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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. 274 – 14th December 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


COP24, the two-week 24th conference of the parties of the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), started on Sunday in Katowice, Poland, with a special focus on carbon neutrality and gender equality.

1 December 2018 - Days after the UN sounded the alarm on the unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, the world is gathering to define how the 2015 Paris Agreement will be implemented and moved forward. Under the agreement, all countries have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the global average rise in temperature to well below 2°C, and as close as possible to 1.5°C.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action and SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


G20 nations agree on reforming WTO: European officials

1 December 2018 – Buenos Aires (Reuters) - European officials said that G20 nations had agreed to commit to reforming the World Trade Organization in a preliminary draft of the communique due to be released at the end of a two-day meeting of the bloc on Saturday. An EU official said the language currently being negotiated for the communique said leaders support reforms needed to improve the WTO.



Liechtenstein signed the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism

26 November 2018 – The Council of Europe decided to update and widen its 1990 Convention to take into account the fact that not only could terrorism be financed through money laundering from criminal activity, but also through legitimate activities.This new Convention is the first international treaty covering both the prevention and the control of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The text addresses the fact that quick access to financial information or information on assets held by criminal organisations, including terrorist groups, is the key to successful preventive and repressive measures, and, ultimately, is the best way to stop them. The Convention includes a mechanism to ensure the proper implementation by Parties of its provisions.


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


The Russian Federation signed the Council of Europe Convention on offences relating to cultural property

8 November 2018 - The Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property aims to prevent and combat the illicit trafficking and destruction of cultural property, in the framework of the Organisation’s action to fight terrorism and organised crime. The Convention, which will be open for signature to any country in the world, also aims to foster international co-operation to fight these crimes, which are destroying the world’s cultural heritage. The Convention, which will be the only international treaty specifically dealing with the criminalisation of the illicit trafficking of cultural property, establishes a number of criminal offences, including theft; unlawful excavation, importation and exportation; and illegal acquisition and placing on the market. It also criminalises the falsification of documents and the destruction or damage of cultural property when committed intentionally.



Portugal ratified the Council of Europe Convention against trafficking in human organs

8 November 2018 - The Convention calls on governments to establish as a criminal offence the illegal removal of human organs from living or deceased donors:

-       where the removal is performed without the free, informed and specific consent of the living or deceased donor, or, in the case of the deceased donor, without the removal being authorised under its domestic law;

-       where, in exchange for the removal of organs, the living donor, or a third party, receives a financial gain or comparable advantage;

-       where in exchange for the removal of organs from a deceased donor, a third party receives a financial gain or comparable advantage.

The Convention also provides protection measures and compensation for victims as well as prevention measures to ensure transparency and equitable access to transplantation services.




Human rights

Human Rights Day

7 December 2018 - Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.In December 1948, UNESCO was the first United Nations agency to place the Universal Declaration at the heart of all its action, to promote it across the world through education and the media.

Human rights gain new meaning when they become a reality in the daily life of every single person in the world. Bringing human rights home is at the core of UNESCO’s mission in all its fields of competence – education, science, culture and communication. In the context of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), UNESCO brings to the fore the centrality of human rights protection in the history and the mandate of the Organization. 


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


South African Indigenous Community win environmental rights case over Mining Company

7 December 2018 - A court has ruled that companies must first seek permission from local communities if they plan to mine on their ancestral land. This represents a new achievement in land and mining rights for South Africa.On 9 December 2018, the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, with International Human Rights Day following a day later. It is therefore fitting that this historic achievement for environmental defenders and the community of Xolobeni came when it did, and that the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent has been upheld for communities and indigenous peoples' in South Africa.



The Syrian Democratic Forces release 56 children under the age of 18

3 December 2018 – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recently announced that 56 boys under the age of 18 had left their organisation and were returned to their families. This decision came following a military order on child protection, issued by the SDF on 5 September 2018. This order included the prohibition to recruit and use children for combat but also for spying, to act as guards or to deliver supplies to combatants.

Geneva Call has maintained a humanitarian dialogue with the SDF on the protection of children and the law of armed conflict since 2016. In 2014, the Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava/People’s Protection Units/Women’s Protection Units (YPG-YPJ) – three actors that are close to the SDF – signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict. In October, Geneva Call trained more than 200 officers of the SDF in their military academy on the prohibition to recruit children and on the law of armed conflict. According to the United Nations, in 2017 seven armed actors committed grave violations against children in the Syrian conflict. These violations included recruitment and use in hostilities, attacks on children and schools, and rape. In the same year, the UN documented more than 961 cases of the recruitment and use of children in the conflict.


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


Southern Africa: SADC Conference on Children's Rights Opens in Maputo

27 November 2018 - Maputo — The chairperson of Mozambique's National Human Rights Council (CNDH), Luis Bitone, warned that the evolution of Mozambican legislation on children's rights is being overtaken by events. He was speaking at the opening of a SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional conference on the role of human rights institutions in monitoring the rights of children. The number of reports and denunciations of violations of children's rights is tending to grow, particularly reports of sexual and domestic violence and child marriages. "Although the legislation enshrines mechanisms for children to participate in taking important decisions that affect their lives, in practice these mechanisms are not adequate and effective, due to various factors, notably traditional practices which are damaging to children, but which are still prevalent in our society", said Bitone. "Child labour, in both rural and urban zones, continues to stain our country", he continued. "So there are urgent challenges which must be tackled so that the undertakings made by the Mozambican state can be transformed into reality". For his part, the general director in Mozambique of the NGO Save the Children, Chance Briggs, said that the children of the countries represented at the conference will be the main beneficiaries of the regional discussion. "With the expected results from this meeting, the way in which each National Human Rights Council approaches children, within the general human rights thematic, will be different and much better", he said. https://allafrica.com/stories/201811280072.html

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


Sudan: Providing financial assistance to people with physical disabilities

20 November 2018 - In its efforts to reduce suffering and improve resilience especially among those affected by armed conflict, the ICRC recently provided financial resources as part of a programme specifically designed for the most vulnerable persons whose physical disability caused them to lose a significant part of their income. Based on the success of previous programmes, the ICRC undertook an assessment of potential beneficiaries which included household visits and interviews for selected individuals in the various project locations. Households that were found suitable according to the selection criteria received financial assistance in order for them to start their preferred income generating projects. The projects to be undertaken by them were of their individual choices, and not proposed to them by the ICRC.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam released from prison

20 November 2018 -The 63-year-old was arrested on 5 August for making “false” and “provocative” statements on al-Jazeera television and Facebook during student protests. He was freed from Dhaka’s main jail late on Tuesday after being granted bail last week. Alam told AFP he hoped his release would “signal freedom for many others” also detained during the massive student demonstrations. “It is a fantastic feeling to be free in a free country, breathing free air. But I hope for freedom for everyone else,” he said. He was held under controversial internet laws, which critics say have been wielded by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to stifle dissent and harass journalists. The photographer had previously said he was badly beaten while in custody. Although Alam was granted bail on Thursday last week, he had to wait another five days to be set free as the prosecution moved to appeal against the bail order. He had earlier applied unsuccessfully for bail four times. Alam, whose work has appeared widely in global media and who founded the renowned Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, faces up to 14 years in jail if convicted.His lawyers have argued his detention was “a clear violation” of his fundamental rights under Bangladesh’s constitution.




Economy and development


Slow Food and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat to bolster mountain people’s livelihoods

10 December 2018, Rome - Slow Food and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, hosted by FAO, have signed an agreement to improve the livelihoods of mountain people, with special focus on Cordillera's mountain community in the Philippines. The two organizations committed to creating stronger synergies between mountain food products and sustainable tourism services. This includes promoting high-quality, indigenous, mountain food products and helping vulnerable mountain communities to tap into the rising demand for sustainable, fair-trade, quality food. At the centre of the new agreement signed today lies a pilot project - "Food & Tourism for Mountain Development" - developed by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Slow Food and the Department of Tourism in the Philippines. The scheme promotes access to markets for small mountain producers in developing countries, enabling them to obtain a fair price for their products, and helps customers make more informed purchases. It also draws from the Slow Food Travel initiative, which creates travel itineraries that promote local culture and gastronomic diversity. The Cordilleras is the most mountainous region of the Philippines. It is also one of the poorest and most marginalized, with poverty levels above 40% - twice as much as the national average. The new project, funded by Italy, will be implemented in Cordilleras' Benguet and Ifugao provinces, for the benefit of more than 800 000 people. The region's mountains host unique rice terraces, including the Ifugao Rice Terraces - recognized as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and an FAO Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).



Helping women start small businesses in northern Kenya

4 December 2018 – Women in Northern Kenya face gender inequality that often limits them from engaging in economic activities. Over the years, men in this region have been the sole breadwinners providing basic needs for their families through livestock-related businesses, which is the region’s key livelihood activity. This is not any different for Rukia Liban, a 33-year-old woman living in Malkadaka Ward in Isiolo County who is currently in her second marriage. The Rural Entrepreneur Access Activity Project (REAP), part of the Feed the Future Kenya Livestock Market Systems Activity implemented by ACDI/VOCA, reaches women like Rukia living in extreme poverty. The project takes them through a two-year poverty graduation model, equipping them with training and mentorship in finance and business and life skills. Women like Rukia also have the opportunity to join a savings group and take part in asset transfers to jumpstart small businesses and income-generating activities. The project identifies women like Rukia through a rigorous process that involves mapping out the targeted counties and introducing REAP to community members. The project then conducts a social mapping and wealth ranking criteria and selection exercise to determine participants. The randomly selected woman who ranks the lowest financially has the chance to select two more women to form a group of three. Once these groups have formed and determined the type of business they want to start, the Feed the Future Kenya Livestock Market Systems Activity awards them asset transfers of KES 20,000.


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


NEW YORK - JConnelly Launches Corporate Social Responsibility Division helmed by Sustainability Expert Thomas M. Kostigen

4 December 2018 - JConnelly, a leading integrated communications and marketing firm, is expanding its services and specialties, adding a corporate social responsibility (CSR) division headed by globally recognized sustainability expert and New York Times bestselling author Thomas M. Kostigen. The new division will build on JConnelly’s legacy of strategic storytelling to help companies provide greater context and transparency around their environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs. Through multimedia content and personalization of numbers-heavy reports, JConnelly will help a variety of organizations maximize the value of their CSR efforts and connect with audiences who are increasingly concerned about the societal impact of the businesses they support. Socially impactful communications have exploded in recent years, with 85% of the companies in the S&P 500 now issuing sustainability reports. While the rise has been driven by demand for more transparency, organizations are now tasked with making their content more compelling and engaging as more information becomes available to a broad audience of investors, consumers, suppliers, retailers and distributors.



European Union provides €12 million in support of global food security

23 November 2018, Rome - The European Union and FAO along with its Rome-based UN partner agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), have today signed an €12 million deal that will lend EU backing to three separate programs designed to tackle diverse aspects of food security and rural development. The first project will aim to empower rural women as key actors in improving nutrition and food security; another will support global food security governance mechanisms, including by promoting greater involvement by civil society in policymaking; and the third is looking to leverage private sector funding to support agricultural development projects.The European Union (EU) is the world's largest development aid donor, contributing over half the world's total official development assistance. The EC is an important UN partner, contributing over €1 billion in support of external assistance programmes and projects. The EU remains FAO's main resource partner, representing with its Member States 45% of the UN agency's budget. In 2017, EU's contribution reached €239 million.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Netherlands contributes €8 million to rehabilitate and maintain roads in South Sudan

22 Novemeber 2018, Juba - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received an €8 million contribution from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets by rehabilitating and maintaining roads in South Sudan. The project, which is aligned to the United Nations’ Partnership for Recovery and Resilience approach, will enable WFP to improve 250 kilometres of roads, assuring year-round access to more than 20 markets for 10,000 smallholder farmers and residents alike. It will connect people to clinics and other necessities and open up land to agriculture in Eastern and Western Equatoria states. The roadworks will further provide casual employment opportunities for more than 450 local youth and women as well as enhance community participation through Road Maintenance Groups. South Sudan is one of the most logistically challenging countries in the world. Although the Equatoria region in the southern part of the country is rich with fertile soils and endowed with good rainfall, agricultural production remains low due to insecurity and poor infrastructure. Several local agricultural markets also remain cut off from regional hubs, making it difficult for farmers to distribute their produce. The latest contribution brings total support from the Netherlands to WFP South Sudan to more than US$35 million.


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




United States provides $14.3 million to World Food Programme to support refugees in Kenya

7 December 2018, Nairobi - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is contributing US$14.3 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food assistance to more than 400,000 refugees living in northern Kenya. In the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, WFP provides food assistance to refugees in the form of a mix of food items – cereals, pulses, vegetable oil and nutrient-enriched flour – and a cash transfer called Bamba Chakula, which is Swahili-based slang for ‘get your food.’ The cash, sent through mobile telephones, allows refugees to buy food of their choice from local markets. USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with WFP to provide relief and build resilience among the most vulnerable populations in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid counties. WFP is working with over 800 traders to serve refugees. The cash transfers to refugees have greatly boosted trading in the Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei markets. Overall, WFP requires US$7 million to provide food assistance to refugees in Kenya every month.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Major nutrition programme launched in Karamoja region of Uganda

26 November 2018, Kotido/ Uganda - The Karamoja Nutrition Programme, funded by UK aid and implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), will strengthen the Government’s health system to ensure children and mothers across the region receive high quality health and nutrition services and are better nourished. The programme supports all District Local Governments in Karamoja to: develop the skills of nutritionists and health workers; improve the treatment of acute malnutrition in hospitals, health centres and communities; generate evidence to improve the design of nutrition services; procure and manage quality nutrition supplies; and provide more effective nutrition leadership and coordination across all Government departments and partners. The programme will support: over 100,000 malnourished children under the age of 5 with a community based supplementary feeding programme; nearly 15,000 severely malnourished children with specialized treatment in hospitals and health centres; 140,000 children to receive Vitamin A supplements and deworming medication twice a year; and around 70,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women with iron folic acid supplements to treat anaemia.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Soufra brings traditional Palestinian dishes to the streets of Beirut

21November 2018 – Anera’s work is only possible with the help of our local partners. One of those partners, Mariam Shaar of the Women’s Programs Association (WPA) in Lebanon, helped launch a food service company providing delicious Lebanese and Palestinian cuisine. Mariam was born to Palestinian parents in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp, Lebanon, where she now lives. Like all refugees in Lebanon, she is restricted from most employment opportunities, sharply limiting income prospects. The inspiring story of Soufra, the women-run catering company turned food truck business founded by Ms. Shaar, is told through an engaging new film and cookbook. The women of Soufra were able to launch the enterprise and earn income from their mouth-watering culinary skills and transforming their lives in the process. Soufra is an Alfanar funded and supported project, which has been closely involved since 2014. It was through Alfanar’s technical and financial support that WPA were able to establish the company, purchase the food truck and transform Soufra into the successful venture that it is today. Soufra’s food trucks have brought traditional Palestinian food – including savory dishes like dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), spreads like muhammara, and sweets like makrouta, and coconut namoura – to the streets of Beirut, and into kitchens across the world.


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


WFP welcomes new funding pledge for humanitarian needs in Yemen from United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

20 November 2018, Dubai/Riyadh - The United Nations World Food programme (WFP) welcomes a pledge of US$500 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for humanitarian food assistance to Yemen. The funds, which will partially go to WFP, will cover shortfalls in the current humanitarian response while helping WFP scale up its operation to provide life-saving food assistance to 10-12 million severely hungry people in Yemen, including more than 2 million children. WFP is currently providing food assistance to 7 – 8 million severely hungry people there every month but has started scaling up its operations due to the deteriorating food security situation. Rapidly rising prices have put what limited food there is beyond the reach of many Yemeni families.  The new contribution will allow WFP to expand cash-based assistance which helps not just those buying food and other basic items but also merchants and small businesses – a key step in kick-starting the collapsed Yemeni economy. https://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/wfp-welcomes-new-funding-pledge-humanitarian-needs-yemen-united-arab-emirates-and-


ADRA Connections offers service scholarships to young adults to volunteer overseas

Silver Spring, MD (November 12, 2018)– The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)’s global volunteer program ADRA Connections is launching a new service scholarship that will allow thousands of young people in the U.S. to be more active through volunteerism and become agents of change to contribute to the development of communities abroad.ADRA Connections expects to provide 350 to 400 scholarships each year from 2019 to 2023. Scholarships will range from approximately $500 to $1,200 depending on the type of project and the country where the project takes place. ADRA, which oversees ADRA Connections and the scholarship program, is a global non-profit organization and the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It carries out projects around the world, ensuring that initiatives are sustainable and include community support and participation. ADRA Connections volunteers help children have better access to education and improve living conditions for families through various projects, such as building schools, improving home kitchens, installing solar panels in communities without electricity, helping farmers improve productivity, and other activities. Volunteers are a key part of any project, as they help raise the funds needed to carry out the projects and then travel on location to assist with the work. Volunteers also learn about development challenges, community needs, and solutions.




Peace and security


Southern Sudanese leaders agree to promote a culture of peace

7 December 2018 - A number of civil leaders from across southern Sudan have agreed to work to promote unity, preaching peace and renouncing hate speech to promote peace, in accordance with the peace agreement. Sixty local leaders from Upper Nile, Bahr El Ghazal and Equatorial Regions held a three-day meeting last week in the state of the Yai River to discuss how to implement the peace agreement.


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


The Syrian Democratic Forces release 56 children under the age of 18

3 December 2018 –. This decision came following a military order on child protection, issued by the SDF on 5 September 2018. This order included the prohibition to recruit and use children for combat but also for spying, to act as guards or to deliver supplies to combatants. Geneva Call has maintained a humanitarian dialogue with the SDF on the protection of children and the law of armed conflict since 2016. In 2014, the Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava/People’s Protection Units/Women’s Protection Units (YPG-YPJ) – three actors that are close to the SDF – signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict. Geneva Call continues to hold the YPG/YPJ accountable for its commitment and maintains its dialogue with the SDF to ensure that no children under 18 are associated with them. In October, Geneva Call trained more than 200 officers of the SDF in their military academy on the prohibition to recruit children and on the law of armed conflict. Geneva Call agreed with the SDF to conduct the same training for all new groups of officers coming to this academy.


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


Tenth anniversary of the life-saving global ban on cluster munitions

3December 2018 – Today marks the tenth anniversary of the historic signing of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions at Oslo City Hall on 3 December 2008. The Convention on Cluster Munitions is the result of a partnership of like-minded governments, civil society, UN agencies and international organisations. During the signing ceremony in Oslo on 3-4 December 2008, 94 States signed the treaty. To-date 120 states have joined the Convention, of which 104 are states parties and 16 are signatories, committing to its goals, saving lives, and creating a powerful global stigma against the use of these indiscriminate weapons. Seventy-seven states remain non-signatories to the ban. States that prioritise the protection of civilians should join the convention without delay. Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that pose a serious threat to civilian populations during and long after an attack. Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of the weapon is prohibited. The ban treaty has served to prioritise the protection of civilians and prevent unacceptable harm. As a result of the 2008 Convention, States Parties to the convention have destroyed 99% of their stockpiled cluster munitions, eliminating a collective total of more than 1.4 million cluster munitions and 177 million submunitions.



Afghanistan can rely on international support along harrowing road to peace, and beyond

28 November 2018 - Afghanistan has undertaken significant reforms which the international community will continue to support long after peace is secured in the war-torn country, a top UN official pledged on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani acknowledged that his country had received considerable support from the global community, having been the focus of 11 similar meetings in recent years, from Tokyo to London.


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





Bringing hope to sufferers of a neglected disease

5December 2018 – In May, MSF opened a treatment centre for cutaneous leishmaniais in Peshawar in May 2018 - its fourth in Pakistan. Already, the centre has admitted more than 800 patients and is operating at full capacity, as are MSF’s three other treatment centres: two in Quetta and one in Kuchlak. MSF is currently the biggest provider of treatment for the disease in Balochistan province, in the south of Pakistan. Meanwhile, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in the north, MSF’s Peshawar clinic is the only major centre providing free diagnosis and treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis in the whole region. The disease mainly affects people from rural areas, in places where living conditions are poor and clean water and sanitation almost non-existent. As a result, it is not generally seen as a public health priority. Major challenges to controlling the disease in Pakistan are that there is a general lack of awareness about the disease, too few healthcare workers trained to deal with it, and no data collected at national level on its prevalence. Added to this, the drugs to treat it are not widely available. The risk of shortage of the drug, that has to be imported, is a constant threat not only to the proper functioning of the treatment centers, such as MSF’s, but also to the health of people living with the disease.


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


Syria polio outbreak stopped

3 December 2018 – In June 2017, some of the first circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) cases were reported in Deir Ez-Zor governorate, in eastern Syria, confirming an outbreak of polio. Since then, 74 cases were reported, with the most recent case reported on 21 September 2017.vDespite being a high-risk country with large scale population movements, inadequate health infrastructure, and accessibility issues, the outbreak response was successfully carried out. Health workers reached out to children to raise immunity levels, vaccinate children, and stop the outbreak, regardless of the location or socio-political climate.vAn official outbreak response assessment was carried out by experts on global health, virology, and epidemiology, which concluded that the outbreak could now be closed.“(Disease) Surveillance is stronger today than it was 18 months ago, when the initial cases were detected…so, as we celebrate what is a remarkable achievement in stopping this outbreak, amid very challenging circumstances, we must not lose sight of the risks posed by continued circulation of virus in other parts of our Region,” said Chris Maher, Manager for Polio Eradication in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.


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


Eradication isn’t the end of the Rinderpest story

22 November 2018, Rome/Paris- Two international agencies have urged countries to remain vigilant about the possible re-emergence of the deadly cattle disease called Rinderpest. Rinderpest was declared eradicated in 2011, making it the first animal disease to be eliminated in the history of humankind. For centuries, Rinderpest caused the death of millions of cattle, buffalo, yak and wild animals, leading to famine and starvation. FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are calling upon countries to eliminate last Rinderpest virus samples still being held in some laboratories around the world. To maintain the global freedom from Rinderpest and prevent any re-introduction of the disease, the two agencies have developed a Global Action Plan published today. The plan is meant to be a guiding material for countries, outlining the responsibilities of all involved to maintain the freedom. The Global Rinderpest Action Plan also entails optimizing capacity to make diagnostic tools and vaccines available if needed, a coordinated emergency plan that can be immediately activated upon the first confirmed case, assuring both a rapid return to global freedom from the disease and necessary support for affected livelihoods.


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



Energy and safety


Welcome to a hydrogen-powered world

5 December 2018 - Stable, flexible and clean, hydrogen has demonstrated that it belongs alongside renewables and natural gas as an environmentally friendly energy source of the future. Atomically speaking, hydrogen is number one. It is the lightest of elements, and the most abundant in the universe. It has long been used to fuel modes of transport as polarized as rockets and hot air balloons. Now, through fuel cell technology, it is also increasingly used to power cars and buses.But its potential as a fuel is far greater than transport alone, and attention is now turning to the use of hydrogen in power generation, working alongside renewables and natural gas.


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


Argentine cooperative to invest $53 million in corn-based ethanol expansion project

4 December 2018 – In Argentina, the ethanol arm of the Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas is set to invest $53 million to expand its production capacity to 700 million liters annually using corn starch as feedstock. The original facility inaugurated seven years ago following a $150 million investment had an installed production capacity of 153 million liters annually of anhydrous ethanol. The first stage of the expansion will be complete next year but the total expansion will put the facility beyond its capacity to supply its own energy and will require 20% of its energy demand from outside sources.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


University of York researchers find key to producing biofuel from wood in the gut of curious wood-eating crustacean

3 December 2018 – In the UK, scientists studying the digestive system of a curious wood-eating crustacean have discovered it may hold the key to sustainably converting wood into biofuel. Gribble are small marine invertebrates that have evolved to perform an important ecological role eating the abundant supplies of wood washed into the sea from river estuaries. The team of scientists, led by the University of York, studied the hind gut of gribble, and discovered that Hemocyanins – the same proteins that make the blood of invertebrates blue – are crucial to their ability to extract sugars from wood. The discovery brings researchers a step closer to identifying cheaper and more sustainable tools for converting wood into low carbon fuel – a promising alternative to fossil fuels like coal and oil.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


World Bank Commits $200 Billion Over Five Years For Climate Action

3 December 2018 – The World Bank Group announced on Monday a new set of climate targets for 2021-25 and that it was doubling its current five-year investments to around $200 billion in support of countries taking ambitious climate action. One of the world’s largest sources of funding for developing countries, the World Bank Group announced on Monday that it would increase its current five-year investments to around $200 billion, with a particular focus on projects for climate adaptation and resilience.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Two million Australian households now have rooftop solar – and they vote

3 December 2018 – One of Australia’s hottest renewable energy sectors, residential solar, has chalked up another major milestone, with the number of households to have installed rooftop PV passing the two million-mark. The achievement, notched up last week, was announced by the Clean Energy Council on Monday – around five years and 7 months after Australia reached 1 million solar homes– alongside its own tally of the nation’s top solar postcodes. It’s a remarkable achievement for a sector that just keeps breaking records, as growth heads in one direction and costs in the other. And it’s worth noting that just 10 years ago there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production  


Bamboo for bioenergy a viable option in Indonesia

2 December 2018 – In Indonesia, bamboo is being looked at as a sustainable alternative bioenergy source, especially considering the country’s palm oil for biofuel being attached for deforestation and other impacts. Researchers from Australia’s RMIT University and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) consider bamboo a viable alternative since it grows fast, has a long root system, can grow on degraded land, and is easy to maintain since it requires little watering or fertilizers.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production



Environment and wildlife


Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton expand company’s partnership with Clean the World

3 December 2018Mclean, Va., Dec. 03 /CSRwire/ - In honor of National Handwashing Awareness Week, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton announced a partnership with Clean the World, the world's largest organization to recycle hotel soap and bath amenities. Furthering Hilton’s 2030 target to send zero soap to landfill, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton commit to supporting Clean the World by providing recycled hygiene products to save the lives of those in need.  As part of the global partnership that begins in 2019, more than 670 Hilton Garden Inn and 2,230 Hampton by Hilton properties in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will recycle discarded soap and bathroom amenity bottles to be converted into new bars of soap and hygiene kits. By recycling these products, Clean the World provides soap to those in need, ultimately preventing diseases within communities and reducing mortality rates around the world. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


Rescue of critically endangered Sumatran rhino brings new hope for the species

28 November 2018 – The Government of Indonesia and Sumatran Rhino Rescue, a groundbreaking alliance of leading international conservation organizations have successfully rescued and relocated a critically endangered but healthy female rhino to a secure facility in Kalimantan with the support of local partners. The rescue operation is the first major activity of an expanded conservation breeding program that aims to save the species from imminent extinction and eventually increase populations of Sumatran rhino to numbers that allow them to be returned to the wild.The Sumatran rhinoceros was transported by truck from the rescue site in West Kutai, to a temporary holding facility in Hutan Lindung Kelian Lestari (Kelian Lestari Protected Forest) both in the District Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan Province of Indonesia. The Sumatran rhino is one of the most endangered large mammals on the planet. With fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, the species faces a crisis point. After decades of poaching and habitat loss, the greatest threat facing the species is the distance that separates their small populations. Unable to easily find mates, many breeding age Sumatran rhinos risk infertility as a result of extended isolation. In their current fragmented and dispersed pockets across two vast Indonesian islands, hope for their survival depends on conservationists’ ability to find and safely relocate them to specialized facilities designed for their care.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land



Religion and spirituality


Qasr al-Yahud: a mission to restore faith – and hope

9 December 2018 - In the West Bank, at the third most holy site in Christianity, work is under way to clear thousands of landmines and reopen seven ancient churches abandoned since 1967’s six-day war. Bluashvili, a bear of a man who wears his preternatural calmness like a suit of armour, is the leader of a 16-strong team of de-miners that since last March has been working on a site close to a section of the west bank of the River Jordan that tradition holds to be the spot where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist.



Buddhist elected as chair of US commission on international religious freedom

7 December 2018 - Tenzin Dorjee, a Tibetan Buddhist translator and scholar, was unanimously elected in June as the chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. The independent, bipartisan commission reviews religious freedom violations around the world and makes policy recommendations to the US Congress.



Small Irish community seeks help to save a saint’s iconic cross

6 December   2018 - Dublin, Ireland- A unique Irish cross marking the 1,400-year-old grave of a Catholic saint is in danger of destruction due to erosion, and the local community is seeking help to restore the “icon of Ireland’s early Christian heritage.” St Mura’s Cross is carved into a slab nearly seven feet tall that marks the grave of St. Mura, the first abbot of a sixth-century monastery in the far north of Ireland in what is now County Donegal. The monastery, one of Ireland’s earliest, was founded by St. Colmcille less than a century after the death of St. Patrick. It became a center of religion and scholarship and its surrounding settlements gave birth to the town of Fahan, where nearly 600 people live today. A nearby gable wall must be repaired before preservation efforts on St. Mura’s Cross must begin



MALI- FOOTBALL “We are all together”: For the promotion of peace and living together

5 December 2018 – The announcement was made during a press briefing this Thursday in Bamako at the UNESCO office in the presence of Ms. Ute Kollies, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Mali, her counterpart of UNESCO, Mr. Hervé Huot-Marchand and the representative of the Ministry of Sports, Diakaridia Diakité, Technical Advisor, who welcomed the idea. From Friday, December 30 to Sunday, December 2, from 5 pm, the Zone-K complex in Bamako will welcome teams from the North and Center of the country. Young people from Gao, Mopti, Tessalit and Timbuktu will compete for three days to win the first phase of the competition. These different meetings are an opportunity to highlight the values ​​of sport, such as the patient, tolerance, or perseverance. It is not a simple tournament, but it is a question of bringing together young people from different horizons, in order to sensitize them to the knowledge and the respect of the other person, as well as to social cohesion and dialogue. Thus, awareness and reflection sessions on peace will be given to young people, to allow them to return to their respective regions with action projects, which they can set up, in order to promote peace in their turn. and tolerance.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


Church in Asia reflects on Confucian-Christian Dialogue and Mission

3 December 2018 - Exploring how Confucianism sheds light on the comprehension of the Church and her evangelising mission, particularly in Asia: this is the purpose of a gathering of scholars of Confucianism from 3 - 8 December 2018 at the Rome based CIAM, International Centre for Mission Animation. The scholars, all Christian with Confucian roots come from South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The sessions of Confucian-Christian dialogue take as a departure point elements emerging from recent documents issued by Pope Francis such as Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si' and "Amoris Laetitia".

The dialogue will dwell on questions of hermeneutics, biblical, liturgical, ethical, social and education also from the Confucianism point of view in comparison with the Christian approach and vision. The focus of the Study Seminar is to reflect on how Christians can consider and interact with the Confucian tradition as in their missionary commitment, looking at the Church’s mission in Asia, a world in which a good 20% of the population has Confucian roots.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


New Buddhist app launches with focus on social justice

3 December 2018 - Founder Ravi Mishra hopes his new app, Awaken, will help meditators examine social issues. A new Buddhist app offering contemplations and guided meditations on social justice is now available in the App Store. Awaken, offers meditation instructions to help users explore social issues like race and gender. Content in the app is sorted into individual practices called “singles” and themed collections of practices called “albums.” The app includes guided meditations, contemplation practices that invite the user to consider a question, and recorded conversations. Mishra says he started thinking about the app three years ago, but he decided to commit himself to it full-time during the 2016 election, when he says he realized “there’s nothing more important to me than this project.” A press release for the app says there is a growing movement to use “Buddhist teachings to examine and address the ways in which power is being misused.” The app seeks to be the first of its kind to help meditators explore such issues.




Culture and education


UNESCO launches its global comprehensive sexuality education campaign

7 December 2018 - UNESCO launched its global campaign 'Comprehensive sexuality education: A foundation for life and love' with a photography exhibition and event On World AIDS Day 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.  “Know your status”, the official theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, highlights how comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) helps young people to make healthier life decisions, including knowing their HIV status. Comprehensive sexuality education lays the foundation for life and love. Yet, too few young people have the knowledge and skills they need to grow up healthy and happy.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Syrian women's art on show in Istanbul subway station

5 December 2018, Ankara - An art exhibition created by women refugees in Turkey opened on Wednesday at Istanbul’s Yenikapı subway station, a major transit hub. Part of a three-month art initiative, it’s funded by a European Union assistance programme for refugees across Turkey. In the Umudun Renkleri initiative, 12 Syrian women learned techniques from Turkish artists to create works reflecting their experiences fleeing the war in Syria. Their art has already been exhibited in Ankara and now comes to Istanbul where it will be displayed until 12 December. The initiative uses art as a way to help refugees cope with their experiences and was carried out under the EU-funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) cash assistance programme, implemented by the UN World Food Programme, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish Government.Some 1.5 million refugees currently supported by the ESSN programme receive 120 TL for each family member every month on a special debit card to withdraw cash or purchase items in shops, like any other debit card. All of the artists said that receiving cash assistance through ESSN had helped them significantly to adjust to their life in Turkey.



UN General Assembly proclaims 24 January International Day of Education

5 December 2018 - On 3 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. As the world education community gathered in Brussels for the Global Education Meeting, the UN General Assembly voiced a strong message recognizing the foundational role of education for peace and development. The adoption of the resolution 73/25 “International Day of Education”, co-authored by Nigeria and 58 other Member States, demonstrated the unwavering political will to support transformative actions for inclusive, equitable and quality education for all. By doing so, the international community reiterated that education plays a key role in building sustainable and resilient societies, and contributes to the achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals as it dedicated a special day to celebrate education worldwide.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Nigeria's largest online digital library

4 December 2018 - Nigeria’s largest online library which was launched in Lagos last October has gained over two thousand members. The platform by ‘Bambooks’ Limited is aimed at empowering local authors to get their works across a larger audience and make some money. Founder and CEO of ‘Bambooks’, Ugo Okoye told Africanews that his team saw a big opportunity to bring African content and literature to Africans as well as Africans in the diaspora. The platform basically allows members to have unlimited access to all the content on the platform. So if users or members want to read books on entrepreneurship or books on romance and fiction or religious books, they can find it there.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


HP commits to educate 100,000 across Africa in the next three years, opens HP LIFE Center for Entrepreneurship in South Africa

3 December 2018 Palo Alto, California and Johannesburg, S.A ,/CSRwire/ - At the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, HP (NYSE: HPQ) announced a new commitment to reach 100,000 learners across Africa over the next three years through the HP Foundation’s HP LIFE program, and kicked off the commitment by opening a new tech-enabled HP LIFE Center in South Africa. HP’s pledge supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 and furthers the company’s goals to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025 and to enroll a million HP LIFE users between 2016 and 2025, as outlined in the HP 2017 Sustainable Impact Report. By 2030, Africa will be home to 32% of the population under the age of 30, and the largest working age population by 2035. Yet, today’s youth unemployment in Africa is up to 3x higher than adult unemployment. HP LIFE offers free, online learning for users to gain the skills to start and grow their own business or improve their employment opportunities. Building on the success of this global program, HP is working with partners to open technology-enabled HP LIFE innovation centers to further support entrepreneurship and workforce development across the continent. (…)


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Diversity of Cultural Expression Committee to focus on Digital creativity and Artificial Intelligence at annual meeting

3 December 2018 - The annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee that oversees the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will take place at UNESCO’s Headquarters, from 11 to 14 December. The 12th session, to be opened by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, will feature a new series of public talks entitled Create|2030 that will examine how investing in creativity can contribute directly to achieving the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Representatives of the 24 Parties that sit on the Committee of the 2005 Convention are expected to adopt a pioneering roadmap to chart the implementation of policies and measures that support the creative industries in the digital environment. It will notably highlight issues concerning the remuneration for artists, market concentration and fundamental freedoms. The roadmap is also designed to accompany UNESCO’s growing work to address the ethical challenges raised by artificial intelligence, the automation of creativity and the sector’s ability to support decent jobs.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Goodwill week and Goodwill song

10 November 2018, Darjeeling, WB India- Darjeeling Goodwill Center inaugurated the 10th Goodwill Week at Capitol Hall, Darjeeling, looking back to a decade of love and labour of cultural contribution, inspiration and creativity within the hearts of the citizens of Darjeeling. A particular highlight represented the international première of the Goodwill Song, composed and conducted by Virgil Vihaan Sequeira and performed by the Goodwill Choir, the Strings2019 orchestra as well as some folk musicians of the Hills. This initiative was sponsored by Good News Agency, Italy, World Goodwill, New York and Londonand the Association Sarasvati, Italy.Being Goodwill one of the most important qualities of the human being, a power sparkling from the heart connecting mankind together, as the Goodwill Song states, the spreading of this great untapped resource of humanity through music has the purpose of reaching the hearts of the human beings in a direct way all over the world.



News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education



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Next issue: 11th January 2019.


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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