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

monthly, year 17th, no. 259 –  14 July 2017


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 conference adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons

7 July 2017 – Countries meeting at a United Nations conference in New York today adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years. “The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons,” the spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres said following its adoption.“The Secretary-General hopes that this new treaty will promote inclusive dialogue and renewed international cooperation aimed at achieving the long overdue objective of nuclear disarmament,” Stéphane Dujarric added. The treaty – adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands), with one abstention (Singapore) – prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.



Egypt passes law creating an electoral commission effective 2024

5 July 2017 - The Egyptian parliament has passed a law on Tuesday that phases out the judicial supervision of elections by 2024 and creates the National Electoral Commission that will be responsible for all elections. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) law gained a two-thirds majority vote for the independent authority that will be solely responsible for holding general elections and referendums in Egypt. The law was tabled for a debate in June when parliament was divided over Article 34 that states the complete phasing out of the judicial supervision by 2024 to offer the NEC some experience. The NEC law is in line with articles 208 and 209 of the constitution, which state that “a National Electoral Commission should be created to supervise and monitor the country’s general elections – parliamentary, presidential and municipal – and referendums,”



The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is 15 years old since it came into force on July 1, 2002.

3 July 2017 - It was established by a Rome Statute adopted in 1998 to prosecute international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed within the territory of signatories and nationals of signatory countries.

It was ratified by 123 countries including a total of 34 African states out of the then 54 countries.
An African country – Senegal – was the first to ratify the Rome Statute on February 2, 1999, and an African country – Burundi – was the first in history to start a withdrawal process last year. In the 15-year history of the ICC, almost all of its cases under investigation or prosecution involve Africans, as many of them were referred to the court by signatory countries. The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda were the first countries to make referrals to the ICC for investigation and prosecution of war crimes.



Experts head to Vienna to discuss advances in monitoring, verification under UN nuclear test-ban treaty 

26 June 2017 – Scientists and technical experts from all over the world are gathering this week in Vienna, Austria, for a meeting convened by the United Nations partner organization working to establish a verification regime to monitor global compliance with the comprehensive ban on nuclear testing.  The Science and Technology 2017 Conference, which opens today and runs through Friday, 30 June in the Austrian capital, is the sixth in a series of meetings aimed at strengthening the relationship between the scientific community and authorities for compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  The Conference is seeking to enlarge the engagement of the scientific and technological community in test-ban monitoring. In addition to monitoring such tests, scientists apply CTBTO data for other useful purposes, such as the observation of volcanoes and icebergs. It is also used to study marine mammals, and forecast the weather months in advance, to improve the mitigation of disasters.




Human rights


Global call to improve the safety of journalists on the ground

7 July 2017 - Action-oriented recommendations to improve the protection of journalists and reinforce the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity were identified by key stakeholders at a meeting organized by UNESCO and OHCHR in Geneva. The Recommendations notably urge making better use of all avenues and mechanisms available within the UN system to improve monitoring and reporting on attacks against journalists in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Goal 16.10 on fundamental freedoms and access to information. The Recommendations also stress the need for countries to develop safety mechanisms to protect journalists and end impunity for crimes against them.



Syria: 4 brigades of the Free Syrian Army commit to prohibit sexual violence and the use of child soldiers

3July 2017 – On 30th June 2017, the military leaders of four brigades of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) signed Geneva Call’s Deeds of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict, prohibiting sexual violence and against gender discrimination. The signing ceremony took place at the Geneva town hall in the presence of representatives of the Government of the Geneva Canton and members of the humanitarian community. These brigades – the 23rd Division, the 21st Force Union, the Central Division and the First Costal Division – are militarily active in the northern part of Syria in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia and Hama. By signing these two commitments, they pledged to respect the highest international standards to protect children in conflict, in particular the prohibition of the recruitment of children under 18 and the obligation to facilitate medical care and education to children. They also committed to ban any act of sexual violence against all persons, whether civilians or fighters. Geneva Call and the four FSA brigades agreed on an implementation plan to concretely enforce these commitments in the field. Additional measures to reinforce their internal policies will be taken and training sessions on the obligations of the Deeds for their officers and combatants will be provided. Geneva Call will hold them accountable for these commitments and monitor closely their respect through its network of partners in the field.



Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince: Actions speak louder than words – release prisoners of conscience -

30 June 2017 |  Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud should use his new authority as Crown Prince to match his words with actions and demonstrate his commitment to human rights, said Amnesty International. As a first step, he and other Saudi Arabian authorities should release detained human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience held solely on account of their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.



High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment calls for ending gender discrimination to ensure the full potential of Africa’s youth at African Union Summit

30 June 2017 - The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment was represented at the 4th African Union (AU) High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, 29-30 June, organized on the margins of the 29th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, by HLP member Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba, Founder and Executive Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media. Mr. Ba made a presentation on the linkages between the recommendations and the drivers of the HLP, following the final report presented in March 2017 to the UN Secretary-General, and the Pillar 1 of the AU Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, which focuses on Entrepreneurship and Employment. The presentation, which took place at the African Union premises and in the presence of ministers from Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, among others, highlighted the importance of addressing the gender-specific challenges to African youth’s employment and entrepreneurship.



Migrants send home 51% more money than a decade ago lifting millions out of poverty, says new report

14 June 2017, New York – The amount of money migrants send to their families in developing countries has risen by 51% over the past decade - far greater than the 28% increase in migration from these countries, according to a new report released by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today. Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, One Family at a Time is the first-ever study of a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007-2016. More than 200 million migrant workers are now supporting an estimated 800 million family members globally. It is projected that in 2017, one-in-seven people in the world will be involved in either sending or receiving more than US$450 billion in remittances. Migration flows and the remittances that migrants send home are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and political landscape. Transaction costs to send remittances currently exceed $30 billion annually, with fees particularly high to the poorest countries and remote rural areas. The report makes several recommendations for improving public policies and outlines proposals for partnerships with the private sector to reduce costs and create opportunities for migrants and their families to use their money more productively. The report is released ahead of the International Day of Family Remittances commemorated annually on 16 June.




Economy and development


HP Inc. Commits to enhancing education for more than 100 million people by 2025

Company pledges more than $20 million to enable better learning outcomes, helping break the cycle of poverty in underserved communities

6 July 2017Hamburg, Germany/CSRwire/ - Today, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) announced its commitment to enable better learning outcomes for more than 100 million people between 2015-2025 at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany. The Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg falls on the eve of the G20 Summit, where leaders of the world’s most powerful countries are congregating to address inequalities and promote sustainable development. HP’s pledge supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 and aligns with the company’s goal to improve access to quality education and lifelong learning for all in the classroom and beyond(…). For the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who are not currently learning basic literacy and numeracy skills, a quality education can be instrumental in breaking the cycle of poverty. HP is reinventing the classroom in ways that engage students, empower educators, and build strong and vibrant communities. Furthermore, HP is bringing these classrooms directly to students who otherwise may not have access to a quality education. HP is building innovative education solutions for millions of people, including those in underserved urban, rural and refugee communities, helping power global economies. This includes creating technology solutions designed exclusively for schools, scalable models that support digital inclusion and learning, and insights that help governments create effective human capital development policies and programs (…)



IFAD meets with El Salvador Ministers to promote rural development to curb youth migration

6 July 2017, San Salvador - Senior officials of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will meet with the government of El Salvador to discuss strengthening their partnership to help thousands of families build a better life for themselves and for young people seeking opportunities in rural areas. Their discussion will focus on the Rural Adelante II project, one of several in the country that receives IFAD financing. The project is aimed at areas with the highest rates of rural poverty and those worst affected by climate change. Although rural poverty declined in El Salvador by 18 per cent 2000 and 2013, a large proportion of the rural population continue to live in poverty. Young people, women and indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable, and their economic and social empowerment is one of IFAD's main objectives. The IFAD-supported National Programme of Rural Economic Transformation for Living Well, Rural Adelante II, focuses on the Dry Corridor and aims to benefit 23,000 families by increasing employment opportunities, incomes and food security for small agricultural producers. As a result of the project's activities, more than 4,000 families are improving their food security and access to markets where they can sell their produce and raise their incomes.



Senior IFAD officials to promote development in earthquake-stricken rural region of Ecuador Spanish

3 July 2017, Quito - A year after a major earthquake left more than 20,000 rural people homeless, officials of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will meet with ministers and other government officials to renew IFAD's commitment to supporting rural economic development and improvement of the lives of poor rural people. Périn Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice-President, arrives in Ecuador today with the message that alongside immediate disaster relief, long-term development is crucial to rebuilding lives. The IFAD-supported Buen Vivir Rural Programme had been operating in the hard-hit Manabí region since 2013. When the earthquake struck, farmers connected to the project immediately organized to help the most affected families and to start the process of recovery. IFAD is not a relief agency, but focuses on long-term development so that poor rural people can increase not only their incomes but their resilience in the face of a variety of shocks. The Buen Vivir Rural Programme, run by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, promotes resilience of small farmers and has helped 25,000 food-insecure, poor rural household living in nine provinces. Since 1978, IFAD has invested a total of US$130 million in 10 programmes and projects related to agricultural development in Ecuador, benefiting more than 271,767 households



44 countries to present their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals at HLPF 2017

UN DESA Voice, July 2017 - Member States and leaders from civil society, business, UN System, specialized agencies, academia and other stakeholders will convene in New York from 10 to 19 July 2017 for the annual High-level Political Forum (HLPF) to review progress made towards the Sustainable Development Goals. True to its multi-stakeholder nature, this year’s HLPF is expected to bring together Member States with representatives of the UN system, intergovernmental organizations and a record number of different experts and stakeholder actors. At the heart of the Forum are the Voluntary National Reviews of progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.



Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals

July 2017 -A United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Intergenerational Dialogues event will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, 1 August, 2017. The event will be titled “Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development”. The Dialogues will raise awareness of the high value that youth and older persons can bring to implementation of the SDGs, and foster a shift in the perception of youth and older persons from beneficiaries of social policy to agents of social change. Building on existing efforts, the Dialogues will be an important opportunity to mobilize civil society with the objective of leaving no one behind. It is anticipated that attendees will learn to identify the groups of youth and older a persons that are most at risk and to empower them to actively participate in the implementation of Agenda 2030.



RWANU brings financial inclusion to Karamoja, Uganda

1July 2017 – For men and women in southern Karamoja in northeastern Uganda, accessing financial services is a challenge. Few financial institutions exist there, and the only banks are in the Moroto district, forcing those in neighboring districts to travel long distances to access them. The USAID-funded Resilience through Wealth, Agriculture and Nutrition (RWANU) project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, helped local communities establish their own village and savings loan associations (VSLAs). To help them access sufficient credit, RWANU trained the VSLAs to transform into larger-profile savings and credit cooperative organizations (SACCOs). Despite participating in trainings on financial management, record keeping, and more, many members hesitated to join. Thanks to RWANU’s support, the Loregae Farmers SACCO and two others attained legal status at the district and national levels. The project connects them with commercial officers in their districts and provides ongoing training to ensure sustainability and long-term success. Since 2013, RWANU has empowered 424 VSLAs, made up of 6,000 women and men, in financial literacy. The five-year project funded by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace focuses on reducing food insecurity among vulnerable people and reducing malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women and children under five in southern Karamoja, Uganda.



Pacific Community and World Food Programme strengthen cooperation

29 June 2017, Suva, Fiji - The Pacific Community (SPC) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed an agreement that aims to increase the effectiveness of their service in assisting Pacific Island countries and territories in achieving their resilience building and development aspirations.
This new partnership fosters better collaboration on emergency preparedness in the areas of food security, logistics and emergency telecommunications. It includes supporting the development of an online platform for mapping of emergency relief items in the Pacific, exchanging information and experience as well as collaboration on communication upgrades and assessment activities that both organizations undertake in the Pacific region. SPC is the principal scientific and technical organization in the Pacific, proudly supporting development since 1947. It is an international organization owned and governed by 26 country and territory members. The organization works across more than 20 sectors including food security, climate change, disaster risk management, gender equality, public health and human rights.



IFAD to invest $33 million in smallholder agribusiness partnerships in Sri Lanka

26 June 2017, Rome– The International Fund for Agricultural Development and Government of Sri Lanka signed a financing agreement today that will help 57,500 poor rural households in Sri Lanka increase their incomes and food security by expanding livelihood and business opportunities in agriculture. The Smallholder Agribusiness Partnerships Programme, financed through an IFAD loan of US$33.7 million plus $19.4 million from the Government, will help to alleviate rural poverty and undernutrition in the poorest rural areas of the country. Though Sri Lanka is considered a lower middle-income country, food and nutrition security is uneven across the country. There is a 15% stunting rate and 22% wasting rate among children under five years old. Despite a declining share in GDP, the agricultural sector remains the backbone of the Sri Lankan economy and an important source of employment. Large plantations continue to produce tea, rubber and coconut. Smallholder farmers produce rice, maize, and a variety of fruits, and vegetables. For these rural people, there is significant market potential in both export and local markets for their agricultural output. By identifying and catering to specific markets, they can reap higher profits for their agricultural goods. The new programme will provide a platform for smallholder farmers, particularly women and young people, to access financing and business training and will help them to form partnerships with each other and with the private sector. IFAD has been working with Sri Lanka since 1978, investing a total $317.2 million in 18 programmes and projects, reaching over 614,832 households.



Post offices are key to scaling up remittances and financial inclusion in Uganda

19 June 2017, New York– The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Postbank of Uganda (PBU) and Posta Uganda signed a grant agreement today aimed at expanding the role of postal networks in the delivery of remittances and access to financial inclusion across the country. The new project, “Scaling Up Remittances and Financial Inclusion in Uganda,” will provide remittances services in poor rural communities as well as in refugee settlements, many of which are taking in those fleeing conflict and food insecurity in neighbouring South Sudan. The IFAD grant agreement for Euro 465,000 was signed following the Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development, held 15-16 June at UN headquarters in New York. Under the agreement, Postbank Uganda will leverage Posta Uganda’s broad network of rural post offices to expand access to financial services for the rural population. The post offices will be equipped with modern digital and mobile technologies for remittance delivery and financial services transactions, and postal staff will receive specialized training. Globally, about 40 per cent of remittances are sent to rural areas where the majority of poor people live. This money is spent on food, health care, better educational opportunities and improved housing and sanitation. Remittances are therefore critical to help developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.






US contribution to boost WFP food assistance, local economy in Afghanistan

10 July 2017, Kabul - A contribution of US$20 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will enable the World Food Programme (WFP) in Afghanistan to provide food assistance to more than 577,000 people in need. Nearly 70% of the money will be spent in Afghanistan to buy locally-milled, nutrient-enriched flour and salt. People who will benefit from this donation include those who are internally displaced due to conflict, people affected by natural disasters or living in disaster-prone areas and people who struggle to feed their families at certain times of the year. In addition to wheat flour and salt, they will also receive yellow peas and cooking oil. Among those who will receive assistance are nearly 50,000 malnourished children under five and more than 12,000 pregnant women and new mothers. In 2017, WFP plans to assist up to 2.9 million food insecure people in Afghanistan by providing food or cash to those affected by conflict and natural disasters, as well as additional nutrition support, disaster risk reduction activities and school meal take-home rations for girls and boys in food insecure areas. In addition, WFP is providing food and cash assistance to more than 550,000 internally displaced people, refugees and returnees. Around 40% of children under the age of five are affected by stunting, while 9% of women are undernourished. WFP has been working with millers to fortify wheat flour in Afghanistan since 2006. USAID is WFP’s top donor in Afghanistan, providing almost 50% of WFP’s resources over the past five years.



France supports WFP cash programme for refugees in Tanzania

3 July 2017, Kasulu - The Government of France has contributed EUR 250,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) so that refugees in Tanzania can receive further cash assistance. Following a previous allocation of funds (EUR 750,000) last year, this contribution confirms the commitment of the French Government towards food security and inclusive approaches. In December 2016, WFP began distributing TSh 20,000 (US$9.00) each month to 10,000 refugees as part of a pilot programme, implemented in collaboration with partners including the Government of Tanzania and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). France’s contribution enables WFP to continue the cash programme for 10,000 refugees for an additional two months. Under the programme, refugees receive rations of fortified vegetable oil and porridge blend, while rations of maize meal, pulses and salt are replaced with cash. Before the launch of the cash programme, refugees were receiving only in-kind food assistance from WFP. According to a recent study, 98% of participating households prefer cash to food distributions while 83% said it improved their food consumption and dietary diversity.

Cash assistance has the added advantage of creating a stable market for local farmers and traders, while providing refugees and other beneficiaries freedom of choice in what they purchase, cook and feed their families.



Turkey contributes $20 million to support FAO’s work in Central Asia and the Caucasus

3 July 2017, Rome- Turkey has announced today a $20m donation to back FAO's work aimed at improving food security, rural development and natural resource management in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The announcement was made at a launch ceremony on the sidelines of FAO's governing Conference. With a financial contribution of $10 million from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Turkey has committed its support to the second phase of the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme initially launched in 2009. The second phase (2017-2020) will cover activities in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and beyond in the field of food security and nutrition, agricultural and rural development, protection and management of natural resources, agricultural policies and food safety. The $10 million first phase of the programme covering the 2009-16 period has strengthened capacities of farmers, foresters, pastoralists and national authorities in the region to implement modern and sustainable agricultural practices such as conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, livestock productivity and responsible fisheries management among others.



UN World Food Programme welcomes Japanese contribution to address food insecurity in Yemen

30 June 2017, Sana'a - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$4.5 million contribution from the Government of Japan, to help WFP fight the devastating food crisis in Yemen, building on the US$12.99 million grant contributed by Japan earlier this year. This latest contribution will allow WFP to meet the food needs of more than 760,000 desperately hungry people in Yemen through its general food assistance (GFA) programme, in addition to partly covering the monthly nutrition needs of more than 280,000 pregnant and nursing women across Yemen. More than 17 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are suffering from hunger in Yemen. This includes around 6.8 million people who are suffering from extreme hunger and more than one million pregnant and nursing women who are acutely malnourished and face an increased risk of death and disease. In Yemen, the needs are higher than ever and funding is urgently required to head off a disaster, especially with an escalating cholera outbreak.

WFP has been reaching some 4.5 million people on a monthly basis with life-saving assistance including people living in districts most at risk of tipping in to famine. During this year, WFP and its partners aim to provide food assistance to more than 9 million people suffering from extreme hunger and specialized nutritious foods to 2.9 million people mainly children under five years of age.



Pizza Hut surpasses 100 million pounds of food donated through harvest program

Pizza company created food donation program 25 years ago in partnership with Food Donation Connection to feed those in need

26 June 2017 Plano, Texas /CSRwire/ - Pizza Hut and community-based hunger relief organizations are celebrating a major milestone today: surpassing 100 million pounds of food donated by Pizza Hut to feed those in need locally and across the country. Since 1992, Pizza Hut restaurants have donated food to hunger relief organizations nationwide through its Harvest Program, a program originated by the company 25 years ago in partnership with Food Donation Connection (FDC). As many as one in eight Americans face food insecurity, while 30-40 percent of all food produced is thrown away even though much of it is safe to eat. One hundred million pounds of food is enough to provide a meal to 100 million people in need. It is enough to feed the 7.1 million people in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area each week for 14 weeks. (…) Pizza Hut restaurants donate to 2,500 organizations nationwide with the help of FDC, which links individual restaurants to hunger relief organizations. FDC was founded by former Pizza Hut executive Bill Reighard, who saw a need to help the company reduce food waste (…) and realized surplus food that was safe to eat should not be discarded but rather donated to local feeding organizations(…)



Saudi dates offer nutritional boost to three West African Nations

23 June 2017, Dakar - The United Nations World Food Programme welcomes the contribution, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of 250 metric tonnes of dates, worth US$ 650,000, which will give a nutritional boost to more than 130,000 hungry and vulnerable people in Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso this Ramadan season. Donated by the King Salman Humanitarian aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), the dates are being delivered to young students and malnourished children, refugees, people living with HIV and households facing extremely precarious conditions in the Sahel regions of the three West African nations.

In Chad, 72 tons of dates will benefit 20,000 primary school children in more than 150 schools in two western regions. In Mauritania, 130 tons of Saudi dates will help nearly 82,000 people, including vulnerable households whose children are receiving WFP’s specialized nutritional foods to fight malnutrition. In Burkina Faso, a further 48 tons of dates will benefit more than 25,000 Malian refugees, along with nearly 4,000 malnourished, HIV-positive people undergoing anti-retroviral treatment. The latest KSrelief contribution is one example of the steady support offered by Saudi Arabia to WFP’s mission to end hunger.



Australia announces funding to build community resilience in Cox’s Bazar

22 June 2017, Dhaka - The Australian Government has announced additional support of AUD3.9 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to improve nutrition and build community resilience in Cox’s Bazar. Undernutrition and food insecurity are at crisis levels in Cox’s Bazar and poverty is well above the national average. More than 30,000 people live in official refugee camps and more than one hundred thousand others are in makeshift camps or hosted in the community. These communities have also been affected by Cyclone Mora, which damaged shelters and destroyed food supplies. Australian funds have enabled WFP to respond in a timely manner to assist the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. Australian Government funding will deliver much-needed food assistance, including nutritionally-enriched foods to pregnant mothers and infants. The funds will also support income generation activities targeted at vulnerable women and female-headed households. Since 2013, the Australian Government has supported WFP’s work in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with assistance totalling AUD16.5 million.



Pope Francis donates to Caritas for South Sudan

By Caritas Internationalis

21June 2017 – The Vatican announced a donation from Pope Francis to Caritas for its work in South Sudan, along with support to two other Catholic groups working in the country. South Sudan has been declared free of famine, but almost 2 million people are on the brink of starvation and an estimated 6 million people will face extreme food insecurity in the coming weeks, according to reports by the government and the United Nations. Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are all affected by a food crisis in the region, while Yemen and Nigeria face famine unless urgent action is taken. Drought, economic collapse and conflict are driving hunger in South Sudan. (…) Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said that Pope Francis was signaling that much more needs to be done to end the suffering in South Sudan.(…) Pope Francis is offering €460,000 (more than $500,000) in aid for South Sudan, covering three projects:



Germany provides €28 million to support WFP cash assistance programme for conflict-affected Iraqis

19 June 2017, Baghdad - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a generous contribution of €28 million from the German Government, which will support food assistance to 275,000 displaced Iraqis in four governorates across the country. With this contribution, WFP will continue to use SCOPE, its system to manage food assistance for people receiving WFP support, in combination with financial services in Iraq such as mobile money. These systems will allow WFP to increase the scale and reach of cash-based transfers so that vulnerable Iraqis can buy the nutritious foods of their choice from local shops. Every month, families are notified via text message that their electronic credit allocation of around €15 per family member has been reloaded. Nearly 74,000 women and more than 128,000 children under the age of five will be assisted through this programme. Germany is one of WFP’s most important humanitarian partners. Since 2014, Germany has supported WFP in Iraq with €84 million, enabling a significant increase in food assistance for the most vulnerable Iraqis through ready-to-eat meals, monthly family food rations and cash-based transfers.




Peace and security


Historic agreement banning nuclear weapons a “victory for our shared humanity”, ICRC says

7 July 2017 Geneva (ICRC)–Over 120 countries today adopted a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons. The agreement comes at a time when the world has again been reminded of the threat of nuclear weapons. “Today, the world has taken an historic step towards de-legitimising these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons, which is a crucial basis for their future elimination,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer speaking in Geneva. The ICRC has actively participated in the negotiations at the United Nations in New York which adopted the treaty. It advocated that the treaty recognize the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, that it be based on international humanitarian law, and that it contain a clear and unambiguous prohibition. The treaty adopted on Friday meets these objectives. It provides a solid foundation for resisting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and forges a path towards their eventual elimination. It will enter into force when 50 States have ratified the treaty, an effort that will be supported by the ICRC and Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world. The ICRC, along with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, have long called for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. In 1945, ICRC doctors were among the first to respond to the devastation following the use of atomic bombs in Japan.



Colombia: UN mission collects nearly all remaining weapons from FARC-EP

27 June 2017 – The peace effort in Colombia today reached a milestone, with nearly all of the remaining number of weapons held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) turned over to the United Nations for registering and storing. The UN political mission in the country today confirmed that “on 20 June the third phase of the laying down of individual weapons of the FARC-EP combatants was initiated.” The lay down is in compliance with the timeline agreed to between the Government and FARC-EP on 29 May, part of the historic deal that ended the half-century long conflict. The arms laydown process – a major component in the peace agreement – includes five distinct steps including: registration and identification of weapons, monitoring and verification of the holding of weapons, reception and storage of arms, neutralization of arms (to ensure that they will never again be used as firearms), and extraction of arms from camps.



Mozambique: Residual mines cleared

by Ingebjørg Sørenes

Norwegian People’s Aid is proud to announce that we have finished clearing mines at the Mozambique

27 June 2017 – Tanzania border. After more than 20 years of humanitarian demining, the country has declared itself mine-free. - Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) was one of the first humanitarian demining operators in Mozambique, and has been an instrumental part of this victory, says Programme Manager for Norwegian People’s Aid in Mozambique, Afedra Robert Iga. Mozambique went through civil war from 1977 to 1992. After the war, mines and explosives were buried all over the country. In December 1997, Mozambique was one of the first countries to sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.(…) In September 2015, Mozambique completed its obligations to the mine Ban Treaty, and was officially declared free of landmines. This also marked the end of proactive humanitarian demining efforts in the country. But only half a year later, after two suspected mine accidents, more mines and explosive remnants of war were discovered in the district of Nangade on the border to Tanzania. Mozambique used to be one of the most mine affected countries in the world, and residual minefields are not uncommon on territories with such a serious contamination problem, Iga explains. Following the discoveries of new minefields, the Mozambique National Demining Institute (IND) requested Norwegian People’s Aid to undertake clearance activities in 2017. Through a combination of non-technical survey, technical survey and manual clearance NPA discovered and destructed 115 antipersonnel mines and 3 UXO.(…)



Western Sahara: the Polisario Front announces the destruction of its remaining stockpiles of anti-personnel mines

12June 2017 – The Polisario Front recently announced the destruction of its remaining stockpiles of anti-personnel (AP) mines. At a meeting with Geneva Call in April, the President and Minister of Defence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic presented a calendar to destroy the thousands of AP mines still in their possession. The stockpiles will be destroyed in three steps by the end of October 2018. Geneva Call was informed of the number of AP mines to be destroyed and will facilitate and monitor their destruction with the support of experts and mine action organizations. These destructions will complete a process started in 2005 when the Polisario Front signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning AP mines. The Polisario Front also conducted activities to raise awareness among the population on the risks related to AP mines, facilitated demining operations, and supported victims through specialized organizations in compliance with its commitment. The Polisario Front has been engaged in an independence struggle for Western Sahara since 1973. After years of fighting, the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991. However, the status of the territory is still a subject of dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

As a result of the conflict, Western Sahara is heavily contaminated by landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive weapons of war (ERW). It is divided by a 2,700-kilometre long earthen wall, known as the ʻbermʼ, which was fortified with millions of landmines threatening lives of hundreds thousands Sahrawi and Moroccan civilians .






Democratic Republic of Congo: MSF provides emergency medical care in conflict-affected Kasai region

5July 2017 – In response to the conflict in the Greater Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided free emergency and routine medical care to 4,200 patients in and around Kananga city (Kasai Central province) and in Tshikapa (Kasai province). A third of these were victims of violence. One hundred and seven trauma patients have been admitted to the MSF-managed trauma wing of Kananga’s general hospital. Half of those hospitalised were suffering from gunshot wounds, and another 15 per cent from other violent trauma (such as knife and machete wounds). MSF fully rehabilitated the hospital’s trauma wing and increased its capacity from 25 to 49 beds by building a new extension. The service is now fully managed by MSF staff, both international and Congolese, as a self-contained, independent structure within the public hospital. All MSF’s medical services  are free of charge. Since the second week of June, the organisation has been working in the urban part of Tshikapa (Kasai province), supporting three health centres and one hospital in different areas of the city. MSF is providing medical and humanitarian assistance to susceptible groups in the area, such as children under five years of age, pregnant and lactating women, the wounded, and those in medical and surgical emergency situations. Between 8 June and 2 July, MSF treated 266 malnourished children through one inpatient and two outpatient therapeutic feeding centres.



Strength in Diversity

Muslim and Christian women work together to prevent dengue fever in Indonesia

By Rotary International

23June 2017 – In a world where intolerance and violence fueled by religious differences are seemingly increasing, one Rotary club in Indonesia is showing how diversity can help prevent a pandemic threat. When the Rotary Club of Solo Kartini in Surakarta, Indonesia, formed 25 years ago, its members drew criticism from the predominantly Muslim community. The club’s members were mostly Christians, atypical for a country where more than 80 percent of the population is Muslim. Religious leaders were skeptical of Rotary’s secular mission and wary of intrusion. Undeterred, the club started recruiting more members. Today, the 72-member, all-female club includes both Muslims and Christians. And the effort they have put into breaking down barriers and fostering respect and understanding among club members has reinforced the club’s capacity to address dengue fever, one of the biggest public health threats in tropical cities like Surakarta. Dengue fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitos that flourish in tropical urban environments like Surakarta. There is no effective treatment; once infected, victims experience sudden high fevers, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Launching an effective public health initiative to prevent the disease requires volunteers with deep knowledge and connections to the community who can craft specific and sustainable solutions.(…) In collaboration with the Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut, USA, and the local ministry of health in Surakarta, the Muslim and Christian club members have been able to help reduce the risk for dengue fever by interrupting the breeding cycles of carrier mosquitos.  The first step was to implement a startlingly simple, low-cost strategy: line the dark cement bathtubs, common in Indonesian households, with white tiles so mosquito larvae is easier to see – and remove. In five years, the club project modified more than 3,500 tubs in two neighborhoods. But tiles weren’t enough. The club needed to change habits and behaviors that contribute to infections, which required building trust to educate the community.(…) Community social workers teach homeowners how to empty and scrub infested tubs twice a week, close the lid on water containers, and bury waste that can collect water (…)




Energy and safety



USA - Energy Department announces nearly $9 million for small businesses focused on clean energy innovations

July 2017 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $8.7 million for 58 grants to small businesses in 22 states to develop clean energy technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These clean energy projects—among a total of 263 grants DOE-wide—help small businesses with promising ideas that could improve manufacturing processes, boost building efficiency, increase transportation sustainability, and generate more electricity from renewable sources.



ADRA and Grundfos partner to bring safe, sustainable water access to 1.5 million people

23 June 2017 Silver Spring, Maryland (June 23, 2017)—The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International today announced a new partnership with global water technology leader Grundfos in an initiative that will provide access to clean water to 1.5 million people in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and South Pacific over the next five years. The partnership aims to improve and save lives by using renewable energy and water innovation technologies to provide more efficient and sustainable water access than more traditional methods. Several upcoming projects will start using Grundfos products, including single solar panel-powered water pumps to replace hand pumps and automated water dispensers, similar to ATM machines, which dispense water at the swipe of a pre-charged card. Water projects will focus on underserved populations, in particular those in peri-urban communities. Utilizing Grundfos’ solar-power technology, ADRA has created an innovative water kiosk model where customers can get clean water, purchase hygiene supplies and other basic household items from a menu, connect to Wi-Fi, and learn more about various hygiene topics through videos displayed on digital screens at the front of the kiosks. These kiosks will not only provide services to the community, but also generate revenue for the entrepreneurs who will own them, as well as create jobs. ADRA plans to install the first of these water kiosks in southwestern Haiti this summer, providing greater access to water for communities still recovering from Hurricane Matthew’s devastation. Water kiosks are also planned for 2017 in Mozambique, recently hit by an El Niño-induced drought, and Nepal where safe water access is still needed in areas affected by the country’s devastating 2015 earthquake.




Environment and wildlife


FAO and Italy’s Carabinieri join forces for the protection of the environment, forests, biodiversity

14 June 2017, Rome– Italy’s Carabinieri police force and FAO have agreed to strengthen cooperation in protecting the environment and biodiversity, the sustainable management of wildlife resources and the safeguarding of forests, including combating illegal logging. The partnership comes after the incorporation, as of January 2017, of the former Italian State Forestry Corps into the Carabinieri, giving the latter responsibility for the protection of Italy’s forests and its ecological resources, together with that of contrasting illicit agri-food activities.  The partnership with FAO aims to facilitate and enhance the exchange of technical knowledge and expertise, to foster institutional capacity development, technology and experience transfer with each other, and with other countries. According to today,’s agreement joint FAO - Carabinieri activities could involve exchange of experts, training and study visits, joint seminars and conferences and exchange of technical knowledge and information. Apart from Government officials other, non-state actors, including NGOs, civil society organizations, academia and research institutions, the private sector, producers’ organizations and cooperatives may also participate in the activities.



New satellite imaging to better forecast locust plagues. Scientists from the European Space Agency collaborate with FAO to control Desert Locusts

14 June 2017, Rome - Information from satellites is being used in a new way to predict favourable conditions for Desert Locust swarms, as part of an early warning collaboration by scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Desert Locust experts at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The new technology will help to increase the warning time for locust outbreaks by up to two months. Using data from satellites such as ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission (SMOS), a new tool has been developed to monitor the conditions that can lead to swarming locusts, such as soil moisture and green vegetation. Swarming occurs when a period of drought is followed by good rains and rapid vegetation growth. The new tool was validated in Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco. Using the example of Mauritania's last outbreak in 2016, the team was able to identify a time lag of about 70 days from the initial signs of soil moisture to when the outbreak eventually occurred. The additional early warning will allow more time for national authorities to prepare for control measures when facing future outbreaks. More than 8 million people were affected in West Africa during the 2003-2005 plague in which cereal crops were wiped out and up to 90 percent of legumes and pasture were destroyed.




Religion and spirituality


EUROPE/SPAIN - 50 years at the service of the evangelization of the world of work

5 July 2017 - Avila (Agenzia Fides) - "Land, Roof and Work for a dignified life" is the motto of the International Seminar and the General Assembly of the World Catholic Movement Workers (WCMW) which will be held in Spain from July 15-21, at the University of Mystic in Avila. 120 delegates representing Catholic movements of workers from 42 countries will gather in the University. This is a very important moment in the history of WCMW, as it celerates 50 years of commitment with the evangelization of the world of work.



EUROPE/ITALY - White Sisters: messengers of hope, listening to the Spirit, towards the outskirts

30 June 2017 - Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA), known as "White Sisters", open their 25th General Chapter in Rome on Saturday, July 1st.

For three weeks, they will reflect on the challenges posed today by the mission to the Congregation under the theme "Messengers of Hope, listening to the voice of the Spirit, going forth towards the outskirts". During the Chapter, the new General Council will be elected. According to the note sent to Agenzia Fides, the Congregation was founded in 1869 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, one year after the Missionary Society of African Missionaries (White Fathers). The religious women are currently 633, from 32 nations, engaged in 26 in countries, 14 in Africa: Mauritania, Tunisia, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. The charisma of the Congregation is the evangelization of the peoples of Africa, expressed in various fields: education, pastoral care, health, justice and peace, the integrity of creation, interreligious dialogue, especially with believers of Islam. (SL)



AMERICA/MEXICO - In the face of growing violence, the Church creates a body to build peace

27 June 2017 - Morelia (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Church in the state of Michoacan has created a body responsible for coordinating and promoting pastoral actions with special attention to building peace, because despite the efforts of the government, violence and insecurity have increased, and this requires a global strategy and the participation of all. In a statement sent to Fides, the Archdiocese of Morelia informs that this body aims to form consciences, develop methodologies and propose a permanent formation, in addition to coordinating the communication and co-operation of civil society leaders for social transformation.



Happy International Yoga Day

21 June 2017 – Is a day of connection, celebration, and action. Yoga transcends all boundaries of religion, colour, caste and creed. Yoga is a truly spiritual discipline which helps to promote good health and wellbeing. As a technique for transforming the body, and mind, Yoga can contribute to peace, love and light for all. Each year the entire globe unifies in honor of this ancient system of health and wellbeing.




Culture and education


Sites in Cambodia, China and India added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

8 July 2017 - The World Heritage Committee this afternoon inscribed three cultural sites in Cambodia, China and India.The sites added, in order of inscription are:

Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura (Cambodia)

The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7thcenturies CE. The vestiges of the city cover an area of 25 square kilometres and include a walled city centre as well as numerous temples, ten of which are octagonal, unique specimens of their genre in southeast Asia.

Kulangsu: A historic international settlement (China)

Kulangsu is a tiny island located on the estuary of the Chiu-lung River, facing the city of Xiamen. With the opening of a commercial port at Xiamen in 1843, and the establishment of the island as an international settlement in 1903, this island off the southern coast of the Chinese empire suddenly became an important window for Sino-foreign exchanges. Kulangsu is an exceptional example of the cultural fusion that emerged from these exchanges, which remain legible in its urban fabric.

Historic City of Ahmadabad (India)

The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.



Football for Friendship 2017: kids kick the ball to change the world

7 July 2017 - 12 years old boys and girls from 64 countries came to St. Petersburg to take part in the fifth edition of the Football for Friendship program organized by Gazprom. Those youngsters believe, if you want to change the world for the better just kick the ball. Pakistan and India, Egypt and Iran, Syria and Turkey: united in the International teams of Friendship those kids show that different cultures, languages and traditions are not an obstacle for the fair play. And every single player came to Russia with a big dream. May be those kids one day will become football stars, but fro sure, the light of this experience will show them the way into the better world.



Documentary Filmmaking Project Trains Yemeni Youth

7 July 2017 - Laqta (footage) is a project that trains youth on producing short documentaries that promote tolerance, respect, understanding, moderation and religious freedom in Yemen. Yemen is a country torn by war; thousands of civilians have been killed, some of the country's precious heritage has been destroyed, and many infectious diseases are spreading rapidly across the country.Despite the fact that the Yemeni civil war is less about sectarianism, and more about problems of state governance and just resource distribution, religion has been exploited by political powers to serve their agendas. This has led to sectarian divisions. Amid this turmoil, Youth of Peace decided to launch this initiative to fight sectarianism by promoting tolerance, respect, and understanding.



Advancing early learning quality and outcomes

6 July 2017 - The Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes (MELQO) initiative established in 2014 set out to address the need for a global population-based measure that could be contextually adapted in low and middle- income countries. The MELQO initiative has been a joint effort between UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and Brookings Institution. The SDG target on early childhood development, care and education (Target 4.2) reaffirms the importance of early childhood development and learning for later school achievement, health and well-being of children. It also marks an important shift of how child development is measured since until recently the focus has largely been placed on health-related indicators. The attention that the SDG 4 agenda in early childhood is a call for stepping-up measurement efforts in early childhood development and learning and improving sources of data.



UNESCO launches book on protecting journalists and combatting impunity

30 June 2017 - Although attacks on journalists continue unabated, there are examples of successful grassroots and global efforts to stem this tide. The book launch took place amidst a gathering of over 100 participants during the Multistakeholder Consultation on Strengthening the Implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity held on 29 June in Geneva.The gathering included UN special rapporteurs on various aspects of freedom of expression, UNESCO and OHCHR Member States, professional associations, media, academia and other key non-UN actors.The book brings alive 22 stories of courageous efforts at protecting journalists and putting a stop to the prevailing culture of impunity.



Quality education for all at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals

27 June 2017 - The President of the United Nations General Assembly is convening a High-Level Event on Education on 28 June 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to drive efforts and raise awareness on inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. The event seeks to highlight the growing momentum around the implementation of SDG 4, including in the area of SDG Learning. It also aims to shed light on the obstacles and opportunities for achieving universal access to quality education and lifelong learning including through technical and vocational education and training. 



Future Makers, 100 talents from Italian universities

19 June 2017 - Twelve thousand young people met in all the Italian universities, two thousand applica-tions received, 100 excellent, talented and highly motivated students, equally divided between men...

Twelve thousand young people met in all the Italian universities, two thousand applications received, 100 excellent, talented and highly motivated students, equally divided between men and women, selected from the thirty most renowned Italian universities. This is the identikit of the profiles detected by The Boston Consulting Group for the second edition of “The Future Makers”, the project, born to provide to 100 young Italian talents from all the Italian universities the tools to strengthen their leadership and prepare them to be the next Italian ruling class, that will be presented from June 19th to 22nd in the milanese BCG headquarters.



Morocco: The International Festival of Amazigh Culture from 14 to 16 July in Fez

15 June 2017 -The 13th edition of the international festival of Amazigh culture will take place from 14 to 16 July in Fez under the theme “Amazighity and cultural diversity in the face of extremism”. Initiated by the Fès-Saiss Association and the Center Sud Nord in partnership with the Esprit Foundation of Fez, the Fès-Meknes region, the BMCE Foundation and the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), this event promotes coherent strategies for the consolidation of intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and the strengthening of democratic culture.This international festival, which has become an unmissable event, is part of actions and efforts to promote Amazigh culture through the enhancement of Amazigh intangible heritage, cultural diversity and their contributions to the culture of peace. The 12th edition of the International Festival of Amazigh Culture was initiated under the theme “Amazighité and the Mediterranean cultures: Living together”.




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Next issue: 15 September 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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