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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. 277 – 8th March 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


New law in Albania will provide low-cost housing for domestic violence survivors

5 March 2019 – The Shelter for Abused Women and Girls is part of the Monitoring Network against Gender-Based Violence, a network of 48 civil society organizations across Albania. The creation of the network was facilitated by UN Women under its regional programme on ending violence against women, funded by the European Union. In 2018, the network played a significant role in advocating for changes to the law "On Measures Against Violence in Family Relations" and in proposing a draft Law on Social Housing. Because of their advocacy, women survivors of domestic violence, victims and possible victims of trafficking, and single mothers are now among the groups to be prioritized for low-cost public housing, under the social housing law approved in May 2018.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Copyright: MEPs back provisional agreement

26 February 2019 - The Legal Affairs Committee approved on Tuesday the reform of EU copyright rules provisionally agreed with EU Ministers. The deal reached between EU negotiators aims to ensure that the rights and obligations of copyright law will also apply to the internet. The co-legislators also strove to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression. Snippets from news articles can thus continue to be shared, as can Gifs and memes. The agreed measures enhance rights holders’ chances, notably musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers, to negotiate better remuneration deals for the use of their works featured on internet platforms.



ACTS ADOPTED BY BODIES CREATED BY INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS - Regulation No 83 of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (UNECE) — Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the emission of pollutants according to engine fuel requirements [2019/253]

15 February 2019 – 1.   SCOPE - This Regulation establishes technical requirements for the type approval of motor vehicles. In addition, this Regulation lays down rules for in-service conformity, durability of pollution control devices and On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


COMMISSION DECISION (EU) 2019/236 of 7 February 2019 laying down internal rules concerning the provision of information to data subjects and the restriction of certain of their rights in the context of the processing of personal data by the European Commission for the purposes of internal security of the Union institutions

8 February 2019 – Article 1 - Subject matter and scope

1.   This Decision lays down the rules to be followed by the Commission to inform data subjects of the processing of their data in accordance with Articles 14, 15 and 16 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 when carrying out all of its tasks pursuant to Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/443.

It also lays down the conditions under which the Commission may restrict the application of Articles 4, 14 to 17, 19, 20 and 35 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725, in accordance with Article 25(1) (c), (d) and (h) of that Regulation.

2.   This Decision applies to the processing of personal data by the Commission for the purpose of or in relation to the activities carried out in order to ensure security of persons, assets and information in the Commission pursuant to Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/443.



New agreement bolsters UN work on ocean observations, research and services

8 February 2019 - Geneva: At a meeting of UN Oceans, the UN’s inter-agency coordination mechanism for ocean issues, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) signed a new agreement to strengthen collaboration between the two organizations on matters of ocean observing and related services. (…) The Decade of Ocean Science takes place from 2021 to 2030 and is a 10-year cooperative programme in ocean science to strengthen effective ocean management, stewardship and sustainable development.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


EU-Singapore free trade deal gets green light in Trade Committee

24 January 24, 2019 – Trade Committee MEPs agreed on Thursday to the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, a stepping stone to cooperation between the EU and Southeast Asia. The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties at the latest in five years. It will liberalise trade in services, protect unique European products, and opens up the Singaporean procurement market. The agreement includes strengthened labour rights and environmental protection.




Human rights


Switzerland ranked as best country for women's rights: OECD

8 March 2019- Switzerland, which promotes equality at home and in the workplace, has been ranked the best country for women’s rights, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report on Friday. Denmark, Sweden, France and Portugal were the next best-performing countries, according to an index that ranked 120 nations on how they tackled discrimination against women through their laws and political reforms.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


A league of extraordinary women: real life super heroes

8 March 2019 - In 1994, global leaders committed to achieving a better, fairer world for women.  At the International Conference on Population and Development, governments agreed that countries must uphold each individual’s right to make free and informed choices over their own sexual and reproductive health. These rights – which encompass the right to sexual health information, the right to the highest possible standard of reproductive health care, and the empowerment and autonomy of women – are a precondition for achieving gender equality. Yet 25 years later, these rights have not been realized for all.  More than 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using safe and effective contraception. Every year, millions of girls become pregnant as adolescents, undermining their educations and futures. Many of them are child brides. A woman or girl dies from preventable pregnancy-related causes every two minutes.  But something extraordinary is happening: Women around the world are stepping up, defying the odds to secure the rights of their friends, sisters and countrywomen. They are real-life superheroes, and their efforts are a clarion call. Collectively, their stories offer evidence of what remains to be done, and of the feats that can be accomplished – when there is the will. Our leaders must take note and act.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


IFAD launches global campaign to close gender gap in agriculture and amplify the voices of rural women

7 March 2019, Rome – On International Women’s Day, the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will kick off a campaign aimed at closing the gender gap in agriculture by drawing attention to the often overlooked contributions that rural women in developing countries make to rural economies, local communities and to improving the lives of rural families – men, women and children. The campaign – "Real Groundbreakers" – is aimed at building awareness as well as raising government support for much needed investment. Through the campaign digital platform, women and men around the world can stand in solidarity with 1.7 billion rural women and girls, publicizing the need to eliminate gender inequalities in agricultural production and ensure that women have equal access to resources and opportunities. IFAD's advocacy initiative is based on the recognition that women make up 43% of the global agricultural labour force but have less access than men to the financing, land rights and inputs that would help them farm more successfully and move out of poverty. According to The State of Food and Agriculture, giving women the same access to productive resources as men would increase their farm yields by an estimated 20 to 30%, reducing the number of hungry people by as much as 100-150 million. The campaign is part of IFAD's efforts to draw attention and direct more funding and investment to the empowerment of rural women.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Press release: Commemoration of International Women’s Day will celebrate individuals and activists who are finding innovative ways to advance gender equality

7 March 2019 - With technology and innovation playing an integral role in our everyday lives, it is not easy to imagine development in the 21st century without it. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day (8 March), “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, explores the ways in which innovation can work for gender equality, boost investment in gender-responsive social systems, and enhance public services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls. While a little more than a decade remains to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 on gender equality, all indications show that at the current pace of change, closing the global gender gap will take a staggering 108 years, and 202 years for economic gender parity.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


New communications toolkit on early childhood development in Kenya

31 January 2019 – Too often, advocacy is conducted without a full understanding of how the public perceives the issues involved. Public misunderstanding of an issue may contribute to a general lack of public support to address that issue, and advocacy messages may not be successful as they don’t meet the public where they are. Why is understanding how the public perceives the need for early childhood development important? It is vital for communities and key stakeholders, from the general public to policymakers, to value early development so that young children can thrive. By identifying ways to more effectively communicate the importance of early childhood development, advocates can successfully connect with the community and accelerate change on both micro and macro levels. In the newly released communications toolkit on Reframing Early Childhood Development and Learningoffsite linkFrameWorks Instituteoffsite link summarizes recent research conducted in Kenya and highlights common public assumptions about early childhood development and why these assumptions could limit public demand for expanding support for these programs. Through providing specific guidelines on how to reframe and strategically redirect public perceptions, there is the opportunity to deepen knowledge about children’s early development among members of the Kenyan public and the broader early childhood development field.




Economy and development


FAO and Global Alliance for improved nutrition to scale up joint efforts targeting healthy diets

8 March 2019, Rome - FAO and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have agreed to join forces to increase the availability and affordability of nutritious food for all in developing countries. The partnership aims to enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems, focusing on new approaches which engage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to promote market-based solutions as a key tool for improved nutrition. FAO and GAIN will also work to make urban food systems more nutrition-sensitive, through support to GAIN's Urban Governance for Nutrition Program and FAO's Urban Food Agenda. At present, more than 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas and it is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. This creates an enormous challenge to food production and supply. Food and nutrition security of poor urban populations remains at risk as a consequence of the volatility and rapid increases in food prices, natural disasters and climate change effects. Building resilient food systems for the future by integrating rural and urban areas and strengthening their linkages will benefit both smallholder farmers and the urban poor. The Switzerland-based GAIN has worked to keep nutrition on the global agenda. Working in alliances to make food systems more nutrition-sensitive, GAIN provides technical and policy support to key stakeholders across food systems, such as governments, private sector, farmers and consumers.


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


TEXAS - Invention Education, a transformational approach to preparing students for an Ever-Changing Workforce, debuts at SXSW EDU 2019

5 March 2019- In recognition of the growing momentum behind Invention Education, The Lemelson Foundation, a leading funder dedicated to advancing invention in service of social and economic change, will join with partners to discuss this new educational paradigm for the first time at SXSW EDU 2019, March 4-7, in Austin, TX. The programming, consisting of three interactive sessions, will be open to the more than 15,000 expected attendees of SXSW EDU. In today’s rapidly changing world, inventive thinking and inventing new solutions are economic and social imperatives. The education community, policy makers, and corporate leaders all cite the need to increase the innovation and innovator capacity in the U.S. in order to advance social and economic opportunity domestically and abroad.  Invention Education represents a new education paradigm that draws upon Human-Centered Engineering Design and the Scientific Method, among other disciplines. Hands-on, self-directed learning coupled with practical application of design and STEM principles are essential for building invention skills. Invention Education encourages problem identification, experimentation, collaboration, critical thinking, and hands-on engagement to create new solutions with social purpose. The goal is to enable students to lead creative and inventive lives, with the confidence to make informed choices and take action to solve the problems they encounter to improve not only their lives, but also the lives of others. Students are also encouraged to integrate entrepreneurship thinking in order to learn how to translate their ideas into businesses with economic impact.



CHICAGO -   Dedicated to unleashing experiential learning through free field trips where professionals work to increase Student Engagement and to learn about different careers

4 March 2019 - Field Trip Factory is Chicago’s only not-for-profit making life changing field trips a reality for over 150,000 students per year. Thanks to a proprietary technology backbone the Field Trip Factory provides quick and easy ways to book powerful experiential learning experiences. This offers educators the benefits of speed and ease to make the field trip process as easy as 1-2-3. Educators are keen to offer experiential learning opportunities for their students but don’t because they lack the time to plan, organize and fund field trips. That’s where the Field Trip Factory steps in by offering educators the ability to browse and select from a list of curated free programs combined with an intuitive booking and planning process. Field Trip Factory™, a non-for-profit organization, is focused on unleashing the power of experiential learning.  By supporting hands-on, real-world learning experiences, we increase academic achievement, teach important life-skills, help students develop stronger ties to their community and encourage a greater commitment to serve as active citizens.  Our platform takes care of all the required logistics, tracks and measures impact, and allows our sponsors’ corporate social responsibility initiatives to connect with their local communities in powerful ways.  


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


Innovative impact fund to create jobs for rural youth in developing countries

15 February 2019, Rome - An impact fund with an innovative approach for attracting much needed capital to the rural areas of developing countries will be launched today at the annual meeting of Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). IFAD, along with the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the government of Luxembourg and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), will launch the Agri-Business Capital (ABC) Fund to help rural entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector access the finance they need to grow their businesses and create jobs for poor rural people, in particular young people. The aim of the ABC Fund is to generate private sector investment in rural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), farmers' organizations and smallholder farmers' groups which often find it hard to access finance from traditional institutions who view them as too risky. The ABC Fund aims to raise EUR 200 million over the next 10 years. AGRA President Agnes Kalibata, said her organization, with its focus on developing private-sector capacity for technology adoption in Africa, will build on this work as the fund is rolled out across the continent. IFAD and AGRA, both with operations on the ground in rural communities, will work closely with the fund manager to identify investment opportunities with promising SMEs.


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


FAO and Saudi Arabia renew fruitful cooperation

13 February 2019, Rome - FAO and Saudi Arabia today agreed to renew their long-standing technical cooperation and to redouble joint efforts to implement the country’s Sustainable Rural Agricultural Development Programme (2019-2025). A new $93 million agreement aims at boosting production, processing and marketing of Arabic coffee, bee keeping, fruit, fish, livestock, and cultivation of rain-fed crops in the country. This new contribution by Saudi Arabia puts the country among FAO’s top resource partners, and number one in the Near East. Both principals also signed a broader Memorandum of Understanding establishing a cooperation framework for 2019-2025. FAO has closely collaborated with Saudi Arabia for over 70 years. The organization has provided technical and advisory support to the country at strategic, institutional and technical levels. Areas of cooperation include strengthening sustainable food security, sustainable utilization of agricultural natural resources, reinforcing marine fisheries and aquaculture production and consumption, boosting capacity in animal disease prevention and control, improving plant production and protection, consolidating linkages of small famers and agricultural producers to markets, and consolidating a results-based system for monitoring and reporting results.


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





ICRC, CDPF reach agreement to better help the disabled

28February – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the China Disabled Person's Federation (CDPF) have agreed to strengthen their cooperation for service provision to people with disabilities. The two sides formally signed a Letter of Intent in Beijing on Feb. 28, 2019. According to the agreement, both sides are expected to have regular dialogue related to physical rehabilitation issues of mutual interest and organize seminars to exchange information on clinical and technical physical rehabilitation topics. They are also hoping to explore cooperation possibilities in countries along China's Belt & Road initiative. The ICRC will also allow CDPF and its branches to use the new technics or materials developed, to improve the service for persons with physical disabilities in China. The ICRC is mandated to help and protect people affected by armed conflict and violence around the world. Launched in 1979, the ICRC's physical rehabilitation services have supported more than 220 projects in 53 countries and one territory.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


WFP scoops award at mobile world congress for tackling malnutrition with real-time data

27 February 2019, Rome/Barcelona – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received the Global Mobile “GLOMO” Award for outstanding contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals for SCOPE CODA, a mobile solution to provide conditional on-demand assistance. This solution currently tackles a specific nutrition monitoring case, addressing the challenges faced by humanitarians in the field by replacing paper booklets and manual data entry with digital records, enabling frontline workers to make informed decisions with real-time data. The SCOPE CODA (Conditional On-Demand Assistance) system can work offline, in remote places with poor or no connectivity. It relies on a small device, similar to a smartphone, to read a person’s smartcard. Once the device is online, the information is synched to WFP’s digital beneficiary transfer management platform. Through the solution, frontline workers can for example record information; track the nutrition and health status, of a young child or a pregnant woman; identify when someone has recovered; and indicate whether the treatment has been successful. SCOPE CODA reduces manual data entry, reporting and analysis - saving time while adding durability and security of records. Most importantly, it provides front-line workers with near to real-time information and access to the overview of a person’s progress and status, enabling better decision-making. Launched in March 2018, with the support of WFP’s Innovation Accelerator, SCOPE CODA is currently being used in malnutrition treatment programmes for malnourished children under 5, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers.



Japan’s contribution of US$13 million enabled crucial food assistance to communities affected by Afghanistan drought

20 February 201, Kabul – A generous contribution of US$13 million from the Government of Japan enhanced WFP’s provision of life-saving assistance through food and cash transfers to more than 675,000 people across Afghanistan. This contribution that came at the end of 2018 followed previous support from Japan of US$ 2.7 million in mid-2018. With the Japanese contribution, people in the 22 drought-affected provinces received locally-procured fortified wheat flour combined with other food items, including fortified vegetable oil, pulses and iodized salt. Part of this assistance also enhanced community assets, as food was provided to those involved in water management infrastructure projects in drought-affected areas to strengthen local resilience. As part of Afghanistan’s drought response WFP distributed 56,000 metric tons of food and nearly US$ 4 million in cash-based transfers to families. The response reached full-scale in October 2018, providing emergency food assistance to 2.7 million people.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Japan supports vulnerable families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan

19 February 2019, Islamabad – Japan has announced its contribution of US$10.6 million to fight malnutrition, improve livelihoods and increase resilience to natural disasters in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. This is part of a partnership that the Government of Japan signed with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad today. US$3.5 million will be used towards the early identification and treatment of 155,000 acutely malnourished mothers and children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including families who have been displaced from Afghanistan and vulnerable host populations. The Japanese contribution also includes US$3.55 million towards UNDP’s Stabilization through Inclusive Livelihoods initiative in the Tribal Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It will support 20,700 people by improving their access to basic services, enhancing their economic opportunities and improving social cohesion in Kurram and Orakzai tribal districts. In addition, the Japanese Government will support the Government of Pakistan at national and local levels to prepare for natural disasters, pilot tsunami early warning systems, and enhance resilience of coastal communities to coastal hazards with a specific focus on women and children. Implemented in Malir and Karachi West districts of Sindh and Gwadar district of Balochistan province, this project will benefit 15,000 people.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


United Kingdom funds nutrition and resilience-building in Mozambique

13 February 2019, Maputo - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a recent contribution of ₤ 7.5 million donation by the United Kingdom to support some of Mozambique’s most malnourished and acutely food insecure people. Thanks to this timely contribution, a total of 120,000 people residing in the most drought affected districts in Tete province are benefiting from cash-based transfers. This includes transfers using vouchers and also introducing mobile transfers, done in close collaboration with local communities, the authorities and sectoral partners. The benefits of this kind of transfer modality includes the engagement of local retailers, and promoting their outreach to more distant communities, representing a boost to the local market. The partnership with the United Kingdom also supports the provison of life-saving services for at least 11,000 children under-five and 5,000 pregnant and lactating women that suffer from moderate acute malnutrition, in several districts of Cabo Delgado, Manica, Tete and Zambezia provinces. The partnership is chanelled through the national programme for the rehabilitation of acute malnutrition managed by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with local authorities and partners.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger



Peace and security


UNODC opens project office in Bangui, Central African Republic

4 March 2019 - Following the "Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic" finalized in Khartoum and signed on 6 February by the Government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) officially announced the opening of a project office in Bangui. The UNODC office in Bangui opened in June 2018 following the signing of an agreement with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). This partnership between UNODC and MINUSCA aims to support the operationalization of the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in the Central African Republic.


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


UN chief hails Libyan leaders’ agreement to hold general election

1 March 2019 - An agreement by Libya’s Prime Minister and a key rival military leader to improve political stability across the country through new general elections, has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General. In a statement on Friday, António Guterres commended the progress made by Prime Minister Faiez Serraj, who also presides over the council leading the Government of National Accord, and the Commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar. The UN chief’s Special Representative for Libya, and head of the UN Mission, UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, hosted the meeting on Thursday between the two leaders that led to the breakthrough, in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.


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


Amazonian seed stars in reconciliation efforts in Colombia

20 February 2019 – Sacha inchi, known as the Inca peanut, was first cultivated by the Incas more than 3,000 years ago in the Peruvian Amazon. Now this seed that is eaten like a nut is making its way into mainstream health food stores, such as Whole Foods, thanks to its newfound superfood status. Despite its ancient cultivation and international buzz, sacha inchi is new to the Colombian market, and many farmers are skeptical of investing time and money into cultivating a crop few people in the region have heard of. In Florencia, a city in the Caquetá Department of southwestern Colombia, the United States Agency for International Development-funded Program of Alliances for Reconciliation (PAR), implemented by ACDI/VOCA, is working with producer organization Agrosolidaria to educate local markets and growers about sacha inchi’s benefits.The USAID-funded Program of Alliances for Reconciliation is providing technical expertise to improve Agrosolidaria’s production and quality of cold-pressed oil derived from the seed. More rural communities are finally experiencing economic stability through sacha inchi cultivation. During the armed conflict, unpredictable outbreaks of violence made it difficult to trust neighbors. Built on the belief that economic development alone cannot bring about real reconciliation, the Program of Alliance and Reconciliation and Agrosolidaria are providing other support to farmers and their families. (…)


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


Geneva Call holds a workshop in Beirut to support NGOs working in Syria

1 February 2019 – On December 18 and 19 2018, Geneva Call organised a two-day workshop in Beirut, Lebanon covering International Humanitarian Law, and humanitarian protection and access in Syria for thirty-four different international and Syrian NGOs. Geneva Call, in collaboration with the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), held this workshop with the objective of identifying opportunities, associated risks and mitigation measures. Tailored for senior professionals with a minimum of 8-10 years working in the humanitarian sector, and with particular experience in humanitarian assistance, protection and negotiation, the workshop addressed how to incorporate humanitarian norms and principles into access and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, the challenges and dilemmas encountered in the provision of humanitarian assistance, and peer sharing of practical approaches to address these dilemmas. In 2018, the conflict in Syria experienced major developments with regards to shifting military and political control and local agreements on formerly opposition-held areas. This resulted in over 13 million civilians becoming dependent on humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced people (IDP) who are food insecure. Yet, obtaining and maintaining humanitarian access remains a constant challenge for humanitarian actors.


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





CERF allocates $500,000 for regional logistics base in Uganda for ebola readiness and response

6 March 2019, Nairobi – The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, released today US$500,000 from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support the creation of a regional common logistics services staging area in Entebbe, Uganda, to strengthen Ebola readiness and response in the region. The new logistics centre, led by the World Food Programme (WFP) as the lead agency for common logistics services for both United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, will support early action in countries neighbouring on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the epicentre of the current Ebola outbreak, to prevent the spread of the disease and respond if needed. The staging area will also support ongoing Ebola response in DRC to the extent required. The allocation for the staging area is part of a $10.5 million regional contribution from the CERF towards mitigating the possible impact of the current Ebola outbreak should it spread to countries neighbouring DRC. Under this allocation, $3.8 million has been provided to Uganda, $2.4 million to Burundi, $2 million to South Sudan and $1.8 million to Rwanda, in addition to the $500,000 provided for the regional staging area. These CERF funds will enable early action and the acceleration of preparedness measures, including stepping-up surveillance, community mobilization, crisis communication, vaccination campaigns and training of health workers. The Ebola outbreak in DRC is the second worst in history with nearly 900 cases and more than 560 deaths recorded since it was declared on 1 August 2018, according to WHO.


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


Life in the driver’s seat: On the road to polio eradication in Pakistan.

19February 2019 – Pakistan’s polio programme relies on the efforts of thousands of specialized workers, but there is one group almost everyone relies on: the drivers. In the endgame of eradication, reaching zero transmission requires a vast network of expertise— from epidemiologists to community advocates to data managers and health workers. But without drivers, many of these people would not be able to do their work. Polio eradication entails wide-ranging nationwide vaccination campaigns. In Pakistan, this means targeting more than 38 million children under the age of five. Reaching every single child without an organized fleet of vehicles is almost impossible. Polio programme drivers do not plan activities in operations centres, but they have a real on-ground impact in the fight against polio.“I think whether you are a polio eradication officer, data personnel, technical staff, a consultant, a member of the communication team or a driver, every single employee is playing a very significant role in polio eradication efforts.”


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



Energy and safety



University of Utah researchers find faster way to turn algae into biocrude

4 March 2019 - In Utah, biofuel experts have long sought a more economically-viable way to turn algae into biocrude oil to power vehicles, ships and even jets. University of Utah researchers believe they have found an answer. They have developed an unusually rapid method to deliver cost-effective algal biocrude in large quantities using a specially-designed jet mixer that extracts the lipids with much less energy than the older extraction method, a key discovery that now puts this form of energy closer to becoming a viable, cost-effective alternative fuel. The new mixer is fast, too, extracting lipids in seconds.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production


Electric Vehicle Sales Jump 67% In Europe

4 March 2019 - The European passenger plug-in vehicle market achieved over 33,000 registrations in January, growing 28% compared to the same period last year (…); fully electric vehicles (BEVs) have been flourishing. In the first month of 2019, all-electrics jumped 67% year over year (YoY), to almost 21,000 deliveries. They are now responsible for 62% of all plug-in vehicle (PEV) sales, leading to a record 1.7% EV share. Adding PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) to the tally, the PEV market share jumps to 2.8%, already above the 2.5% result of 2018!


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production


CleanChoice Energy Customers Surpass 4 Billion Pounds of Carbon Pollution Avoided

28 February 2019 – CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that empowers people and businesses to cut emissions and live cleaner lives, has announced that its customers have surpassed 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide pollution avoided. (…) Avoiding 4 billion pounds of carbon pollution represents the equivalent of the amount of carbon sequestered by 2.1 million acres of forests in a year or preventing the burning of more than 2 billion pounds of coal.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Cutting CO2 emissions from trucks: MEPs reach deal with Council

19 February 2019 - This agreed new legislation is the first ever regulation on CO2 emissions for lorries in the EU. The deal reached between MEPs and the Romanian Presidency of the Council on Monday night provides for a legally binding 30% CO2 reduction target for new lorries by 2030, with an intermediate target of 15% by 2025. Manufacturers will also have to ensure that zero- and low-emission vehicles represent a 2% market share of the sales of new vehicles by 2025. This provision aims to incentivise manufacturers to invest in cleaner alternatives to diesel trucks.


News related with SDGs number 7-Affordable and Clean Energy


Australia Court Rules it is the ‘Wrong Time’ for Coal - Court Concludes that Coal Project Would Contribute to Global Warming

10 February 2019 - An Australia court has rejected an appeal to grant permission to develop a new coal mine because it will contribute to global warming, the latest in a series of court rulings grounded in concerns over climate change. It is the “wrong time” for coal, the Environmental and Land Court of New South Wales concluded,  “because the GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed…is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


A review on the performance of geothermal energy pile foundation, its design process and applications

February 2019 - Geothermal energy piles (GEPs) are an environmentally friendly energy source which utilise the low-grade heat energy present in the shallow earth surface to provide heating and/or cooling to the supported structures e.g. buildings. (…) This paper presents an extensive review of literature on the principles behind the different design considerations, current available design standards, and government legislation for installing the GEP system. (…) In addition, case studies from several countries around the world including Austria, Switzerland, Australia, UK, Spain, Hong Kong, USA, Japan, China and South Korea which highlights the practicality of the system installation, its associated benefits, limitations and overall energy performance were presented and discussed.


News related with SDGs number 7-Affordable and Clean Energy



Environment and wildlife


New UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration offers unparalleled opportunity for job creation, food security and addressing climate change

1 March 2019, New York - The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, declared today by the UN General Assembly, aims to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity. The degradation of land and marine ecosystems undermines the well-being of 3.2 billion people and costs about 10% of the annual global gross product in loss of species and ecosystems services. Key ecosystems that deliver numerous services essential to food and agriculture, including supply of freshwater, protection against hazards and provision of habitat for species such as fish and pollinators, are declining rapidly.

Restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded land between now and 2030 could generate USD 9 trillion in ecosystem services and take an additional 13-26 gigatons of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The Decade, a global call to action, will draw together political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration from successful pilot initiatives to areas of millions of hectares. Research shows that more than two billion hectares of the world's deforested and degraded landscapes offer potential for restoration. The Decade will accelerate existing global restoration goals. Currently, 57 countries, subnational governments and private organizations have committed to bring over 170 million hectares under restoration. Ecosystem restoration is defined as a process of reversing the degradation of ecosystems, such as landscapes, lakes and oceans to regain their ecological functionality; in other words, to improve the productivity and capacity of ecosystems to meet the needs of society. This can be done by allowing the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems, for example, or by planting trees and other plants. Currently, about 20% of the planet's vegetated surface shows declining trends in productivity with fertility losses linked to erosion, depletion and pollution in all parts of the world. By 2050 degradation and climate change could reduce crop yields by 10% globally and by up to 50% in certain regions


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


NREL researchers find way to upcycle plastics into higher value greener products

28 February 2019 - In Colorado, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have discovered a method of plastics upcycling—transforming discarded products into new, high-value materials of better quality and environmental value—that could economically incentivize the recycling of waste plastics and help solve one of the world’s most looming pollution problems.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


OFFICE OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY - Innovators Selected to Advance in Competition Designed to Boost Solar Manufacturing

28 February 2019 – A group of 20 teams were invited to advance to the next stage in the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and is eligible to compete in the next two phases of the competition. Through a rigorous evaluation process, teams were chosen for the novelty of their ideas and how their solutions address a critical need for the solar industry. The innovations represented by the competitors include advances in photovoltaic and concentrating solar-thermal power technologies, new power electronics devices, and innovative manufacturing techniques.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Development of multi-oscillating water columns as wave energy converters

February 2019 – Wave energy development continues to advance in order to capture the immense ocean energy available globally. A large number of wave energy conversion concepts have been developed and researched to date, but we are still not able to see a convergence of technologies. (…) This paper provides a review and discusses the development of the OWC concept of wave energy converters in general and the evolved variation of the M-OWC more specifically. The review outlines the increased potential of the M-OWC concept and its current state through its advancement in recent years. Although still under development the M-OWCs have the potential to provide promising results, through the various innovative concepts under consideration, and support the progression and further development of wave energy as another serious contender in the renewables energy mix.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action



Religion and spirituality


ASIA/UZBEKISTAN - The community of baptized people increases in a climate of dialogue and peaceful coexistence

8 March 2019 - In this part of Central Asia there is an intense interreligious and intercultural dialogue, fostered by years of peaceful coexistence between different ethnic groups: "There are more than 100 ethnic communities, probably because Uzbekistan was the heart of the Silk Road and many passing by, decided to stay. People are used to being with people from other cultures and that is why there are no extremist turmoils. I've been living in this country for 14 years and I've never met anyone who could be considered aggressive. On the contrary, many people show interest in our faith".

In Uzbekistan, the Catholic faith is recognized as a "traditional religion", together with the Islamic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Armenian and Hebrew religion: "For this reason, Christianity is perceived as deeply rooted in the history of the country. This helps us, because we are known and respected, and the exponents of other religions have no problem participating in our initiatives".


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


MANAGUA - AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Witnesses, companions and advisers will participate in the national dialogue

6 March 2019 - Witnesses, companions and advisers" will take part in the national dialogue in Nicaragua. 
The agreement reached in the last two days therefore provides that in addition to the two parties (Government and Civic Alliance), other persons falling into these three categories will be present at the dialogue table. This was announced yesterday evening, March 5, by Carlos Tünnermann, representative of Civic Alliance, speaking to the local press. The figure of the guarantors is still under discussion. In the interview with the Nicaraguan press, the Civic Alliance representative also informed that a written invitation was delivered to the Episcopal Conference (CEN), signed and delivered by the representatives of the two parties. Agenzia Fides received confirmation of this invitation from the Bishop of Estelí, Mgr. Abelardo Mata, who reported in a message that CEN received the official invitation last night, but also stressed that the Bishops do not want to be used for political tactics or underground agreements.


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


Interfaith Work Advances Women’s Dignity on a Global Scale

4 March 2019 - The 2018 Parliament Women’s Task Force debuted an ongoing venture titled 1000 Women in Religion. This ambitious project seeks to increase the visibility of women’s religious contributions worldwide using Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world. Only 18% of Wikipedia biographies are about women and only 9% of Wiki contributors are female. 1000 Women in Religion aims to correct this imbalance in the field of religion. Partnering with the Women’s Caucus at the American Academy of Religion, our goal is to address the production of knowledge that leads to gender bias within religions, both perceived and actual. Because Wikipedia is free and translated in over 300 languages, 1000 Women in Religion has real potential to inspire women and girls around the globe with biographies of groundbreaking female role models from their religious traditions.

In addition to increasing women’s religious visibility and authority, interfaith gatherings create the opportunity to mentor and encourage women to pursue their religious, spiritual, and wisdom callings.



New political perspectives for Islam4 marzo 2019

4 March 2019 - The recent trip of Pope Francis to the Arabian Peninsula objectively opens new political perspectives for Islam and possibly begins to turn around a situation that emerged some 40 years ago.

Perhaps the initial historical error of the West in its political relationship with Islam and radical Islam began with the revolution in Iran at the end of the 1970s. The radical currents of Islam had always been there, but the political dynamics were very different as radical Islam didn’t have a territorial basis.


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


RAMALLAH ASIA/PALESTINE - Palestinian Christian lawyer granted license to practice in Islamic religious courts

2 March 2019 - Haya Bannoura, a Christian lawyer from Beit Sahour, Palestinian city, was granted a license to represent clients in Palestine’s Islamic Sharia (Islamic Law) courts. Thanks to the license granted by Mahmoud al-Habbash, President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Law, the Palestinian Christian will be able to practice her profession in Muslim courts.

Haya Bannoura is the fifth Palestinian Christian female lawyer to practice Sharia law since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. Mahmoud al-Habbash, in some statements reported by the Palestinian Agency Wafa, stressed that the Palestinian people are cohesive and united and Palestinian Christian are an integral part of the country’s social fabric as well as the Palestinian people as a whole.



School for Oriental Religions - Religions' commitment towards poverty alleviation

1 March 2019 - Hong Kong is right place to hold a formation course on the commitment of religions towards poverty alleviation. Here, in fact, people live in a multicultural and multireligious society and commitment of different religious communities had helped a great deal to contribute towards a balanced social system. Of course, also this metropolis has its own poor strata in society, but we must also acknowledge that the commitment of different religious communities has gone a long way to help reducing the number of people who suffer for underprivileged social status.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty



Culture and education


Nesta Education 2019 - shaping the future, shifting the system

8 March 2019 - What would an education system that prepares young people for the demands of this century look like? Nesta’s flagship education conference exploring what our rapidly changing world means for the future of our education institutions, teachers and learners. What would an education system that really prepares young people for the future look like? In recent years our UK education system has gone through significant reform, yet it still remains unfit for purpose. Our classrooms are equipped with little or outdated technology, and our curriculum is stuck preparing students for jobs that are facing extinction. We want to see a curriculum that is future focused - one that teaches creativity, problem-solving, coding, collaboration and prioritises social and emotional development. At this event we explored the trends and evidence to find out why this should be the case. Be inspired by world-leading educators and innovators who are transforming the system. We also explored how we can use evidence to make decisions about our future education system, consider the role of technology, including artificial intelligence, in solving some of the most pressing issues, and look at some of the most exciting education innovations. This event brought together school and college leaders, teachers, businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and funders. They discussed new approaches to education and learning, explored practical interventions for developing a future-ready system, shared insights and took part in collaborative workshops.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


UNESCO highlights the need for an ethical artificial intelligence at Council of Europe conference on AI and democracy

6 March 2019 - As part of the high-level conference on the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) development on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, which took place on 26-27 February 2019 in Helsinki, Finland, UNESCO presented its work to promote a human-centred development and application of AI, in line with ethical principles. Rapid technological advancements in AI are affecting all aspects of our lives and revolutionizing the ways we learn, work and communicate. Speaking at the conference, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Moez Chakchouk, highlighted the importance of addressing the challenges AI poses through a multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary approach. UNESCO is uniquely positioned to foster a global multi-stakeholder dialogue on the opportunities and challenges related to AI, in the fields of education, science, culture, communication and information; as well as on the ethical implications of AI.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


How Cultural & Creative Industries can power Human Development in 21st Century

6 March 2019 - Cultural and creative industries, which include arts and crafts, advertising, design, entertainment, architecture, books, media and software, have become a vital force in accelerating human development. They empower people to take ownership of their own development and stimulate the innovation that can drive inclusive sustainable growth. If well-nurtured, the creative economy can be a source of structural economic transformation, socio-economic progress, job creation and innovation while contributing to social inclusion and sustainable human development. It is thus not by chance that the 2004 UNDP Human Development Report made a case for respecting diversity and building more inclusive societies through policies that recognize cultural differences and multicultural perspectives. Cultural and creative industries (CCI) are generally inclusive. People from all social classes from the indigenous to the elite participate in this economy as producers and consumers. Work in the sector tends to favour youth and women compared with other sectors. For example, a 2015 UNESCO publication highlighted that CCI sectors in Europe typically employed more youth than any other sector.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Education Key to Gender Equality in Asia & the Pacific.

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

1 March 2019 - BANGKOK, Thailand - Equal rights have been demanded and promised for generations, but last year a shift occurred in the women’s movement. Across Asia and the Pacific and around the world, women demonstrated to condemn a status quo which continues to deprive too many women and girls of respect and equal opportunity. This is a momentum we must maintain to achieve gender equality in Asia and the Pacific, an ambition which lies at the heart of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Education is key. It remains the passport to better jobs, higher incomes and improved life chances. Progress in our region has been made and rightly celebrated, but equal numbers of boys and girls enrolled in education belies high dropout rates and lower attendance and attainment levels for girls. This is particularly acute in rural areas, where in many countries only very few girls from poor households’ complete secondary education. Improving health care coverage, particularly sexual and reproductive health, is another imperative.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


ADRA Launches “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” Global Advocacy Campaign

25 February 2019- Amman, Jordan — The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) announced today a new global advocacy campaign, “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” The campaign is an urgent call to leaders around the world that all children, regardless of race, age, nationality, gender, religion or origin, have a right to earn and complete an education, and that being in school is a recognition of the value and potential of each individual child. The campaign aims to collect one million signatures by 2020 through grassroots efforts in collaboration with the Adventist church, and petition world leaders to take action for children to receive a quality education, and live free from exploitation and the shackles of intergenerational poverty. A 2018 UNESCO study reported that there has been little improvement in the reduction of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth since 2012, and that since 2016, more than 262 million children around the world are still out of school. This represents nearly one-fifth of the global population of this age group. Additionally, high poverty levels were reportedly linked to out-of-school rates.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Anera signs agreement with Palestinian Ministry of Education on early childhood development

24 January 2019-Ramallah, Palestine – On January 19, Palestinian Minister of Education Dr. Sabri Saidam signed a memorandum of understanding with Anera to strengthen its longstanding partnership supporting early childhood development. The Ministry has committed itself to working with Anera as we continue to strive to make a tangible difference in preschool education access and quality through training and mentorship of teachers; an inclusive, national curriculum; and building and rehabilitating hundreds of schools and classrooms for preschool education. The agreement recognizes Anera’s pioneering work and continued commitment to enriching the development and education of young children in Palestine. In the memorandum, the Ministry of Education calls Anera “the leading organization in constructing and renovating kindergartens in Palestine.” It further acknowledges Anera to be “one of the leading and distinguished organizations in the field of early childhood in Palestine as a result of its comprehensive and complete programs.”


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education



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Next issue: 12th April 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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