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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. 285 – 13th December 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


UNESCO hosts a session on the “Rule of Law as a key concept in the digital ecosystem” during the Internet Governance Forum

9 December 2019 - UNESCO organized, in collaboration with the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression (CELE), ISOC and Facebook, during the Internet Governance Forum(link is external) a session entitled “Rule of Law as a key concept in the digital ecosystem(link is external)” on 28 November 2019, in Berlin, Germany, that was attended by over 100 people. The workshop highlighted the importance of the digital ecosystem, taking into account the role of judicial operators and the rule of law as key elements of an enabling environment for data governance and safety policies that are aligned with international human rights standards. The debate involved high-level judicial operators from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and other stakeholders concerned with internet governance to address why and how the rule of law is a crucial concept when critical policies related to data governance and safety issues are being designed and implemented.


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


Starvation: Vital Amendment to the Rome Statute Unanimously Passes

6 December 2019 - WPF is thrilled to announce that that Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court has unanimously amended the Rome Statute to include the war-crime of starvation in a non-international armed conflict. Below is a press release from Global Rights Compliance, our partners in the Accountability for Starvation project, reporting on the news from The Hague.  On December 6 The Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court unanimously amended the Rome Statute to include the war-crime of starvation in a non-international armed conflict. Today during the 18th Session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) there was a historic vote on the amendment of the Rome Statute tabled by Switzerland, to include the crime of starvation as a war crime in non-international armed conflicts (NIAC).


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


United Nations – Security Council – Statement by the President of the Security Council

22November 2019 -(…) The “The Security Council reaffirms its strong support for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (“the Convention”) and for the work of the OPCW in accordance with the Convention, and stresses the importance of implementation of the Convention, which bans an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, seeks the complete elimination of chemical weapons and prohibits their use.

“The Security Council emphasises that the universality of the Convention is essential to achieving its object and purpose and to enhancing the security of States parties, as well as to international peace and security; (...)

“The Security Council reaffirms that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a violation of international law and condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons (…)


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


United Nations – General Assembly – Seventy–fourth session – Second Committee – Agenda item 19 (j) – Sustainable development: ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

21 November 2019 – The General Assembly (…),

3. Welcomes the significant progress recorded with regard to several targets of Sustainable Development Goal 7;

4. Strongly encourages Governments and other relevant stakeholders to take actions to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, increase the global share of new and renewable energy, improve the inclusion of developing countries in energy sector cooperation, where relevant, and increase the rate of improvement in energy efficiency for a clean, low-emission, low-carbon

climate-resilient, safe, efficient, modern, affordable and sustainable energy system, (…)

7. Encourages Governments, the United Nations system and relevant stakeholders to leverage the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy, especially in off-grid areas, in order to achieve universal energy access, (…)


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


United Nations – General Assembly – Seventy–fourth session – Second Committee – Agenda item 22 (a) – Eradication of poverty and other development issues: implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018–2027) – Draft Resolution

21 November 2019 -The General Assembly (…),

3. Reaffirms that the objective of the Third Decade is to maintain the momentum generated by the implementation of the Second Decade and to support, in an efficient and coordinated manner, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 11 and its Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 1, and their objective of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first, as well other internationally agreed development goals;

4. Also reaffirms that each country must take primary responsibility for its own sustainable development and that the role of national policies and development strategies for the achievement of sustainable development and poverty eradication cannot be overemphasized, and recognizes that increased effective national efforts should be complemented by concrete, effective and supportive international programmes, measures and policies, (…)


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


Human rights


Nigeria: Womanifesto - What the nigerian women want

(by Udo Jude Ilo)

4 December 2019 - Women's rights are existential. Our future, our life depends on it. A nation that disrespects women will never be able to reach its potential. I am here today because I acknowledge that if anything is going to change in this country, women would have to be the ones driving it. As it has become a tradition for me, permit me to start with an apology. For decades in this country, we (men) have treated you with disrespect. We have abused our privileges, held you down and diminished your importance. We refused to accept the inevitable truth that our world is completely hopeless without you in it. I am sorry for the many times we allowed our ego to cloud our sense of reason and decency. I am sorry for our serial stupidity in refusing to fight for you. I am sorry for the way we have messed up our beloved country.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Nigeria: Human Right Groups empowers girls to be unscripted, unstoppable

(by Esther Onyegbula)

4 December 2019 - As part of its activities to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, with theme: Girl Force : Unscripted, Unstoppable", a nongovernmental organisation, International Centre for Human Rights Non Violence and Safety Awareness (ICHRNVSA) on October 11 organised a one day conference to educate and empower young girls to maximize their potentials. The Speaking at the event which was held at the Ansar ru deen Girls High school Onitiri Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of International Centre for Human Right Non-Violence and Safety Awareness Barr. Ene Unobe said "your rights as children is constitutional. You are of paramount importance. The society can no longer stop you, you do not have to stop yourself with early pregnancy. Do not drop your backpack of books for babies.”


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Germany: young people and educators stand against child labour

Young people and educators join Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to call on politicians to end to child labour.

29 November 2019 – Every child has a right to education

Over two hundred students and educators marched together with Indian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to the Reichstag in Berlin on 27 November to protest against the worldwide exploitation of children. With slogans such as "No jeans from children's hands, end child labour now" and "For every child in every nation: freedom, safety, education" they drew attention to their demands in the centre of the German capital. "We are here to tell the whole world that every child has a right to education," Satyarthi declared. "There is no excuse for child labour. Child labour is a crime".   

GEW supports 100 Million Campaign

Satyarthi initiated the 100 Million Campaign in order to free millions of children worldwide from poverty and exploitation and to give them a future with freedom, security and quality education. Marlis Tepe, the head of Education International affiliate GEW, joined the march and called for companies to be bound by law to exclude child labour from their supply chains. Students from several schools travelled to Berlin to meet Kailash Satyarthi and take part in the march (…)


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


South Africa: The Sixth EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum On Human Rights

28 Nevember 2019 - The sixth EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights took place on Tuesday 26th of November 2019 in Brussels. As Strategic Partners, South Africa and the European Union, share a commitment to democracy, human rights, good governance, tolerance and respect for the rule of law. Our cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels aims to advance progress in these areas inside and outside of our borders. We recognise that increasing our bilateral cooperation and deepening of dialogue with others is crucial for promotion and protection of human rights, as well as defending their universality. South Africa's non-permanent UN Security Council membership and the upcoming Presidency of the African Union (AU) both create an additional window of opportunity for strategic coordination and cooperation in this respect.


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


Meet 16 brave women human rights defenders from Afghanistan -

25 November 2019 - Yasasmin Kaviratne and Samira Hamidi - The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. Amnesty International is working with Woman Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan to their showcase rare, powerful stories. From big cities to most remote and insecure provinces in Afghanistan, 16 WHRDs have shared their stories of success, challenges and hopes for the future. From today on, till December 10, their stories will be published one a day. Their profiles capture only a fraction of what these activists have accomplished and the challenges they have faced.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


UNICEF reiterates support for children's protection in Angola

20 November 2019 - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reiterated on Wednesday, in Luanda, its commitment to assisting the Angolan State and society in the promotion and protection of children’s rights and well-being. The stance of the institution is expressed in a press release issued in the ambit of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child marked on November 20. The UNICEF representative in Angola, Abubacar Sultan, underlined that the current challenges for a child to have access to all essential rights for her survival, protection and development will be overcome only through a national commitment. He also spoke of the importance of establishing strong alliances where responsibilities are split and shared by the government, families and society. Since Angola ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, it has been visible the steps the country has been giving towards the harmonization of the legal framework and policies to secure the rights of the child, Mr. Sultan added.


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities



Economy and development


CHICAGO – United Airlines Pledges Millions of Miles to Non-Profits on Giving Tuesday

7 December 2019 – United Airlines continues its successful Miles on a Mission campaign this Giving Tuesday by pledging to match customer donations up to a total of 10 million MileagePlus® miles to featured Miles on a Mission partners. The campaign is a first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing platform that gives customers a simple, and easy way to donate miles to non-profit organizations and charities in need of air travel. Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy, will kick off a holiday donation drive today in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport by meeting and encouraging MileagePlus members to donate miles to the effort. The inaugural round of Miles on a Mission assisted 12 charity campaigns, which raised more than 11 million MileagePlus miles in just 28 days. MileagePlus members can now visit united.com/donate to make contributions to non-profit organizations in need of air travel.



STAMFORD – USA – The Coca-Cola Foundation, Keep America Beautiful Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Application Opens

4 December 2019 – The Coca-Cola Foundation and national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful® today announced the application period for the 2020 Keep America Beautiful/Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Program is open through Dec. 31. The 2019 Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Program distributed public space recycling bins to 31 organizations, including Keep America Beautiful community-based affiliates as well as government agencies, colleges and universities, and Native American tribal locations in 19 states. It's estimated that one-third of all beverage containers are consumed on the go, which highlights why The Coca-Cola Foundation and Keep America Beautiful are seeking to increase public space recycling accessibility in more locations throughout the country. For the past 13 years, The Coca-Cola Foundation has supported the grant program, which has donated recycling bins to more than 1,000 communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Grant recipients will be chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on their potential to collect the most cans and bottles as well other considerations such as creating new or expanding access to recycling in a community; providing greater numbers of people with exposure or access to collection bins; providing access in environmentally sensitive areas, e.g. along waterways; and the long-term potential of the public space recycling efforts to increase recycling participation in a community. To better prepare an application, refer to The Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Toolkit posted on the Keep America Beautiful website.



MAINE - USA - Vermont University Team Awarded $250,000 Grant to Create Sustainable Food Solution

3 December 2019- The Henry P. Kendall Foundation announced the University of Vermont and Norwich University, and Food Services Provider Sodexo as a 2019 New England Food Vision Prize Award winner -- an effort to encourage college and university campuses in the region to improve the health, sustainability, and vitality of the region’s food system. This marks the second annual round of $250,000 prizes, which invites food service leaders from the region’s 200 college and university campuses to submit bold, collaborative, catalytic ideas to increase the amount of regionally produced food on campus menus. The Foundation announced six teams of winners today representing 16 campuses. The new equipment will allow them to buy and prepare much more locally grown produce than they do currently and sell it to a variety of institutions who don’t have the staff to do the processing themselves. By coordinating higher education and healthcare institutions, the team can also mitigate seasonal demand challenges that are created by campuses alone. The upfront investment provided by the prize funds leads to a sustainable model that provides a stable and predictable demand for processed local food for institutional markets. The New England Food Vision Prize is designed to accelerate progress towards the New England Food Vision, a bold vision that calls for our region to produce at least 50% of our food by 2060, while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/43200-Vermont-University-Team-Awarded-250-000-Grant-to-Create-Sustainable-Food-Solution?tracking_source=rss

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


The Oil and Gas Crisis is not a market problem. It’s a leadership problem

(by Andrea Petrone)

27 November 2019 – Fall. Doom. Decline. The words used to describe the current situation of the Oil and Gas industry are many. None of them inspire hope. With this in mind, last week I attended Adipec in Abu Dhabi with no much expectations to hear something different than “we need to sit tight and let the storm pass”. Although some companies still dangerously think in this way, I was surprised by the fact that a large number of companies have finally realized there is no time to sit and wait. There is a pressing demand and increased commitment to change. Such a shift in the way of thinking is new in the industry. It’s not just refreshing, it’s the best possible answer to stop the descent. The challenges are still many, and they don’t have a quick-fix solution. But there is a common factor that can make things happen: better leadership. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 





Do - good December

5 December 2019 - The two most common things that happen during the December holidays, is one, lots of traveling, and second, it is the time when most people are most generous. One of the top travel trends of 2019 according to a report by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is that most travelers are traveling ‘to change’, live like a local, in a quest for authenticity and transformation. It is in this line of thinking that some people choose to travel to volunteer. Giving their time, skills, and energy to an issue or cause to help make a difference in communities around the world as part of their vacation package. Which is popularly known as voluntourism. While there are those that travel for the sole purpose of volunteering and everything else is a bonus.



Donors pledge US$1.2 billion funding to UNHCR for refugee protection and humanitarian programmes

5 December 2019 - At an annual pledging conference in Geneva today, donor governments pledged US$1.2 billion to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to provide humanitarian assistance and safeguard the rights of tens of millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people in 2020 and beyond. The pledges include an initial US$884.4 million for 2020 to provide refugees and internally displaced people with shelter, food, clean water and sanitation, healthcare, education and legal protection, and to assist stateless people with obtaining a nationality. This amounts to around 9% of the US$ 8.7 billion UNHCR estimates is needed for its programmes next year. In addition, some US$310 million has been pledged towards multi-year programming, a demonstration of trust in the organization that allows UNHCR to be more efficient and effective in its long-term planning and support partnership in a more sustainable way.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty


United States contributes US$4.5 million to combat acute food insecurity in Malawi

26 November 2019, Lilongwe - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a generous and timely contribution of US$4.5 million from the Government of the United States that will support 217,000 people facing severe hunger in Malawi during a region-wide food crisis. The funds, provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will enable WFP to provide assistance in the form of cash-based transfers in Chikwawa and Phalombe districts of the Southern Region, Dedza district in the Central Region, and Karonga district in the Northern Region, which are among the country’s most food insecure. Over 1 million Malawians need assistance through March next year, part of the record 45 million people who will be severely hungry across the 16-nation Southern African Development Community at the height of the current lean season. Prolonged dry spells and flooding from Cyclone Idai in March adversely impacted crops during the growing season in fragile areas of Malawi ahead of last April’s harvest. Rising prices of maize, the staple, are compounding the challenge of access to food for the most at-risk families. The United States is one of the largest donors to WFP’s humanitarian and development programmes in Malawi, contributing over US$28 million in 2018 and 2019.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


Bahamas: ADRA donates 4,000 backpacks to Grand Bahama

(by Shavonne Sherman)

20 November 2019, Freeport, Grand Bahama  – On Monday, November 11, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) donated 4,000 backpacks for primary to high school-aged children from the Bahamian islands of the Grand Bahama and Great Abaco, which are still reeling from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.  Each child, who has been in school since September, received a backpack complete with much-needed school supplies and educational resources. Within the Grand Bahama district, over 4,100 backpacks have been delivered to the schools, with an excess of 1,400 backpacks to be shipped to Marsh Harbor for distribution by ADRA. Remaining backpacks will be donated to The Bahamas Ministry of Education for additional students in need of school materials throughout the islands. (…) ADRA has also identified that children in the Bahamas also need nutritional breakfast meals and access to clean water. For eight weeks, students at five public schools received breakfast meals sponsored by ADRA.



WFP welcomes support from the Kingdom of Netherlands to support refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar

18 November 2019, Dhaka – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes an additional contribution of Euro €3.9 million from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to support the organization’s work for the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. This contribution will help camp residents access fish and fresh vegetables through the construction of 20 new fishponds, and vertical vegetable gardens. Another 4,000 women from the host communities will get skills training and incentives to help them become self-sufficient. At present 20,000 women from the host communities are supported by WFP’s livelihood programme.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty



Peace and security


Angola: President’s aide encourages African Union to stick to peaceful conflict resolution

6 December 2019 - The Minister of State and Chief of the Security Affairs of the President of Republic Pedro Sebastião encouraged the African Union (AU), in particular its Peace and Security Council, to keep close coordination with the economic communities and regional mechanisms for the prevention, management and peaceful resolution to conflicts on the continent.


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


Burkina Faso Bishops inaugurate new headquarters for justice and peace

(by Joachim Teigen)

4 December 2019 - Amidst a climate of persecution against Christians, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in Burkina Faso inaugurated their new headquarters; a symbol of the revitalisation hoped for in the struggle for peace in the region.  On 3 December in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the President of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, inaugurated the new headquarters of the Commission, together with his predecessor and the German ambassador to Burkina Faso. Is presence was due to the considerable amount of funding which had come from the German Catholic NGO “Misereor” in the construction of the building, which was solemnly blessed on the occasion.


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


The Restoration Council of Shan State signs Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the protection of children from the effects of armed conflict

26November 2019 – The Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) has committed to prohibiting the use of children in hostilities and to ensuring that children are not recruited by or forcibly associated with armed forces. A party to one of the world’s longest-running civil wars in Shan State, Burma/Myanmar, RCSS/SSA has been working for several years with Geneva Call to plan for the concrete implementation of this Deed of Commitment. General Yawd Serk, Chairman of the RCSS/SSA and Alain Délétroz, General Director of Geneva Call signed the Deed on the 26 November 2019 following final agreement on key implementation points. By signing this Deed of Commitment, RCSS/SSA not only reinforces its policy not to use or recruit children under the age of 18, but it further commits to ensuring the safe release or disassociation of any children who may be found among their ranks now or in the future. Under the Deed of Commitment, RCSS/SSA pledges to protect all children from the effects of military operations and to make the best possible efforts to facilitate the provision of necessary humanitarian aid and care to all children in Shan State.


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


AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Peace dialogue agreements presented, law approved for new elections in 2020

25 November 2019 - La Paz (Agenzia Fides) – On Saturday 23 November, representatives of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, of the United Nations Organization and of the European Union, presented the points of the agreement reached at the end of the dialogue that took place in recent weeks (see Fides, 19; 22/11/2019). The document, sent to Fides, wants to contribute through dialogue to the peace building process focusing on some crucial issues. First of all, the commitment to work through dialogue is reaffirmed, supporting "efforts to prevent and overcome conflicts through dialogue, particularly in the areas of the country most affected by violence". It also intends to provide technical assistance to the Supreme Electoral Court and Departmental Electoral Courts, so that "the electoral process meets the highest national and international standards".






Ebola J&J Vaccination Campaign launched jointly by Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo

8 December 2019 - On 8th of December 2019, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo launched jointly a vaccination campaign for Ebola prevention named Johnson and Johnson Vaccine(J&J). This important event was a big progress in Ebola Disease fighting in a joint cross-border manner between DRC and Rwanda, the first ever cross border vaccination of Ebola Disease Virus. The event took place in Rubavu District, at “La Grande Barriere” border.


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


Measles vaccination drive launched, North Kivu targets 2.2 million children

5 December 2019 – Kinshasa - Around 2.2 million children are to be vaccinated against measles in North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where efforts are underway to curb the world’s second-worst Ebola outbreak amid persistent insecurity. The DRC is also currently experiencing the world’s largest and most severe measles epidemic, affecting all its 26 provinces. Since the start of 2019, more than 250 000 suspected cases and over 5000 deaths mostly among children under 5 years, have been recorded. This drive closes the second phase of a preventive vaccination campaign and will be followed by a third and final phase planned in 10 remaining provinces: Bas Uélé, Equateur, Haut Katanga, Haut Lomami, Haut Uélé, Kasai Oriental, Lualaba, Maniema, Mongala and Tshuapa. This mass follow-up campaign will ultimately reach 18.9 million children across the country by the end of the year, particularly targeting those who may have been missed by routine immunization.


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


More than 9.4 million children vaccinated against typhoid fever in Sindh

4 December 2019 - A historical milestone has been successfully achieved in Pakistan with the vaccination in Sindh Province of more than 9.4 million children aged from 9 months to 15 years against typhoid fever, with a coverage rate of 95%. Pakistan is the first country in the world to introduce the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into its routine immunization programme. This measure will contribute to the control of the extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever outbreak in the province, where more than 11,000 cases have been reported since November 2016.

More than 8,000 skilled vaccinators and health workers, along with 20,000 social mobilisers and more than 2000 supervisors and monitors, including international monitors, participated in the campaign from 18 to 30 November 2019.


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


Fighting polio, one sms at a time!

At 25,747 alerts and counting, the AVADAR app is a pivotal tool in the disease surveillance arsenal.

2 December 2019 – Health workers and community volunteers in remote and security-compromised areas across ten African countries now rely on an SMS-based application to ferret out any possible poliovirus hiding in their midst. The application is called AVADAR, short for “auto-visual AFP detection and reporting”, with AFP referring to acute flaccid paralysis, which is the main visible clinical symptom of poliomyelitis. AVADAR is an SMS-based mobile application used for reporting, monitoring and surveillance of poliovirus. It was developed in 2016 by the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swiss software company Novel-T, to ensure that every case of wild poliovirus is detected. On a weekly basis, the health workers and volunteers in selected hard-to-reach districts use the AVADAR application to report whether they have noticed any child with paralysis of a limb. The districts are selected based on being deemed high risk yet having the sufficient telecommunications infrastructure that allows the health workers and community volunteers to communicate with the investigations team. (…) Health workers and community volunteers use AVADAR to recognize and report cases of acute flaccid paralysis, which is the sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in any part of the body that can be caused by polio, among children younger than 15 years. Acute flaccid paralysis could be caused by other diseases than poliomyelitis. (…)


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


Campaign encourages health workers and youth to have open conversations about HIV

27 November 2019 -  ' Talk to me openly'—the slogan for this year’s World AIDS Day campaign by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNAIDS, UNICEF, the Latin American Network of Young People Living with HIV (J+LAC), and the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP)—seeks to ensure that health professionals talk about HIV with young people, without any form of discrimination, as a way to improve access to prevention and care services. The campaign also aims to sensitize health workers so that more young people including young gay men and other men that have sex with men (MSM) feel welcomed and empowered to seek and obtain the information and support their need for a healthy sex life. It also aims to empower and inform young people, as well as to combat the stigma and discrimination that populations most vulnerable to infection experience in health services, which is one of the main obstacles to accessing care. 


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities



Energy and safety


North Seas Energy Ministers reinforce cooperation on offshore wind

6 December 2019 – Energy Ministers from North Seas countries met today (12/4) in Brussels and agreed their 2020 Work Programme on offshore wind deployment as a means of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. The 10 North Seas Energy Cooperation countries - Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK - agreed at their Ministerial meeting in Esbjerg in June 2019 to broaden the scope of their cooperation.  Their 2020 Work Programme now elaborates what they intend to do together on maritime spatial planning, electricity grids and developing hybrid and joint offshore wind farms. (…)


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


This Startup wants to put geothermal panels in underground garages and tunnels

(by Chanan Bos)

2 December 2019 – This startup’s idea is to place heat absorbing panels in underground parking lots and underground subway and metro tunnels. Place panels on all the walls that can absorb it and you can use that energy to either heat, or if used in reverse, to passively cool a building. One of these panels could potentially produce up to 250 kwh of energy in the form of heat, and each panel only costs a mere €150. The technology can reduce emissions of a building by up to 85% per KWh. (…) While the original capital investment is higher than when using natural gas, it is much lower than other alternative renewable solutions. Because this technology significantly lowers operating costs, the total price is cheaper than natural gas in the long run. (…)


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


The day rooftop solar met two thirds of South Australia’s total demand

(by Giles Parkinson)

November 29, 2019 – South Australia’s renewable energy transition continues to surprise energy experts, with the latest assessment produced by the Australian Energy Market Operator indicating that the push towards the government target of “net 100 per cent renewables” is accelerating rather than slowing down. The latest South Australia Electricity Report published by AEMO on Thursday shows how far the state has come over the last 10 years: in 2018/19 the contribution of wind and solar combined to provide 52% of the state’s total generation. (…) And in some areas, it is world leading. On November 10, rooftop solar accounted for an astonishing 64 per cent of the state’s “operational demand”, when the combined output from solar panels on homes and small businesses totalled 832MW at 2pm. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


New Zealand may get first bioplastics plant

(by Meghan Sapp)

28 November 2019 – In New Zealand, the Herald newspaper reports that NZ Bio Forestry has been awarded an NZ$380,000 Provincial Growth Fund grant to research whether radiata pine could be an appropriate feedstock for biodegradable bioplastic. The project is meant to be co-located with a new tree processing facility in Marton. Taiwanese technology will be employed to produce polymers from forestry waste that will later be turned into bioplastic. The technology is already at commercial scale in Taiwan.


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


WINDEUROPE – The EU's big goals for offshore wind are achievable – with the right grid investments and spatial planning

27 November 2019 – The EU Commission's big goals for offshore wind - between 230 and 450 GW by 2050 - are achievable provided the right investments in electricity grids and Governments take the right approach to maritime spatial planning. That's the conclusion of a new WindEurope report Our energy, our future' released today (11/26) at Offshore 2019 in Copenhagen. The report is a remit from the Energy Ministers of the 10 North Seas' countries who coordinate their work on offshore wind with each other and the Commission. The report examines where 450 GW of offshore wind could be deployed most cost-effectively around Europe, bearing in mind there is only 20 GW today. 450 GW of offshore wind is part of a European Commission scenario to deliver climate neutrality by 2050. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 



Environment and wildlife


Marine Power Systems receives funding to accelerate combined wave and wind technology

2 December 2019 – Marine Power Systems (MPS) has been awarded £4.3 million by the European Regional Development Fund to accelerate the development of a floating offshore wave and wind technology for energy generation in deep water locations. The ERDF funding — which is part of a £6.2million project under the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership scheme to promote research and innovation — will enable MPS to launch a program of work on the DualSub, which the company launched earlier this year. The announcement comes just weeks after MPS secured investment from the Welsh European Funding Office for £12.8 million to design, build and test a full-scale WaveSub device. WaveSub is a wave energy generation device designed to provide easy operation and maintenance at sea alongside low-cost transportation and installation. Scaleable to over 10 MW, the device is in the final stages of development and testing by MPS ahead of commercial readiness. WaveSub’s high stability in deep water prompted MPS to explore its suitability for use as a platform for wind turbines, particularly in locations where wind speeds are high but water depths make a fixed-base turbine too costly to install (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


EUROPEAN COMMISSION – Going climate-neutral: expert-group recommendations to help energy-intensive industries contribute to the EU's 2050 target

November 29, 2019 – Today (11/28), the Commission publishes recommendations by a group of experts on how to transform the EU's energy-intensive industries so they help reach EU-wide objectives for a circular and climate-neutral economy by 2050. These objectives were put forward in the Commission's A Clean Planet for All strategy in November 2018. The expert group gathers representatives from 11 industries, which make up more than half of the EU industry's energy consumption, such as aluminium, steel and cement. They have developed a policy framework aiming to strike the right balance between Europe's climate ambitions and the need for our industries to remain competitive. Their input will feed into the Commission's future European Green Deal and EU Industrial Strategy. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Biodiversity and wind energy – How stakeholders evaluate the green-green dilemma and what they think about possible solutions

November 27, 2019 – The location and operation of wind energy plants are often in direct conflict with the legal protection of endangered species. The almost unanimous opinion of experts from local and central government authorities, environmental NGOs and expert offices is that the current mechanisms for the protection of bats in wind power projects are insufficient.


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Pressure mounts on governments, as UN calls for immediate and drastic action on climate

26 November 2019 – The UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2019 published today shows that in 2020, countries need to dramatically strengthen their 2030 climate targets and sharply accelerate emission cuts. The report shows that to achieve the 1.5°C goal countries must increase their 2030 climate targets more than fivefold. They also need to cut emissions by about 7.6 per cent per year from 2020 to 2030. This is a massive increase compared to the current trends: over the last five years, the EU has reduced emissions by a meagre 0.25 per cent per year. The report outlines ample opportunities to immediately scale up emission cuts in the G20 countries. For the EU, the list includes stopping investments in fossil-fuel infrastructure, including new natural gas pipelines; a strategy for zero-emission industrial processes; stepping up efforts to phase out coal-fired plants and to retrofit existing buildings. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


WWF launches Plastic Smart Cities initiative in South East Asia with a $40M USD commitment

25November 2019 – Plastic Smart Cities is a WWF initiative bringing together cities and tourism destinations to commit to fight plastic pollution. In just the last 12 months WWF has fundraised $40M USD to work on circular economy projects in cities in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines. An estimated 60% of plastic marine debris derives from urban centers, often carried to the ocean by rivers. While cities will rapidly increase their populace to account for two-thirds of the global population by 2050, they must urgently adopt smart solutions that reduce the collective impact of their prospering communities. This means preventing, minimizing and managing plastic. Many good examples and initiatives are already underway; WWF seeks to accelerate these existing efforts by empowering cities around the world to become Plastic Smart. Through Plastic Smart Cities, WWF is building cities’ capacity to eliminate plastic pollution by 2030. An online knowledge platform with best practices will be launched at the World Urban Forum in February 2020. In the meantime, WWF is calling on Asian cities to sign-up and to start sharing best practices through www.plasticsmartcities.org. Today is the beginning of a long-term campaign to reduce plastic globally through sharing innovative, tried and tested solutions for those on the front line in the fight against plastic pollution. Mayors also call on governments to introduce a global legally binding agreement to stop plastics polluting our oceans. (…)


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities



Religion and spirituality


Symposium on monastic education to mark the 25th Anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang

7 December 2019 - McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India - This morning, under a cloudless blue sky filled with the brilliant sunlight of winter, His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove the short distance from his residence to the nearby Kirti Jepa Dratsang. He was welcomed at the entrance to the monastery by Kirti Rinpoché who escorted him in. The monastery’s open areas were filled by monks, nuns and devoted members of the public. His Holiness stopped briefly to say consecrating prayers before a huge appliqué thangka of Jé Tsongkhapa and his two principal disciples. He walked a little further before pausing to pay attention to young monks from Darjeeling Suke Kirti Monastery debating. Next, he stopped to view an exhibition of books published by Kirti Jepa Dratsang.



ASIA/PAKISTAN - Seminar on Dialogue: "Religious difference adds color to the service of humanity"

6 December 2019 - Multan (Agenzia Fides) - "Diversity is part of the universe. We people of different religions are like a bunch of flowers and planets in the universe. Diversity adds colors to the beauty of the universe. This difference makes life beautiful. A similar difference in religions adds color to the service of humanity". This is what Professor Abdul Majid Watto, professor of Islam said during his participation in recent days at the Seminar on interreligious dialogue organized at the Pastoral Institute of Multan by the Commission for interreligious dialogue and ecumenism of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan. The President of the Commission and Executive Secretary were present, as well as scholars, professors, imams, Muslim and Christian religious leaders. Muslim leaders recalled experiences of daily life in Pakistan, characterized by the kindness and benevolence between the two communities, and spoke of the issue of minority rights.


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


ASIA/PHILIPPINES - "Year of ecumenism and dialogue", to build a better society

5 December 2019 - Manila (Agenzia Fides) - All Filipinos are called to build a better society through fraternal love and interreligious dialogue: this is the appeal issued by Archbishop, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, in the Pastoral Letter published by the Bishops on the occasion of the special "Year of ecumenism, interreligious dialogue and indigenous peoples", launched by the Filipino Catholic Church on 1 December, in preparation for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the advent of Christianity in the country, which is celebrated in 2021.



Pope and Grand Imam propose a World Day of Fraternity to the UN

4 December 2019 - The request was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, by the High Committee for Human Fraternity, established to promote the objectives of the Document on Human Fraternity. In addition to a World Day, the group also proposed a World Summit on Human Fraternity.



EUROPE/SWITZERLAND - The Bishops launch the action of the Starsingers, under the sign of peace

4 December 2019 The initiative of the "Starsingers", promoted annually by the Pontifical Missionary Childhood Society during the Christmas holidays, was officially launched in Switzerland with the visit of two groups of boys and girls from Ticino at the Plenary Assembly of the Swiss Bishops' Conference (CES), on 2 December in Lugano. The children presented their activity, placed this year under the sign of peace with particular attention to Lebanon, and received the blessing of the Bishops.
According to information sent to Agenzia Fides from Missio Switzerland, the two groups from the parishes of San Nicola in Lugano Besso and San Pietro and Paolo in Gravesano, received the blessing of the Bishops, who also blessed the stars and the message of peace that the "Starsingers" of Ticino will present to people during their visits. The Bishops were given a Lamp of peace and a star.
Peace is the theme of the action of the Starsingers 2019-2020, which takes place this year for the first time in collaboration with "Light of Peace Switzerland". On December 15, the Lamp of peace that will be lit in the Nativity grotto in Bethlehem will be broadcast from Basel, Zurich, Lucerne and Freiburg. Every year, thanks to the donations of the Starsingers, about 200 projects for children and young people are co-financed worldwide.



Berkeley Buddhist Monastery writes letter to tree being cut down

(By Lilly Greenblatt)

28 November 2019 - “All beings who have made their home in this tree, please find other lodgings by Monday,” the letter reads.

The Berkeley Buddhist Monastery in California wrote a letter to a hundred-year-old tree in a backyard neighboring their center that was scheduled to be cut down on November 18. The tree, a Douglas Fir, was in poor health with “gangly” limbs that could unexpectedly fall on passersby. The Reverend of Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Heng Sue, knew the tree was going to be cut down, and wrote a letter to the tree and its inhabitants notifying of its removal. The letter was shared by Julia Goerlitz on Facebook, who thanked the center for its “respectful notice to the tree.”




Culture and education


Abu Dhabi Youth Hub opens, UAE Youth Minister talks new challenges and initiatives

6 December 2019 - Against the UAE capital’s skyline of towering, angular buildings, the newly opened Abu Dhabi Youth Hub stands out. It’s a low-rise, undulating architectural space, designed to be a place where mentors, students and employees between 15 and 35 years of age, can meet, work and exchange ideas.

The centre houses a library, a music room and theatre, plus ergonomic meeting rooms to hothouse homegrown business concepts and foster innovation in the UAE’s youth. There’s also a workspace concept called ‘The Incubator’, where aspiring entrepreneurs can brainstorm with established heads of industry, building their startups in the early stages.  This year, the Arab Youth Survey discovered what more than 3,000 Arabs in 15 countries and territories had to say about their future. On the education front, three in four young Arabs are unhappy with the quality of education in their country and more than half want to pursue higher education in the West. In terms of employment, a majority of those surveyed said it was the government’s responsibility to provide jobs, healthcare and housing to citizens.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


10th Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talents ceremony - L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme

28 November 2019 - Each year, the L'Oréal - UNESCO For Women in Science Programme supports more than 275 doctoral and post-doctoral students from all over the world. On 21 November 2019, the 10th Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talent ceremony of this programme was held in Dakar, Senegal. On this occasion, the organizers paid tribute to 20 outstanding young women scientists for the quality of their research. These came from several countries in West, East, Southern and Central Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The issues surrounding fairer representation go far beyond the issues of equality between women and men. Africa, all of us, cannot deprive ourselves of talent.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


The 49th International Roshd Educational Film Festival celebrates the UNESCO night at Felestin Cinema.

27 November 2019 - As part of the 49th International Roshd Educational Film Festival, the UNESCO Night Celebration took place on Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019, at Filastin Cinema, Tehran, Iran. The ceremony started with a speech by Mr. Hassannejad who was in charge of Roshd Film Festival International affairs. He talked about the efforts of the I.R.I to reduce education inequalities and discriminations.


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


Penguin Young Readers announces 10,000 copy book donation to the International Child Art Foundation in celebration of first children’s book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Seed Of Compassion

Donated books will be distributed at the World Children’s Festival in Washington D.C in July 2020

13 November 2019 New York, NY – Penguin Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, will donate 10,000 books to the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), for distribution at the 2020 World Children’s Festival, to be held July 31-August 2 at the National Mall, across from the Smithsonian Castle. The donation will be made in celebration of the upcoming release of The Seed of Compassion, the first book for children by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), a 501(c)(3) charity based in Washington, D.C., seeds the imagination of children, cultivates creativity, and grows empathy through the power of the arts. Their vision aligns with the messages from The Seed of Compassion, in which His Holiness shares lessons of understanding and kindness from his own childhood. (…) In The Seed of Compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama inspires young readers to create a world that embraces all of humanity with an open heart through stories from his youth in Taktser to lessons he learned in his training as a Buddhist monk. Giving readers a glimpse into his journey from a sometimes-naughty child to an internationally recognized spiritual leader, His Holiness encourages children and families to nurture the seed of compassion that lives within them. (…)


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education



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 Next issue: 10th January 2020.


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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