Good News Agency – n° 7
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. Good News Agency is distributed through internet to editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and it is available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
Good News Agency is a free of charge service activity of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates in support to the Lucis Trust activities, the U.N. University for Peace, Radio For Peace International and other organizations engaged in the spreading of a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective.
Italy ratifies the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Protocol to enter into force December 22.
With the ratification of Italy on 22 September, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has been ratified by 10 countries. It will enter into force on 22 December.
States which ratify the Optional Protocol recognize the competence of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to consider petitions from individual women or groups of women who have exhausted all national remedies. The Optional Protocol also entitles the Committee to conduct inquiries into grave or systematic violations of the Convention. The Committee is the body established under the Convention to monitor its implementation.
ILO "core" conventions ratifications surge past 1 000 mark
Drive continues to achieve universal ratification
GENEVA – 22 September 2000 – The campaign to promote universal observance for its eight core Conventions passed an important milestone this week when the International Labour Office received notification from the Governments of Austria, Ecuador, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Togo that they had ratified ILO Conventions on child labour and the rights of workers to organize free trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.
The wave of ratifications pushed the total number of ILO core Conventions now formally adopted by the Organization's 175 member States from 997 to 1005 practically overnight.
The latest ratifications bring to 22 the number of countries that have ratified all eight of the fundamental Conventions. Another 52 countries have ratified seven of the eight, and in almost all cases it is the recent Convention 182 which will complete the list. Since its adoption by the International Labour Conference in 1999, Convention 182 has racked up more ratifications than any other ILO Convention during a comparable period.
The Gambia: Children's rights charter ratified
The Centre for Children's Rights in The Gambia said it was pleased that the country's National Assembly had ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It said, however, that the ratification was "not an end in itself but rather a start of a process which calls for political will and commitment in the implementation stage", MISNA reported on Thursday.
The centre emphasised that Gambian girls, in particular, were deprived of their constitutional right to basic education and were often forced into traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriages.
Joint message on the occasion of World Teachers' Day
On the occasion of World Teachers' Day, celebrated October 5, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura; International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavía; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown; and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy launched a joint message entitled World Teachers' Day 2000: Expanding Horizons.
"On World Teachers' Day 2000, we wish to pay homage to the role of teachers in expanding the learner's horizons and also to put the spotlight on the expanding horizons for teachers in the new knowledge society of the 21st century.
The Centre North-South of the European Council runs for the second year the World Awareness Week, from November 13 to 19. “Cooperation and Learning (on the web) in a changing world”: this is the theme for this year, whose central topic will be the world citizenship. This initiative is aiming at students, teachers and youth associations. In preparation to and during the conference, the Centre North-South invites school and associations to give visibility to the main objectives of education to a world community through the development of projects and activities.
In 1999 the Centre North-South of the European Council launched the first Week of education to world community, that promoted activities in the schools of the 41 member States, choosing as main theme the eradication of poverty and of social exclusion.
Centre Nord-Sud, Avenida da Liberdade 229-4, P-1250-142 Lisboa; fax 00351 21 3531329;
A race of olympic proportions: reaching the last child with polio vaccine
Health, humanitarian and business leaders gather and agree to strategic plan for certifying world polio-free by 2005; countdown clock is ticking
Ted Turner, Mia Farrow among those who pledge to generate funding and political will
'Timing is Everything' in Global Vaccine Relay
Backed by a broad spectrum of leaders from business, governments, UN agencies and humanitarian groups, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the world could win the race against polio so long as health workers are able to vaccinate every child.
Touting the strategic plan 2001 – 2005 for the final chapter of global eradication, Mr Annan declared that the race to reach the last child with polio vaccine had begun.
European Commission, WHO and UNAIDS take a united stand against killer diseases
On 28 September the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS announced a common stand against the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the developing world. The Commission has convened a high level Round Table in Brussels, co-sponsored by WHO and UNAIDS, as a first step in designing a new programme of action for the EU to help developing countries to confront the growing epidemics of these three diseases and break the cycle of disease and poverty.
Global Vaccine Fund commits $150 million in vaccines and funding over five years to 13 developing countries
Initial effort will reach four million children, save more than 100,000 lives per year; next disbursements in November
GENEVA, 20 September – The Global Fund for Children's Vaccines will give more than US$150 million worth of vaccines and funding over five years to improve immunization programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Thirteen countries will receive the first awards – Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Tanzania. As a result, these countries will be able to immunize four million children against hepatitis B by the end of 2001, and more than 600,000 children who would not otherwise have received any immunizations will now be protected. This represents a 10% increase in basic immunization coverage. According to estimates, more than 100,000 lives will be saved every year due to these initial grants
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announces winners of "Race Against Poverty" awards for "Breaking the Silence on HIV/AIDS"
A journalist from French Polynesia, a mother from Malawi, a Nicaraguan psychologist, and a Polish priest, all of whom have been leading the fight against HIV/AIDS in their communities, will receive UNDP’s Fourth Annual Race Against Poverty Awards during a special ceremony at the United Nations. The event, marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) under the theme "Breaking the Silence on HIV/AIDS," will take place on 23 October at 6:00 p.m. in the UN General Assembly Hall.
ADF 2000 - AIDS: The Greatest Leadership Challenge, Addis Ababa, 3 - 7 December 2000
The second African Development Forum (ADF 2000), originally scheduled to be held from 22 - 26 October 2000 on the theme 'AIDS: The Greatest Leadership Challenge', will now take place from 3 to 7 December at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in conjunction with UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, The World Bank and other partners, ADF 2000 has been designed to serve as a launching pad for a renewed commitment to more concerted action against HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Its overarching objective is to generate the highest level of scientific, technological, traditional and intellectual leadership commitment possible, at all levels of society and the development community, towards addressing the pandemic and mitigating the devastating impact it has already registered on the continent.
The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) said on Monday that it was providing support for an immunisation campaign against yellow fever in Liberia, where more than 110 suspected cases have been reported since July and at least four people have died. Liberia's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has launched an immunisation campaign with 200,000 doses of vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Sixty-eight teams have been mobilised and more than 60 percent of the target population have been vaccinated.
The Gambia: Malaria vaccine
Clinical malaria vaccine trials are set to begin in The Gambia in an effort to find a way to defeat the illness that claims at least 1.5 million lives a year worldwide. Dr. Tumani Corrah, director of clinical services at the Medical Research Council in Banjul, told IRIN the tests could start on Monday (25 September). The research on the vaccine is being carried out by scientists from the Gambia and Oxford University.
The Gambia: Life expectancy reported to have increased
Life expectancy in The Gambia has increased from 42 to 55 years, due to improved primary health care, the 'Daily Observer' newspaper reported on Monday. The paper quoted Abdoulie Sallah, secretary of state for health, as saying that immunisation for children under five years had increased from 27 percent in 1987 to 73 percent in 1999. He said the child mortality rate had fallen from 213 per 1,000 in 1960 to 80 per 1,000. The maternal mortality rate was reduced from 2,000 per 100,000 to 1,050 per 100,000 in the 1990s, Sallah said.
The Sunflower Newsletter No. 41 October 2000
International Day of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space – October 7
The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space called for individuals and organizations to organize an event in their community on 7 October 2000 to protest the militarization of Outer Space.
The arms race is moving into Outer Space. The US Space Command has publicly stated that it intends to "control and dominate space in order to protect US interests and investments." In the US Space Command document entitled "Vision for 2020," the Pentagon states that because of corporate "globalization of the world economy" there will be a widening gap between the "haves and the have-nots." The document states that space "superiority" will emerge as an "essential element of battlefield success" as the Space Command becomes the military instrument by which challenges to corporate control are suppressed in regions around the world.
The Sunflower Newsletter No. 41 October 2000
Under the leadership of Nafis Sadik, the U.N. Population Fund has been transformed from an organization that foisted contraceptives on women in order to meet fertility-control targets to one that has as its central mission giving women more power not just over their own fertility but over health care, education, and many other aspects of their lives. Sadik, a Pakistani obstetrician who became executive director of the fund in 1987, will retire at the end of this year.
Her push for women's rights has rankled not only some Islamic and developing nations, but also the U.S. Congress, which has withheld funding because of the population fund's position that women should have access to safe abortions as a last resort. This year, the Clinton administration has requested a $169 million increase in international family planning levels, and Congress is expected to debate the issue soon.
UNIDO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Hungary and the Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development (SEED) in Budapest has organized the Regional Forum designed to produce recommendations to governments and industry in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS) to address the problems encountered during the process of transition to market economy.
OECD: "New Forms of Integration in Emerging Africa", Policy Workshop
13 October, Geneva. In the framework of the Development Centre’s 2000 Programme of Work on "New Approaches to Poverty Reduction", the OECD Development Centre is organising, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva, a Policy Workshop entitled: "New Forms of Integration in Emerging Africa". A successful and sustained take-off in African countries hinges not only on sound domestic policies but also on an improvement in their international competitiveness. The workshop has three objectives: to assess the scope for increased intra-regional trade in sub-Saharan Africa; to identify the most promising areas of regional co-operation; and to explore how the international donor community can most effectively support promising regional co-operation initiatives. Contact: Mayrose Tucci, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WFP extends its operation for Mozambique flood victims
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on September 26 announced a six-month- extension of its emergency operation to assist some 172,000 people still facing severe food shortages due to Mozambique's worst floods.
The extended operation will cost an additional US$6.8 million, bringing the total funding needs for the current emergency feeding operation which began in February to US$42.8 million.
WFP poised to give emergency aid in flood-damaged Cambodia
With historic floods from the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers destroying thousands of homes and nearly 220,000 hectares of the rice crop in Cambodia, the United Nations World Food Programme announced on September 27 that it plans to deliver emergency food aid to some 500,000 people.
At the request of the Cambodian Government for both immediate and long-term assistance, WFP is preparing to respond to the emergency created by the country’s worst flood in 30 years. WFP is already assisting 30,000 of the worst hit families with food from the contingency reserve of a two-year relief and rehabilitation programme for 1.3 million people that began in January 1999.
WFP to help one million Tajiks survive a devastating drought
The United Nations World Food Programme announced on September 26 a major emergency operation to help more than one million people in Tajikistan who are threatened with famine because of one of the worst droughts in decades.
Under the new operation, WFP will bring about 126,000 metric tons of food aid into Tajikistan over the next nine months at a cost of US $62 million.
Kenya: EU announces further food aid
In response to the food shortage caused by the drought, the European Commission announced on Thursday its decision to finance a further shipment of 25,000 mt of cereals to the country to be channelled through the WFP. An additional three million Euros (US $2.5 million) have been allocated for small-scale food security projects.
Afghan women celebrate World Habitat Day
Women from all over Mazar-i-Sharif came together on October 2 to celebrate World Habitat Day, with a two hour programme dedicated to this year's theme "Women in Urban Governance". Elsewhere in the city, a similar programme is being conducted for men, with the Mazar youth and community education committees taking an active role in both celebrations. These events will be used to reflect on the role of women as decision-makers in society, and the need to address urban issues that are of particular concern to women.
World Habitat Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday in October. Yet, for the Afghanistan programme of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) every day is dedicated to increasing the role of women in urban governance.
Bitter rivals Toyota and Honda are racing against each other to create affordable eco-friendly cars. Toyota announced this week that it plans to offer a full range of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, everything from ultra-compacts to luxury sedans, SUVs, and commercial trucks, though the company didn't specify when they would hit showrooms. Enviros have praised Toyota and Honda for starting to sell the hybrid Toyota Prius and Honda Insight in the U.S. this year, and Honda now plans to sell a hybrid Civic next year. Honda also announced this week that it has developed a prototype four-seater fuel-cell car that will be tested on roads in California. Fuel cells are believed by many to be the future of green car technology, but it may take a decade or more before the technology becomes widely affordable, so Toyota and Honda are currently pushing hybrid vehicles as a good eco-friendly option. American automakers are lagging behind in this green contest.
Washington, D.C.-based Conservation International is trying a new approach to saving natural areas in developing countries: leasing trees. CI is working on a deal to buy the logging rights for up to 25 years for 200,000 acres of pristine rainforest in southern Guyana in South America, planning to spend several million dollars to protect the land with what it calls a "conservation concession." Usually concessions, or development rights to land, are sold by cash-strapped governments to logging and mining companies, often at prices as cheap as a few dollars an acre. CI now intends to compete with these private companies to buy concessions, also offering to pay governments enough to compensate for any lost jobs or economic activities. CI may take this model to Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, and Peru.
Denkmal 2000: European Trade Fair for the Preservation of Historical Buildings and Urban Renewal – 25 to 28 October
Denkmal in Leipzig is held under the patronage of UNESCO and is a unique international forum for the experts and all those interested in heritage conservation. In other words, for restorers, architects and planners as well as art historians, craftspeople, local government officials, manufacturers of building materials, investors and property owners.
These international specialists come to Leipzig to experience a wide-ranging presentation covering all aspects of heritage conservation, such as preservation and care of historical buildings and heritage sites, restoration, conservation, urban and village renewal.
More than 2000 Years in the History of Architecture: Safeguarding the structures of our architectural heritage - 16 to 20 October – Bethlehem, Palestine
Under the patronage of UNESCO, the Congress will provide an overview of researches, studies and state-of-the-art of knowledge in different fields of architectural heritage related to the conservation and restoration of monuments, buildings, historic towns, archaeological sites and other structures built from the earliest times till the end of the 19th century.
The Congress will highlight the role that different techniques, technologies and materials have played in the history of architecture, their relationship with the environmental conditions in different parts of the world (climate, seismically, etc.).
A special session will be devoted to the structures of the 20th century and to the perspectives for the third millennium.
The Congress will be concluded with a panel discussion whose aim is to propose concrete project proposal for the region likely to find international sponsorship.
KRACÓW 2000: International Conference on Conservation: Cultural Heritage as Foundation of Civilisation Development - 23 to 26 October
Facing the new social and political situation in Europe in the recent years, as well as the contemporary complex demands of the civilization progress, especially in respect of ecology, city and regional environment, the need for reflections and new perspective for monuments conservation, becomes urgent.
The International Conference on Conservation CRACOW 2000 is conceived as an interdisciplinary forum of debate and formulation of current views, principles and requirements of preservation of the cultural heritage in the light of the present state of the science.
Next issue: 27 October.