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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. 278 – 12th April 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

Norway: a role model for preventing corruption in parliament and among judges and prosecutors

3 April 2019 - The Council of Europe anti-corruption body (GRECO) published today its Fourth Evaluation Round Report on Norway concerning corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors. GRECO concludes that Norway has implemented satisfactorily, or dealt with in a satisfactory manner, all seven recommendations made since 2014. Since the report in 2014, Norway has introduced Ethical Guidelines, developed with the participation of members of the Storting (Norwegian parliament) to cover issues such as the prevention of conflicts of interest, acceptance of gifts and other advantages and contacts with third parties, including lobbyists.


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


REGULATION (EU) 2019/452 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 March 2019 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union

21 March 2019 - Article 1 - Subject matter and scope

1.   This Regulation establishes a framework for the screening by Member States of foreign direct investments into the Union on the grounds of security or public order and for a mechanism for cooperation between Member States, and between Member States and the Commission, with regard to foreign direct investments likely to affect security or public order. It includes the possibility for the Commission to issue opinions on such investments.

2.   This Regulation is without prejudice to each Member State having sole responsibility for its national security, as provided for in Article 4(2) TEU, and to the right of each Member State to protect its essential security interests in accordance with Article 346 TFEU.

3.   Nothing in this Regulation shall limit the right of each Member State to decide whether or not to screen a particular foreign direct investment within the framework of this Regulation. (…)



Sustainable fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco

20 March 2019 - Article 3 - Principles and objectives regarding the implementation of this Agreement

1.   The Parties undertake to promote sustainable fishing in the fishing zone based on the principle of non-discrimination between the different fleets present in that zone.

2.   The authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco undertake to ensure that access to the fishing zone is based on the activity of the Union fishing fleet. The authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco shall ensure that the Union fleet receives an appropriate share of surplus fishery resources, taking into account the specificity of each agreement. The Union fleet shall be granted the same technical fishing conditions as all other fleets.

3.   The Parties undertake to inform one another about any fisheries agreements and arrangements entered into with a third party.

4.   The Parties agree that Union fishing vessels are only to catch the allowable catch surplus referred to in Article 62(2) and (3) of the UNCLOS, as identified, in a clear and transparent manner, on the basis of available and relevant scientific advice and relevant information exchanged between the Parties on the total fishing effort exerted on the affected stocks by all fleets operating in the fishing zone.


11.   The Agreement shall be implemented in accordance with Article 1 of the Association Agreement on developing dialogue and cooperation, and Article 2 of the Association Agreement concerning the respect for democratic principles and fundamental human rights. (…)



COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2019/407 of 4 March 2019 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean

15 March 2019 - Article 1 - The Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (‘the Agreement’) is hereby approved on behalf of the Union.

The text of the Agreement is attached to this Decision.



Ghana acceded to the Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons

19 March 2019 - The Convention is primarily intended to facilitate the social rehabilitation of prisoners by giving foreigners convicted of a criminal offence the possibility of serving their sentences in their own countries. It is also rooted in humanitarian considerations, since difficulties in communication by reason of language barriers and the absence of contact with relatives may have detrimental effects on a person imprisoned in a foreign country. Transfer may be requested by either the State in which the sentence was imposed (sentencing State) or the State of which the sentenced person is a national (administering State). It is subject to the consent of those two States as well as that of the sentenced person. The Convention also lays down the procedure for enforcement of the sentence following the transfer. Whatever the procedure chosen by the administering State, a custodial sentence may not be converted into a fine, and any period of detention already served by the sentenced person must be taken into account by the administering State. The sentence in the administering State must not be longer or harsher than that imposed in the sentencing State.


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



Human rights


Gender violence - Latin America resets its strategy against femicides

4 April 2019 - By Fabiana Frayssinet – Rio de Janeiro - Several initiatives are seeking to strengthen the fight against femicides in Latin America, a region which, despite growing popular mobilisation and pioneering legislation against gender-based murders, still has the world’s worst rates in what has been described as a “silent genocide”.  “The normalisation of violence against women and girls, the lack of comprehensive and quality services that identify patterns of violence that could end in femicide, the lack of data and research without a gender perspective are common to all countries,” U.N. Women Regional Director Luiza Carvalho said, summing up the situation in Latin America, in an exclusive interview with IPS.

One of the new strategies is the Spotlight Initiative, launched by the European Union and the United Nations for the elimination of femicide. Of an initial investment of 500 million euros (562 million dollars), 55 million euros will go to Latin America.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


VATICAN CITY - Pope makes history by tapping first African American Bishop to lead Washington, D.C.

4 April 2019- Pope Francis named the first African-American to the Catholic Church’s most senior U.S. position on Thursday, seeking to end a period of upheaval in a job whose previous two occupants were caught in sexual abuse scandals. Former Atlanta archbishop Wilton Gregory, 71, was made new head of the Church in the U.S. capital Washington, D.C., and is also likely to become a cardinal eligible to vote in a conclave to elect the next pope after Francis. He would be the first African-American to hold the rank of cardinal too. The U.S. embassy to the Vatican noted that Gregory’s appointment coincided with the 51st anniversary of the assassination of black rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Gregory, who converted to Catholicism as a teenager, is considered a progressive who prefers dialog and has largely shunned the U.S. Church’s often strident culture wars over issues such as abortion and homosexuality. The Washington position is the most influential for the Church in the United States because of its proximity to national political power. Past holders have been confidants of American presidents, foreign diplomats and educational leaders. Gregory’s immediate predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned last October after 12 years in the job following a grand jury report that criticized him for failing to halt abuse in his previous role as archbishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl succeeded former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was expelled from the priesthood earlier this year after being found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.


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


Human Rights, Democracy, and Anti-Corruption groups call on Congress to support Global Magnitsky

29 March 2019 - Washington, D.C.—On March 28, a group of 40 human rights, democracy, and anti-corruption organizations and experts led by Human Rights First and Freedom House called on congressional leaders to appropriate dedicated funding to support robust enforcement of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The call came in letters to the chairpersons and ranking members of House and Senate appropriations subcommittees who oversee budgets for the Departments of State, Treasury, and Justice.   


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


UNCSW63’s positive outcomes for women’s human rights to social protection systems, quality public services, including education, and sustainable infrastructure

28 March 2019 - The women workers’ delegation, including education unionists, welcomes the Agreed Conclusions of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which includes positive language on education and social protection systems. The Agreed Conclusions of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW63), reached on 22 March, have borne satisfying results concerning gender and education: There are three strong references to education in the preamble paragraphs Educational spaces are specifically mentioned among the list of key sites that require action and attention on sexual harassment.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


South Africa launches plan to combat xenophobia and racism

25 March 2019 - Today, South Africa launched its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination, marking an important step towards addressing the widespread human rights abuses arising from xenophobic and gender-based violence and discrimination that continue to plague South Africa.


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities



Economy and development


NEW YORK - LG super-efficient room air conditioners receive Top Edison Award for breakthrough innovation

5 April 2019  -   LG Electronics USA was honored with a coveted 2019 Edison Award, receiving a “gold” designation – the highest honor – in the Energy & Sustainability category for LG’s breakthrough room air conditioner technology that delivers a 40 percent improvement in efficiency for its best performing model.

The Edison Awards, which recognize the most innovative products and business leaders in the world, are among the most prestigious accolades honoring excellence in new product and service development, marketing, design and innovation. LG was awarded top honors in the Award’s “Smart Climate Control” subcategory for its Wi-Fi-enabled smart room air conditioners with dual-inverter linear compressors in recognition of their cutting-edge innovation, performance and efficiency. Thanks to the company’s proprietary DUAL Inverter Compressor™ technology, LG is the first in the United States to offer variable-speed compressor room air conditioners in the United States, which deliver quiet, advanced cooling with a 40 percent improvement in energy efficiency on its best-performing model*. LG’s variable-speed compressor technology also earned the 2018 and 2019 ENERGY STAR® Emerging Technology Awards, which honor new and promising technologies that deliver significant energy savings during operation.  http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/41853-LG-Super-Efficient-Room-Air-Conditioners-Receive-Top-Edison-Award-for-Breakthrough-Innovation?tracking_source=rss

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


CANADA - The RBC Foundation and CFC Team up to deliver Landmark Multi-million Dollar Investment for Youth-led Initiatives

4 April 2019 - Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and the RBC Foundation are pleased to announce the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, a historic $5 million initiative that will enable participating community foundations to support youth leadership across the country. This partnership will support youth-led community projects in 150 small to mid-sized Canadian communities from coast-to-coast. Grants of up to $15,000 will be available through participating community foundations, and will support projects that address diverse and urgent local priorities, including food security, employment, learning, health and the environment.  As part of the initiative, participating foundations will also facilitate ‘Vital Conversations,’ where young people and other community members are brought together to participate in a dialogue about priorities for the future. Young people will also have access to a series of remote and national learning opportunities to help them build their skills, gain practical experience, and grow their professional networks.  The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge is supported by the RBC Foundation and is part of RBC’s 150th birthday celebrations, a milestone anniversary taking place on June 22, 2019.


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


FAO and ADEPT partnership focuses on links between migration, agriculture and rural development

3 April 2019, Brussels - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) today joined efforts to enhance the positive contribution of migration to the areas of agricultural and rural development. The agreement marks the beginning of a formal collaboration in the areas of migration and rural development, with a focus on diaspora-related issues and agribusiness. ADEPT, an international non-profit based in Belgium, supports and empowers African diaspora development organizations based within the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. While helping to formally involve African diaspora groups in development processes in Africa, it also serves as a point of reference for those interested in African development issues, migration and development policy. Migration is closely linked to FAO's goals of fighting hunger, achieving food security, reducing rural poverty and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. FAO's expertise in the areas of capacity development, policy support to governments and rural institutions, agribusiness, value chain and food system development naturally complements ADEPT's experience in engaging diaspora organizations around migration-related issues. FAO and ADEPT plan to work jointly to promote awareness of the nexus of migration, agriculture and rural development, and the opportunities associated with rural migration.


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


A tool to make rural investments more resilient

3 April 2019 - With climate change increasingly disturbing temperature and precipitation patterns, agricultural production is projected to be increasingly affected. Adaptation to climate change is needed to reduce this vulnerability, and this has motivated IFAD to develop the Climate Adaptation in Rural Development (CARD) Assessment Tool. The assessment tool simplifies datasets from studies in academic journals. It is a simple Excel-based instrument that eases the quantitative integration of climate-related risks in investments and strategies, food security studies and rural development policies. The tool provides an easy access to projections of the effects of climate change on the yield of major crops at the national and subnational levels. Currently available data covers 17 major crops in nearly all countries in North Africa, West and Central Africa, and East and Southern Africa. All IFAD operational regions will be available in the course of 2019. With its user-friendly interface, CARD is intuitive to use and practical, being primarily conceived for non-expert public and private investors and decision-makers willing to better account for climate risks in their investments and decisions.

By offering such peer-reviewed and robust data on key crops, CARD aims to ensure the positive development impacts of agricultural and rural investments, hence returns for the smallholders, the society and governments.


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


AV Ventures partners locally to bring impact investing to the Kyrgyz Republic’s missing middle

29 March 2019 – In the Kyrgyz Republic large firms attract investors with deep pockets, while smaller firms benefit from the many microfinance institutions that cater to them. What remains is a missing middle, made up of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often lack the capital to improve and expand their operations. Investment funds focused on this segment have only recently entered the market in the Kyrgyz Republic, meaning the financing gap remains enormous. To contribute to filling this gap, a new investment management company called AV Frontiers was born. The company, based in the Kyrgyz Republic, came about as a joint venture between Frontiers, a Kyrgyz financial institution that launched with the support of USAID and ACDI/VOCA 15 years ago, and AV Ventures, an ACDI/VOCA subsidiary that specializes in impact investing and blended finance, based in Washington, D.C. The newly created AV Frontiers will identify SMEs with high growth potential in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia. They will then provide qualified applicants with an integrated package of patient capital, offering long, flexible terms that share risk and enhance growth, and technical assistance.


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


Transforming innovative ideas into sustainable agriculture in West and Central Africa

28 March 2019 - Ideas are the lifeblood of innovation. That is why IFAD in partnership with the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab), launched a contest in 2018 to crowdsource ideas and unlock investments into sustainable agriculture in West and Central Africa.

The proposal - Blockchain Climate Risk Crop Insurance- is an automated weather-indexed crop insurance infrastructure to help smallholders increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change, via transparent, affordable and efficient insurance tools. It will guarantee automatic pay-outs whenever an extreme weather event occurs through the use of smart contracts that are implemented on a blockchain – a system for recording transactions in digital currencies throughout a network of computers. The second winning idea, the West African Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture, aims to promote climate smart agriculture and resilient supply chains to achieve food security across 15 countries in West Africa. Proposed by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it works through the provision of grants for technical assistance and subsidized-rate loans or guarantees for smallholder farmer organizations and the agricultural private sector. These two ideas will receive support to unlock investments for sustainable agriculture and generate impact on the most vulnerable rural communities in West and Central Africa.


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





USAID support keeps UN humanitarian air service flying in Central African Republic

27 March 2019, Bangui –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$ 6 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that will keep the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flying in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). UNHAS offers a safe and reliable means for humanitarian workers to reach and help vulnerable people in remote areas of the war-torn C.A.R., where the absence of dependable commercial carriers and poor road infrastructure compounded by insecurity make it difficult to serve people in need. The funds from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) will allow UNHAS continue operations until September 2019, serving over 160 organisations, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, to fly to more than 30 destinations in the country to implement and monitor their interventions. In 2018, UNHAS transported more than 21,694 passengers, some 190 mt of light cargo and conducted 193 security relocations as well as 26 medical evacuations in C.A.R.



European Union helps WFP support conflict-affected families in Syria

25 March 2019, Damascus – Contributions from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) have played a major role in providing emergency assistance to conflict-affected families in Syria, says the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The EU, one of WFP’s top five donors in Syria, contributed US$12 million in 2018 toward food assistance programmes in 2018. This helped WFP reach more than four million people in all of Syria’s 14 governorates every month. Each month, vulnerable families received food rations for five people – these contained rice, lentils, bulgur wheat, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in addition to bread baked in local bakeries using WFP wheat flour. During emergencies and population displacements, families received ready-to-eat food packages consisting of canned food. WFP supports the food needs of three million conflict-affected people in Syria every month, while also investing in livelihoods and education programmes for families who have been able to return to their towns and villages. Continued support from donors like the EU remains vital for millions of families as well as for stability and security in Syria.



Japan helps WFP provide food to vulnerable Palestinians in Gaza

18 March 2019, Jerusalem – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of more than US$800,000 from the Government of Japan to help bolster food security in Gaza whose inhabitants are experiencing high levels of deprivation. WFP will use these funds to provide electronic vouchers to more than 63,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable non-refugees in Gaza. They will be able to use the vouchers to buy nutritious, fresh foods at local retailers. In Gaza, poverty and unemployment affect more than half of the population. Food insecurity is on the rise and, according to the latest Food Security Sector’s Socioeconomic and Food Insecurity Survey, now affects two thirds of the population. WFP serves those people who are most acutely hit by the lack of jobs and who receive less than US$1 a day to cover basic housing, clothing and food needs. These people skip meals, take on debts, and depend on support from neighbours and friends. Since January, WFP and partners have been assisting 245,000 extremely poor and severely food-insecure people in Gaza, mostly through food electronic vouchers.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger



Peace and security


Study reveals Yemenis are surviving war-torn districts through agriculture and livelihood aid

1 April 2019 - Silver Spring, MD — The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) had for seven months conducted a pre- and post- study on the long-term effects of relief aid provided to 200,000 people in Yemen, many of whom were faced with ongoing unrest since peace treaties broke throughout the country in 2016. The study focused on the implementation of the USAID grant funded project called SALA, which is centered around Small Business, Agriculture, and Livelihood Assistance.  “SALA focuses on supporting people with livestock, livelihoods, and agriculture activities,” says Ephraim Palmero, country director of ADRA in Yemen. “Our goal for SALA was to increase the social and financial well-being among displaced people in Yemen providing sustainable livelihood strategies, improve water and sanitation, and give people access to nutrition services,” he says.  In 2018, the project targeted hygiene promotion and voucher-based assistance, with the end goal to save the lives of conflict-affected individuals in Yemen. Fifty health facilities and five mobile clinics were also established to support and treat malnourished children. Additionally, public awareness education campaigns were also created and run for a few weeks to select districts.



The Elsie Initiative Fund launched to increase uniformed women in UN peacekeeping

29 March 2019 - Today, a little more than five per cent of uniformed personnel in UN peacekeeping forces are women. At an event in New York on 28 March, UN Women, in partnership with the Government of Canada, the office of the UN Secretary-General, the UN Department of Peace Operations, and the UN Development Programme’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, launched the Elsie Initiative Fund for uniformed women in Peace operations (Elsie Initiative) to increase meaningful participation of uniformed women in UN peacekeeping operations. The five-year plan, developed in a consultative process between the government and civil society, aims to raise public awareness about anti-racism and equality measures, improve access to justice and better protection for victims, and increase anti-discrimination efforts to help achieve greater equality and justice. 


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


From battle field to farm land

29 March 2019 – “Having lived here for 25 years, I have many times encountered wartime explosive weapons” says coffee farmer Le Quang Tien. NPA is now clearing explosives in the former restricted area, making it safer for the farmer and his family. The mountainous district Huong Hoa, Vietnam was once home to the bloody battle of Khe Sanh and is now a peaceful producer of one of the best coffees in Vietnam. 60-year-old farmer Le Quang Tien did not mind taking a break when the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team managed by NPA-Project RENEW announced that they were going to demolish some dangerous munitions found near his coffee plantation.  Monday, 25 Feb 2019 the team conducted two consecutive demolition tasks to dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) found during our Non-Technical Survey (NTS) in Tan Linh and Tan Hao Villages. The demolitions marked the start of NPA-Project RENEW’s survey and clearance program in this previously restricted district. With support and coordination from the district military, NPA-Project RENEW’s first demolitions in Huong Hoa District was a success. 11 unexploded munitions were safely destroyed. The goal of the project is to make all known hazardous areas safe so that farmers like Le Quang Tien can go about their daily activities without facing the risks caused by explosive remnants of war poses.


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


Switzerland announces cluster munition free status

21 March 2019 – The Cluster Munition Coalition warmly welcomes the announcement on 19 March that Switzerland has completed destruction of its cluster munition stockpiles. "The announcement this week by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence is yet another indication of how the Convention on Cluster Munitions is successfully ridding the world of the suffering caused by this horrific weapon" said Cluster Munition Coalition Director Hector Guerra. Switzerland - a State Party to the Convention - was slated to complete destruction of its cluster munition stockpiles by the end of 2020 under its treaty obligations. The announcement on 19 March means the country has achieved cluster munition free status nearly two years ahead of the anticipated schedule.  Destruction of cluster munition stockpiles is critical to global mine action efforts to protect civilians and create safe communities which is closely linked to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Switzerland's announcement comes two weeks in advance of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Mine Action.


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





As Marshall Islands integrates healthcare services, experts offer a word of caution

5 April 2019 - By Stella Paul – In Jack Niedenthal’s office in Majuro, there is an ominous reminder of the dark history of the Marshall Islands—once the site for dozens of nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1962. But it also provides a strong message about the future of island nation.

“Given what the Marshall Islands has done for humankind, we deserve the best healthcare in the world,” reads a poster on his wall.  In fact, today the Pacific island nation’s main national income, aside from the sale of fishing rights to foreign firms, is the money the U.S. pays as compensation for conducting the nuclear tests through the Compact Trust Fund. Many of those who live on the islands where the nuclear tests where conducted suffer from cancer. These cases are in addition to the high occurrences of tuberculosis (TB), diabetes and leprosy that the health authorities here have to address.


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


Mexico: Migrants using WhatsApp can get advice on how to stay safe and avoid illness, sickness

3 April 2019 Mexico (ICRC) – Migrants travelling through Central America and Mexico began receiving WhatsApp messages on Monday with advice on how to avoid and prevent accidents, illness and being separated from family members – common dangers that migrants face. The initiative by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) seeks to prevent the hardship faced by thousands of people in the region who migrate each year. "Self-protection messages for migrants are a success, and thousands of these messages have been shared over the last four years in print and through the radio. With an increasing number of people using WhatsApp along migration routes, we are now sending these messages directly to those who need them,” said Jesús Serrano, ICRC's regional communication coordinator for Mexico and Central America. The messages that the ICRC has been sending since 2015 contain concrete recommendations that aim to prevent accidents, illnesses, loss of family contact, among other situations, and thereby reduce the vulnerability of migrants on the road. The ICRC´s experience in recent years has shown that, increasingly, the migrants with whom we interact are accessing digital platforms to communicate with their families and friends, as well as to exchange information in shelters or other places, such as Internet cafes.


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


Pakistan Regional Polio Laboratory nearing completion thanks to Japan International Cooperation Agency

2 April 2019 – On 15 March 2019 in Islamabad, representatives from the Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) were given a general update on the progress of the Polio Regional Lab and the surveillance network. Thanks to Japan’s funding, 70% of the latest molecular biology equipment has been procured, installed and made operational. JICA representatives also toured the facility and the works in process. The Government of Japan through JICA is a long-standing and committed donor to the polio eradication efforts by funding initiatives and broader immunization activities in Pakistan since 1996. As a part of its more recent commitment, JICA is supporting Pakistan in strengthening disease surveillance through a state-of-the-art equipment of the Regional Reference Laboratory at the National Institute of Health in Islamabad. The Pakistan Regional Polio Lab will go a long way in facilitating poliovirus detection in stool samples and the environment. At present, the lab tests more than 30,000 stool samples from people with paralysis and 950 environmental samples each year, including samples from both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The new soon-to-be operational lab equipment will speed up the ability to process and respond quickly wherever the poliovirus may be hiding.


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



Energy and safety



Global Wind Turbine Order Capacity Increased 31% In 2018, Finds WoodMac

4 April 2019 – Global wind turbine orders increased by 31% in 2018 thanks in part to a 20% fourth-quarter increase which saw 18 gigawatts of new capacity added. Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables published its findings in the Global Wind Turbine Order Analysis: Q1 2019 report which showed that the majority of regions experienced wind turbine order capacity increases in the fourth quarter. However, the United States bucked this trend, seeing a decline in capacity orders (...). The share of turbines ordered within the 3.5 to 4.99 megawatt (MW) range increased in 2018 — only 10% of which were attributed to offshore orders in China.


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


Canada replaces largest North American coal plant with solar

4 April 2019 - Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) – working in cooperation with the the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – announced last week that they had successfully completed a 44 MW solar facility on the site of the former Nanticoke Generating Station, once the largest coal-fired power plant in North America. At full capacity, the Nanticoke Generating Station once delivered 3,946 MW of power into the southern Ontario power grid. However, it burned its last lump of coal on December 31, 2013, and in 2014 Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to entirely remove coal from its energy mix.


News related with SDGs number 7-Affordable and Clean Energy


Eni teams with Italian Biogas Consortium to push for more advanced biomethane

1 April 2019 – In Italy, Eni and the Italian Biogas Consortium (CIB) signed an agreement to promote the production of advanced biomethane from animal waste, agro-industrial byproducts and dedicated winter crops for use in the transport sector. The agreement also involves new opportunities for Consortium member companies by launching business initiatives which will be developed in partnership. A taskforce will be established and will meet periodically to assess and define the most efficient and appropriate opportunities for collaboration. The agreement is a central component in Eni’s efforts to promote the principles of the circular economy in energy production.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


US Department of Energy catalyzes clean energy innovation in all 50 States

April 1, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made clean energy research and development (R&D) investments in every U.S. state over the past two years, sending more than $1.8 billion to the national laboratories and to hundreds of private-sector and academic researchers last year alone. Unfortunately, the Trump administration recently unveiled a proposal to slash the Energy Department’s budget next year. If enacted, this would have devastating impacts on American innovation.


News related with SDGs number 7-Affordable and Clean Energy


Federal Judge rules against Trump Arctic & Atlantic Ocean Drilling Plan

31 March 2019 - It’s been a tough week for alleged president Trump and his minions this week. Three different federal judges have ruled against the maladministration’s effort to subvert the rule of law and give aid and comfort to the fossil fuel companies. First a federal judge in Washington, DC blocked hundreds of planned drilling operations on 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming. The judge ruled that the Trumpies failed to properly assess the future environment impacts that would result from the drilling. Next, another federal judge ruled the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service illegally approved two gas drilling plans in western Colorado. The judge said officials did not adequately analyze wildlife and climate impacts in their plans, according to a report in the Washington Post. The week ended with an adverse ruling by federal judge Sharon Gleason that put the triple whammy on the nefarious oil company shills in this malodorous administration by ruling Trump’s executive order revoking a ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans is illegal. The court’s order protects 128 million acres of federal waters from despoilment by fossil fuel interests.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production



Environment and wildlife


CHICAGO - ACCO & ISSP announce First Global Congress for Climate Change & Sustainability Professionals

3 April 2019 - Earlier today, the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) and the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) announced that they will jointly convene a global congress to advance their respective fields and elevate the recognition of professionals as invaluable to successfully driving institutional progress on climate change and sustainability.  The first-of-its-kind Congress will be held in Chicago on December 9-12, 2019. Organizations are increasingly making ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop resilience plans and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) unanimously adopted by all 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Effective response to the challenges and opportunities that organizations face across sectors and regions requires substantially increasing the stature, convening authority and resourcing of the professionals who have emerged as key leaders and implementers of these initiatives. Participants at the Congress will engage in facilitated discussions on standardizing competencies and organizational structures, advancing professional credentialing, and establishing a uniform voice representing the practitioner community.  The Congress’ innovative participatory program will be shaped by a planning council of leading practitioners from industry, government agencies and higher education institutions. By aligning efforts as the two most prominent international credentialing bodies in the fields of climate change and sustainability, ACCO and ISSP seek to convene practitioners in a substantial stride towards climate action and sustainability. More information about the Congress is available online at www.ACCOISSP.org.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


BOSTON - Accounting for Natural Climate Solutions Guidance launches to support Forest Protection and Soil Restoration as part of Corporate Carbon Strategies

2 April 2019  -  The environmental sustainability consulting group Quantis is proud to announce the public release of Accounting for Natural Climate Solutions: Guidance for Measuring GHG Emissions from Land, Forests, and Soils across the Supply Chain.” The Guidance (previously called the Land Use Change Guidance) provides a robust methodology to effectively measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land, forests, and soils across the supply chain to be embedded in corporate and product footprints, which can be used for science-based climate target setting efforts. Indeed, natural climate solutions – from forests, agriculture, soil and land – have been recognized as key levers in mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. According to the IPCC, GHG emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land-use activities account for 24% of global impacts, second only to the energy sector. Half of these GHG emissions can be traced back to land use and land-use changes, including deforestation. The Accounting for Natural Climate Solutions Guidance was developed within an unprecedented, collaborative multi-stakeholder initiative led by Quantis. More than 40 private companies, NGOs, governments, and scientific institutions banded together to develop a solution to a major challenge: how to effectively and reliably account for greenhouse gas impacts from land and land-use change to ultimately prevent deforestation and to promote soil restoration.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


New Iceland-FAO partnership focuses on fisheries and blue growth

21 March 2019, Rome -The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Iceland today agreed to work closely together to facilitate the design and implementation of programmes supporting the long-term conservation of living marine ecosystems and to unlock the potential of the world's marine and freshwater ecosystems. The partnership is geared to provide financial and technical support to ongoing institutions and initiatives including the Port State Measures Agreement and to reduce the quantity of discarded fishing gear in the world's oceans. Other areas slated for support under the agreement are land restoration, gender issues and FAO's broader "Blue Growth" activities. In terms of the new agreement, Iceland will provide financial support as well as in-kind assistance of a technical nature covering the broad spectrum of areas, and deploy experts to assist FAO in project identification, preparation, implementation, assessment and reviews as well as engage in capacity building exercises and desk studies. The chief beneficiaries of the prospective collaboration will be the millions of people for whom oceans constitute a unique source of ecosystem services, biodiversity, food and livelihoods. One primary area for joint work is the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement, whose objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by preventing vessels engaged in such activities from using ports and landing their catches. Also, Iceland is committed to helping FAO's work on "ghost fishing gear" such as fishing nets that are abandoned, lost or discarded at sea and each year add around 640,000 tonnes of plastic to the amount already floating around in the oceans today.Iceland itself used fisheries as a key strategy of its own economic development.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


On International Day of Forests, FAO announces new forestry education initiatives

21 March 2019, Rome - FAO marked the International Day of Forests today by announcing two new forestry education initiatives aimed at raising awareness among children and young people on the sustainable use and conservation of forests. The two projects, funded by Germany with over $2 million, will address major challenges in forestry education and will help increase understanding of forests among the general public. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that there is a lack of understanding of the many ways in which forests give back to global society, compounded by a growing disconnect, particularly in urban areas, between people and nature. FAO stresses that this issue needs to be challenged and reversed, and that it can be done through education. However, at present, education about forests is often inadequate and is not able to address emerging challenges. Fewer young people study forestry at university or college, and even fewer primary and secondary schools include forest education in their changing curriculum. This is why FAO and partners are working to raise awareness about issues threatening our forests and strive to support the creation of comprehensive forestry education programmes and rural vocational schools that can skill professionals to deal with the complex challenges and opportunities that the forest sector will continue to face.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land



Religion and spirituality



Dharma Realm Buddhist University offers scholarships to students affected by natural disasters.

5 April 2019 - By Haleigh Atwood - Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Ukiah, California, has announced a needs-based scholarship program for students affected by natural disasters. In light of recent events, such as Hurricane Harvey and the Mendocino Complex Fire, the scholarship covers attendance costs, including tuition and on-campus lodging, for the duration of both the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Masters of Arts in Buddhist Classics programs.



The International Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief: sketching the contours of a common framework

5 April 2019 - While there is considerable consensus among the various actors involved that international freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is a central facet of human rights, and that it is too often violated, there are significant variations in—and even conflicts between—conceptions of and approaches to FoRB. A shared framework has yet to be established. Key questions turn around what kind of actors and initiatives are most effective in promoting and protecting FoRB in particular contexts, and how best to address specific areas of tension. This report by Marie Juul Petersen and Katherine Marshall addresses both tensions and gaps in understandings and approaches. It sketches the contours of a common framework for understanding and approaching international FoRB promotion in order to provide inspiration and basic guidance to support development of pertinent context-specific theories of change and strategies for action.


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


CAIRO - AFRICA/EGYPT - 6,000 Coptic pilgrims will celebrate Easter in Jerusalem

2 April 2019 - More than 6 thousand Coptic Orthodox Christians are ready to go to Israel to celebrate the liturgical feasts of Easter in Jerusalem, which this year, for the Coptic Orthodox Church, falls on April 29th. The data, provided by the network of tourist agencies, testify the rapid growth of Egyptian Coptic pilgrimages to Israel, which at the end of the 1970s had been forbidden by Patriarch Shenuda III, who died in 2012. Compared to 2018, there is a increase of 1500 registrations in the pilgrimages of Christians organized from Egypt to Jerusalem. Egyptian tour companies point out that when one lands in Israel, the entry stamp in the Jewish state will not be put on Egyptian passports, but on special leaflets to be attached to one’s document. Furthermore, it is specified that all Christian pilgrims from Egypt will stay in accommodation facilities run by Palestinians, both in East Jerusalem and in Bethlehem.
The growing presence of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodoxs in the Holy City, in constant growth since 2015 (see Fides, 26/4/2016), marks the end of the prohibition to visit Jerusalem which in 1979 had been imposed on the faithful by the then Patriarch Shenouda III.



ASIA/BANGLADESH - Catholic nurses and doctors on a spiritual journey, to give Christ at work.

27 March 2019 - To give adequate spiritual assistance to doctors, nurses, Catholic health workers who, especially in Dhaka, fail to attend Sunday Mass because of their professional activity: as Agenzia Fides learns, this was the aim of the Lenten seminar entitled "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give" (Mt 10.8), organized in recent days by the Health Commission of the Archdiocese of Dacca, at the Catholic church of Nayanagar, in the capital, which was attended by about 110 Catholic health workers.



Global interfaith pilgrimage makes stop in Rome. A group of young people from the The Earth Caravan interfaith pilgrimage come to Rome to pray for peace with Pope Francis.

26 March 2019 - During last Wednesday’s General Audience on March 20th four 13-year-old girls passionate about peace met with Pope Francis and presented him with the Hiroshima flame. Hiroshima flame, a symbol of peace. The flame was taken from the ashes of the atomic bomb which bombarded the Japanese city and has been burning continuously as a symbol for peace since August 6, 1945. The girls were in Rome with their families as part of a global interfaith pilgrimage called The Earth Caravan which is dedicated to peace, healing and justice for the most traumatized places on the planet. Also present was Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for her work with the “International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).



5th Annual CSW Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude Hosted at the UN.

19 March 2019 - On March 15th, the Parliament partnered with the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers, NGO CSW, The Temple of Understanding, United Methodist Women, United Religions Initiative, and The World Peace Prayer Society to sponsor the 5th Annual Commission on the Status of

Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude.  Hosted at the UN Church Center, Tillman Chapel in the United Nations Plaza, the service welcomed attendees in remembrance of individuals who had come before them to make a difference on the status of women worldwide.




Culture and education


9 questions for a youth education advocate

5 April 2019 - “When we invest strongly in education, everyone benefits!”

Meet Victoria Ibiwoye from Nigeria, the Youth Representative for the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee.  She is a passionate young leader who also founded the OneAfricanChild Foundation for Creative Learning, an NGO focused on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education for low-income community children in Africa.

Ahead of her participation at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum (link is external) in New York on 8-9 April, Victoria answered nine questions on the youth perspective of Sustainable Development Goal 4.

-       Where would you place education in the Sustainable Development Goals?

-       How can youth worldwide actively contribute towards achieving SDG4 in their communities?

-       How do we place young people at the heart of decision-making processes?

-       What are the challenges faced by marginalized youth groups and how do we address them?

-       How do we ensure that education systems are more inclusive and equitable?

-       How should education systems change to address the learning needs of youth?

-       Are today’s teachers/educators ready to create the leaders we need tomorrow?

-       What skills and attitudes are important for youth to learn in order to build just and peaceful societies?

-       How do we ensure that such learning become priorities everywhere?


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


The Rwandan miracle

5 April 2019 - With this article, the Courier participates in the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda on 7 April. Alphonse Nkusi - A quarter of a century after the terrible genocide of 1994, Rwanda is turning a new page in its history. Following a long period of national unification and reconciliation, it is investing in economic growth and focusing on new technologies, with the hope of becoming an ICT hub in Africa.  Twenty-five years ago, the bloodiest chapter in the contemporary history of Africa was written in Rwanda. In a hundred days, a million people lost their lives, leaving behind a million orphans, not counting the widows and widowers.  To build the future, we began by relearning to conjugate the verb “to be” in the plural and to tell ourselves that we are all Banyarwanda. Forget who is Tutsi, who is Hutu, who is Twa. Overcome hatred.  Priority was given to unity and reconciliation. Rwanda is focusing on technology development to ensure a better future. Banking transactions are facilitated through mobile services. Business leaders have access to e-commerce through the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWRP), launched in October 2018 by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba. Urban transport is facilitated by car and motorcycle services controlled via mobile applications.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Truck art: Advocating for girls’ education in Pakistan through local art

28 March 2019 - Honouring local art, engaging communities. UNESCO has been using Pakistani ‘truck art’, a unique blend of murals and painted scenes honoring local art and crafts, to raise awareness on girls' education in the Kohistan district in Pakistan. The local community overwhelmingly welcomed the use of this local art form, adopted by the Girls’ Right to Education Programme (GREP), helping to make an impact in favor of girls’ education in local communities.  Over 20 trucks transporting goods and timber along the Karakorum and Indus highways have been painted with colorful portraits and murals advocating for girls’ education, with messages such as “Ilm taaqat hai” (Education is power) and “Ilm roshni hai” (Education is light). It is the first time that such strong, culturally-sensitive advocacy messages on girls’ education have been rendered on trucks. Communities are used to seeing local poetry painted on these vehicles.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Largest joint-United Nations programme on education to reach tens of thousands of children in South Sudan thanks to European Union funds

26 March 2019, Aweil/South Sudan – Tens of thousands of school children in some of South Sudan’s most food insecure areas will benefit from a new European Union (EU) funded education in emergencies programme launched today in Aweil. The contribution, worth €24.4 million, will provide hot daily meals to 75,000 school children, help train some 1,600 teachers, equip learners with educational supplies and provide psycho-social support services for 40,000 children who are currently enrolled in schools and those out of school. The partnership, the largest of its kind in the education sector in South Sudan jointly implemented by UNICEF and the World Food Programme, runs until January 2021 and will be rolled out in 150 schools across the four former states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Eastern Equatoria. The joint activities, built on UNICEF’s expertise in education and nutrition, as well as WFP’s experience in providing school meals, its presence in hard-to-reach areas and logistical capacity, will also help participating schools establish school gardens, where children can learn good farming practices, while supplementing their school meals with fresh produce.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


European Solidarity Corps: another way of being young

25 March 2019 - The Community programme offers youths aged 18-30 the opportunity to make an experience of volunteering of two to twelve months in another EU Country or beyond, in many different sectors: social, cultural, environmental, integration and inclusion, addressed to disabled persons or to minority groups. Young people will have no expenses because the EU funds the program. Youths are the protagonists, in the awareness of forming part of the European Union.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Islamic Development Bank and UNESCO strengthen cooperation to support Science, Technology and Innovation policymaking in Mozambique and Uzbekistan

18 March 2019 - IsDB and UNESCO are commited to promote an enabling environment for comprehensive science, technology and innovation systems, policies, as well as for development of institutional and human capacity to promote sustainable economic development, entrepreneurship and youth employability. Therefore, IsDB and UNESCO will join forces in this project to strengthen capabilities to produce accurate STI information; use this information to design STI policies and policy instruments, and to eliminate the persisting gender imbalance in STI.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


WFP and Ministry of Education transform community schools in Egypt

13 March 2019, Cairo, Egypt – The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Egypt and the World Food Programme (WFP) are introducing new digital tools and technology in community schools to help reduce the technology gap between children in schools in rural areas and their more privileged peers in the formal education system. WFP and the Ministry have provided over 1,800 computer tablets to community schools (one per school) in remote rural areas in eight governorates in Upper Egypt, and trained teachers in their use. Using these tablets and the internet, teachers can now access the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, Egypt’s largest national education platform. This allows teachers to increase their own knowledge about various topics while assisting their students to enhance their learning using dynamic and engaging educational content. To help the Ministry monitor progress in education in remote schools, WFP is supporting the development of a customized class-management ‘app’. Once launched, teachers will be trained on how to use tablets to record and track attendance, grades, and the daily distribution of WFP’s nutritious midday snack at schools.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


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Next issue: 10th May 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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