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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 18th, no. 273 – 16th November 2018


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


Switzerland ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health

25October 2018 Strasbourg - The "Medicrime Convention" is the first international criminal law instrument to oblige States Parties to criminalise:

-         the manufacturing of counterfeit medical products;

-         supplying, offering to supply and trafficking in counterfeit medical products;

-         the falsification of documents;

-         the unauthorised manufacturing or supplying of medicinal products and the placing on the market of medical devices which do not comply with conformity requirements.

The Convention provides a framework for national and international co-operation across the different sectors of the public administration, measures for coordination at national level, preventive measures for use by public and private sectors and protection of victims and witnesses. Furthermore, it foresees the establishment of a monitoring body to oversee the implementation of the Convention by the States Parties.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being


U.S., China, others tentatively agree to multilateral air encounter code

20 October 2018 - SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Several countries including the United States and China agreed “in principle” on Saturday to multilateral guidelines to manage unexpected encounters between their military aircraft, joining 10 Southeast Asian nations already in the pact. The world’s two biggest economies as well as Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea tentatively joined the agreement, which was initially adopted on Friday by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to a joint statement issued after a meeting of defense ministers from the 18 countries in Singapore. The voluntary, non-binding guidelines build on an existing code to manage sea encounters adopted by all 18 countries last year, which was designed to mitigate risks following a boom in the region’s maritime and air traffic in recent years.


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay signed the Protocol amending the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data

10 October 2018, Strasbourg - The aim of the Protocol of amendment is to modernise and improve the Convention (ETS No. 108), taking into account the new challenges to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data which have emerged since the Convention was adopted in 1980. The modernisation of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, the only existing legally binding international treaty with global relevance in this field, addresses the challenges to privacy resulting from the use of new information and communication technologies, and strengthens the convention’s mechanism to ensure its effective implementation. The Protocol provides a robust and flexible multilateral legal framework to facilitate the flow of data across borders while providing effective safeguards when personal data are being used. It constitutes a bridge between different regions of the world and different normative frameworks, including the new European Union´s legislation that will become fully applicable on 25 May 2018 and which refers to Convention 108 in the context of transborder data flows .




Human rights


South Africa: Constitutional Court Protects Land Rights

6November 2018, Washington DC - South Africa's highest court has delivered two landmark decisions protecting women's rights to equality and land ownership, as well as the rights of communities living in mining areas. The first ruling ensured that an elderly woman couldn't be evicted by her brother from her home where she lived for more than 30 years. In its October 30 ruling in a case called Rahube v Rahube, the Constitutional Court unanimously upheld a lower court's finding that a key section in South Africa's Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act violates women's right to equality and as such is unconstitutional. The apartheid-era law, which upgraded land tenure rights to ownership, only recognized men as the head of the family and as legal land owners. This particularly impacted black women who were unable to own property during apartheid.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Human rights: Back to the Future. The UNESCO Courier.

5November 2018 - To mark the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted on 10 December 1948, we decided to take a detour into the past to enable us to better orient ourselves in the future. Travelling back to 1946, when the world was grappling with the aftermath of the Second World War, “what kind of moral statement could the international community make that would adequately express its collective outrage and hope, however utopian, for a better future?”  Mark Goodale discusses this massive international effort in his introductory article for our Wide Angle section. The series of articles in this section uncovers a hitherto little-known part of the history of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – the inquiry into the origins and philosophic bases of human rights. This initiative was decided upon during the first UNESCO General Conference (November-December 1946) and launched the following year by the Organization’s first Director-General, Julian Huxley. It was coordinated by the young French philosopher, Jacques Havet. For this project, UNESCO brought together leading intellectual figures of the post-war world, thus making an essential contribution to the reflection on human rights at the time. https://en.unesco.org/courier/2018-4//

News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Human Rights First Applauds Creation of Fact Finding Mission into Abuses of LGBTQ Persons, Human Rights Workers in Chechnya

5 November 2018, New York- Human Rights First welcomes the actions of 16 countries, including the United States, to implement the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) so-called “Moscow Mechanism” to investigate human rights abuses in Chechnya. The rare diplomatic action, reserved for serious human rights concerns within an OSCE participating state, will create a fact-finding team to investigate reports of human rights violations and abuses. The investigation will explore reported government-sanctioned killings, disappearances, beatings, and other threats to the LGBTQ community, journalists, human rights defenders, and lawyers. "The Kremlin has completely ignored these egregious violations for years, and has failed to investigate or hold accountable those responsible. Today the international community took appropriate action in response to this lack of accountability,” said Melissa Hooper, Director of Human Rights and Civil Society at Human Rights First. Human Rights First calls on the Russian government to comply fully with the OSCE investigation, to allow the fact-finding team access to all relevant documents, and to permit members of the team to interview witnesses and other relevant individuals in Chechnya without surveillance or reprisal.



In the words of Halima Askari: “Our victory is our unity”

2 November 2018, UN - Halima Askari became the first woman head of the Provincial Council in Afghanistan’s conservative Wardak province in 2017. She is part of a new generation of women leaders who, little by little, are pushing for the transformation of governance. She ran for national Parliament this year and is awaiting the results. Regardless of the election results, Askari is determined to continue serving her community and advocating for girls’ and women’s education. Having attended UN Women-supported leadership and management training, in a recent interview she talked about what it means to be a woman in politics in Afghanistan. UN Women’s political participation programme in Afghanistan was made possible by funding from the governments of Iceland, Sweden and Norway.



World summit brings surge of new commitments to protect human rights defenders

31 October 2018 - Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered this week in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action on how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said: "What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighborhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world ."The Summit discussed calls on Governments, corporations, international financial institutions, donors and others, including the adoption of national governmental action plans, implementation of legislation to legally uphold the UN declaration, protecting defenders as a priority in foreign policy and prioritizing the protection and work of women human rights defenders, LGBT+, indigenous rights defenders and other marginalized defenders.



Celebrating the International Day of Rural Women

15 October 2018, Rome - Today is the International Day of Rural Women and a chance to celebrate women and girls who play a key role in rural areas enhancing agricultural development, building climate resilience, facing malnutrition and food insecurity. They manage natural resources, adopt climate-resilient agricultural approaches, preserve biodiversity and agriculture productivity. With the new IFAD Gender Action Plan (2019-2025) IFAD is committed to enhance the impact of its efforts in favour of rural women, ensuring that its development interventions are even more transformative. On a higher level, IFAD keeps working with governmental institutions to create an enabling policy, institutional and cultural environment to support gender equality and rural women's empowerment and sustain long term impact. We know that empowering rural women – economically and socially – makes the difference to their families, communities and countries. This is not only important from the point of view of equity or justice, but it is also crucial to foster sustainable economies and benefit all humankind across the globe. Evidence from IFAD's operations confirm that, when rural women are economically empowered, they have the influence, education and information to make decisions about the use of their income, savings and loans. When they have access to services and resources such as credit, they easily become powerful agents of rural transformation.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


ICC ‘Put an end to the death penalty now’, urges Guterres, marking World Day

10 October 2018, UN - Progress made towards eliminating the death penalty has been “marred by setbacks,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement on Wednesday, marking the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty. He noted that hundreds of offenders – often impoverished, women or hailing from minority groups - have been executed without legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings, which might have spared them from the death penalty. Some 170 States have abolished or put a stay on executions, since the UN General Assembly’s first call for a moratorium on its use, in 2007. Mr. Guterres noted the lack of transparency in some countries where the death penalty is still used, underscoring its incompatibility with human rights standards. Mr. Guterres said he was “deeply disturbed” in particular, by the number of juvenile offenders being executed. “In some countries, people are sentenced to death in secret trials, without due process, increasing the potential for error or abuse” said the UN chief. The majority of executions today are carried out in China, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Guterres concluded with a call for all nations to abolish the practice of executions. “I call on those remaining, to join the majority and put an end to the death penalty now,” he added.


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions



Economy and development


IFAD and Turkey establish a new sub-regional hub in Istanbul

6November 2018, Ankara – An agreement to open a new sub-regional office in Istanbul, serving as an operational hub in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and Balkan region, for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was signed yesterday with the Government of Turkey. The focus of IFAD-supported projects in Turkey has been on increasing agricultural productivity, profitability and marketability, as well as promoting sustainable natural resources management by providing rural communities with affordable access to assets and services. Building on this sound foundation and in-line with the government’s National Rural Development Strategy, IFAD will be adopting new and innovative approaches to boost rural transformation. The next generation of IFAD-funded programmes and projects in Turkey will focus on developing and strengthening climate-smart value chains backed by appropriate financing mechanisms to ensure inclusivity and sustainability. The Istanbul hub manages an investment portfolio of 21 ongoing projects amounting to $1 billion, reaching an estimated 13.9 million rural people.


News related with SDGs number 8-Decent Work and Economic Growth


Green Climate Fund approves $127 million project for El Salvador's Dry Corridor

19 October 2018, Santiago de Chile/Rome – The Green Climate Fund today approved RECLIMA, a $127.7 million FAO-designed project that aims to improve the climate resilience of farming systems in El Salvador's Dry Corridor while benefitting 225,000 people, 20,000 of whom belong to indigenous communities. Women will head around 38% of beneficiary households. RECLIMA will involve 50,000 family farmers in 114 municipalities. The project will work with a third of the population most vulnerable to climate change in El Salvador's Dry Corridor, an area that suffers severe droughts, floods and tropical storms. RECLIMA will promote a profound change in the food systems of El Salvador's Dry Corridor to help eradicate hunger, poverty and address the challenges of climate change. The project will work with family farmers in order to transform their productive practices improving their basic infrastructure and technical knowledge to build fully sustainable and resilient food systems. RECLIMA was formulated by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; the National Center on Agricultural and Forestry Technology "Enrique Álvarez Córdova", and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, with support from FAO.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


WFP and government of Ethiopia sign new agreement to strengthen Ethio-Djibouti logistics corridor

18 October 2018, Addis Ababa - A new accord with the Government of Ethiopia will see the World Food Programme (WFP) develop national capacity in managing the Ethio-Djibouti land corridor and port operations. The Memorandum of Understanding between WFP and the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA) seeks to relieve congestion in the Port of Djibouti and to develop skills and expertise among Government staff. A total of 86 bulk cargo vessels came through Djibouti in the past year, carrying 3.2 million metric tonnes. Wheat and fertilizer are the main goods while others include barley and sorghum. WFP is to strengthen the governance and overall monitoring capacities of EMAA for bulk imports into Ethiopia by means of improved planning and communication systems. The UN agency has developed a new website on which stakeholders can get status updates. WFP will be the secretariat for the first year of the Ethiopian Logistics Community of Practice (ELCoP), set up by the EMAA, and will assist in making ELCoP financially sustainable and an independent entity.


News related with SDGs number 9-Industry,Innovation and Infrastructure


IFAD and Japan join global push to tackle poverty in rural areas

17 October 2018, Rome – IFAD and Japan's International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to expand their existing projects across Africa, with a focus on knowledge and operational exchanges for sustainable agricultural practices. The partnership reinforces Japan and IFAD's commits to medium and long term rural development to fight future famines while increasing food security and reducing poverty. Current figures suggest some 30 million people are going hungry, with some risking famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and neighbouring nations. A combination of conflict, recurring droughts and high food prices are at the root of the crises. JICA promotes international cooperation as well as sustainable development by supporting enterprises centred on the recovery of financial stability in emerging economies and the quality of livelihoods in rural areas of Africa.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty


Produce more with less: adapting to climate change in the face of increasing hunger

15October 2018, Washington DC – In Bangladesh, 75 percent of agricultural land is devoted to growing rice, which supports the staple-heavy dietary habits of the country. In addition to rice, Bangladeshi farmers often plant mung bean after their winter rice harvest. This practice increases incomes and nutritional benefits as well as the amount of nitrogen that is recycled into the soil, improving future yields. This practice also uses land and water that would otherwise go untapped, allowing farmers to produce more with less, which is one of the actions highlighted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ October 16th celebration of World Food Day. Increases in carbon dioxide are expected to lower the protein content of staple crops, which will be particularly detrimental to rice varieties in Southeast Asia. According to the FAO, a further decrease in this staple crop’s nutrient content may increase Bangladeshis’ risk for micro and macronutrient deficiencies. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops (RDC) Activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, promotes the cultivation of mung bean in the face of these expected changes. By partnering with private sector actors to increase farmers’ access to improved seed varieties, production and post-harvest management, RDC is promoting climate-smart agricultural practices that also promote positive nutrition outcomes among rural smallholder farmers.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger




WFP and Alibaba enter strategic partnership to support UN Sustainable Development Goal of a world with Zero Hunger

5 November 2018, Hangzhou - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Alibaba Group (Alibaba), the world’s largest e-commerce company by transaction value, have entered into a strategic partnership to support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – a world with zero hunger. Under the framework, Alibaba will provide its leading technology and resources to support the digital transformation of WFP’s operations. In particular, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba, will collaborate with WFP to develop a digital “World Hunger Map” to monitor the status of global hunger and help enhance the efficiency of operations to support efforts towards the goal of ending world hunger by 2030. Alibaba established the Alibaba Poverty Relief Program in December 2017, aiming to invest RMB10 billion in five years to alleviate poverty with focuses on education, rural commerce advancement, empowering women, healthcare and environmental sustainability.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


African Development Bank, World Food Programme join hands to help South Sudan fight hunger and malnutrition

24October 2018, Juba, South Sudan – The Government of the Republic of South Sudan today welcomed a contribution of US$ 43.57 million from the African Development Bank for the implementation of the country’s Short-Term Regional Emergency Response Project (STRERP). The project is designed to enable the Government to meet the country’s growing food and nutrition needs, while building community resilience, as hunger reaches unprecedented levels in the country. It will also support longer-term efforts to improve people’s resilience and food security, including tens of thousands displaced by conflict in eight regions. The grant will be implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). WFP and partners are scaling up food and cash assistance to reach up to 5 million people in the worst-affected areas of South Sudan by the end of 2018.

WFP activities are designed both to address immediate food needs while promoting the ability of vulnerable communities to withstand future shocks to their food security. WFP provides various kinds of assistance – food for people building and restoring community assets, life-saving emergency food, emergency school feeding and the treatment of malnutrition among children and pregnant and nursing women.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Aid provides critical injection of funds to WFP Yemen

17 October 2018, Sana'a - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a new £25 million (US$33 million) contribution from the United Kingdom to support more than 1.2 million people in Yemen, amid mounting fears of a potential famine in the country. WFP will use the funds to roll out a cash-based transfer programme in southern Yemen and to support over 800,000 very hungry people with food vouchers for one month. Yemen is currently grappling with the world’s largest hunger crisis, with two-thirds of the population not knowing where their next meal will come from. In addition, Yemen is among five countries with the highest prevalence of acute malnutrition in the world, with 300,000 children under the age of five at risk of dying from causes related to malnutrition. To do its part in tackling this widespread humanitarian crisis, WFP stands ready to further scale-up its caseload, given increased needs following the recent collapse of the Yemeni Riyal, which has pushed up the cost of basic food items by a third, compared to this time last year. WFP’s ability to respond to escalating needs in the country hinges on timely and sustained finan-cial contributions from donor nations. The UK government has been one of WFP’s most consistent and reliable partners in Yemen, and has provided a total of £77.2 million (US$102 million) between 2017 and 2018 to support emergency food programmes.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announces more than $19 million in grants, approves new Catholic Sisters Strategy

17 October 2018, Los Angeles – The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced that 16 grants totaling more than $19 million were approved during the second and third quarters of 2018. The board also approved a new five year strategy for the Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative, beginning with grant approvals for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate offsite link ($725,000) and Medicines for Humanity offsite link ($740,000). During the first phase of the Hilton Foundation’s Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative (2013 – 2018), the Foundation invested $105 million. The first phase focused on building the internal capacity of Catholic sisters’ congregations to improve membership, leadership and resource outcomes. The team has achieved a number of successes, including a significant increase in the number of sisters with post-secondary credentials, who are now prepared to take on expanded ministry and leadership roles, and the beginning of a “Global Sisterhood.” The vision for the next phase is for Catholic sisters to become recognized as global leaders in the provision of sustainable human development services.



Save the Children helping kids and families affected by catastrophic Hurricane Michael

Emergency Response Team Delivering Essential Child-Focused Supplies, Preparing to Set up Safe Play Spaces for Children in Shelters

15 October 2018, Fairfield, Connecticut — The strongest storm on record to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Michael, ripped many children from the lives they once knew, and Save the Children is on the ground working to support the most urgent needs of kids and families impacted by the devastating storm. Emergency response team is based in the Tallahassee area, delivering essential child-focused supplies to displaced and affected children and their families, including hygiene kits, diapers and baby wipes. The team is also preparing to set up safe play spaces in shelters in the Panhandle’s hardest-hit areas – where children can play, learn and cope – and working to ensure shelter conditions are safe and accommodating for families. In addition, Save the Children is collaborating with national and local partners to assess children’s immediate needs, as well as the needs of local child care, early learning and community partners and education services, to help children get back to routine and regain access to education services as quickly as possible.



Crucial partners: Germany and World Food Programme feed Syrian families

10th October 2018, Berlin - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) this week welcomes a generous contribution of US$218 million (€185 million) from Germany to continue providing a lifeline of support for Syrians affected by the ongoing conflict. Germany is WFP’s second largest government donor and has been vital in helping WFP maintain its humanitarian response inside and outside Syria through its commitment to multi-year predictable funding.

This has allowed WFP to plan for the longer term and prevent disruptions to its life-saving assistance.
The contribution from the German Federal Foreign Office will enable continued delivery of WFP’s lifesaving food and nutritional assistance for families inside Syria over the next two months. WFP supports three million vulnerable people in Syria every month, mainly through food rations that contain rice, wheat flour, vegetable oil, lentils, sugar and salt. In addition, a portion of the funds will go to WFP’s refugee operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt where WFP provides live-saving humanitarian assistance to more than three million vulnerable Syrian refugees and host communities through electronic food vouchers.




Peace and security


Launching Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor 2018

Norwegian People's Aid launches the Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor 2018, the first report of a newly established watchdog for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

29 October 2018, Norway – Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor is a research programme in support of the TPNW, and in support of ICAN ’s call for universalization and faithful implementation of this Treaty to advance progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor measures progress related to signature, adherence, entry into force, and universalization of the TPNW. It also evaluates the extent to which the policies and practices of all states comply with the core obligations in the Treaty. A key purpose of the report is to highlight specific activities that will need to be discontinued if the international community is to achieve its goal of creating a world without nuclear weapons. The report shows that the speed of adherence to the TPNW is faster than for any other treaty regulating weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Adherence was slower both for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While it took 450 days for the NPT to get 20 states parties, the TPNW had reached 19 at 371 days after it opened for signature. When reaching 50, it will enter into force. (…)


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Latin American victim assistance seminar

The Fourth Meeting of Latin American regional seminar of survivors of landmines/explosive weapons and persons with disabilities took place in Bogotá, Colombia from 17–19 October.

25 October 2018, Switzerland – Organized by Humanity & Inclusion, and supported by Swiss, Norwegian, and UN cooperation, as well as the ICBL-CMC, the focus of this year’s seminar was to strengthen the advocacy work of the various disabled people’s organizations of Latin America who do so much to provide survivors and persons with disabilities with a voice and advocate for the recognition and respect of their rights. A final declaration was adopted, as well as an action plan, which will form the basis of their message for the coming years and will be read at numerous international meetings to ensure that the common voice of landmine or explosive weapon survivors and people with disabilities is heard, both in the region and beyond. Representing the ICBL-CMC was Director Hector Guerra, who was attending alongside delegates from civil society organizations working on victim assistance and the rights of persons with disabilities from, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


The Philippines: launch of “Conflict has rules too”, an awareness campaign on the law of armed conflict

“Conflict has rules too”: this is the core message of the multimedia campaign that Geneva Call is launching today in Cotabato City in the Philippines.

22 October 2018, Philippines – From now on anybody has the opportunity to learn about humanitarian norms in armed conflict. Geneva Call developed a variety of tools which are accessible to all: the mobile application “Fighter not Killer” can be downloaded from Google Play (insert the link). Users can test their knowledge of international humanitarian law and get informed themselves on fundamental principles such as the distinction between civilian and military objects, or the prohibition to recruit children in armed forces. Informative booklets and card games complement the smartphone application and short videos, allowing those who do not have a smartphone or internet connection to learn about their rights, and the obligations of fighters. Alongside this information campaign, Geneva Call directly dialogues with some of the armed actors in the Philippines on their policies and practices relating to international humanitarian law to promote respect for these norms. Geneva Call makes recommendations and provides international humanitarian law training to armed groups on their obligations to protect the rights and dignity of individuals even at times of war.


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


UNESCO proposes concrete projects to implement inter-Korean reconciliation

16 October 2018 – “UNESCO wishes to commit its support to inter-Korean reconciliation through concrete projects,” declared the Director-General. “We can help restore the links between peoples through shared heritage, educational programmes and cooperation in natural resources management. Facilitating, even accelerating, the construction of durable peace in the Korean Peninsula through culture, education and the sciences is both the ambition and core mandate of UNESCO.”



Rotary clubs in Canada invest in the PACT program, an urban peace initiative that aims to break the cycle of youth crime

By Ryan Hyland

9 October 2018, Rotary News- Akeem Stephenson wanted to go to jail. He believed it was the only way he could free himself from a life of crime (…). After being arrested for a fourth time more than 10 years ago, for aggravated robbery, the teenager in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was set to go to prison. But the judge saw something in Stephenson that suggested that he could redeem himself. So he gave Stephenson a choice: participate in an 18-month youth program, or serve the six-month sentence.Stephenson (…) decided to transform his life through the PACT Urban Peace Program.PACT, which stands for Participation, Acknowledgement, Commitment, and Transformation, is a Toronto-based, award-winning charity supported by Rotary clubs in Canada. It works with at-risk young people and those who have committed crimes to change their direction in life. Entrepreneur and Toronto Rotary member David Lockett co-founded the program more than 20 years ago. The intensive, step-by-step program aims to break the cycle of poverty and criminal behavior. Its goal is to determine what the participants need and develop strategies “to put them on a positive path in their life, so they can enrich not only their own lives, but their community,” says Lockett, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Social Innovators D7090.(…) He acknowledges that young people who commit crimes should be held accountable, and for many of them, that includes serving jail time. But for some, those he says come from “squalid and deplorable backgrounds” with very little parental guidance, PACT is a resource that can change their lives and reduce the likelihood that they will commit more crimes.The organization works with the judicial system to identify repeat offenders ages 12-19 who may benefit from the program. (…)






New training for veterinarians in 14 African countries to help combat infectious diseases

30 October 2018, College Station, Texas/Rome - Some 180 veterinarians drawn from 14 African countries will benefit from a training programme, In-Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology (ISAVET), launched today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.The countries involved include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. The trainings will be held over the next 12 months and will operate within an approach involving public, animal and wildlife health as well as for pathogens that cross institutional mandates and geographic boundaries. Approximately 60 trainees will graduate from the trainings in 2018, the first of which will be held in October in Uganda. An additional 120 trainees are expected to graduate from the subsequent trainings in 2019.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being


Religious leaders fuelling demand for polio vaccines and health services in Nigeria

Religious clerics promote routine immunization and other health services by delivering messages to husbands, fathers and sons at mosques.

29 October 2018, Geneva –Religious, socio-cultural, and safety concerns are among the main barriers to polio vaccination and other health services in most of northern Nigeria. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has engaged 228 religious leaders in 11 northern Nigerian states, particularly in Muslim communities, to mobilize caregivers against social norms that prevent families from vaccinating their children. Muslim and Christian clerics deliver life-saving messages during sermons and other religious gatherings to dispel negative attitudes toward vaccinations and other health services. Collaboration with religious leaders has not only supported polio eradication efforts but has also brought about further benefits in the fight against infant and maternal mortality through awareness campaigns. Speaking at an annual meeting of 228 religious leaders held in Abuja in September 2018, Dr. Anis Siddique, UNICEF Chief of Communication for Development, described female and male religious leaders as game changers and encouraged them to create demand for immunization. Seeing respected religious scholars endorse immunization, others have also followed suit. These collective efforts have brought about shifts in attitudes and knowledge as an average of 20 000 men who attend weekly Friday prayers across the mosques in northern Nigeria receive resounding messages on polio immunization and antenatal care-related health services.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being


Red Cross: 40,000 reached with emergency aid after Indonesian tsunami and earthquake as monsoon season looms

26 October 2018, Palu/Geneva – More than 40,000 survivors have received Red Cross emergency relief aid in the month since the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami disaster. With a looming rainy season and government estimates that more than 200,000 people are displaced. Thousands of families are living in makeshift shelters. Indonesian Red Cross volunteers, many of them also personally affected by the disasters, have distributed almost 16,000 tarpaulins and more than 2,200 emergency shelters. The impending monsoon season is also raising concerns about a potential spike in water-borne diseases including diarrhea, malaria, dengue, and upper respiratory infections. Four Red Cross mobile health teams, combined with a field clinic in Tompe, Sirenja, they have reached more than 5,000 people with much needed healthcare, helping to address a gap after many healthcare facilities were damaged in the earthquake. Trained staff and volunteers are also helping 800 survivors, many of them children, work through the emotional impact of what they have experienced. The double disaster, combined with a series of deadly earthquakes on the island of Lombok, is stretching the capacity of the Indonesian Red Cross to respond.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being


Mosul: new physical rehabilitation centre gives hope to amputees

14 October 2018, Mosul (ICRC)- A new physical rehabilitation centre was opened in Mosul on 14th October 2018. Constructed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Ninawa Physical Rehabilitation Centre (Ninawa PRC) was handed over to the Ninawa Directorate of Health, Ministry of Health. The rehabilitation centre will treat patients with disabilities and provide specialist prosthetic, orthotic and physiotherapy services. Services at the centre will initially focus on lower-limb amputees and will expand to upper-limb amputees in the future. "The centre will support some 4,500 amputees in Ninawa governorate and will prevent the burden of travel and financial effects on the patients," specified Dr. Layth Al-Hajjar, manager of the Ninawa PRC. "The services provided are crucial for the rehabilitation and social integration of people with disabilities to help them regain their independence, ability to work and to provide for their families," said Katharina Ritz, head of the ICRC's Iraq delegation.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being



Energy and safety


Millennials lead push to drive electric

5 November 2018, Australia - Millennials – the generation that came of age as the last century ticked over into a new one – will be the driver of the shift to electric vehicles, luxury carmaker Jaguar says. A survey commissioned by the UK-based Jaguar Land Rover has revealed nearly 50 per cent of young Australians would like to buy an electric car over an ICE vehicle. That’s over twice as many drivers than baby boomers, says the report, which recorded less than a quarter of the older generation as being interested in purchasing an EV – despite access to more disposable income.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


Aerogel from plastic bottles offers superior fire protection & carbon dioxide absorption

5 November 2018 - A group of researchers at the National University of Singapore, none of whom would be welcome in Donald Trump’s America, have created an inexpensive way to convert plastic bottles into a lightweight aerogel that has some extraordinary properties. Plastic waste is a scourge that is burdening landfills and polluting the world’s oceans. The researchers have found a way to take those unwanted and unloved bottles and convert them into aerogels. They are still discovering some of the things the aerogels can be used for, but already know that when treated with fire retardants, they can be used to protect firefighters from flames and intense heat. In fact, the aerogels can withstand temperatures of up to 620 degrees Celsius. That is seven times higher than the thermal lining used in conventional coats for firefighters. It also weighs 90% less than the material used today.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’s Annual Reports on Stockpile Stewardship, Nuclear Non-proliferation delivered to Congress

5 November 2018, California - The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) released the Fiscal Year 2019 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) and the Prevent, Counter, and Respond A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats (NPCR). These annual Congressional reports outline NNSA's strategic direction for maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile, as well as the agency's efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons around the world and respond to nuclear and radiological threats, accidents, or incidents.  The reports also address infrastructure modernization and management of strategic materials.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


The Brazilian Coastal Community that stood united against a Mega-thermoelectric Plant

4 November 2018 - The year 2018 started with a great celebration for the community of Peruíbe, in the Southeast region of Brazil. Home to around 64,000 people, Peruíbe is now free from polluting projects. After a complicated legislative process, the municipal council finally approved an amendment to local bylaws that will prevent the construction of a thermoelectric plant in the municipality, which was projected to be one of the 50 largest in the world. This was a big victory for the people, who mobilized and fought for months to protect their home. If materialized, the project would have been one of the largest of its type in an urban area, in a region that is one of the last reserves of continuous Brazilian Atlantic Forest in the world.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


It's not just Facebook and Google buying clean power anymore

1t November 2018, Minnesota - Companies don’t have to be as big as Walmart Inc. or Facebook Inc. to buy solar or wind power anymore. Businesses with more modest appetites for electricity are increasingly banding together to line up deals for clean power, broadening a market long dominated by tech giants, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg NEF. The strategy is enabling more companies to buy wind and solar power at prices similar to those paid by some of the biggest corporate users of renewable energy. It’s also boosting demand for renewables as concerns about climate change grow. Companies in the U.S. have already agreed to buy 5.9 gigawatts of clean power this year, more than double the total from 2017.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Researchers develop artificial Photosynthesis System that generates both hydrogen fuel and electricity

30 October 2018, Minnesota - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, have come up with a new recipe for renewable fuels that could bypass the limitations in current materials: an artificial photosynthesis device called a “hybrid photoelectrochemical and voltaic (HPEV) cell” that turns sunlight and water into not just one, but two types of energy – hydrogen fuel and electricity. The paper describing this work was published on October 29 in Nature Materials.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production



Environment and wildlife


PepsiCo announces new packaging goal for 25% recycled plastic content by 2025

2November 2018, Purchase, N.Y. /CSRwire/ - As part of its sustainable plastics vision, PepsiCo, Inc. (PepsiCo) today announced a new goal to strive to use 25 percent recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2025. PepsiCo aims to achieve this goal by collaborating with suppliers and partners, helping to increase consumer education, fostering cross-industry and public-private partnerships, and advocating for improved recycling infrastructure and regulatory reform, all of which are required to realize our ambition. The goal includes an aim specific to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles to achieve 33% recycled PET content by 2025. (…) PepsiCo's new goal builds on goals announced in 2016 under the company's Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda. The 2025 Agenda included goals for PepsiCo to strive to design 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable; to increase its use of recycled materials; to reduce the carbon impact of its packaging and, in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation, to work to increase recycling rates. (…)


News related with SDGs number 7-Affordable and Clean Energy


SC Johnson and Plastic Bank team up to address the global ocean plastic crisis

29 October 2018, Racine, Wisconsin /CSRwire/ - Today, SC Johnson is announcing a new partnership with Plastic Bank, one of the leading organizations working to reduce the global crisis of ocean plastic, to help increase recycling rates in impoverished communities across Indonesia while addressing the challenges of poverty. Ocean plastic is a global crisis, with the equivalent of one dump truck load every minute entering the world’s oceans (…). At the same time, many communities affected by plastic pollution face high levels of poverty. (…) According to a 2015 report by Ocean Conservancy and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, five Asian countries – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for more than 55 percent of the plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Raising collection rates to an average of approximately 80 percent across just those five countries would reduce plastic-waste leakage into the ocean by approximately 23 percent. Indonesia has the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity. Yet the wide variety of marine animals that live in and around its coral reefs (…) are at risk due to the high levels of plastic pollution. The country, which has been a home to SC Johnson operations for decades, has pledged up to $1 billion per year to reduce the amount of plastic and other pollution in its waters. It is targeting a 70 percent reduction in marine waste by 2025. SC Johnson and Plastic Bank will open eight recycling centers in Indonesia during the next year. Local waste collectors can bring the plastic they collect to any center, where they can exchange it for digital tokens. Using innovative Blockchain technology, they can then use the tokens to buy needed goods and services – reducing the risk of loss or theft. (…)


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


Unlocking the carbon storage potential of forests through better data

19 October 2018, Rome - A UN program that is helping developing countries cut greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation has scored a number of successes by boosting their forest monitoring capacities, a new assessment says. Technical support from FAO provided through then UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) has helped countries make significant advances in their national forest monitoring systems, allowing them to collect an unprecedented wealth of data on forests and generate detailed maps, statistics and studies on forest-use that were not possible previously, the assessment reports.

For example, thanks to advances in their forest monitoring capacity, some 34 governments have now been able to submit critical baseline data on forest carbon stores and forest-related greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (Together, those 34 countries account for 1.4 billion hectares of forests — 36% of the planet's forest area). Such data is an essential basis for developing countries to become eligible for payments in exchange for having reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under the UNFCC's REDD+ scheme.

Tropical deforestation and forest degradation through agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, destructive logging, forest fires, and other causes accounts for 11% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, afforestation, sustainable forest management and reducing deforestation are making forests one of the most cost-effective and immediate solutions to curb climate change.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land




Religion and spirituality


ASIA/SYRIA- The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch inaugurates the Syrian University of Antioch

8 November 2018 - Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - The newly inaugurated university in the village of Maarat Saidnaya (27 km north of Damascus) on the initiative of the Syrian Orthodox Church and its Patriarch, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II is called the Antioch Syrian University, ASU. The inauguration ceremony of the new university institute took place on Tuesday 6th November in the presence - among others - of the Syrian Minister of Higher Education, Atef Al-Naddaf, of Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to the Arab Republic of Syria, and of numerous representatives of local Churches and Syrian Islamic communities, together with representatives of the Syrian political world.



AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Day of the Poor: not only welfare, but a commitment to transforming society

8November 2018 - Bogota (Agenzia Fides) – To react to the culture of waste, promoting the culture of encounter, strengthening the Christian communities so that they may be more and more a concrete sign of Christ's love for the last and the most needy: these are the objectives of the "Day of the Poor", on Sunday 18th November, which the Colombian Church invites to celebrate through the National Secretariat of Social Pastoral Care (SNPS) - Caritas Colombia. "This poor cries and the Lord hears him" (Ps 34) is the theme proposed this year by the Pope to all Catholics and people of good will, so that they are not indifferent to those who invoke our help and our solidarity.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty


ASIA/PAKISTAN - Islamic religious leaders: "We defend the Prophet, but Asia Bibi is innocent"

6 November 2018 - Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "No one tolerates a blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad and we are ready to sacrifice our lives for him. But how can the Court ever punish a defendant when there is solid evidence of her innocence? The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to absolve Asia Bibi is remarkable and gives a message to the whole world: justice exists in Pakistan, for all citizens, regardless of religion, culture or ethnicity": says to Agenzia Fides Mufti Akeel Pirzada, President of the "Council of the Ulema for Peace" in Pakistan, committed to building inter-religious harmony in the country, intervening in the debate underway following the Supreme Court’s verdict that on 31st October decided to absolve Asia Bibi, a Christian woman unjustly condemned to death for alleged blasphemy in 2010.


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Pastoral care of human rights and indigenous peoples in Latin America: two meetings promoted by CELAM

5 November 2018 - Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - Today two important meetings begin in Bogota, promoted by the departments of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council), which will focus their attention on the pastoral care of human rights and the pastoral care of indigenous peoples in Latin America. According to information sent to Agenzia Fides from CELAM, both meetings will end on November 9th.To reflect on the role of the Church in accompanying communities so that their rights are recognized and respected is the goal of the meeting entitled "Pastoral Care of Human Rights" organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the canonization of Mgr. Romero, from the Justice and Solidarity Department of CELAM and Caritas Latin America.




Culture and education


World Cities Day at UNESCO: Millennial mayors call for human and inclusive cities

6 November 2018 – On the occasion of the World Cities Day, UNESCO welcomed on 31st October at its Headquarters in Paris, mayors, town councilors, artists and urban stakeholders from all over the world to discuss the human face of urbanization and its implications for innovation and sustainability, as well as the power of art as a vector for inclusion and non-discrimination. The Director of Policies and Programmes in UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector welcomed more than 300 participants that gathered during the day-long celebration which included round tables, artistic performances and a film screening.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


Education is not a privilege, it’s a legal right

5 November 2018 - Education is like a seed. And for this empowering right to flourish and grow, it must have the best conditions. Education must not only be accessible to all, it must be of the highest quality. And it is not a privilege to be bestowed by a government, it is a legal right for everyone – children, youth and adults. This looks good on paper yet is far from being a reality for millions around the world. Today less than 1 in 5 countries legally guarantee 12 years of free and compulsory education. As we mark the 70th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are still 262 million children out of school, and more than 750 million youth and adults unable to read and write. This is unacceptable and countries must ensure that the millions of people left behind have access to the powerful seed of education they are entitled to.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


UN Day 2018: UNMAS staff in the DRC participated in the cleaning of Mokengeli school complex in Kinshasa

30October 2018 – 24th October marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945 and has been celebrated as the UN Day. This year’s theme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was “Greening the blue” with a focus on promoting a clean and healthy environment”. UNMAS staff in the DRC, combined efforts with civilian and military staff from MONUSCO and UN agencies, together with some family members who also joined the initiative, to clean the Mokengeli school complex, in Lemba, Kinshasa. The UN Day provided an opportunity for UN staff to demonstrate to young students, how to maintain their school on a daily basis. With this theme in the DRC, the UN aimed at promoting the protection of the environment for the sustainable development; thus reinforcing the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular those on the environment (SDG 3 Good health and Well-being, SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 15 Life and Land), promoting the recycling, and encouraging the population to adopt sustainable practices and greener alternatives towards the preservation of the environment. (…)


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being -number 6-Clean Water and Sanitation

News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action- number 15-Life on Land


International Conference “Scientists for Peace”

19-21 October 2018 - Città della Pieve, Italy - Can Peace be conquered on the Planet permanently? For the researchers of various branches of learning who took part in the International Conference “Scientists for Peace” the answer is yes, and the first step will be the commitment to increase the awareness of that part of the public opinion conditioned by information that is often distorted and incomplete. Only effective communication can enable individuals to know, and therefore operate, with increasing awareness, in their daily actions, respecting themselves and their peers: starting from their own consumptions and rethinking their needs, whose ideological, as well as economic, burden harms the entire planet and its resources. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


WFP cash transfers for school meals to promote education outcomes and food security in the Gambia

17th October 2018, Banjul - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it will transfer to participating elementary schools and early childhood development centres an initial amount of more than US$ 370,000 (D 18.5 million) to provide daily meals for up to 60,000 young students. The cash transfers will allow more than 122 selected schools to buy food from local markets and smallholder farmers, which will be served to the students as part of a homegrown school feeding programme implemented in partnership with the Gambian Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. Home-grown school meals enable children to eat locally available, diversified and nutritious foods that they are familiar with, and also provide local farmers and businesses with a predictable market for their products, leading to increased enrolment, attendance and retention for school children, while also ensuring stable incomes, more investment, higher productivity and the creation of jobs for youth and women in the communities concerned.


News related with SDGs number 3-Good Health and Well-Being and number 4-Quality Education


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Next issue: 14th December 2018.


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, Elisa Minelli, Salvatore Caruso Motta, Chiara Damilano, Francesco Viglienghi, Carlo Toraldo, Andrea Landriscina, Nazzarella Franco. 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 Piazzale degli Eroi 8, 00136 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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