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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. 262 – 17 November 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


Reinforcing the contributions of indigenous and traditional knowledge to the Paris Agreement

7 November 2017 - During this joint UN side event to the COP23 conference on Climate change, speakers will present case studies that illustrate the contributions of indigenous and traditional knowledge to advancing adaptation, mitigation, learning and development. It will also be an opportunity to learn about innovative partnerships between the UN System and indigenous peoples. This event is informal contribution to the 10 year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and anniversary and to the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIP) discussion.



Implementing Education 2030 in Ibero-American States

3 November 2017 - IIEP is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement of cooperation with the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI). It took place in the presence of Suzanne Grant Lewis, the Director of IIEP, and Paulo Speller, the Secretary General of OEI, who visited IIEP on 2 November 2017. IIEP looks forward to pursing joint efforts aimed at implementing the Education 2030 agenda. Under the agreement, IIEP and OEI will work together to:




Human rights


UN, partners building roads to reach Rohingya refugees camped in muddy, flood-prone terrain

10 November 2017 – The United Nations migration agency and its partners are rushing to build roads in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar to improve humanitarian access to hilly terrain, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have settled in makeshift camps. The sites where the Rohingyas have settled are desperately overcrowded and located on inhospitable terrain with insufficient drainage and little or no road access, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.



Champions of Change. Human rights defenders, at the forefront of development and democracy

9 November 2017 - Human rights defenders, including women and LGBTI defenders, are grassroots champions of change, and crucial pivotal actors in the drive to tackle the crises faced by the international community. In order to address the root causes of crises such as the spread of conflict - which result in forced displacement and refugee movements - radicalisation and environmental breakdown, we must provide support to those who are active on the ground fighting for positive change and inclusive development. Human rights defenders across the world often put their lives and well-being on the line to push for democratic governance, sustainable development, gender equality and poverty reduction. According alerts issued by four international human rights organizations, in 2017, more than 650 defenders have faced severe attacks and threats, and at least 400 have been subject to judicial harassment. Democracy and human rights are only possible when courageous individuals and communities are willing to stand up for them. This is what makes defenders a central keystone to development, peace-building, democratisation, and resilience.



Sudan: African Commission for Human Rights - Sudan Keen to Improve Human Rights Situation

8 November 2017 - Banjul — The African Commission for Human Rights and Nations has lauded the Sudan's earnest efforts for the improvement of situations of the human rights in the country.

This came during the commission's 61 session currently holding meetings during the period from 1-15 of current November, in the Gambian capital Banjul, in which the Sudan is participating with a delegation including members from the Advisory Council of Human Rights, and number of the national civil society organization concerned with human rights in the Sudan. The Sudan's delegation has introduced statement in which it tackled the efforts exerted for the enhancement of the human rights in implementation to the outcomes of the national dialogue that has included 198 recommendations related to boosting human rights in the country.



Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

Text by: Education International

20October 2017  –(…)Launched by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Bharat Yatra, A March to End Sexual Abuse and Trafficking of Children, covered more than 11,000 km across 22 States and Union Territories from 11 September to 16 October. “What our children are facing is not an ordinary crime. This is a moral epidemic haunting our country as well as the rest of the world. We cannot accept it. We have to break our silence as a nation. We have to raise our voice and unite as a nation,” said Satyarthi. Delhi was the final leg of the journey where Satyarthi spoke before thousands of students across the city as they pledged to support the campaign. Joining him for the end of the march was Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, a long-time friend and supporter (….) Keeping children safe in India is an immense challenge. The campaign let it be known that every day 40 children are raped while another 48 are sexually abused and hundreds of thousands have been trafficked for nefarious reasons. The campaign is focused on urging the government to take greater steps to ensure that children’s safety is a top priority. Together, people from all walks of life, from business and policy, teachers and women’s groups to faith leaders, children and parents have taken part.



In Cameroon, former hostages of Boko Haram find safety and build resilience -

17 October 2017 - Women refugees find safe spaces to network, learn new skills and recover from the trauma of war and sexual violence in two Women Cohesion Spaces (WCS) supported by UN Women in Cameroon and funded by the Government of Japan and the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (MSB). Many have regained their health after spending several months as hostages.



COSTA RICA - The 3rd ITUC World Women’s Assembly, being held in Costa Rica from 11 - 13 October, brings together 200 women trade union activists

10 October 2017 - The 3rd ITUC World Women’s Conference/Women’s Organizing Assembly is an important opportunity for women trade unionists from around the world to gather and strategize to advance gender equality and equity in the world of work. The Assembly takes place at a crucial time for women workers. We are living through a persistent global economic and jobs crisis, worsening impacts of climate change, deepening social and economic inequalities in many parts of the world, and the rise of populist misogyny and nationalism. Trade union organizing and activism is all the more important if we are to change course and create the future we want for ourselves, for our families and for our communities. The four priority themes, shaped around the ITUC’s Count Us In! campaign, are: Peace, freedom and democracy; the future of women at work; economic and social justice for women; ending gender-based violence in the world of work. The methodology of the Organizing Assembly will be highly participatory, placing art, activism, education, and culture at the heart of organizing.




Economy and development


FAO launches new Climate-Smart Agriculture web platform

10 November 2017, Rome -FAO has produced a new sourcebook for how to implement "climate-smart" approaches to agriculture, launched today at the Agriculture Action Day on the sidelines of the COP23 climate summit in Bonn. The online Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook- Second Edition 2017 is the result of one of FAO's major areas of work that comes on the heels of the recently launched FAO's Climate Change Strategy. It comprises a wide range of knowledge and expertise to help guide policy makers, programme managers, academics, extension services and other practitioners make the agricultural sectors more sustainable and productive while also contributing to food security and lower carbon intensity. Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) has garnered increasing attention. Some 32 countries, half of them Least-Developed Countries, and three-fourths of them in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically refer to CSA in their Nationally Determined Contributions to achieving pledges made under the Paris Agreement.  Climate-Smart Agriculture is one of the approaches to steer the needed transformation in the world's agriculture and food systems in ways that are both productive and sustainable and contribute to adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. The Sourcebook  focuses on production issues related to crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture and integrated systems, as well as on the use of resources such as water, soils and land, genetic resources and energy. Food systems and value chains are also incorporated as potential areas for optimization, while factors such as gender and social protection are also considered.



Climate-smart agriculture benefits marine ecosystems and coastal communities - New IFAD report

9 November 2017, Bonn – Coastal communities and marine ecosystems can benefit from climate-smart agriculture practices, according to the findings of a new report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Marine Advantage – Empowering coastal communities, safeguarding marine ecosystems, a study of IFAD’s experience in improving the lives of coastal communities, shows that climate-smart agriculture can also have knock-on benefits for marine ecosystems. Sustainable development in the agriculture sector, including aquaculture, can reduce human pressures on marine ecosystems, which are vulnerable to overfishing, ocean acidification and coral bleaching. The research shows that as well as measures that directly tackle problems facing marine ecosystems, such as clearing up litter and mangrove restoration, more environmentally friendly agriculture on land can also reduce chemical run-off and pollution that otherwise seeps into coastal waters and therefore damages coral reefs and ultimately the fisheries and tourism potential of coastal communities. The report includes examples of where IFAD is protecting coastal communities from dwindling fish catches (Djibouti), improving policy and planning frameworks in a Small Island Developing State (Comoros), and helping small island coastal communities to seize precious opportunities for better livelihoods as well as contribute to carbon sequestration through seaweed harvesting (West Papua)



ECUADOR - UN agriculture agency launches handbook to improve safety in banana farming sector

8 November 2017 – The United Nations agriculture agency and the Government of Ecuador launched Wednesday a practical guide for workers in the banana sector – the most exported fresh fruit in the world, both by volume and by economic value – to promote healthier and safer work conditions. Presented on Wednesday, at the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum in Geneva, the publication outlines a series of recommendations for trainers and workers on how to manage banana farm risks and more safely carry out work. It includes a wide range of guidelines covering topics, including proper handling, storage and use of agrochemicals/pesticides; measures for adequate personal protection, including first aid in emergency situations; ergonomic risk information; and ways to stop gender-related violence and other human rights abuses. The conference brought together over 300 representatives from the banana sector along with other stakeholders, including UN agencies, governments, importers, exporters, retailers, producers, consumer associations, trade unions and civil society organizations.



London - Coca-Cola in Western Europe sets ambitious new sustainability commitments on drinks, packaging and society

6 November 2017 - New Sustainability Action Plan, This is Forward, launched jointly by The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe and Coca-Cola European Partners plc Key commitments include: 50% of sales in Western Europe from low/no calorie drinks by 2025;100% collection of packaging and at least 50% recycled plastic for PET bottles by 2025;at least 40% of management positions held by women by 2025 .The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe and Coca-Cola European Partners (ticker: CCE) are today launching their first ever joint Sustainability Action Plan for WThis is Forward sets out how The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe and Coca-Cola European Partners will address some of the biggest issues in society by using their business and brands as a force for good, and with impact to meet complex global challenges. It has been developed through an in-depth consultation process with over 100 key stakeholders, governments, NGOs and customers, using insights from over 12,000 consumers across six countries and almost 1,000 Coca-Cola employees in Western Europe , This is Forward, with ambitious new commitments on drinks, packaging and society.



Access to Credit Brings New Opportunities to Mozambican Farmers

30October 2017 – Viriato Mamite, a horticultural farmer in Mozambique’s Maracuene district, had a hectare of land, but couldn’t make full use of it. (…) Most Mozambican smallholder farmers don’t have a valid identification document or bank account. Many also lack the collateral needed to qualify for loans. This integral step often impedes local farmers from turning their subsistence farming into lucrative agribusinesses. Farming inputs, such as seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation kits, can also be costly. Recognizing this stark reality, the LEAD project helped Viriato and others like him secure loans from Caixa Communitaria de Mozambique (CCOM), a local financial institution. The LEAD project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers like Viriato in Mozambique’s Boane, Marracuene, and Namaacha districts and Zona Verde in Maputo Province. To do so, the project facilitates the relationship between smallholder farmers and CCOM by offering trainings and technical assistance. This support helps farmers improve their production and business volume, while ensuring CCOM receives high repayment rates and returns on loans.



Feed the Future and ACDI/VOCA to Boost Kenyan Livestock Sector and Resilience

23 October 2017 Washington, D.C. — ACDI/VOCA is pleased to announce a new partnership with USAID under the Feed the Future-funded Kenya Livestock Market Systems (LMS) activity, to strengthen people’s resilience to climate shocks and reduce poverty, hunger, and chronic undernutrition. The LMS activity will build local capacity and transform the livestock sector by catalyzing economic growth among pastoralist communities in northern Kenya. As part of Feed the Future, the United States Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, this activity will build a more inclusive and competitive livestock value chain in the Feed the Future zone of Kenya’s arid lands. The activity will strengthen institutions, systems, and governance. ACDI/VOCA will establish an effective management platform that maximizes the capacity of local actors and economic growth in the livestock sector. Its Leader project will conduct joint strategizing and work planning for sequenced, layered, and integrated action across projects and with other key actors. ACDI/VOCA will also facilitate resource-sharing and exchanges among counties and implementing partners.






Papal gift helps hungry families in South Sudan

13 November 2017, Yei/South Sudan- Hungry families in South Sudan will be able to make ends meet thanks to vegetable-growing kits funded by a donation from Pope Francis.
Around 5,000 families, or more than 30,000 people, in Yei in Central Equatoria have benefited from the recent €25,000 contribution from the Pope to FAO. The money is used to provide the kits and agricultural hand tools in an area where livelihoods such as farming have been wiped out by fighting.The kits will provide seven fast-growing vegetable varieties to increase families’ access to nutritious foods and bridge the food gap between the cereal harvests. In Central Equatoria,145,000 people are facing emergency levels of food insecurity, which is one step below famine on the internationally-agreed scale of hunger crises. The extent of hunger is repeated many times over in other communities across South Sudan because fighting has destroyed livelihoods and constrained aid agencies' access, and because hyperinflation has put food out of reach for many. FAO's team in South Sudan is focusing on strengthening food security by improving livelihoods. FAO has provided fishing, crop- and vegetable-growing kits to more than 4.2 million people, to support them to grow or catch their own food. FAO has also vaccinated and treated more than 4.8 million livestock, to protect these livelihood assets for vulnerable families.



Republic of Korea contribution provides WFP food assistance for Syrian refugees in Iraq

9 November 2017, Baghdad - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a contribution of US$1.5 million from the Republic of Korea that will provide food assistance for some 30,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for two months. This contribution will allow WFP to provide food assistance to Syrian families that have sought refuge in Iraq. Through electronic food cards that WFP provides to vulnerable people in Iraq, each family member will receive US$19 per month to purchase the food they prefer from local shops. In addition to allowing for greater choice in their diets, this programme injects cash into the local economy, which benefits shops and producers with increased demand for their products. Since 2014, the Republic of Korea has provided US$4.8 million in support of WFP food assistance for Syrian refugees in Iraq.



Life-saving Chinese contribution to WFP’s efforts in Niger to support victims of Boko Haram crisis

9 November 2017, Niamey - The people of China made a much-needed contribution of $1 million USD to contribute to WFP’s emergency operations that aim to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable in the Diffa region, including refugees, returnees, host populations and internally displaced persons. China’s contribution fuels WFP’s effort to stabilize the nutrition situation of children through prevention programmes targeting more than 16.000 children under 2 years old. In Diffa, in August 2017, more than four out of ten children suffered from chronic malnutrition and 17.5% from acute malnutrition. WFP provides fortified food products to that effect and supports malnutrition testing during distributions. This contribution will also help to ensure the food needs of men and women through food distributions. In Diffa, in September 2017, almost 200.000 people were not able to tell what their next meal would be made of. Populations will receive food rations providing up to 2.100 calories per person and per day made of cereals, pulses, fortified food for kids, oil and salt. Thanks to the people of China, WFP can pursue its goal of providing life-saving support to households in Niger directly affected by insecurity in the Lake Chad basin and make sure they are not being forgotten.



Daddy Yankee Helps Families in Caguas, Puerto Rico by Distributing Shelter Repair Kits with Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children

7 November 2017 Fairfield, Conn. (November 7, 2017)— Puerto Rico native, rapper, producer and "Despacito" singer Daddy Yankee joined volunteers in Caguas today to distribute shelter repair kits to families. Yankee’s work with Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children is part of his commitment to help Puerto Rico rebuild following Hurricane Maria. He has pledged to donate $250,000 and raise an additional $1.5 million for the recovery. "I’m proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children as we distribute these kits that will help families make immediate repairs to their homes as we prepare for long-term repairs. Please visit habitat.org/daddyyankee to join this recovery." Yankee said.

The shelter repair kits are the first phase of Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat Hammers Back hurricane recovery initiative in Puerto Rico. Habitat has pledged to assist more than 6,000 families in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida following the devastation of the hurricanes this year.  Save the Children is leading the distribution of the shelter repair kits in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. In all locations, Save the Children is helping alleviate immediate needs, restore access to critical child care and education services, and help children overwhelmed by the emergencies to rebound and become more resilient.



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

26 October 2017, Kabul - The World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a US$24 million contribution from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support food assistance to highly vulnerable Afghans affected by conflict, displacement, natural disasters, and seasonal hunger. The contribution will allow WFP to provide assistance to more than 1.67 million Afghans, particularly women and children with cash-based transfer and locally procured food.In 2017, thanks to the support of donors like the United States, 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.



Caritas gets food to Rohingya refugees

By Harriet Paterson

12October 2017 – Caritas has swung into action getting food and cooking utensils to Rohingya refugees as of 8 October, after receiving clearance from the Bangladesh authorities. In the first phase of an emergency response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, the Caritas Bangladesh team of 40 staff and numerous volunteers are reaching 1200-1600 families per day with food staples of pulses, oil, salt and sugar, plus household utensils like cups and plates. Each family receives enough food to last two weeks, along with rice that is being distributed by the World Food Programme. The team will get aid to 60,000 refugees in the space of four days in this initial delivery of humanitarian aid. (…) The number of Rohingya refugees who have arrived in Bangladesh over the last month after fleeing violence in Myanmar now stands at 519,000 (as of 8 October, IOM).(…) In this rapidly escalating crisis, Caritas Bangladesh has experts in health, education and child protection in the camps assessing the most critical needs so that aid is focused on the most urgent cases. International Caritas member organizations are preparing a joint four-month response with a forecast budget estimated at 2.7 million euros. Under plans now being drafted, these emergency funds will be used to dig wells to provide safe water, and build bath houses and latrines, alongside sturdy shelters for families. Caritas will also set up two mobile health clinics to help women like Pormion and undernourished children with medical treatment and supplementary feeding (…)




Peace and security


UN Women convenes Champions group to support Women, Peace and Security agenda

27 October 2017 - To amplify the voices of women, women human rights defenders and women’s organizations in conflict-affected settings, UN Women has convened a group of 12 Champions on Women, Peace and Security and Human Rights. The Champions will advise UN Women on emerging issues for peace and security, and advocate for gender equality and women’s human rights in conflict-affected settings.



After 13 Years, UN Peacekeeping Mission Closes Doors in Haiti

16 October 2017- The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which aimed to bring stability to a politically chaotic Haiti of 2004, will transfer power to the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), a much smaller successor mission that is going to assist the government on security issues. “Haiti is now in a position to move forward and consolidate the stability that has been obtained, as a framework for continued social and economic development,” Sandra Honoré, the head of MINUSTAH, said in a recent interview with UN News.



«Dance or Die» : a syrian dancer at the ZUP show in Geneva

7October 2017 – On Thursday 5 October Ahmad Joudeh participated in the show ZUP at the Plainpalais skate park, in partnership with Geneva Call. He opened this evening dedicated to war victims, with his solo “Sacrifice” that he has performed for the first time. Ahmad is known to have danced in war-torn Syria and in particular, one year ago in the ruins of Palmyra. “(…) Even during war, art is still there and constitutes a sign of hope. Ahmad perfectly illustrates that, not only is he a talented artist but he is also extremely courageous. His combat to promote human dignity in Syria joins the one that Geneva Call is conducting to protect populations affected by armed conflict (…)” said Elisabeth Decrey Warner, Geneva Call’s Executive President. Ahmad now lives in the Netherlands after the director of the Dutch National Ballet noticed him in the documentary “Dance or Die”, as the motto he had tattooed in Sanskrit on his neck. “Dancing in the ruins of Palmyra was an experience that changed my life and that, I hope, raised awareness about the role of art during war and about the conditions of the populations in Syria and other countries affected by war. Knowing that people outside the country have us in mind is already a support. I’m proud to carry this message of hope together with Geneva Call at this special evening in Geneva” said Ahmad Joudeh.



New WFP-NDMA tool ranks vulnerability to food insecurity and natural hazards in Districts of Pakistan

18 October 2017, Islamabad - A new tool jointly launched by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan will support interventions related to food security and natural disasters in the country. The “Integrated Context Analysis on Vulnerability to Food Insecurity and Natural Hazards of Pakistan”, or ICA, uses existing data to identify the combined level of recurrence of vulnerability to food insecurity, flood and drought, and categorize districts into five levels of vulnerability. ICA also ranks the recurrence level of other natural hazards and contextual factors which may aggravate the impact of floods and drought on food security. The analysis is intended to inform programmes of the government and other agencies in the areas of social safety nets, disaster risk reduction, early warning systems and disaster preparedness. The ICA was conducted in 2017 under the leadership of the NDMA, and with the involvement of relevant ministries, PDMAs, line departments, technical institutions, WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The report recommends activities such as year-round or seasonal safety nets focused on food security, comprehensive disaster risk reduction activities including infrastructure improvement or early warning and disaster preparedness, livelihood recovery programmes for each category.






Polio infrastructure helping stop malaria in Nigeria

8November 2017 – The people working to end polio are helping broader humanitarian response efforts in north-eastern Nigeria. With malaria currently claiming more lives than all other diseases put together, a campaign was launched in October to reduce the malaria burden among young children in Borno state by delivering antimalarial medicines. At the same time, community health workers protected children against polio. “The current campaign marks the first time that antimalarial medicines have been delivered on a mass scale alongside the polio vaccine in an emergency humanitarian setting,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the Global Malaria Programme. The humanitarian crisis in north-eastern Nigeria has resulted in a surge in internally displaced persons, with limited access to medical care, leaving millions at risk of life-threatening diseases. WHO’s well developed network of polio vaccinators is making a real difference to the drive against malaria. The polio programme in Nigeria has a vast infrastructure and hundreds of staff on the ground and they are coordinating efforts to make sure that families affected by the crisis have access to other healthcare services. As a result, the campaigns have reached 1.2 million children with polio vaccines and antimalarial medicines, as shown through a WHO photo story.



ICRC hands over 3 physical rehab centers to Indus Hospital Network

3November 2017 – Three years after they were set up, three physical rehabilitation centers have been handed over to the Indus Hospital Network by the ICRC. Over 14,000 people with disabilities have so far benefited from the free, state-of-the-art medical services provided at these centers, located in Lahore, Muzaffargarh and Karachi. The centers were established as part of a tripartite agreement between the ICRC, the Indus Hospital Network and the CHAL Foundation in 2014. All three provide modern rehabilitation services to people with disabilities. These include prosthetics, orthotics, physiotherapy and mobility devices like wheelchairs and crutches. The ICRC provided all the financial support – amounting to 170 million Pakistani rupees – to establish and run the centers from 2015 to mid-2017. It also offered scholarships and training opportunities to the technical staff, as well as importing a steady flow of raw materials for the production of artificial limbs. The CHAL Foundation handled the operational responsibilities, provided technical staff and medical personnel and organized on-the-job training sessions. Following the handover, the Indus Hospital Network will manage the three centers independently. However, the ICRC will continue to provide and bear the cost of the raw materials for the foreseeable future.



Niger: Preventing the spread of hepatitis E

1November 2017 – The spread of hepatitis E in Niger’s Diffa region has slowed since MSF began detecting and treating cases in early 2017, and the subsequent declaration of the outbreak by the Ministry of Health in mid-April 2017. The disease, which shares symptoms with other more common illnesses, doesn’t usually have serious consequences, but in pregnant women has a significantly higher fatality rate. Through a combination of active case finding, quicker diagnosis, a medical protocol, and working with the community through a network of volunteers, the case fatality rate has fallen. Dr Roamba, an MSF obstetrician and gynecologist, is treating patients with hepatitis E at the main mother and child health center in Diffa, southeastern Niger. MSF doctors first began to suspect that they were treating an unusual illness when people, mostly pregnant women, began to arrive at the hospital in early 2017 in a severe and often comatose state. Many did not survive. The waterborne disease, which affects the liver and can be fatal if not treated promptly, has never before been diagnosed in Diffa. But conflict in the region has led to more than 247,000 displaced people sheltering in sites along the border between Niger and Nigeria, where overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the sites provide an ideal environment for the spread of diseases like hepatitis E.



DSM, UNICEF, and Sight and Life partner to deliver better nutrition in Nigeria

30 October 2017, New York- Royal DSM, a global science company active in health and nutrition, UN children’s agency UNICEF, and Swiss-based humanitarian nutrition think tank Sight and Life today announced a new partnership to deliver better nutrition to at-risk children and mothers in Nigeria. Guided by the Sustainable Development Goal’s target of ending hunger and improving nutrition everywhere, the partnership will focus on reaching mothers and children with nutrition interventions during the crucial first 1,000 days of children’s lives, from conception to age 2. Good nutrition during this period plays a vital role in supporting children’s physical and cognitive development with lifelong benefits. Less than 20% of children in Nigeria are fed diets that meet the minimum adequacy for health growth and development and nearly 40% of children under 5 have stunted growth, a condition caused by malnutrition. DSM offers essential vitamins, nutrients, and fortification solutions as well as expertise that complements the research, programs, and global reach of UNICEF and Sight and Life. Together, the partners will develop scalable models and drive innovation to improve the quality of food and nutrition in Nigeria, with the goal of spurring similar action in other countries where malnutrition is a critical concern. The partners will also advocate on a global scale for best practices in micronutrient supplementation. The new partnership builds on joint activity by DSM and UNICEF from 2013-2015 that supported micronutrient powder (MNP) programs in Madagascar and Nigeria.



Mobile Circus Bringing Afghanistan Closer to Eradication

27 October 2017 – “I am the king of this village! Every child belongs to me and I will spread my poison to a new person every day,” screams the snake, bursting onto the stage. In the audience, children gasp and jump backwards, their eyes wide. Hamid, clutching his precious box of vaccines, attacks the snake, managing to defeat him. The crowd cheers. “Vaccinating your children will destroy this disease!” cries Hamid. “Make sure your whole village takes these droplets and you will see how strong you and your children can be.” This poisonous snake – mor zaharia as it’s called in Dari – represents the dangerous threat of polio, a disease that Afghanistan is fighting hard to eradicate. Hamid leads a touring youth circus group made up of children and teenagers from all across the capital, Kabul, who performs juggling, acrobatics and theatre routines for local audiences around the city and beyond. The circus was started 14 years ago by Mobile Mini Circus for Children and is supported by UNICEF. The circus enables the children who join to go to school every day and then practice circus skills at their center after school and on weekends. Part of their impressive performance includes passing on vital messages about healthcare and social issues to the audience, who may otherwise not have access to this information. (…) These conditions provide the perfect environment for communicable diseases like polio to spread; yet a simple oral vaccination, just two drops in the mouth, can bring a child closer to a life without polio.



Rotary gives $49.5 million to help eradicate polio and challenges the world to continue the fight to end the disease

17 October 2017 Evanston, Ill. — With just 12 confirmed polio cases so far in 2017, the world is on the brink of eradicating polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year. To recognize this historic progress, Rotary clubs worldwide will host events in conjunction with Rotary International’s fifth annual World Polio Day celebration on Oct. 24. This year, the event will be co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and held at the foundation’s headquarters in Seattle. The program will feature an update on the global fight to end polio and an array of guest speakers, celebrities, and public health experts.  “Rotary and its partners are closer than ever to eradicating polio,” says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, which leads the organization’s polio eradication efforts. Without full funding and political commitment to eradication, the disease could return to countries that are now polio-free and put children everywhere at risk.  Rotary started its polio eradication program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation later became a partner, too.




Energy and safety



Building Energy begins construction of its photovoltaic plant in Annapolis, Maryland

9 November 2017 - Building Energy SpA, multinational company operating as a global integrated IPP in the Renewable Energy Industry, announces the beginning of construction of the Annapolis Solar Park, a 18 MW photovoltaic system stretching over an 80-acre area occupied by a landfill in the City of Annapolis, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. (…) This solar park, that will use over 50,000 panels to convert sunlight into electricity, will be the largest solar project exclusively installed on a closed landfill in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Building Energy entirely owns the power plant and will operate the facility, the construction of which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.



Grand River Dam Authority dedicates New Power Generation Plant

30 October 2017 - Officials with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) dedicated its new power unit alongside partners, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and The Industrial Company. This third power unit is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. This new, high-efficiency combined cycle gas plant is fueled by Oklahoma's abundant supply of natural gas. The $500 million project began construction in January 2015 after the adoption of GRDA's new, long-term electric generation plan. The "grand and greener" plan also includes a retrofit of the emissions control equipment located on GRDA's Unit 2 coal-generator, as well as a commitment to increase wind generation capacity within the GRDA energy portfolio of coal, hydro, wind and other gas generation. (…) The use of natural gas provides benefits to the environment, greater flexibility to the power grid and renewed economic development in gas-rich regions of the country, like Oklahoma. Output from Unit 3 will bolster reliability.



Statoil names New York Offshore Wind Project "Empire Wind"

25 October 2017 - Empire Wind is the project name selected by Statoil for the company's offshore wind site located off the southern coast of Long Island, New York.  The 79,350 acre site, secured by Statoil in a federal auction in December 2016, has the potential to generate up to 1GW of offshore wind power, making it a key part of New York State's plan to deploy renewable energy sources to meet the state's electricity needs. (…) Statoil is in the early stages of developing the offshore wind farm with the potential to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity.  The Empire Wind project team is currently conducting an extensive evaluation process, gathering detailed information about the seabed conditions, grid connection options and wind resources characteristic to the area. New York's Clean Energy Standard mandates an increase in the share of renewables in its energy mix to 50 percent by 2030.



Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was jailed for 18 Years, has installed a solar power system with Canadian Solar Modules

24 October 2017 - Canadian Solar Inc. ("Canadian Solar" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is the proud supplier of 666.4 kW of solar PV modules for the iconic solar project on Robben Island, near Cape Town in South Africa. Robben Island is a high-security prison where Nelson Mandela was jailed for 18 years. It is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This micro-grid solar project has been designed and constructed by SOLAR Future Energy, the EPC partner of the Department of Tourism, using CS6U- 340M Canadian Solar modules. The official solar system inauguration took place on Robben Island on October 19th, 2017. (…) The solar PV farm consists of 1960 Canadian Solar (CS6U-340M) high-efficiency modules with a total of 666.4 kW power supply. Robben Island uses almost 2 million kWh of electricity annually. This solar system will produce almost 1 million kWh of electricity annually, significantly reducing cost of diesel and its transportation cost to the island.



Windlab and Vestas partner on the world's first utility scale hybrid integrating wind, solar and storage

24 October 2017 – A partnership between renewable energy industry leaders has announced the final details of a project that will help accelerate the transition to an energy mix led by renewable energy and aim to provide even more reliable and consistent renewable energy production adapted to energy demand and grid requirements. Developed by Australia's international renewable energy company, Windlab, with support from Vestas, the global leader in sustainable energy solutions, the innovative 60.2 MW Kennedy Energy Park phase I is the world's first utility-scale, on-grid wind, solar and battery energy storage project. Designed to supply consistent and reliable renewable electricity that can help meet power demand in Australia, Kennedy Phase I can also shape a path forward for how Australia and other countries can integrate more renewable energy into their energy mix and address grid stability challenges that have been a traditional restraint to greater uptake of renewable energy. The project is located in Flinders Shire in central north Queensland, Australia, which is blessed with world-class wind and solar resources. Kennedy Phase I will feature 43.2 MW of Vestas' V136-3.6 MW wind turbines, 15 MW of solar and 2 MW/4 MWh Li Ion battery storage, all managed by a Vestas customised control system that will operate the hybrid power plant.



European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD and partners sign new solar power investment in Egypt

24 October 2017 – The EBRD, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) are supporting the expansion of renewable energy in Egypt with a US$ 87 million syndicated loan to Infinity Solar Energy SAE, an Egyptian renewable energy developer, and to ib vogt GmbH, an international solar developer established in Germany. The funds will be used to construct and operate two solar photovoltaic power plants with a total capacity of 80 MW located at the Benban complex in Upper Egypt, which on completion will be the largest solar installation in the world, with a planned total capacity of 1.8 GW. (…) The investment is part of the EBRD's US$ 500 million EBRD framework for renewable energy in Egypt, adopted by the Bank's Board of Directors earlier this year. The framework aims to develop Egypt's potential in renewables and strengthen private sector involvement in the power and energy sector.




Environment and wildlife


Towards Doubling Tigers in Royal Manas National Park

9November 2017 – A big win for tiger conservation efforts, the population of the endangered cat has doubled in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in just 6 years: from only 10 individual tigers in 2010, the number has risen to 22 tigers in 2016, a step toward achieving the global mission of doubling wild tigers by 2022 (the TX2 goal). The study indicates that RMNP could arguably hold one of the largest contiguous tiger populations in the country. Singye Wangmo, the Officiating RMNP Park Manager, credits the increase to the great teamwork and leadership of the Royal Government of Bhutan to protect the endangered cat and double its population by 2022. (…)  According to officials, providing protection to the critical tiger habitats and maintaining the ecological and genetic viability of tiger population in RMNP and across Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) is essential in realizing the global conservation goal of doubling tiger population by 2022. (…) There is indeed much work to be done if tigers are to be saved. Once found in diverse habitats across Asia, the world's wild tiger population has shrunk by over 95 per cent in the last century due to illegal tiger trade, poaching and habitat loss. Today, the world is at risk of losing this iconic species completely, with as few as 3,890 tigers remaining in the wild. (…)



Biologists and Computer Scientists Team up to map a Global ‘Safety Net’ for the Planet

Protecting and connecting 50% of the world’s wildlands can ensure the integrity of our biosphere and support a growing human population.

7 November 2017 Washington, /CSRwire/ - Washington-based research team RESOLVE, in collaboration with Globaïa Foundation and Universidade Federal de Viçosa, are teaming up to map a global “safety net” for the planet that would protect and connect 50% of the world’s land area. The effort was launched and funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation as part of a larger $20 million grant round announced earlier this year that aims to accelerate ocean and land conservation initiatives, indigenous rights, and innovative solutions to the climate crisis. Announced at the ‘Nature for Development’ Data Summit, the “safety net” map will utilize advanced computer modeling techniques to examine the world’s 125 million square kilometers of habitable land area, ranking each square kilometer ‘pixel’ for its importance in preserving natural biodiversity and sustaining agricultural production. The Data Summit was organized by World Resources Institute (WRI) in partnership with NASA, National Geographic, Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)(…)



Global programme seeks to contain serious threat to the world’s bananas

18 October 2017, Rome -  A fungus poses major risks to the world's banana production and could cause vast commercial losses and even greater damage to the livelihoods of the 400 million people who rely on the world's most traded fruit as a staple food or source of income. FAO and its partners Bioversity International, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the World Banana Forum have launched a global programme requiring $98 million to contain and manage a new strain - Tropical Race 4 (TR4) - of Fusarium wilt, an insidious disease that can last for years in soils and can hitchhike to new fields and destinations through a number of means such as infected planting materials, water, shoes, farm tools and vehicles. Without a coordinated intervention, scientists estimate that the disease could affect up to 1.6 million hectares of current banana lands by 2040. The five-year programme is designed to build on existing initiatives tackling the disease and focuses on strengthening local technical capacities and supporting the development of science-based technologies and tools through research on biology and epidemiology of the fungus, its detection, surveillance, rapid containment actions, soil health and the development of resistant cultivars. For areas where the disease is not present or first appears, inspection, surveillance and rapid response measures will be developed. Where it already occurs, improved and integrated disease management techniques will be developed along with the search for and deployment of resistant varieties.




Religion and spirituality


USA - This Sikh American overcame hate to become New Jersey’s First Sikh Mayor

8 November 2017 - Ravi Bhalla is no stranger to religious discrimination. Growing up in New Jersey, the Sikh American politician told HuffPost he regularly faced bullying and harassment at public school because of his religion and the turban he wears as a sign of devotion to his faith. Years later, Bhalla is celebrating a remarkable milestone: he’s been elected as his home state’s first Sikh American mayor. Bhalla won Hoboken’s mayoral race on Tuesday, edging out a pool of five other candidates. The city councilman claimed victory despite being targeted by a racist flyer campaign during the race which falsely linked him to terrorism. 



ASIA/PHILIPPINES - More space for "good news" to counter the propaganda of the Islamic State

7 November 2017 - Zamboanga City (Agenzia Fides) - "There are already many precious experiences in Mindanao that show the spirit of dialogue and peace. We saw them during the period of siege in Zamboanga in 2013 and also in Marawi this year. The great gathering of young Catholics underway (the "National Youth Day", from 6 to 10 November in Zamboanga) aims to strengthen this spirit of coexistence and harmony. In the meantime, we invite all to watch over and encourage everyone to gather and share positive stories and good news that instill hope. We need a more visible presence in the media to counter a fundamentalist mentality and the propaganda of death in the Islamic State", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, missionary of PIME, founder of the Silsilah ("Chain") movement in Zamboanga City, on the island of Mindanao, where he lives in the "Village of Harmony", a place of peaceful coexistence among Christian and Muslim families.



Women of Faith Build Homes for Habitat for Humanity

3 November 2017 - Habitat for Humanity Women of Faith Build was organized in part as a Pathways to PoWR Pre-2018 Parliament event. Coverage is republished with permission of the Canada Mormon Newsroom of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Women of various faiths worked side by side in Scarborough, Ontario, on October 26, 2017, to build homes for Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area (Habitat GTA). Wearing hard hats, work boots and tool belts, the women represented Hindu, Indigenous, Islamic, Jewish and various Christian faiths. Among the Christian groups were women from the Brampton Ontario Stake and Toronto Ontario Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



ECUMENISM - 500th of Luther’s Reformation: joint statement by Lutheran World Federation and Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, journey travelled is “sign of hope for the world”.

31 October 2017 - “We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation. Again, it has become clear that what we have in common is far more than that which still divides us. This is the “key” point in the joint statement released by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the conclusion of the year of the common commemoration of the Reformation. Today, 31 October 2017, is the final day of the year of Commemoration and Lutherans and Catholics in their statement express their gratitude for the “spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation”.



ASIA/JORDAN - Women's religious congregations mobilize to face the water emergency

31 October 2017 - Amman (Agenzia Fides) - The German Foundation for International Cooperation (GIZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the Jordanian Government, with representatives of the Catholic women's religious communities in Jordan, took part in a seminar dedicated to water emergency and the sustainable management of water resources. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on this issue in a Christian perspective, even in the light of the present pontifical magisterium and the encyclical of Pope Francis’ Laudato Sii, and also to identify useful forms and tools to raise awareness among young generations. Jordanian priest Rifat Bader, head of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media, who dedicated his speech to the documents of the Church's Magisterium dedicated to the environmental issue and the protection of the precious water was also present. During the meeting the proposal to set up "ecological committees" in Jordan's Christian schools was highlighted in order to help students become more aware of the urgent need for a sustainable use of water resources. Water shortage is one of the major problems that the Hashimite Kingdom is currently facing in terms of resources. Jordan, according to world rankings, is the second or third poorest country regarding water resources in the world.




Culture and education


UNODC develops new animated series to help promote primary-level ethics education

8 November 2017 - At a major United Nations anti-corruption conference being held this week, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) unveiled a new cartoon campaign to promote ethics and values teaching to primary school children. Based on an animated series, The Zorbs, the campaign tells of an imaginary planet and its inhabitants who overcome a range of challenges thanks to core values and skills as promoted under the organization's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative. The E4J initiative is a key component of UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration with funding from Qatar.



Syria: Humanitarian fund supports education services for children in conflict-affected areas of Aleppo city

8 November 2017 – With the Syria conflict entering its seventh year, an estimated 1.75 million children aged 5-17 years were out of school in the 2015/16 school-year, and 1.35 million are currently at risk of dropping out (data: Humanitarian Response Plan 2017). In 2017, humanitarian actors were gradually able to access eastern Aleppo and restore of basic services for families who began to return. In February, Tasneem heard that the Syrian Society for Social Development (SSSD) was providing free classes for students living in newly-accessible areas of the city. Supported by the Syria Humanitarian Fund, the SSSD programme offers a wide range of services for “at-risk” school-aged children, including remedial classes, tutoring, informal education, registration support and education supplies. The SSSD uses the ‘Participatory Learning Methodology’ which allows drop-outs to develop critical thinking skills needed to go back to learning, with an ultimate goal of reintegration into the schooling system.



Louvre Abu Dhabi opens to public on 11th November

7 November 2017 - The much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi will open to the public this Saturday, with a spectacular week-long series of celebrations. It is the first museum of its kind in the Arab region and offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalised world. An iconic architectural masterpiece designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, it is located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island. The inaugural installation in its spacious collection galleries will present 600 works of art, half from its own holdings and half consisting of loaned works from its 13 partner museums in France. The museum will also begin an ongoing programme of special exhibitions in December. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a unique collaboration between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and France. The museum’s collection spans the history of humanity and will explore a universal narrative through artworks and artefacts from all over the world. The inaugural installation will take visitors on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages, universal religions, cosmography, the magnificence of the royal court, and the modern world.



Education for Sustainable Development Prizewinners awarded by UNESCO and Japan

03 November 2017 - The three winners of the 2017 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) received their awards at a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 3 November. They were awarded the prize in recognition of their innovative projects at the local, regional and international level. This was the third edition of the prize, funded by the Government of Japan and created in 2014 to honour outstanding projects and programmes in the field of ESD. The three laureates for 2017 are: the social enterprise Zikra from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the Hard Rain Project from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Sihlengeni Primary School from the Republic of Zimbabwe.



World Food Day.  Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.

16 October 2017, Rome -  The world is on the move. Hunger, poverty, and an increase in extreme weather events linked to climate change are other important factors contributing to the migration challenge. Many migrants arrive in developing countries, creating tensions where resources are already scarce, but the majority, about 763 million, move within their own countries rather than abroad. Three-quarters of the extreme poor base their livelihoods on agriculture or other rural activities. Creating conditions that allow rural people, especially youth, to stay at home when they feel it is safe to do so, and to have more resilient livelihoods, is a crucial component of any plan to tackle the migration challenge. Rural development can address factors that compel people to move by creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or horticulture enterprises). It can also lead to increased food security, more resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection, reduced conflict over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and climate change.  By investing in rural development, the international community can also harness migration’s potential to support development and build the resilience of displaced and host communities, thereby laying the ground for long-term recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth. FAO is working with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, to generate evidence on migration patterns and is building countries’ capacities to address migration through rural development policies. In this way, migration can contribute to economic growth and improve food security and rural livelihoods, thus advancing countries’ progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.




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Next issue: 15th December 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: Fabio Gatti (fabio.gatti@goodnewsagency.org). Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, 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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