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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 17th, no. 248 –  22 July 2016


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 media and editorial journalists, NGOs, service associations and high schools and colleges around the world.

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


International legislation


In China, Ban highlights country’s leadership on sustainable development, climate change

7 July – In China today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the country’s relationship with the Organization, noting in particular its crucial role in improving tensions, building peace and promoting the agenda on climate change. “As a permanent member of the Security Council and a universally recognized global actor, China also plays a pivotal role in helping to ease tensions, build peace and provide life-saving assistance to the world’s troubled spots from the Middle East to Africa and elsewhere,” the Secretary-General said at a joint press conference with Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Noting that cooperation between the UN and China continues to deepen, the Secretary-General said that China, under President Xi Jinping, is demonstrating “path-breaking leadership” on sustainable development and climate change. “China is demonstrating to the world that low carbon climate resilience development pathway is achievable,” Mr. Ban said, commending the country’s leadership in promoting and accelerating the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change by the G20 summit.



USA - Save the Children celebrates final passage of the Global Food Security Act to fight child hunger and malnutrition

July 6 - Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network today celebrate the final passage of the bipartisan Global Food Security Act of 2016 (S.1252) by the House of Representatives. The bill is the result of years of dedicated bipartisan efforts by many global food security and nutrition champions. The Act requires integrating the recently-released U.S. Government Global Nutrition Coordination Plan, which alongside the USAID Nutrition Strategy, provides a platform to accelerate progress in reducing child malnutrition and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.

The Global Food Security Act requires the President produce a whole-of-government Global Food Security Strategy with measurable goals and benchmarks, in consultation with 11 Federal agencies, by October 1, 2016. It also authorizes $1 billion to implement the Strategy and another nearly $2.8 billion to address the humanitarian food and other needs of refugees and others around the world impacted by crises and conflict.



Diplomatic Quartet releases report on advancing two-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict

1 July – The United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the Middle East peace process today released the first report of its kind, which analysed the impediments to a lasting resolution to the Palestinian–Israeli conflict and offered recommendations on the way forward, urging Israel to stop its settlement policy and Palestine to end incitement to violence.

In summary, the Quartet reiterated that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues.

Following the release of the report, the UN Secretary-General encouraged the parties to engage with the Quartet to implement the findings “to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations.”




Human rights


Summit for Refugees and Migrants - 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in New York

The UN General Assembly will host a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach.

This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants. The High Level summit is being organized by the President of the General Assembly on behalf of Member States.

Also on the margins of the General Assembly, on 20 September 2016, the United States President Obama is hosting the Leaders' Summit on Refugees which will appeal to governments to pledge significant new commitments on refugees.  While the Presidential Summit will focus on refugees, not migrants, the General Assembly event will address large movements of both. The two events will complement one another.



Samoa’s rugby team goes orange as players UNiTE to end violence against women

8 July - Orange is the new blue in Samoa, as Manu Samoa, the national rugby team intensifies efforts to raise awareness about violence against women. By advocating against violence and modelling respectful behaviours, rugby players are inspiring change in the Pacific region. On 25 June, at the test match between Samoa and Tonga a new colour shared the stage with the blue as players, officials and supporters alike wore orange, showing their support for the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. In partnership with UN Women, Samoa Rugby Union and the World Rugby Union dedicated the Pacific Nations Cup match between Samoa and Tonga to raising awareness on violence against women and girls. The match attracted a global television audience of 6 million.



Toolkit helps companies facing security and human rights challenges

7July – Companies operating in areas affected by armed conflict and violence face multiple security and human rights challenges. The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the ICRC have therefore published a "toolkit" entitled Addressing security and human rights challenges in complex environments. The third edition of the Toolkit includes a new chapter on working communities, developed in collaboration with CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. The aim is to help companies manage their security effectively while respecting human rights and complying with international humanitarian law. The project is based on a survey of existing literature and tools dealing with security and human rights. This survey included over 130 meetings with governments, companies, civil society organizations and others, highlighting both the security and human rights problems that companies face and ways in which they could resolve those problems.



UN Women welcomes new Human Rights Council Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity  

1 July - UN Women welcomes the Human Rights Council’s decision to appoint an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and calls for full support to the new mandate. The appointment of an Independent Expert is an important step forward in the provision of protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It reaffirms the universality of existing human rights standards for all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Everyone, without exception, is equally entitled to protection under international human rights law.




Economy and development


World Food Programme launches Innovation Accelerator to test drive Hunger Solutions

July 8, Munich - WFP today stepped up its search for innovative solutions to spur progress towards Zero Hunger by launching an Innovation Accelerator to identify and nurture new, bold responses to humanitarian and development challenges as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Based in Munich, the Innovation Accelerator combines internal WFP staff with experts and entrepreneurs from across the private sector and civil society. Teams collaborate for three- to six-month periods on selected ideas that are either proposed by WFP innovators with first-hand field knowledge or crowd-sourced by engaging members of the general public.

The world has made real progress by reducing the number of people suffering from hunger by 200 million since the 1990s. Yet there are still 795 million people who do not receive enough food for an active healthy life. The Innovation Accelerator should be a key way to help reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 and end hunger by 2030. The Accelerator is generously supported by contributions from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry. With 12 projects drawn from WFP’s global operations currently in its portfolio, the Accelerator will both benefit from and contribute to Munich’s strong innovation and start-up community.



FAO and Norway strengthen long-lasting partnership

July 7, Rome - FAO and Norway have agreed to continue an already fruitful cooperation in the strategic areas of fisheries, the right to food, climate-smart agriculture, deforestation, gender equity and food loss and waste. Combined with regular budget contributions, Norway – with a population of just over five million people – is FAO’s 12th largest donor.

Forestry and climate change are among the top priorities for Norway. The country has also promoted an “ecosystem approach” implemented by a high impact five-year project to work with the fisheries administrations and institutions of 32 coastal African countries. The project aims to promote sustainable utilization of protection of marine living resources.

Continuous support to fisheries and aquaculture also include the close collaboration with FAO to promote the FAO Port State Measures agreement, which is potentially one of the most effective measures against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This ground-breaking accord went into effect on 5 June 2016 and is now legally binding for the parties and regional organizations that have adhered to it. With over 30 countries and the European Union having adhered to it, its entry into force will be launched at the FAO Committee of Fisheries.



Animal bones and rusty tin cans help reduce food insecurity in Swaziland

by Noora Jussila, Finnish Red Cross

6 July – Across Swaziland and southern Africa, an exceptionally severe drought has destroyed all crops in some areas. An estimated 25 per cent of the population are in desperate need of food assistance.(…) The Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society is assisting families in securing food by training people to build “keyhole gardens” where vegetables such as carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach and beets can be grown. The gardens, which reach 1.5 metres in diameter, are named after their keyhole-like shape and can be built by Red Cross volunteers and community members in one day. The goal of the National Society is to build 250 gardens across the country (…).To build a keyhole garden, you need materials such as rusty tin cans, animal bones, and large stones. The rusty tin cans and animal bones help keep the humidity within the garden soil. A compost is built in the middle of the garden, and the decomposing plants and leftovers release more nutrients into the soil. (…)



The 2016 International Co-operative Day - July 2

The slogan for the 2016 International Day of Co-operatives is ‘Co-operatives: The power to act for a sustainable future’. The slogan was chosen to emphasize the co-operative contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development goals, or SDGs.

Co-operatives are important partners to achieve the SDGs, because they foster democracy, practice social inclusion and operate with concern for the environment, all while having a significant economic impact on the world economy. On July 2, the 2016 International Day of Co-operatives, we commit our support to the SDGs!

The Alliance calls on co-operators worldwide to celebrate the 2016 Day by showing how the co-operative principles and values act in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.



Afghanistan: Rebuilding reservoir benefits farmers in Bamyan

1July, Bamyan, Afghanistan – In the remote western highlands of Bamyan province, farmers are keeping their crops watered by rebuilding a traditional reservoir thanks to an ICRC cash-for-work project.

Over 700 families are benefiting from the scheme in five villages of Yakawlang district. The community provided the labour force for the work, which involved constructing a wall 65 m long and 3.5 m high using stones, cement and gravel to strengthen the community's existing fragile reservoir wall made in the traditional way out of mud. The reservoir is situated some 100 metres from a stream, and melting and seasonal rains help to keep it full.



Verisk Maplecroft launches new girl stats data platform to accelerate business investment in girls’ empowerment

30 June, London, UK - Verisk Maplecroft has launched Girl Stats (www.girl-stats.org), a new data-led platform hosting the world’s most comprehensive data sets on more than 50 global development issues affecting adolescent girls and young women. The platform is designed to help companies understand where to target corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that can improve the lives of young women globally. Verisk Maplecroft is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

Girl Stats is the first tool that will enable companies to better understand key development factors that allow girls to reach their full potential, including education, health and wellbeing, legal status, and employment. This intelligence will give businesses vital ammunition to help make informed responsible investment, lending, and procurement decisions that can empower adolescent girls and young women in markets across the world.



Syrian farmers in Tartous revive tomato harvest with support from WFP And FAO

June 27, Damascus - Syrian farmers in the country’s western coastal governorate of Tartous, formerly among the world’s top producers of tomatoes, have started their first tomato harvest of the year with support from FAO and WFP. Before the conflict in Syria, Tartous farmers grew up to 1 million tons of tomatoes yearly for local consumption and export. FAO and WFP, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Directorate of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, jointly launched a programme in early 2016 to restore agriculture-based livelihoods by rebuilding damaged greenhouses and providing tomato seeds and irrigation systems to the worst-affected farmers in Tartous governorate.

The programme supports 15,000 people including food insecure farmers, internally displaced people mainly from Aleppo who rely on the agriculture sector to find work as well as the local community in Tartous governorate. Across Syria, WFP provides life-saving food assistance every month to 4 million people affected by the crisis.



Supporting food security and ebola recovery in Liberia

14 June – The Liberian Agricultural Upgrading, Nutrition, and Child Health (LAUNCH) project, a Title II, Multi Year Assistance Program (MYAP), concludes this month. ACDI/VOCA has been implementing this USAID/Office of Food for Peace (FFP) project since 2010 in partnership with Project Concern International, John Snow Inc., and Making Cents International. LAUNCH trained farmers on environmentally sustainable production techniques, used a value chain approach to help them identify market opportunities, and communicated health and nutrition strategies to prevent malnutrition and promote household and community health. LAUNCH also distributed supplementary food rations and increased opportunities for youth to become agroentrepreneurs. Thanks to LAUNCH, we had a strong presence in Bong and Nimba counties when Ebola spread to Liberia in March 2014.USAID/FFP awarded ACDI/VOCA a one-year Emergency Response Program called the Ebola Recovery and Resilience Program (ERRP), after the state of emergency in 2014. ERRP aims to alleviate the negative economic impact of the EVD crisis in Liberia. ERRP helps vulnerable households through cash transfers and a cash-for-work (CfW) program. ERRP also reached over 6,000 households with essential farming inputs.






Turning Olympic food waste into nutritious meals for the needy

July 8, Rome - Every year around one-third of worldwide food production is wasted or lost around the globe, entailing the simultaneous loss of all the resources - water, soil, agricultural inputs, feed - that went into its production. The environmental impact of food loss and waste is enormous: A recent FAO study  calculated that global food waste would, if calculated as a country, be the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. Meanwhile, a third of all cultivated soils produce food that will never be eaten.

The good news is that initiatives to combat this trend are proliferating at the global level. Among these is the "Reffetto-Rio" project, an initiative presented in Rome today in the presence of Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Maurizio Martina, Italy's minister of agricultural policies.

Thanks to the "Reffetto-Rio" project, surplus food from the Olympic Village during the Olympic Games about to commence in Rio de Janeiro will be recovered and turned into nutritious meals for distribution to the neediest. At the same time, cooking and nutrition classes will be given for the benefit of youth and those in difficulty. Volunteers have been invited to participate alongside 45 chefs from around the world in this project.The initiative was conceived by Massimo Bottura, an internationally-renowned chef and founder of "Food for Soul", along with David Hertz, a chief and founder of the "Gastromotiva" non-profit organization. Both chefs were present at today's event.



Alexandria Rotary donates over $85,000 to local Nonprofits

July 8 - On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the Rotary Club of Alexandria (Rotary) together with its affiliate, the Alexandria Day Nursery & Children’s Home, held their Annual Contributions Day luncheon at Belle Haven Country Club. On that occasion, checks were presented to 38 nonprofit organizations serving the Alexandria community for a total of $85,500. These Rotary grants support programs as diverse as the Campagna Center, Rebuilding Together Alexandria, Child & Family Network Center, ALIVE!, Alexandria Neighborhood Health Clinic, and Volunteer Alexandria (connecting volunteers with nonprofits).

In addition to honoring these non-profits and their good works, this annual Rotary luncheon provides the groups’ leadership an occasion to meet, talk and find opportunities to collaborate.



EU helps WFP strengthen livelihoods for 50,000 people in Lake Chad Region

July 8, N'Djamena - WFP has welcomed a contribution of US$3.9 million from the European Union to support 50,000 highly vulnerable people in the Lake Chad region, west of the Sahelian belt. The contribution which is provided by the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), enables WFP to go beyond providing emergency relief in a poor region where insecurity and massive population displacements are causing a steep deterioration of people’s food and nutritional status.

During the 18 month project, WFP assistance will go to people who will be directly involved in choosing and creating their community assets. Through cash-based transfers, recipients gain more autonomy, giving them control over their food supply as well as stimulating the local economy as they purchase on local markets. Across the Lake Chad region, WFP is working closely with UNICEF and FAO. The EU–supported project will also be implemented in partnership with the local authorities.



Ecuador - Safe water supply system in the community of La Cabuya

6 July - The Ecuadorean Red Cross’ Water and Sanitation team and the International Federation’s technicians have been working together visiting the communities affected by the earthquake that hit the Ecuadorean coast on 16 April 2016. In response to this need, the Water and Sanitation technical team immediately installed a Bladder (an inflatable water container that stores around 20 thousand litres of water) in order to offer the community a non-stop water service.



Engans give ‘Wantok’ welcome to WFP and partners as rice reaches 45,795 people

July 4, Port Moresby - A convoy of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Government and UN partners reached Pilikambi Rural Local Level Government (LLG) last week to monitor food distributions to communities affected by El-Nino-related drought and frost.  WFP and UN partners have been concerned about hunger and food insecurity in Papua New Guinea caused by El Niño. Even as the El Niño effect has wound down, its impact continues with, 180,000 people are suffering from agricultural loss and require food assistance. WFP, in partnership with CARE International and provincial authorities, has to date reached 45,795 people (9,159 families) with rice in the Highlands, specifically in Pilikambi Rural and Wage Rural LLGs, Enga Province.

WFP relies entirely on voluntary funding from governments, companies and private individuals. The cost of the three-month operation designed to support the government response to the drought in PNG is US$12.6 million. WFP thanks the governments of Japan, the European Union, and the U.S. as well as OCHA, the UN agency for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, for their generous funding support. WFP also thanks private partner Digicel for their contribution.



Philippines: Aid for 12,500 displaced people in Lanao del Sur

4 July, Manila -The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expresses its concern for thousands of people from Butig, Lanao del Sur, who remain displaced following clashes between government forces and an armed group in late May to early June. Between June 8 and July 2, the ICRC, together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), provided food and household items to around 12,500 people displaced from Butig. The ICRC-PRC assistance augmented the aid provided by the government and helped families meet their basic needs. The ICRC is a neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. It has had a presence in the Philippines for more than 70 years and in Mindanao since 1982.



Ramadan food packages bring joy to Gaza & Lebanon camps

July 1 – The month of Ramadan is meant to be a festive time spent with family and friends. Yet, in Gaza and Palestinian camps in Lebanon, the bleak situation clouds the joyous occasion. Many people are celebrating Ramadan without any food on the table. ANERA responded with our annual distribution of food packages, containing healthy, locally-purchased food items. The parcels contain many items that are a rare treat for poor families and refugees. Foods like cheese, tuna and juice are especially popular. Staples like chickpeas, beans and cooking oil round out the supply. Thanks to ANERA donors,1,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon – a majority of whom fled the violent crisis in Syria – and 1,100 of the most impoverished families  will receive relief this Ramadan.



Caritas Lebanon reopens the Oaktree Shelter

29 June - Imagine being a woman isolated in a foreign country and at risk of violence. Fortunately, women who find themselves in this situation in Lebanon are able to find refuge at Oaktree, a women’s shelter. Oaktree reopened recently after refurbishment work to ensure it is a comfortable, safe and welcoming place for women and their children. Most of the women are escaping gender-based violence either resulting from domestic violence, human trafficking, or the increased likelihood of violence due to being a refugee. While the shelter is open to women of any nationality, the reality is that most of the women are refugees from Syria.



Germany supports WFP in tackling undernutrition in Yemen

June 28, Sana's - WFP today welcomed a contribution of approximately US$16.9 million from the Federal Republic of Germany to help WFP treat and prevent moderate malnutrition. Thanks to the German contribution, treatment will be provided to nearly 292,000 moderately malnourished children under five years old and 204,000 malnourished pregnant and nursing mothers. Some 170,000 children under two years old, who are at risk of malnutrition, will receive preventive assistance.

A report published this month, shows that the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is at an alarming stage in most Yemeni governorates. The report – Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) – classified nine out of Yemen’s 22 governorates as facing food insecurity at ‘Emergency’ level.

Working in cooperation with 14 partners, WFP prioritizes 14 governorates across Yemen for nutrition interventions including all those at the “Emergency” level of hunger.



Sweden supports United Nations Humanitarian Air Service in Sudan

June 23, Khartoum - WFP today welcomed a contribution from the Government of Sweden to support the WFP-operated United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Sudan. This contribution from Sweden, of approximately US$600,000 , will allow WFP to continue running a safe and reliable air service to hundreds of humanitarian staff serving vulnerable communities across Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan.

In recent months, UNHAS has played a significant role in flying aid workers into locations where people fleeing the conflict in Jebel Marra area have gone. During the first quarter of 2016, UNHAS has made more than 1,150 flights carrying nearly 9,000 passengers and has also performed two medical evacuations. On average, UNHAS transports 3,500 passengers and 20 metric tons of light cargo each month to more than 40 locations in Sudan.

The humanitarian air service - like WFP, is entirely funded by voluntary contributions. Other contributors to UNHAS in Sudan include Canada, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Common Humanitarian Fund.



One Caritas family in Mahama Refugee Camp, Rwanda

by Rachel Felgines

23June, Mahama Refugee Camp - The camp extends as far as the eye can see. Almost 50,000 people live here. They are all refugees after having fled Burundi in recent months.(…) It is in this huge camp that Caritas Rwanda decided to set up an emergency project to serve the most vulnerable people from the outset of the crisis in Burundi in April 2015, which forced thousands of Burundians to flee their country towards bordering states including Rwanda. Who are the most vulnerable that Caritas Rwanda has supported for more than a year through its nutritional programme? They are those who are handicapped, elderly, chronically ill, and women who are breastfeeding. Aside to finding themselves outside of their own country, without resources, stuck in a camp, they also have to face their health problems, and they received basic nutrition which does not take their specific needs into account. (…) Some of these people (…)  gather here like a big family, because the name Caritas signifies “love” today. (…)  In the tent a “family reunion” is underway to exchange ideas on the project, their satisfaction, their needs, questions and ideas.(…)




Peace and security


France gets rid of all its cluster munitions

1 July – France completed the destruction of its stockpile of cluster munitions! The announcement was made jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense on 30 June 2016. In the joint communique, France also firmly condemned the use of cluster munitions and noted the severe consequences that cluster munitions have on civilian populations. It invited all states not yet party to the Convention to come on board and to fully implement it.

This important announcement occurs two years ahead of France's mandatory deadline for stockpile destruction. As noted by the Cluster Munition Monitor, France is a past user, producer, and exporter of cluster munitions, and is now a proactive member of the Convention banning the weapon. Other states that recently completed stockpile destruction include Italy and Germany, in late 2015.



US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas visits NPA’s mine clearance programme in Zimbabwe

24 June - This week, NPA’s Humanitarian Disarmament Programme in Zimbabwe was honored to host the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry K. Thomas. The US is NPA’s main donor for demining in Zimbabwe, and the funding it provides enables land to be made safe, and returned to local communities for productive use. The Deputy Director for the Zimbabwe Mine Action Center (ZIMAC), Lt Col. Peters, also joined the US delegation on the visit, which began with a presentation of the demining programme at NPA’s office. This was followed by a field visit to the Cecil kopje clearance task.

Two NPA teams are currently deployed to the Cecil kopje task, and are conducting technical survey and clearance. Since the start of survey and clearance operations in early January 2016, 72,000 square meters have been manually cleared, and 1399 anti-personnel mines recovered and destroyed. NPA hopes to complete clearance of this task is by the end of the year.



UNMAS to deliver risk education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo thanks to United Nations Association of Sweden

June – Thanks to a contribution by the United Nations Association of Sweden, UNMAS will implement a risk education (RE) project in Kitshanga located in the North-Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UNMAS will teach civilian populations about the dangers caused by explosive hazards and illegal weapons. Ongoing conflict, complex social dynamics and chronic poverty have made Kitshanga a priority area for stabilisation efforts. Ethnic tensions, disputes between displaced and local populations, and the presence of numerous armed groups with competing political agendas all serve to exacerbate an already volatile security landscape.

With the support of the United Nations Association of Sweden, UNMAS will broadcast radio messages and send out SMS messages targeting settled communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The messages will be tailored to children and adults and will be gender-specific.



Peace in Columbia

The government of Colombia and the FARC guerilla movement have agreed on a ceasefire and plan for demobilization. The bilateral ceasefire and surrender of the weapons will begin with the signing of the final peace agreement (expected in July) and this last point will have a term development of 180 days. A monitoring group composed of delegates from the UN will be created by the FARC and the Colombian government to verify the delivery of the guns. Also announced was the creation of areas and camps for demobilized guerrillas and commitment by the authorit As stated by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “Today the Colombian peace process validates the perseverance of all those around the world who work to end violent conflict not through the destruction of the adversary, but through the patient search for compromise.” According to analysts, “What remains between now and a final, conflict-ending peace accord are details. Some of these will be thorny, and may require weeks or even a few months to unravel. But the hardest parts of the FARC peace process are now in the past.”






Rotary donates  $280,000 worth of medical supplies

July 10 - The Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital in Tuasivi has been presented with a 20ft container full of donated medical supplies. The donation was made possible by the combined work of numerous Queensland Rotary clubs together with the Rotary Australia World Community Service (R.A.W.C.S).

The Rotary Club of Apia assisted in the storage, transportation and presentation of the medical supplies. Some of the medical equipment includes electronic hospital beds, drip stands, assorted hospital linen, X-ray equipment and examination couches. Attending at the official presentation was a delegation from Samoa’s N.H.S who collectively received the donated supplies.

When Colin Laurenson rom the Donations In Kind (northern region) of R.A.W.C.S began working with local Samoan volunteers in Brisbane it slowly became a working goal to canvass for donations of medical supplies that could be sent to the Savaii Hospital. That goal has now been achieved.

The equipment is now undergoing a routine inspection from the N.H.S Biomedical team before it will be put to use within the hospital.



New adult coloring book designed to inspire anyone in recovery

8 July - Adult coloring books have suddenly sky rocketed in popularity—and it’s not surprising. They offer an inexpensive way to boost your self-expression and creativity, while reducing stress at the same time. But, a new book created especially for the recovery community is so inspiring it will surely leave people on their rehab journey addicted to creative coloring. The publisher, Health Communications Inc., known for its deep roots in the addiction and self-help fields, has collected soothing drawings, and added encouraging quotes, to create Inspirations for Recovery. The paperbacks are composed of high quality paper that allows you to use your medium of choice—like water colors—although a heavy hand using dark colored markers may occasionally bleed through the thick pages. But, with perforated pages that are easy to pull out, users can easily hang or frame their artwork, too.



400 Aspen dental offices give free care to veterans without insurance 

8 July – A nationwide network of dental offices is putting smiles on the faces of thousands of veterans who don’t have dental insurance. The “Healthy Mouth Movement” is also back sending its MouthMobile — a 42-foot dentist office on wheels—on a 33 city tour to provide dental care for vets. The van comes complete with a lab for making dentures, it’s own X-ray equipment, and two fully functioning exam and treatment rooms.



Angola with no yellow fever cases for more than a month

7 July - Angola has recorded no case of yellow fever for more than five weeks, said the director of public health, who attributed the decline of outbreak to vaccination campaign started February this year in Viana district, Luanda. The official also pledged that the government will continue to carry out mobilisation and awareness campaigns as the population is the active part of the process. He put at about 50 percent the population vaccinated against yellow fever in the country.



USA - New slate of grants for innovative cancer research brings total investment to $25 million and counting

6 July, Dallas, Texas, USA - As The Mary Kay Foundation℠ celebrates 20 years of pursuing its goals of eliminating cancers affecting women and ending the epidemic of domestic violence, the Foundation continues its mission by announcing a proposed slate of annual cancer research grants totaling $1.3 million to top medical schools and research facilities nationwide. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 850,000 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2016.

The Foundation continues its commitment to the cause by proposing 13 grants in the amount of $100,000 each. The Mary Kay Foundation℠ Scientific Review Committee reviewed 58 applicants before recommending the proposed grants for some of the most-respected institutions in the country.

From enhancing immune recognition of breast cancer using small molecules to precision imaging diagnostics to detect and target metastatic progression in breast and ovarian cancer as well as researching new therapies for triple-negative breast cancer, the Foundation’s 2016 proposed grant slate includes a wide range of critical research.



Polio - Technical advisory group meets to assess eradication efforts in Pakistan

4 July, Islamabad – The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on polio eradication has met in Islamabad  to discuss progress, remaining obstacles and opportunities as Pakistan edges closer to achieving the goal of stopping transmission of the virus. Leaders from across the Global Polio Eradication Initiative joined Federal and Provincial team leads as they briefed TAG members on the progress made since the last meeting in January 2016. As of the end of June 2016, 12 cases of wild poliovirus type 1 have been reported, a 57 per cent reduction from the same time in 2015.

This improvement was attributed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to the united front now being presented by the team of partners working together under the leadership of the government through a network of Emergency Operation Centers. Progress was also ascribed to other strategies, such as the expansion of community based vaccination and health camps. In addition, thousands of trained and dedicated frontline workers have ensured that 280 million children have received polio drops during nine campaigns conducted in the low transmission season.



DRC - 40,000 people treated for malaria as disease surges

21 June, Congo – A malaria surge in Haut-Uélé province, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has seen 1,600 children admitted to hospital with severe malaria and more than 40,000 people treated for the disease in the past seven weeks by an emergency team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), working alongside local staff in health facilities in the Pawa and Boma-Mangbetu areas.

MSF’s emergency team has also set up treatment and intensive care units within the main hospitals in both Pawa and Boma-Mangbetu, providing additional doctors and nurses, as well as drugs and vital equipment, including a 24-hour supply of electricity, beds, mattresses and medical supplies.




Energy and safety



Mission Innovation, a global partnership that seeks to accelerate clean energy innovation

8 July - One of the keys to decarbonizing the energy sector, a critical element in the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lies in accelerating technological innovation and deploying clean energy technologies. That’s the objective behind Mission Innovation, which groups together 21 partner economies, and seeks to mobilise support for the deployment of clean energy technologies in part through committing to double clean energy research and development by 2020. Today the countries that make up Mission Innovation account for over 80% of global public investment in clean energy research and development, totalling approximately $15 billion USD per year.



USA - Energy Department announces $13 million to advance fuel cell performance and durability and hydrogen storage technologies

July 6 - Today, the Energy Department (DOE) announced more than $13 million in funding for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These selected projects will leverage industry, university and laboratory expertise to accelerate American innovation in advanced hydrogen storage and fuel cell performance and durability.

In 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy established two collaborative research consortia, each comprising a core team of DOE national laboratories, with plans to add industry and university partners. Led by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Fuel Cell Consortium for Performance and Durability (FC-PAD) focuses on improving fuel cell performance and durability. Projects selected through this consortium will work to decrease the amount of platinum required and increase the performance and durability of transportation fuel cells, thereby decreasing cost and improving the life of fuel cell electric vehicles.



IEA launches four-year energy project in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia

1 July - Today the IEA launches a four-year project on improved energy data and evidence-based energy policy-making in the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. This EU-funded project, titled EU4Energy, will work to improve energy data quality and collection and the development of energy efficiency indicators. This work will also feed in to capacity-building on evidence-based energy policy and decision making across the target countries in the areas of energy security, energy markets and sustainable development. The project will be supported by the development of an interactive web portal that will act as a hub for energy-related information for all target countries.




Environment and wildlife


Top firms in Singapore join new alliance to meet consumer demand for haze-free products

27 June, Singapore – Today marks the formation of a new Singapore-based alliance between players in the palm oil industry, retailers and manufacturers, to tackle deforestation, haze pollution and ultimately deliver haze­-free products to consumers. The primary goal of the Singapore Alliance on Sustainable Palm Oil announced today, is to increase the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil by manufacturers and retailers and offer consumers an environmentally-conscious option for the many products which contain palm oil. Through the “We Breathe What We Buy” campaign, WWF­Singapore was able to raise awareness of the link between the slash and burn practices used in the production of palm oil and haze pollution, and enlist public support for a switch to sustainable palm oil. The founding members of the alliance believe that companies can make an impact in ending transboundary haze in Southeast Asia and are calling for like­-minded organisations to join them. By consciously choosing how their products are produced and marketed, manufacturers and retailers are empowering consumers with knowledge and values to change their purchasing habits and echo this belief.



EU greenhouse gas emissions at lowest level since 1990 

21 June - European Union (EU) greenhouse gas emissions continued to decrease in 2014, with a 4.1% reduction in emissions to 24.4% below 1990 levels, according to the EU’s annual inventory published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The figures come from the EU annual greenhouse gas inventory submitted to the United Nations. In absolute terms, greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 1383 million tonnes (Mt) in the EU since 1990, reaching 4282 Mt of CO2 equivalents in 2014.

The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the 24-year period was due to a variety of factors, including the growing share in the use of renewables, the use of less carbon intensive fuels and improvements in energy efficiency, as well as to structural changes in the economy and the economic recession. Demand for energy to heat households has also been lower, as Europe on average has experienced milder winters since 1990, which has also helped reduce emissions according to an analysis linked to the inventory.




Religion and spirituality


An interfaith Pentecost celebration

5 July - Once again people of all ages, from children to the elderly, Christians, Muslims and also Humanists gathered in Nordwalde, Germany for four days of a very special encounter at Pentecost, the 28th annual event of its kind. About 80 people came together to be with each other, build friendship and community, learn about each other, draw inspiration for their ongoing daily interfaith work and exchange experiences. The topic this year was “Christians and Muslims worldwide – globalization as a challenge”. The planning team had built a rich program of exchange, stillness, talks from a Christian, Muslim, secular and activist perspective, plenary conversations, creative workshops, cultural parts, presentation of good practices as well services and spiritual elements.



South Korea: religious leaders’ peace conference

July 1, Gyeonggi – A Korea- China- Japan Trilateral Religious Leaders’ Peace Conference was held in Gyeonggi, Korea on June 27 with the goal of putting religious boundaries aside to achieve peace together. Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international non-governmental organization for peace, invited 120 Northeast Asian religious leaders for this interfaith peace talk. 

Leaders representing Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Cheondoism, Taoism, and Confucianism to discuss the roles of spiritual leaders and the concept of peace based on each respective religious texts. These discussions led to stimulating debate and mutual understanding among different faiths.

The background of this peace conference is HWPL’s World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Meetings, a series of the worldwide interfaith peace dialogue solely based on scriptures aimed at establishing alliance of religions and preventing causes of conflicts which involves religious misunderstandings. Currently, 172 WARP Office Meetings are actively being held in 85 countries.

The Korea-China-Japan Trilateral Religious Leaders’ Peace Conference sought for constructive dialogue among leaders of religions to better understand the principles of religious teachings based on mutual respect and recognition of differences, thus contributing to an atmosphere of peace in the Northeast Asia region.



Culture and education


EU Support to the reform of the education sector in the Kyrgyz Republic

7 July - The Government of Kyrgyzstan was encouraged to introduce necessary measures to address the overall management of the Education Sector and rationalise the financing system into the Education Development Strategy 2020, which was adopted in March 2012 . The implementation of the EDS 2020 has been translated into a comprehensive, operational rolling Action Plan (APED) covering the periods 2012-2014,2015-2017and2018-2020.

In response to the Government's efforts the EU has considered to undertake a more comprehensive approach to support the development of education sector in Kyrgyzstan.



Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards close to $23 million in grants in the second quarter of 2016

by Julia Friedman

27 June, Los Angeles – The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced today that it approved $22.9 million in grants during the second quarter of 2016. Among the funds approved was the Foundation’s third-largest grant in its history—$15.3 million over four years to Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania to expand the Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) Initiative, a program of the African Sisters Education Collaborative offsite link. (…) 858 sisters in ten countries will receive support to acquire higher education credentials, including baccalaureate and master degrees, both through online distance learning and onsite in Africa. Grants in the second quarter of 2016 were awarded to 13 organizations spanning across the Hilton Foundation’s priority areas, including organizations serving the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people both in the U.S. and internationally(…)



Ivory Coast: UNESCO announces the creation of a school for the Culture of Peace

by Abidjan.net (translated by CPNN)

26 June - Called the “Pan-African center for research and advanced training in the culture of peace”, the school is expected to open in a year at the latest”, or in 2017. Mr. Matoko spoke during a workshop of experts from UNESCO, the African Union (AU) and the State of Côte d’Ivoire.The school will be housed within the Felix Houphouet Boigny Foundation for Peace Research, he continued hoping that “the procedures will move rapidly.”

“Following validation by the Cabinet in Ivory Coast, the creation of this school must be submitted to the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in July in Kigali (Rwanda)”, he added.

The educational content, teachers’ profiles and the cost of training have not yet been defined for the Pan-African center for research and advanced training in the culture of peace, but the objective will be ” capacity building of decision-makers in the values ​​of peace and citizenship”, according to the permanent ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to UNESCO, Denise Houphouet.



EU and WFP support better community schools to improve access to education for Egyptian children

June 20 - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in close coordination with the Ministry of Education, today start the rehabilitation of 3,500 one-classroom community schools. This two-year initiative will cover 16 governorates across Egypt and aims to reach 1,500 schools by the end of 2016. The rehabilitation project is part of a €60 million EU grant to fund a four-year school feeding programme implemented by WFP. The programme, “Enhancing Access to Education and Fighting Child Labour”, was launched in July 2014 and benefits 100,000 children, particularly girls, along with 400,000 family members.

Through the programme, the EU is providing incentives for children to attend school. The programme provides children with a nutritious school snack (date bar) that covers 25% of their daily nutritional needs. The parents also receive a monthly ration of 10 kg of rice and 1 litre of oil to encourage them to send their children to school. The ration covers the monthly wages a child would earn if she/he were sent to work instead of to school. Another incentive provided by the programme is the improvement of the learning environment through rehabilitating schools that have deteriorated severely. The first phase of the activities is expected to rehabilitate 600 community schools by the end of August 2016.



India's Dr. Rajendra Dhamane is the winner of THE ONE 2016

A project by Rotary International District 3450

THE ONE International Humanitarian Award 2016 has come to an end as the result was announced at the award ceremony. Dr. Rajendra Dhamane from India was bestowed the title of THE ONE 2016 thanks to his unfaltering passion and determination to give the mentally ill and homeless women in Ahmednagar, India a new home and a new life. Other outstanding finalists were Hari Bhandary from Nepal; Morn Savourn from Siem Reap, Cambodia and Dr. Prakash Amte from India.

The winner will be awarded with prize money of US$100,000. Each of the three finalists will be awarded with prize money of US$50,000, donated by the award sponsor The Peter Bennett Foundation. The award money must be used to further the awardees’ respective humanitarian-cause and service projects.



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Next issue: 9 September 2016.


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, Community of Living Ethics, Elisa Minelli. Webmaster, media and NGO coverage: Simone Frassanito (simone.frassanito@goodnewsagency.org


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations, NGOs, service associations, high schools and colleges as well as over 26,000 Rotarians around 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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