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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. 249 –  9 September 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


UN chief congratulates Zambia on peaceful elections

16 August - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the people of Zambia for the peaceful and orderly presidential, parliamentary and local elections, as well as the referendum on the Bill of Rights, held on 11 August. The Secretary-General reminded all parties, especially political leaders and their supporters, of their responsibility to reject violence and refrain from the use of inflammatory and incendiary language, the spokesperson added.



Central and North American states vow joint action on refugees

4 August - A pledge by nine countries from North and Central America to work together to strengthen the protection of refugees fleeing Central America has been welcomed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, as a landmark step ahead of UN and US summits next month on refugees and migrants.



UN Food Agency leaders hail U.S. Law aimed at boosting global food security

25 July, Rome - Leaders of two United Nations agencies fighting hunger worldwide have applauded new legislation in the United States aimed at strengthening global food assistance programs in the years ahead. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) praised U.S. President Barack Obama for his 20 July signing of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), after the bill was passed by the U.S. Congress on 6 July with remarkably broad support.

Strongly promoted by President Obama, the GFSA supports initiatives that focus on developing agriculture, assisting small-scale food producers and improving nutrition, especially for women and children worldwide. It also seeks to improve the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene to poor communities and build their resilience to withstand shocks, such as those stemming from conflict, droughts and floods.

Among other things, the GFSA writes into law the Feed the Future programme, the U.S. government’s global hunger initiative, ensuring it will continue after the Obama presidency ends in January.




Human rights


Summit for Refugees and Migrants - 19 September 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.



Inclusive education vital for all, including persons with disabilities – UN experts

1 September, Geneva – Inclusive education is central to achieving high quality education for all learners, including those with disabilities, and for the development of inclusive, peaceful and fair societies, UN human rights experts have said in authoritative new guidelines on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Education of persons with disabilities is often poor quality, sets low expectations and limits learners’ opportunities, the Committee notes. By contrast, a truly inclusive learning environment values the contribution and potential of persons with disabilities, and equips them with essential life, language and social skills.  

The General Comment provides guidance for the 166 States that have ratified the Convention on meeting their obligations under Article 24, under which “States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and life-long learning.” Read the General Comment here:



Religious leaders at the forefront of ending gender-based violence in Ethiopia

31 August - At the end of the training conducted by UN Women in February 2016, religious leaders developed a 13-point call for action to end harmful traditional practices and gender-based violence in the region, including rejecting violence against women, child marriage and the practice of FGM. They are now preaching to prevent such violence in their congregations.




Economy and development


United Nations Private Sector Forum 2016 - September 19, New York

This year the UN Private Sector Forum is focused on the role of business in advancing sustainable development to prevent global instability. Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Forum is organized in collaboration with the Co-Chairs of the United Nations High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly to address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

With the theme of Business and the 2030 Agenda: Securing the Way Forward, the Private Sector Forum will highlight important connections between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the new Agenda for Humanity. 350 Chief Executives, Heads of State and Government, leaders of UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and leaders from civil society, business associations, foundations and investor groups will attend the forum.



ACDI/VOCA proud to implement USDA Food for Progress Project in Ethiopia

1 September, Ethiopia –The United States Department of Agriculture helps countries become more food secure by raising people’s incomes while expanding markets for American producers. Between 2009-2015, the USDA helped 51 million people through its international food assistance programs. The implement of one of these important USDA programs is Feed Enhancement for Ethiopian Development II (FEED II). As some 60-70 percent of the Ethiopian population of 100 million people depend on livestock for their livelihoods, FEED II’s efforts significantly contribute to Ethiopia’s food security. FEED II increases the incomes of smallholder livestock producers by improving access to and use of consistent, affordable, and high-quality animal feed that supports more efficient livestock production.



C iGIVE: new organization will enable millennial entrepreneurs and activists to change the world

31 August, New York/CSRwire/ - Ms. Cheri Kaufman, a prominent member of New York’s philanthropic community, has announced the formation of a new organization to assist enterprising, non-profit start-ups in communities around the world, by connecting their efforts with leadership networks, mentors and financial sources. Ms. Kaufman made the announcement to more than 1,400 delegates to the United Nations’ 2016 Summer Youth Assembly in the hall of the General Assembly. The new organization is named “C iGIVE, Cheri Kaufman” after its founder and CEO, and can be visited at its ‘opportunity hub’ – www.CiGIVE.com. Ms. Kaufman wants to reach the millennial generation that is already making its mark in the global community by their extensive involvement in charitable causes, and their use of social media and innovative approaches to world challenges.The Youth Assembly is organized by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, and is dedicated to furthering the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals.



Save the Children wins $72.9 million USAID nutrition award to reduce and prevent stunting of children under three in Ethiopia

24 August - Save the Children US has received a five-year (Sept 1, 2016-Aug 31, 2021) $72.9 million award from USAID/Ethiopia to provide ongoing assistance to the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) with its international partners, JHPIEGO, Land O’ Lakes, Population Services International, The Manoff Group, Tufts University and World Vision, and local NGOs, to strengthen the institutional and policy environment, develop its human resources for nutrition, and implement strategies that address poverty and food security and social and behavioral barriers to optimal nutrition.



UN agency support to improve smallholder farmers’ agricultural production and access to markets in Bangladesh

August 24, Dhaka– The Government of Bangladesh and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a financial agreement to increase incomes and reduce extreme poverty and hunger for more than one million poor farming households in Bangladesh by increasing agricultural production and improving access to markets.

IFAD will provide US$23.86 million as a highly concessional loan to fund the $214 million Second National Agricultural Technology Programme (NATP-II). The project will also be funded by the World Bank ($176 million) and USAID ($7.4 million). NATP-II will cover 57 of the country's 64 districts and span a broad range of agroecological zones across Bangladesh. 

The programme will also strengthen the capacity of the National Agriculture Research System (NARS) to generate and disseminate agricultural technologies aimed at increasing farm productivit.



Sizing up livestock farming’s carbon footprint

FAO tool helps livestock farmers to improve productivity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

23 August, Rome - A new and interactive tool released by FAO allows farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and eggs production as well as greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and more climate-friendly.

GLEAM-i, the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Modelinteractive, provides answers to a wide range of questions. Based on GLEAM, the model developed by FAO's Animal Production and Health Division to support policy and practice change to achieve sustainable livestock development, GLEAM-i can be run by anyone using the Excel software, including community organizations working in remote rural areas. It includes variables such as countries and regions, the number and types of livestock - dairy or meat sheep, backyard or industrial pigs, grazing or mixed systems - feed materials, manure management as well as the specific conditions under which the animals are kept.

FAO research based on GLEAM has found that with feasible and affordable changes, livestock farmers can increase production and reduce emissions by nearly a third.



Kenya REGAL-AG livestock market transforms communities

Written by Lucy Wariara, with contributions by Lucyline Kagendo and Venny Mayaka

22 August – Before the USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands—Accelerated Growth (REGAL-AG) project built the Merti livestock market in Isiolo County in central Kenya, livestock producers and traders used to converge every week at an open field to conduct business. This informal market had no structures or systems in place. The newly constructed Merti market, built at a cost of US$135,073, consists of a gated perimeter fence, sales yards, animal pens, toilets, and a resting shade. The market operates twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and benefits 440 households.(…) The project also built up the capacity of 21 Livestock Marketing Association members from Merti—13 men and 8 women, to equip them with the management skills needed to oversee the day-to-day operations of the livestock market (...)



UN agency to support Mexico project linking social assistance with rural development programmes

11 August – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Mexico have signed an agreement to promote entrepreneurship among the country’s poor rural people receiving social benefits. Thanks to this agreement, the Rural Productive Inclusion Project will be implemented in 26 municipalities in the states of Guerrero, Hidalgo and Zacatecas. It will benefit 12,800 families.

The total cost of the project is US$19.5 million, with IFAD financing covering $7.1 million. The rest will be funded by the Government of Mexico and by the beneficiaries themselves.

The project is designed to facilitate the access of beneficiaries of the country's largest conditional cash transfer programme (PROSPERA) to public programmes aimed at increasing rural productivity.

Despite efforts made in recent decades by the Government of Mexico, large segments of the country’s rural population still live in poverty. Family farms – subsistence farms, not linked to markets and extremely low in productivity– represent 51% of farms in rural areas. Increasing their capacity to produce will both improve the lives of family farmers and boost rural economies as a whole.






JPMorgan Chase and employees to donate up to $200,000 to aid Italy earthquake relief efforts

30  August, London/CSRwire/ - JPMorgan Chase & Co. will donate up to $200,000 from the firm and its employees to support earthquake relief efforts in Italy. The grant and employee donations will go to the Italian Red Cross. In addition to a $100,000 grant, JPMorgan Chase’s special employee giving campaign will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000, for a total of up to $100,000, to the Italian Red Cross. The Italian Red Cross will use the funding to support search and rescue teams and establish mobile kitchens for people forced to leave their homes. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. www.jpmorganchase.com.



ShelterBox and Rotary clubs take action following earthquake in Italy

by Maureen Vaught

24 August - A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday (...) International disaster relief agency and Rotary International project partner ShelterBox is sending a response team from its headquarters in the United Kingdom to the remote mountainous area of Italy where the destruction is most severe. The response team will arrive Friday, 26 August, to assess the area's needs.Luca Della Volta, president of ShelterBox Italia, the affiliate organization in Genoa, will accompany the response team. Della Volta is working with the Rotary Club of Rieti in District 2080, the club closest to the earthquake-affected sites, and will meet with officials of the Italian Civil Protection Department, fire department, and Red Cross to coordinate efforts.

If families and individuals made homeless by the disaster need emergency shelter, ShelterBox will send tents and other equipment from its locations in Italy and other sites across Europe. Della Volta says the most urgent need is for tents and relief supplies for the hospital of Rieti, where most of the patients from the destroyed hospital in Amatrice were taken. (...) Rotary Districts 2080 and 2090 in Italy have created a joint fundraising campaign to help communities damaged by the quake.



Save the Children wins $72.9 million USAID Nutrition Award to reduce and prevent stunting of children under three in Ethiopia

24 August, Fairfield, Conn., USA - Save the Children US has received a five-year (Sept 1, 2016-Aug 31, 2021) $72.9 million award from USAID/Ethiopia to provide ongoing assistance to the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) with its international partners, JHPIEGO, Land O’ Lakes, Population Services International, The Manoff Group, Tufts University and World Vision, and local NGOs, to strengthen the institutional and policy environment, develop its human resources for nutrition, and implement strategies that address poverty and food security and social and behavioral barriers to optimal nutrition.

The USAID Growth through Nutrition project (Cooperative Agreement No: AID-663-A-16-0007) will strengthen interventions while making significant new investments in agriculture and WASH, ensuring that nutrition efforts are coordinated across organizations, and harmonizing efforts within GOE agencies. Growth through Nutrition will continue a strategy focused on supporting country-led policies and programs, strategies, and institutions at all levels, while bringing in additional government and local NGO involvement..



Japan contributes US$5 million to help WFP emergency operations in Southern Africa

12 August, Johannesburg - The Government of Japan has announced a donation of US$5 million towards the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) emergency operations in southern Africa, where hundreds of thousands of people are currently facing food shortages due to drought, resulting in significant increases in acute food insecurity and malnutrition.

This timely contribution will allow WFP to provide food assistance to more than 300,000 drought-affected people in the four countries worst affected by El Nino between September and November 2016. Mozambique is to receive US$2.7 million, Malawi US$1.85 million, Lesotho US$250,000 and Swaziland US$200,000. During the past decade, Japan has contributed more than US$166 million to WFP’s operations in southern Africa.



Germany provides more critical support for refugee food assistance in Ethiopia

11 August, Addis Ababa - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has today received confirmation of a contribution of more than US$4.3 million from the Federal Republic of Germany towards the food needs of refugees sheltered in Ethiopia. The new funding will help WFP to provide monthly food rations and cash-based transfers for more than 600,000 refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia for the rest of 2016 and for the next two years.

Refugees in Ethiopia have few opportunities to provide for themselves, as they are living in camps with limited livelihood opportunities. WFP will begin using half of the German contribution this year towards immediate needs, and the rest will help meet refugees’ food needs in the future.

Since 2015 alone, Germany has granted close to US$33 million to WFP’s relief and refugee operations in Ethiopia, placing it among its top five donors. Ethiopia is currently home to more than 700,000 refugees, the highest number in any country in Africa.



Japan supports WFP food & nutrition assistance to Sudanese refugees in Chad

9 August, N'Djamena - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$ 1.9 million from the Government of Japan to food and nutrition assistance programmes in Chad for more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees. The Republic of Chad is hosting a total of 388,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan and the Central African Republic – many of whom have been living in Chad for over a decade. With Japan’s support, WFP will be able to continue providing food assistance to more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees. In addition, 22,000 children affected by moderate acute malnutrition among refugee and host communities, will receive specialized nutritional support in health centres.

WFP’s assistance to refugees is provided in close partnership with the Government of Chad and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Chad is one of the pilot countries for the agencies’ joint programme on providing refugees with durable solutions. WFP and UNHCR are combining to provide basic food and nutrition assistance as well as develop livelihood solutions to empower refugees to become self-reliant.



Japan helps WFP resume school meals in North and Central river regions of the Gambia

8 August, Banjul - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed US$1.2 million from the Government of Japan to provide school meals in North Bank and Central River regions over the next two years.The funds will enable WFP to resume the provision of a daily hot meal to 50,000 children in 186 public primary schools and traditional religious schools in vulnerable districts of the two regions in the new school year, which starts in September after a lack of funding had forced WFP to halt its school meals programme temporarily.

The contribution will allow WFP to support the country’s national development goals of reducing food insecurity and malnutrition among children, and to build on improving enrolment and retention rates of both girls and boys. School meals are an investment in the longer-term and help build human capital and increase the productivity of a nation. The Government of Japan is one of WFP’s main supporters in The Gambia, assisting nutrition interventions for women and children.




Peace and security


Disarm! IPB World Congress 2016 - Berlin, Technical University, Sept. 30 to October 2

“The world is over–armed and  peace is under-funded.” (UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon)

Given the omnipresent atmosphere of political confrontation and arms build-up worldwide, the International Peace Bureau (IPB) will this year hold a World Congress on global disarmament and military spending. About 1000 guests from all over the world are expected to participate in the congress.

Speakers  will  come  from  a  wide  range  of  disciplines  and backgrounds,  including  both  the  highest  levels  of  society  and grassroots voices, creative thinkers and cultural figures: Nobel and Alternative Nobel Prize winners; elder statesmen/women; the social sciences, economics and politics in particular; the peace movement and other civil society sectors; parliamentarians,  religious  leaders,  journalists,  community organizers and artists…

In 2014 the world’s governments spent over $1,700 billion on the military sector. The aim of this congress is to bring the issue of military spending, often seen as a technical question, into broad public debate and to strengthen the global community of activism.



International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution 36/37, the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” Furthering the Day’s mission, the General Assembly augmented the original resolution in 2001, fixing the date on 21 September.

Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. Use the EVENTS MAP to post and find organized events in your area. On 16 September 2016, the Secretary-General will celebrate the Day in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters by ringing the Japanese Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence. Women Nobel Peace Prize laureates and the United Nations Messengers of Peace will be invited to participate in the ceremony.



UN-supported ‘historic’ training to monitor ceasefire between Government and FARC-EP starts in Colombia

31 August - Following a recent agreement to end more than 50 years of conflict between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), a seven-day training session on monitoring and verifying their bilateral ceasefire has begun in the country’s western city of Popayan, with United Nations support. Instructors from the Government, FARC-EP and the UN Mission in Colombia are training 80 men and women who will form part of the tripartite verification and monitoring mechanism at national and regional levels, according to a news release from the UN Mission.



Safer access training in Northern Ireland: working safely in divided communities.

31 August –Staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Northern Ireland and their counterparts from the Northern Ireland branch of the British Red Cross (BRC), participated in the first joint training on Safer Access; a course which aims to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance in violence-affected communities.

Despite the signing of a peace agreement in 1998 (Good Friday Agreement – GFA)  and the subsequent peace process,  incidents of violence in some parts of Northern Ireland remains a concern. Communal violence is still a problem in some parts of Northern Ireland and there are palpable tensions between and within communities.

The Safer Access Framework (SAF), first developed in 2003 was recently updated based on the experiences of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies. It contains a set of actions and acceptance measures, grounded in the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other Movement policies that a National Society can take when responding in sensitive and insecure contexts.



US-German partnership improves weapons security in Chad

26 August – On 22 August 2016, representatives from MAG and the German and United States embassies officially handed over a newly built armoury for the Special Anti-Terrorist Group (GSAT) to the national authorities in N’Djamena. In coordination with the US Embassy, MAG conducted a technical assessment of GSAT facilities in December 2015. MAG and the national authorities then developed an intervention plan to improve the security and management of GSAT weapons and ammunition storage. The interventions were supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. MAG has implemented arms weapons management and destruction in Chad since early 2015, alongside a longstanding humanitarian demining programme. By improving facilities and increasing national capacity to safely store and manage weapons and ammunition, MAG is making a vital contribution to improved security and stability.



African countries reaffirm commitment to eradicate cluster munitions

5 August  – African states commit to eradicate cluster munitions by stepping up efforts to universalize the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. On 4-5 August 2016 the Africa Regional Workshop on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions brought together Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to discuss challenges and solutions to joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Participants of the workshop adopted the bold ‘Addis Ababa Commitment Paper on Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ reiterating their commitment to free Africa from the scourge of cluster munitions and strengthen the global norm against these weapons. The African states highlighted the importance of enhancing the norm against cluster munitions and the need to ‘condemn incidences of documented use of cluster munitions’.



With EU support, WFP doubles number of refugee camps supported with cash in Ethiopia

4 August - WFP has recently expanded its use of cash transfers to several other camps across Ethiopia, and, with the addition of the two new sites, now supports 10 refugee camps with cash. This increase has been made possible thanks to the valuable support of WFP’s donors and, in particular, a new contribution of €85 million (approximately US$92 million) from the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department, which will also help strengthen the resilience of Ethiopians affected by El Niño and support the WFP-led logistics cluster.






Angola: Volunteers make sure vaccination message is understood

29 August – Angola Red Cross volunteers responding to their country’s yellow fever outbreak are using a number of skills in their life-saving disease prevention work – medical knowledge, patience, kindness. The Angola Red Cross has been an active partner in the health ministry’s work to contain the outbreak, and improve vaccination rates across the country.

Angola’s size and diversity means that languages are vital in social mobilization work such as the yellow fever vaccination campaign. So is needed to know the specific language to understand the people in need and convince them to be vaccinated. Angola’s yellow outbreak began in January 2016 and has caused 369 deaths to date. Nearly 4,000 suspected cases have been reported, of which 879 have been confirmed, and the disease has also affected neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).



Massive polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan targets over 9.5 million children

29 August - The Ministry of Public Health, with the support of WHO and UNICEF, launched today a national polio immunization campaign to vaccinate every child in Afghanistan under the age of 5.What makes this particular campaign important is that most cases of polio occur in September and October, during Afghanistan’s high transmission season” for wild poliovirus circulation. These warm months are when the poliovirus is most active and dangerous and typically the period when Afghan children are most at risk of becoming paralysed or killed.



Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announces the Task Force for Global Health as 2016 recipient of $2 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize

9August, Atlanta, USA – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced today that a panel of international jurors has selected The Task Force for Global Health offsite link (The Task Force), an Atlanta-based international organization dedicated to addressing large-scale health problems primarily affecting people living in extreme poverty, as this year’s recipient of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize—the world’s largest humanitarian prize. The Task Force has been a pioneer in global health since its founding 32 years ago, and it currently reaches hundreds of millions of people in 151 countries through programs focusing on neglected tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, public health informatics, and health workforce development. The organization collaborates with partners in diverse sectors, including pharmaceutical companies and health agencies in other countries. The Task Force was founded in 1984 by Dr. William H. Foege, a renowned epidemiologist and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who is credited with developing the strategy that led to the eradication of smallpox.



Islamic Advisory Group supports final push for polio eradication

4 August – The Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG) met in July to discuss eradication strategies as part of the final push to end polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The third annual meeting was held at the Islamic Development Bank’s headquarters in Jeddah. Islamic scholars through the IAG play a vital role in guiding and rectifying understandings of health matters. In a statement issued from the meeting, the IAG stated that it “… reiterates its trust in the safety and effectiveness of polio and other routine childhood vaccinations as a life-saving tool which protects children; and acknowledge that it fully conforms to Islamic rulings.” This stance from the IAG has played a crucial role in addressing the need for trust building, reliable information relating to vaccines, and accessibility issues in reaching every last child in immunization campaigns in several Muslim countries. The IAG also affirmed the religious obligation of parents to vaccinate their children to keep them healthy.



Dutch Rotarians show support for polio eradication

3 August –In 2013, a group of Dutch Rotarians began selling boxes of tulip bulbs, with proceeds going to EndPolioNow, as part of Rotary’s fight against polio. In that year alone, tulips found their way to Rotarians across the Netherlands. Since then the tulip initiative has spread, with 4500 boxes sold in 2015, raising more than €45,000. In 2016 the campaign has committed to selling at least one box of Rotary tulip bulbs per Rotarian in the Netherlands, with over 18,000 members in the country. The campaign has also grown to become international in scope, with tulips sold across Germany, Switzerland and the United States of America. The EndPolioNow tulip campaign is just one example of efforts made by Rotarians across the world to end polio for good. Through its PolioPlus programme, established in 1985, Rotary was the first to have the vision of a polio-free world.




Energy and safety



US Energy Department announces $29 million investment in enhanced geothermal systems efforts

31 August, Washington, D.C. –The Energy Department today announced $29 million in funding under the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program for projects awarded to teams at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Utah. The funding will be for each team to fully instrument, characterize and permit candidate sites for an underground laboratory to conduct cutting-edge research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). The Sandia team will be working on a site in Fallon, Nevada, and the University of Utah team will be working at a site in Milford, Utah. 

The Energy Department, with the support of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), awarded funding to these two teams after a competitive first phase of research to evaluate potential EGS underground research sites. EGS have the potential to unlock access to domestic, geographically diverse and carbon-free sources of clean energy by using heat from the earth to generate renewable electricity in areas without naturally occurring geothermal resources.



Red Cross works hand in hand with communities to provide safe drinking water

By Paulus Enggal, IFRC

29 August – The villagers of Pengandan Baru in East Kalimantan have long understood the importance of having a clean and safe water supply in their community. When the Indonesian Red Cross Society (Palang Merah Indonesia), supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Korean National Red Cross, Samsung and Community Chest of Korea arrived with plans to build a safe water infrastructure, the villagers did not hesitate to lend a hand with the construction work. The construction of this new water supply facility is part of a Red Cross programme which also includes the promotion of good hygiene practices for 2,500 residents in the village.

Through the Village Community Empowerment Agency, the Red Cross is able to work closely with villagers to ensure that the water supply infrastucture is built according to their exact specifications and needs. (...)The Agency’s involvement was especially useful as they are familiar with the area and know the history of the village’s water sources. (...)



The Document Foundation and the FSFE strengthen their relationship

17 August - The Free Software Foundation (FSFE) is joining the Advisory Board of The Document Foundation. At the same time, The Document Foundation is becoming an associated organisation of the FSFE. The Free Software Foundation Europe's aim is to help people control technology instead of the other way around. However, this is a goal which no single organisation can achieve on its own. Associated organisations are entities that share the FSFE's vision and support the foundation and Free Software in general by encouraging people to use and develop Free Software, by helping organisations understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency and self-determination, and by removing barriers to Free Software adoption.

With this mutual expression of support, both organisations strengthen one another in their fight to keep the general public in the technological driver's seat. While the FSFE embodies the principles of the community movement working in support of the adoption of Free Software in companies, public administrations and for private citizens, the Document Foundation turns principles and ethics into actual products, putting a first class, fully-featured, and completely free productivity suite in the hands of users.




Environment and wildlife


US, China send powerful political signal for global climate action

3 September, Gland, Switzerland – Today’s joint announcement by the world’s two biggest carbon emitters – China and the US – that they have formally joined the global climate Paris Agreement sends a very powerful signal that there will be real global action on climate change. China and the US are responsible for nearly 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. So far, 24 countries representing just over 1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the deal. To enter into force, the agreement must be ratified by at least 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. WWF-US senior vice president for climate and energy Lou Leonard said the move will spur high hopes for the United Nations special event planned for 21 September in New York aimed at securing the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. WWF-China CEO LO Sze Ping said the move by China sends an encouraging signal to the world.



The world now protects 15% of its land, but crucial biodiversity zones left out  

3 September - With 14.7 per cent of the Earth's land and 12 per cent of its territorial waters under protection, the world is on track to meet a”major global conservation target”according to UN Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). But in their”2016 Protected Planet”report, launched today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, UN Environment and IUCN also show that crucial biodiversity areas are being left out, key species and habitats are underrepresented and inadequate management is limiting the effectiveness of protected areas.

According to scientists at IUCN and UN Environment's World Conservation Monitoring Centre, there are 202,467 protected areas today, covering almost 20 million square kilometres or 14.7 per cent of the world's land, excluding Antarctica. That falls just short of the 17 per cent target set for 2020 by the Convention on Biological Diversity under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.



The UPS Foundation advances global forestry initiative

31 August, Atlanta, Ga, USA -  The UPS Foundation, which leads the global citizenship programs for UPS, announced it will award more than $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations focused on environmental sustainability initiatives. This includes a significant grant to twenty-five year partner, The Nature Conservancy, a global organization that works to preserve ecologically important land and water resources through conservation. Other grants will support programs that advance environmental research and education, carbon reduction and energy conservation – all vital to economic growth and community stability. The Nature Conservancy grant includes a partnership extension for UPS’s Global Forestry Initiative, a program designed to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and rural areas and forests worldwide. The grant will enable The Nature Conservancy to continue reforestation efforts for at-risk or eroded ecosystems throughout the U.S., Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Tanzania.




Religion and spirituality


South Asia Interfaith Summit

5 September - The Institute for Policy, Advocacy and Governance (IPAG; Bangladesh), the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue (CICD; Griffith University), and Ma'din Academy (Kerala) jointly organized a three-day conference on Interfaith Harmony and Sustainable Development on July 25-27, 2016. The conference had nine sessions, each focusing on different aspects of the theme.One of the sessions was on “Interfaith engagement at educational institutions: promoting tolerance and sustainable development”.



Greetings from the Interfaith Tour in Africa!

1 September - URI Europe CC member Coexister is a youth interfaith movement based in France. Established in 2009, it now has 33 current local groups and is growing in Brussels, Geneva, and London. It develops different programs based on dialogue, solidarity, and actions to raise awareness of the richness of the diversity of convictions. In 2016, the team introduced a focus on particular world regions, choosing Africa for the first iteration in the series. The four CC members participating in the 2016 tour come from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and free-thinker backgrounds, and are traveling through Africa from July-September. Their journey will take them through six different countries—Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea to explore and learn about the realities of peace and culture in Africa. InterFaith Tour Africa is based on the solidarity and true hospitality of local hosts.



Pax Christi International participates in the International Congress Renovabis

The 20th International Congress Renovabis is taking place from 31st August - 2nd September 2016 in Freising, Germany. The theme of the congress is "Witnesses of the Gospel – Shapers of the World: The Role of Religious Orders in Central and Eastern Europe“. The role and the activities of orders within today’s Central and Eastern European societies will be focal points during the congress. In addition to a short introduction concerning the development of the life of religious orders during the 20th century, especially related to the awakening or restart after the political-societal upheavals 25 years ago, the congress will also deal with the commitment of individual religious orders in the fields of school, caritas, pastoral aid and refugee relief. In addition to that, several workshops and a "Market of Possibilities“ will illustrate the variety of religious life in the 21st century. Another important subject will be the perspectives of religious orders within the following decades.




Culture and education


High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace

On 1 September 2016, the President of the UN General Assembly convenes an one-day high-level forum at the UN Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption of  the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. The General Assembly high-level Forum is intended to be open and public. UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society including NGO’s, media, private sector, and all others interested, have the opportunity to exchange of ideas and suggestions on the ways to build and promote the Culture of Peace and to highlight emerging trends that impact the implementation process. The two panels during the Forum will focus on:

1. Synergy between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eight action areas of the UN Programme of Action on Culture of Peace

2. Youth advancing the SDG; Goal 16 on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

The outcome will be a President’s summary, which will be circulated to Member States, observers and stakeholders.



European Commission publishes proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

30 August, Brussels/The Hague–In time for the political rentrée in September, the European Commission has today published its long-awaited proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

The European Year as proposed by the European Commission will help promoting how cultural heritage contributes to cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, to the economy and society and promote it as a key element of EU’s international dimension. The Commission proposes to implement the year by using existing EU programmes under which cultural heritage is eligible for funding, ranging from Creative Europe to Horizon 2020 but also specific actions such as the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage, which is organised by Europa Nostra.



Global Connections Television and the shaping of a better world

A meaningful contribution to understanding the crucial problems and opportunities of our time

Global Connections Television (GCTV) is an independently-produced, privately-financed talk show  that focuses on international issues and how they impact people worldwide.  It features in-depth analysis of important current issues and events including climate change, environmental sustainability, economic development, global partnerships, renewable energy, technology, culture, education, food security, poverty reduction, peace and security, and gender issues. Episodes are broadcast worldwide through cable, satellite, public-access television, and the World Wide Web.

GCTV provides inside perspectives from the United Nations  and other important organizations that showcase how these groups impact the daily lives of people around the world. 

The program is a Who’s Who among the movers and shakers within the UN staff and system, as well as other international experts. The interviews are with upper level UN leaders, international relations specialists, educators, private sector business leaders, heads of nongovernmental organizations, and many other groups that are working to create a better world.



Schools in Gaza: learning with sand, seeds and healthy foods

16 August , Gaza – Kids love playing in messy sandboxes, where just digging around can provide hours of entertainment. But playtime is also a useful learning tool for developing children’s minds and bodies. And in Gaza, sand play helps keep kids and teachers motivated under harsh living conditions.Sand play is part of an active learning in schools in Gaza, along with planting seeds and making pies. It’s a new concept that is very different from traditional teaching methods, which used passive and receptive learning. Saanabel Preschool teacher Elena Naser took ANERA’s preschool teacher training courses, helping her understand concepts like children’s rights and the different stages of development. In the Saanabel playground, Palestinian children work on their writing skills by drawing letters and numbers in the sand. This way, kids not only learn, but have great fun. Many added little penguins, chickens and imaginary characters to their writing exercises. Sandbox activities can also help children grasp scientific concepts.



BASF Stiftung donates to WFP in Colombia

10 August, Bogota - BASF Stiftung made a contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support school gardens and the inclusion of local producers in the supply chain process in the Colombian municipality of Puerto Asis located in the Putumayo Department.

Since the start of 2015, WFP has been implementing peace building projects aimed at protecting children in boarding schools caught in the conflict that must be protected from the surrounding violence. Delivering fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, for school feeding programmes has been challenging for WFP in Putumayo, considering that it is one of the most remote areas of the country. For this reason, BASF Stiftung and WFP have partnered to assist over 3,700 children in boarding schools and two local farmer associations with approximately 200 members in Putumayo.

WFP activities in Colombia aim to protect children from forced labor and trafficking in rural areas, diversify the diet and nutritional education within the school systems, promote reconciliation and prevention of violence against women and support the construction, adaptation and sustainability of basic infrastructure such as gardens, drinking water supply systems and energy efficient stoves.



19th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) - October 20-30, 2016

Founded in 1998 by Jasmina Bojic, film critic and educator, UNAFF is an international documentary film festival originally established to honor the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It has grown and earned the respect of audiences and filmmakers alike for its fearless independence and integrity. As one of the oldest documentary-only film festivals in the United States, UNAFF brings together the interests of human rights advancement and cinematic achievement.

The 19th UNAFF will be held for eleven days – four days in Palo Alto, one day in East Palo Alto, two days in San Francisco and four days on Stanford’s campus. UNAFF 2016 will present documentaries from October 20-30 spotlighting current events from across the globe including its very popular programs UNAFF & KIDS and UNAFF IN SCHOOLS and will host six panel discussions during which renowned experts will elucidate topics such as climate change, the impact of social media and arts, universal primary education, gender equality, hate crime and LGBT issues, philanthropy and social change and the passion for producing human rights documentaries.  The theme for this year is COMPASS FOR A BETTER WORLD. For more details please visit:




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Next issue: 7 October 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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