Finland provided 1.36 million dollars in support of WFP’s emergency operation in Sudan and subsequently contributed an additional 3.46 million. Since 2010, the Finnish government has contributed almost US$12 million in support of WFP programmes in Sudan, over half of which was used to support cash and voucher activities in Sudan. Currently, Finland ranks as WFP Sudan’s fourth largest bilateral donor. Sudan remains one of WFP’s largest and most complex operations, providing food assistance to people suffering from conflict, displacement and chronic under-nourishment in Darfur, as well as in the east and border areas to the south.



MLB, MLBPA announce education initiative with USAID in the Dominican Republic

New York, February 6 - The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today a partnership with the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to focus on education in the Dominican Republic.

The program will concentrate primarily on educatiion, in addition to initiatives supporting children with disabilities and combating domestic violence.



Colorado joins Kosovo Club to restore sanitation in blighted local schools

By Ryan Hyland – Rotary News

February 3 – Blighted schools in the mountain city of Peja in western Kosovo are a reminder of the ethnic strife and war that ravaged this area in the 1990s.To restore ruined sanitation facilities in some of those schools, local Rotary members recently partnered with their counterparts from Colorado, USA. Though residents have been slowly rebuilding the city’s infrastructure after years of neglect under earlier governments, most resources are going to improve roads, rebuild homes, and create new businesses. Little money remains to restore the schools.

As a result, students have fallen ill, stayed home from school, and been unable to focus on their education, says Neshad Asllani, a member of the Rotary Club of Peja and a physician with the Health Center of Excellence in Kosovo. “Healthy students make better students,” he says.Last year, his club joined the Rotary Club of Edwards, Colorado, USA, to bring clean water and modern toilet facilities to six area schools with the worst conditions. The $50,000 project was funded by a Rotary Foundation global grant and completed in September. It replaced all the commodes and sinks, repaired leaking roofs, and installed floor tiles, fixtures, and new septic tanks. (...)



UNHCR and WFP welcome generous contribution from the Republic of Korea for Afghan refugees in Iran

February 2, Teheran - The Republic of Korea has confirmed a first ever multi-year contribution to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) within the framework of the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR). Over a three-year period, starting in 2014, the Republic of Korea is donating 5.6 million dollars to UNHCR and 1.4 million dollars  to WFP to assist Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran together with support from the host government.

Through UNHCR, the Republic of Korea’s contribution supports vocational training such as courses to provide refugees with skills in order to become self-reliant. This includes the construction of schools in areas of high concentration of refugees to promote co-existence between refugee and host communities and enhance access to education; and medical assistance for the most vulnerable refugees.

The funding also enables WFP to continue its assistance to 30,000 refugees in settlements across the country with a monthly basket of basic food items that include bread, rice, sugar, lentils and oil.



Germany contributes to food assistance for Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in Iran

February 2, Teheran - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warmly welcomes a contribution from Germany to feed Afghan and Iraqi refugees and promote education for refugee girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Government of Germany has allocated more than 1 million dollars to food assistance and educational support among Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in settlements across Iran. All food will be locally purchased to ensure speedy delivery and conformity with Iranian standards. WFP provides 30,000 of the most vulnerable refugees with a monthly ration of basic food items. In addition, WFP provides a take-home ration of sunflower oil to 3,000 refugee schoolgirls and their female teachers in 19 settlements across Iran - to promote girls’ education and bridge the gender gap.

 The Islamic Republic of Iran hosts the world’s second largest refugee population, after Pakistan, with some 890,000 registered Afghan and Iraqi refugees in the country. WFP has been providing assistance to these refugees since the arrival of the first asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq in the late 1980s.



New winter clothes keep children of Gaza warm

February  – As families left the Lady Fashion clothing store in Gaza City carrying bags filled with new jackets, gloves, hats, socks and pajamas, it looked like a big sale was happening. But it wasn’t a sale that drew the crowd—It was ANERA’s winter relief program, which included clothing vouchers to redeem at local shops. After the devastation of the 2014 Gaza war, the need for winter clothing is even higher than normal because so many families lost their homes and their belongings.

Shop owner Nimer Shamali described the scene in his Lady Fashion store as astonishing. “With ANERA clothing vouchers, we can provide the most impoverished families with new clothing,” Nimer said. He smiled and added, “It is very innovative because we are not giving prepared packages of clothing. We are giving people a choice so they can select what best meets their children’s needs.”



Japan helps provide school meals for 862,000 children in Sudan

January 21, Khartoum – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a generous contribution from the Government of Japan to support its emergency operations in Sudan. This new contribution of 3.2 million dollars will be used to provide some 862,000 school children across Sudan with nutritious meals for two months through WFP’s school feeding programme.

In 2014, the Government of Japan contributed US$2 million for cash and commodity voucher programmes across the country. Additionally, Japan also contributed US$4 million to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) which is managed by WFP and provides safe and efficient air transport to the humanitarian community in Sudan.

Japan is among WFP’s most generous donors who continue to support operations over a long period, covering a range of programmes including school feeding and food for assets. On 10 December 2014, WFP signed its first agreement with Rocinantes, a Japanese non-governmental organization, to carry out supplementary feeding in North Kordofan. The programme offers services including treatment of acute malnutrition among children aged under five and pregnant and nursing mothers, training of health workers and nutrition education for mothers.



Niger: massive food-aid project for people fleeing conflict in Nigeria

January 13 – The clashes and resulting poor security have nearly emptied border towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria, as people have fled to Niger. “Unlike previous waves of displaced people, those arriving today seem determined to stay longer in Niger,” said Yssouf Koné, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Diffa. The situation was a matter of concern to the Red Cross, he added, because the longer the displaced stayed, the greater the pressure on host communities and resources in an area already reeling from the drastic slowdown in trade with Nigeria and from a very poor farming and herding season.

In the municipalities of Bosso (particularly on islands in Lake Chad), Diffa, Gueskérou, Chétimari, Kabléwa and N’guigmi, the ICRC and the Niger Red Cross are assisting people who have fled the conflict, as well as some particularly vulnerable host communities.

Nearly 5,000 people, including over a thousand residents, recently received food aid in N’guigmi and Kabléwa. More than 200 displaced families were also given other essential items.

In November and December 2014, almost 21,000 people (mostly displaced families but some resident families) received food aid. About 1,000 displaced families received additional essential items.




Peace and security


Middle East diplomatic Quartet urges resumption of negotiations ‘as soon as possible’

9 February – The European Union, United Nations, United States and Russia, representing the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East Peace Process, have urged the resumption of Israeli-Palestinians negotiations “as soon as possible” and reached out for donor funding to accelerate reconstruction of Gaza “to address the basic needs of the Palestinian population and to ensure stability.” This statement followed discussions over the weekend in Munich, Germany, by the Quartet principals.

The Quartet also expressed its deep concern over “the difficult situation in Gaza where the pace of reconstruction needs to be accelerated to address the basic needs of the Palestinian population and to ensure stability” and “stressed that donor funding is critical.”

The Quartet also recalled the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative – with its vision for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict – and the vital role of Arab partners.



DCA reopens airfield in Eastern Angola

The access to Angola’s remote Alto Zambezi municipality has significantly improved after DCA has ensured that the Caianda Airfield does not contain any landmines

February 3 – After 22 years of inactivity, the Caianda Airfield in Eastern Angola has been reopened thanks to DCA Angola. Access to Caianda in the Alto Zambezi municipality is difficult with poor road infrastructure, which is even worse during the wet season. This makes the reopening of the airfield an historic event significantly improving access to Caianda.

Angola was in a civil war from 1975 until 2002 and during the fighting in the area the airfield was occupied by both sides of the conflict at various times. With the airfield now open, resupply flights will be able to occur as well as permit medical evacuation flights to take place.

The EU, FinnChurchAid and the AP Moller Foundation are funding the DCA project at Caianda.



Clearance of landmine/ERW contaminated land in Lebanon

February 3 – ITF provides continuous support for landmine/ERW clearance activities in South Lebanon, implemented by Danish Church Aid (DCA) and Norwegian`s People Aid (NPA). All activities are organized in close collaboration with Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC).

In year 2014, a total of 113,708 m2 of land were cleared recovering and disposing of 169 Cluster Munitions (CM) and 17 items of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). Altogether 295 persons directly benefitted from the clearance operations, mainly by gaining access to previously blocked resources such as agricultural land. The tasked areas are of huge importance for local population by having a great socio-economic impact once they are cleared and handed over to final beneficiaries for agrictultural use, housing or grazing.

In 2014, clearance of landmine/ERW contaminated land in South Lebanon, was funded through ITF by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and  the Government of the United States of America – “U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement”.



CARE welcomes ceasefire in South Sudan, but a comprehensive peace settlement must be reached

February 2 - CARE welcomes the signing of the ceasefire between the government and opposition forces in South Sudan. The ceasefire, signed in Ethiopia yesterday, commits both parties to ending a conflict that has wreaked havoc on the world’s newest nation since December 2013.



Czech Republic continues to support ITF activities

January 21 – H.E Ms. Vera Zemanova, Ambassador of the CzechRepublic in Slovenia and Ambassador Damjan Bergant, ITF Director signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a donation of € 14.415,45 (CZK 400.000) for the implementation of ITF projects in Bosnia Herzegovina. This year Czech donation will be used for demining project in municipality Pelagičevo (Brdjani-Remicke) in Bosnia Herzegovina and for continuation of mine victims assistance project in Bosnia Herzegovina, project »The voice of mine victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina« implemented by NGO HOPE’87.

The CzechRepublic has been supporting ITF and its demining / MVA programs since 1998 - the very beginning of ITF. Since 1999 CzechRepublic donated a total of € 1.082.974,37 for demining and MVA projects in South East Europe and the Caucasus region. The CzechRepublic supported demining projects in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo* and in Georgia (in 2009). With funds donated by the Czech Republic a total of more than 1.5 million sq.m. have been cleared thus  far. The CzechRepublic also supported the implementation of  MVA projects in the region of South East Europe and especially the project for rehabilitation of children from Gaza, the victims of armed conflicts ( in 2010 and 2011).






New S.F. Hospital gets $75-million from Zuckerberg and Chan

February 6 – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have donated $75-million to San Francisco GeneralHospital to fund critical equipment and advanced medical technology at its new building, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The gift is believed to be the largest in raw dollars to a U.S. public hospital.

The safety-net medical center, set to open at the end of the year in a new, nine-story building on the site of the original, 1970s-era facility, will be rechristened the Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. A voter-approved $887.4-million bond measure is financing construction of the hospital but not ongoing operational costs. The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation has been raising money to cover those expenses.



CVS Health Foundation commits $5 million to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Grant will support “Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free” Program

Announcement made one-year after CVS Health declared it would quit the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in its 7,800 pharmacies nationwide

Woonsocket, R.I., USA, February 5 -  The CVS Health Foundation today announced a $5 million five-year commitment to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to launch its new “Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free” grant program.  Through the program, the CVS Health Foundation will partner with Tobacco-Free Kids to provide grants to organizations committed to implementing public health strategies to reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The “Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free” grant initiative will support programs that help to reduce youth tobacco use, especially among at-risk populations, educate the public about the problem of and solutions to youth tobacco use in local communities and increase youth engagement in tobacco prevention activities. The first grant recipients will be announced on March 18, 2015.



MSF providing psycho-social care to victims of arson attacks in Dhaka, Bangladesh

February 5 – Victims of recent arson attacks taken to the Burn Unit at DhakaMedicalCollegeHospital are now able to access psycho-social care from international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Services are similarly being made available to their caretakers.

Since 31st January 2015, when MSF began working under an agreement made directly with DhakaMedicalCollegeHospital, the medical group has been providing consultations to 68 people suffering from psychological problems related to the traumatic experience they have suffered and the subsequent recovery process.

While MSF is focusing on the psycho social needs of burns victims, it has also donated approximately 850,000 takas worth of drugs and medical equipment to assist DhakaMedicalCollegeHospital’s treatment of their physical injuries.



World leaders make record-breaking commitment to protect poorest children with vaccines

Berlin, 27 January – Hundreds of millions of children living in the world’s poorest countries will receive life-saving vaccines as a result of record-breaking financial commitments made today at the Gavi Pledging Conference, hosted in Berlin by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The US$ 7.5 billion raised today comes from a mix of pledges from 17 sovereign donors – for the first time almost all donors have made pledges for the full five-year funding period – the European Commission and private sector partners. Of the support from sovereign donors, US$ 252 million was committed to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm).

Additionally, Gavi announced today that the Gavi Matching Fund, a fund that doubles private sector contributions and impact, will be renewed for the 2016-2020 period with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Netherlands and other sponsors.



ADRA decontaminates homes, prevents spread of Ebola

by ADRA International Staff

Freetown, Sierra Leone, January 26 - ADRA Sierra Leone is managing a decontamination center and deploying teams to the homes of Ebola victims to decontaminate exposed surfaces and prevent further spread of the virus. ADRA Sierra Leone has decontaminated more than 988 homes since November 2014.

The Sierra Leone National Ebola Response Center (NERC) operates a hotline for the sick and relays information to the decontamination center that mobilizes teams to the homes. If needed, the center can first send an ambulance to pick up bodies or evacuate patients to designated Ebola treatment centers. ADRA Sierra Leone is running this program in conjunction with non-governmental organization Plan Sierra Leone.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International, is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-dayAdventistChurch.



Rotary releases 34.8 million dollars for Polio Immunization activities worldwide

By Arnold R. Grahl - Rotary News

January 23 - Rotary International released an additional $34.8 million in grants to support polio immunization activities in 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the three countries where the disease has never been stopped. The funds, whose release was announced 20 January, will be used by the World Health Organization and UNICEF for polio immunization and surveillance activities in the 10 countries, as well as to provide technical assistance in several other countries in Africa.

The grants include $8.1 million for Nigeria to support its final push to eradicate the disease. Nigeria experienced a nearly 90 percent reduction in cases in 2014 compared with the previous year, and hasn't registered a new case of polio in the last six months. (...)

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, in which Rotary is a partner, made significant progress against polio in 2014 in most places. More than half of the world's cases in 2013 were the result of outbreaks in previously polio-free countries, largely caused by instability and conflict in countries including Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. The outbreaks appear to have been stopped last year following special vaccination efforts in 11 countries that reached more than 56 million children. (...)

One less promising spot in the polio eradication fight has been Pakistan, which saw an explosive outbreak totaling more than 300 cases in 2014, the most there in more than a decade. As a result, Pakistan accounted for almost 90 percent of the world's cases last year. Pakistan will receive $1.1 million of the funds that Rotary is releasing to support eradication efforts there. In addition, the grants include $6.7 million in Afghanistan, $7 million in Somalia, $3.3 million in Democratic Republic of Congo, $2.8 million in Niger, $2.5 million in Chad, $1.6 million in Cameroun, $1.1 million in Ethiopia, and $250,000 in Kenya. A total of $321,000 will provide technical assistance in Africa.(...)

To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.3 billion to fight polio. Through 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match 2-to-1 every dollar that Rotary commits to polio eradication (up to $35 million a year). In 2014, there were only 350 confirmed polio cases in the world, down from about 350,000 a year when the initiative began in 1988.



The Right Shot: Bringing down barriers to affordable and adapted vaccines

15 January - Immunisation is one of the most efficient ways to reduce child mortality. Yet, every year 1 out of every 5 children (under the age of 1 year) is not fully vaccinated, putting them at risk of dying of preventable diseases such as measles, pneumonia or diarrhoea. 

In the 2nd edition of MSF Access Campaign’s report, The Right Shot, we have gathered more than 1,500 data points from organisations including UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), governments, vaccine manufacturers and MSF’s own supply centres to better understand one of the main barriers to immunisation: high vaccine prices. The resulting report is one of the most comprehensive publications on comparative vaccines prices to date, bringing together in one place information on 16 key vaccines across 13 countries.



Celebrating success of ethical collaboration framework

The first anniversary of the Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration, between patients' organizations, healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry, was marked on the fringes of the 135th WHO Executive Board meeting on 26 January 2015.

The celebratory event showcased the value and impact of the Framework at national levels. The event shared examples of progress in countries such as Belarus and Canada. In Belarus, eight different organizations, including the Belarusian Doctors’ Association and the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, signed a version of the Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration.

Framework Signatories include the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO), International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Medical Association (WMA).

During the event, the International Hospital Federation (IHF) and the International Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance (IGPA) publicly endorsed the Consensus Framework. T his demonstrated growing support for shared ethical principles at an international level too, from healthcare and medicines providers, and a commitment to upholding high ethical standards worldwide when delivering solutions to address patients’ needs.




Energy and safety



USA - New $13 million funding opportunity to strengthen local solar markets and spur solar deployment

February 10 - Last week, the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative announced $13 million in funding to help communities across the country reduce market and policy barriers to solar deployment and recognize communities for taking the initiative to go solar. This investment will make it faster, cheaper, and easier for Americans to install affordable solar energy systems and spur solar deployment nationwide by decreasing costs and supporting communities' efforts to transform solar energy markets.

The Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) funding opportunity will establish a national recognition and technical assistance program for local governments—driving greater solar deployment and making it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Funding recipients will establish and administer a national recognition program and also provide technical assistance and share best practices with communities seeking national recognition for cutting red tape and improving local solar market conditions.



US Energy Department announces more than $59 million investment in solar

January 29, Washington – In support of the Administration’s effort to double renewable energy generation for a second time by 2020, the Energy Department announced more than $59 million in funding to support solar energy innovation today. The Department is making $45 million in funding available to quickly move innovative solar manufacturing technologies to market, and is also awarding more than $14 million for 15 new projects to help communities develop multi-year solar deployment plans to install solar electricity in homes, businesses, and communities. As more communities look to solar energy as a source of clean, renewable electricity, the funding announced today will help lower the cost of going solar and enable businesses to develop solutions for overcoming technical, regulatory, and financial challenges, further unleashing cost-competitive solar energy.




Environment and wildlife


India’s tigers come roaring back according to new report

Posted on January 20 – Kuala Lumpur: India’s tiger population has significantly increased according to the 2014-15 India tiger estimation report released today. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in numbers– from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014.

The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.

The report, Status of Tigers in India, 2014, published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of the Government of India, highlights that the future of tigers in India depends on maintaining undisturbed core habitats for breeding tiger populations, habitat connectivity and protection from poaching of tigers and their prey.

Since 2010, all tiger countries have been working to double global tiger numbers, a goal known as Tx2. This new result from India coupled with the increase from the last census demonstrates that even in densely populated and economically booming Asia, ambitious targets for species recovery can be achieved.  India’s tiger population in 2010 was estimated to be 1,706.




Religion and spirituality


World Interfaith Harmony Week

Multi-religious partnership for sustainable development

The Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly and the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week, multi-religious partnership for sustainable development, 6 February, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Cosponsors: CONGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns-NY; Global Movement for the Culture of Peace; NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; Spiritual Caucus; The Values Caucus at the UN.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Just under a month later, on October 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and henceforth the first week of February each year is observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week.




Culture and education


First UN conference on tourism and culture opens in Cambodia, seeks to build partnerships

4 February – Aimed at bringing together Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Culture to identify key opportunities and challenges for stronger cooperation between the fields, two United Nations agencies launched the First World Conference on Tourism and Culture today in the shadow of the legendary Angkor Wat temple, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The Conference, run by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) aims to address the overlap between culture and tourism, tackling the question of how to harness the power of tourism and culture to alleviate poverty, create jobs, protect natural and cultural heritage and promote international understanding.

“Today, cultural tourism – the world’s mosaic of art forms, heritage sites, festivals, traditions, and pilgrimages – is growing at an unprecedented rate,” said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General. Mr. Rifai described the growth of international tourism since the 1950s and the socio-economic contribution made by tourism, accounting for one out of every 11 jobs worldwide, as well as contributing nine per cent to global gross domestic product (GDP) and 30 per cent contribution to total global exports.



Ford and other big grant makers join forces to safeguard Internet liberties

By Alex Daniels

February 4 – Over the past two decades, the Internet has evolved from an obscure Defense Department project to a global communications phenomenon. Now, say a group of foundation leaders, it’s time to make sure it is a force for good. The group, which includes several heavy hitters from the foundation world including the Ford, Knight, MacArthur, Mozilla, and Open Society foundations, has formed a partnership to figure out how to get the Internet to live up to its potential as a tool for social justice.

The effort, called NetGain, will be formally announced at an event hosted by the Ford Foundation at its New York headquarters on February 11. Details of the collaboration, including how long it will last and what additional support each institution will provide, are still being worked out.

Generally, the members of the group will focus on several areas: creating an Internet-based “public sphere,” where people can share their views online in an equitable way, curtailing Internet harassment and hate speech, providing equal access to the Internet, combating censorship, and developing a “pipeline” of science and technology experts working for social justice.

Experts from each of the foundations plan to coordinate events with one another and invite experts from philanthropy, academe, and business to meet regularly. (…)



Scholarship program helps students strengthen their communities in Honduras

January 21 – María Nely Laínez is a homeless single mother of two. She is also, at 29-years-old, finally a student in the eighth grade. Maria attends class on weekends, meeting her instructor and classmates at churches or community centers. During the week, she studies with textbooks and audio files purchased with her scholarship.

Counterpart has funded 148 scholarships like María’s through grants to its local partner in Honduras. CASM works in Honduras’s most challenging communities and awards scholarships to citizens with limited resources and a commitment to community service.  Most scholarship recipients are active members of CASM’s Community Revitalization Committees or Youth Networks, dedicated to combating crime and poverty in their communities.

Through the CASM scholarship program, Counterpart helps equip emerging leaders to reach their goals of improving their communities and building safer and more secure lives.



Save the Children and UNICEF receive $11.9 million from IKEA for Education Campaign

The IKEA U.S. Soft Toy Campaign 2014 raised almost $1.2 million.

Fairfield, Conn., USA, January 15 - During this past 2014 holiday season, millions of IKEA customers and co-workers around the world participated in the IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign. Through their purchase of soft toys and children’s books, the IKEA Foundation will donate $11.9 million (€10.1 million) to UNICEF and Save the Children for educational projects.

This year’s campaign ran from Nov. 9, 2014, to Jan. 3, 2015. For every soft toy and children’s book sold, the IKEA Foundation donated one euro ($1.18) to UNICEF and Save the Children to train teachers, improve child-protection systems, provide educational materials, and increase school attendance in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Thanks to this year’s donation, UNICEF will continue to fund UNICEF education programs through the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups in Asia and Europe.



Save the Children receives 35,000 books for U.S. children in need from Penguin Random House

Fairfield, Conn., USA, January 15 - Penguin Random House announced today that it will donate an additional 10,000 books to Save the Children, for a total of 35,000, in celebration of the 2014 #GiveaBook holiday campaign that promoted books as gifts during holiday season and focused on giving back to U.S. children in need.

Last month, when the #GiveaBook holiday campaign surpassed its goal of appearing as a hashtag on Facebook and Twitter 25,000 times, Penguin Random House increased the amount of its pledge by 10,000 books to encourage more posts and tweets containing the #GiveaBook hashtag. As of December 24, the last day of the campaign, the hashtag had been shared more than 35,707 times.

The donated books will be distributed to families enrolled in Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program, which is active in hiqh-poverty rural communities across 14 states. The program helps parents and caregivers build essential pre-literacy skills with their infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children through home visiting, book distribution and community engagement activities.



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Next issue: 13 March 2015.


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, 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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