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

monthly, year 21st, no. 299 – 16th March 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


United Nations – General Assembly – Seventy–fifth session – Agenda item 130 (l) –

Draft Resolution: Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe

23 February 2021 – The General Assembly (…),

1. Welcomes the contribution of the Council of Europe and of its member States, at all levels of government, to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe and beyond, while also recognizing the need for the United Nations and the Council of Europe to continue to work together, within

their respective mandates, to accelerate the pace of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals towards achieving the 2030 Agenda (…)


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals



of 12 February 2021 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility

18 February 2021 – The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (…) have adopted this Regulation:


Article 1- Subject matter

This Regulation establishes the Recovery and Resilience Facility (the ‘Facility’).

It lays down the objectives of the Facility, its financing, the forms of Union funding under it and the rules for providing such funding. (…)

Article 3- Scope

The scope of application of the Facility shall refer to policy areas of European relevance structured in six pillars:

(a) green transition;

(b) digital transformation;

(c) smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, including economic cohesion, jobs, productivity, competitiveness, research, development and innovation, and a well-functioning internal market with strong SMEs;

(d) social and territorial cohesion;

(e) health, and economic, social and institutional resilience, with the aim of, inter alia, increasing crisis preparedness and crisis response capacity; and

(f) policies for the next generation, children and the youth, such as education and skills. (…)


News related with SDGs number 17-Partnerships for the Goals


United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme– Fifth session – Item 6 of the provisional agenda –

Summary: For people and planet: the United Nations Environment Programme strategy for 2022–2025 to tackle climate change, loss of nature and pollution

17 February 2021 –

1. In its decision 4/1, the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) requested the Executive Director of UNEP to submit for consideration and approval by the Environment Assembly at its fifth session, in consultation with the Committee of Permanent Representatives, and building on lessons learned from previous bienniums, a results-oriented and streamlined medium-term strategy and programme of work in line with General Assembly resolution 72/266. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land


COMMISSION DECISION (EU) 2021/156 of 9 February 2021 renewing the mandate of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies

10   February 2021 – The European Commission (…) has decided ss follows::

Article 1- Subject matter

The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (‘EGE’) is set up.

Article 2- Task

The task of the EGE shall be to provide the Commission with independent advice on questions where ethical, societal and fundamental rights dimensions intersect with the development of science and new technologies, either at the request of the Commission or on its own initiative, expressed through its chairperson and agreed with the responsible Commission department.

In particular, the EGE shall:

(a)  identify, define and examine ethical questions raised by developments in science and technologies;

(b)  provide guidance critical for the development, implementation and monitoring of Union policies or legislation in the form of analyses and recommendations, presented in opinions and statements, that shall be oriented towards the promotion of ethical Union policymaking, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. (…)



COUNCIL REGULATION (Euratom) 2021/100 of 25 January 2021 establishing a dedicated financial programme for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the management of radioactive waste, and repealing Regulation (Euratom) No 1368/2013

1 February 2021 – The Council of the European Union (…) has adopted this Regulation:

Article 1- Subject matter and scope

1.   This Regulation establishes the dedicated financial programme for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and management of radioactive waste (the ‘Programme’) for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2027, with the focus on needs identified on a current basis. It shall support:

(a) the safe decommissioning of Units 1 to 4 of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant in Bulgaria and Units 1 and 2 of the Bohunice V1 Nuclear Power Plant in Slovakia, including the management of radioactive waste, in line with the needs identified in the respective decommissioning plan; and

(b) the implementation of the decommissioning process and management of radioactive waste of the Commission’s nuclear installations at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) sites, namely JRC-Geel in Belgium, JRC-Karlsruhe in Germany, JRC-Ispra in Italy and JRC-Petten in the Netherlands.

2.   This Regulation lays down the objectives of the Programme, its budget for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2027, the methods of implementation and the forms of Union funding. (…)


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land



Human rights


Together, we uphold women’s rights. Today, and every day. 

8 March 2021 - For over a century, March 8th has been synonymous with women’s rights. Today, and every day, FIDH strives to advance women’s rights around the world. So that women can live free from violence and have autonomy over their bodies. So that they can be equal according to the laws of their countries, have the right to speak up and to work in decent conditions.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


International Women’s Day 2021 - WOMEN’S EQUALITY

7 March 2021 - Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. To get us there, the world needs women at every table where decisions are being made.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


South Africa: The Brubecks, Jazz and the Fight for Justice

(by Sandile Ngidi)

4 March 2021 - The Brubeck family of musicians has a long history in South Africa. They supported the cultural boycott during apartheid and started the jazz programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Shortly after the 1976 Soweto student riots, almost 45 years ago, legendary jazz composer, pianist, band leader and human rights activist Dave Brubeck toured South Africa. The ties between the Brubecks and South Africa would bind and - mainly through education - contribute immensely to the development of South African jazz education and innovation.


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


Announcing a milestone event for gender equality: the countdown to the 2021 Generation Equality Forum begins

3 March 2021 - Today the Government of Mexico along with UN Women and the Government of France, in a partnership with civil society and youth organizations, announced the forthcoming Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City. This landmark event, hosted by the Government of Mexico, is intended to catalyze urgent action for the achievement of gender equality and to promote the human rights of women and girls.


News related with SDGs number 5-Gender Equality


ASEAN, Canada and UN Women jointly launch a 5-year programme to advance Women, Peace and Security Agenda

26 February 2021 - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Canada and UN Women jointly launched today a 5-year programme to expand and strengthen women’s leadership and participation in conflict prevention, resolution and recovery in South-East Asia. The CAD 8.5 million (USD 6.36 million) programme, “Empowering women for sustainable peace: preventing violence and promoting social cohesion in ASEAN”, is funded by Global Affairs Canada with the support of UN Women as a lead UN partner.

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



Economy and development


NORTH CAROLINA - Governor Morehead School and students gain from HP support

5 March 2021- At a time when students everywhere are struggling with remote instruction, students at North Carolina’s Governor Morehead School (GMS), the state’s residential school for the blind and visually impaired, also faced the additional challenge of not having enough technology that fit their unique needs.

Learning from home, many students were using devices that limited their learning and contact with their teachers and classmates. Some applications or programs – including those needed to prepare for industry certifications in their Career and Technical Education classes – were not compatible with the technology that was available for at-home use. But in late Fall 2020, students at the residential school in Raleigh received new laptops and technology “bundles” from HP, the California-based technology company. Each technology “bundle” includes a laptop, large external monitor, headset, docking station, external mouse, external keyboard, and braille tactile labels. A portion of the bundles were sent home with students for remote learning use, while the rest remains on campus in the school’s computer learning lab so that when students return to school, they will have access to the same bundles on campus. The donation also included a number of multi-function printers to support students and staff.



CALIFORNIA - Qualcomm's Returnship Program provides new way to re-enter the workforce

4 March 2021- Employees take career breaks for a variety of reasons — to travel the world, try entrepreneurship, stay home with kids, or care for family members — to name a few. However, when employees return to the workplace, they may feel hesitant toward the inevitable challenges ahead.  An idea that first emerged in 2017 from Director of Engineering at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Rashmi Tripathi has finally come to fruition. Wireless Research and Development (WRD), in partnership with Qualcomm’s Global Inclusion and Diversity (GID) and Talent Acquisition (TA) teams, officially launched a Returnship pilot program. Rashmi crafted the program, the first of its kind at Qualcomm, to help people re-entering the workforce gain relevant professional experience, build upon their skill sets, and feel welcome and excited about returning to work. Funded by WRD — and championed by engineering leaders like Radha Padmanaban and Neil Carlson, both senior directors of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies — the pilot runs for 18 weeks and returnees are assigned a mentor and buddy to provide career guidance and support. The program allows us to expand our talent pipelines and drive diversity of thought and life experiences.


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


NEW YORK - Taproot Foundation and Deloitte Release New Business Resource: Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership

4 March 2021: Taproot Foundation, in collaboration with Deloitte, announced today a free resource for businesses that examines how pro bono service is emerging as an impactful growth opportunity for cultivating inclusive leaders.  Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership explores how companies can design pro bono service programs to help cultivate core competencies of inclusive leadership, as defined in Deloitte’s “Six Traits of Inclusive Leadership” framework: commitment, courage, cognizance of bias, curiosity, cultural intelligence, and collaboration. The framework helps equip leaders to engage with and contribute to the diversity of markets, customers, ideas, and talent that characterize global commerce in the 21st century.

Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership highlights the exciting opportunity for Learning and Development (L&D), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals to work together in driving meaningful employee development and engagement. It includes specific program design tips and a collection of profiles that showcase how six professionals at Deloitte have connected pro bono experiences to their own leadership development. Pro Bono + Inclusive Leadership demonstrates how Deloitte has leveraged pro bono as one way to help develop these inclusive leadership traits, and how other companies can do the same.



WFP strengthens community skills in Zimbabwe’s urban centres with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation support

24 February 2021, Harare - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes an additional US$7 million in new funding from Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which will go directly towards assisting families living in Zimbabwe’s urban areas to strengthen their skills and ability to cope in the face of economic and climate shocks. With the new funding, WFP together with other cooperating partners and the Government of Zimbabwe at both national and district levels will engage urban communities in Bulawayo, Mutare, and Gweru. These communities will work together to boost urban agriculture, build linkages between rural-urban food supply chains and learn climate smart agricultural techniques among other key activities.



Increased investment in Sahel will boost development and resilience of rural populations

13 February 2021, Rome/Ndjamena – About one million rural people in the Sahel region will benefit from a new joint programme, the first of its kind. The US$180.4 million Regional Joint Programme will revitalize economic activities and food systems in the Group of Five Sahel countries and in the Republic of Senegal.

This regional joint programme will be implemented together with the UN sister agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as the G5 Sahel and the Green Climate Fund. It will strengthen the resilience of rural communities impacted by conflicts, climate change and the current Covid-19 pandemic. SD3C will enhance business partnerships between farmers and pastoralists through training initiatives and by strengthening cross-border markets for agricultural inputs and produce. Marketplaces and rural infrastructure, including roads and small-scale irrigation, will be improved. The promotion of market information systems and cashless exchanges through ICT platforms will enable secure transactions at borders. Women, who typically have limited access to land and finance, will make up 50% of the programme’s participants. About 40% will be young people, who face high rates of unemployment and will receive help in launching productive activities to gain decent incomes. Landless people and transhumant pastoralists will also be targeted.


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





Financial intermediaries lend a hand to Mali’s agricultural sector

4 March 2021 - In Mali, efforts by the USAID Cereal Value Chain (CVC) Project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, to improve access to finance and financial services for smallholder farmers unlocked more than US$12,920,674 in financing for 59,253 farmers and agribusinesses, while supporting 12 financial institutions in expanding their agribusiness portfolios. Much of this success is attributed to the formation of a financial intermediation group called the Association of Professionals in Financial Intermediation of Mali, or APIFIMA, which ACDI/VOCA was instrumental in creating.



Kenya and Nigeria receive millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses via COVAX

(by Kizzi Asala)

4 March 2021 - The first shipment of just over 1 million Covax-funded AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Kenya's capital Nairobi on Tuesday as African countries ramp up their vaccine rollouts.

The East African nation's vaccination campaign will start with its 400,000 health professionals before extending to other frontline workers.



WFP receives generous contribution from Japan for its refugee project in Iran

23 February 2021, Tehran – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a generous contribution of US$875,000 from the Government of Japan towards its assistance programme for refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This contribution supplements a grant of US$7 million in March 2020 to support WFP COVID-19 response in Iran. This is the largest ever single contribution from the Government of Japan to WFP Iran, and will be utilized to purchase wheat flour, pulses and oil for most vulnerable refugees living in settlements in Iran. WFP currently supports 31,000 destitute Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in 20 settlements across the country with food, education, and livelihood assistance. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been hosting one of the largest refugee populations in the world for well over three decades.



Japan supports WFP food assistance in conflict-hit Central African Republic

15 February 2021, Bangui – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a US$1.6 million contribution from the Government of Japan to provide much-needed food assistance to vulnerable people in the Central African Republic, amid a deepening humanitarian crisis. Japan’s contribution will enable WFP to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 66,000 people in communities hard hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the uptick in conflict following late-December elections. An estimated 2.8 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year. As the country’s longstanding conflict resurges, adding to the impact of COVID-19, more people risk falling into acute hunger without food assistance.  CAR is also facing serious food shortages, as violence cuts off the landlocked country’s traditional supply routes and leaves food convoys stranded outside its borders. This is driving up prices of basic food commodities, with costs of staples like oil, meat, and onions up by more than 50%.




Peace and security


Approaching human security

(by Jonathan Granoff)

4 March 2021 - The current paradigm through which the most influential nations pursue security is incapable of addressing several dynamic threats to the survival of modern civilization. Currently, the focus through which security is primarily sought is based on nationalism with an emphasis on military power. The first duty of the state—to protect and serve its citizens—today cannot be adequately met by this approach. It cannot address threats of environmental degradation nor the personal health and well-being of people. In fact, it is an approach that is exacerbating adversity rather than encouraging the cooperation necessary for sustainable living and development.



Afghanistan: Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement reach milestone of 35 years serving communities in need

3 March 2021 - After 35 years of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have reconfirmed their commitment to continue jointly providing lifesaving assistance to communities affected by war and violence.



COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2021/257 of 18 February 2021 in support of the Oslo Action Plan for the implementation of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction

19 February 2021 – The Council of the European Union (…) has adopted this decision:

Article 1

1.   To contribute to human security by supporting the implementation of the Oslo Action Plan 2020-2024 (the ‘Oslo Action Plan’) adopted by the States Parties at the Fourth Review Conference of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the ‘Convention’), in the framework of the European Security Strategy and in accordance with relevant decisions of the international community, the Union shall pursue the following objectives:

(a) to support the efforts of States Parties to implement the survey and clearance and mine risk education and reduction aspects of the Oslo Action Plan;

(b) to support the efforts of States Parties to implement the victim assistance aspects of the Oslo Action Plan;

(c) to promote the universalisation of the Convention and promote norms against any use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction; (…)


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





On the frontier of science for food and agriculture

5 March 2021 - Joint FAO/IAEA Nuclear Techniques Centre works on a vast spectrum of areas that underpin food security and safety.  The work the Joint Centre conducts across the world and in its state-of-the-art laboratories near Vienna spans the spectrum from food irradiation to ensuring developing countries' agricultural output meets international phytosanitary standards for trade, to using mutagenesis to enable essential crops to ward off pests and diseases; from releasing sterile insects to suppress and even eradicate some major insect pests, to detecting the presence of harmful chemicals in food. And the list goes on.


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


Joining forces to secure water and sanitation in protracted crises: a new report

5 March 2021 - The search for ways to improve our collective response has led the World Bank, UNICEF and the ICRC to publish a new report today called, “Joining Forces to Combat Protracted Crises: Humanitarian and Development Support for Water and Sanitation Providers in the Middle East and North Africa.” It is based on case studies from the field, as well as inputs from the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) and multiple water and sanitation service providers.


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


Rotaractors support health centers in Nigeria

(by Rowland Kingsley Dappa)

4 March 2021 - Rotaractors in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, came together to carry out a disease prevention project to fight the spread of COVID-19 and prevent a second wave of infections in our communities. Together with Rotaractors in Port Harcourt Spring Gardens and our host Rotary club, we distributed essential cleaning supplies and COVID-19 protocol information to public health care centers in the communities of Ogumnabali and Okuru-ama.


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


COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to African nations pick up speed

3 March 2021 - More African countries received the long-awaited first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, with Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Lesotho benefiting from the global COVAX initiative that aims to ensure doses for the world’s low-and middle-income nations.


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


Japan Extends Assistance to WFP Nepal for the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Programme

19 February 2021, Kathmandu - The Government of Japan has agreed to extend grant assistance of about US$3.47 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Nepal for implementing the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition Programme in five vulnerable districts of Provinces 1 and 2.  H.E. Mr. SAIGO Masamichi, Ambassador of Japan to Nepal, said: “This partnership between the Japanese Government, the Government of Nepal, and WFP has the potential to improve the health and nutrition of 19,000 children aged 6 to 23 months and 49,700 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers through specialized nutritious food, while 25,000 households will benefit from the establishment of Community Food Banks equipped with food storage facilities. By investing in the capacity of the government at different levels to implement nutrition programmes, the support will boost the ability of 2,500 government officials and health specialists to provide improved health and nutrition services during pregnancy and childbirth, to monitor child growth, and to provide nutrition counselling at 100 municipal health facilities.”


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


World Food Programme partners with Ireland to fight malnutrition in Malawi

17 February 2021, Lilongwe, Malawi – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Ministry of Health today welcome a timely contribution of EUR 550,000 from the Government of Ireland to support interventions that prevent malnutrition in Malawi. The contribution will be used to promote access to quality nutrition and health services targeting 30,000 malnourished children, adolescents, and women in Neno District focussing on maternal, infant and child nutrition to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiencies. The contribution comes at a time when the country is impacted by COVID-19 which is threatening the efforts to improve nutrition and health in the country. In addition, the contribution will be used to provide technical support to the Government of Malawi in establishing a National Nutrition Centre of Excellence. The Centre will be a national hub for evidence generation, knowledge sharing and information management for nutrition innovation. https://www.wfp.org/news/world-food-programme-partners-ireland-fight-malnutrition-malawi

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



Energy and safety



Airline leaders met with White House to discuss greener fuels, carbon footprint, economic recovery

(by Helena Tavares Kennedy)

28 February 2021 – In Washington, D.C., American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other airlines met virtually on Friday with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy to discuss economic recovery, climate crisis, COVID-19, and safety protocols, with airlines urging The White House’s help on greener fuels. (…)



Atlantic Ocean circulation weakest in a millennium

(by Nexus Media)

28 February 2021 – Atlantic Ocean circulation underpinning the Gulf Stream is weaker than at any point in the last 1,000 years largely due to climate change and could cause disastrous sea level rise along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, according to new research published Thursday in Nature Geoscience. (…) Further weakening of the AMOC would increase the number and severity of storms hitting Britain and make European heatwaves more common. (…)



EIA: Levelized cost of onshore wind, solar PV dropping below gas-fired and conventional generation by 2026

25 February 2021 – Within a decade, if not a few years, the levelized cost of electricity is coming way down for new utility-scale onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to levels below all fossil or conventional fuels including combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants, according to new figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production 


Petroleum marching towards its end? Low oil prices force petroleum giants to suspend exploration in new oil sources

20 February 2021 – (…) However, a large population is hoping to see the end of petroleum amidst the trend of carbon reduction during the 21st century, which may eventually come true since low oil prices derived by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced petroleum giants to successively suspend on the exploration of new oil sources. (…)


News related with SDGs number 12-Responsible Consumption and Production


Homes of the future could use transparent wood for windows and mushroom bricks for walls

(by Rebecca Coons)

8 February 2021 – In Maryland and New York, researchers are finding innovative ways to incorporate natural materials into construction. At the University of Maryland, researchers have made transparent wood that is harder than glass and could be used as windows. (…) In New York, a team at the design firm The Living has turned mushroom mycelium into bricks that are lightweight, insulating, and hard enough to replace concrete. (…)


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



Environment and wildlife


Curb food waste and save the planet

8 March 2021 - Nearly a billion tonnes of food - a fifth of worldwide production - is binned each year, according to new UN research in support of global efforts to halve food waste by 2030.



EUROPEAN COMMISSION – Commission supports Italy in the creation of a Sovereign Green Bonds Framework (SGBs)

26 February 2021 – With the support from the Commission's Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (REFORM), Italy took a major step today (Feb 25) towards fulfilling the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by deciding to publish the Sovereign Green Bonds (SGB) Framework. The new SGBs Framework will be used to finance public expenditure in a green' way in alignment with the "Green Bonds Principles" and, as much as possible, with the draft EU Green Bond Standard. (…)


News related with SDGs number 13-Climate Action


FAO and IAEA deepen and broaden their collaboration

24 February 2021, Rome - The Director-Generals of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), QU Dongyu, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, signed an updated collaboration arrangement, aimed at further strengthening and developing their joint activities. The Joint FAO/IAEA Nuclear Technologies Division, operating since the 1960s, will become a Centre, and continue its well-recognized and respected work whilst increasing synergy and expanding areas of common interest, in particular in relation to transboundary animal and plant diseases. The two agencies, which together run a campus of innovative science and development laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, and have plans to expand the existing technical infrastructure to include fit-for-purpose greenhouses for climate-smart agriculture as well as a high-level biosecurity BSL3 laboratory to support animal and zoonotic disease control, have delivered numerous successful applications of nuclear technologies food and agriculture. The expanded collaboration framework agreed today will improve integration of the IAEA's capacities into FAO's work on OneHealth, while also contributing to IAEA's new Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC), which focuses on innovative R&D activities, surveillance and diagnostics through the use of nuclear techniques.


News related with SDGs number 15-Life on Land



Religion and spirituality


Iraq declares 6 March "National Day of Tolerance and Coexistence"

6 March 2021 - In a tweet on Saturday, Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announces that 6 March will become a "National Day of Tolerance and Coexistence" in Iraq. The announcement came after Pope Francis' meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, which Cardinal Miguel Ayuso has praised as an historic encounter.



IRAQ - ASIA/IRAQ - Beginning of the Pope's apostolic visit to the land of Abraham"

06 March 2021: "Here, where Abraham our father lived, we seem to have returned home". Thus, after being received in Najaf by Ayatollah Ali al Sistani (photo), Pope Francis began his speech today, in the plain of Ur of the Chaldeans, in one of the key moments of his apostolic visit in Iraq. An event shared by representatives of all faith communities present in the country, offered as a "sign of blessing and hope for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the whole world", in the trust that "Heaven has not grown weary of the earth: God loves every people, every one of his daughters and sons!".In his address, which was preceded by readings from the Book of Genesis and the Koran as well as four testimonies, the Pope compared Abraham's journey from Ur to the Promised Land with the journey of all believers and the entire human family through the darkness of today and described it as "Dream of God", who created all human beings to be happy.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Ethical North Star: the Five Buddhist Precepts for modern times

(By Rebecca Li, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Trudy Goodman, Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Jan Willis)

2 March 2021 - In this complex and interconnected world, living ethically has never been more challenging—or more important. Jan Willis, Rebecca Li, Trudy Goodman, Thanissaro Bhikku, and Sister True Dedication share the five Buddhist precepts for modern times.

  1. Don’t Kill
  2. Don’t Steal
  3. Don’t Stereotype, Exploit, or Harm Others Sexually
  4. Tell the Truth
  5. Don’t Consume Toxins



Iraq: CRS preparing interreligious ground ahead of Pope’s visit

(by Devin Watkins)

1 March 2021 - As Iraqis prepare to welcome Pope Francis on his upcoming Apostolic Journey, an official with Catholic Relief Services lays out the hopes and interreligious efforts of both Christians and Muslims.



Christians, Muslims and Jews to share faith centre in Berlin

(by Harriet Sherwood)

21 February 2021 - On the site of a church torn down by East Germany’s communist rulers, a new place of worship is set to rise that will bring Christians, Jews and Muslims under one roof – and it has already been dubbed a “churmosquagogue”.




Culture and education


Future priorities and strategic transformation of UNESCO at the heart of the 7th Interregional Meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO

5 March 2021 - The 7th Interregional Meeting of the National Commissions for UNESCO took place online from 22 to 25 February 2021. Co-organized by UNESCO’s Sector for Priority Africa and External Relations and the Swiss Commission for UNESCO, this meeting served as a consultation in the process of elaborating UNESCO's next policy documents and on the role of National Commissions in the context of the Organization's strategic transformation. The meeting gathered some 450 representatives of almost 150 National Commissions from all 5 regional groups of UNESCO, Permanent Delegations, as well as UNESCO Secretariat and Field Offices.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


New Zealand: Trade union promotes women's leadership in the education sector

4 March 2021 - Women’s leadership in the education sector was the focus of the Women in Leadership Summit organised in New Zealand by the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA). This was the union’s first Women in Leadership Summit. Held in Wellington in October 2020, the two-day summit discussed how to move to more inclusive, power- and load-sharing models of leadership.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


Former soccer star leaves it all on the field to improve education in Tanzania

4 March 2021 - Here’s how joining a Rotary club helped enhance Ashley Holmer’s work.  Ashley Holmer is a member of the Rotary Club of Lewis River (Battle Ground), Washington.  Looking for a meaningful year-abroad experience, Ashley Holmer decided to teach in Tanzania. The former college soccer star coached and taught English in a Maasai community in 2005.



Russian Federation and WFP provide support to families of most vulnerable schoolchildren in Tajikistan

23 February 2021, Dushanbe – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun delivering fortified wheat flour and vegetable oil to the families of vulnerable schoolchildren in the Khatlon Region of Tajikistan, supported by USD 1 million from the Russian Federation. The 1,200 tons of wheat flour and 50 tons of vegetable oil purchased will meet the needs of around 22,000 households. This food assistance remains part of the WFP School Feeding Programme, reaching over 600,000 students from grades 1 to 4 in 2,000 schools across 52 rural districts of Tajikistan with regular healthy and nutritious meals. In 2020, Russia allocated USD 5 million to WFP to purchase 3,000 tons of fortified wheat flour and over 300 tons of vegetable oil for schools in Tajikistan. As part of its response to COVID-19, WFP provided one-off take-home food rations to 24,000 vulnerable families whose children are part of WFP’s School Feeding Programme.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education


UN WFP and Good Neighbors International help schools provide better nutrition for children

21 February 2021, Eshperov – A pilot greenhouse project to supplement school meals with locally-grown fresh vegetables was launched today at Dogdurov school in Eshperov village of Issyk-Kul province. The programme aims to strengthen the capacity of all Kyrgyz primary schools to prepare and serve fresh and nutritious meals throughout the country.  The initiative is a partnership of the Issyk Kul Regional Development Foundation, Good Neighbors International in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the United Nations World Food Programme’s Optimising the National School Meals Programme for the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Partners supported the construction of the greenhouse to ensure that the children can enjoy organic vegetables also in the seasons when fresh fruits and vegetables are scarcely available. To make the best use of the fresh produce grown in their backyard, the staff at the schools and cooks were trained in nutrition, menu development and were offered the possibility to improve their cooking skills. The new greenhouse is built on modern and eco-friendly technologies, heated mainly on solar energy. The energy-saving constructions are not only financially efficient, also important for environmental sustainability. Based on the good results of this pilot initiative, similar facilities in other schools across the country will be launched.


News related with SDGs number 4-Quality Education



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