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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. 288 – 6th January 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


The most successful Air Pollution Treaty you’ve never heard of

(by World Resources Institute)

2 March 2020 – (…) The 40-year-old Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air-Pollution (or LRTAP as it is known to development professionals) has enjoyed great, if largely unsung, success in the fight against air pollution and climate change. The Convention also led to cleaner air and healthier forests, soils, and lakes in North America, and prevented 600,000 premature deaths annually in Europe. the 40-year-old Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air-Pollution (or LRTAP as it is known to development professionals) has enjoyed great, if largely unsung, success in the fight against air pollution and climate change. The Convention also led to cleaner air and healthier forests, soils, and lakes in North America, and prevented 600,000 premature deaths annually in Europe. Signed in 1979 by 32 European countries, the United States, and Canada, the agreement initially aimed to tackle acid rain. Over time, it became a model for effective international environmental cooperation, bringing together scientists and policymakers to solve complex transboundary problems. To date, over 51 countries have joined the Convention and a total of 8 protocols or international agreements have been added to address a range of environmental and health problems caused by industrialization, agricultural modernization, and fossil fuel consumption, including ground-level ozone, black carbon, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and particulate matter. These agreements are based on scientific assessment that identifies actions required to improve human health and ecosystems. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Ethiopia: 41 army commanders trained on IHL

26February 2020 – The ICRC has been working with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) to spread knowledge of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) among the various departments of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces for more than three decades. As a guardian and promoter of IHL, the ICRC strives to enhance knowledge and respect of the law among members of the army by providing training and organizing seminars. Considering the involvement of the Ethiopian defense forces in law enforcement operations in the different parts of the country, part of the training is devoted to relevant human rights standards as well. From theory to practice, the ICRC provided a four-day IHL training (from the 16-20 February 2020) to 41 senior army personnel from South Regional Command in Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia (…). IHL is a body of international law which protects people who are not or no longer participating in hostilities and restricts the methods and means of warfare that parties to the conflict can use with the aim of alleviating humanitarian suffering.


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


United Nations – General Assembly – Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization

20 February 2020

1. The Special Committee considered the question of the peaceful settlement of disputes during the general exchange of views (…)

13. Delegations mentioned the importance of supporting States in setting up conciliation mechanisms and in using conciliation to peacefully settle disputes, highlighting the role of the United Nations in that regard (…).


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


United Nations – Economic and Social Council – Commission for Social Development – Fifty-eighth session – Agenda item 3 (a) – Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness

13 February 2020 – The Economic and Social Council (…)

2. Acknowledges the urgent need to accelerate action on all levels and by all stakeholders to fulfil the vision and Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; (…)

11. Invites Member States to develop comprehensive, inter-sectoral national strategies and specific policy interventions to address homelessness, taking into consideration existing frameworks and instruments related to homelessness; (…)

14. Invites Member States to consider adopting labour market policies that strengthen institutions and provide adequate labour protection to all workers, especially the most disadvantaged; (…)

15. Encourages Member States to implement policies that support the full and productive participation of women in the labour market, including women with disabilities, (…)


News related with SDGs number 1-No Poverty


United Nations – Economic and Social Council – Forum on Indigenous Issues – Nineteenth session – Item 4 – Update on the promotion and application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

3 February 2020 – The present report addresses the role of the United Nations system in promoting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It provides an overview of ongoing reforms of the United Nations development system and the new opportunities these provide for indigenous peoples and their issues to be more fully included under the new system. (…)




Human rights


Nigeria: International Women's Day - Fida Tasks Nigerian Govt On Effective Implementation of Women's Rights

(By Halimah Yahaya)

8 March 2020 - Government at all levels should put in place structures that would ensure the effective implementation of women's rights, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has said. The association's call is in commemoration of the International Women's Day (IWD) 2020. The country Vice President/National President, FIDA Nigeria, Rhoda Tyoden, made the call in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday morning. The event which is marked every March 8 is intended to advance the cause of women all over the world. This year's theme of the IWD is "An equal world is an enabled world." while the global campaign slogan is: #EachforEqual.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


International Women’s Day 2020

(by Fortunate Nyambo)

7 March 2020 - Once again, on 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. All over the world, this day is celebrated as a focal point in the movement for women's rights. #EachforEqual

The theme for this year’s celebration is #EachforEqual. A theme that seeks, among other things, to encourage women all over the world to recognise that they can make a difference and bring about gender equality in the world. But then it is also a day when women across the globe come together to celebrate each other’s achievements without regard to divisions of nations, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political barriers.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


International Women’s Day: Gender equality benefits everyone

6 March 2020 - The benefits of gender equality are not just for women and girls, but “for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world”, the chief of UN Women said in her message for International Women’s Day (IWD) at UN Headquarters on Friday, being celebrated in New York, ahead of the official day.

As a “massive year for gender equality”, Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said 2020 was all about “Generation Equality”, in which “we’re mobilizing to realize women’s rights, and to mark 25 years of implementing the Beijing Platform for Action” – the historic and landmark gender equality plan drawn up in the Chinese capital.  Generation Equality is focussing on issues facing women across generations, with young women and girls at the centre.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Leveraging human rights to change the criminal justice system

(By Cynthia Lee)

5 March 2020 - Jasmine Sankofa is working to change U.S. laws that cause unjust harm to incarcerated people of color — especially women.  Sankofa’s experience with law and the criminal justice system was associated with visiting her grandfather in jail — he had cycled in and out of penal institutions for years. As a student activist at UC San Diego, she witnessed the power that lawyers wield when she and other students met with high-ranking University of California administrators to address the school’s lack of student diversity and the hostile campus climate. The meeting was held during the Black Winter of 2010, a reference to several racist events at the time, including the infamous Compton Cookout — a party held by UCSD students, many of them white fraternity members, to mock Black History Month. During those discussions, Sankofa got her first glimpse of lawyers in action.



Nuns, Catholic groups work to blunt the scourge of human trafficking

(by Mark Pattison)

15 February 2020 - Catholic organizations, from women’s religious orders to corporate watchdog groups, are working on many fronts to stem the scourge - and the crime - of human trafficking. The two most common aspects of human trafficking are sex trafficking and forced labor, although some are victimized by both. But two people interviewed by Catholic News Service also warned of the growing prevalence of organ trafficking on the black market; the practice was depicted in the 2002 movie “Dirty Pretty Things.” Women religious have been on the front lines of fighting human trafficking, and over the past decade, united their efforts under the name U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. It is part of a worldwide organization called Talitha Kum, named after Jesus’ instruction to Jairus’s daughter, whom her family believed to be dead: “Little girl, get up.”


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



Economy and development


LOS ANGELES - CBRE Group, inc. named one of the World's most ethical Companies for seventh consecutive year

6 March 2020 – CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE) has been recognized as one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. This is the seventh year in a row CBRE has achieved this recognitionCompanies are assessed based on more than 200 variables related to culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity and initiatives to support a strong supply chain. Earlier this year CBRE was included on Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index, was the top real estate company on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list, and was ranked #13 on Barron’s list of the 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the U.S.

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2019 revenue). Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.



Guinea-Bissau and IFAD partner to build farmers’ resilience to climate change

4 March 2020, Rome – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced support for a new project in Guinea-Bissau to reduce poverty, increase productivity and incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 287,000 small-scale farmers in the face of climate change. Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s least developed countries. Its poverty rate is very high, particularly in rural areas where up to 80% of people live in extreme poverty, mostly working in agriculture. To help the country to address these issues, the financing agreement for the Agricultural Diversification, Integrated Markets, Nutrition and Climate Resilience Project (REDE) was signed. This US$65.7 million project will promote crop diversification to reduce the country’s dependence on a single crop production - rice or cashew. As the project areas have an arid Sahelian climate, climate change mitigation and adaption measures will be introduced, particularly by reducing brush fires and forest clearing, better lowland water management, by increasing organic content of cultivated soils and protecting and generating forests on plateau land. REDE will build the capacity of small-scale farmers - not only in production, but also in storing and processing perishable products. It will promote literacy activities for women and vocational training for young people.


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


Hydroponic greenhouse at the CSSL Women’s Center in Beit Hanoun, Gaza

24 February 2020 – Anera recently built a hydroponic greenhouse to take advantage of the open space on the rooftop of the Cooperative Society for Saving and Lending (CSSL) women’s center in Gaza. They are now growing organic produce like lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, leafy greens and herbs like mint. The hydroponic system allows them to grow food using less water than required by traditional cultivation methods. The hydroponic techniques also avoid the need for pesticides and the pollutants often present in the soil in Gaza. The women operate cooperatives providing catered food to customers and preschoolers. This fresh produce will form the main ingredients in healthy meals the women will prepare in the space’s kitchen for the local community. (…)


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


Mozambique. Urban regeneration and sustainable development

(by Francesco Pistilli)

21 February 2020 - In Maputo with the ngos CESAL, Khandlelo and 33 local organizations, we support the "urban Regeneração" of the Nhamankulo slum led by its inhabitants. Sport, theater, dance and community tourism are the keys factors of this project funded by the European Union.  Rigeneraçao is the EU-funded project to create a “redemption tour” in the artistic neighborhood of Nhlamankuku district, Mozambique to support the development of the community through art. The cultural and artistic heritage of this barrio is showcased thanks to the involvement of citizens and local NGOs, encouraging a new form of tourism.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


In Colombia, project-supported robotics school launches women & girls in science, all the way to NASA

10February 2020 – Women and girls from Colombia’s Pacific Region are showing the world a different side of the once-marginalized area. Two young women who participate in the Escuela de Robótica [School of Robotics] in Quibdó, supported by the ACDI/VOCA-implemented USAID Colombia Program of Alliances for Reconciliation (PAR), have received good news: They have been selected to take part in a program at NASA’s Space Center University in Houston, Texas. At NASA, the young women will train like astronauts and engage in hands-on engineering challenges related to space exploration. Kelly Córdoba García (13; right below) and Yorleidy Parra Torres (14; left below) participate in the Innovation Girls and Empowered Women programs, both offshoots of the School of Robotics, which teaches science and technology as problem-solving tools. (…)


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality





Japan helps WFP provide assistance to people affected by violence in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.)

2 March 2020, Bangui - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of US$1.5 million from the Government of Japan to provide food and nutritional assistance to people affected by the violence in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). The contribution from Japan will enable WFP to buy 785 MT of food that will support 34,000 people for three months.  With nearly half of the country’s population requiring humanitarian assistance, the crisis in C.A.R remains one of the deepest and most acute in the world. Donor attention and support is vital. The Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 estimates that US$ 402 million is needed for humanitarian assistance in 2020. WFP urgently requires US$ 74 million to support over one million people for the next six months.



FAO welcomes European Union contribution of €11 million to fight Desert Locust outbreak

27 February 2020, Brussels/Rome - FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today welcomed an € 11 million contribution from the European Union as the UN agency steps up efforts to fight the Desert Locust upsurge which has now spread from East Africa to the Persian Gulf. This week there was a new development as strong winds brought swarms of Desert Locusts to both sides of the Persian Gulf to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar reaching as far as southwest Iran. FAO has appealed for $138 million in urgent funding to assist the countries that have been impacted. So far only $52 million has been received. FAO's Desert Locust Information Service says the situation will be further exacerbated by new infestations expected in the coming months. Pasture and croplands have already suffered damage in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and there are potentially severe consequences for the region where millions rely on agriculture and livestock rearing for their survival. If favorable weather conditions continue, as expected, needs will grow. Desert Locust monitoring, forecasting and control are at the heart of FAO's mandate. Its Desert Locust Information Service has been in operation for nearly 50 years. FAO's well-established field presence, ability to link up authorities from different countries, and expertise in Desert Locust management make it a key player in responding to upsurges like that currently affecting East Africa and the Red Sea area.


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


EU boosts assistance to drought-affected people in Lesotho

18 February 2020, Maseru – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes the European Union (EU) contribution of €1.5 million in humanitarian support, enabling WFP to expand ongoing emergency drought assistance to an additional 22,100 people on top of the 77,880 people that are already receiving assistance. The EU’s funding comes at a time when over 30% of the population across the country is experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity during the ongoing lean season as a result of drought. The production of maize, the staple food, declined by a whopping 78% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Rural communities have been worst affected, with the vast majority of the country’s more than 500,000 food insecure people living in rural areas. Last year, a national drought emergency was declared, and a flash appeal was made to support of the Government-led Drought Response and Resilience Plan. The flash appeal requires € 74 million to target 261,000 people in 10 districts between November 2019 and April 2020. This assistance ensures that people have access to nutritious, healthy food, while also giving them the choice to buy what they need most at local markets.


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


Querida Amazonia: a road map for Caritas

13February 2020 – Caritas Internationalis receives the post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia, calling it a new “Road Map” for the charitable action of the Church throughout the world. By highlighting the close link between care for creation and care for the human person, the Apostolic Exhortation calls for interconnected collaborative action with populations which are victims of social and economic injustices, making them protagonists of their own resilience. “Caritas share the four great dreams of Pope Francis,” says Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, commenting on the release of Querida Amazonia. Querida Amazonia confirms the action undertaken so far by Caritas and at the same time challenges the whole Caritas Family. The ‘four great dreams’ of Pope Francis set the Road Map for us to follow. Querida Amazonia clearly shows that caring for the environment and caring for the poor are ‘inseparable’ (….)”. For Caritas, first of all, the care for the people passes through proximity, a presence alongside those suffering from poverty, injustice, exclusion and oppression. This is the reason why since 2007, Caritas Brazil has launched a series of actions aiming at strengthening and consolidating its presence in all the states of Northern Brazil (Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Roraima, Rondônia, Tocantins, Pará and Amapá). In all the states of Brazilian Amazon, the work of Caritas is varied and mainly aimed at making local communities the protagonists of their own development. (…) Querida Amazonia has a universal value and will certainly guide the Caritas family when addressing similar situations in other regions of the world. The Apostolic Exhortation is also an invitation to renew our commitment to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ whose fifth anniversary will be celebrated next May. (…)


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities



Peace and security


Justice and Peace 2020 conference: Action for Life on Earth

(by Ellen Teague)

8 March 2020 - '2020 Vision: Action for Life on Earth' is the theme of the 2020 annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN). The 42nd NJPN conference will take place 17-19 July at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Bookings are now open, and all are welcome. NJPN says: "Five years on from Laudato Si' we are learning that ecological conversion is a matter of life and death. Decisions at United Nations summits in 2020 on both climate and biodiversity will be critical for salvaging a viable future. The UN Climate Conference will be hosted by Glasgow in November and the Justice and Peace movement will be lobbying there. Join us in Conference 2020 as we make common cause to face the choices, changes and consequences confronting us."


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land and number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


The Peace Brigades International, Guernica Peace Prize. EDUCATION FOR PEACE

(El Correo)

7 March 2020 - The Peace Brigades International (PBI) will receive this year the Guernica Prize for Peace and Reconciliation, which is awarded as part of the commemorative program of the acts of the bombing of the town by the German Condor Legion. The decision to recognize the work done by this non-governmental organization was made with the majority of the votes of the members of the jury table(...)The jury is composed of representatives of the parties that make up the City Council -Eusko Abertzaleak, PNV and EH Bildu-, as well as the mayor of Pforzheim, a German city twinned with the town hall, the Gernika Gogoratuz Foundation, the House of Culture and the Museum of La Paz of the locality. They announced that the distinction responds “to the outstanding work carried out by the volunteers of the organization and their commitment to the defense of Human Rights.”


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education and number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

(by Chris Offer)

4 March 2020 – I spent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators. The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally. The training is the next step in a growing list of Rotary peace initiatives that I believe are pushing Rotary to a tipping point. Our peace programs will begin rapidly expanding and will change Rotary forever as we go from being advocates for peace to something grander: active and effective peacebuilders.


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


International Day of Conscience 5 ِApril

28 February 2020 - Promoting a Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience

The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." Moreover, article 1 of the Declaration states that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." The task of the United Nations to save future generations from the scourge of war requires transformation towards a culture of peace, which consists of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society. Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the General Assembly declared 5 April the International Day of Conscience.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education, number 15-Life on Land and number 16-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


The ICRC and the Blue Shield signed a Memorandum of Understanding

26February 2020– On 13 February, the ICRC and the Blue Shield have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to commit to work more closely together to ensure the protection of cultural property during armed conflict. Similarly, to the agreement signed in 2016 with UNESCO, the ICRC, represented by Yves Daccord, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Blue Shield, in view of strengthening the future cooperation between the two institutions. The Blue Shield, which was represented by Karl Habsburg (President) and Peter Stone (Vice President), is a non-governmental, non-profit, international organization that works globally to protect cultural heritage in emergency situations. With a growing number of national committees operating across the world and a specific expertise in this field, the Blue Shield network represents an important partner for the ICRC. Acting together and with the continuous support of other actors such as UNESCO, the ICRC will be able to further consolidate activities to promote better protection for cultural property against the devastating effects of armed conflict. (…) The following link refers to the ICRC webpages on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict, including to the 2016 agreement signed with Unesco:



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





Nigeria launches the National Health Workforce Country Profile towards achieving universal health coverage

3 March 2020 - In renewed efforts to strengthen health workforce towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) has successfully launched the 2018 Nigeria Health Workforce Country Profile and officially handed over of the Nigeria Health Workforce Registry. Support for the launch, was made possible with funding from the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Prior to the launch, health sector planning was done based on the outdated 2012 health workforce country profile. The 2018 Nigeria’s Health Workforce Country Profile was therefore updated and validated by the regulatory bodies in August 2019.  The Nigeria Health Workforce Registry serves as a database for accurate and timely evidence-based health workforce information and it links health workers to administrative units and health facilities. The establishment of the Registry demonstrates Nigeria’s significant progress in achieving the Global Strategy for Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 milestone of every country having a registry to track health workforce dynamics and sharing Human Resources for Health data annually through the National Health Workforce Accounts.


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


PAHO/WHO and Mexico strengthen laboratory capacity to detect yellow fever in the Americas

2 March 2020 - Officials from 13 public health laboratories in 11 countries of the Americas are participating this week in a workshop aimed at strengthening their capacities for diagnosis and detection of cases of fever yellow. The workshop was organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) together with the Directorate of Public Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Health of Mexico and its partners.


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


UN releases US$15 million to help vulnerable countries battle the spread of the coronavirus

1 March 2020 - UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock today released US$15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help fund global efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus. The announcement came as the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded the global risk of the coronavirus outbreak to "very high" – its top level of risk assessment. The WHO has said there is still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission is broken. The UN funding has been released to the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It will fund essential activities including monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases, and the operation of national laboratories.


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


Red Cross granted exemption from UN sanctions to provide humanitarian aid in DPRK

24 February 2020 - Pyongyang/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva– The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Socieities (IFRC) has been granted an exemption to United Nations sanctions, imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006) and subsequent resolutions, allowing for the provision of life-saving support to protect people from the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. The potential for an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea poses a threat to millions of people who are already in need of humanitarian assistance. (…) On 11 February, IFRC launched a 32 million Swiss franc global emergency appeal to support National Societies with community-based health activities, access to basic services, and the management of misinformation and stigma. (…) IFRC has had a permanent presence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1995, supporting the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is one of the only organizations with access to communities across the whole country.


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


Four countries in the African region license vaccine in milestone for Ebola prevention

14February 2020 – The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ghana and Zambia have licensed an Ebola vaccine, just 90 days after World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification. Registration of the vaccine is expected in additional countries in the coming weeks. The licensing of the vaccine means that the manufacturer can stockpile and widely distribute this vaccine to African countries at risk of Ebola virus disease outbreaks. Once licensed doses are available, use of the vaccine will not require clinical trial or other research protocols. "The approval of the Ebola vaccine by these countries is another milestone in the fight against this unforgiving disease," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Africa has rallied to cement hard-fought progress to keep its people safe from Ebola." WHO accelerated the licensing and roll-out of the Ebola vaccine by certifying that it met the organization’s standards for quality, safety and efficacy in its fastest vaccine prequalification process ever, announced in November 2019. The speed with which this has been achieved has been made possible by a different approach, where national licensing procedures were done in parallel based on one single scientific review process. Usually, these processes are done one by one, which can take years.


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



Energy and safety



Department of Energy Announces $30 Million for new research on Fusion Energy

6 March 2020 – Today (3/4), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $30 million for new research on fusion energy. This funding will provide $17 million for research focused specifically on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) approaches for prediction of key plasma phenomena, management of facility operations, and accelerated discovery through data science, among other topics. An additional $13 million under a separate funding opportunity will be devoted to fundamental fusion theory research, including computer modelling and simulation, focused on factors affecting the behaviour of hot plasmas confined by magnetic fields in fusion reactors. (…)


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


UNSW pledges to divest from fossil fuels by 2025

6 March 2020 – The University of New South Wales has announced it will divest from fossil fuels by 2025, as part of its net zero emissions goal and in line with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Environmental group 350.org said the commitment was delivered off the back of six years of student-led campaigning UNSW, and as the university – a world leader in solar PV research and development – shifts to zero carbon electricity by the end of this year. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


All public vehicles in New York will be electric ones by 2040

4 March 2020 – In order to attain the objective listed in the "Green New Deal" by 2050, the New York government has decreed that all public vehicles of the city will have to be electric ones by 2040; this includes buses, ferry boats, passenger cars, ambulances, garbage trucks, engineering cars, tow trucks, and other service vehicles. The number of NY public vehicles tops 30,000 now, which is the highest in the U.S. With implementation starting from this year, the policy of the government will call for the employment of 4,000 public electric vehicles, either via replacement or renovation, by 2025. This will enable the city to cut its public vehicle CO2 emissions by 50%. The policy will entail the installation of a large number of public charging stations, which will facilitate the popularization of electric cars in the city significantly. The NY government has also decided to ban the use of fossil fuel and natural gas by all of the new public buildings built after 2040, as well as all fossil-fuel infrastructure, while increasing investments in wind power and PV power.


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


TO-SYN-FUEL project Advisory Board meets in Ravenna, Italy

(by Robin Whitlock)

3 March 2020 – The University of Bologna hosted the second Advisory Board meeting of the Horizon 2020 project TO-SYN-FUEL at the Fondazione Flaminia offices in Ravenna, Italy, on 18th of February 2020, with discussions focussing on the progress of the project, which aims to integrate technologies to produce renewable fuel from biogenic residues. (…) The development process of the technology has shown a high potential in the utilisation of biomass and residues. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


Helsinki searches for sustainable city heating solutions with a new global challenge competition

(by Robin Whitlock)

28 February 2020 – In a drastic turn to eliminate coal as the main source of district heating, The City of Helsinki has launched the Helsinki Energy Challenge – a global one-million-euro competition to find the future of urban heating. Ideas presented in the competition must not rely on fossil fuel or biomass. Helsinki is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2035 and to that end will ban coal from energy production in Finland from 2029. Several cities already have ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions. The City of Helsinki takes things one step further in declaring that it will not rely on biomass-fired heating, making the city’s energy production not just fossil free, but truly sustainable. (…)


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


Motley crew: Rust and light a possible answer to the conundrum of hydrogen fuel production

26 February 2020 - Scientists identify a new and efficient way of producing hydrogen from organic waste solution using a catalyst derived from - of all things – rust. (…) Production of hydrogen fuel is a key goal towards the development of sustainable energy practices, but this process does not have feasible techniques yet. A team of Japanese scientists from Tokyo University of Science, led by Prof Ken-ichi Katsumata, have identified a novel technique of using rust and light to speed up hydrogen production from organic waste solution, a finding that can revolutionize the clean energy industry.


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


Environment and wildlife


EU Climate Law tabled to achieve 2050 target

5 March 2020 – The European Commission has published proposals for a new climate law that includes wide-ranging changes in areas that include energy policy. The European Climate Law sets the 2050 target and the "direction of travel" for all EU policy, and gives predictability for public authorities, businesses and citizens. (…) Every five years, the Commission will consider the latest international and scientific developments as well as existing EU policies, legislation and progress made towards the 2050 objectives, to assess whether the trajectory is still adequate or needs to be updated. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


Dialogue mobilizes over twenty Foundations to build ocean partnerships for the next decade

4 March 2020 - Over twenty of the world’s leading ocean-minded Foundations took part in a two-day dialogue on building partnerships to enhance and drive ocean action into the next Decade. Co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Velux Foundations (Denmark), the international dialogue has triggered a series of outreach initiatives aimed at mobilizing the global philanthropic community around the upcoming UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The United Nations Ocean Decade presents a historic opportunity to reverse the decline in ocean health and achieve the 2030 Agenda by advancing scientific knowledge, fostering technological innovation and building capacity. But to succeed in this transformative endeavour, the international community must engage with the fastest-growing sector in the fields of technological innovation and social transformation, the world of philanthropy.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


Statement on World Wildlife Day - 'Sustaining All Life on Earth'

3 March 2020 – One million animal and plant species are at risk of going extinct if we don't stop destroying the ecosystems on which we depend. Preventing and tackling wildlife and forest crime is essential for "Sustaining all life on Earth," this year's World Wildlife Day theme. On land and under water, nature is under threat because of poaching and over-exploitation. Organized crime and corruption are among the many drivers of biodiversity loss. Addressing them requires targeted action and international cooperation.

Through its Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) works with 31 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, where biodiversity is under severe threat, to help curb trafficking, illegal exploitation of natural resources and corruption. We support governments' efforts to manage these resources sustainably, to the continued benefit of local communities. At the start of this Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to join forces. UNODC is committed to investing its expertise and building alliances to put an end to the illegal exploitation of the natural resources that sustain our planet.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


AMERICAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION: Wind Energy now top source of renewable electricity

2 March 2020 – Wind energy is now the top source of renewable electricity generation in the country according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, surpassing hydroelectric generation in 2019 for the first time in history. Annual wind generation totaled 300 million megawatt hours (MWh) in 2019, exceeding hydroelectric generation by 26 million MWh. (…) U.S. wind farms can power over 32 million homes from close to 60,000 wind turbines spinning across 41 states.


News related with SDGs number 9-Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and number 13-Climate Action



Religion and spirituality


Nipponzan Myohoji: Peace Pagoda Inauguration in Madurai

7 March 2020 - It would be our great pleasure to hold a ceremony of peace and host many of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, adherents of other religions, and peace activists as guests.

“In the dramatic theater of violence that now affects the whole planet we are witnesses in India in these days of acts of repression, by the Modi government and its BJP party, against religious and ethnic minorities who have brought dozens of victims on the streets of the Indian capital,” as our dear friends Chandra and Max from Italy have shared with us. Yet there is a countermovement towards Peace and Reconstruction that is also taking place at the same time. The call is now there for all of us to move towards positive constructive thoughts and actions. As Chandra has said to us, “It is the ideal time to understand and put into practice the teachings of the great masters of Nonviolence (Ahimsa) and allow the various spiritual and political paths to converge towards a single path.”



Israel gifts Ghana sacred Jerusalem stone for national cathedral foundation

6 March 2020 - Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday laid the foundation stone for a national cathedral to be located in the capital Accra. The president was joined by leadership of major Christian congregations, government officials, ambassadors, traditional authorities and a cross-section of citizens at the event. A key talking point about the event was the importation of a stone from Jerusalem which the president dropped into the first digging at the site. Local online portal GhanaWeb reported that the Israeli ambassador Shani Cooper presented the stone to President Akufo-Addo. The stone, according to her, will symbolize the sacredness of the land earmarked for the project as Christians regard Jerusalem to be the most sacred site in the world. She added that Isreal’s involvement in the construction of the Ghana National Cathedral will strengthen ties between the two countries, the report added.



WYD Message 2020: Pope invites youth to take a risk and change the world

(by Lydia O’Kane)

5 March 2020 - Pope Francis in his message for the 2020 diocesan World Youth Day, invites young people to be missionary disciples and to give their passions and dreams free rein. It’s two years until the next World Youth Day, which will take place in the city of Lisbon in 2022 and in that intervening time, Pope Francis is inviting young people to reflect on the themes for the diocesan World Youth Days of 2020 and 2021.



Soka Gakkai International’s president issues 38th annual peace proposal

(by Lilly Greenblatt)

5 March 2020 - Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI), which describes itself as a “worldwide Buddhist network promoting peace, culture, and education,” has issued “Toward Our Shared Future: Constructing an Era of Human Solidarity,” his 38th annual peace proposal. The proposal centers on tackling climate change, offering three commitments toward action against global warming. Ikeda describes addressing climate collapse as “a fundamental challenge, on which the fate of humankind hinges.” He advocates a worldwide commitment to leaving no one behind, taking constructive joint action, and focusing on youth-led climate action. The abolition of nuclear weapons is another main theme of the 2020 proposal, urging that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) be ratified by all 50 states within the year.


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


Finding Hope in Humanitarian Crisis

2 March 2020 - Where do policymakers and humanitarian aid workers find hope if humanity is in crisis? How does personal experience and worldview inform policymaking and relief work? How do aid workers cope with seeing human suffering on a daily basis?  The idea of humanity itself as undergoing a crisis is the starting point of Humanity in Crisis: Ethical and Religious Response to Refugees, a new book authored by Berkley Center Senior Fellow Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J. Hollenbach charts a new ethical and religious framework aimed to inform policy on the current refugee crisis, responsible for seeing the displacement of over 70 million people worldwide. Religion, according to Hollenbach, can play important roles in how people experience and manage the global refugee crisis, as well as humanitarian emergencies more broadly.




Culture and education


The Manifesto 2000. EDUCATION FOR PEACE.

(El Manana)

7 March 2020 - It is clear that in a culture of violence, conflicts are settled through violence, which is nothing other than the lack of capacity to address differences by a culture of peace, dialogue and mutual understanding. Unlike the expression of Benito Juárez during the period of resistance to the French occupation, it is now seen that among individuals and among nations the violation of the rights of others is at the base of the violence that manifests itself in society, in governments and institutions. It is not so much that aggressiveness has been unleashed in human beings, no. Through the means of socialization: family, school, religion, associations, etc., aggressiveness can be channeled in three ways: the destructive path of violence; the indifference of passivity; and the constructive, equal to nonviolence, that is, to act but not violently. In that sense, if violence is learned, it is clear that it can also be unlearned and replaced by other mechanisms, not destructive, in conflict resolution.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Education Cannot Wait and Porticus announce new partnership focused on measuring holistic learning outcomes for children and youth caught in protracted crises and emergencies

27 February 2020 - To improve learning outcomes for girls and boys caught in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is now partnering with the global philanthropic organization Porticus to develop, test and document fit-for-purpose solutions towards measuring the learning of children in crises-affected countries. The pilot programme will be implemented in three countries between 2020 and 2022, as part of ECW’s Acceleration Facility. Bangladesh and Ethiopia are shortlisted, and a third country is in the process of being selected.



Mexico: Culture of peace in higher education

(by Jaime Valls Esponda)

26 February 2020 - On February 17, the proposal of the Comprehensive Culture of Peace Plan in the Higher Education Institutions was presented at the headquarters of the ANUIES [National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education]. In addition to the subject of peace, it contains measures for the prevention of addictions and seeks to contribute to the development of young people in school and social settings.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Africa: Regional Committee sets the course to revitalise education and teacher professionalism

20February 2020 – The Education International African Regional Committee met in Accra on 10-13 February to review progress and set the political course for the following period. During the three-day meeting, the Committee defined the region’s priorities, resolving to strengthen democracy, defend public education and push for Sustainable Development Goal 4 to be achieved by the 2030 deadline. The meeting was attended by Education International General Secretary, David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary, Haldis Holst and Senior Coordinator, Dennis Sinyolo. Activity and financial reports from the region and the EI Africa strategic plan were also discussed. Furthermore, the EI General Secretary and Regional Committee Chairperson officially opened the new regional office. The Committee took special note of the difficult situation facing colleagues in Kenya, where the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is driving a sustained campaign against the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). The Committee members denounced the incessant attacks on the union by the TSC and expressed their solidarity with KNUT and Kenyan educators.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


WFP and the Iraqi Ministry of Education relaunch school feeding

13 February 2020, Baghdad – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its implementing partners in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE), WFP have relaunched its school feeding programme, following the successful 2018 pilot in West Mosul. Under the School Feeding Programme, WFP is distributing fresh meals to 330,000 children, in 1,200 primary schools across the country during the academic year. The simple meal provided ensures the children have enough energy to start the school day.

Although over two years have passed since the areas controlled by the Islamic State were retaken, the education system in Iraq is still recovering from decades of underinvestment and instability. The school meal includes a bottle of water or fruit juice, fresh Iraqi bread, cheese and a piece of fruit. This balanced meal provides the energy that school children need to focus during classes. In addition, all the food is purchased from local suppliers, bakeries, fruit markets and small businesses. This strengthens the capacity of small business owners, facilitates the creation of hundreds of livelihood opportunities in areas where the programme is implemented, and invigorates national and local food systems.


News related with SDGs number 2 – Zero Hunger and number 4-Quality Education



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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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