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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. 252 –  9 December 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



Universal meeting of National Committees and similar bodies on international humanitarian law. Statement by the ICRC

30 November - The world desperately needs better protection in armed conflict. Far too many men, women and children are being wounded and killed, and far too many communities ripped apart by armed violence. And these armed conflicts show no signs of abating. (…) The ICRC works around the world to assist and protect people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. But it also has a mandate to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles. The ICRC is convinced that a clear framework of rules at the international level – accompanied by the corresponding rules, policies and enforcement at the national level – strongly contributes to saving lives and reducing suffering.



African students practice international humanitarian law at continental competition

29 November – The 16th annual All Africa International Humanitarian Law Competition took place in Arusha, Tanzania from 12-19 November 2016. This year's competition had a total of eleven teams from nine African countries, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Each of the participating teams had three law students:they were put in fictitious but realistic scenarios and required to use their knowledge of international humanitarian law to achieve certain objectives like negotiating for humanitarian access or convincing senior diplomats of their legal arguments. The teams also underwent daily classroom study followed by court submissions in which the judges evaluated their grasp of what they had been taught.This was the first time that the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] collaborated with the African Court to host the competition as well as to be part of the judging process. Other judges were from the East African Court of Justice, the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, and the Tanzania High Court.The competition is designed to support ICRC's mandate to promote and develop IHL, focusing on the interplay between IHL and the policies that shape humanitarian action.



Parliamentarians against Hunger promote actions in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

9 November, Mexico City - More than 100 lawmakers from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Spain have highlighted the imperative need to act against the effects of climate change through legislation, at the opening of the VII Forum of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger.  Parliamentarians can establish the institutional frameworks and budgets that mitigation and adaptation to climate change require, linking these efforts to anti-hunger policies. Currently, the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament is working to create a Model Law on Climate Change and Food and Nutrition Security, while the Central American Parliament is supporting a framework law to guide the countries of Central America in these matters. During the VII Forum, parliamentarians announced their intention to promote the production and consumption of legumes in the region. In 2014, 85 million hectares of legumes were planted worldwide, which set 3 to 6 tons of nitrogen. As a result, legumes contribute to the rational use of fertilizers, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.




Human rights


East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania Police Team Up Against Female Genital Mutilation

By BeldinaNyakeke

4 December - - Tanzanian police in the Tarime/Rorya Special Zone and their Kenyan counterparts have agreed to cooperate in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM).Joint operations will be conducted in Tarime District, Mara Region, and five districts of Nyanza Province in Kenya.Tarime/Rorya Special Police Zone commander Andrew Satta said yesterday they had decided to work together with their colleagues in the neighbouring country after realising that some Kenyans were crossing the boarder to undertake FGM in Tanzania and some Tanzanians were crossing to Kenya to undergo the same ritual.



International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

2 December (www.intuition-in-service.org/newsletter/December16.html) – Millions of men, women and children around the world are forced to lead lives as slaves. Although this exploitation is often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their “employers”. Slavery was, in a very real sense, the first international human rights issue to come to the fore. It led to the adoption of the first human rights laws and to the creation of the first human rights non-governmental organization. On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us reaffirm the inherent dignity of all men, women and children. And let us redouble our efforts so that the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- "no one shall be held in slavery or servitude" -- ring true Kofi Annan




Geneva Call gathers 21 armed movements in Geneva to discuss how to end child recruitment and to better protect children in armed conflict

1 December – From 22 to 24 November 2016, 31 leaders, commanders and advisers of 21 armed movements from 11 countries, including Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Yemen, and Burma/Myanmar, participated in workshops and discussions around the issue of child protection in armed conflict. (…) Geneva Call and specialized agencies delivered training sessions on international norms and mechanisms protecting children in armed conflict as well as on specific issues, such as methods to assess the age of new recruits and the release and reintegration of child soldiers. Speakers included the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, and experts from UNICEF, Save the Children, War Child, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC) and the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The last day sessions were dedicated to the protection of education, in particular the protection of schools from military use and attack. Representatives of armed movements were able to share their experiences and the challenges they face in implementing international norms.



Swarovski supports Trust Women Conference to advance women’s rights and tackle slavery

29 November, London - (…)Swarovski is supporting the Trust Women conference (…), which brings together thought leaders and change makers to find real solutions to empower women and to fight slavery worldwide. The Trust Women conference is an annual event gathering over 600 delegates from around the world to discuss women’s rights, women’s empowerment, modern-day slavery and forced labour. This year the event features incredible speakers, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, actress and activist Gillian Anderson, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières Joanne Liu and anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid.(…)Delegates propose innovative solutions to address the conference’s themes, find opportunities to create fresh partnerships and, importantly, commit to taking ambitious actions towards empowering women and ending slavery.(…) As a company with a largely female customer base and workforce, Swarovski actively seeks to promote women’s empowerment — both among its employees and in the wider community. The company is committed to conducting business in a lawful and ethical manner (…)



Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg gives more than $107 million to charity

By Maria Di Mento

21 November - Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg gave nearly $107.2 million to her donor-advised fund at Fidelity Charitable last week. The gift came in the form of 880,000 shares of Facebook stock sold on Monday, November 21, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Wednesday. Ms. Sandberg hasn’t said where the money will go, but in the past she has supported nonprofits that help women and girls, including Lean In, an organization Ms. Sandberg started to foster female leadership, as well as poverty-fighting efforts and education groups. Ms. Sandberg came to prominence outside of technology circles in 2010 for her now-famous speech "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders" and the book that followed, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.



IKEA 'Let's Play for Change' Campaign to Support Child Development, Learning through Play

21 November -The IKEA 'Let's Play for Change' campaign, which runs Nov. 20 to Dec. 24, is a new IKEA good cause campaign that will foster children’s development and learning, through participation in sports and play, by partnering with and supporting six leading children’s organizations, including Save the Children. During this campaign, for every children’s soft toy, book and or small play furniture item sold, the IKEA Foundation will make a donation of $1.10* (€1 EUR) to support children’s right to play and develop in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.



Mexico: Release of women tortured to confess brings glimmer of hope to many others

17 November - The release from prison of three women who were subjected to rape and other forms of tortured in 2011 by marines to force them to “confess” to crimes brings a glimmer of hope to hundreds of others who are held behind bars unfairly across Mexico, said Amnesty International. Denise Lovato, KorinaUrtrera and Wendy Díaz each spent more than five years in prison. They walked out of jail in the State of Morelos this morning after a judge acquitted them and ordered their immediate release




Economy and development


Berlin job portal specializes in refugees

4 December, Berlin, Germany - Deutsche Welle  - An innovative new website is bringing migrants and employers together. Can the internet platform Migrant Hire function as a kind of LinkedIn for refugees and help solve German labor shortages in key areas? Ten thousand migrants in regular jobs - that's the goal set by the team of young IT specialists. It's Germany's first job portal aimed explicitly at people who fled to Germany to escape political persecution or economic hopelessness. The idea is fairly simple: Refugees get help preparing resumes and job applications and can post their skills on the portal, while employers can search the database for the sorts of people they need or advertise positions that require filling. The project has been in existence for less than a year and came about when Finnish businessman and former company CEO Remi Elias Mekki chanced to meet Shaker. They tested out the idea of job mediation for refugees on Shaker's network of acquaintances, and before long, Migrant Hire was working out of the hip office-sharing space Betahaus in Berlin's Kreuzberg district. The fledging job portal has a long way to go to achieve its stated goal: Perlebach says Migrant Hire has thus far helped just 150 to 160 refugees find steady jobs or get into comprehensive training programs.



IFAD to provide $20.5 million to boost sustainable agriculture in Dry Corridor in Nicaragua

29 November, Rome -  The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Nicaragua have signed an agreement to boost sustainable agricultural production in the Dry Corridor, the area of the country most affected by droughts and climate change. The Dry Corridor Rural Family Sustainable Development Project (NICAVIDA) will benefit 30,000 families in 58 municipalities. The Dry Corridor is a strip of land that runs from Panama to Guatemala, along the Pacific Coast. It is historically known by its low rates of rainfall but climate change has worsened the situation. Falling production has led to food insecurity and a decline in household incomes in the region's rural areas. The project will contribute to rural families' and indigenous people's resilience by promoting sustainable agricultural production. This involves training and technical assistance to enable small farmers to grow crops that are more likely to render bigger yields in water-scarce environments; to adopt measures to protect soils by avoiding erosion and overuse; and to put in place the best water-harvesting and water-saving practices. NICAVIDA will also focus on the needs of communities in terms of productive infrastructure, road improvement and investments in public services.



Mongolia and FAO set sights on South-South Cooperation to boost agricultural development

28 November, Rome - Mongolia and FAO will work more closely together to promote international partnerships and exchanges that support sustainable agriculture in the East Asian country, the UN agency said today. A new agreement, signed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Mongolia's agriculture minister PurevSergelen today, will strengthen the partnership between FAO and Mongolia on South-South and Triangular Cooperation -- a form of development partnership that boosts countries' agricultural capacity by linking their policy makers and producers with experts and technologies from around the world. This includes other emerging economies that have built special expertise in specific agricultural sectors. FAO will support Mongolia in working with a wider array of global partners, such as international organizations, research institutions, governments and the private sector, to make Mongolia's food production more sustainable, strengthen its agribusiness and ensure lasting food security. By bringing innovative approaches and tools to the country, these knowledge exchanges will benefit Mongolia's National Livestock Programme and other high priority national agricultural development programmes, along with policies that aim to improve farmers' incomes and living standards.



IFAD signs US$25.5 million agreement to revitalize irrigation for drought-hit farmers in Zimbabwe

18 November, Rome – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Zimbabwe signed a US$25.5 million agreement today to revitalize 6,100 hectares in 152 existing smallholder irrigation schemes in the semi-arid zones in four provinces: Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands. Over 27,700 poor rural households will benefit from this programme.

The Smallholder Irrigation Revitalization Programme (SIRP) will cover some 46% of the country’s estimated total irrigation-equipped area of about 13,000 hectares. Zimbabwe’s current drought and food security issues have remained dire over the past decade, exposing millions of people to food insecurity . Households in smallholder irrigation schemes are better off in terms of food production, income, nutrition and general well-being than those relying on rainfed agriculture. SIRP will improve productivity and climate resilient crop production under both rainfed and irrigated conditions, through diversification of crops and increased adoption of improved varieties, combined with climate-smart agricultural practices and access to markets.



European Union supports efforts to reduce malnutrition in Chad

17 November - The European Union has announced its support for the local production of fortified complementary food in Chad. The joint 3-year project (2016-2019) will be implemented by several United Nations agencies (FAO, WHO, WFP, UNICEF) in partnership with the Chad Government. Through an integrated, innovative approach, the project aims to improve access, availability and use of highly nutritious complementary food for children under five. Malnutrition is a major obstacle to country’s development. All parties involved in the “Local production of complementary fortified food” project (PRO-FORT) will contribute to creating an environment which is conducive to promoting local production of quality food; to reinforcing production capacities and marketing of fortified food; to encouraging the uptake of better maternal and child nutrition practices; and to reducing malnutrition.



Africa-funded project helps small-island nations adapt to perils of climate change

17 November, Rome - Recognizing the disproportionate burden that climate change places on small island developing states (SIDS), FAO will support six African island nations in their efforts to make their agriculture more resilient to climate shocks and boost economic development, the agency said today. The $1.5 million project - funded through the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund  - will focus on a variety of activities to mitigate and adapt production to changing climate conditions, and make farming practices overall more efficient. Farmers in Cabo Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, and Seychelles will benefit from training and knowledge exchanges on climate-smart food production, as well as ways to create viable market opportunities for nutritious food. The project aims to increase the countries' capacities, from the farm-level to the policy level, to reduce the double burden of malnutrition: tackling persistent hunger, on one hand, and rising obesity, on the other.



WFP supports farmers adapt to climate change

16 November, Vientiane - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) today signed an agreement to develop new tools for farmers to adapt to climate change in Laos. The project will give farmers weather information to make decisions about their crops in times of fluctuating meteorological patterns, and will provide them with real-time rainfall forecasts, provided by the National Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. WFP and NAFRI will also establish schools where farmers can learn more about crop management and how to best adapt to climate variations. Over the past years, Lao PDR has experienced higher temperatures and reduced rains during the dry season, and more intense rainfall during the rainy season, leading to longer and more severe droughts, and an increased risk of floods. The NAFRI-WFP project aims to help farmers in the seven main rice growing provinces. It will also have longer-term impact in the agricultural development sector by improving the knowledge and resources of national institutions and policy makers.



Post offices in Africa are providing migrants and their families’ access to new financial networks

14 November, Abidjan – Post offices in Africa now deliver more money than mail. They are becoming essential to provide poor rural populations with access to affordable financial services, including remittances, which amounted to over US$ 65 billion in 2015. This will be the focus of the Second African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks to be held on 15 -16 November in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). While the average cost of sending remittances is 7.6%  globally, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive region in the world in which to send money home, with an average cost of 9.5% in 2016. The IFAD report, Remittances at the post office in Africa: Serving the financial needs of migrants and their families in rural areas,focuses on African National Postal Operators as distribution channels to provide access to remittances and financial services. It examines the role post offices play in Africa’s remittance market and ways to make these existing, publicly-owned assets more competitive and inclusive.






Ireland assists WFP humanitarian operations in Mozambique as the lean season peaks

2 December, Maputo - The Irish Government today announced a contribution of EUR 1.5 million to support emergency operations by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Mozambique, where 1.4 million people are unable to meet their food needs due to an El Niño-induced drought. Ireland’s contribution comes as WFP is scaling up assistance to reach 700,000 people with life-saving support, as needs culminate during the hunger season in the coming 2-3 months. Mozambique is usually hit by floods and cyclones, in the beginning of the year, which often destroy infrastructure and people’s livelihoods. At other times of the year, however, the country is prone to droughts that cause widespread loss of crops and livestock, leading to hunger among vulnerable communities.  The Government of Ireland is a long-standing partner of WFP’s mission in Mozambique and this latest contribution is in addition to Ireland’s annual EUR 20 million in multilateral support provided to WFP globally.



Ireland helps maintain critical support to refugees in Tanzania

1 December, Dar Es Salaam - Ireland today provided the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with a contribution of EUR 500,000 to support refugees hosted in Tanzania. With these funds, Ireland is helping WFP maintain its assistance operations for a quarter of a million refugees. The refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are hosted by the Government of Tanzania at three camps in Kigoma Region in the west of Tanzania. As a result of an increasing influx of refugee arrivals – currently more than 10,000 are crossing into Tanzania each month – WFP has been experiencing shortfalls in funding for its refugee operation. Thanks to contributions from Ireland and other donors, impending ration cuts for refugees have been avoided, at least until next year. Refugees receive vital food assistance in the form of hot meals at transit and reception centres, and a monthly food allowance at the camps consisting of maize meal, pulses, salt, vegetable oil and a fortified porridge.



The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities

1 December, Rotary News

CNBC has ranked The Rotary Foundation No. 3 in its annual list of Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting. The Foundation was noted for connecting 1.2 million members from more than 200 geographic areas to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, including projects that focus on disease prevention, water and sanitation, and maternal and child health. The ranking also recognized Rotary’s role in the effort to eradicate polio. The Foundation ranked No. 5 on CNBC’s list in 2015.



From bakers to painters, refugee youth support their families

30 November – ANERA offers vocational and literacy courses to refugee youth who can’t attend school in Lebanon. Many of the youth in ANERA’s program live in vulnerable circumstances and had to drop out of school to support their families. Through the courses, some them are redirected to formal education, while others are provided with more technical job skills that support their future careers. Below, we’ve highlighted some stories from recent graduates. Their incomes may be modest but have a big impact on improving their livelihoods. The program was launched in partnership with UNICEF, German Cooperation, UK AID and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.



Collaboration saving children’s lives in Northeast Nigeria and protecting them in the future

29 November, Abuja - Over a hundred thousand families in conflict-hit northeast Nigeria have been reached so-far with food and nutrition support in a US$20 million (£16.1m) multi-year joint project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). With more than 4.4 million people struggling in crisis and emergency food security levels in Borno and Yobe – the two states worst-hit by the Boko Haram conflict – UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Action Against Hunger (AAH) are working together to give families in the two states greater access to food and to protect children from malnutrition.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the primary health-care agencies of the Government of Nigeria and Borno and Yobe states. It is providing vitamin and mineral supplements for mothers and children, funding for families with severely malnourished children to buy nutritious food, treatment for children with diarrhoea, and advice for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers on how they can provide the best possible nutrition for their children.



Founder of meal delivery service for Chicago cancer patients named a national ‘Hero’

Culinary Care founder Courtney White honored as a Tyson Foods ‘Meals That Matter Hero’ as part of the company’s fight against hunger

29 November, Chicago - Tyson Foods, Inc. has recognized Courtney White, founder and operator of nonprofit organization Culinary Care, for her outstanding efforts to provide nutritious meals to cancer patients and their families. White, a 27-year-old Chicago native, founded Culinary Care in 2013 at the age of 23. Since then, she and the organization’s dedicated supporters have delivered more than 4,800 ready-to-eat meals to cancer patients and their families – all part of their effort to fight malnutrition, which is the direct cause of one in five cancer deaths. After being referred to Culinary Care by an employee of a partner hospital, patients may order meals from menus specially developed for the specific dietary needs of someone undergoing cancer treatment. The Culinary Care team then delivers the meal directly to the patient at the hospital during or after their treatment. (…) To help Culinary Care expand , Tyson awarded the nonprofit a $60,000 grant to secure a full-time employee.



Saudi Arabia supports WFP To address malnutrition in Hodeidah, Yemen

25 November, Rome - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$10 million contribution from the King Salman for Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help WFP fight the rising levels of malnutrition in Hodeidah Governorate in Yemen. More than 14 million people across Yemen are struggling to meet their most basic food needs, including 7 million who are severely food insecure. In support of WFP’s efforts to provide food assistance to Yemen, the KSrelief contribution will be used to provide six months of emergency food rations to nearly 465,000 people. Efforts to counter Moderate Acute Malnutrition are carried out with local partners in 2,200 health centres in 14 governorates across Yemen. In addition to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, WFP is grateful to key donors that have contributed or pledged support to the people of Yemen – including the United States, Germany, Japan and the European Union.



Lebanese Red Cross strengthens ambulance services with support of People of Japan

24 November, Beirut, Lebanon - The people of Japan continue to show their commitment to humanitarian causes in Lebanon and the surrounding region. Their latest support is in the form of the provision of three fully equipped ambulances to Lebanese Red Cross which will be used to provide lifesaving emergency medical services to people throughout the country. Each year, the Lebanese Red Cross emergency medical services carry out as many as 260,000 missions. All services are provided by well trained and experienced volunteer teams, who commit themselves to a certain number of hours of assistance each week, without any monitory return. (…) Since 2013, the Japanese government has been a key partner of Lebanese Red Cross, enabling the National Society to reach tens of thousands of people on an annual basis. The support of the people of Japan also enables Lebanese Red Cross to provide emergency kits for vulnerable women, and to support families in need to manage harsh winter conditions.



The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan announces the resumption of Life-Saving Humanitarian Assistance at the Jordanian-Syrian borders

22 November, Amman - On Tuesday 22 November 2016, The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan announced the resumption of life-saving humanitarian assistance to an estimated 85,000 stranded Syrian at the Jordanian-Syrian borders, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP).  The resumption of assistance comes at the start of the coldest period of the year, when temperatures can drop dangerously low. The delivery of food and relief items at Rukban is being channeled through a newly constructed distribution point. In addition, a new service facility is being constructed that includes a health clinic, water tanks and pumping station, along with facilities for meetings with community representatives. The clinic will provide primary healthcare, maternal and newborn services. UN Agencies express their gratitude to the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Jordan Armed Forces – Arab Army for making this critical operation possible, and look forward to continued collaboration to ensure the regular delivery of assistance to Syrians living at the berm.



Cash helps flood affected families in Northwest Bangladesh get back on their feet

21 November, Dhaka - Some 42,500 people in northwest Bangladesh are to receive financial assistance through a WFP initiative, enabling them to buy food and other necessities they lost when the area was hit by recurrent monsoon floods from August. The poorest families in the worst-affected areas of Kurigram, Gaibandha, Sirajganj and Jamalpur districts will each receive 4,000 taka per month over the next three months (totalling US$150) to stabilize their food security and nutritional status. The money is being provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Almost 4 million people were affected as large areas became inundated, more than 100 people died as a direct consequence of the floods, and 250,000 houses are destroyed or damaged. Experts warn that the current lean season could further reduce people’s food consumption.  



Belgian Government contribution helps Saves lives in Mali

21 November, Bamako - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is happy to announce that the Belgian Government has contributed USD 2.2 million to help nearly 115,000 vulnerable persons in Mali.

The past four years have been particularly difficult for the populations living in northern and central Mali; they have been battling both severe drought and continued conflict.  Malnutrition affects one in three children in Mali; latest figures show a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 12.4 percent among children under five across the country. In the region of Timbuktu, this rate rises to 17.5 percent, exceeding the World Health Organization’s critical emergency threshold. Between now and the end of 2016, WFP has the capacity to provide cash based transfers to 27,000 IDPs and refugees in northern Mali, provide school meals to 77, 510 children in close to 500 schools and treat 9,060 children under 5 and 890 pregnant and nursing mothers suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.



Government of Pakistan provides wheat for returning Afghan refugees

21 November, Peshawar - The World Food Programme (WFP) in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), is distributing wheat provided by the government to returning Afghan refugees at the WFP hub in Peshawar. The Secretary Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, Muhammad ShehzadArbab visited the site today with WFP Head of Provincial Office, BaiMankaySankoh where 800 Afghan refugee families are being assisted with 3 x 100 kg bags of wheat, sufficient to feed a family of six for approximately four months. Seven WFP technical staff members are at the distribution point in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with the required facilities to ensure rapid online refugee registration and data verification processes in accordance with UNHCR database.



Saudi Arabia supports WFP operations in Syria, Palestine & Ethiopia

16 November, Riyadh - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$12 million contribution from the King Salman for Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support WFP’s humanitarian operations in Syria, Palestine and Ethiopia. Inside Syria, WFP delivers food assistance to more than four million people every month across the country. In Palestine, WFP aims to meet the food needs of the most vulnerable non-refugee families, as well as foster the resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities. WFP will use US$1 million to expand its e-voucher assistance in the Gaza strip to an additional 20,000 people in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development. The remaining portion (US$1 million) will go to Ethiopia to help WFP provide cereals for one month to more than 127,000 of the most vulnerable drought-affected people.



Kuwait continues to support WFP’s humanitarian operations in Syria

15 November, Dubai - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$6 million from the Government of Kuwait to support WFP’s humanitarian operations in Syria. WFP will use the funds to provide a nutritious school snack of date bars for more than 450,000 children as well as provide nearly 240,000 children with PlumpyDoz, a special nutritional supplement that prevents and treats malnutrition.  In Syria, WFP is providing food assistance to people affected by conflict, malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. WFP is also implementing projects that help re-build communities and restore livelihoods such as training and capacity-building projects, school feeding and nutrition interventions.



The EU supports WFP logistics operations in Yemen

13 November, Sana'a - The European Commission’s Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) has contributed €2.3 million  to support air and sea transport services in Yemen, run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). As the lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, WFP manages a Special Operation to support the humanitarian community logistics coordination, information management, provision of fuel and temporary storage facilities. WFP activated the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in May 2015 to provide safe and reliable air transport services to both humanitarian workers and cargo to facilitate the response to the crisis in Yemen and is currently providing assistance to nearly seven million people in Yemen through food distributions and vouchers. The food agency is also aiming to treat and help prevent Moderate Acute Malnutrition among over 700,000 children and pregnant and nursing women.



Spain’s donation to Western Sahara refugees supports WFP at a critical time

10 November, Algiers/Madrid - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a donation from the Government of Spain to help provide the basic food needs of Western Sahara refugees living in Algeria. The contribution, which totals 2 million euro, comes at a critical time and is a combined contribution from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development, together with the regions of Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja and Madrid.

In October, due to funding constraints, WFP was forced to suspend part of its food assistance and in December may be obliged to halve the monthly ration for the next six months. The Spanish funds will help complement WFP’s monthly food assistance over the next two months with essential commodities such as wheat flour and vegetable oil.




Peace and security


UN welcomes ratification of new peace accord in Colombia

2 December – Welcoming the Colombian parliament's ratification of the new Final Peace Agreement between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have expressed hope for its swift implementation for the benefit of all Colombians. In separate statements yesterday, the UN chief and the 15-member Council also commended the parties in the country for their continued commitment to bring the 50-year long conflict to an end. “The ratification of the Agreement constitutes a major milestone in the peace process that reaffirms the hopes shared by all Colombians for a future in peace and prosperity after decades of conflict,” said Mr. Ban. He added that the determination of the parties and people of Colombia to achieve peace has been a source of inspiration around the world. In their own statement, members of the Security Council further welcomed the leadership shown by the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP in upholding the ceasefire. “They trusted the parties would continue their positive cooperation and maintain recent momentum to begin swift implementation of this historic agreement in order to ensure a transition to peace that benefits all Colombians,” they said in the statement.



Poland completes destruction of stockpiled landmines

More than one million landmines have been demolished

28 November – Today Poland declared completion of the destruction of its entire stockpile of antipersonnel mines. The representative of Poland at the 15th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty reported Poland has completed destruction of over one million antipersonnel mines, almost a year ahead of its mandatory deadline.Poland is not retaining any antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes permitted under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. With completion of stockpile destruction in Poland, only four States Parties have legal obligations to destroy their stockpiled mines. They own a total of more than seven million mines. Oman, the newest State Party to the treaty, has to complete destruction by its 2019 deadline, whereas Belarus, Greece and Ukraine have missed their deadline many years ago. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines urges all four states to follow suit and get rid of their stockpiled landmines as soon as possible.



UN chief welcomes new peace deal between Colombian Government and FARC-EP

24 November – Welcoming the signing today of the new peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the hope that Colombians will "come together at this time to move the peace process forward."



AMERICA/HAITI - Elections without accidents in a country which is still devastated

21 November  -  Presidential elections were held yesterday in Haiti in a peaceful manner except for a few isolated incidents. The results will not be known before a week. More than 6 million Haitians were called to the polls to choose between 27 presidential candidates, after the cancellation of the 2015 October elections for alleged irregularities and the postponement of those imposed on 9 October because of the emergency caused by hurricane Matthew.






Amidst insecurity, WHO and partners have reached an estimated 1.1 million South Sudanese children with oral polio vaccines

18 November, Juba, South Sudan – Despite the ongoing violence in the country, the third round of the National Immunization Days of 2016 campaign is being implemented across South Sudan to ensure the continuation of immunization activities targeting more than 3.5 million children aged 0 – 59 months. The four-day campaign from 15 to 18 November 2016 was organized and led by the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and UNICEF using both house to house and facility-based services to reach all eligible children no matter where they live. Delivering polio vaccines in South Sudan has never been harder, however insecurity, ongoing clashes and displacement made the logistical arrangement overwhelming. Although insecurity and displacement prevents access to families and children, vaccinators made special efforts to be able to reach approximately 300 000 children; including 40 000 internally displaced children with vaccines against polio as well as provide them with vitamin A supplements and deworming tablets. (…) The fight to end polio led by the Government of South Sudan is highly commended, as well as the contributions  of donors and partners, including  Rotary International, USAID, WHO,  UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and governments of the world.



180 countries adopt landmark public health decisions on tobacco control

12 November, Greater Noida, India – On November 12, at the conclusion of the seventh session of the World Health Organization’s global tobacco treaty negotiations, governments representing nearly 90 percent of the world’s population adopted policies that will protect public health over the narrow interests of the tobacco industry. These include tools to hold Big Tobacco legally liable for the harms of its products, recover healthcare costs, facilitate access to justice for victims of tobacco-related disease, and safeguard public health policymaking from the industry at the national and international level. Governments unanimously adopted the suite of public health measures over the objections of the tobacco industry. Throughout the negotiations to the treaty, formally the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the industry tried to undermine the talks via government delegations, industry front groups, lobbying, and other means. Despite these tactics, governments adopted decisions, like advancements on legal liability, that could provide precedent for holding other industries accountable for the environmental and public health harms they cause.Governments agreed to expand the expertise and case studies available to file legal and civil suits against Big Tobacco.




Energy and safety



IFAD to provide US$114.5 million to strengthen small-scale irrigation in Ethiopia

2 December, Rome - A total of 108,750 poor rural households in four regions of Ethiopia are expected to benefit from a financial agreement signed today between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Ethiopia to boost small-scale irrigation schemes. Of the programme cost of US$145.3 million, IFAD is providing a US$102 million loan and a $12.5 million grant, including $11 million from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund to help smallholder farmers to adapt to the effects of climate change. The programme is co-financed by the Government of Ethiopia ($18.7 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves (12 million). The second phase of the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP II) envisages the development of 15,000 hectares of small-scale irrigation schemes in four regions: Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region. Particular attention will be given to women, young people and vulnerable groups. In addition to increasing agricultural productivity, incomes and resilience of ecosystems and rural population, the programme is expected to create 15,000 new jobs.



Liberia FIFES receives grant to expand programming and impact

Funds provide women and youth training in sustainable agroforestry enterprises

23 November – ACDI/VOCA implements the USAID-funded Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability (FIFES) project in Liberia. FIFES develops forest-based enterprises to provide sustainable economic opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities and to combat deforestation and biodiversity loss. FIFES received a significant boost recently when it received a $10,000 grant from The Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a leadership development program for women from Indiana. One of the center’s core issues is global food security, and the large number of women smallholder farmers across the globe who struggle with chronic hunger. Together, The Lugar Series and The Lugar Center contacted ACDI/VOCA to develop a women’s food security program. The class named this year’s project “Harvesting Change” and undertook fundraising among its members and friends.The funds will provide agricultural and business skills training for women as well as seeds and farm inputs. By participating in FIFES training, the women will enhance their participation in cash crop enterprises, mainly oil palm production.




Environment and wildlife


Equip Jamaican youth to fight climate change

ACDI/VOCA launches fall campaign

29 November – This year’s Friends of ACDI/VOCA fundraising campaign starts today, Giving Tuesday, to kick off the holiday season of giving. This year, your donation will fund a one-day Climate Camp for Jamaican youth developed by our JaREEACH II team in Jamaica. Climate Camp will prepare 200 youth between the ages of 8 and 17 to help their communities fight the effects of climate change.We are pleased to be working with GlobalGiving, a crowd-funding philanthropy, to help us with our online fundraising. Past Friends of ACDI/VOCA campaigns have enabled us to extend the reach of multiple projects to further improve lives and empower communities. Our 2016 campaign helped 1,350 smallholder farmers working with our PROFIT+ project in Zambia. PROFIT+ is expanding nutritious crop production through improved seeds, greenhouse construction, and volunteer technical assistance.



Companies show commitment to global climate agreement and lay out plans for action at COP22

23 November, Toronto/CSRwire/ - Last week in Marrakech, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the secretariat of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted the COP 22/ CMP 12: High Level Meeting on Climate Change. More than 100 high level business leaders and investors met with leaders from the Government, civil society and the UN in a show of resounding support and commitment to taking action on the Paris Climate Agreement.(…) Over the course of the High-Level Meeting, business representatives shared proposals on how the private sector can support and reinforce national climate priorities on mitigation and adaptation, and also highlighted the inextricable link between addressing climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Climate Change will complicate the achievement of the other Sustainable Development Goals, including giving rise to conflict situations, endangering food security, health and wellbeing, and negatively impacting gender equality.




Religion and spirituality


Prayer for peace all over the country on the eve of the protest of extremist groups

1st December - Jakarta – To reaffirm peacefully the principles of tolerance, love, unity in diversity, acceptance of others, legality, peace: with this spirit, wearing red and white bands (Indonesia's national colors), thousands of citizens around the country, faithful of all religious communities, symbolically shared a large "prayer for unity", yesterday, November 30, 2016, and took to the streets to launch a message of peace.



URI Delegation to Join Standing Rock for Interfaith Prayer

29 November - A delegation from the United Religions Initiative (URI) will travel to OcetiSakowin Camp at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to join hundreds of people of faith for an Interfaith Day of Prayer on December 4, 2016. This comes at the invitation of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, URI member and representative of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations, and 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. (…) Prayers and statements of support to be presented to the Standing Rock Tribal Council can be submitted by filling outthis formor sending them tostandingrock@uri.org.

Members from Indigenous tribes across the United States and the world – and thousands of supporters – have gathered peacefully at OcetiSakowin Camp over the last seven months to protect sacred Indigenous sites and prevent the pollution of key water sources. Even as harsh winter weather rages at the camp, more witnesses, representing diverse traditions from around the world, are joining to stand in solidarity with those gathered at Standing Rock. This is a powerful example of strength through interfaith and intercultural cooperation.




Culture and education


Francophonie vote to actively monitor private education stakeholders (01 December 2016)

1December 2016 – Leaders of the Francophonie member countries have voted in favour of promoting “effective institutional arrangements for regulating private stakeholders in education”, in line with the long-standing advocacy work of Education International and affiliates.On 28 November, 57 Heads of State and governments of member countries adopted the ”Declaration of Antananarivo” at the end of the 16th General Meeting of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF).Paragraph 39 of the Declaration states that: "Recognising the development of for-profit educational and teaching establishments, and being proponents of free, quality public education for all, we ask the IOF and the Conference of Education Ministers of the States and governments of the Francophonie (CONFEMEN), in collaboration with civil society, to continue the reflection discussed at the 2012 Kinshasa Summit and to take measures aimed at promoting effective institutional arrangements for regulating private stakeholders in education, in order to ensure the quality and equity of educational services."





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Next issue: 13 January 2017.


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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