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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. 279 – 10th May 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


Free travel passes to enable young people to discover Europe

4 May 2019 - Thanks to backing by MEPs, 30,000 18-year-olds enjoyed the chance to travel in the EU for free in 2018. An additional 20,000 will now also be able to benefit from the Discover EU initiative, which was first proposed during Parliament's European Youth Event (EYE) in 2014. About 20,000 people will enjoy the chance to travel Europe by rail between 1 August 2019 and 31 January 2020. Any European citizen born between 2 July 2000 and 1 July 2001 can apply for tickets online from noon CET on 2 May until noon on 16 May.


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


Three more States to ratify the Second Protocol to Hague Convention to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts

30 April 2019 - During the high-level conference “Protecting Cultural Property, International Conference on the 20th anniversary of the  1999 Second Protocol the 1954 Hague Convention,” representatives of Iraq, Lebanon and Somalia announced their intention to ratify the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, thus joining the protocol’s current 82 States Parties. This Conference was a major international event organized by UNESCO, with the support of the Government of Switzerland, in Geneva (Switzerland), from 25 and 26 April 2019. More than 270 participants engaged in the deliberations surrounding the successes, challenges and future of the 1999 Second Protocol, with over 60 States, 40 international governmental and non-governmental organizations and 20 academic institutions represented.



Monaco ratified the Council of Europe Convention on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime and on the financing of terrorism

23 April 2019 – The Council of Europe decided to update and widen its 1990 Convention to take into account the fact that not only could terrorism be financed through money laundering from criminal activity, but also through legitimate activities. This new Convention is the first international treaty covering both the prevention and the control of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The text addresses the fact that quick access to financial information or information on assets held by criminal organisations, including terrorist groups, is the key to successful preventive and repressive measures, and, ultimately, is the best way to stop them. The Convention includes a mechanism to ensure the proper implementation by Parties of its provisions.


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


Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/615 of 15 April 2019 on Union support for activities leading up to the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

16 April 2019 – The Council of the European Union (…) has adopted this decision:

Article 1

1.   For the purpose of giving immediate and practical application to elements of the 2003 EU Strategy against WMD, the Union shall support activities aimed at upholding and preserving the integrity of the NPT, through a balanced focus on the three equally important and mutually reinforcing pillars of the NPT: disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. (…)


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and  number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


Agreement establishing The Eu-Lac International Foundation

10 April 2019 – The Parties to this Agreement (…) have agreed as follows:

Article 1 - Object

1.   The EU-LAC International Foundation, (‘the Foundation’ or ‘the EU-LAC Foundation’), is established by this Agreement.

2.   This Agreement sets out the Foundation's objectives and establishes the general rules and guidelines regulating its activities, structure and functioning.

Article 2 - Nature and Headquarters

1.   The EU-LAC Foundation is an international organisation of intergovernmental nature, established under public international law. It focuses on the strengthening of the bi-regional partnership between the EU and the EU Member States and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

2.   The EU-LAC Foundation shall have its headquarters in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany. (…)


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/538 of 1 April 2019 in support of activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

2 April 2019 - The Council of the European Union (…) has adopted this decision:

Article 1

1.   For the purpose of giving immediate and practical application to some elements of the EU Strategy, the Union shall support activities of the OPCW, with the following objectives:

—  to enhance the capacities of States Parties in fulfilling their obligations under the CWC;

—    to enhance the preparedness of States Parties to prevent and respond to attacks involving toxic chemicals;

—    to enhance international cooperation in the field of chemical activities;

—    to support the ability of the OPCW to adapt to developments in the field of science and technology;

—    to enhance the capacity of the OPCW to address the threat of chemical weapons use;

—    to promote universality by encouraging States not Parties to join the CWC. (…)


News related with SDGs number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and number 17-Partnerships for the Goals



Human rights


Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue: Geneva Centre announces strategic partnerships with civil society organizations and national human rights commissions in Azerbaijan

3 May 2019 - The aim of these meetings was to enhance the Centre’s collaboration with civil society organizations and national human rights commissions in Azerbaijan in the field of interfaith dialogue and the promotion of mutual understanding and cooperative relations between societies in the Global North and the Global South.  The World Conference had been a timely opportunity to promote intercultural and inter-faith dialogue among international experts, opinion makers, religious, lay and government leaders in times when religion has been considered as a source of division. In light of this discussion, the participants highlighted the need to capitalize on the momentum of the World Conference and to examine inventive ways to carry the process forward to harness the collective energy of religions, creeds and value systems in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights. The participants agreed that with the rise of populism in advanced societies and violent extremism in the MENA region, the promotion of religious tolerance and peaceful cooperation between world societies is needed more than ever.


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


Protecting the rights of minorities in Iraq

by Sara Hamdy

2May 2019 – For minorities to be able to enjoy equal rights and participate in decision-making, an important place to start is providing education in their mother tongue. (…) The humanitarian crisis and instability in Iraq have disproportionately affected Iraq’s most vulnerable people, in particular subjecting minorities more than other ethnic and religious groups in the country. Minorities have been exposed to several influxes of displacement and were targeted especially after the collapse of Saddam regime in 2003. The mass majority of minorities have left their homes, they have been either displaced to safe zones within the country or decided to leave the country and immigrate. On April 8th-9th, 2019, a two-day workshop entitled, “Inclusive education and rights of linguistic minorities” took place at the Erbil International hotel in Erbil, Iraq. The workshop was coordinated by the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies (HL-senteret) - in cooperation with Norweigan People’s Aid (NPA) and our partner organisation Alliance of Iraqi Minorities (AIM). The purpose of the workshop was to bring together a variety of Civil Society organizations, international scholars, local experts, representatives of linguistic minorities, and from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of education to learn about and identify opportunities for supporting the minorities on that issue(…)


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


2019 World Press Freedom Day: Journalism in times of disinformation

30 April 2019 - The relationship between the press and democracy will be the main theme of this year’s edition of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) jointly organized by UNESCO, the Ethiopian government and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), from 1 to 3 May. More than one hundred events will also take place around the world in observance of the day. How can journalism rise above emotional content and fake news during an election? What should be done to counter speeches demeaning journalists? To what extent should electoral regulations be applied to the internet? This year’s World Press Freedom Day, whose theme is “Media for Democracy, Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”, will be the occasion to reflect on these current issues.



Gambia: High Level Conference on safeguarding Human Rights in the Gambia Underway

by Awa B. Bah

30 April 2019 - Article 19 on Monday 29th April 2019 commenced a half day high level conference and training of the National Assembly Select Committee members on human rights and constitutional matters at a hotel in Senegambia. The event was held in partnership with the Institute for Human Rights and Development In Africa (IHRDA) with the financial support from the European union. Article 19 is implementing a two years project aimed at strengthening human rights standards in the Gambia. A key component of the project is to support the setting up and functioning of a parliamentary select committee on human rights and constitutional matters. In late 2018, the National Assembly of the Gambia set up the said committee with inclusive membership from the different political parties represented in the national assembly.



2019 World Press Freedom Day: Journalism in times of disinformation

30 April 2019 - The relationship between the press and democracy will be the main theme of this year’s edition of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) jointly organized by UNESCO, the Ethiopian government and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), from 1 to 3 May. More than one hundred events will also take place around the world in observance of the day. How can journalism rise above emotional content and fake news during an election? What should be done to counter speeches demeaning journalists? To what extent should electoral regulations be applied to the internet? This year’s World Press Freedom Day, whose theme is “Media for Democracy, Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”, will be the occasion to reflect on these current issues.




Economy and development


St. Petersburg - Arbor Day Foundation recognizes Duke Energy Florida ss Tree Line USA Utility for 13th consecutive year

3 May 2019- For the 13th consecutive year, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Duke Energy Florida as a Tree Line USA utility, highlighting its efforts in tree care. The Tree Line USA Program demonstrates how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens by highlighting best management practices in public and private utility arboriculture. Trees and vegetation are part of Florida’s natural landscape, but they are also one of the leading causes of power outages for utilities. In order to keep electricity reliable, Duke Energy has a responsibility to protect the lines that deliver power to homes and businesses across the region. Tree Line USA evaluates applicants based on several criteria including adherence to industry best practices for tree care, training of employees and contractors, implementation of public education and tree planting projects, and participation in annual Arbor Day events. For the last two years, Duke Energy Florida, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program, provided nearly 6,000 trees in 1-gallon pots to customers – for free – in honor of Florida Arbor Day in January.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


The capital difference: Expanding horticulture in Rwanda

2May 2019 – Including smallholder farmers in Rwanda in the production and export of cash crops is vital to increasing their incomes and ultimately to reducing rural poverty. The IFAD-supported Project for Rural Income through Exports (PRICE) is facilitating access to financial services so smallholder horticulture farmers can expand production and business activities, and ultimately increase their financial returns. A recent IFAD impact assessment of PRICE provides compelling evidence of the viability of this approach to rural development. The project supported horticulture farmers in developing the business plans they needed to access loans from Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), Micro-financial institutions (MFIs) and commercial banks, along with performance–based grants matching the loan amount from the project. Closing the gap in access to investment capital is particularly important in Rwanda, where less than three per cent of farmers had access to adequate rural financial services prior to this project. The impact assessment of PRICE found that the horticulture-finance component of the project was largely successful. Farmers used their increased capital to hire additional farm workers and acquire post-harvest equipment and infrastructure, thus increasing their harvests and sales by 400 per cent and 500 per cent respectively. The project achieved such high impact on horticulture farmers in rural areas due to its focus on seasonal horticulture crops, which are highly profitable because they can be harvested at least twice a year (…)


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


Racine - SC Johnson Turkey Named Best Workplace for Third Consecutive Year

1 May 2019 - SC Johnson Turkey has been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Turkey by Great Place to Work® for the third consecutive year. The Turkey organization earned the No. 3 spot among mid-sized companies on the annual Best Workplace list of companies in Turkey with 50-250 employees. The Turkey team joins SC Johnson Central America, Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Canada on the 2019 list of Best Workplaces. Their awards and placement in the rankings are determined by the results of an employee opinion survey and information provided about company culture, programs and policies. The Turkey organization was recognized for its overall culture and high level of engagement. In the United States, SC Johnson has been included 30 times in Working Mother magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” for its programs and benefits that support working parents including paid family leave, schedule flexibility and advancement of women. The company also received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index in 2019. This honor marks the 14th time the company has earned a perfect score and its 17th year of recognition on the workplace equality list.


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


Morgan Stanley expands partnership with KaBOOM! through a new grant, creating additional innovative play spaces for children in 21 cities

30 April 2019 - Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced a new grant to KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play needed to thrive. The two-year Morgan Stanley Foundation grant is a continuation of Morgan Stanley’s long-standing partnership with KaBOOM!, which has already led to the creation of 20 playgrounds, serving more than 9,500 kids around the country. With this new grant, Morgan Stanley volunteers and KaBOOM! partners will work together to create 21 new play spaces for children. Five of these play spaces will be physical playgrounds built in cities across the United States. The remaining 16 will be creative play grants for Imagination Playgrounds and Rigamajig units, which allow for year-round activity in areas with limited space or inclement weather. Where space is limited, creative play products allow for play to take place in the classroom, gymnasium, recreation centers, and beyond. Imagination Playground and Rigamajic encourage free play, creativity, communication and collaboration. Imagination Playground is an innovative play system that encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam shapes, Imagination Playground provides a changing array of elements that allow kids to create a playspace that is constantly built and re-built by their imagination. Rigamajig is a large-scale building kit filled with wooden plants, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope that enhances STE(A)M learning and allows children to actively play and create. Rigamajig allows children to develop language, communication and problem-solving skills that are key to cognitive development.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


Food & Agriculture. Improving the lives of millions of mothers and children

by Friday Phiri

26 April 2019 - A group of farmers attend a field day on diversification for improved productivity and nutrition. Experts have recognised the agricultural sector’s special role in mitigating child and maternal under-nutrition in vulnerable groups through the increased availability of diversified diets.  It is slightly after 3pm on a hot Wednesday afternoon in Chipata district, eastern Zambia, and a group of women are gathering for a meeting. It is Elizabeth Tembo’s turn to stand amongst the other mothers like herself and share key lessons on nutrition.It is a subject she learnt about from a project implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and their partners.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger




New funding for WFP's operation in Yemen from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Arab Emirates

7 May 2019, Rome – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$240 million contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to support the food needs of vulnerable people in Yemen. In the Holy month of Ramadan, Yemen is facing critical shortages of food. The generous contribution will greatly help Yemenis follow their practices and traditions during this important time. WFP plans to use this contribution to provide millions of families with monthly food rations of flour, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. In urban areas where the markets are still functioning, families will be given vouchers to purchase these rations through local traders, supporting the local economy as well US$10 million of the contribution will go towards WFP’s nutrition programme, which treats and prevents malnutrition among women and children. The volatile situation in Yemen keeps millions of people trapped in a crippling cycle of food insecurity. Over 20 million people are hungry, struggling to support their families amid fighting, the collapse of the economy and struggling health services. WFP is scaling up to feed 12 million of the most vulnerable people, while accelerating programmes that enable people to rebuild their livelihoods so that Yemen can begin to recover.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Italy responds to emergency needs in Zimbabwe

6 May 2019, Harare – The Italian Government has contributed €250,000 to respond to the needs of communities affected by Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe. The contribution, provided to the World Food Programme (WFP), will support immediate food needs in the worst-affected areas of the country. An estimated 250,000 people in seven districts of Zimbabwe were directly affected by Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Zimbabwe on 15 March 2019, severely disrupting livelihoods and intensifying existing critical food security needs. The contribution by the Government of Italy comes at a time when WFP is starting a three-month programme of general food distributions to cyclone-affected populations in May, targeting 220,000 people across five districts: Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera, Mutare and Bikita.



It's time for a new era of humanitarian aid

by Helen James

1 May 2019 - Start Network has today launched a new charity, which is aiming to catalyse a new era of humanitarian aid because its members believe that the global humanitarian system needs urgent reform to meet the challenges posed by today’s crises. The new charity aims to transform humanitarian response through innovation, fast funding, early action, and localisation, tackling what it believes are the biggest systemic problems the sector faces. Problems including slow and reactive funding, centralised decision-making, and an aversion to change, means that people affected by crises around the world, do not receive the best help fast enough, and needless suffering results. Until today Start Network has been a consortium hosted by Save the Children UK, since it first was established in 2010. In that time, it has developed impactful programmes with a sophisticated and proven approach, and a compelling vision for the future of humanitarian response. Its impact so far includes:


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


OppenheimerFunds and employees donate more than $15 Million to Nonprofits

29 April 2019- New York /CSRwire/ - OppenheimerFunds, a leading asset manager founded in 1959, with its employees, contributed over $15 million in combined charitable activities. Together they gave $10 million in donations as part of an expanded gift matching program to celebrate the firm’s 60th year and to lend support to a broad spectrum of causes.(…) “For 60 years, OppenheimerFunds has built its business on a strong foundation of client trust, collaboration and tireless investment stewardship. To celebrate this milestone, the firm has shown its gratitude through a number of employee-led philanthropic initiatives in 2019. It gives me great pride to know we will have a lasting impact on important causes for our communities and beyond, today and into the future,” said Art Steinmetz, CEO, OppenheimerFunds. The program (…) offered a six-times (6x) match for all employee donations of up to $6,000 made to qualified charitable organizations. Of the firm’s 2,000 employees, more than 700 participated, a record level of engagement, contributing to 1,200 nonprofits across a full range of social, civic, educational, cultural and health-related causes.(…)



C. N. Hilton Foundation awards more than $25 Million in Grants in the first quarter of 2019
23 April 2019 – The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced today that 10 grants and one program-related investment extension were approved, totaling more than $25 million during the first quarter of 2019. These grants and the program-related investment were awarded to 11 organizations spanning across the Hilton Foundation’s program areas, both in the U.S. and internationally. “We are pleased to award $25 million in grants this quarter to nonprofits doing inspiring and impactful work every day,” shared Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “We are immensely proud to support the work of our grantees and partners working to improve the lives of people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage.”

For more detailed information on our grantmaking, please visit hiltonfoundation.org/grants.




Peace and security


Humanitarian Mine Action increases demining capacity in Morocco

Written by Africom

2May 2019 – U.S. Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, participated in Humanitarian Mine Action activity with members of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces between 1 and 26 April at Unite de Secours et Sauvetage’s Base, Kenitra, Morocco. The HMA program is designed to assist allied and partner countries in reducing landmines and explosives that threaten civilian population, according to the U.S. State Department website. In order to further this effort in Morocco, U.S. Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal technicians and a U.S. Navy corpsman trained alongside the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces for four weeks, instructing their Moroccan partners on proper ordnance disposal techniques and tactical combat casualty care. (…) After the refresher training, the U.S. Marine instructors put their Moroccan Royal Armed Forces counterparts through multiple complex scenarios to test their knowledge of the subject matter and to have the students make decisions in real time. (…)



Breaking stereotypes: empowering women during armed conflicts

2 May 2019 - States and the international community should empower women living through armed conflict to enable them to deal with the realities of the conflict. This call was made by panelists and participants during a discussion on the "Role of Women in Times of Conflict," which was hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and UN Women on 21 March 2019 in Kigali.



GABON Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace  Gabon : the work begins

30 April 2019- Weeks after its election and the official presentation of the new officers to the Resident Representative of Unesco, the National Co-ordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP Gabon) unveiled its roadmap. The different actions to be carried out over the next two years are listed there. Chaired by Vincenzo Fazzino, Resident Representative of Unesco, a meeting was held on April 24 in Libreville between the new PAYNCoP Gabon team and the UN system leaders in the country. Its purpose was to present the latter with the recent road map developed by the pan-African organization coordinated by Jerry Bibang, in order to “gather the opinions and orientations” of the various actors in the field. For PAYNCoP Gabon, it was also a question of reinforcing the partnership with the UN system in Gabon and to allow a better collaboration, especially in the promotion of the culture of peace and non-violence. For the implementation of this roadmap, the National Coordinator of PAYNCoP Gabon has called for the intervention of professionals from various sectors of activity, such as education, higher education, communication, communication and communication. culture and politics(…)


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


Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan 'Blue Helmets' support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

18 April 2019 - A contingent of 530 Ugandan “Blue Helmets” (63 women, 467 men) is playing a crucial role in the United Nations’ efforts to help bring peace and stability to Somalia. They make up the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU, that is tasked with protecting UN compounds in Mogadishu in order to assist the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to carry out their mandate.


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


ICBL Joins London Event on achieving a Mine-Free 2025

9 April 2019 - ICBL-CMC Director Hector Guerra joins the Landmine Contamination and Clearance – Policy and the Way Forward Conference taking place at London Business School (LBS).The (LBS) Wheeler Institute for Business and Development Conference brings together mine action partners from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Humanity & Inclusion UK, The HALO Trust, and Apopo Switzerland, and representaives from the academic world to discuss the human, economic and social impact of landmine contamination, the troubling resurgence of use in Yemen, Syria, Libya and Myanmar, and how new innovations and interventions can help achieve a mine-free 2025.






New York bans brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos

30 April 2019, Albany, NY — Today, legislators approved Senate bill S5343 and Assembly bill A2477B, which ban chlorpyrifos in New York. This is a major victory for children’s health and puts New York on track to become by 2021 the first state in the country to end the use of chlorpyrifos. Hawaiʻi enacted a ban in 2018, though it does not take full effect until the end of 2022. Dozens of studies show that exposure to chlorpyrifos is associated with lower birth weight, reduced IQ, attention disorders, and delayed motor development in infants and children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded in 2016 that all uses of chlorpyrifos are unsafe, but Trump’s EPA refuses to ban the pesticide despite the science. Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate that comes from the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas, is used on foods like apples, citrus, broccoli, corn, and more.vThe following statement is from Tyler Smith, Earthjustice staff scientist: “Today, the New York Legislature decided not to wait on Donald Trump to protect children from a brain-damaging pesticide. We thank Assemblyman Englebright and Senator Kaminsky for their essential leadership.”


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


South Sudan intensifies efforts to control an ongoing measles outbreak

29 April 2019, Juba – To interrupt the transmission of the measles virus, the Ministry of Health for South Sudan, with support from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners, have launched reactive measles campaigns to immunize children in affected locations and provide them with vitamin A supplementation. To date, more than 310 582 children aged 6 months – 15 years have been vaccinated. South Sudan is among the countries experiencing an upsurge of measles cases. Since the beginning of 2019, measles outbreaks have been confirmed in 11 counties and three Protection of Civilian sites (POCs) housing displaced populations, affecting over 908 children and claiming at least seven lives. Measles is a major concern for global health. It is the leading killer among vaccine-preventable diseases. The last measles follow-up campaign was conducted in May 2017 and reached 1 950 955 (84%) of the 2 312 659 targeted children aged 9-59 months. Consequently, a significant number of children were missed by the routine immunization and the last measles follow-up campaign, leading to an accumulation of unvaccinated children and thus increased risk for measles outbreaks. (…)


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


Everyday heroes of polio eradication

24April 2019 – Amidst a poliovirus outbreak in Papua New Guinea, legions of women health workers and leaders are playing a critical role in ensuring children are fully protected from lifelong paralysis.  In the current emergency outbreak response, women have emerged as a strong, reliable, and a decisive group that continue to administer key services in the outbreak response implementation. From medical doctors to surveillance officers to community mobilizers to health workers, women are active and present on all fronts.  World Immunization Week—celebrated in the last week of April— aims to encourage the use of vaccines as one of the safest methods to protect against diseases, including poliovirus. This year’s theme – Protected Together: Vaccines Work! – highlights “heroes” who are ensuring that people of all ages, all across the world are protected through vaccines. Women on the frontlines of the outbreak response in Papua New Guinea are a fitting example who continue to inspire the public health community across the world. (…)


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


Malaria vaccine pilot launched in Malawi

23 April 2019 – WHO welcomes the Government of Malawi’s launch of the world’s first malaria vaccine today in a landmark pilot programme. The country is the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 years of age; Ghana and Kenya will introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks. Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes. Most of these deaths are in Africa, where more than 250 000 children die from the disease every year. Children under 5 are at greatest risk of its life-threatening complications. Worldwide, malaria kills 435 000 people a year, most of them children (…). Thirty years in the making, RTS,S is the first, and to date the only, vaccine that has demonstrated it can significantly reduce malaria in children. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to prevent approximately 4 in 10 malaria cases, including 3 in 10 cases of life-threatening severe malaria. (…)


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


Assisting Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

17April 2019 – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recently began working in Riohacha, in the department of La Guajira, far northern Colombia, to meet the health needs of Venezuelan migrants, Colombians returning from Venezuela, and local people who lack health care. We are also continuing to provide care to Venezuelan migrants in the border areas of Norte de Santander and Arauca, Colombia. In Riohacha, we provide outpatient care in Hospital Nuestra Señora de los Remedias and will soon begin mobile clinics in urban and rural areas around the city, offering primary health care, family planning, mental health care, and information on social services for migrants. “In these first days, we have prioritised providing pregnant women with prenatal care,” said Elsa Soto, MSF project coordinator. “The patients that we have seen are all Venezuelan, and most of those who are pregnant have not received prenatal care before, in their second trimester of pregnancy. This is concerning, because prenatal care is essential to prevent and screen for complications and illnesses.”




Energy and safety



The Climate Action now act the first of many?

by Joel Stromberg

3 May 2019 – Yesterday the US House of Representatives passed the first major climate legislation in nearly a decade. The Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9) prohibits the use of federal funds to advance the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement. The Act also compels the Trump administration to submit to Congress how the United States will achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 level by 2025, within 120 days of its enactment. The targeted reduction levels were the ones President Obama committed to as the US’s nationally determined contributions (NDC) per the provisions of the Paris Agreement. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Biofuels in Canada 2019 report shows strong increase in ethanol consumption

by Meghan Sapp

1 May 2019 – In Canada, Navius Research has released the 2019 edition of the “Biofuels in Canada” report. This report uses public data to catalogue the volume of transportation biofuels consumed in each Canadian province while estimating the impact of biofuel consumption on greenhouse gas emissions and transportation energy costs. Ethanol consumption has increased from roughly 1.700 billion liters in 2010 to 3.047 billion liters in 2017, accounting for 6.6% of the volume of fuel consumption in the gasoline pool. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Bank helps countries and cities transition to the green economy

1 May 2019 – The Green Economy Transition (GET) approach is the Bank's strategy for helping countries where the EBRD works build low carbon and resilient economies. Through the GET approach, the EBRD aims to increase green financing to 40 per cent of its annual business volume by 2020. The EBRD has signed 30 billion in green investments, financed over 1,600 green projects and reduced over 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The initial focus on energy efficiency, built on two decades of experience in financing green investments in countries whose carbon intensity is almost five times higher than the EU average, has been broadened into ever more ambitious renewables projects and the Bank is now expanding into cities, which are the source of most emissions. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production and number 13-Climate Action


Vancouver commits to a carbon reduction strategy aligned with the climate emergency

1 May 2019 – Vancouver has committed to a five-fold increase in its efforts to tackle climate change and align local efforts with international recommendations. (…) Vancouver has identified six big moves' to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from buildings and transportation (the city's largest sources), as well as, sequester carbon through conservation efforts. A set of 53 quick-start actions complement the big moves and allow implementation to begin right away by building on Vancouver's previous actions. (…) Vancouver has decreased emissions from buildings, transportation and solid waste by 19,000 tonnes per year over the past decade. The recommendations approved last night will mean a five-fold increase of emission reductions to an average of 92,000 tonnes per year to achieve the City's 2030 target of limiting warming to 1.5°C. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production and number 13-Climate Action


Science, innovation and entrepreneurship at UN in Kenya (by ENEL Foundation)

30 April 2019 - Enel Foundation contributed to the Second Global session of the UN Science Policy Business Forum (UN SPB) focused on the nexus of science, innovation and entrepreneurship for green solutions and launched in partnership with Yale University a new research on transformative building systems leveraging on large scale renewables and smart grid for sustainable urbanization. The UN SPB Forum 2019 held its sessions at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi from 8 to 10 March 2019 in the lead up to the 4th session of the UN Environment Assembly - the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment - to inform its discussions. The SPB Forum 2019 focused on Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production and number 13-Climate Action



Environment and wildlife


6 Signs of hope for the Ocean

by Kristian Teleki

2 May 2019 – (…) Now, governments and industries are joining forces for ocean solutions. New approaches to the ocean are allowing production and protection to operate together. Here are just a few recent positive developments:

  1. Indonesian Government and Partners Tackle Plastic Pollution (…)
  2. Electric Ferries Help Decarbonize Maritime Transport (…)
  3. A Turning Point for Africa in the Fight Against Illegal Fishing (…)
  4. Indonesia Creates Three Marine Protected Areas Within Coral Triangle (…)
  5. “Blue COP”. There is a growing movement to integrate ocean and climate action. (…)
  6. Heads of Government Unite for the Ocean. A group of world leaders have banded together, forming the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The panel is a group of world leaders dedicated to improving the way we treat the ocean. The panel will catalyze innovations in governance, technology and investment. (…)


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

28 April 2019 - Imagine a world in which practically everyone works in jobs that are helping to transform the global economy, and bring about a world where business can thrive and the needs of the most vulnerable people are met. For the UN, these “green jobs,” play an important role in realising the vision of the future that practically all countries signed up to when they adopted the landmark Paris Agreement in December 2015, an international commitment to combat climate change, and significantly reduce human activity contributing to global warming.  In the build-up to September’s UN Climate Summit, which will aim to inject momentum into the fight against climate change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on world leaders to come with concrete proposals for decent green jobs, declaring “don’t come with a speech, come with a plan.”  UN News got in touch with Moustapha Kamal Gueye, coordinator of the Green Jobs Programme at the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the UN agency dedicated to promoting decent work – to find out more. 


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Russian Caucasus to protect biodiversity during logging operations

22 April 2019 – Since 2017, biodiversity conservation has become obligatory for logging companies according to a Decree of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation. The national legislation was firstly implemented by the Krasnodar, Dagestan, Chechnya, Stavropol, North Ossetia and Rostov regions, and at the end of 2018, also by Adygea, Kalmykia, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria regions with Karachay-Cherkessia being the last Caucasus region to implement the new regulations in February this year.  Overall, 39 regions in Russia have already adopted the government regulation making biodiversity conservation mandatory during commercial logging operations. “(…) The Caucasus is one of the richest parts of Russia in terms of species diversity. Our goal is to conserve and protect the biological diversity and natural resources of this territory, because human activities can seriously impact our ecosystem. The new regulations have been established to protect our natural forest heritage,” says Elena Cherkasova, forest project coordinator at WWF-Russia’s Northern Caucasus Regional Office. In practice, this means that between 2019 and 2028, all forest companies that operate in these regions must follow strict rules to conserve forest biodiversity during commercial logging. As part of the requirements, certain areas in the forest concessions - those that have rich, diverse biodiversity of high conservation value (HCV) – will need to be protected. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


Sida, FAO and ECOWAS join forces to protect West Africa’s forests

9 April 2019, Rome/Accra - The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have joined forces to protect West Africa's forests and help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them. The three institutions will carry out a five-year project aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management, addressing transboundary forest threats, maximising the livelihoods of forest-depended communities, and building climate resilience across 15 countries in West Africa. The project will improve knowledge of forests dynamics, support legal reform, establish and share best community-based forest practices across the region.  Forests and woodlands vital for West Africa's people and biodiversity. Covering about 72 million hectares, West Africa's forests and wetlands are an important source of fuel, food and livelihood for millions of people. Yet, they are exceedingly affected by deforestation and degradation caused by various drivers including unsustainable agricultural expansion and illegal logging.  The loss of forest cover in West Africa was four times higher between 1990-2015 than at global level. The new project will support the implementation of the priorities outlined in the Forest Convergence Plan, including: improving knowledge of forest resources and harmonising legislative frameworks for forest policy. It will develop a regional knowledge portal to improve access to data and share information on best forest management practices; provide legal recommendations and guidelines on forest management; support community groups to implement sustainable forest and land management; and build global capacity and knowledge by South -South cooperation and sharing best forest management practices.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land



Religion and spirituality


Buddhist leaders join interfaith campaign against white nationalist violence

by Lilly Greenblatt

2 May 2019 - Faith leaders are coming together to share a “Prayer for America” following a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. Buddhist leaders have joined other faith leaders across the United States in the #ManyVoicesOnePrayer campaign in response to recent acts of white nationalist violence. The campaign, created by the Jewish action movement Bend the Arc, asks faith leaders across traditions to recite a “Prayer for America” and share it on social media using the hashtag #ManyVoicesOnePrayer.



Italy - Passamano – giving and reusing

30 April 2019 - It’s a shop where no money changes hands. Instead freely donated goods are passed on to those who need them. It’s one of the most recent fruits of the experience of the Diocesan Movement in Ascoli Piceno, in central Italy and has been called the “giving and reusing shop. Here you don’t pay with cash or a credit card, but with a smile and a firm handshake. You go there to donate objects, clothes or appliances – or to receive those that you need. That’s how it works. It is located in the historic centre of Ascoli Piceno, a city in central Italy that is dotted with towers and medieval bell towers made of travertine stone. “Passamano” is the name of the shop. It means “passing from one hand to another.” It grew out of the experience of a branch of the Focolare Movement called the Diocesan Movement. Deeply rooted in six dioceses of central Italy, the Diocesan Movement operates at the service of the local church, promoting an intense life of communion within the ecclesial reality.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


Sri Lankan Buddhist communities across North America hold candlelight vigils for bombing victims

by Lilly Greenblatt

24 April 2019 - After the attacks that killed 320 in Sri Lanka on Sunday, Sri Lankan Buddhist communities across North America are holding candlelight vigils. The attacks were thought to be carried out by Islamist terrorists, targetting Christians. Sri Lanka is a Buddhist-majority country, and there are many Sri Lankan Buddhist centers in the USA and Canada. In Minneapolis, more than 30 people gathered at the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara. The Sri Lankan community also gathered at the Nevada Buddhist Vihara in Las Vegas.  An interfaith vigil will be held in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. A vigil will also be held at the New England Buddhist Vihara & Meditation Center in Grafton this week. In Nova Scotia, Canada, a memorial service will be held Atlantic Buddhist Meditation Centre in Halifax at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Sri Lankan community gathered Sunday at the Manitoba Buddhist Vihara and Cultural Association to pray for victims of the attacks.



Going on Pilgrimage to Italy

by Jim Graves

22 April 2019 - A California priest explains why pilgrimages “help us to gain an appreciation of the treasure we possess in our Catholic heritage.” Going on pilgrimage to Italy to see religious and historic sites can be a helpful aid to participants in growing in their Catholic faith. Fr. Mike Hanifin, pastor of St. Joachim Church in Costa Mesa in the Diocese of Orange, California, has led many groups of pilgrims to Italy, and is well-read on the history of the Church and Italy. I asked him to share some thoughts about some of the sites in Italy most popular to visitors. The painting of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo is one of the Sistine Chapel’s most prominent features. Are there any particular features of this great work of art you’d point out to pilgrims as being special or unique?




Culture and education


UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

3 May 2019 - As a United Nations-baked intercultural forum drew to a close in Baku, Azerbaijan, the participants agreed that the journey to a better world, fuelled by the discussions over the past two days, including the important input by youth, will continue moving forward. At the official closing ceremony of the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, representatives from across the United Nations family of agencies weighed in on what had done well and what could be improved upon, noting that while dialogue within diverse communities may create tension, it also builds understanding.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Geneva Palais Briefing Note: Education for Rohingya children in Bangladesh

3 May 2019 - This week, UNICEF inaugurated the 2,000th learning center in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh.  More than 180,000 children are now learning in the 2,000 UNICEF-supported learning centres, taught by 4,000 teachers who have been trained by UNICEF partners. These children are aged between 4 to 14 years. Following the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children who were forced to flee for their lives from Myanmar to Bangladesh in August 2017, UNICEF’s initial focus was to scale up access to education and to provide safe learning environments. Today, UNICEF is focusing on ensuring quality education for Rohingya children. First, the children of the UNICEF-supported learning centers are now enrolled based on their competency level, whereas previously, they were placed in learning centres according to their age. Second, in January 2019, UNICEF rolled out a new structured learning programme, known as the Learning Competency Framework and Approach (LCFA). This Learning Competency Framework and Approach defines learning competencies that are comparable to those that children would achieve through a formal school curriculum. The learning framework covers the following subjects: English and Burmese language, mathematics, life skills and science across levels 1 to 5.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Youth and local communities at the heart of the rebuilding of Mosul

3 May 2019 - The second Joint Steering Committee for the UNESCO project “Reviving the Spirit of Mosul by Rebuilding its Monumental Landmarks” was convened on Thursday 2 May 2019 in Baghdad. The meeting discussed strategies to ensure consultation and engagement of the local community and youth in the reconstruction process and the return of internally displaced persons to Mosul. A work-plan was presented drawing up plans for the coming years of the project. The following four years will focus on the restoration and historically faithful reconstruction of the Leaning Minaret, the Al-Nouri Mosque and adjacent buildings, as well as the Al Saa and Al Tahira Churches.



Announcing the Global Voices Asia Pacific Citizen Media Summit: join us in Taipei, Taiwan on June 2!

by Georgia Popplewell

1 May 2019 –- We're excited to announce that our Asia teams will be hosting the Global Voices Asia Pacific Citizen Media Summit in Taipei, Taiwan. The event, which includes internal meetings for the GV community and partner organisations, will culminate in a public conference on June 2, 2019. Register for the conference here. The Global Voices Asia-Pacific Summit will bring together journalists, bloggers, digital activists and researchers to share experiences, gain knowledge, and forge new collaborations. The meeting will address new techno-political challenges and their implications for internet rights and activism, digital security and privacy, digital inclusion and development across two themes: “The rise and challenges of digital authoritarianism in the Asia Pacific”, and “Citizens’ response to digital authoritarianism”.The Summit is supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Open Technology Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, and co-hosted by the Chang Fo-Chuan Center for the Study of Human Rights at Soochow University in Taiwan.



Duke Energy awards $3.2 million to innovative education programs as part of its Powerful Communities grant program

1 May 2019 – Duke Energy announced today (4/30) it is awarding $3.2 million in grants to support 131 innovative K-12 education programs across the communities served by the company (…) to close the achievement gap that often separates low-income students from their peers by funding programs that prevent summer reading loss and out-of-school programs. (…) Grants also support energy, engineering and environmental education programs to equip students with the skills needed for successful careers in the energy sector. (…) The grants are part of Duke Energy's new Powerful Communities philanthropic program, which award strategic charitable grants to non-profit organizations working to build powerful communities by bolstering education, developing the future workforce of the energy sector and conserving and protecting our environment.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


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Next issue: 14th June 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, Nazzarena 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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