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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 19th, no. 276 – 15th February 2019


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


REGULATION (EU) 2019/127 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 January 2019 establishing the European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions (Eurofound), and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1365/75

31 January 2019 – (…) Article 1 - Establishment and objectives

1.   The European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions, (Eurofound), is hereby established as a Union Agency.

2.   Eurofound's objective shall be to provide the Commission, other Union institutions, bodies and agencies, the Member States and the social partners with support for the purpose of shaping and implementing policies concerning the improvement of living and working conditions, devising employment policies, and promoting the dialogue between management and labour.

To that end, Eurofound shall enhance and disseminate knowledge, provide evidence and services for the purpose of policy making, including research-based conclusions, and shall facilitate knowledge sharing among and between Union and national actors. (…)



Denmark approved the Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (revised)

25 January 2019 - The purpose of the revised Convention is to provide a legal and financial framework for the co-production of feature-length films involving production companies established in three or more states Parties. (…) The key revisions of the text aim to:

The revised Convention applies to co-productions where all of the production companies involved are established in Parties to the updated text.



France, Germany try to 'show the way forward' for embattled EU project

22 January 2019 - AACHEN, Germany (Reuters) - The leaders of France and Germany signed a new treaty on Tuesday to update their 1963 post-war reconciliation accord, aiming to reinvigorate the European Union’s main axis as growing euroskeptic nationalism tests the bloc’s cohesion. At a ceremony in the German border city of Aachen, an historic symbol of European concord, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron sought to show they can provide fresh leadership for the troubled EU project.



The Holy See acceded to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons

15 January 2019 - This instrument sets out the rules applicable to transfer of the execution of sentences, firstly where sentenced persons have absconded from the sentencing State to their State of nationality, and secondly where they are subject to an expulsion or deportation order as a consequence of their sentence. It supplements the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (ETS No. 112), whose main aim is to further the social rehabilitation of sentenced foreign nationals by allowing the sentence to be served in the country of origin. This Convention is founded to a great extent on humanitarian principles, being based on the consideration that communication difficulties, language barriers and deprivation of contact with the family can have adverse effects on foreign prisoners.



UN welcomes progress in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia naming dispute

13 January 2019 - The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the naming dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, has welcomed the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia parliament’s decision to ratify an agreement on a new name for the latter country, following a dispute that has lasted some 28 years. The dispute stretches back to 1991, when the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, and announced its intention to be named “Macedonia.” Neighbouring Greece refused to recognise the name, insisting that only the northern Greek region of the same name should be called Macedonia, and arguing that the former Yugoslav Republic’s use of the name was a challenge to Greek sovereignty.


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



Human rights


Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

9 February 2019 - Young female African coders are “on the front-line” of the battle to change traditionally male power relations and bring about a more equitable balance between men and women, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during his visit to Ethiopia to attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


ETHIOPIA: A new era for human rights organisations?

8 February 2019 - After years of repression under the 2009 Law on Charities and Societies, the adoption of a more democratic regulatory framework reopens the space for civil society organisations (CSOs) and their engagement in human rights activities. While rejoicing in this important step forward, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia, and the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations and the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia express their concerns about several challenges which the new law fails to address. February 5, 2019 marked an historic date in the history of Ethiopian civil society. One year after the beginning of the political transition which led to the release of around a thousand political prisoners and human rights defenders, the peace agreement with Eritrea, and the opening of the borders to human rights defenders who had been living in exile for more than a decade, the House of Peoples Representatives adopted the revised Civil Society Proclamation 1113/2019, which repeals the Proclamation No. 621/2009.


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


International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Statement: Take action to eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030

4 February 2019 - In a joint statement for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, UN Women Executive Director, UNFPA Executive Director, and UNICEF Executive Director, reaffirm their commitment to end this violation of human rights. In 2015, world leaders overwhelmingly backed the elimination of female genital mutilation as one of the targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is an achievable goal, and we must act now to translate that political commitment into action.  At the national level, we need new policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination. Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent should also develop national action plans to end the practice. To be effective, their plans must include budget lines dedicated to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, education, social welfare and legal services. At the regional level, we need institutions and economic communities to work together, preventing the movement of girls and women across borders when the purpose is to get them into countries with less restrictive female genital mutilation laws. Locally, we need religious leaders to strike down myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Tunisia: Women's Gains - "Tree that hides the forest... of suffering"

4 February 2019 - The latest report of the National Authority for the Fight against Human Trafficking (French: INLCTP) brought to light a dark and unseen side in connection to Tunisian women, notwithstanding largely hailed gains and significant progress in comparison with a number of countries. Tunisian women, be they educated or illiterate, rural or living in urban areas, citizens or legal/ illegal residents, have become an essential link in the human trafficking chain. Once facing the charge of being "a victim," Tunisian women are now "involved" in offences and "culprits." A legal arsenal, particularly a string of progressive laws enacted in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution, came to beef up women's freedoms and political, civic and social rights.



Call to revitalize ‘language of the ancestors’ for survival of future generations: Indigenous chief

1 February 2019 - Hundreds of ancestral languages have gone silent in recent generations, taking with them the culture, knowledge and traditions of the people who spoke them. To preserve and revitalize those that remain, the United Nations on Friday officially launched the International Year of Indigenous Languages, at UN Headquarters in New York.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education



Economy and development


Togo, IFAD partner on $35m project aimed at creating jobs in rural areas

8 February 2019 - More than 50,000 vulnerable rural households in Togo will benefit from a $35 million project that aims to spur inclusive rural economic growth and create employment opportunities in rural parts of the West African country through a value chains approach. This was contained in a financing agreement signed on Thursday by the government of Togo and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


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


VIRGINIA - Tiger Fuel Company pioneers a new way to reverse environmental impacts

8 February 2019 -   The Markets of Tiger Fuel Company have partnered with Green Gas, at all nine of their locations in Central Virginia to encourage consumers to reverse their cars’ environmental impact at the gas pump. By simply agreeing to donate through an on-pump prompt, drivers can donate to GreenTrees, the leading reforestation carbon program in North America. With every turn of the wheel, Market customers can be part of the solution to regenerate forests in North America. Donating just one dollar at The Market pumps is certified by Green Gas to absorb 189 pounds of carbon emissions, the exact amount of pollution emitted from the average 10-gallon fill-up. Since rollout, Market customers have already planted enough trees to absorb the carbon emissions of 144,000 miles driven on Virginia roads. To help supercharge the initiative, The Market is offering a free coffee to all donors. The Market is the first gas station chain in Virginia to support the Green Gas project on its pumps, making it a pioneer in the retail fuel industry.  This partnership is part of an ongoing commitment by Tiger Fuel Company to support sustainable practices, following the company’s recent installation of solar panels at two of its newest locations. Consumers interested in supporting Green Gas and removing their car’s carbon emissions from the air can visit any of The Markets’ nine locations in Charlottesville and surrounding areas.



TORONTO - Scotiabank and Tecnológico de Monterrey Announce Factory A in Mexico City, a Corporate Accelerator designed to foster Fintech Innovation and Growth

7 February 2019 - Scotiabank and The Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), commonly referred to as Tec de Monterrey, today announced the launch of Factory A in Mexico City, the bank's first accelerator. Factory A will select 10 FinTech ventures made up of young entrepreneurs from Latin America to join the program's Entrepreneur Coworking ecosystem. They will participate in prototype labs and receive legal counsel, public relations support and mentorship from leaders across the bank and Tec de Monterrey's networks. The program will explore tools and techniques for leveraging innovations and tackling technology related challenges such as data analytics, alternative scoring, electronic payments, Internet of Things, Know Your Customer (KYC) and cybersecurity in the digital ecosystem.



Working together for the sustainable mechanization of farming in Africa

7 February 2019, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Conservation Tillage (ACT) Network today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage greater access for small-scale farmers to sustainable farm mechanization, such as two-wheeled tractors and other labour-saving machines. The partnership also seeks to link the use of farming machinery to Conservation Agriculture which is a farming system that promotes minimum soil disturbance and the planting of complementary plant species to enhance biodiversity and natural biological processes.
In Africa, smallholder farmers use their own muscle power, such as hand hoes, for around 65% of the total labour needed for land preparation, with draught animal power accounting for 25% and engine-powered machines just 10%. Mechanization across the food value chain -- from production and harvesting to handling, processing and transportation -- alleviates drudgery, raises farm productivity, increases incomes and provides new jobs such as mechanization services and repairs. Sustainable mechanization can also conserve natural resources and enable agriculture systems to be more resilient to climate change. The African Union has committed to banishing the hand hoe by 2025.
The collaboration also aims to promote knowledge sharing and support greater policy dialogue on sustainable agricultural mechanization and Conservation Agriculture.


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


First projects approved by the China-IFAD South-South and Triangular Cooperation Facility

29 January 2019 - Eight projects have been approved under the first call for proposals under the China-IFAD South-South and Triangular Cooperation Facility for US$3.6 million. These projects cover a range of issues, from water conservation, rural youth innovations, rural business-to-business linkages to bamboo production. Established in February 2018, this is the first Facility in IFAD dedicated to South-South and Triangular Cooperation. Its goal is to exchange expertise, knowledge and resources, and promote business-to-business links and investments across developing countries. Ultimately to enhance agricultural productivity, incomes, and livelihoods of poor people living in rural areas.


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


Women farmers increase onion production & family income in Burkina Faso

10 January 2019 –   Onion production, has become an important income-generating activity for women in Zorkoum, a village central Burkina Faso. The women’s hard work has been hampered by a lack of knowledge of key onion-growing techniques, which lowers product quality and sales. The Victory Against Malnutrition Project’s intervention in Zorkoum has trained the women on vegetable production, financial literacy, and storage management. Also, the project provided the village with a new onion storage facility and two irrigated market gardening perimeters, equipped with a motor pump. The quantity and quality of the onions have increased; the group’s average seasonal output has grown by 25 percent. The members can now wait up to five months to sell their onions until prices are high or a family need arises. With the additional money from their improved onion production, Pascaline and other group members help their families with household expenses, buying cereals and clothing or paying children’s school fees. Pascaline also used part of her new income to start a side business raising and selling goats, pigs, rabbits, and chickens. https://www.acdivoca.org/2019/01/women-farmers-increase-onion-production-family-income-in-burkina-faso/

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





Vietnam offers support to WFP Cox’s Bazar operations

11 February 2019, Dhaka – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Bangladesh welcomes a new contribution of US $50,000 from the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to support WFP operations in Cox’s Bazar. This is Viet Nam’s first contribution to WFP operations in Bangladesh. They join dozens of other states who have pledged their support to the Cox’s Bazar response since the August 2017 refugee influx. In Cox’s Bazar, WFP provides food assistance to more than 870,000 refugees per month. WFP also supports nutrition and livelihoods interventions in the host community, supporting the most vulnerable people. Sustained support from the international community is necessary to continue WFP operations in Bangladesh


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Palantir and WFP partner to help transform global humanitarian delivery

5 February 2019 - Today, Palantir Technologies (Palantir) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced a five-year partnership aimed at helping WFP use its data to streamline the delivery of food and cash-based assistance in life-saving emergency relief operations around the world. WFP will use Palantir’s Foundry software platform to bring together data sources from across the organization, enabling staff at headquarters and in field locations to access and analyse programmatic and operational data in a secure, unified environment. By connecting proven methods of delivering food assistance with dynamic data, WFP aims to reduce the cost of operations while continuing to serve its beneficiaries. The sheer scale of WFP’s operations, assisting some 90 million people in about 80 countries, means that even small efficiencies in operational and supply chain management can lead to dramatic savings. WFP generates vast amounts of data through the purchasing of 3 million metric tons of food every year and the delivery of 15 billion rations across dozens of development projects worldwide. Making this data accessible across the organization will help WFP become even more efficient in multiple programme areas, including cash-based transfers, supply chain optimization, and nutritional requirements. The partnership with Palantir underlines WFP’s strong commitment to digital transformation as it strives to meet the goal of ending world hunger by 2030. Building upon Palantir’s world-class data integration technology, WFP will develop new analytical tools to seize digital opportunities, improve real-time decision-making, and enhance global operations. The partnership builds on an initial pilot project between Palantir and WFP, which supported WFP’s supply chain optimization tool called Optimus.



Italian contribution to support families affected by conflict in Marawi

5 February 2019, Manila – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a $240,000 contribution from the Government of Italy to help 6,500 displaced people in Marawi to rebuild their livelihoods and access nutritious foods. The Government of Italy’s contribution to WFP will support families over three months, providing them with cash assistance in exchange for their participation in livelihoods projects focused on fisheries and farming. WFP will work in partnership with the Philippine Government, through the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to implement the project. In 2018, the Government of Italy provided €300,000 to WFP to assist 1,600 displaced farmers and their families with food assistance and livelihood support, including rice and corn production, bio-intensive and vegetable gardening, as well as inland fishpond tilapia farming. Since conflict between government forces and armed militant groups broke out in Marawi City in May of 2017, WFP through the support of its donors, has been working in partnership with the Government of the Philippines by addressing the food security and nutrition needs of conflict-affected communities.



Japan donates $8 million to boost food and nutrition security in conflict–ridden Yemen

31 January 2019, Rome - Japan has contributed over $8 million to back FAO's work on enhancing food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable households in conflict-ridden Yemen, which is facing the world's largest humanitarian crisis. This will be achieved through the provision of crucial agricultural inputs and services, including the distribution of cereal and legumes seeds, restocking of livestock, and the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and other agricultural facilities, using "cash for work". These interventions will help food insecure households produce life-saving food and generate income as well as stimulate local economies through rural job creation. The two-year project aims to reach about 200 000 conflict-affected Yemenis. Under the project, FAO also intends to focus on emergency livestock assistance and protection. Provision of animal feed and animal health services such as vaccination campaigns will ensure that products, especially milk, are available to the most vulnerable members of the poor families - especially children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. In addition, the Japanese funding will enable FAO to improve food production practices and strengthen communities' ability to manage land, soil and water resources in a sustainable manner. Agriculture is a vital sector for food and nutrition security in Yemen, ensuring employment for 54% of the population, and must be an integral part of the humanitarian response to prevent Yemen's dire food security situation from worsening, FAO warned.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Flexible funding allowed WFP to reach the world's displaced and forgotten people in 2018

15 January 2019, Rome – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received US$440 million of flexible funding in 2018, a ten percent increase from 2017. Flexible contributions allow WFP to use funds wherever and whenever needs are greatest, giving it the agility to respond to sudden-onset emergencies as well as the means to sustain lifesaving assistance in neglected and protracted crises. Under the agreement known as the Grand Bargain, concluded at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, leading donors committed themselves to reducing the earmarking of funds, aiming for a global target of 30% for flexible humanitarian funding by the year 2020. In 2018, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Belgium led the way in providing WFP with flexible support. Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Canada were the top supporters of WFP’s Immediate Response Account – this is the organization’s most flexible funding facility and enables the deployment of life-saving assistance within 24 hours of the onset of a crisis.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty



Peace and security


Central Africa: CAR Rivals reach Agreement in Khartoum Saturday

2 February 2019 - Rival parties from Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday reached agreement on the two serious bone of contention, power sharing and interim justice, thus paving the way for a final and comprehensive peace agreement in the landlocked state. Ambassador Atta Al Manan Bakheet, head of the Sudanese team facilitating the talks under the auspice of the African Union, said the two sides, the government and 14 armed movements, have agreed to the proposals put forward by the African Union, on power sharing and on the interim justice.


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


Final destruction of 2,485 stockpiled anti-personnel mines in Western Sahara

22January 2019 – On 6 January 2019, Geneva Call monitored the destruction of 2,485 stockpiled anti-personnel (AP) mines by the Sahrawi Mine Action Coordination Office (SMACO) in accordance with Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning AP mines, signed by the Polisario Front in 2005. This marks the eighth and final such destruction since the Polisario Front signed the Deed of Commitment, bringing the total number of stockpiled AP mines they have destroyed to date to 20,493. The Polisario Front have now fulfilled all their obligations under the Deed. “Civilians are often the victims of anti-personnel mines, as this weapon cannot tell the difference between a military target and an innocent civilian. The destruction of over 20,000 mines by the Polisario Front is therefore a decisive victory for humanity” said Catherine Hiltzer, Head of Africa Region at Geneva Call, who was present at the destruction of the mines.


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


Cluster Munition Coalition warmly welcomes Philippines ratification

10January 2019 – The Cluster Munition Coalition warmly welcomes the Philippines as the 106th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions! The country deposited its instrument of ratification to the treaty in New York on 3 January 2019 meaning the Convention will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 July 2019. "The Philippines' ratification is a very important development towards treaty adoption in the region," said Fred Lubang, Regional Representative of Nonviolence International and National Coordinator for the Philippine Campaign. "The Philippines joins treaty champion Laos as the second ASEAN Member State to join the Convention. We hope this rallies other ASEAN states to join the treaty as soon as possible“ he added. The Philippines actively participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, seeking the most comprehensive treaty possible, and signing the treaty on 3 December 2008. "We are very pleased to welcome the Philippines as the newest State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and welcome the country's enthusiasm for promoting the treaty," said Cluster Munition Coalition Director, Hector Guerra. The Philippines has stated on several occasions that it has never used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions and possesses no stocks of the weapon.


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





2018 IN REVIEW – Progress in the challenging last mile of eradication

29January 2019 – Circulation of wild poliovirus (WPV) continues in the common epidemiological block in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, both countries steadily worked to improve the quality of their vaccination campaigns in 2018 through National Emergency Action Plans. In August, Nigeria marked two years since detecting any WPV. With continuing improvements, the entire African region may be eligible for being certified WPV-free as early as late this year or early 2020. The programme is constantly developing new ways to more effectively track the virus, vaccinate more children and harness new tools to help end the disease for good. e-Surve, a smartphone app, guides officers through conversations with local health officials, offering prompts on how to identify and report suspected cases of disease. Then, with the touch of a button, responses are submitted to a central database where health officials can analyze and track outbreaks across multiple districts in real-time. Beyond surveillance, health workers worked tirelessly to bring the polio vaccine to the remote communities of Lake Chad. Dotted with hundreds of small islands, the lake is one of the most challenging places on earth to deliver health services. In 2018, vaccination campaigns on the lake reached thousands of children for the first time – children who would otherwise have gone unprotected. (…)


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


Central America: Red Cross gives a helping hand to people in need

25 January 2019 – Red Cross teams in Central America are bringing medical support, water and kindness to exhausted women, children and men on the move in Guatemala and Mexico. The Guatemalan Red Cross is providing pre-hospital care, transfers to health centres, psychosocial support, distribution of safe drinking water, delivery of hygiene kits and reestablishment of contact between family members. There is an urgent need to scale up health services for people in transit and in the communities where they settle. Many people arrive in poor health, including children, pregnant women and the elderly who are malnourished, and people with chronic diseases who have been without medicines and care.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting Red Cross societies responding to migration in the Americas.


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


Red Cross integration programme helps relocated refugees to settle in their host countries

By Nora Peter, IFRC

18 January 2019 – Three European Red Cross societies have launched a joint initiative that focuses on the social integration of refugees and asylum-seekers. The two-year project “Action of Red Cross on Integration of Relocated and Resettled Persons” runs under the acronym ARCI and is implemented by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with the German, Bulgarian and Croatian Red Cross. ARCI aims to provide personalized and accessible information for refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in these countries through EU relocation and resettlement programmes but brings benefits for the integration of larger groups of asylum-seekers and refugees in these countries. The project allows refugees and asylum-seekers to receive information in their native language from the moment they arrive in a host country. It also enables them to participate in skills and language training, and to receive some support in finding a job or a school for themselves or their family members. (…) A series of interviews have been conducted with refugees and asylum-seekers themselves and the National Societies are regularly coordinating their support with key authorities and organizations active in the field of integration. The programme also aims to foster acceptance in the host communities and sensitize local authorities through a series of trainings and sessions. (…)As of June 2018, over 34,000 people have been relocated within the EU (…) . Although the EU Relocation scheme has officially ended, Germany, Croatia, and Bulgaria have received altogether 10,979 asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy who have needed integration support from the moment they have arrived at their countries(…)


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


Rotary clubs blanket Brazil with polio and measles vaccinations

Members help reverse trend of plummeting immunizations by reaching 11 million children

By Luiz Renato Dantas

15 January 2019 – Rotary clubs in Brazil mobilized to help stave off a potential polio outbreak after dangerously low vaccination rates were reported by health officials last year. More than 11 million Brazilian children were inoculated during a massive two-month vaccination campaign, reversing a trend of plummeting immunization coverage. The government said more than 300 cities in the country had low rates of vaccination against diseases such as influenza, measles, and polio. The Ministry of Health called the situation “extremely serious.” (…) Brazil’s massive national immunization campaign from 6 August to 28 September aimed to vaccinate at least 95 percent of children ages one to five. (…) The measles cases were concentrated in the northern states where thousands of Venezuelan refugees have crossed the border to escape economic and political hardships. Many haven’t been immunized, because Venezuela’s health system is in crisis. Rotary leaders in Brazil found the possibility that poliovirus could resurge frightening, said Marcelo Haick, a regional coordinator for Rotary’s End Polio Now initiative. They knew they had to help health workers reach the millions of children who might be vulnerable to the paralyzing disease. More than 11 million children were vaccinated during the initiative, reaching the government’s goal of 95 percent coverage, the target recommended by the World Health Organization. (…)


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



Energy and safety


Finnish Parliament approves 30% biofuel mandate for 2030

7 February 2019 – In Finland, the Finnish Parliament on February 6 approved a law that sets a gradually increasing 30% biofuels target for 2030. Furthermore, the law sets a world-leading advanced biofuel target of 10% in 2030.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


2018: The year fossil fuels began their inexorable decline

7 February 2019 – 2018 will likely go down as the year that fossil fuels in Australian electricity generation began an inexorable decline, with renewable energy making significant in-roads. These will continue into 2019 and 2020, and almost certainly beyond that. Renewable energy broke through the 20 per cent market share threshold for the first time since the 1970’s, achieving a share of 21.3 per cent across the combination of Australia’s main east and west-coast grids. This was significantly up on 2017’s share of 17 per cent.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Consumer demand drives record year for wind energy purchases, AWEA says

6 February 2019 – Fortune 500 brands and a range of other non-utility entities are catalyzing America’s growing demand for renewable energy by purchasing a record amount of wind power in 2018, according to a recent report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Consumer demand combined with policy stability and low, stable prices helped wind power capacity installations rise to the third strongest quarter in the industry’s history.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Brazilian researchers see beef and sugarcane ethanol reducing pressure on forests

5 February 2019 – In Brazil, SciDev reports that researchers have determined that coproduction of sugarcane and beef cattle on the same land can allow expansion of ethanol production without the risk of deforestation. Byproducts from the ethanol production such as molasses, yeast and bagasse could be converted into animal feed, reducing the need for pasture for some of the country 200 million head of cattle. The computer model used to determine the feasibility used the US ethanol and beef industries as a baseline.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Japanese energy companies scrap 2-gigawatt coal project

5 February 2019 – Three Japanese energy companies announced last week that they have decided to scrap plans to build a 2-gigawatt (GW) coal-fired power station in the Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, saying that the project would not be economically feasible. This follows a similar decision a month ago announced by Japanese electric utility Chugoku Electric Power and steel manufacturer JFE Steel to scrap plans to build a 1,070-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant, also in Chiba, and also citing the fact the project would not be economically feasible.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


BP to support investor call for alignment with Paris Agreement

5 February 2019 – Oil and gas major BP has announced it will support a resolution put forward by a group of institutional investors which calls for the company to align its business strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement and to improve its corporate reporting and transparency on climate change-related risks and opportunities. A group of leading institutional investors in BP and signatories to the Climate Action 100+ initiative proposed a far-reaching shareholder resolution which essentially called for BP to align its business strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action



Environment and wildlife


Partnership for Change: WWF IKEA forest programme overview

11 January 2019 – Forests contain 80% of all life on land and cover around 30% of the Earth’s land area. They help regulate our climate, purify the air we breathe, and provide the water we drink. They are vital to maintain a living planet and we have to ensure that forests can meet the needs of present and future generations. WWF works together with IKEA to promote responsible forest management, good governance, and transparency in timber product trade.   IKEA and WWF have been working together since 2002 to safeguard and manage precious natural resources and transform business. By improving standards and regulation, developing best practice, and encouraging innovation, this partnership is pioneering new ways for the forest sector to contribute to a sustainable global economy, supporting sustainable landscapes, and securing forest values for both present and future needs. The partnership is now in its sixth phase (2017–2020). The latest briefing offers a summary of the WWF/IKEA forest partnership for change.



News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


Looking for big ideas for the world’s future

Covestro and UN Environment call for young people to take part

30 January 2019- Pittsburgh, Jan. 30 /CSRwire/ - Covestro and the United Nations are again calling for nominations for Young Champions of the Earth, the prestigious prize for environmental entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30, who have big ideas for the world’s future. Each of seven winners in the 2019 program, the third year of the global competition, will receive $15,000 seed money to invest in their projects, invitations and funding to attend high-level UN meetings to share their ideas with the world, training and mentorship. Submissions will be accepted now through March 31, 2019. Visit the website to apply: http://web.unep.org/youngchampions/apply.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


Africa Center for Climate and Sustainable Development inaugurated in Rome

28 January 2019, Rome - A major focus on boosting the agricultural sectors and promoting rural development in Africa is needed to ensure a better future for the continent's youth who, if given the chance, can be the drivers of development, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today at the inauguration of the Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development. The Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development was established by the Italian government in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and FAO. It will facilitate much-needed exchange of information and coordination to increase efficiencies and build synergies across Africa, develop and scale-up innovative solutions for sustainable development and implement the goals of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Climate Agreement. The Africa Center for Climate and Sustainable Development is a response to recognition at the G7 summit of the need for a center dedicated to the promotion of sustainable development, with a special interest in initiatives linked to climate, Climate-Smart Agriculture, access to water, clean energy generation, gender equality. The Center has identified communication and support initiatives linked to accessing international funds, identifying and evaluating projects and enhancing the involvement of resources from the private sector in programmes as core functions. The Italian government has set up a trust fund for the Center, and one of its first tasks has been to support initiatives promoted by the United Nations Secretary General for sustainable development in the Sahel region.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action



Religion and spirituality


Chicago Interfaith Community Celebrates United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week

7 February 2019 - The first week of February marks the official United Nations observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week and Chicago’s own interfaith community is coming together to celebrate. On February 8th, the Parliament of the World’s Religions is hosting an Interfaith Breakfast in commemoration of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week—a global event that encourages grassroots efforts designed to link people together in a global wave of understanding, respect, and action.



Pope and Grand Imam sign historic pledge of fraternity in UAE

4 February 2019 - The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths. Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s Catholics, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning, arrived at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood.The document pledges that al-Azhar and the Vatican will work together to fight extremism.



Research finds people who are active in religion are happier

1 February 2019 - The strength of the link between health and religion varies all over the world. As per an analysis of data extracted from a new global survey, the Pew Research Group has reached the conclusion that individuals active within religious congregations are more civically engaged and happier compared to the inactive members of almost all religious groups or religiously unaffiliated adults. The survey was done in the United States along with about two dozen countries. According to the Pew analysis, regular participation in any religious activity is associated with increased civic engagement and higher happiness levels. Actively religious people in the United States and other countries of the world are also less probable than others to engage in so-called sinful behaviors like drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.



New online initiative provides digital access to teachings from Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal

25 January 22019 - Gompa Tibetan Monastery Services provides year-round access to teachings by senior Tibetan lamas and arrangements for pujas and prayers.  Gompa Tibetan Monastery Services, a not-for-profit partnership between 47 monasteries and nunneries throughout India and Nepal, is aiming to connect people with classical Tibetan practice and culture. With support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and senior lamas from all Tibetan traditions, Gompa offers online educational resources, such as webcast teachings, puja ceremonies, and an online donation platform. So far, the platform has reached 4,000 people across the world, 2,500 of which have streamed teachings from prominent lamas and teachers.



Toward A Global Ethic: A Starting-Point for Interfaith Conversations

23 January 2019 - All over the world, people of goodwill—religious or not—are addressing issues like “how am I to treat my neighbor whose religion is radically different from my own?” or “when is violence justified?” Unfortunately, too often, when people with different answers try to talk to each other, they end up arguing, feeling misunderstood, or resorting to their fists.  Fortunately, the Parliament of the World’s Religions’ signature document, “Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration,” or the "Global Ethic" for short, offers a starting-place and solid ground for productive conversations. This "Global Ethic" can foster the kinds of helpful exchanges that people all over the globe celebrate during World Interfaith Harmony Week.




19 January 2019 - The World Religion Day, started traditionally by the Baha’i Faith, happens annually on the third Sunday of January. As an inspired interfaith idea, the day is meant to celebrate the oneness of religion as a principle of the Baha’i Faith and also a progressive revelation that describes religion as a developing aspect throughout the history of humankind. But the observance has come to change from an event that was created and observed by the Baha’is of the United States to a day that is observed internationally. The main objective of the day is to highlight the philosophies that the spiritual concepts underlying religions of the world are in unity, and that religions play a vital role in unifying humanity.




Culture and education


#YouthOfUNESCO: Forwarding Life Lessons

8 February 2019 - Meet the 26-year old Deepak Ramola, a young leader who works to transform life lessons and philosophies into innovative ways of learning. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Project FUEL and was a speaker at UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day event #Youth4Philo. Read his story and get inspired.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


World Radio Day 2019 to celebrate dialogue, tolerance and peace

7 February 2019 - On 13 February, UNESCO and radio broadcasters will celebrate World Radio Day, whose theme this year is Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace. During the Day, UNESCO will showcase how radio can, through programmes and interviews, help listeners understand current events and contribute to causes of general interest such as the right to education and health, gender equality and the integration of migrants.

UNESCO is calling on radio broadcasters worldwide to take part (link is external) in the celebration by, for example, hosting discussions on otherness, involving their audiences, giving a voice to the voiceless, inviting listeners to speak of their experiences and promoting participatory actions in a spirit of tolerance and peace. UNESCO has also made some resources available to broadcasters free of charge. They include promotional jingles in the six official languages of the United Nations and other content that can be used to promote the Day on air and on social media. It is also organizing an international contest (link is external) open to all radio broadcasters.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


FAO and Italy's Unitelma University join forces to promote innovation, international cooperation and capacity development

7 February 2019, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Italy's Unitelma University have agreed to work together to develop academic programmes in the areas of innovation and international cooperation to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The agreement was signed today by Roberto Ridolfi, FAO Assistant Director General - Programme Support, and the Rector of the University Unitelma, Antonello Folco Biagini.  Within the context of this agreement, two joint comprehensive Master's Degree programmes entitled: "Sustainable Development Goals in the Digital Society" and "International Cooperation, Finance and Development" are being developed, integrating relevant FAO e-learning courses, offered free of charge  as a global public good, through the FAO e-learning Center: www.fao.org/elearning


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger and number 4-Quality Education


Discover the new Right to education handbook

5 February 2019 - Education is a fundamental human right of every woman, man and child. However, millions are still deprived of educational opportunities every day, many as a result of social, cultural and economic factors.

UNESCO and the Right to Education Initiative(link is external) (RTE) recently released the Right to education handbook, a key tool for those seeking to understand and advance that right. It is also an important reference for people working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 by offering guidance on how to leverage legal commitment to the right to education. 

Why is this handbook important?

The aim of this handbook is to make sure that everyone enjoys their right to education. Its objective is not to present the right to education as an abstract, conceptual, or purely legal concept, but rather to be action-oriented. It provides practical guidance on how to implement and monitor the right to education along with recommendations to overcome persistent barriers. It seeks to do this by:


News related with SDGs  number 4-Quality Education


FAO and France Médias Monde strengthen their partnership

1 February 2019, Rome - FAO and France Médias Monde (FMM) have further strengthened their close working relationship. FMM's three channels (RFI, France 24, Monte Carlo Doualiya), that regularly produce features and reports on themes related to food and agriculture and global health challenges, have recently broadcast, via their digital and TV platforms, FAO video spots featuring Zero Hunger champions like the astronaut Thomas Pesquet and actor Lambert Wilson.Given the growing relevance of the challenges related to hunger and food production and the need to keep raising awareness amongst the global public, France Médias Monde and FAO on 30 January 2019 signed in Rome a partnership framework agreement that aims to formalize an existing collaboration and to strengthen joint projects. It reflects a shared goal to intensify actions against malnutrition in all its forms, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and to the Zero Hunger goal. The agreement envisages possible media production opportunities for RFI, France 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya's editorial teams on food, nutrition, food systems and sustainable agriculture-related projects. These would give voice to people's efforts on the ground and help promote innovative solutions. The agreement will promote knowledge exchange between journalists and FAO experts, including interview opportunities on the group channels. It also entails the possibility for FAO's public outreach campaigns to be broadcast through the FMM group channels in 15 languages.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger and number 4-Quality Education


Minister De Croo and WFP launch the Humanitarian Hackathon to find innovative solutions to tackling hunger

15 January 2019, Brussels - Over 200 technology and innovation champions from all over the world are joining a two-day humanitarian hackathon in Brussels to foster innovative ideas and build new prototypes that may transform aid delivery and help eradicate hunger. The hackathon is an initiative of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, together with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Hack Belgium Labs. This hackathon is dedicated to cutting-edge solutions addressing the most pressing humanitarian challenges. The Hackathon will bring together participants from humanitarian organizations, start-ups, large companies, donor institutions, NGOs and academia. These challenges are particularly timely and important in the context of massive global hunger, which is again on the rise after decades of decline, triggered by conflict and climate change. Finding new, efficient ways to deliver food assistance i of Belgium has been one of WFP’s key partners in the humanitarian innovation space, funding numerou s paramount to alleviate the suffering of 821 million people who go to bed hungry each night. The Government s projects leveraging technology to save more lives and create better opportunities for the most vulnerable communities affected by hunger and malnutrition. This partnership has allowed WFP to explore the use of drones in emergencies and financed a vital blockchain pilot enabling more efficient cash transfers to Syrian refugees in Jordan.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger and number 4-Quality Education



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Next issue: 8th March 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


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* 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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