Good News Agency – Year X, n° 160


Weekly - Year X, number 160 – 12th September 2009

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.           

 “…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 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 2,800 NGOs and 1,700 high schools, colleges and universities. 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. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.  



International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference: For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!



International legislation



New treaty will leave ‘fish pirates’ without safe haven

91 FAO Members have agreed on an international agreement to implement “port state measures” to combat illegal fishing.

Rome, 1 September - The final text of a new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to vessels involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been agreed upon by a group of 91 countries during talks brokered by FAO, the UN agency announced today. The “Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” will be the first ever global treaty focused specifically on the problem of IUU fishing. It is hoped that the agreement will help block IUU-caught fish from entering international markets, thereby removing an important incentive for some fishermen to engage in illicit fishing. (…)

The Agreement falls under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution, with FAO’s Director-General acting as legal depository for countries’ ratifications. As such, it next will be reviewed by FAO’s Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its next meeting (23-25 September 2009) and from there it will go to FAO’s Council in September and the FAO Conference in November for final review and formal adoption. The substantive work on the treaty may be considered as having been finalized, however. In order to enter into force the Agreement must then be OK’d at the national level. Once 25 States have done so, it will enter into force after 30 days. Regular monitoring of compliance will take place, with a major review scheduled to occur four years after the Agreement takes effect. (...)


EU and Eastern and Southern Africa further trade and development partnership

Grand Baie, Mauritius, 29 August - The European Union has today signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with countries from the Eastern and Southern Africa regional grouping (ESA). These countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Zambia and Comoros have indicated they will sign at a later date. The agreement was signed in Grand Baie, Mauritius, by EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Swedish deputy trade minister Gunnar Wieslander on behalf of the EU. The deal offers the ESA countries that signed the agreement immediate and full access to EU markets (with transition periods for rice and sugar), together with improved rules of origin. ESA countries will open their markets gradually over the next 15 years, with a number of important exceptions reflecting their development needs. (…)


Head of OSCE Mission to Serbia welcomes Parliament’s adoption of new law on national minority councils

Belgrade, 2 September - Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, welcomed today the Serbian Assembly’s adoption of the new Law on National Councils of National Minorities. “We welcome Serbia’s efforts to continue supporting and promoting the rights of national minorities. This long-awaited law will regulate the competencies and elections of national minority councils in line with international standards.” (…)


Costa Rica passes legislation to establish Ministry for Peace

This achievement is timed beautifully with the Fourth Global Summit for Ministries and Departments of Peace this upcoming September 13th-21st in Costa Rica, organized by the Global Alliance and hosted by the Costa Rican government. 

Costa Rica has recently passed through their legislative body a bill to establish a Ministry for Justice and Peace!  This is encouraging news as momentum continues to grow around the world in favor of establishing structures at the highest levels of government that make peace a priority.

Dot Maver, long-time United States Representative to the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace and Co-Director of National Peace Academy said: “The Peace Alliance has helped inspire campaigns around the world as the U.S. working group within the Global Alliance. As the news of a Costa Rican Ministry spreads worldwide, the U.S. campaign continues to play a leading role in the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. There are now three on the planet: Solomon Islands, Nepal and Costa Rica. Momentum is growing and we look forward to the celebration at the upcoming summit.”

The Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments for Peace is a community of dedicated individuals, organisations and autonomous campaigns, supporting their national governments to significantly invest in the development of skills and infrastructure dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict. To learn more about the global efforts, visit:


Scotland lays down climate change gauntlet with world-leading legislation

24 August - Three months ahead of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Scotland has laid down the challenge to governments to take action by approving the most ambitious piece of climate legislation in the world. The ground-breaking law sets vital international precedents and an example for other wealthy nations to follow ahead December’s conference in Copenhagen. “We hope this legislation marks the beginning of a massive shift in priorities for governments across the world,” says Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. (…)

The new legislation enshrines in law Scotland’s obligation to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Other rich countries need to adopt similar cuts to their emissions if catastrophic climate change is to be averted. The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was unanimously voted through the Scottish Parliament on 24th June this year. (…)


Cluster bomb ban on track to become international law soon

Global treaty hits halfway mark as Croatia ratifies ban!

18 August - The international treaty banning cluster bombs has passed the half-way milestone to the 30 ratifications needed for it to become binding international law. The UN confirmed today that Croatia became the fifteenth country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by depositing its legal instrument at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday. (...)

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, signed by 98 nations since December 2008, prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It also requires clearance of areas contaminated by unexploded cluster munitions and establishes ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims of the weapon. A total of 30 signatories must ratify to trigger entry into force of the Convention six months later. Fifteen signatories have ratified to date: Albania, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Holy See, Ireland, Japan, Lao PDR, Luxembourg, Mexico, Niger, Norway, San Marino, Sierra Leone, and Spain. (...)



Human rights



Council of Europe: Hammarberg, human rights talks with the Russian Federation

4 September - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, starts today a week-long visit to the Russian Federation, including the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Ingushetia. During the visit, the Commissioner will meet representatives of the highest Federal and Republic authorities, the Ombudsmen as well as representatives of civil society, to discuss the human rights situation in the respective republics in the light of recent developments. The focus will be on investigations into recent killings of human rights activists. Commissioner Hammarberg will also take stock of other outstanding human rights issues in the North Caucasus in the framework of his ongoing dialogue with the relevant authorities. The Commissioner is also due to speak at a round table in St. Petersburg, organised by the Council of Europe, with the Federal and regional Ombudsmen of the Russian Federation.


Legal experts meet to discuss access to justice in Kosovo

3 September - UNDP’s Access to Justice Project (A2J) hosted a two day workshop at Hotel Afa, Pristina on the topic of legal aid and legal literacy in Kosovo on 31 August and 1 September 2009. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) and the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA).

Approximately forty-five national and international experts on legal literacy and legal aid from a variety of organisations and institutions attended the workshop. The workshop adopted a number of different formats and included presentations, plenary discussions and small group discussion sessions. (...) The key issues raised were the need for a rights-based approach and a capacity development perspective, to support development at organizational and individual levels to provide justice remedies.  It also highlighted the need for greater institutional cooperation on legal aid provision, and innovative methods for improving citizens’ access to information about their legal, constitutional, and human rights; procedures and the legal aid system. (...),26,816


Countries gather to discuss improving disability rights

2 September - Representatives of dozens of countries have gathered today at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the start of a three-day meeting to map out practical ways to strengthen the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million persons with disabilities. The Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will focus on improving rights through national laws and other measures at the country level. 

The Convention, which entered into force in May last year, asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities. So far 142 countries have signed the treaty and 66 have ratified it. The pact’s Optional Protocol allows individuals to petition an international expert body with grievances, and this has been signed by 88 nations and ratified by 44. Participants in this week’s meeting will take part in round-table discussions and informal discussions, and are also expected to devise the basis for a road map for further actions to implement the Convention. (…)


International Day for Tolerance 16 November

In 1996, the General Assembly invited Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public (resolution 51/95 of 12 December). This action came in the wake of the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the Assembly in 1993 (resolution 48/126). The Year had been declared on the initiative of the General Conference of UNESCO. On 16 November 1995, the UNESCO member States had adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year. The 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1), outlines the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.


Third General Conference of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism, 19 20 November 2009

From 19 to 20 November 2009, the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR) will organize its third annual conference in Toulouse (France) under the theme: “Cities against Racism: New Challenges - New Partnerships: Shaping our Future”. 

The Conference is intended to identify best strategies that cities can adopt to counteract racism and discrimination on the basis of the “Ten-Point Plan of Action” of ECCAR and also by taking into account the international economic and political context.

In order to present examples of strategies and actions implemented by European cities and in order to share experiences and stimulate discussion the following four working groups will be organized : Download the programme [PDF, 794 KB] (...) URL_ID=12848&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html



Economy and development



EU Commissioner Potočnik in Africa to boost the science partnership between the African Union and the European Union

Brussels, 4 September - For the first time, EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik will pay an official visit to the African Union and Kenya. From 7 to 9 September, he will hold high-level political meetings and will visit EU-supported research centres in Nairobi (Kenya) and in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia). This visit takes place in the framework of the Science & Technology Partnership established between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) in December 2007. This unique partnership between two continents aims to strengthen African research capacity in the area of science and technology, enabling Africa to produce and to use its own scientific knowledge to address its development challenges and emerge on the global scientific scene. (...)


Raising animals to reduce poverty and hunger in Ecuador

In collaboration with Carla Rossignoli

2 September - Guinea pigs are a centuries-old delicacy for the peoples of the Andes and for more than 100 families in Ecuador, they are a source of income and nutrition, thanks to a project supported by UNDP. In the district of Cevallos, in central Ecuador, most people make their living off the land. This region produces a significant portion of Ecuador’s fruit supply (...). However, continuously falling ash from the nearby Tungurahua volcano, which has been increasingly active since 1999, has taken its toll on the agricultural sector, destroying crops and leaving the soil ill-suited for planting.

Faced with this situation, the community has redirected its efforts towards new livelihoods under the leadership of municipal officials. For the past three years, UNDP has supported the development of one the new initiatives proposed by the community: the modernized production of pigs and guinea pigs. (...) Training centres were created for 22 producers’ associations, focusing on improving the genetic quality of livestock; the proper handling and feeing of animals; the industrialization of production; and the marketing of guinea pigs and pigs to local, national and eventually international consumers. (...)


Summit encourages collaboration between United Nations and faith-based organizations

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 1 September - Nearly 40 leading faith-based organizations (FBOs), including the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in August to discuss the importance of greater cooperation between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and FBOs in order to better meet the needs of the developing world. During the two-day summit, held August 3 and 4, representatives from the attending FBOs emphasized the importance of not only sharing training and knowledge, but also working together to find answers to important issues, including maternal health and gender-based violence. A need for user-friendly, evidence-based information was also highlighted to help faith-based communities in their role as advocates. (...) Topics presented at the roundtable also included humanitarian relief, migration, and women’s empowerment. (...)


Niger: UNDP boosts livelihoods for women and girls

31 August - About 1,200 conflict-affected women and girls in northern Niger are benefiting from an economic recovery assistance programme that will also promote cooperation among previously conflicting communities. Several training sessions involving these women took place in Agadez and Tahoua, North-East of Niamey. The region suffers from both political instability and inequality between men and women. Many of the targeted women are disenfranchised, widowed, displaced or injured. Some have been the victims of rape. These women are for the first time being involved in productive activities. With a UNDP contribution of US$120,000, the women received cheques and training on setting up small businesses and designing strategies for reinsertion and building livelihoods. Working with 48 cooperatives of 25, the women are working on income-generating projects, including in the agriculture sector where they will be encouraged to grow their own food. (...) The Peace Consolidation Project in Air and Azawak (PCPAA) is implemented by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) together with Niger’s High Commissariat for the Restoration of Peace and Ministry of Territorial Administration and Community Development.


Guatemala: Farming for the future

28 August - On a recent worktrip to Guatemala, Executive Director Vivian Stromberg and Program Coordinator Natalia Caruso visited our sister organization, Muixil.

Muixil is a group of 350 Indigenous Ixil women living in the highlands of Guatemala. In the 1980s, the highlands were the epicenter of a genocide against Indigenous Peoples. Today, our partners at Muixil are working to rebuild their families and communities and creating solutions to entrenched poverty and hunger. MADRE is working with the women on a sustainable pig farming project so that they can feed their families and earn income from the sale of pigs.

Nearly $180 billion transferred to Iraq fund, says UN report

26 August - The fund administering proceeds from export sales of petroleum from Iraq has received an influx of nearly $180 billion through the end of last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, acknowledging that an Iraqi-run committee is ready to assume responsibility for the scheme. Oil exports account for just over $165 million of the Development Fund for Iraq, which was established in 2003, the same year the Security Council phased out the oil-for-food programme, under which a sanctions-bound Iraq was allowed to use monitored oil sales revenue for humanitarian purchases. The balance of the oil-for-food funds held under escrow by the UN deposited into the Fund amounted to $10 billion, with a further $1.5 billion deposited as proceeds from frozen assets, according to a report by Mr. Ban to the Council that was made public today. (...) The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), an independent body set up by the Council, has found that the Committee of Financial Experts, set up by Iraq’s Council of Ministers in 2006, is ready to assume oversight responsibilities of the Fund. (...)


Haiti - $10.2 million FAO/IFAD seed scheme yields results

Rome, 20 August - A $10.2 million scheme to distribute and multiply quality seeds in Haiti has significantly increased food production in the Caribbean nation providing cheaper food for the population and boosting farmers’ incomes. Requested by the Haitian government, financed by a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by FAO, the programme was introduced to combat high international food prices.

The situation was made more urgent by a series of deadly tropical storms that hit Haiti exactly a year ago in which farmers lost seeds and crops. With this year’s hurricane season now underway, the programme has also helped boost FAO seed stocks in Haiti so the country will have more quality seeds at hand to distribute should farmers lose their stocks again.

Almost 250 000 smallholder and landless farmers have or will receive adapted quality seeds through the programme, which although only half way completed has already paid for itself many times over. (…) Apart from beans, the project also includes the multiplication of maize, sorghum as well as the propagation of cassava, sweet potato and banana plants. (…)


Microcredit helps cushion Jamaicans in harsh economic times

Kingston, Jamaica, 17 August - Rose Marie Gayle received a US$200 micro loan that helped her expand her small business selling sweets, juice and phone cards outside a high school in Kingston. (…) Rose Marie Gayle’s story shows how access to micro credit can help sustain a small business even during harsh economic times particularly in hard-hit countries like Jamaica. From January 2008 to January 2009, remittance payments from Jamaicans living abroad fell 10 percent, tourism fell by 5 percent and exports plummeted by 13 per cent.

It is particularly in times of economic slowdown that the most vulnerable businesses and people need support, said Machel Stewart, Poverty Reduction Programme Specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jamaica. Studies show that microcredit is effective in times of crisis, either by helping keep small business running, avoiding job losses; or as an alternative for those who lost their jobs due to the recession: it is a possibility to start a micro business a chance to reinvent oneself.

UNDP is playing a key coordinating role in the response to the crisis in Jamaica, mobilizing resources for rapid deployment of assistance to those most affected by the fallout. That has made $170 million available there, to support development interventions to strengthen small enterprises, create job opportunities and bolster social programs. (…)






Save the Children launches emergency response to assist children and families in Indonesia

Westport, Conn., USA, 3 September - Save the Children is deploying an emergency response team and preparing to distribute relief items to children and families affected by the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck off the western coast of Java on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The earthquake damaged more than 25,000 homes in Tasikmalaya and neighboring towns, according to the Indonesian government. The quake killed at least 57 people, caused landslides burying at least one village and damaged infrastructure. Save the Children, which launched humanitarian responses to the Yogyakarta earthquake of 2006 and to the 2004 South Asia tsunami, had relief items pre-positioned near the earthquake’s impact area and plans to begin distributions to help families through the aftermath of the crisis. (...)


Indonesia: Red Cross volunteers respond to West Java earthquake

Cici Riesmasari, IFRC Communications Officer in Jakarta

3 September - In the wake of the strong earthquake that struck western Java on the afternoon of 2 September, staff and volunteers of the Indonesian Red Cross were deployed immediately to provide emergency relief to survivors.

The 7.4 earthquake impacted 12 districts and municipalities in West Java. Tasikmalaya, Cianjur, Garut, and Bandung were the worst affected. According to the authorities 46 people died while hundreds have left their homes overnight, fearful of returning due to aftershocks. In Cianjur, the earthquake was followed by a deadly landslide which has left more than 40 people missing.

The Indonesian Red Cross or Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) has dispatched 1,500 family tents, 3,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 blankets and sleeping mats as well as 1,000 hygiene kits to the affected areas.(...) In Tasikmalaya and Cianjur branch, Red Cross volunteers evacuated people and provided first aid for survivors. PMI Bandung branch erected platoon tents in Pangalengan sub-district, and distributed blanket to the survivors. Meanwhile in Garut, clean water was distributed to people in Pameungpeuk sub-district. (...)


Rotary, Google join forces

by Donna Polydoros

Rotary International News, 31 August - Rotary has teamed up with Google to make nearly 100 years of The Rotarian available free online. Full-color, searchable scans of all issues of the magazine from 1959 to 2008 are now available through Google Books, with more issues to follow. The site is accessible from The Rotarian’s page on the RI Web site. Users can select from a gallery of issues organized by decade or click “Search all issues” to search the entire catalog for a word or phrase. The collaboration is part of an initiative to make Rotary’s historical resources more accessible to Rotarians worldwide. (...) More than 72,000 pages will be available once Google finishes scanning and uploading all 1,100 issues. The first issue was published in January 1911, when the magazine was called The National Rotarian.

Some issues of interest include December 1979, which reported on Rotary’s first polio immunization project; the February 2005 centennial issue; and issues from the 1980s discussing the admission of women into Rotary.


Back To School: nearly 500 Vietnamese landmine families receive Clear Path International support to send their children back to school

30 August - (...) 52 children from landmine-affected families in Dong Ha town (...) received special scholarships from CPI at the school on Aug. 21 as the organization conducted the last round of assistance ceremonies at the start of the new school year. Sadly, Tran Phuong Nhu was a last-minute addition. In all, 482 students in nine districts from four provinces north and south of the former Demilitarized Zone at the 17th parallel received CPI scholarships this year. The scholarship grants are for elementary to high school students who were injured by accidents with unexploded ordnance (UXO) or (...) whose family members sustained injuries from such accidents. UXO accidents still happen almost every week in central Vietnam.

Each scholarship grant worth about $35 covers most of the minimum tuition even the poorest families have to pay the public schools. CPI also awards special uniform and materials packages to mine-affected students with the best grades. One hundred and twenty nine, or more than a quarter, of the 482 students this year received such gifts in recognition to their tireless efforts to overcome their challenges at home and at school. (...)



Peace and security



62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference, 9 11 September, Mexico City 

The 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference is being held in Mexico City under the banner “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!”. Participants from around the world will gather from 9 to 11 September, 2009, to discuss how they can contribute to reducing arms while advancing peace. The current global economic and food crises have necessitated a realignment of the world’s financial resources. This can only be enhanced by effect comprehensive disarmament.

The DPI/NGO Conference is the main NGO event of the year at the United Nations. It typically attracts 2,000 representatives from some 90 countries. This year’s conference is organized by a partnership of the U.N. Department of Public Information in cooperation with the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, the Government of Mexico, and the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs. For the second time in its six-decade history, the Conference is held outside the United Nations New York Headquarters. (...)

(See the article at the end of this issue for a complete review of the event.)


Timor-Leste: UN marks ten years since historic vote for independence

4 September - The United Nations mission in Timor-Leste today marked ten years since the historic UN-organized referendum that led to the independence of the South-east Asian nation. (...) During today’s ceremony, attended by President Jose Ramos-Horta, 100 Timorese UN staff members who have served the world body continuously since 1999 received awards in recognition of their service. It was just one of a series of events held this week around the country to mark the occasion, along with the inaugural Tour de Timor cycling race, peace festivals and concerts.


Rehabilitation of children from Gaza

20 August - President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr. Danilo Türk visited Ramallah on 30 January 2009 and met with President Mahmud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other Palestinian leaders where they discussed on humanitarian needs in Gaza and the possibilities of Slovenia to provide meaningful and focused humanitarian assistance. Upon the initiative of President of Slovenia for humanitarian assistance to Gaza, International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) together with Institute for Rehabilitation of the Republic of Slovenia (IRRS) and some other non-governmental organization prepared possible projects for this purpose, that included clearance of unexploded remnants of war, technical assistance in battle area clearance as well as physical and mental rehabilitation and capacity building for the experts in the field of rehabilitation.

Following the decision of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Health, which is one of the founding ministries to the ITF, donated 146,000.00 EUR for the project of rehabilitation of children from Gaza. (…) United States of America donated 140,434.41 USD and South Korea donated 20,000.00 USD (...). Interest to support the project was also indicated by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and many private donors from Slovenia, with whom ITF continues to talk. (...)


Ratification of UN-backed nuclear treaty nears milestone of 150 countries

19 August - The total number of countries that have ratified the United Nations-backed Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has inched closer to 150 after Liberia ratified the agreement this week. Liberia’s ratification on Monday brings the total number of countries having ratified the CTBT to 149, according to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

The West African nation’s move also means that the pact has 51 signatures and 37 ratifications out of the 53 countries on the continent, where the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, went into effect last month.

To date, 181 States worldwide have signed the pact, which was adopted by the General Assembly in September 1996 to ban any nuclear-test explosions anywhere.

It will enter into force 180 days after all 44 of the States mentioned in Annex 2 of the Treaty - those which possessed nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology at the time it opened for signature in 1996 - have ratified it. So far, 35 of these nations, including France, Russia and the United Kingdom, have ratified it, but China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States and Iran, among other nations, have not.

In September, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to chair a meeting of the Security Council focusing on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the CTBT.


United States contributing $6 million to support demining in northern Sri Lanka

by US Embassy, Colombo,

19 August - The U.S. Government is contributing an additional $6 million for demining activities in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to help people displaced by the conflict return to their homes as quickly as possible. This funding, through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (State/PMWRA), was granted to four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) currently working on demining activities in Sri Lanka. This additional funding is allowing the demining NGOs to increase their demining capacity and expand their work over the next twelve months. The demining process includes initial assessments of the land where mines may have been planted, technical surveys of minefields, clearing of mines and the destruction of unexploded ordinance. (...)


Global Summit of Ministries & Departments of Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica, Sept. 13-21

2009 theme: Building Bridges of Peace

This will be the fourth international summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. Founded in 2004, the Global Alliance is a worldwide community of civil society organizations, committed citizens and government officials from 35 countries, working to establish governmental structures that support a culture of peace. The Costa Rican government, which is co-sponsoring the summit, has recently established a Ministry of Justice and Peace.

The goal of the Summit is to expand the Global Alliance network by involving highly-qualified Summit participants from at least 40 countries, who are motivated to develop peace infrastructure in their home governments.


The International Day of Peace - September 21 - to be observed worldwide

Global and local observance planned in every UN nation state

This year’s annual global observance of the International Day of Peace, September 21 is capturing the attention of people, communities and nations worldwide.  Based on last year’s reports, it is estimated that there will be over 10,000 events on the planet this year, sponsored by thousands of organizations, and that over 200 million people will participate.  These will range from ceasefires, during which humanitarian aide is administered, to religious and interfaith services.  They will include educational activities and volunteer programs; government proclamations, media events, and many types of activities by human rights, environmental, cultural and civic groups to draw attention to their particular aspect of ‘peacebuilding’.

There will be large-scale celebrations in cities such as Sydney, Okinawa, Amsterdam, Tehran, Geneva, Paris, London, Montreal, Havana, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu as well as in countries as diverse as Costa Rica, Dubai, India, Uganda, Lebanon, Turkey, Argentina and The Philippines.

Created in 1981 by unanimous resolution of the United Nations, the observance of the International Day of Peace has grown exponentially in recent years and now reaches every level of society. In addition to UN activities, thousands of international and grassroots organizations create events to promote their particular aspects of peacebuilding. Many of these organizations work with The Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI ), a UN designated Peace Messenger Initiative with over 3,000 affiliated organizations.  For more information please visit:  and






World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September 2009

World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.

With the sponsoring International Association for Suicide Prevention, WHO and other partners advocate for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicides in the media.

At the global level, awareness needs to be raised that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. Governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programmes and activities in communities.


The 5th International Conference will be held from 7-10 September 2010 in Røros, Norway is an international network of decision-makers, researchers and professionals responsible for the prevention of accidents and trauma at work. It is supported by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. wants to bring accident prevention experts together in order to facilitate the exchange of information and experience between different countries and sectors. It consists of an Internet platform,, and a biannual conference.

The main theme of the conference is ‘On the road to vision zero?’ Related to this topic, the main focus will be on the prevention of accidents at work, and especially on the understanding and prevention of occupational accidents; however, major accidents resulting in loss of lives and health in industry and transportation are also within the scope of the conference.


SHIELD helps make recent medical mission to the Philippines a success

3 September - ACDI/VOCA-trained community health action teams (CHATs) provided needed assistance and supplies during a recent three-day USAID medical mission to the remote island of Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi, Philippines. The CHATs mobilized the community and assisted the medical team, resulting in 930 out-patient consultations, 80 minor surgeries, 50 cataract operations, 404 tooth extractions, 150 malaria blood smears and 49 tuberculosis sputum examinations.

ACDI/VOCA organizes the CHAT health volunteers under its USAID-funded Sustainable Health Improvement through Empowerment and Local Development (SHIELD) project. Because of SHIELD’s work with revitalizing the local health board, the mission team was able to distribute over $100,000 worth of supplies, including drugs for tuberculosis and family planning, which are difficult to come by in the remote areas. Private health operators are almost nonexistent in remote villages. (...) SHIELD works to provide people in these remote villages with better access to medicine and medical treatment.


MSF teams respond to diarrhea outbreak in Ethiopia

2 September - Since August 19, joint Ministry of Health and MSF teams have been providing medical care to patients with acute watery diarrhea in and around the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In collaboration with Ethiopian health authorities, MSF has set up a total of eight treatment facilities within Ministry of Health structures in the city. These treatment facilities are located in Yekatit 12 hospital, Ras Desta hospital, Zewditu hospital, Sint Petros hospital, Akaki health centre, Kaliti health centre, Bole and Kotebe Youth centre.

In total 5,178 patients have been cared for by medical teams from August 19 to 31 in Addis Ababa, of whom five have died. This very low mortality rate has been achieved thanks to the quick mobilisation of the Ethiopian health authorities and MSF. Over the last few days, the number of daily admissions to these treatment facilities has been decreasing.


Pennies for Polio pays big dividends for Rotary's challenge

Rotarians celebrate the success of Pennies for Polio at District 7120's annual conference

By Dan Nixon 

Rotary International News, 27 August - To Michael Leone, 2008-09 governor of District 7120 (New York, USA), the idea of inviting children to help protect other children against polio made perfect sense. So when Leone and Past District Governor Michael Popolizio went to work planning Pennies for Polio in support of Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge, they envisioned basing the fundraiser in the area's schools.

After receiving the support of the district Rotary Foundation committee and district advisory council, Leone presented Pennies for Polio to the club presidents in January through a letter, PolioPlus fact sheet, and PowerPoint presentation. Fifty-eight Rotary clubs and 30 Interact clubs helped the project get underway in March and April by placing Pennies for Polio collection jars in schools throughout the district. School fundraisers lasted one to two weeks, with many featuring competitions among grade levels and a pizza party for the winning grade.

The Rotary Club of Honeoye Falls-Mendon produced a video about polio to show in local elementary schools and printouts for teachers to use with students in the classroom. "The teachers used the project to teach children about world health issues and how polio once plagued the United States," says Honeoye Falls-Mendon club member Tracy Main. "To my amazement, the children raised over $5,000 in 10 days."

Pennies for Polio tallied more than $100,000 in all for Rotary's challenge. (…)


Interrupting polio transmission - Independent evaluation under way

Teams deployed to countries

25 August - The work of the independent evaluation of the major barriers to interrupting polio transmission is well underway, and team leaders are expected to present their recommendations to the Oversight Committee at the end of September. Five fully-constituted sub-teams have been formed, four travelling to the remaining endemic countries - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan - with the final team considering issues relating to wild poliovirus’ international spread. (...) The sub-team chairs will be meeting in mid-September to consolidate their findings and prepare their report, which will be submitted to an Oversight Committee by the end of September. This report will then be presented and discussed at the relevant Technical Advisory Group meetings at global and national level in the latter part of 2009.

The evaluation was requested by WHO’s Executive Board in January, two years after the start of the ‘Intensified Eradication Effort’. (...)


Hilton humanitarian prize awarded to PATH

Hilton Foundation awards world’s largest humanitarian prize to Seattle-based global health organization for its commitment to lifesaving technologies for the developing world

Seattle, WA, USA, 18 August - PATH, a nonprofit organization that uses innovative technologies and solutions to solve global health problems, has been selected to receive the 2009 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation presents the annual award, the world’s largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering. The prize will be presented on September 21 in Washington, DC, with keynote speaker Muhammad Yunus, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of the Grameen Bank, and former Hilton Prize juror.

Since its inception in 1977, PATH has worked to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors. PATH currently works in more than 70 countries in the areas of health technologies, maternal and child health, reproductive health, vaccines and immunization, and emerging and epidemic diseases. (...)


Nigeria completes vaccination campaigns with trivalent vaccine

10 August- Nigeria has completed its most recent immunization campaigns on 4 August. While Nigeria is the only country in the world with three types of poliovirus in circulation (wild types 1 and 3, vaccine-derived type 2), initial reports from the recent campaign indicate improvements, tallying with the progress the country has made in significantly reducing transmission of type 1 wild poliovirus. (…)

Nigeria has witnessed an increasing number of polio cases due to a type 2 cVDPV. Circulation of this serotype is of particular international concern as the last case of polio due to a type 2 wild poliovirus was in 1999. In response to these risks, Nigeria has conducted nationwide polio supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) with trivalent OPV in May and August. (...)



Energy and safety



US Vice President Biden announces finalized $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra

Recovery Act funding will accelerate job creation and help expand marketplace for innovative solar electric panels

Fremont, CA, USA, 4 September – US Vice President Joe Biden, appearing via satellite from Washington D.C., today announced the Department of Energy has finalized a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, Inc., which manufactures innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels that provide clean, renewable energy. The funding will finance construction of the first phase of the company’s new manufacturing facility. Annual production of solar panels from the first phase is expected to provide energy equivalent to powering 24,000 homes a year or over half a million homes over the project’s lifetime. Solyndra estimates the new plant will initially create 3,000 construction jobs, and lead to as many as 1,000 jobs once the facility opens. Hundreds more will install Solyndra’s solar panels on rooftops around the country. (…)


Flick The Switch A simple action but a very powerful one!

3 September - (...) Flick The Switch is a stimulating energy saving campaign aimed at primary and secondary schools and households across Europe. Through a series of fun and educational activities, students, teachers and parents are able to take practical actions in helping their schools and homes save energy, money and help the environment! Flick The Switch registered schools are offered access to a wide range of didactic resources on energy efficiency, educational and fun materials for students and have the opportunity to participate in the energy saving competitions. Visit the Flick The Switch Website at: to see how you can get involved in this worthwhile and innovative initiative. If you are a school, you can register now to participate, under the Campaign Section of our website! Let’s Flick together!

The Eco-Schools Programme is a part of the Flick the Switch campaign, implementing it directly through Eco-Schools Slovakia/FEE Slovakia and Association of Environmental Education in Slovenia/FEE Slovenia.!


Steady European market for wind turbines in 2009

21 August - New research by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) estimates that 8,600 MW of new wind energy capacity will be installed in the EU-27 in 2009: an annual growth rate of 1% compared to 2008 installations. In 2008 wind energy, with 8,484 MW installed, was the largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the EU. This would take the EU’s cumulative installed capacity to 73,535 MW, up from 2008’s cumulative capacity of 64,935 MW.

The forecast is encouraging in a year where the financial crisis has affected most industries and where electricity demand is declining in tune with overall economic activity.

“I am pleasantly surprised by the research results. They show that the underlying demand for wind energy technology is currently strong enough to make up for project delays caused by many banks’ continued reluctance to provide project finance. Although the outlook for 2009 is encouraging, the real test of the wind energy sector’s ability to withstand the financial crisis will be 2010,” commented Christian Kjaer, EWEA Chief Executive. (…)[tt_news]=1620&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1588&cHash=579d310876



Environment and wildlife



Ganges Expedition” gateway for water campaigns - Green Cross

New Delhi, 10 September - Green Cross International (GCI) supports the “Ganges Expedition” by the Swiss adventurer Andy Leemann as it will be an invaluable tool to support one of its primary focus activities - water campaigns.

The Ganges Expedition is a unique project supported by AB Inflatables, Green Cross International and Kuoni. On 14 September 2009, an international team of specialists starts traveling the entire length of India’s national river - 2 500 kilometers from its source to the delta. The journey commences on foot and then on boats - drawing attention to the environmental threats in and around the river and the need for sustainable solutions.

Water is a priority area of work for the GCI, not only to prevent conflict among States that share river water resources, but also to facilitate access to clean and safe drinking water to the needy populations. Ganges is both an important international and national river. It supports some of the most densely populated regions of India along its 2500 kilometre stretch.

Mapping the current state of this river through photographs and video footage will provide an invaluable resource to support efforts aimed at restoring its health. It will also provide a good reference point for likely changes in the near future expected to be caused by Climate change. (…)

For more information on GCI, please our visit website:


Broadcasters unite in fight against climate change

Paris, 7 September - Broadcasters from around the world have joined forces to combat climate change, acknowledging their essential role as opinion influencers and urging the industry to set quantifiable targets for a reduced carbon footprint. Participants representing around 1000 broadcasters agreed upon the “The Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media and Climate Change,” which will strengthen regional and international collaboration, and encourage production and dissemination of audiovisual content to give a voice to marginalized populations affected by climate change.

Delegates at the first ever UNESCO Broadcast Media and Climate Change conference in Paris (France) on 4-5 September came together to consider a global consensus on climate change, and to facilitate the use of materials between developing and developed country broadcasters. (...)


Green Cross Italy to promote UN Declaration of Environmental Rights

4 September - Green Cross Italy sponsors an international conference, Rock Inside 2009: Environmental Law, on 5 September at Bibiena Theatre Academy in Mantua, Italy. It seeks to promote the concept of a UN Universal Declaration on Environmental Rights.

Rock Inside is an Independent Non-profit Association that promotes the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, culture, art and music as a means of reducing confrontation and promoting intercultural dialogue. It also promotes initiatives that support the environment. The themes of the conference are: Crime against Environment, Crime against Humanity; Amazon: the second destruction of green areas; China: 100 ecological cities; and promoting sustainability in Italy.

The Mantua event is being held under the patronage of the Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits presided by Mikhail Gorbachev and Walter Veltroni. Nobel Peace Laureates Betty Williams and Lech Walesa will be taking part in the conference, as will scores of other political decision-makers, scientists, journalists and non-governmental organizations.


Kathmandu to Copenhagen: A Regional Climate Change Conference

31 August - The Government of Nepal is hosting a Regional Climate Conference titled “Kathmandu to Copenhagen,” from August 31 to September 1, 2009. It will bring together Ministers, high level officials, climate change experts, and key civil society members around the theme of climate change and the South Asian Himalayas. The conference is supported by ADB, DANIDA, DFID, and the World Bank. (...)

The primary objectives of this conference are to: (i) provide a forum for the countries of the South Asia Himalayas and other countries in the region to share knowledge and experience about common climate change risks; and (ii) forge a common vision on how to tackle the Himalayan climate challenges. The Conference is expected to contribute to thinking about climate change threats and opportunities for South Asia including to discussions in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and AWG-Kyoto Protocol. (...),,contentMDK:22294548~menuPK:51062075~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html


WWF welcomes fading of Europe’s incandescent glow

Brussels, Belgium, 28 August - WWF welcomes the ban on inefficient incandescent light bulbs, coming into effect in the EU from 1 September, but it says that equally energy wasting light bulbs like standard halogens should also be removed from the market. The phase-out ban voted by Member States in December 2008 will remove all conventional incandescent bulbs from the shelves by 2012 and save 15 million tons of CO2 annually by 2020, equivalent to the entire current electricity consumption of Romania per year. (...)

The traditional incandescent bulb is one of the least efficient ways of producing light, along with the standard halogen. It disperses 95% of the energy it uses. The alternatives to energy wasting bulbs are most efficient halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs. WWF together with other organisations has launched a web portal ( to inform consumers about the most energy-efficient appliances and lighting equipment across Europe.(…)


Wonder tree could be one answer to food scarcity in Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, 28 August - The World Agroforestry Congress held at the UN’s Africa headquarters in Nairobi has offered some tree-planting solutions which could help the African continent deal with climate change and also provide a long-term solution to the continent’s food scarcity problems.  Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted some of the centre’s most recent research, which is designed to increase maize production in Africa by up to four times by planting trees that act as organic fertilizers. (...)

Garrity told the Congress the secret to higher maize yields lay in a tree called Faidherbia. This tree has a special nitrogen-fixing property and an unusual habit known as “reverse leaf phenology”. Unlike other trees, Faidherbia sheds its leaves and goes dormant during the early rainy season. Its leaves grow again only in the dry season. This means that it is extremely compatible with food crops because it does not compete with them for water, nutrients or light. According to the Agroforestry Centre, farmers in Malawi testify the tree is like a “fertilizer factory in the field”, as it takes nitrogen from the air, fixes it in the leaves and subsequently incorporates it into the soil.

The Agroforestry Centre’s research showed that in Malawi maize yields increased by 280 per cent in the zone under the tree canopy compared with the zone outside the tree canopy. In Zambia, unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of Faidherbia trees averaged 4.1 tonnes per hectare, compared to 1.3 tonnes nearby but beyond the tree canopy. (...)


Himalayan expedition to record climate change effects

Geneva, 14 August - In partnership with Green Cross International, the  Pax Arctica - Himalayas Expedition 2009” will help record changes in the Himalayan glaciers that feed seven of Asia’s greatest rivers. The Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huange supply water to about 40 per cent of the world’s population. The Himalayan expedition from 15-30 August will lead a team of Young Ambassadors to Nepal to witness changes in lakes and glaciers in the Hinku region, just south of Mt. Everest.

The glaciers of the Himalayas store more ice than anywhere on Earth except for the polar regions and Alaska.  But they are receding 10-15 m per year on average - the rate is accelerating as global warming increases. The Pax Arctica - Himalayas expedition is under the patronage of the government of Nepal (…) Findings from the Himalayan expedition, including pictures of glaciers and lakes, will form part of the inputs to the Climate conference in Copenhagen later this year.

For more information on Pax Arctica and the expedition: - 16 - Sagax The Pax Arctica Himalayas 2009.html



Religion and spirituality



Olav Fykse Tveit elected World Council of Churches general secretary

27 August - Norwegian theologian and pastor Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, 48, was elected 7th general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Thursday 27 August during its Central Committee meeting. Tveit will be the youngest general secretary since Willem A. Visser ‘t Hooft who had led the WCC while it was in process of formation and following its founding assembly 61 years ago. “This task I really feel is the call of God. I feel that we have a lot to do together”, said Tveit in his acceptance speech before the central committee. He stressed the spirit of unity that dominated the whole process and expressed hope that it will continue to reign in the common journey. (...) Since 2002, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has been the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. Tveit is a member of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission and the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway. (...)

The WCC brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world.


Christians and Muslims in Western Africa committed to peace

21 August - Christian and Muslim leaders from Western Africa have called on the followers of their two religions “to complement each others efforts for peace in society and peaceful co-existence” among the faith communities at a meeting organized by the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA) in Accra, Ghana, 24 July 2009. They also underscored that religious leaders should “be politically impartial and refrain from partisan politics so as to ensure that [they] play effective roles as agents of peace, justice and reconciliation.”

The WCC president from Africa, Rev. Dr Simon Dossou of the Protestant Methodist Church in Benin, was one of sixty Muslim and Christian clerics from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo, as well as representatives of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and the Fellowship of Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA), to endorse the statement.


Doing the Truth in Love: an evangelical call for response to Caritas in Veritate

18 August - Recent global events awaken us to the importance of sustained Christian reflection on the nature and goal of economic life, both within our own societies and in other parts of the world. Accordingly, as evangelical Protestants we applaud the release of Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) by Pope Benedict XVI. We call on Christians everywhere, but especially our fellow evangelicals in the global North, to read, wrestle with, and respond to Caritas in Veritate and its identification of the twin call of love and truth upon our lives as citizens, entrepreneurs, workers and, most fundamentally, as followers of Christ. (...)

With Caritas in Veritate, we commit ourselves not to be the “victims” of globalization, but to be its “protagonists” - to work for global solidarity, economic justice, and the common good, as norms that transcend and transform the motives of economic profit and technical progress. We call for serious dialogue among all Christians and with many others to make these goals practical realities.


Inter Faith Week, 15 21 November 2009

Inter Faith Week will run from 15 to 21 November. Its aims are: to strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels; to increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and to increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious belief.

The Week is being facilitated by the Inter Faith Network for the UK and the Department for Communities and Local Government but will be community-led, with local people and groups of different backgrounds holding their own events and to highlight work going on to promote understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs.



Culture and education



Bullying on the rise in Mongolia; ADRA helps kids be part of the solution

Silver Spring, Md., USA, 1 September - While cases of bullying, gender-based violence and other related issues are increasing in Mongolia, limited understanding and research still exists on how to effectively curb these problems, reported the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). A recent program instituted by ADRA Mongolia is successfully helping instigators become part of the solution.

The Acting on Gender-violence Awareness through Peer Education (AGAPE) project is an ongoing program that is helping to halt bullying and other violence-related behaviors in primary schools in the capital Ulan Bator’s low-income areas, due to the higher rates of bullying and other forms of youth violence reported there. “We teach children how to deal with their problems in a constructive way, and how to resolve conflicts between them in a peaceful manner,” said Carly Fletcher of ADRA Mongolia. The project also trains peer educators and adult educators with essential life-skills, teaching them how to communicate better and be more tolerant of others. (...)


Africa: Africare among first NGOs to develop iPhone App

1 September - Africare, the largest and oldest U.S. development organization focused solely on Africa, has launched an exciting new marketing campaign - Pass It On! - to highlight stories of people overcoming major issues on the African continent, issues such as unsafe drinking water, food insecurity, and the growing number of children orphaned by AIDS.

Taking an integrated approach, Pass It On! combines traditional Washington, DC, king size bus posters and back-lit Metro dioramas with “viral” social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the internet, along with one of the very first iPhone applications approved for non-profits. (…) Among its many features, the application includes a photo gallery, video and a “Click to Donate” button, from which a person can use his or her phone bill to contribute.  To date, only three such applications have been created.

The Pass It On! campaign will use the new iPhone app to promote 16 featured individuals who are ready to tell you their story in a format that is ready to “pass on” to a friend or someone you know through video, social networks, e-mail and many hand-held devices. (...)


GlobalGiving, Intel and CARE to support quality education around the world

New project in rural Egypt extends CARE’s power within program.

Washington, D.C., 1 September - In the spirit of “back to school,” GlobalGiving and Intel announced they are working with CARE on the first project being supported by the Technology for Education Fund. Through a $45,000 grant from the Fund, CARE will deliver new technology and training to teachers and approximately 13,000 students - more than half girls - living in rural Egypt.

The grant to CARE represents the official launch of the Technology for Education Fund. The Fund campaign aims to raise a total of $100,000 to support programs in developing countries that will use technology to enhance the quality of education. To date, Intel has contributed $50,000 to the Fund, and hopes to attract additional donors interested in supporting high-impact educational initiatives in impoverished communities. GlobalGiving, the leading marketplace for philanthropy, is providing the online platform through which donors can support the Fund (; as an incentive, Intel is offering $15,000 to match - dollar for dollar - individual donations to the Fund through the end of 2009. (...)


UNESCO issues voluntary sex education guidelines to help young people

Over 5 million young people are living with HIV worldwide and nearly half of all new infections occur among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

27 August - New voluntary sexuality education guidelines have been issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to help young people learn how to protect themselves against HIV and against abuse and exploitation. The International Guidelines on Sexuality Education also arms educators with guidance on how children and youth can acquire the knowledge to prevent unintended pregnancies and transmission of sexually-transmitted infections. (…) Drawing on dozens of studies conducted around the world, they are designed to help education, health and other authorities developing and implementing school-based sexuality education programmes and materials.

The guidelines are organized around six key concepts: relationships; values, attitudes and skills; culture, society and law; human development; sexual behaviour; and sexual and reproductive health. (…)


SIGNIS World Congress 2009: Workshops on Children and Media – Thailand, 17-21 October

Brussels, 26 August (SIGNIS) - The SIGNIS World Congress 2009 to be held in Chiang Mai will include 16 workshops for media professionals from different audiovisual areas. In accordance with the Congress’ theme «Media for a Culture of Peace - Children’s Rights, Tomorrow’s Promise», some of the workshops will be directed towards the relationship between children and the media.

The SIGNIS World Congress 2009 will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 17 to 21 October 2009. Hundreds of communication professionals from all over the world are expected at the Congress built around three strands: Global Issues on Human Rights and Children’s Rights, Emerging Perspectives on Media and Social Transformation and The Challenges of Growing Up in a Digital Age.


Earth Charter - New project to develop indicators for values-based educational experiences

21 August - The ECI Secretariat joined a consortium of organizations and research institutions in a two-year research project to develop indicators to measure values components of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) projects. (...) The research work and coordination of the project is carried out by the University of Brighton (UK) and Charles University (Czech Republic). They will work in collaboration with several CSOs (civil society organizations) to learn about their projects and experiences and will guide the process to develop the indicators and assessment tools. These will help participating CSOs to measure their impact and effectiveness in achieving their project’s goals. (...) For more information click here


The 2009 State of the Future is now available

This “report card on the future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,700 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations. The 2009 State of the Future comes in two parts: a 100-page print executive summary and an attached CD containing about 6,700 pages of research behind the print edition and the Millennium Project’s 13 years of cumulative research and methods. It is produced by the Millennium Project with its 32 Nodes (groups of futurists and organizations) around the world, which collects, feeds back, and assesses insights from creative and knowledgeable people on emerging crises, opportunities, strategic priorities, and the feasibility of actions.

A paragraph of the Executive Summary, which can be downloaded freely, says:

“After 13 years of the Millennium Project’s global futures research, it is increasingly clear that the world has the resources to address its challenges. Coherence and direction has been lacking. But recent meetings of the U.S. and China, as well as of NATO and Russia, and the birth of the G-20 plus the continued work of the G-8 promise to improve global strategic collaboration. It remains to be seen if this spirit of cooperation can continue and if decisions will be made on the scale necessary to really address the global challenges discussed in this report.”

Invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its Member States, and civil society. - Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations


New Earth Charter channel in YouTube

The Earth Charter International Secretariat has recently launched a video channel on YouTube.

The channel address is, and it currently features 37 videos about the Earth Charter in a variety of languages. The videos include advertisements and introductory videos about the Earth Charter, information about various Earth Charter related activities around the world and interviews with individuals such as Ruud Lubbers, Leonardo Boff, David Korten, Maria Novo, Moacir Gadotti, Edgar Gonzalez and many others.

Our channel, called ECInternational, also lists a number of our favorite videos related to the Earth Charter and provides links to our subscribers and friends. (...)

With this channel, we hope groups from around the world will: be stimulated to record and post short videos sharing their experiences in working with the Earth Charter, learn from one another and use in workshops or as an educational resource.


UMAPAZ spearheading Earth Charter Teacher Training Programme in schools of Sao Paulo

Since 2007, UMAPAZ (the Open University of Environment and a Culture of Peace) has operated an awareness raising and educational programme in schools of Sao Paulo, Brazil and will offer an Earth Charter Action course starting this August 2009. The purpose of the programme is to promote the values and principles of the Earth Charter within the municipal education network - contributing with the understanding of the sustainability vision and of social-environmental issues. UMAPAZ functions under the Environment Secretary of the city government of Sao Paulo and this teacher training programme is part of the implementation of an agreement between this Secretary and the Secretary of Education (Secretaria Municipal de Educação [SME]) of the city of Sao Paulo. For more information click here.


Indigenous community goes digital with high-tech support from WIPO

Geneva, 5 August - In a community ceremony, under the shade of an acacia tree, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) formally handed over digital recording equipment to Chief Kisio and other elders of the Maasai community, at Il Ngwesi, Laikipia, Kenya to assist the Maasai people in preserving and documenting their rich cultural heritage. Some 200 members of the community participated in the ceremony in late July.

This marked a milestone in a pilot program initiated by WIPO to help indigenous communities document and preserve their own cultural traditions while simultaneously managing their intellectual property interests. (…) The IP training component of the program enables the community to make informed decisions about how to manage intellectual property assets in a way that corresponds with its values and development goals. The program also stimulates creativity within the community, can promote local economic and cultural development and helps to bridge the “digital divide”, key objectives of both the Millennium Development Goals and WIPO’s Development Agenda. (...)



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62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference:

For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!

 9 - 11 September 2009, Mexico City, Mexico


Lesley Vann, Good News Agency’s Publisher Representative to the UNDPI


This year the 62nd Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference took place on 9 - 11 September 2009, in Mexico City. The Conference, "For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!" mobilized civil society’s attention, in response to the momentum that has arisen across the disarmament agenda. Civil society leaders, experts and United Nations speakers from around the world gathered to discuss how they could contribute to reducing arms while advancing peace. Current global economic and food crises have necessitated a realignment of the world’s financial resources. Conference participants heard why these crises could only be mitigated by comprehensive disarmament.


The DPI/NGO Conference was the main NGO event of the year at the United Nations. It attracted approximately 2,000 representatives from some 90 countries, who gathered to examine effective ways in which civil society can contribute to the advancement of disarmament, peace and development at the international, regional, national and local levels. This year’s conference was organized by a partnership of the U.N. Department of Public Information in cooperation with the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, the Government of Mexico, and the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.


Since its inception, the United Nations has staunchly stood behind the belief that peace and security for all peoples can be possible only through disarmament – both nuclear and conventional. The General Assembly held its first special session on Arms Regulation and Disarmament in 1978. For the first time in history, the international community achieved consensus on a comprehensive disarmament strategy.


Some 31 years later we once again come together to recognize the undeniable fact that there can be no winners in war and violence -- and that it is only through peaceful resolutions that we can truly build solutions to conflicts. As preparations are made for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next May, many NGOs hope to do their parts to support global efforts to defend the interrelated causes of peace, development and disarmament, which form the tripartite foundation of this year’s DPI/NGO Annual Conference.


A major feature of this Conference was its emphasis on active participation by civil society representatives, UN and subject matter experts, volunteers, scholars, etc. This broadbased participation included four roundtable discussions and breakout sessions as well as interactive dialogues. These were accompanied by 24 late afternoon regional workshops, daily caucuses and many related activities. Prior to the Conference, youth oriented events were held both in New York and Mexico City to explore issues of disarmament with United Nations experts, educators and others from the NGO community.


The Conference featured keynote addresses from major figures in the disarmament world. This three-day exchange of ideas afforded civil society numerous opportunities to influence global discussions and lay groundwork for the all-important 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.


The Late Afternoon Workshops have been an integral part of the DPI/NGO Conference since its early days. They continued to be among the most sought after events during the three-day Conference. The Late Afternoon workshops were organized for NGOs by NGOs. They were vehicles for peer-to-peer discussions, to exchange ideas and experiences and share approaches to common problems. The ultimate goal was to have participants take home information and knowledge that they can use in their civil society activities. The subjects of the Late Afternoon Workshops were chosen to enhance Conference themes and to represent thematic as well as regional balance.


The Roundtables were organized to provide key content for discussions, as exemplified by their topics. Roundtable I:  “Zero Nuclear Weapons, Zero Weapons of Mass Destruction: Why, How, When?” The case for nuclear disarmament is compelling. The massive production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons by a handful of countries is dangerous, costly and wastes precious economic resources. The process also damages health, the environment, psychological well-being, and human rights. To succeed in ridding the world of this weapon of mass destruction, the engagement of public opinion and broad civil society will be crucial. This Panel addressed the next major steps in the fight to attain global disarmament, particularly strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in preparation for the 2010 review conference. Other related issues dealt with included the regulation of missiles, anti-missile systems, space-based weapons, and the relation of nuclear weapons to major conventional weapons.


Roundtable II: “Removing the Tools of Armed Violence.” Living free from the threat of armed violence is a basic human need and a precondition for human development, dignity and well-being. Roundtable II analyzed the elements of conflict present in all human societies, especially where conflict for resources exists. The Panel examined how governments and civil society can work together to reduce the availability of arms; regulating the supply of arms; reducing the demand for arms; managing existing stocks of weapons; removing weapons from circulation, defending human rights; and the role of NGOs in promoting peace and development.


Roundtable III: “Human Development is Global Security.” In this third Roundtable, experts addressed the need to redefine global security, taking account of the premise that basic human rights ensure true human security, which is the foundation of peace. Speakers addressed economies of conflicts, geopolitics, security, terrorist acts, and the effects of globalization, drug trafficking, and organized crime on human security. Participants also considered what civil society, local communities and nation states can do to promote human needs over military spending, looking at the responsibilities of municipalities, labor, humanitarian organizations and development agencies. The significant role of public opinion, in particular the views of young people, regarding nonviolence, peace education and conflict resolution were also considered.


Roundtable IV: “New Challenges and Perspectives for Global Development and Security for the 21st Century.” This fourth Roundtable examined long-term solutions, including the role of civil society within development, sustainability, peace and disarmament. The Roundtable organizers described it in the following terms. “Civil society is confronted by new challenges and needs as a consequence of social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental changes, which call for a new agenda for peace. The global economic crisis is simultaneously affecting the ability of people in many regions of the world to enjoy decent lives and has given rise to new global conflicts.” Panelists explored the need for a multidimensional approach to security, which takes account of social perspectives. They also addressed nuclear disarmament as well as the need to prevent or reduce arms trafficking, food crises, and the negative effects of climate change and natural disasters. Other issues that were considered during this Roundtable were the use of technology for violent purposes, violations of human, civil, political, economic and social rights -- especially among migrants, women, children and indigenous communities; and the lack of needed sustainable economic growth.


Young people were an integral part of this Conference, and youth activities held before, during and after the Conference were emphasized. Young participants interacted with youth peers to further understand contemporary issues in the interrelated fields of disarmament, development and peace, and to create actionable projects once they return to their hometowns and universities. Youth activities included a Youth Career Fair and Networking Luncheon; Toy Disarmament Campaign focusing on the exchange of toy arms for educational and sport games. A contest related to this campaign was prepared for elementary and middle schools; Student Journalism Project; University Outreach Project (National and International) with ten universities throughout Mexico and five universities in other countries organizing a Conference on the topic of Disarmament. International Photo Contest: “Youth for Disarmament”; Intergenerational Project: “Memories”. Engagement of youth was a key feature of this year’s Conference, engaging new segments of youth within the global civil society dialogue.


The closing ceremonies in the Metropolitan Theatre included statements by Mexico, the Host Country, and by United Nations representatives. Several Keynote addresses followed that included rousing calls to action for civil society. These calls to action and the attending Closing Remarks and Presentation of Conference Declaration by the Conference Chair, were fitting keynotes upon which to close the productive several days of work.


The attendees of this 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference -- representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society -- had the opportunity to attend all Conference sessions and acquaint themselves with the latest developments, trends, and global thinking on issues of nuclear disarmament and conventional weapons. It is hoped that these discussions and exchanges offered participants new insights and ideas, which they will formulate into actionable projects upon their return from the Conference. The annual Conference continues to provide civil society, the United Nations, and subject matter experts, rich opportunities for cross-pollination in dialogue, reform, and global progress.




UN DPI NGO liaison office

UN DPI NGO Website articles and text applied throughout this article:

For archived webcasts please go to the same website.



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Next issue: 2nd October 2009

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Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. Past issues are available at . Rome Law-court registration no. 265 dated 20 June 2000.

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 6,000 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.


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