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In spite of everything, a culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour

monthly, year 21st, no. 298 – 16th February 2021


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


FAO Members endorse Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

8 February 2021, Rome - The 34th session of FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI34) ended its week-long meeting on Friday with its Members endorsing the first-ever Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, urging stronger action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and stressing the importance of recovering from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Declaration outlines a global vision for fisheries and aquaculture, while highlighting the sector's essential contributions in the fight against poverty, hunger and all forms of malnutrition. This is central to efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and make agri-food systems more inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The Declaration builds upon existing international instruments aimed at promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture around the world, such as the landmark FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Aquaculture has been the fastest expanding food production sector globally over the last decades, growing at an average of 5.3% per year since the turn of the century. FAO estimates that 34.2% of all marine fish stocks are fished beyond biological sustainable limits, a threefold increase since monitoring started in 1974. At COFI34, Members acknowledged the need for greater monitoring and transparency in fishing operations, and noted further efforts were needed to combat IUU fishing. Countries were urged to become a party to the FAO Agreement on Port State Measure (PSMA), considered a potent international instrument to combat IUU fishing.


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


FAO and IRENA sign MOU to boost sustainability of food and ag through bioenergy and renewables

(by Meghan Sapp)

14 January 2021 – In Italy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have underscored their continued commitment to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies in agri-food, fisheries and forestry chains and sustainable bioenergy through the signature of a collaboration agreement. Signed by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera in a virtual meeting, the new memorandum of understanding (MoU) aims to improve the profitability and sustainability of the food and agriculture sectors by accelerating the use of renewables and sustainable bioenergy while fostering climate action and resilience. Energy-smart agri-food practices based on renewables can increase both agricultural productivity, food chain decarbonization and food security. Accelerating renewable energy solutions will also boost economic growth and create jobs in a sustainable agro-industry – addressing critical development challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


United Nations – General Assembly – Seventy–fifth session – Agenda item 76 (a) – Resolution: Oceans and the law of the sea

5January 2021 – The General Assembly (…),

1. Reaffirms the unified character of the Convention and the vital importance of preserving its integrity;

2. Calls upon all States that have not done so, in order to fully achieve the goal of universal participation, to become parties to the Convention and the Part XI Agreement;

3. Calls upon States that have not done so, in order to achieve the goal of universal participation, to become parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish

Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (the Fish Stocks Agreement);

4. Calls upon States to harmonize their national legislation with the provisions of the Convention (…)


News related with SDGs number 14- Life below Water


United Nations – General Assembly – Seventy–fifth session – Agenda item 103 (p) – Resolution: The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects

4 January 2021 – The General Assembly (…),

1. Underlines the fact that the issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects requires concerted efforts at the national, regional and international levels to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, and that their uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world has a wide range of humanitarian and socioeconomic consequences and poses a serious threat to peace, reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable development at the individual, local, national, regional and international levels; (…)

3. Calls upon all States to implement the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (the International Tracing Instrument) by, inter alia, including in their national reports the name and contact information of the national points of contact and information on national marking practices used to indicate country of manufacture and/or country of import, as applicable;

4. Encourages all relevant initiatives, including those of the United Nations, other international organizations, regional and subregional organizations and civil society, for the successful implementation of the Programme of Action, and calls upon all Member States to contribute towards the continued implementation of the Programme of Action at the national, regional and global levels; (…)


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



Human rights


WFP and UN Women join forces to foster gender equality and women's empowerment in Palestine

8 February 2021, Jerusalem- - The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signed an agreement to better support the State of Palestine to accelerate progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The two agencies will support the government in adopting a gender-transformative approach that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment through Cash-Based Transfers and Multi-Purpose Cash assistance that gives people the freedom to use assistance towards rent, food, education, health and other household pressing needs. WFP and UN Women will plan and implement activities in close coordination, ensuring that the activities are comprehensive, cross-cutting and well targeted. The spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing deteriorating health and socio-economic conditions of Palestinians. The massive loss of jobs hits women disproportionally with the informal employment sector, which absorbs most women workers, being significantly impacted by closures and lockdowns. Despite progress, social protection systems in Palestine are not accessible enough to women, leaving them without social safety nets and basic services like old-age pensions, health insurance, and allowances for disability, maternity and sick leave.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


Angolan cartoonist Sérgio Piçarra wins EU human rights prize

7 February 2021 - The Angolan cartoonist Sérgio Piçarra was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law for his commitment to the promotion of freedom of expression in Angola. It is the first time an Angolan has won the prize.  From his home in Angola, Piçarra gives shape to his caricatures after looking at the headlines in national and international newspapers.



The European Union, UNICEF and UNHCR join efforts to protect children on the move in Central America, Mexico and Southern Africa

2 February 2021 - The European Union (EU), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency have announced today the launch of the new EU Global Promotion of Best Practices for Children in Migration programme to strengthen child protection systems and provide alternatives to immigration detention. This multi-country programme, with a total budget of €7.5 million, has received €7 million from the EU and is being implemented across four countries in two regions: El Salvador and Mexico in Latin America; South Africa and Zambia in Southern Africa. Over the course of the 30-month programme, UNICEF and UNHCR will jointly work with national governments; local authorities with portfolios of child protection and social welfare, home affairs and justice; civil society organizations and other stakeholders around three key goals for children.



The Assembly “Towards a global agenda: the human right to education from the movements” took place at the World Social Forum 2021.

(by Javier Tolcachier)

1 February 2021 - With the participation of a hundred delegates from organizations that converge around education as a human right, the self-organized assembly “Towards a global agenda: the human right to education from the movements” was held this Saturday (30) in the framework of the World Social Forum (WSF) 2021. The activity was organized by the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), the Council for Popular Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CEAAL), the Pressenza Agency, the Espacio sin Fronteras Network, the Global March against Child Labour, the Global/Local Network for Quality Education, the Popular Education Network of Women (REPEM), the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (Omep) and Fe y Alegría.



Rosa Parks and Equal Rights

(by Sally Dugman)

31 January 2021 - Rosa Parks learned to stand her ground for which she was hauled off to jail. This incident wasn’t the first time, nor the last time, that an Afro-American would be incarcerated for an act of civil disobedience. Her arrest was due to this event: A bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama ordered her to give up her seat in the “colored” section of the bus to a white skinned passenger. In relation, she refused after which she was both jailed and fined for her defiance of the law. It was in 1955 and, thus, started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After all, why should there be public transportation and it not be available in an equitable way to all people?


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


Black Lives Matter movement nominated for Nobel peace prize

(by Martin Belam)

29 January 2021 - Norwegian MP cites global impact of BLM in raising awareness and consciousness of racial injustice.  The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel peace prize for the way its call for systemic change has spread around the world. In his nomination papers, the Norwegian MP Petter Eide said the movement had forced countries outside the US to grapple with racism within their own societies.


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities



Economy and development


NEW YORK - JetBlue Foundation Provides Emergency Grants to 12 STEM Organizations Severely Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

5 February 2021: today announced a round of rapid response grants from the JetBlue Foundation. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected funding for non-profits and education programs. To help with immediate needs, the JetBlue Foundation issued a round of emergency grants to 12 aviation and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grantees and partners in need of financial support to continue their critical work reaching students and communities traditionally underrepresented in these fields. The JetBlue Foundation, founded in 2013, has a separate Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee both made up of JetBlue crewmembers from across the airline. These grants are provided directly from the JetBlue Foundation. The JetBlue Foundation, the first airline foundation focused solely on supporting aviation and STEM education, invited a group of previous grantees and partners to apply. This round of grants supports education programs focused on mentorship, technical education training and social justice, with a joint goal of increasing access and awareness of STEM and aviation careers. The rapid response cycle will help organizations committed to racial and gender equity that have encountered financial setbacks in achieving their missions due to the pandemic. Considerations were given to programs providing opportunities for virtual engagement and those in need of technology resources for online and remote education.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education and number 5-Gender Equality


USA - Join Novartis, Credit Suisse, & L'oréal on building a meaningful employee experience through giving cack on 10 Feb

4 February 2021: Building a meaningful, holistic employee experience is one of the top workforce strategy priorities critical for business outcomes for the future of work. According to research by PwC, 1 in 3 workers would be willing to consider lower pay for a more fulfilling job. On 10 February, 4pm (GMT +1), hear from leading companies Novartis, L’Oréal and Credit Suisse about best practices to activate impactful Purpose initiatives to the benefit of employees, society, and their business. Hosted by Alaya, leading Employee Purpose platform provider, the session will be full of concrete examples from around the world with plenty of opportunities for audience Q&A.

Topics will include: 

How to connect Corporate Purpose with HR and CSR initiatives

Specific examples of policies and frameworks for employee volunteering & giving programs

Ways to maximise employee awareness and engagement of your initiatives


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


New project to boost sustainable wildlife management and food security in southern Africa

3 February 2021, Rome - FAO and the French Development Agency (AFD) today launched a new 3.5 million Euro project to improve sustainable wildlife management and food security in the world's largest terrestrial trans frontier conservation area. Southern Africa's Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which straddles Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, each year experiences large scale migrations of megafauna. However, the area is also home to poor rural communities whose livelihoods depend on agriculture, fishing and hunting and who are not always able to meet their basic needs due, in part, to erratic rainfall and frequent droughts. 

Under the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme, the new project will partner with the governments of Botswana and Namibia to address threats from unsustainable levels of wildlife hunting in some areas, habitats closure and fragmentation, which prevent animals from reaching the resources they need to survive, as well as poaching and killing of animals. The project will focus on supporting the development of a network of community conservancies and community-based organizations that help manage community-owned land to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of local livelihoods.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


Fish farming to sustainably transform county economy in Kenya

29January – For several years, fishers in Loiyangalani town, located on the shores of Lake Turkana, have been using the casting method to earn a living. This outdated method, over time, has resulted in low yields caused by overfishing and low replenishment rates. The method goes against United Nations standards, which regulate the use of drift nets more than 2.5 kilometers long in the marine environment.  However, a lack of enforcement of these regulations puts more pressure on the lake, causing degradation and limiting catches from the wild fisheries. Many fishers experienced reduced catch sizes and lower incomes as a result. This led to an irregular supply of fish to the market. With fishing as the second biggest economic activity in Loiyangalani, residents needed more sustainable fishing practices to bolster the supply and ensure food and income security. To address these significant constraints in the fish value chain, USAID, through its Expanding and Diversifying Viable Economic Opportunities Activity, identified a lead firm, or “anchor firm,” Songoyo Enterprises, through a competitive process. The firm is a private sector actor with experience in wildlife and natural resources management. Songoyo Enterprises is adopting cage fish farming, a practice that will, among other things, replenish fingerlings, to Lake Turkana. The Activity Award is implemented by ACDI/VOCA and its partners Mercy Corps, Smart Regional Consultants, and the BOMA Project under the Feed the Future-funded Livestock Market Systems (LMS) Activity(…)


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





FAO welcomes €40 million from Germany to help farmers withstand shocks like COVID-19 and extreme climate events

8 February 2021 - Funds will contribute to building resilience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Yemen. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today welcomed a €40 million contribution from Germany to help farmers and fishers withstand threats like COVID-19 and extreme climate events. The funding from Germany's KfW development bank will support FAO's efforts to build the resilience of resource-poor producers, pastoralists and fishers in three of the world's most food insecure countries - the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Yemen, work undertaken in partnership with other UN agencies.



Human Fraternity Day online event highlights need for solidarity

4 February 2021 - During a virtual ceremony commemorating the first-ever International Day for Human Fraternity on Thursday, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, highlight the importance of fraternity and solidarity. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Moroccan-French activist Latifah Ibn Ziaten were also presented with the 2021 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-02/pope-francis-human-fraternity-zayed-award.html//


New Zealand contributes NZD 6.8 million to facilitate market linkages for smallholder farmers in Rwanda

27 January 2021, Kigali – The Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) proudly welcomes the Government of New Zealand as a new partner with its generous multi-year commitment of NZD 6,800,000 million to support smallholder farmers across Africa, with NZD 4,200,000 committed to Rwanda from 2020-2023. The contribution provided through the World Food Programme (WFP) will enable WFP to scale up its support over the next 3 years targeting 200,000 smallholder farmers in rural areas across Rwanda while working to sustainably transform agricultural markets to become more efficient, resilient and profitable. Through FtMA Rwanda, smallholder farmers are supported with a range of services to promote farming as a business, use of improved inputs and enhancing crop post-harvest management.  The announcement of new funding to the Farm to Market Alliance comes at a time when access to food is deteriorating for millions of people as the world continues to grapple with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa is recognized as the future breadbasket of the world, but the continent is still a net-importer of food. FtMA is a unique alliance of six organizations with the mission to develop a sustainable and profitable agricultural sector in Africa by supporting smallholder farmers to transition to commercial agriculture. 



EU funds fight hunger, build resilience in Niger

25 January 2021, Niamey – A €4.5 million contribution from the European Union has enabled the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide vital support to extremely vulnerable people in four areas of Niger which are reeling from multiple shocks, including climate change, conflict and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.  Funds from the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) have allowed WFP to provide unconditional food and cash distributions throughout 2020 in four of the most food-insecure are-as of Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua and Tillaberi regions. The distributions targeted refugees living outside of camps, internally displaced people, host communities and returnees. The ECHO funds also allowed WFP and partners to provide an additional three months of assistance to newly returned refugees, and help the most vulnerable people in conflict-hit areas get through the lean season between harvests, and recover from recent floods. By contributing to stabilizing and improving the food and nutrition security of those on the edge, the EU funds have also helped bolster people’s resilience to shocks.




Peace and security


FYI: SGI 2021 Peace proposal: “Value creation in a time of crisis”

5 February 2021 - “Value Creation In A Time Of Crisis“.  These annual proposals have kept the highest goals of humanity shining within the United Nations and communities of global citizens around the world.

On January 26, 2021, the 39th annual peace proposal by Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, titled “Value Creation in a Time of Crisis” was released, marking the anniversary of the founding of the SGI. Ikeda calls for further global cooperation to address the key issues of our time: the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons. These issues are not constrained by national borders and cannot be solved by any one government or organization alone.


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


The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

4 February 2021 - In Africa, the concept of the Culture of Peace is enriched by the values, belief systems, traditions, and cultural and artistic forms of expression that contribute to the respect of human rights, cultural diversity, solidarity and the rejection of violence to build democratic societies. The Biennale for the Culture of Peace draws from Pan-African Forum “Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace” held in Luanda, Angola, in 2013, and aims to expand and sustain the Pan-African Movement for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence.


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


Opening event to launch the International Year of Peace and Trust was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

3 February 2021 - During the event, the participants discussed the possibilities of holding joint events in the framework of the International Year of Peace and Trust. A constructive exchange of views and proposals on the improvement of activities on the platform of regional and international organizations for the sake of peace, stability and sustainable development took place. Thus, upon the outcomes of the event, the Roadmap of the International Year of Peace and Trust was adopted.


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


Nuclear weapons ban comes into force – without peace nation Norway

(By Sissel Fantoft)

22 January 2021- On January 22nd. nuclear weapons became forbidden under international law. “This is a historic milestone and an important piece of international legislation. Now the long-term work of achieving a world without nuclear weapons can really begin,” says senior advisor on mine- and weapons policy, Grethe Østern. The ban on nuclear weapons has been ratified of 51 UN member countries and is supported by 87 others. Norway is not one of them.“Now we have both a legal and political tool with which we can measure progress towards a world without nuclear weapons. Experience tells us how the prohibition treaty comes first, followed by the long-term work of elimination afterwards,” says Østern.Countries that support the agreement undertake never to develop, produce, test, possess or store nuclear weapons. The agreement also prohibits any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or the threat of the use of such weapons. (…)The world’s nine nuclear powers (USA, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) boycotted the negotiations when the ban was adopted, as did the 32 so-called umbrella states – countries whose security is based on protection from nuclear weapons. Norway is one of these countries.“Opposition is common where such treaties are concerned; it took, for example, several decades before China and France joined the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which was negotiated in 1968. The nuclear weapons ban challenges those countries whose policies are inconsistent where nuclear weapons are concerned: they express support of nuclear disarmament but do not distance themselves from nuclear weapons in practice. They continue to encourage allied nuclear weapons states to maintain their nuclear weapons, and potentially use them, on their behalf,” says Østern. (…)


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


Martin Luther King’s vision of an interconnected world is more relevant than ever

(di Arthur Romano)

22 January 2021 - We are facing converging global crises — a horrific pandemic, worsening economic inequality both in the United States and globally, climate change and the continuing scourge of systemic racism around the world. What would Martin Luther King Jr. think or advise if he were alive today? What might he say in these days after the Capitol Building was attacked by a primarily white mob that was seeking to usurp the results of a free and fair election and implement an America First agenda through violent force? To get to these answers, we need to consider one of King’s most important and overlooked pieces of writing, The World House, a chapter in the last book he wrote, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” This chapter was taken largely from the Noble Prize Lecture at the University of Oslo on December 11, 1964. It is one that he pored over for more than a month, as he prepared to use his platform on a global stage to make a call for a radical new world.


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





The new tech that supports emergency workers’ mental health

(by Daniel Fahey)

8 February 2021 - From a young age, Rooney had used visualisation techniques to imagine himself performing well and scoring goals. Now, that same psychological strategy forms part of a mental fitness toolkit called Peak Fortem, which has been designed to give Australia’s first responders practical ways to improve their wellbeing.


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


COVID-19: Warning of “deadly consequences” of vaccine inequality, IFRC launches plan to help vaccinate 500 million people

4 February 2021- Geneva – The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far have been delivered in high-income countries, according to analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Nearly 70 per cent of vaccine doses administered so far have occurred in the world’s 50 wealthiest countries. In contrast, only 0.1 per cent of vaccine doses have been administered in the 50 poorest countries. The IFRC is warning that this inequality is alarming and could potentially backfire to deadly and devastating effect. Mr Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC, said: “This is alarming because it is unfair, and because it could prolong or even worsen this terrible pandemic. Let me be clear: In the race to end this pandemic, we are all rowing the same boat. We cannot sacrifice those at highest risk in some countries so that those at lowest risk can be vaccinated in others. “The equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines between and within countries is more than a moral imperative: It is the only way to solve the most pressing public health emergency of our time. Without equal distribution, even those who are vaccinated will not be safe.” The IFRC is warning that, if large pockets of the globe remain unvaccinated, the COVID-19 virus will continue to circulate and mutate. This may lead to the emergence of variants that do not respond to vaccines, allowing the virus to infect people that may have already been vaccinated (…)


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


WFP boosts global co-operation on humanitarian drone use

4 February 2021 - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is stepping up global co-operation on the use of humanitarian drones, which are a game-changer for fast, accurate, disaster impact assessment and response. With growing threats from famine and climate change, it is hoped a new online platform will help respond to the challenges ahead, as currently being demonstrated in the response to tropical storm Eloise in Mozambique.


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


Returning to the Roots of Community Resilience in Hawai‘i

(By Libby Leonard)

4 February 2021 - Local agriculture initiatives offer a way toward food security through reconnection with the land and the true spirit of aloha.  Hawai‘i is “showing the rest of the country how circular and regenerative and local food systems can support the economy, strengthen cultural heritage, and improve the overall health of the community,” according to the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group. Their docuseries, Regenerating Paradise, showcases local farm-to-school programs, community poi harvesting, farm entrepreneurship training programs, and soil health and composting initiatives.


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


WHO Executive Board keeps polio eradication in its sights

26January – Meeting virtually at this week’s WHO Executive Board (EB), global health leaders and ministers of health urged for concerted and emergency efforts to finally rid the world of polio, noting a global and collective responsibility to finish the disease once and for all. Delegates also reiterated their support for the sustainable transitioning of polio assets, recognizing that successful polio transition and polio eradication are twin goals. Noting that endemic wild poliovirus is now restricted to just two countries – the lowest number in history – with the African region being certified as wild polio-free in August 2020, delegates urged intensified efforts to wipe out the remaining chains of transmission of this strain and prevent global resurgence. The representatives of both Pakistan and Afghanistan demonstrated strong commitments to this goal and urged collective responsibility to achieve success. Delegates also expressed strong appreciation for the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Ministerial Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks, by WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, which focuses on critical barriers to overcome to achieve zero poliovirus. The EB urged all stakeholders to follow WHO and UNICEF’s joint emergency call to action, launched 6 November 2020, including by prioritising polio in national budgets as they rebuild their immunization programmes in the wake of COVID-19, and urgently mobilising additional resources for polio emergency outbreak response. (…)


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



Energy and safety



Indian researchers develop bioplastic film using red algae

(by Rebecca Coons)

25 January 2021 – In India, the National Institute of Ocean Technology has converted seaweed into biodegradable plastic film. Using red algae Kappaphycus alvarezii cultivated from the Gulf of Mannar and plasticizer polyethylene glycol (PEG)-3000, the team was able to create films with high tensile strength. The films also have good oxygen and moisture permeability properties for use as food packaging and shopping bags. K. alvarezii is ideal because it does not require freshwater and has a short cultivation time of just 6-7 weeks, the team tells weather.com. It is also a commercial source of carrageenan. (…)


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


Student establishes vegan leather startup in Columbia

(by Rebecca Coons)

19 January 19, 2021 – In Colombia, Oxford University student Gabriel Moreno has developed a vegan leather using fibers from the fique plant that helps create a revenue stream for local rural farmers. Inspired by his father’s environmental consciousness, Moreno founded Fiquetex to commercialize the biodegradable material. (…) Moreno adds that Fique provides an alternative source of revenue for the region’s farmers other than illicit crops and drugs.



GEOENVI – The Province of Siena (Italy) is carbon neutral thanks to geothermal energy

19 January 2021 – (…) Italy, like the European Union, is committed to the challenge of fighting climate change through the achievement of the "net zero emissions" objective by 2050. The Province of Siena, in the Tuscany Region (Italy), already achieved this goal in 2011. At this time, this virtuous Province outperformed its objective and by 2016 the reduction in total greenhouse gases emissions was 108%. This extraordinary result has been achieved thanks to geothermal energy, which contributes to 92% of local power production. It also highlights the leading role played by Tuscany's geothermal Municipalities, which has been increasingly acknowledged over the past few years. Tuscany received its latest recognition in summer 2020, when Legambiente labeled 6 Tuscany Municipalities as the only "100% renewables" towns in Central-Sourthern Italy. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


Greenergy to produce advanced biofuels from tire waste

(by Meghan Sapp)

18 January 2021 – In the UK, Greenergy announces its continued commitment to renewables through an investment in advanced biofuels. Utilizing a combination of existing technologies, the project will create low carbon fuels from waste tire feedstock. The project will utilize pyrolysis and hydrotreating technologies to convert waste tires into renewable drop-in advanced biofuels that can be used in diesel and petrol and qualify as development fuels under the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. The plant will also have the capability to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Processing up to 300 metric tons of shredded tires each day in the first phase, the manufacturing process also creates recovered carbon black, a product that can be used in the circular economy to produce new tires and other industrial rubber products.


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


UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE – UNECE launches methodology to evaluate the sustainability of infrastructure projects and guidelines on Waste-to-Energy projects for the circular economy

12 January 2021 – As countries all over the world aim at building back better' from the COVID-19 pandemic, the recently-launched UNECE People-first PPP Evaluation Methodology for the Sustainable Development Goals can support their efforts by providing a set of benchmarks and indicators to score infrastructure projects against the People-first criteria and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Evaluation Methodology can help Governments evaluate and improve their infrastructure projects by incorporating resilience and sustainability at their core, especially at the early stages of project development. (…) The Guidelines provide Governments and all stakeholders with seven best practice options to make Waste-to-Energy projects compatible with the People-first approach to PPPs and become part of sustainable development solutions. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 



Environment and wildlife


WWF welcomes publication of the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity

2February 2021 – WWF welcomes the publication of this independent review led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, which was commissioned by the UK’s Ministry of Finance in 2019. Commenting on the review, Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said:  “The findings of the Dasgupta Review are clear: nature underpins our economy and our wellbeing. Our failure to recognise this relationship, and take decisive and urgent steps to reverse nature loss, is costing us dearly and putting the future of humanity at risk. To safeguard our future, we must stop taking nature for granted as an expendable commodity, value its services and transform our economies and finance systems, so they are geared towards conserving and restoring the natural world on which we all depend. “Climate and nature positive goals need to be at the centre of how decisions are made by policy makers and businesses – and particularly economic and fiscal policies. “This year governments have the opportunity to adopt a Paris-style agreement for biodiversity with clear science-based targets to reverse nature loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030.” (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


European Commission launches Green Consumption Pledge, first companies commit to concrete actions towards greater sustainability

27 January 2021 – Today (Jan 25), the European Commission is launching its new Green Consumption Pledge, the first initiative delivered under the New Consumer Agenda. The Green Consumption Pledge is part of the European Climate Pact which is an EU-wide initiative inviting people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe.  With their signatures, companies promise to accelerate their contribution to a green transition. The pledges have been developed in a joint effort between the Commission and companies. Their aim is to accelerate the contribution of businesses to a sustainable economic recovery and to build consumer trust in the environmental performance of companies and products. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


EGEC, together with 33 stakeholders, calls on the EU not to rely on hydrogen to decarbonise buildings

26 January 2021 – The European Geothermal Energy Council, together with a broad coalition of 33 businesses, industry associations, NGOs and think tanks urge the European Commission to prioritise available efficient and sustainable solutions to decarbonise Europe's building stock and avoiding the direct use of hydrogen for this purpose. Addressing the European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans in an open letter, the co-signatories underline that massive emissions reductions in the building sector will be needed (<60% compared to 2015) to achieve a higher 2030 EU climate target. This requires applying the energy efficiency first principle and boost the integration of renewables, as envisaged by the Renovation Wave strategy. (…)


News related with SDGs number 11-Sustainable Cities and Communities


IFRC announces expansion of disaster fund ahead of major climate summit

25 January 2021- Geneva– The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced today a major expansion of one of the world’s only means of channeling international funds directly to frontline disaster responders. The announcement of plans to at least double the size of the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) comes as governments and experts gather virtually for the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit, hosted by the Netherlands. IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said the expansion of DREF was part of broader efforts to adapt Red Cross emergency responses to the increased crisis-caseload caused by climate change. (…) The DREF has supported more than 200 million people since its inception. In addition to growing DREF, IFRC is also moving forward with expanding its scope by supporting local Red Cross and Red Crescent efforts to anticipate disasters and mitigate their impact. Under this methodology, humanitarian funding is released for pre-agreed early actions based on forecast and risk data to reduce the impact of severe weather events on vulnerable populations. This approach – known as Forecast-based Action – was used six times in 2020 to protect and support at risk communities in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Mongolia and Mozambique – for instance, through early evacuation or efforts to reinforce houses. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


EUROPEAN COMMISSION – Improving storage efficiency of energy from renewable sources

11 January 2021 – NANOSTACKS works on resolving difficulties, which occur when it comes to storage of electricity gained from non-fossils sources, such as solar or wind energy. The new approach could propose a new efficient system capable to store this energy in very large quantities and in high energy density. The focus of the research is put on the so-called fuel cells. Fuel cells are electrochemical cells that convert the chemical energy of a fuel and an oxidizing agent into electricity through redox reactions. Currently, the energy efficiency of state-of-the-art fuel cells is far from ideal (…) The main objective of the NANOSTACKS project is to propose a novel screening method to find efficient fuel cells that rely on cost-efficient materials. The new method will use a robot to print battery, fuel cell and LED materials as well as conductors, isolators and diodes (…)




Religion and spirituality


BUENOS AIRES - AMERICA/ARGENTINA - World Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking: "Dignity and freedom of every individual must be respected"

5 February 2021: An appeal to "unite our voices and our prayers" for the victims of human trafficking, a crime aggravated by the pandemic, comes from the Bishops of Argentina on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Victims of Human Trafficking, to be held on February 8, the Feast of Saint Bakhita. The message of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CEMI) of the Argentine Bishops' Conference invites us to pray and fight "for a society without slaves or exclusions, in which the dignity and freedom of each are recognized and respected". There are thousands of people - children, men and women of all ages - deprived of their freedom and forced to live in painful conditions of authentic slavery". In this context, the bishops recall the plight of migrants who, for various social, political and economic reasons, are forced to live in illegality. The statement pays tribute to the "great silent work" that has long been done by religious orders and church and civil organizations together with many voluntary helpers, because "generous service for the victims and the poorest, help, rehabilitation, reintegration, promotion, accompaniment are the answers that the Gospel requires for the benefit of these excluded". However, all this work, is not enough to put an end to human person exploitation. For this reason, more commitment is required at an institutional level: "the State must take care of the protection of life and eliminate all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation of people, where there must be no room for corruption and impunity".


News related with SDGs number 10-Reduced Inequalities


First-ever International Day of Human Fraternity focuses on tolerance

4 February 2021 - The UN Secretary-General has called for more commitment towards promoting cultural and religious tolerance, in a message to mark the first celebration of the International Day of Human Fraternity, observed on Thursday. The designation of 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity is the result of a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in December, which was co-sponsored by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).



Parliament to Host Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue Retreat on Climate Awareness

28 January 2021 - On Saturday, February 20th join the Parliament of the World’s Religions and The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union for a special program on “Deepening our Awareness of Love, Compassion and Joy for the Healing of the World”. The program is hosted as part of the ongoing Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue on Climate Change launched by the Parliament’s Climate Action Program and the Bernardin Center in 2020.



German Christians launch Year of Ecumenism

(By Lisa Zengarini)

26 January 2021 – Christian Churches in Germany are celebrating the Year of Ecumenism in 2021 aimed at strengthening their relationships through dialogue and sharing.  The Year was officially opened in Hamburg on Sunday January 24 during a Divine Liturgy presided over by Orthodox Archpriest Radu Constantin Miron, chairman of the Christian Churches Association of Germay (ACK), on the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.



Pont. Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, WCC consolidate collaboration

25 January 2021 - statement released by officials of the  Pontifical  Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (PCID) and the Office of Inter-religious Dialogue and Cooperation (IRDC) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) noted that their annual 2-day meeting took place online and concluded on Wednesday 20 January.




Culture and education


UNESCO and The University of Mosul present the results of a public survey on the reconstruction of the Al-Nouri Prayer Hall and Al-Hadba Minaret

8 February 2021 - UNESCO and the Statistics Consultancy Bureau (SCB) of the University of Mosul conducted an analytical survey of the people of Mosul on the reconstruction of the Al Hadba Minaret and the Al Nouri Prayer Hall, destroyed during conflict in 2017.  This activity was implemented under a Project funded by the Government of the United Arab Emirates and is part of the UNESCO initiative to "Revive the Spirit of Mosul".The survey, conducted during the months of November and December 2020, targeted more than 700 individuals from Mosul of all ages, backgrounds and gender. The Statistics Consultancy Bureau (SCB)'s team, composed of 22 young enumerators and 3 university professors, under the supervision of Dr. Bashar Abdul Aziz al-Talib (head of the SCB), visited families residing in both East and West Mosul as well as displaced Moslawis.



UNESCO offers free online courses on freedom of expression and safety of journalists

29 January 2021 - You can now browse for a selection of  free online courses on freedom of expression and safety of journalists organized by UNESCO and partners. Choose from a variety of self-directed courses on current issues such as the role of journalism in exposing disinformation around COVID-19; the legal challenges to protect access to information and journalists at times of restrictive measures to cope with the pandemic; or the impact of new technologies on journalism. Several of the courses were designed in partnership with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, recognized globally for the quality of its Massive Open Online Training Courses (MOOCs) and supported by international government and civil society organizations, United Nations agencies, as well as prestigious universities from around the world.



Spain: The Nonviolence Collective disseminates ‘Amanda’s comic’, an educational project for peace aimed at children and young people

29 January 2021 - The Nonviolence Collective, an open and plural space in Cantabria where various initiatives for a culture of peace and nonviolence are developed, has launched a new promotion campaign for the »Amanda Comic», an educational project for peace for children and youth. The campaign is designed especially to be launched on January 30 in educational centers, which is the School Day of Peace and Nonviolence, especially from 4th grade of Primary Education to 2nd grade of Compulsory Secondary Education.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


OPINION - Inclusive and Equitable Education in the Pacific

(By Michelle Belisle)

25 January 2021 - In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 challenges all nations to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by the year 2030. As we think about this in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emerging post-COVID-19 environment, what does inclusive and equitable education look like and how do we ensure that lifelong learning opportunities are benefitted by all?


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


New research will demonstrate benefit of culture and heritage to society (UK)

21 January 2021 - An ambitious new programme of research to improve decision making by valuing the benefits of our culture and heritage capital to society.

The report “Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital: A Framework Towards Informing Decision Making” published by DCMS sets out how our approach will support the evidence base behind private and public investments in culture and heritage. This is consistent with Social Cost Benefit Analysis principles published in HM Treasury’s Green Book. While economic methodologies will take centre stage, a cross-disciplinary approach is needed. The programme will develop a robust evidence base for organisations in the culture and heritage sectors to use when making decisions regarding public and private investment.


News related with SDGs 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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