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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 20th, no. 287 – 14th February 2020


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


“Fighter, not Killer”: promoting International Humanitarian Law through social media in Libya

5 February 2020 – Over the past year, the conflict in Libya has taken an unprecedentedly heavy toll on the civilian population, with distressing levels of violence since the battle over Tripoli in April 2019. Even though International Humanitarian Law (IHL) must be respected by all parties to the conflict, violations such as indiscriminate attacks, targeting of civilians and medical facilities, torture and ill-treatment of detainees are continuously reported, leading Geneva Call to launch a mass social media campaign to raise awareness about the rules of war among all parties to the conflict in Libya. Céline Morgan, Geneva Call’s Operations Coordinator for Libya, contemplates the situation on the ground and recalls: “displaced people have the right to shelter, medical care and humanitarian assistance, which should be provided without delay.” The protection of displaced persons and the prohibition of arbitrary forced displacement are precisely at the core of Geneva Call’s “Fighter not Killer” campaign. Twelve video clips and four posters will be disseminated extensively in targeted areas where the consequences of the clashes are the most preoccupying, with the aim of reaching fighters from all parties and reminding them that all feasible precautionary measures must be taken to spare civilians in times of armed conflict. The campaign is also addressing civilians and encouraging them to promote these norms and advocate for improved protection. This campaign is one of many efforts carried out by Geneva Call to promote IHL in Libya.


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


United Nations – General Assembly – Security Council – Seventy–fourth session –Agenda item 28 – Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its thirteenth session

29 January 2020 –

3. (…) the structure and content of the present report reflect the work carried out by the Commission in implementing relevant recommendations contained in the resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture and the priorities identified in the report of the Commission on its twelfth session. The report also reflects activities that the Commission undertook in implementation of General Assembly resolution 72/276 and Security Council resolution 2413 (2018), in which the Commission was invited to further advance, explore and consider implementation, as appropriate, of the recommendations and options contained in the report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding and sustaining peace (A/72/707-S/2018/43) (…)


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


The Russian Federation ratified the additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism

24 January  2020 – The Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196) makes a number of acts, including taking part in an association or group for the purpose of terrorism, receiving terrorist training, travelling abroad for the purposes of terrorism and financing or organising travel for this purpose, a criminal offence. The Protocol also provides for a network of 24-hour-a-day national contact points facilitating the rapid exchange of information.



General Assembly – Human Rights Council – Working Group on the Right to Development – Twenty-first session – Draft Convention on the Right to Development, with commentaries

20 January 2020 – (…) The States Parties (…) have agreed as follows:

Part I- Article 1 – Object and purpose

The object and purpose of the present Convention is to promote and ensure the full, equal and meaningful enjoyment of the right to development by every human person and all peoples everywhere, and to guarantee its effective operationalization and full implementation at the national and international levels.(…)

Part II-Article 4 – The right to development

1. Every human person and all peoples have the inalienable right to development by virtue of which they are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural, civil and political development that is consistent with and based on all other human rights and fundamental freedoms.

2. Every human person and all peoples have the right to active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom. (…)


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



Human rights


Dutch ruling a victory for Rights of the Poor

(by Amos Toh)

6 February 2020 - Court Orders Government to Stop Use of Welfare Surveillance Program.

A Netherlands court ordered the Dutch government to halt its use of SyRI, an automated program that analyzes a wide range of personal and sensitive data to predict how likely people are to commit tax or benefits fraud. The ruling affirms that individuals who need social security support should be treated as rights-holders whose privacy matters, and not suspects to be constantly surveilled. The Hague District Court made clear that transparency is needed to guard against technology-enabled abuses of privacy and related rights. During the hearing, the government refused to disclose meaningful information about how SyRI uses personal data to draw inferences about possible fraud.


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


Young activists run for Parliament in Authoritarian Azerbaijan

1 February 2020 - In authoritarian Azerbaijan, president Ilham Aliyev retains total control. Corruption is widespread and any formal political opposition is weak following years of persecution and crackdowns on civil society and media. Despite this, there is an increase in political activity prior to the upcoming election on 9 February, thanks to a large number of independent candidates joining the race. Civil Rights Defenders spoke to Turgut Gambar and Samed Rahimili who are both running for parliament for the first time this year. 



Tunisia: civil society mobilises for the adoption of Code for Individual Freedoms

(by Vincent Fargeas)

30 January 2020 - A report published today shows the readiness of most Tunisian political parties to reopen debates on a Code for Individual Freedoms, strengthening civil society organisations’ work to revive efforts for its adoption, just over a year after a bill was submitted in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP). Although some subjects have aroused strong opposition, it is necessary to resume the debates in a progressive and constructive manner. With this in mind, the associations will meet on 30 and 31 January in Tunis to define their roadmap and remobilise journalists, decision-makers, and the general public until the Code is adopted.


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


New generation of young activists lead fight against worsening repression in Asia

30 January 2020 - A wave of youth-led protests across Asia is defying escalating repression and a continent-wide crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today as it published its annual report on human rights in the region. ‘Human Rights in Asia-Pacific: A review of 2019’, which includes a detailed analysis of human rights developments in 25 countries and territories, describes how a new generation of activists are fighting back against brutal crackdowns on dissent, poisonous social media operations and widespread political censorship.


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


United Nations – Seventy–fourth session – Agenda item 70 (a) and 124 – Status of the human rights treaty body system – Report of the Secretary-General

10 January 2020 – In its resolution 68/268, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly, on a biennial basis, a comprehensive report on the status of the human rights treaty body system. The present report is the third report submitted pursuant to that request and to Assembly resolution 73/162 (…) provides information on the progress achieved in implementing resolution 68/268 and identifies remaining challenges and emerging ideas and proposals. The report includes information on the number of reports submitted and reviewed by the Committees of independent experts, the visits undertaken and the individual communications received and reviewed, where applicable, the state of the backlog, both in terms of communications and reporting, capacity-building efforts and the results achieved. It also addresses the situation of the treaty bodies in terms of treaty ratifications, increased reporting and the allocation of meeting time and proposals on measures, including on the basis of information and observations from Member States, to enhance the engagement of all States parties in the dialogue with the treaty bodies. (…)




Economy and development


FRANCE - Schneider Electric Joins the Climate Group EV100 Initiative to Fast-Track Shift of 100% Fleet to Electric Mobility

7 February 2020  Moving forward with its commitment to build a net-zero carbon world, Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, announces its membership with The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative to launch a Green Fleet policy which aims to replace 100% of its car fleet with electric vehicles by 2030.

The future of mobility is electric: demonstrating that a rapid shift is within reach

According to IPCC’s special report, global CO2 emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030 to limit climate change to 1.5°C globally. Electric mobility is key to achieving this future, coupled with decarbonization, decentralization and digitization of energy. With this commitment Schneider Electric wishes to demonstrate that a rapid shift is achievable, while securing driver comfort and costs. By 2030, Schneider Electric will convert 14,000 company cars in over 50 countries to EV. Schneider Electric will also install EV charging infrastructure in its major offices and factories by 2030, with flagship sites showcasing innovative EcoStruxure e-mobility architecture with microgrid technologies, asset management and new energy management systems.

EV100 is a fantastic lever to achieve net-zero CO2 operations by 2030

In 2019, Schneider Electric accelerated its climate strategy, with notably the objective to achieve carbon neutrality in its own ecosystem by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2030 as part of its validated 1.5°C SBT (science-based climate target). By Joining EV100 initiative, led by The Climate Group and bringing together influential businesses, Schneider Electric has committed to accelerate climate action. https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/43583-Schneider-Electric-Joins-the-Climate-Group-EV100-Initiative-to-Fast-Track-Shift-of-100-Fleet-to-Electric-Mobility?tracking_source=rss

News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production  


Restoring livelihoods of pastoralists in Ethiopia's Somali Region

ICRC & ERCS work to reach 25,000 animal owners

6 February 2020 – The Red Cross has launched a program aimed at helping people affected by ethnic violence in Meyumuluka and Qubi districts of Erer Zone in Somali Region, East Ethiopia to have access to veterinary services in a mobile and sustainable manner. The program, being carried out by the ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), in partnership with the Somali Region Livestock Resource and Pastoral Development Bureau, is intended to benefit an estimated 25,000 pastoralist households (150,000 people) living in the two districts. Twenty-eight persons selected within the community in the two districts were provided a three-week intensive training in veterinary service by veterinarians from the stated bureau, as part of the program. Upon completion of the training, each trainee was provided a kit of veterinary equipment and drugs. Two veterinary pharmacies, which will supply medicines in a sustainable manner at reasonable prices, will also be established soon in the main towns of the two districts.Supporting local communities with relevant training, drugs and equipment will have a significant impact on disease control and the health of animals, the major livelihood of the communities, according to Dr. Zelalem Yaecob, a veterinarian working for the ICRC.


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


GAITHERSBURG - Sodexo Honored As One of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

6 February 2020   Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to improving Quality of Life, announced today that it has been included on the 20th annual list of America's Top Corporations for Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs), the only national award honoring corporations for world-class supplier diversity programs that reduce barriers and drive growth for women-owned businesses. As the only national award honoring corporations who choose to integrate policies and programs to enable growth and reduce barriers for women-owned businesses, Sodexo is committed to increasing opportunity in markets – both domestically, and internationally; fueling innovation; and, empowering communities through economic growth and job creation. Sodexo will be honored in front of an audience of more than 1,800 business leaders at the WBENC Summit & Salute taking place March 16-18, 2020 in Nashville, TN. Sodexo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been consistently recognized by external organizations and notable diversity publications. In January, Sodexo was recognized on Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender Equality Index and FORTUNE’S 2019 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


IFAD and EIB launch $125 million project to boost rural incomes and food security in Cambodia

3 February 2020, Phnom Penh– The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the Government of Cambodia and the European Investment Bank (EIB), are launching a US$125 million rural development project today that aims to boost incomes and food security for 200,000 families in Cambodia. In Cambodia, two-thirds of rural families face seasonal food shortages each year. Farmers often lack access to new markets, training and technology, and rural infrastructure is often poor. This leaves rural communities, especially youth, cut-off from business and employment opportunities. The objective of the Sustainable Assets for Agriculture Markets, Business and Trade project (SAAMBAT) project is to improve livelihoods by better connecting rural communities to markets, technical training and employment opportunities. SAAMBAT aims to productively employ at least 4,500 rural youth, develop 500 small and medium businesses and train at 25,000 rural value chain actors to use digital technology. Approximately 650 km of rural roads and 75 market facilities will also be built or rehabilitated.  


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty and number 2-Zero Hunger


World Food Programme and Islamic Development Bank embark on a strategic partnership 

28 January 2020 - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set out a new framework for collaboration in areas of food security, nutrition and innovative investment solutions. WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley and Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the IsDB Group, signed the MoU on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. According to the MoU, the two sides will work to identify co-financing and, alternative financing mechanisms, along with cooperation opportunities for programs and projects in humanitarian and development settings, particularly in the areas of food security, nutrition, agriculture, rural development, and human capital and institutional development.


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





WFP Welcomes China's contribution for food assistance to four countries

10 February 2020, Beijing - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of China have recently signed agreements to provide food assistance to Yemen, Lesotho, Dominican Republic, and the Republic of Congo to respond to their food needs outlined in recent Humanitarian Response Plans. The agreements were signed by WFP’s high-level management and the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA). Established in 2018, CIDCA is China’s new governmental agency that oversees foreign aid. More than 400,000 vulnerable people in the four countries will benefit from China’s contribution, which will allow WFP to procure 6631 metric tons of food to provide critical food rations such as wheat flour, rice, beans, vegetable oil, as well as specialized nutritious food including fortified corn bean flour, Super Cereal and Super Cereal Plus to prevent malnutrition among women and young children.The contribution was made under the framework of the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to support the four countries, which face serious food insecurity challenges. China has provided continual and concrete support to WFP’s humanitarian operations in various countries and regions in recent years, contributing significantly to WFP’s mission of saving lives and changing lives.


News related with SDGs number 2-Zero Hunger


The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund donates $1 million to efforts to combat Desert Locust in East Africa

7 February 2020, Rome - The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) has donated $1 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to combat the worsening Desert Locust upsurge in the Horn of Africa. The Desert Locust is the most dangerous migratory pest in the world and according to FAO's latest update, the recent upsurge presents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.  The FAO Locust Watch warns that South Sudan and Uganda are now at risk and there is also concern about new swarms forming in Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen as locust infestations continue to grow on both sides of the Red Sea. The potential for destruction is enormous.  A locust swarm of one square kilometer can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.  FAO is already working closely with local and national governments and partners, supporting surveillance and control operations and initiating efforts to safeguard livelihoods and assist in the longer-term recovery and resilience of those affected. However, intensive ground and aerial control operations need to be urgently scaled up to detect and reduce the locust numbers before they spread any further. The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) is an innovative Africa-led fund which supports African development initiatives and is uniquely positioned to reinforce the capacities of affected African countries to combat the locust. ASTF has benefited hundreds of thousands of family farmers, women and youth in 41 African countries by supporting a wide variety of projects that help boost rural employment opportunities, increase agricultural production, generate new income streams and build resilience.


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty and number 2-Zero Hunger


Refugee Solidarity Summit 2020

6 February 2020 - The Refugee Solidarity Summit is a convening of grassroots networks, organizations, activists and volunteers working in refugee support, solidarity, advocacy and welcome both in the UK and wider Europe. The event, which took place on January 31st and February 1st, was held to unify and refresh the movement to help refugees arriving in Europe and to move forward with a collective sense of purpose.



OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Solidarity and community: coordination of Catholic bodies to help victims of fires

30 January 2020 - "The unprecedented bushfires that have devastated Australia in the past months were the catalyst for deeper collaboration between Catholic ministries. For this reason, the 'Catholic Emergency Relief Australia' brings together the leadership of key national organisations to support the Catholic Church’s response to emergency events. The founding organizations are: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission". This is what we read in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Bishops’ Conference of Australian bishops. Already in recent weeks, in response to emergencies, the Church had mobilized with various initiatives, such as the commitment carried out by the congregation of San Vincenzo de Paoli and by "Catholic Mission", National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Australia.



Save the Children partners with The Astrid Lindgren Company in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the beloved book Pippi Longstocking

The Number of Girls on the Move at a Record High - Pippi Longstocking Supports Vulnerable but Courageous Group

14 January 2020 -Stockholm — This year marks the 75th anniversary of the first published book about Pippi Longstocking. To commemorate this jubilee, The Astrid Lindgren Company and Save the Children are launching the global campaign “Pippi of Today,” a collaboration to create awareness and raise money for Save the Children’s work for girls on the move. Many companies from all around the world are joining the international campaign “Pippi of Today,” which takes place in the Nordics, USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland among other places. Through limited edition products, events and other initiatives, they are participating to raise money. The money raised during the “Pippi of Today” campaign will go to Save the Children and support girls on the move. 75 years ago, the world’s strongest girl – Pippi Longstocking – came alone to a new town. Today millions of girls are being forced to leave their homes and move, not only to new cities but also to new countries. Girls on the move need to gather all their strength, courage and hope to tackle challenges and find their way to a brighter future. They are the Pippis of Today. (…)




Peace and security


Pocheon, Republic of Korea – International Cities of Peace

(by Fred Arment)

6 February 2020 - Great News! The first City of Peace on the Korean peninsula was established today near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Pocheon. A major celebration was held at City Hall where Mayor Park signed a Proclamation as a crowd of media, dignitaries, and over 100 citizens packed the hall. The Mayor spoke of the City re-envisioning Pocheon as travel destination, a prosperous economic area, and a culture and arts center. I was humbled to speak at the Official Ceremony on the importance of Pocheon as a leading force in making the dream of Reunification of South and North Korea come true in order to benefit citizens of both countries. No doubt, “Citycraft” is at work in this historic peace building effort and progress has already been made. Please congratulate the citizens of Pocheon!


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


Mali: consolidating peace between communities through cultural heritage

6 February 2020 - At the festival of living together, the opening solemnity under the chairmanship of the Minister of Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Lassine Bouaré took place on January 17 and continues until January 22, 2020 in Timbuktu on the site of the monument of the flame of peace in Abaradjou.  The theme of this 4th edition is the “usefulness of heritage for the consolidation of peace”. It is a moment not only for reunion but also for cultural activities in the region of Timbuktu and culture of peace as a whole. It was born under the initiative of Salaha Maïga and funded by Munisma alone in 2016 and is hailed and supported by the authorities and the people of Timbuktu.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


1 February in Tel Aviv: Jews and Arabs for peace

4 February 2020 - About 1,000 people, Jews and Arabs, marched together on February 1 to protest under the following banner: “The Trump-Netanyahu Agreement is a threat to the future of both nations. It is a unilateral agreement that will not bring peace, justice or conflict resolution, but will further spread violence. The plan gives the green light to the government to annex the West Bank, surrender to the dictates of extremist settlers and deny citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Arab Israeli citizens living in Wadi Ara and the triangle. Called by the popular movement Standing Together, a demonstration was held on Saturday, February 1, in Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv. Those who participated held an “emergency march” to demand security for their lives, families and children, as well as negotiations to end the occupation and bring about peace between the two States, Israel.


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


São Tomé and Principe Becomes 108th States Party to CCM

29January 2020 – Congratulations to SãoTomé and Principe on becoming the 108th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions! In ratifying, São Tomé also becomes the 34th country in Africa to join the life-saving treaty. São Tomé is the first country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in 2020, an important milestone as we head towards the treaty's Second Review Conference in Switzerland in November. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs holds the Convention Presidency this year as States Parties and stakeholders call for all states to join the treaty without delay. The Dubrovnik Action Plan, agreed at the First Review Conference in 2014, calls for 130 States Parties by 2020.  São Tomé was one of a handful of early signers to the CCM which had not yet ratified. Thirteen remaining countries have signed but not ratified the life-saving treaty. 


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


Psychosocial support tool reconciles communities & improves employability

9January 2020 – For populations that have experienced trauma or violence, healing is a crucial step toward social and economic stability. Many Colombians have been forced into illicit activities, been victimized by armed conflict, or been affected by gender-based violence. Add to this the more than a million Venezuelan migrants who have entered the country in recent years, and the need for conflict resolution and social inclusion is greater than ever. How does Colombia recover from decades of internal conflict? How does it reconcile communities isolated by underlying mistrust?

DecidoSer: A Psychosocial Tool for Reconciliation

DecidoSer is a methodology for providing psychosocial support. ACDI/VOCA first applied DecidoSer with armed conflict victims from ethnic communities in the Pacific region during our USAID-funded Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program, which concluded in 2016. The methodology later grew into a crosscutting tool, which promotes dialogue, empowerment, trust, and respect, during our current USAID-funded Program of Alliances for Reconciliation in Colombia. DecidoSer workshops focus on building life skills, workforce readiness, emotional intelligence, and reflection on the collective memory to help workshop participants become agents of change for moving Colombian society toward reconciliation. (…)


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





PAHO providing technical cooperation to countries on novel Coronavirus

6 February 2020 - The Pan American Health Organization is working with health ministries in Latin America and the Caribbean to help them prepare to deal with possible importations of cases of novel coronavirus.

In a series of technical cooperation activities, PAHO experts in laboratories, preparedness, epidemiology, clinical management, infection prevention and control, and other areas are supporting public health officials in various countries. In the area of diagnosis, PAHO is providing guidance and reagents to national public health laboratories including National Influenza Centers so they can perform laboratory tests to confirm or discard the presence of novel coronavirus.  Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Ecuador and Surinam have already implemented the 2019 novel coronavirus protocol.


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


UN food agencies offer support to China amid coronavirus outbreak

5 February 2020, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have jointly expressed solidarity with China and offered support to the country as it battles the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Describing the outbreak as a "health challenge for China and the rest of the world," the three Rome-based agencies pledged readiness to provide support, based on their respective areas of expertise, to China's efforts to alleviate the impact of the virus on the population, particularly in rural areas.

FAO is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through its joint FAO/IAEA Division, to assist member countries and research communities in identifying potential animal hosts of this virus.  FAO together with WHO and OIE, under the concept of the One Health approach has been promoting increased awareness of zoonotic (animal-to-human) diseases and devised best practices in combatting them. FAO also has a long history of cooperation with WHO in reducing food-related risk, and in promoting healthy food production and consumption, including through the Codex Alimentarius - a reference-setting compendium of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice which is a vital tool in an age of globalized food trade.


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


South Sudan launches a nationwide campaign to protect 2.5 million children against measles

4 February 2020 - With the aim of vaccinating 2.5 million children against measles, a nationwide vaccination campaign is kicked off today. The campaign is a cooperation between the Ministry of Health, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners.  In addition to the vaccine, the children will also receive vitamin A supplement and deworming tablets. The campaign is essential for children’s health in South Sudan, as the country is still battling an unprecedented measles outbreak with over 4 700 confirmed cases and 26 deaths since January 2019 to date. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect children against this very contagious disease. Vitamin A and deworming are crucial for children’s immune system and ability to fight diseases in addition to prevent blindness.


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


Launch event of the European Human Exposome Network

3 February 2020 - The EU Green Deal calls for a strategy to protect citizens’ health and well-being from pollution and environmental deterioration. The strategy will address air and water quality, dangerous chemicals, industrial emissions, pesticides and endocrine disruptors. In this context, a better understanding of the Human Exposome will enable better disease prevention and health promotion. The European Human Exposome Network combines nine research projects funded under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Human Exposome is the study of how elements we are exposed to via our diet, lifestyle and the environment we live and work in, affect out health. The present event is an opportunity to learn more about the Exposome concept. The event is open to all interested participants and will be a unique opportunity to interact with leading European scientists and policymakers in this area.


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


Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio

22 January 2020, Evanston, Illinois– Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are renewing their longstanding partnership to end polio, announcing a joint commitment of up to $450 million to support the global polio eradication effort. “Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, almost 19 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed,” said John Germ, Past President of Rotary International who leads Rotary’s polio fundraising efforts. To an audience of Rotary volunteer leaders from around the world, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation delivered a video message announcing the extension of a funding partnership forged more than a decade ago. Rotary is committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. This expanded agreement will translate into up to $450 million for polio eradication activities. “The Gates Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary has been vital to fighting polio,” said Mr. Gates in today’s message to Rotary volunteers. “That’s why we’re extending our funding match, so every dollar that Rotary raises is met with two more. I believe that together, we can make eradication a reality.” The funding will help support crucial polio eradication activities such as immunization and disease detection, research, and community mobilization. (…)


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



Energy and safety



Sub-Saharan countries excluding South Africa likely to install 1.2GW of renewable capacity in 2021

By Renewable Energy World Editors

7February 2020 – A new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report indicates that $2.8 billion was spent on renewables projects in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) in 2018 – a regional record and some $600 million more than the previous year. The outlet said that more renewables investment flowing to sub-Saharan African countries than ever before is a testament to how cheaper technology, investor familiarity and subsidy schemes are helping clean energy spread across the continent. (BNEF’s figures for 2019, released on January 16, show investment in the region exceeding $2 billion for the third year. The 2019 total is currently estimated at $2.1 billion, but this may be revised up in due course.) As investors cast a wider net, projects are being built outside of mature markets such as South Africa. Many utility-scale solar projects are being developed in countries that have not built much renewables infrastructure to date. Some 1.2GW of PV are expected to come online in 2021 outside of South Africa – that is more than twice the amount commissioned in 2018. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


EUROPEAN GEOTHERMAL ENERGY COUNCIL – Sustainable Europe Investment Plan: what renewables need for a zero-carbon 2050

4 February 2020 – The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan represents the main investment pillar of the EU Green Deal. It will have to mobilise at least 1 trillion in sustainable investments over the next decade to achieve a climate-neutral economy by 2050. But to do so, as from 2020 only projects consistent with the 2050 targets should benefit. What do renewables need? When it comes to renewable energy industry (and geothermal in particular), the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan should focus on the following key areas:


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


It is time to unlock the potential of hydrogen

(by Charley Rattan)

3 February 2020 – The last decade has seen dramatic growth of more than 16 per cent a year in the global consumption of electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind. (…) But wind and solar are not going to solve the challenge of climate change, because the majority of energy use cannot be switched to electricity. Other solutions are necessary. The favourite option for now seems to be hydrogen, which could help oust hydrocarbons (oil, coal and natural gas) in areas that are beyond the reach of electrification, such as the heating sector or the production of iron and steel. (…)


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


Portuguese consortium developing advanced biofuels from vine and tree trimmings

(by Meghan Sapp)

28 January 2020 – In Portugal, the Lusa news agency reports that the BLC3 association is working to produce advanced biofuels from vine and fruit tree and olive tree waste. More than half a million hectares of land grow these crops around the country, providing sufficient sources of biomass. The drop-in fuel that could also use crop waste as feedstock is expected to act like agricultural diesel. BLC3 – Campus of Technology and Innovation is the country’s online biorefinery and bioeconomy development region with a focus on creating a national circular economy.


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


EUROPEAN COMMISSION – Financing the green transition: The European Green Deal Investment Plan and Just Transition Mechanism

21 January 2020 – The European Union is committed to becoming the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050. (…) The European Green Deal Investment Plan will mobilise EU funding and create an enabling framework to facilitate and stimulate the public and private investments needed for the transition to a climate-neutral, green, competitive and inclusive economy. Complementing other initiatives announced under the Green Deal, the Plan is based on three dimensions:


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action



Environment and wildlife


Largest chlorpyrifos producer to stop selling the brain-damaging pesticide

Yet the Trump administration still refuses a ban

6 February 2020 Seattle, WA — Today, Corteva, Inc. — formerly Dow Chemical — announced it will stop selling the nerve agent pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is linked to brain damage in children. Earthjustice and its clients have led the fight against this pesticide and sued the Trump administration to get a ban. The lawsuit is ongoing. Corteva is the largest producer of chlorpyrifos in the United States. “It’s about time that Corteva stops selling a pesticide that damages children’s brains and poisons farmworkers. Yet the government must take a stand and ban this chemical,” said Marisa Ordonia, senior associate attorney. “There are other chlorpyrifos manufacturers and the pesticide will still be allowed on imported foods. While we are celebrating this victory, we will continue fighting to protect children from chlorpyrifos and other brain-damaging pesticides.”  Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate (OP), a class of chemicals that includes sarin nerve gas. First developed by the Nazis for chemical warfare, OPs were later repurposed for agricultural uses. Chlorpyrifos is just one of many OP pesticides used on strawberries, apples, citrus, broccoli, corn, and more. Residues can be found not just in food, but also in drinking water. Farmworkers and rural families are most exposed, but consumers across the country are at risk, too, given chlorpyrifos widespread use. 


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


Trees in the city – plaudits for sustainable urban forestry trailblazers

4 February 2020, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Arbor Day Foundation today announced the first cities to be recognized under the Tree Cities of the World programme, designed to help create more resilient and sustainable cities. Among the first-movers were capital cities such as Ljubljana, Quito, Paris, Yerevan, major metropolitan areas including New York, San Francisco and Toronto, and a host of smaller centers such as Bradford in the United Kingdom, Thunder Bay in Canada, Tempe, Arizona and Mantova, Italy, where the worldwide initiative was launched in 2018. A total of 59 cities have earned the international designation. More than 100 other cities have pledged to participate - and to meet the five core standards - and are expected to qualify in the future.  In addition to promoting the efficient management of urban tree resources, the Tree Cities of the World programme also aims to create an international network of cities, facilitating the sharing of knowledge and good practices towards the sustainable management of urban forests and green spaces. Sustainable Development Goal 11 calls for making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and more sustainable.  Cities occupy just three percent of the planet's surface, but they are home to nearly 60% of the world's population who consume 75% of natural resources. Anticipated urbanization trends make sustainable land-use planning even more important. Trees, for example, can reduce noise, protect water sources, prevent soil erosion and reduce energy costs for air conditioning and heating. 


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


NOVA SCOTIA – Public Buildings converting to wood heat

4 February 2020 – Replacing imported fossil fuels with a locally sourced renewable resource will create a new market for lower grade forest fibre and reduce the carbon footprint of public buildings. That is why six public buildings have been chosen as the first ones to convert from older, fossil fuel heating systems to new, efficient wood chip heating systems. A tender has been issued to five pre-qualified vendors for the design, construction and operation of modern biomass boilers that use wood chips from private woodlots. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Overfishing of the world’s major tuna stocks going down, bycatch and pollution reduced and 18 new areas protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems established

29 January 2020, Rome - A five-year, $50-million Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded program rolled out by FAO and partners has made remarkable progress in protecting international waters' biodiversity by rendering fishing in these waters less harmful to several marine species, including sea turtles and tuna.  The Common Oceans ABNJ Program focused on areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) - also called international waters - that cover 40% of the earth and comprise nearly 95% of the oceans' volume.Between 2014 to 2019, the number of major tuna stocks experiencing overfishing went down from 13 to five. This means eight fish stocks are now being rebuilt to reach a healthy level. To make this happen, the Common Oceans ABNJ Program brought together scientists and fishery managers to develop sustainable and transparent tuna harvest strategies and processes based on computer simulation exercises. Adjustments to fishing gear - such as placing the gillnets two metres deeper - as well as training in how to protect threatened species have helped save marine mammals, mainly dolphins and sea turtles. Bycatch reduction was also made possible thanks to an uptake in non-entangling and ocean-friendly fish aggregating devices - so-called FADs - that are used to attract fish. To bring down further plastic pollution at sea, studies are ongoing on the use of biodegradable materials for FADs. Between 2014 and 2019, the Program helped to establish and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in 18 new areas - home to deep-sea species such as corals and sponges. This means these areas have been closed to fishing.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water



Religion and spirituality


Super Nuns: the fearless sisters fighting human trafficking

(by Linda Bordoni and Sr. Bernadette Reis)

8 February 2020 - Marking the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on 8 February, Pope Francis meets members of Talitha Kum network and the Galileo Foundation to launch the SUPER NUNS community that aims to raise funds for the sisters engaged in rescuing victims of trafficking and help them restore their lives. Pope Francis has repeatedly shone the spotlight on the scourge of human trafficking and appealed for concrete and concerted action to root out its causes and protect the millions of victims of the modern slave trade. To commemorate the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, the Pope met with members of Talitha Kum, the Galileo Foundation, Edelman and ESPO. Sr Gabriella Bottani, Talitha Kum's international coordinator, explained the new initiative to Pope Francis. Artist Stephen Powers showed the first image that will be used on the platform and asked him to autograph it. The highlight of the private audience happened when Pope Francis activated the "Super Nuns" page on the Patreon platform with a click on the laptop.



Celebration in Abu Dhabi of the 1st anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity

(Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp)

4 February 2020 - To mark the 1st anniversary of the signing of the historic Document on Human Fraternity, an official celebration took place on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. A year to the day that Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar signed the Document on Human Fraternity, religious leaders and many others gathered at the Manarat al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to Celebrate Human Fraternity. The event began with an introduction by the Secretary of the Higher Committee implementing the document, Judge Mohammed Abdel Salam. The Document on Human Fraternity was signed by two great international icons, the Judge began. Now, other voices need to be added to theirs, other collaborators are needed to make the Document real, he said. Nothing will be achieved unless everyone gets involved to defend the right to life and freedom. It was the Pope and the Grand Imam who chose Abu Dhabi as the site for the signing of the Document. A year later, in the same place, he said, the voices of those who embrace human fraternity will be heard.


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


AMERICA/COLOMBIA - At the service of vulnerable people: pastoral challenges on the border between Colombia and Venezuela

31 January 2020: Manifesting the Holy Father's concern for border situations, sharing the Church's charitable activities in favor of the most vulnerable people in that context is the objective of the meeting organized by the Department for the Service of Integral Human Development and the Migrants and Refugees Section at the diocese of Cucuta, border with Venezuela. "Caridad en la frontera" is the theme of the meeting taking place from 30 to 31 January 2020. The Prefect of the Dicastery explains the intention to establish "a platform, an information sharing service, through which to obtain a more unified picture of the Church's charitable action in the context of the emergency, identifying concrete guidelines for future interventions, useful for mitigating the humanitarian impact of the crisis. We have seen that this model, managed to create and consolidate a solidarity network".

The Venezuelan crisis is one of the most serious in recent decades and has reached dramatic levels. According to the latest UNHCR and IOM estimates, the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean is about 4.5 million, of whom over one million in Colombia, 500,000 in Peru and the rest in neighboring countries with Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States of America and Spain. 



Our city, our History, our movement: Chicago Interfaith Fair celebrates 10th Anniversary of UN WIHW

31 January 2020 - On Thursday, February 6, 2020 the Parliament of the World’s Religions is sponsoring the Chicago Interfaith Fair: Our City, Our History, Our Movement in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. Interfaith organizations and communities of faith in the city are coming together for a full day of programming, art, exhibits and information tables.  This event is hosted in partnership with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Faith In Place, OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, Spiritual Playdate, the Niagara Foundation, United for Peace and Justice,  Hyde Park & Kenwood Interfaith Council, the Interreligious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary(IRI), ARISE Chicago, and the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants.



ASIA/PAKISTAN - The celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan comes to an end: a peace commitment in Pakistan

20 January 2020 - With a joint reading of passages from the Holy Bible and the Koran, the closing ceremony of the celebrations commemorating the 800 years since the conversation between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al was held in recent days in Lahore-Kamil, which took place in 1219: the eighth centenary of that historic meeting had wide echo in Pakistan throughout 2019. The closing of the special Jubilee was celebrated in Lahore, in the presence of numerous Christian and Muslim leaders.


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



Culture and education


Organization of Educational Cooperation established to meet SDG4

(By Maged Srour)

6 February 2020 - The Education Relief Foundation (ERF), jointly with the Republic of Djibouti, convened the III ForumBIE 2030 on Balanced and Inclusive Education On January 27-29 2020. This third ForumBIE 2030, with the overall aim to develop strategies for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on inclusive and equitable quality education, concluded with the signing of the Universal Declaration on Balanced and Inclusive Education, which established a new international organization : ‘Organization for Educational Cooperation’.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Right Livelihood award laureates to focus on education at Bangkok Conference

6 February 2020 - More than a dozen Laureates of the Swedish Right Livelihood Award, also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize,’ are set to gather in Bangkok for a conference 20-22 February to discuss how education and activism can be linked closer together to inspire the holistic change needed to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. The Right Livelihood Award seeks to highlight the work of people and organisations that contribute to solving global challenges, such as climate change, ensuring sustainable development and upholding human rights. The conference will be an opportunity for Laureates, who are coming from all over the world and bringing a wide range of expertise, to discuss best practices on sharing their knowledge with the wider public. They will specifically focus on ways academia can be used to educate activists on proven solutions and how activists in return can bring their experience in grassroots organisation to academia. The meetings are also meant to strengthen generational links.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


South African scholar wins inaugural prize for African research on the rules of war

4 February 2020 - Pretoria (ICRC) – South African scholar Dr. Orly Maya Stern was awarded the first-ever International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Africa Prize for best published work by African international scholars and practitioners in 2019 for her book on the increasingly active role women play in war. The prize, launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), seeks to recognize and encourage African international law scholars and practitioners to research and publish more on emerging issues and challenges that the rules of war face on the African continent.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


International Summit on Balanced and Inclusive Education in Djibouti concludes with establishment of new Organisation of Educational Cooperation

3 February 2020 - At the Closing Ceremony of the III ForumBIE 2030, 38 governments, civil society organisations and academic entities became the first to sign the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education (UDBIE). Furthermore, with the objective of achieving the aspirations and commitments contained within the UDBIE, 30 signatories, including governments and civil society organisations, agreed to establish the Organisation of Educational Cooperation (OEC), a new international organisation from the Global South creating platforms and mechanisms of solidarity-based technical and financial cooperation and support for educational reforms. The OEC, whose General Assembly will function on the democratic basis of one country, one vote, ensuring accountability to its Member States which will benefit from its support, will also count civil society and academic organisations as Associate Members with limited rights.

The OEC will be established with a wholly-owned financial subsidiary, accountable to the General Assembly, capable of generating funds ethically and sustainably in support of educational reforms. http://www.ipsnews.net/2020/02/international-summit-balanced-inclusive-education-djibouti-concludes-establishment-new-organisation-educational-cooperation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-summit-balanced-inclusive-education-djibouti-concludes-establishment-new-organisation-educational-cooperation//  

News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Science sets sail: New partnership between UNESCO’s IOC and IMOCA Class signed in Paris

1 February 2020 - A partnership agreement between UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) was signed today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Over the next two years, the two partners will carry out joint projects to support marine scientific research and to raise awareness about the importance of ocean science for the protection of the ocean and the sustainable use of marine resources. The activities will be coordinated by a Joint centre for oceanographic and marine meteorological observing programme support (JCOMMOPS) – a collaboration between the IOC and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – which internationally coordinates about 10,000 in situ ocean observing instruments for the continuous monitoring of the global ocean and the atmosphere above it.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


Beyond the Education Day, let's keep talking about education

(by E. Zadra)

30 January 2020 - On the International Day of Education, UNESCO launched its new meeting point at the United Nations Headquarter in New York. A kiosk was inaugurated by the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, joined by several members of the UN Group of Friends of Education and Lifelong Learning, co-chaired by Argentina, Czech Republic, Kenya, Japan and Norway. Education is critical to achieve the 2030 Agenda. According to UNESCO figures, 258 million children are still out of school and many of those attending school learn poorly as two-thirds of the 411 million children who are deficient in reading and mathematics attend educational establishments.

What better way to convince stakeholders to increase their investment in education than to listen to those who believe that education makes dreams come true?




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Next issue: 6th March 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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