Good News Agency – Year X, n° 156
(with this issue a cumulative numbering is adopted, instead of a numbering by year)
“…In conveying the appreciation of the Head of State for the passion and the professionalism with which you spread, above all among the young, the culture of "good news", I would like to take this opportunity of adding my personal greeting”. (From the letter of the Adviser for the Press and Information of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to the Editor of Good News Agency, 12 October 2007.)
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 the editorial offices of 4,000 media in 49 countries and to 2,800 NGOs and 500 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it has been included in the web site http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/uk/uk_sum_monde.htm
Good practices in legislation to address harmful practices against women
United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs (UNDAW/DESA) and the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa (UNECA) are convening an expert group meeting on good
practices in legislation to address harmful practices, to be held at the United
The framework contains two types of recommendations: those that are applicable to all forms of violence against women; and those that are specific to domestic violence or sexual violence. The purpose of this expert group meeting is to further develop the framework by elaborating specific recommendations for legislation on harmful practices against women.
High-powered chief executives back UN anti-corruption pact
May - In a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
chief executives from some of the world’s leading companies have thrown their
support behind a United Nations treaty aimed at combating corruption. The CEO’s
noted that the UN Convention against Corruption - signed by 140 countries and
ratified by 136 to date - holds “the promise of curbing corruption and creates
a level playing field for all participants in the global economy.” The letter
characterized the Convention as “an essential instrument in the fight against
corruption,” which is crucial in the current period of financial and economic
turmoil to prevent an “erosion of ethical standards that will be hard to
reverse.” (...) “The adoption of a rigorous implementation review mechanism
will send a very positive message to international business,” read the letter,
whose signatories included the CEOs of Fuji Xerox of Japan, General Electric
Company of the
The European Parliament sets out new rules on asylum policy
7 May - A package of measures to improve the way the EU asylum system works and strengthening asylum seekers’ rights has been adopted today by the European Parliament. MEPs adopted amendments to enhance solidarity between Member States when managing asylum applications, and call for a binding mechanism to be set up before 2012.
first piece of legislation is the report from by Antonio Masip
European Parliament also adopted by 467 votes in favour,
42 against and 18 abstentions a report by Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA,
WFP is boosting food stocks and preparing nutritionally-rich food for women and children in order to meet the needs of IDPs displaced in the final days of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war.
19 May - WFP is already feeding 250,000 people in
temporary transit camps in the northern areas affected by recent fighting but
the number of IDPs is expected to rise to more than
Justice and equality for all regardless of gender or sexual orientation
15 May - In a strongly worded statement High Commissioner Navi Pillay has come out against discrimination directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.
was speaking in a pre-recorded message to delegates at an international
The World Congress on human rights, sexual orientation and gender
identity is being held at the National Assembly in
UNA-USA sees new opportunities to advance a Human
Rights agenda now that the
12 - The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) hopes that today’s
election of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council marks
the beginning of a period of sustained US participation in the council that
will result in significant advancement of the human rights agenda at home and
abroad. Ambassador Thomas Miller, UNA-USA’s president, congratulated the
leaders and members throughout the country have urged the
United Nations Association of the
UNICRI launches the first Summer School on Fundamental Rights – Rome, 1 to 7 July
Fundamental Rights - The protection of Fundamental Rights in European Law
The case law of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights
The first UNICRI Summer School
on Fundamental Rights will take place in the
The programme will cover topics such as the European Treaties and EC regulations; the European Court of Justice and the EU Normative System of Fundamental Rights Protection; the European Convention on Human Rights; the European Court of Human Rights and the National Courts; the introduction of Minimum Standards on Fundamental Rights Protection in Criminal Trial; Social; Security Rights and Basic Income.
million IFAD loan to Rural Finance Programme in
EU € 1 billion “Food Facility”: Commission signs the first contribution agreements with UN partner agencies
Brussels, 15 May - Today Koos Richelle, Director-General of EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will sign on behalf of the European Commission the first contribution agreements of the Food Facility with three UN implementing partners: FAO (€106M), UNRWA (€ 39.6M) and UNICEF (€8.2M). Similar contribution agreements with the World Food Programme (€38.7M), and UNOPS (€ 10M) are expected to be finalised shortly, to be followed by agreements with the World Bank, IFAD and UNDP. These agreements are financed under the € 1 billion Food Facility, which will support actions implemented by International Organisations, recipient governments and regional organisations. Also under this facility a €200 million call for proposals will be launched on the 26th May 2009, to finance projects to be implemented by NGOs, EU member states development agencies and local authorities active in 35 priority countries.
The signature of these agreements underlines the importance of the European Union as the world’s first donor in improving food security across the globe. (…)
Fragments of border wall used to patch up water treatment plant
12 May (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will
inaugurate tomorrow, 13 May, the first phase of a project to upgrade a
wastewater treatment plant in the southern
In the Gaza Strip, efforts to provide the population with even the most basic services, such as water and sanitation, are severely hampered by restrictions on imports of construction materials, fuel and electricity. The only way to fix up the Rafah plant is to recycle existing materials, such as water pipes, and to use components manufactured within the Strip. The shortage of cement has been overcome by salvaging concrete segments of the old Rafah border wall that lay abandoned after its partial demolition in January 2008. (...)
SUCCESS alliance farmers provide beans for new
May - U.S.-based Askinosie Chocolate company recently launched its new product line “
Bill Gates, FAO chief ponder anti-hunger fight
Agriculture key as hungry approach 1 billion worldwide.
“With nearly one billion people going hungry worldwide, we must act urgently, but also have the foresight necessary to make sustainable, lasting increases in agriculture,” said Diouf.
“World hunger is not an option. Access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food is fundamental not only to the well-being of poor households everywhere but also to economic development, peace and security in every corner of the world,” the FAO chief added.
challenge is to produce food for an additional three billion people who will be
living on our planet by
IFAD to provide
11 May - A US$13.5 million loan and a US$0.2 million grant from IFAD to the
Republic of Cameroon for the Rural Microfinance Development support project
will help to reduce poverty, increase income and improve the livelihoods of
poor people in rural areas. The loan agreement was signed today in
IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency. It is a unique partnership of OECD, OPEC and other developing countries.
5 May - ACDI/VOCA has won a $20 million subaward under the USAID-funded Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West program (IDEA-NEW). DAI is the prime implementer. The purpose of IDEA-NEW is to increase incentives that create jobs and sales by promoting licit and sustainable commercial agriculture and related agribusiness in provinces affected by poppy growing, thereby helping local economies transition away from dependency on illicit opium production and sales.
The development of a thriving economy in the target regions will be assisted by a range of activities including: increasing the competitiveness and diversity of regional subsectors with clear comparative advantage (fruit, vegetables, poultry, carpets and textiles); improving access to markets, inputs and business services; addressing the particular needs of women and the landless; improving productive community infrastructure; building capacity in both the public and private sectors.
West Bank, 23 April - The United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) and the
EuroNanoForum 2009 - Nanotechnology for Sustainable Economy
European and International Forum on Nanotechnology
EuroNanoForum 2009 is the fourth conference of a set of international nanotechnology conferences organized within the framework of national Presidencies of the European Union. It will be a 4-day conference taking place from 2nd to 5th of June 2009, at the Prague Congress Centre, as an official event of the Czech Presidency, under the auspices of the Czech Ministry for Education Youth and Sports and with the support of the Industrial Technologies Programme of the European Commission.
Focusing on “Nanotechnology for sustainable economy”, EuroNanoForum 2009 will address the contribution and challenges of nanotechnology research for a sustainable development of European industry and society, such as the need for reduction in carbon emissions and fossil fuels dependence, the substantial increase in energy demand, pollution control, clean water management and sustainable quality of life of the European citizen, as well as material production sustainability and efficiency. In this respect, nanotechnology presents many opportunities and challenges that have to be analyzed at international level through a safe, responsible and integrated approach, as first presented by the ENF2003 conference. (...)
ESPN promotes ‘Soccer Saves’ program with Save the Children to help African youth
Sports Network to air new public service announcement
May - Seattle Sounders FC, the newest soccer franchise in Major League Soccer
to a $50,000 pledge from Soccer Saves, the project will kick off in
by Peter Schmidtke
International News, 13 May - Allan Akamura’s friends
used to push him to school in a homemade wheelchair. Now the 13-year-old from
In March, Allan’s host family took him on a visit the Bloomington North club, during which he traded smiles and laughs with Zinman and other club members. The club has contributed $5,000 for travel and other costs associated with Allan’s surgery, and it has committed to providing $3,000 annually in support of the Nyaka school.
Zinman hopes to accompany Allan back to
Caritas: schools and houses for
May - A primary school built by Caritas Italiana as
part of a development project following the Bam earthquake in
ADRA shifts to long-term development in
Silver Spring, Md., 5 May - Eight months after the worst flooding in 50 years devastated large areas in northeastern India leaving millions of people homeless, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is beginning a long-term recovery phase to bring development opportunities to communities in the state of Bihar. “Now that the waters have receded and families are back in their homes, our attention turns to helping the most vulnerable families recover from the effects of this devastating flood, as well as helping them to be more resilient against future natural disasters,” said Nitin Kenny, emergency management coordinator for ADRA India. To meet those needs, ADRA is preparing a recovery project in the Supaul district that will begin in mid-May. The project will continue to help survivors through livelihood development initiatives, including livestock replacement and the provision of animal fodder, as well as water and sanitation projects and disaster risk mitigation education. Approximately 20,000 families will benefit by the end of the 12-month project. (…)
May - Members of the United Nations Security Council today held talks with
their African Union (AU) counterpart today in the Ethiopian capital,
Agenda set for UN-backed 2010 review of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
May - The committee preparing for next year’s United Nations-backed conference
of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty today agreed on a
president and an agenda for the May 2010 meeting in
May - International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine
Victims Assistance (ITF) has again received the
15 May - As the Government of Sri Lanka feels that an end to the war is in sight, areas of land are now being released for mine clearance. The Government has stated its intention to return 80 per cent of the displaced people by December, while publicly acknowledging that Humanitarian Mine Action will be an important requirement in the process. In response to the expected return of the internally displaced population, MAG has moved additional assets from Batticaloa, in the east of the country, to the district of Mannar in the north-west. MAG now has three teams conducting Community Liaison surveys. One mechanical team and one team of deminers are deployed to conduct technical surveys. MAG focuses on defining safe areas that can be used immediately by the civilian population, and to identify high risk areas for further potential clearance activities.
MAG’s survey teams collect data from various sources to establish the level, location and impact that mines and unexploded ordnance have on the communities and their plans for return. (…)
Destruction of Norwegian cluster ammunition
The destruction of
May - “The signals we send today, to every nation that has signed the
convention or will sign it in the future, is that
Ban pays tribute to new forum promoting reintegration of ex-combatants
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the
opening of a new forum for the United Nations to advance its work on the
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process in countries
emerging from armed conflict. Mr. Ban noted that there have been nearly one
million beneficiaries of DDR efforts worldwide over the past 20 years, in a
message to the International DDR Congress in
Cluster Bomb Ban Campaign accepts peace prize in
Author(s): Site Admin
Putting a STOP to polio
by Dan Nixon
International News, 15 May - “As a health professional, working toward the
eradication of a disease has to be one of the greatest programs one can
participate in.” The words of Jenny Horton, a nurse and member of the Rotary
Club of Kenmore, Queensland, Australia, helped mark the 10th anniversary of the
Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) program, established by the World Health
Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). CDC hosted a celebration at its headquarters in
has taken Horton to
15 May (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is stepping
up its humanitarian activities in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) in response to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation that has
taken place since autumn 2008. The lack of security arising from ongoing
clashes and military operations is exacerbating the already bleak conditions
for displaced people (IDPs) - estimated to number
more than 300,000 - and their host communities in
by Azza Hameed, Information and reporting officer in the
May - The President of the
Treatment for uterine prolapse
becoming more accessible in
ADRA will also distribute informative materials (...)
Project HOPE launches Rehabilitation Program to address needs of thousands recovering from injuries sustained during the May 12, 2008 earthquake
70,000 people injured during the earthquake require long-term specialized care to properly heal.
Millwood, VA and Beijing, China, 11 May - On the one-year anniversary of
the massive earthquake that devastated China’s Sichuan Province,
Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian
assistance organization, is officially launching the China Rehabilitation
Medicine Program. The three-year program is a collaboration
between Project HOPE and
With tens of thousands already fleeing the district following the escalation of a military operation against anti-government forces on Wednesday, 6 May, the polio program has established nine transit teams - two on the route to Malakand, three on the route to Swabi and four on the route to Mardan - to immunize internally displaced children with trivalent oral polio vaccine. More than 9000 children were vaccinated by these teams in the first two days alone.
Since October 2008, none of the target population (377,000 children under five years of age) in Swat has been vaccinated, with the province classed “inaccessible” to immunization teams due to the security situation. As a result, this new displacement of the Swat population provides both an opportunity to reach under-immunized children and a threat, with the possibility that these children could be carrying wild poliovirus out of inaccessible areas into crowded camps. (...)
World No Tobacco Day – 31 May
On 31st May each year WHO celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption. Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide. In 2008, the theme of World No Tobacco Day was Tobacco-Free Youth. Young people are aggressively targeted by the tobacco industry which spends billions of dollars each year marketing its products. To protect the world’s youth from experimenting with tobacco and becoming regular users, the World No Tobacco Day 2008 campaign called for a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
WHO created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects. Tobacco is the number one preventable epidemic that the health community faces.
17 May 2009, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
(e-Civicus, 15 May) - The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding
of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.
It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in
May - Toyota Motor Europe (TME) will lease over 150 units of its experimental
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), to selected fleet customers across
Australian government will invest A$4.5 billion in clean energy
14 May -
The government will invest A$2.4 billion in low-emission coal technologies, including
funding of A$2 billion for industrial- scale carbon capture and storage
projects, according to its annual budget released in
The government will also establish
an organization, called Renewables
EU economies to be put on road to recovery
6 May - The wind industry is hailing the newly-agreed EU
Economic Recovery Plan as the right economic medicine at the right time. The
European Parliament passed the €5 billion Plan at its plenary session earlier
today. (…) The €565 million the EU Recovery Plan allocates to offshore wind energy
projects will stimulate
solar panels to power electric Vehicle Recharging Station in
Station helps promote cleaner transportation for eco-minded travelers.
Marlboro, Massachusetts, USA, 15 April - Evergreen Solar, Inc., a manufacturer of STRING RIBBON™ solar power products with its proprietary, low-cost silicon wafer manufacturing technology, announced today that its panels are being used to provide the electricity for a new electric vehicle battery recharging station in a high-traffic area in Frankfurt, Germany. The solar “fuel” station provides free battery charging for small-scale electric vehicles including Velotaxis, Segways, electric bikes and scooters. The station contains six charging ports all of which receive their power from the Evergreen Solar panels located on the building’s roof. The installation is located in a major shopping district allowing people to power their vehicles while they shop. (...) The charging station became fully operational on March 31, 2009. It is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
12th United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) - call for entries
October 17-25, 2009
celebrates the power of international documentary films and videos dealing with human rights issues, environmental themes, protection of refugees, famine, homelessness, racism, disease control, women’s issues, children, universal education, war and peace. In addition to our ongoing celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this year we emphasize the theme:
Energy & The World - Formats: 16mm and 35mm film; Beta SP, DVD (NTSC)
Preview: on 1/2” VHS (PAL/NTSC), DVD (NTSC region 0 or 1) - All lengths are eligible (…)
Early Deadline – May 25, 2009 - Regular Deadline - June 1, 2009 - Late deadline - June 9, 2009
The Entry Form: Print from www.unaff.org or www.withoutabox.com
Awards: • UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Long Documentary
• UNAFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary
• Stanford Video Award for Cinematography
• Stanford Video Award for Editing
submit screening materials and background info to: UNAFF 2009,
At this event, CEOs will discuss how their firms can help solve the climate crisis through innovative business models, new partnerships, and the development of low-carbon technologies. They will send a strong message to the negotiating governments on how to remove barriers and create incentives for implementation of new solutions in a post-Kyoto framework.
"We, the politicians of
the world, have a responsibility to reach a truly global climate change
The results of the World Business Summit on
Climate Change will be presented to the Danish government, host of COP15, and
to world leaders negotiating the terms of the next international climate
treaty. Registration for the summit is now closed. Please visit this site for
live webcasting of the
Emissions trading: EU ETS emissions fall 3 % in 2008
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “The 3 per cent reduction was partly due to businesses taking measures to cut their emissions in response to the strong carbon price that prevailed until the economic downturn started. It confirms that the EU has a well functioning trading system, with a robust cap, a clear price signal and a liquid market, which is helping us to cut emissions cost-effectively. This should encourage other countries in their efforts to set up comparable domestic cap-and-trade systems, which we would like to see linked up with the EU ETS to create a stronger international carbon market.” (…)
UN Chemicals Conference ends on positive note
The co-ordinator of the SAICM secretariat, Matthew Gubb, said: “The Conference has been a major milestone in the evolution of SAICM, taking us beyond the establishment phase to new challenges and equipping us for accelerated implementation in the years ahead. SAICM has already been successful with its Quick Start Programme, a start-up trust fund which is currently running projects worth USD 20 million in close to 80 countries.” But he added: “The Conference considered that more efforts were necessary to achieve the goal of minimizing the risks of chemicals to human health and the environment.” (...)
Stemming the tide of marine waste with market-based instruments
Manado/Nairobi, 13 May - From paying fishermen to ‘fish
for litter’ to laws banning food vendors from using plastic cups and plates in
coastal parks, governments and local authorities around the world are
increasingly turning to market-based instruments to cut litter and waste
entering the sea. These are among the findings from a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-commissioned report presented today at the
World Oceans Conference in
UN drive turns to Internet to reach goal of 7 billion new trees
12 May - Ahead of World Environment Day, celebrated
globally on 5 June, the United Nations today announced an ambitious
tree-planting target in a bid to push governments into reaching agreement on a
climate change pact in
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has appealed to the world to help its effort to plant seven billion trees by the end of the year, coinciding with the UN Climate Change Conference which aims to draw up a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
To date, some 3.1 billion trees have been planted in 166 countries, and “whether you choose to plant one tree or thousands,” UNEP would like you to register your tree planting pledge on its Billion Tree Campaign website, it said a news release. In addition, the agency has pledged to plant a tree for each person who joins its campaign on the internet-based social networking site “Twitter” between now and 5 June. UNEP hopes to attract 100,000 people on Twitter by World Environment Day and in turn plant the same number of trees for its Billion Tree Campaign. (...)
The World Environment Day
global tree-planting drive is the first in a series of mass participation
events planned as part of the UN-led “Seal the Deal!” campaign in the lead-up
the UN climate change meeting in
Winners of 2009 SEED Awards announced
Local entrepreneurship celebrated at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Twenty local initiatives from across the developing world received this year’s award. Together, the winners cover a diverse range of promising business models that will tackle poverty and environmental stewardship in areas such as water and waste management, sustainable energy, recycling, and fish farming.
The SEED Award is the flagship programme of the SEED Initiative, a partnership founded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (...)
Biodiversity loss and climate change: the need for an ecosystem approach
6 May - Last week was a turning point for
biodiversity policy discussions. Two crucial meetings - the G8 environment
HSBC and FEE launch global environmental education programme
HSBC and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) announced a global programme, backed by a financial commitment from HSBC of US$2.5 million over three years, to teach five to 18 year olds about protecting the environment through FEE’s Eco-Schools International Programme.
The HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative will involve HSBC employees, initially in 11 countries, who will volunteer time to help schools address a variety of environmental themes ranging from energy, transport and waste to water and biodiversity in relation to climate change. (…) Students, with help and support from HSBC volunteers and Eco-Schools Programme staff, will join an eco-committee and help perform an audit to assess their school’s environmental performance. Through consultation with the rest of the school and the wider community, students will decide which environmental themes they want to address and how they are going to measure and monitor progress.
The programme will culminate each year with the HSBC Eco-Code Climate Competition which will encourage the sharing of best practice and the celebration of achievements with other schools around the world.
A 2007 pilot programme involving HSBC and Eco-Schools in Sheffield United Kingdom, assessed by an independent evaluator found that 85 per cent of schools agreed that children learnt new skills from this programme with regards to protecting the environment. (…) http://www.eco-schools.org/news.php?id=45
the Common Good: “The Challenge to
The Conference is convened by four organizations: The Interreligious Engagement Project (IEP21), the Center for Ethics, Loyola University Chicago, the Center for Global Studies at Purdue University Calumet, and Globalisation for the Common Good. (...)
The 2009 Chicago Conference will host several members of the Peace Council, who will help us to focus on the interreligious dimension of globalization for the common good. To learn more about the Council, visit their web site.
Interreligious dialogue, a priority
Written by Administrator
18 May - The Pope’s voyage to the
As for the consequences of the Pope’s voyage on the peace process in the Middle East, card. Tauran declared: “For the Pope, and for the Holy See, peace must be based on justice, with the establishment of two States, and it is essential that the international community commits itself to finding a settlement to the conflict.” Then a reflection on the possibility and willingness to establish peace in the region: “we can reflect on this. The Pope said he had perceived signs of good will. I believe that both sides have understood that they cannot be happy without the others, nor can they live with a wall separating them, literally and figuratively speaking”.
Churches in many countries preparing “World Week” of
action for peace in
May - World Week for Peace in
UNESCO celebrates Cultural Diversity from 11 to 22 May
The numerous cultural events held on and around the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May) at UNESCO Headquarters and elsewhere in the world are meant to underscore not only the intrinsic value of specific cultural productions, but also and above all the fertility of their diversity. Together, they remind us that humanity’s fundamental wealth lies in its diversity. By bringing out what is primordial to the human condition, art is a catalyst for the building of peace in the minds of men.
Givat Haviva’s Arabic newspapers digitized
A 1st project of its kind.
May - A unique and endangered collection of Palestinian newspapers consisting
rare and fragile publications from the early 20th century, stacked in cardboard
boxes at the Givat Haviva
Peace Library, are now available on-line – thanks to state-of-the-art
digitization. Ambassadors, politicians, researchers, international archivists,
artists and other well-known personalities, from
War Child Film selected for 2009
- ‘‘The Silent Army’ - which brings the plight of child soldiers in
notion of media? The 1st Council of Europe
Conference of Ministers responsible for media and new communication services –
22 April - Facing technology developments and the media–related change they trigger in the society, the Council of Europe decided to address fundamental questions that will set the working direction for the coming years to meet these new challenges.
Democracy does not exist without free, independent and diverse media. The social, cultural and technological changes that are occurring today have a dramatic impact on the media. New communication services and media are appearing, whereas the more traditional types of media are exposed to enormous challenges. (...) Studying how these new media are creating new risks and opportunities for the protection of human rights is indispensable.
More information about the Conference http://www.ministerialconference.is/
Reconciliation and the Healing of Nations – The Voices of “We the Peoples…”
A Seminar Held in Observance of World Invocation Day
To Invoke and Evoke Healing Energies for the United Nations and Planet Earth
Are Invited to Participate: Friday, 5
June 2008; 1:00–3:30 p.m. United
Inspired by this year’s UN International Year of Reconciliation, which when first introduced into the General Assembly, was referred to as a vehicle for creating a fraternal human society, based on values such as truth and justice and restoring the unity of humanity, this program will feature keynote talks, sacred music, discussion and meditation.
Since 1952 World Invocation Day has been observed as a global day of spiritual healing.
Sponsoring Organization: Aquarian Age Community.
Co-sponsoring Organizations: Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale; Legion of Good Will; Operation Peace Through Unity; Spiritual Dimensions of Science and Consciousness Working Group; UN Days & Years Meditation Initiative and Other Fellow Supporting Organizations.
2nd European Conference on Plurilingualism -- Berlin/Genshagen, June 18 – 19
The Conference is under the patronage of the
* * * * * * *
Psychological anti-crisis measure: let us be aware that what many do for a better future is already changing the world.
Poverty diminishes as human development increases
by Michele Dotti
It is true that a lot still needs to be done but it is not correct to support the idea that things are getting worse and worse, such an attitude could lead to a risky sense of impotence which represents the first step to resignation and idleness: nonsensical feelings in a moment when the possibility to reach meaningful results for humanity is truly possible, results which were farfetched even for the generation of our grandparents.
Talking about poverty is not
as simple as it may seem. As we intend poverty nowadays, that is a mere synonym
of reduced moneywise capability, is a pretty recent
concept and its being universally true is quite controversial. As Mr. Majid Rahnema has carefully
observed (a member of the Unesco Executive Committee
and a United Nation resident-representative in Mali) “the biggest obstacle to
the examination of the poverty issue lies in the fact that not only this word
has never had the same meaning for everyone, but also that the concept itself
remains a pure social idea impossible to be
defined universally”. In some languages the concept of economical poverty
doesn’t even exist, in the wolof language from
It is not surprising though that several new indexes have been created lately, such as the Human Poverty Index which measures social exclusion, life standard, service quality to try to define poverty in its complexity and diversification as a multi-dimension phenomenon which cannot be related only to the economical aspect. Furthermore, there has been positive talk of “convivial poverty”, “regenerating poverty”, of “frugal life” peculiar to vernacular societies…
Nevertheless if I am now writing this book is because after I fell in sick with malaria- “only” four times in my life, nothing compared to millions of people around the world (even if the last time it is still quite a fresh memory!)-I’ve always had on me a handful of Euros that could guarantee me the life-saving drug; just a small handful which made a big difference! To make a long story short, if I’m able to be here now writing, is also for a fortuitous chain of events I won’t be listing; some of them even so obvious to be erased from one’s memory, but please allow to remind you that if I can read and write is just because my parents were able to send me to school whereas I met so many children in Africa that had stop studying for lack of pens or notebooks and I remember children cutting that last notebook in two and delay that decisive moment for the schoolmate sitting next to them.
After all, even if aware of all the above mentioned observations, I find it hard not to narrow the idea of poverty down to just an economical handicap because for millions of people, especially but not only in the South part of the world, that is exactly what poverty is, that is to find every day a little money in order to survive.
World income since the 1950s has increased 10 times, whereas the growth in the previous 50 years had been less than 4 times; the number of poor people has decreased of 20% in the last 10 years although the world population has increased of 15%. In total, from the ‘50s onwards the number of people living under the poverty level has gone from 50% to less than 25%.
Since poverty has several implications it cannot therefore be measured only in terms of income. To live in poverty means living in a social condition of permanent malnutrition, disastrous living and hygienic conditions, high exposition to viral and parasitic diseases, illiteracy and no decision making, lack of freedom, discrimination, vulnerability and uncertainty.
The World Report on human development published every year since 1990 represents the attempt to measure somehow all these different aspects, giving justice to the complexity of the phenomenon; it contains a highly rich source of information, impossible to be summarized in just a few lines but what strikes out is the huge gap in numbers with the usual publications of the international agencies. Human development is defined as “a process made to widen the field of possibilities open to individuals”.
Experts from the UNDP (United
Nation Development Program), far from measuring wealth only by the parameter of
Gross Internal Product per inhabitant, have developed more sophisticated
instruments to measure the differences of development not only in the world but
also in different areas of the same country. The report from the year 1998 was
enlightening the great developments achieved in the last decades: it was
particularly stressed the fact that “developing countries have achieved, in the
last thirty years, what developed countries had achieved in over a century (…).
Nowadays, in the South part of the world a child is expected to live 16 years
longer than a child born 35 years ago. In the poorest countries life expectation has
doubled in the last 100 years and between the years 1970 and 1992 the
percentage of girls attending primary and junior high has almost doubled, from
38 to 68%. Literacy in grown-ups has gone from 48% in 1970 to 70% in
According to the UNICEF Progress for Children report, from 1990 onwards, more than 1.2 billion of people had access to drinking water. From 1990 to 2004 access to drinking water has gone worldwide from 78 to 83% and the value from 1970 onwards is from 30 to 80%. From 1950 onwards the global malnutrition rate has dropped from 50 to 17% and in total life expectation at birth has grown more than 20 years in the last 40 years and infant mortality has decreased of 50%.
The real challenge for our generation now is to get hold of the concrete chance to “eradicate poverty from our planet” and implement therefore all that is necessary to guarantee to all the brothers of the human family what the United Nations call “basic needs”. In order to guarantee water, health and living conditions to all people in the World, 1% of the global wealth would be enough. A trifle, moneywise, that would however change history.
Extract from the book “It is not true that everything gets worse” written by Michele Dotti and Jacopo Fo, published by EMI 2008. The English version of the book is curated by the author.
Translation by Angela Lombardi.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
Good News Agency is
published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues
are available at www.goodnewsagency.org
Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Maria Grazia Da Damos, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Editorial Secretary: Maria Grazia Da Damos.
Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 4,000 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 49 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to 2,800 NGOs and 500 high schools, colleges and universities.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione
Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale,
a registered 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 Via Antagora 10, 00124
* * * * * * *