Good News Agency – Year X, n° 171
“…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 3,000 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.
More countries sign on to illegal fishing treaty
Signatures represent a signal of support for the Agreement and are an important first step in the process, followed by ratification at the national level and then official notification of ratification to FAO. Once notice of the 25th ratification is received by FAO, the Agreement will become active. It will be the first legally binding international treaty focused specifically on the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. (...)
Eleven other FAO members --
"Once it becomes active, this will be the most significant international treaty dealing with fisheries since the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement," said Changchui He, FAO's Deputy Director-General, following the signing of the Agreement by Andrey Krainiy, Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries of the Russian Federation, on April 29 during a ceremony at FAO. (...)
The text of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is available online.
New treaty body on pollution registers established
The PRTR Protocol was drawn up under the auspices of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, known as the Aarhus Convention. However, the Protocol is open to States that are not Parties to the Convention. It is also open to accession by States from outside the UNECE region. Thus, despite its important link to the Aarhus Convention, the Protocol has some of the characteristics of an independent treaty with a potentially global scope.
In an opening address to the meeting of the Parties, Ján Kubiš, UNECE Executive Secretary, underlined the importance of the Protocol as a tool for promoting greater transparency: “The Protocol establishes a new international benchmark in securing public access to information on threats posed to our environment by toxic emissions,” he said. “It will enable ordinary citizens, simply using the Internet, to find out about the major sources of polluting emissions in their immediate neighbourhoods.” (...)
UNECE’s Industrial Accidents Convention celebrates its 10th anniversary
The Convention aims at
preventing industrial accidents as well as preparing and responding to it
should an accident occur. In its first 10 years, the Convention has contributed
to enhance safety culture at industrial plants. It also facilitated the
cooperation between different public authorities to work together in a
coordinated way on industrial safety e.g. regular authorities’ coordination
meetings held in the
Over the years, many countries have improved their mechanisms to identify hazardous plants in accordance with the Convention. As a result of this work national experts are using the same criteria for the classification of chemicals and location criteria across the UNECE region. (...)
“The Convention is an example of how countries can work to solve transboundary safety issues. The improvement in industrial safety is an essential component for safer communities and a cleaner, healthier environment” said Ján Kubiš, UNECE Executive Secretary. (...)
US-Nigeria create new ‘strategic partnership’: State Dept
6 April - The United States on
Monday announced the launch of a US-Nigerian Binational
Commission to bolster bilateral ties on energy, regional security, good
governance and a range of other issues. The new “strategic partnership” makes
Human rights meeting in the Asia-Pacific region
27 April - Delegates attending
Through the initial Workshops, member states agreed on a ‘building block’ approach to the development of regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights, focusing initially on national-level strategies. (...)
A new world record: Universal Declaration in 370 languages
23 April - The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights has set a new world record of being the most
translated text. The UN Human Rights office has received a certificate from the
Guinness Book of Records stating that the Declaration has been translated into
in 370 languages and dialects from Abkhaz to Zulu. A decade ago the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) received a certificate from the Guinness
Book of Records as the most translated document in the world. At that time, the
UDHR was available in 298 languages and dialects. Since then, the UN Human
Rights office has received a constant flow of translations. The latest
additions are all found in
As High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, on 10 December 2008, the UDHR is “a single short document of 30 articles that has probably had more impact on mankind than any other document in modern history.” (...)
Protect migrant domestic worker rights
20 April - Caritas is
launching a campaign to urge employers and governments to protect migrants who
work in people’s homes as maids, nannies and carers
from exploitation. These workers are often women. They risk long working hours,
no social security protection, poor wages and violence. Abuses are difficult to
detect as they occur in people’s homes. Employment in private households
accounts for about one-third of all female employment in
The campaign has been launched ahead of the International Labour Organization’s annual conference in June, when a draft convention to protect domestic workers will be examined.
“An international convention would underline that domestic work is work, thus people performing this work have rights like other workers,” said Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy at Caritas Internationalis. “Maids, nannies and carers help us to educate our children, to take care of the elderly or to go to work. They need our respect and recognition.” (...)
UN human rights expert welcomes British law to stop predatory financial funds
20 April - A United Nations human rights expert on foreign debt today welcomed a landmark debt relief law in the United Kingdom which limits the ability of so-called “vulture funds” to sue the world’s poorest countries in British courts for repayment of debts, saying they could have ramifications for a recent court verdict involving Liberia.
“This law marks the first
occasion on which a country has banned profiteering by vulture funds,” said Cephas Lumina, in his role as the UN Independent Expert on
the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial
obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly
economic, social and cultural rights. “I commend the
15 April -
As part of
More than 2.4 million people – up to 80 per cent women and girls – are currently being exploited as victims of human trafficking, either for sexual or labour exploitation, the UN has said. Other forms of human trafficking include domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children. (...)
ADRA empowers minority Vietnamese women through literacy
Silver Spring, Md.,
The Literacy Class Empowers Ethnic Minority Women
(LICEEM) project, whose main goal is to reduce illiteracy rates among more than
1,500 people belonging to ethnic minorities in the region, is primarily targeting
women aged 26 to 35 living in the districts of Bao Lam, Bao Lac and Ha Quang
Additional components of this ongoing project include raising awareness of topics related to ethnic minority girls and women, organizing classes in literacy and numeracy for project beneficiaries, providing training for literacy facilitators, and establishing and facilitating Women’s Union Literacy Clubs as a way to provide participants with an additional venue for literacy learning. (...)
Executive Board approves debt relief for
Agreement sets up US$50 million debt relief programme for outstanding debt
“A small portion of
G20 Labour Ministers meet Obama – education and training on the G20 agenda
22 April - G20 labour and employment ministers met yesterday with President Obama and presented him with their recommendations to meet the challenges that the economic crisis is posing for workers and their families worldwide. This was the first time that ministers responsible for labour markets in the 20 largest economies in the world had met. The ministers reviewed the massive programs launched in the last year to respond to the crisis and discussed additional measures to ensure a sustained recovery that produces enough jobs for workers. The labour and employment ministers also discussed a 21st century job skills training strategy. Under the heading “Prepare our workforces for future challenges and opportunities” they stated that “education, lifelong learning, job training and skills development strategies should be prioritized and linked to growth strategies.” (…) Together with other Global Unions, EI will continue to work closely with the ILO and the OECD on the development of effective strategies for Vocational Education and Training in all countries – whether in the G20 or not.
hope: building sustainable solutions to climate change in
April 22 - MADRE is celebrating Earth Day by celebrating the many women who are combating the harmful effects of resource exploitation, industrial agriculture, and environmental destruction.
Through Harvesting Hope, MADRE and Wangki Tangni have trained thousands of women on the North-Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. (...)
Value chain approach to boost farmers’ incomes, food security in Philippines
New USDA-funded project to build skills, resources of 25,000 farmers
Davao City, Philippines, April 21 - A new $5.4 million project aims to increase the incomes and food security of 25,000 farmers in the Philippines by harnessing local value chains to increase opportunities and sustainability in growing high-value crops like cocoa, coconuts and rice. (...) Working in targeted Mindanao provinces, the three-year USDA-funded CoCoPal program will link its activities to the local farming systems approach called palayamanan, which derives its name from palay (rice) and kayamanan (wealth). Palayamanan combines rice with other high-value crops through the efficient use of farm resources to ensure that farmers can produce more while retaining soil fertility, according to ACDI/VOCA. (...)
ACDI/VOCA, working with key local partners including Landcare Philippines Foundation, Philippines Rice Research Institute, Cocoa Foundation of Philippines, and Philippine Association of Small Coconut Farmers, will improve post-harvest processing facilities and practices through the CoCoPal program, which derives its name from cocoa, coconut and palayamanan.(...)
21 April - The United Nations labour agency and the Government of Australia have signed
the first-ever partnership agreement to support jobs for people in
The five-year partnership
agreement will provide $13.9 million in the first two years. The funds will go
to ILO initiatives, such as the Better Work Programme
which was designed in 2006 to improve labour
standards and competitiveness, and is being piloted in
steps up aid to
rains impact food production in
The programmes include the immediate purchase and distribution of 7 850 tons of animal feed, 2 500 tons of cereals and vegetable crops seeds, and fertilisers for the main June planting season as well as the October dry one. (...)
increase of remittances to Central America and the
‘Money sent home’ is helping the poor rural people
provides US$19.2 million for reducing rural poverty and enhancing food security
in the north-east of
WANGO online World Congress of NGOs - June 8 and 9
The World Congress of NGOs is WANGO’s (World Association of Non-Governmental
Organization) flagship event. In the past, it has been held in such venues as
The 2010 event will be an online conference, allowing a wider participation of NGO leaders, who in the past may have been restricted by associated costs (air travel, accommodations), visa issues, or inconvenient timing. As with the traditional World Congress, this event will feature keynote addresses, panel sessions (4), workshops of practical importance (10), and the WANGO General Assembly. Also part of the proceedings will be an interview with an international leader, an online Happy Hour, an online Exhibit Hall, and much more.
Call for Papers - While the speakers for various workshops, sessions, interviews, and keynote addresses are selected by the Technical Program Committee, the Congress is making available opportunities for up to six NGO leaders and representatives to present papers during the Congress. http://www.wangoconference.org/2010/
63rd United Nations DPI/NGO Conference: Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs
The Conference entitled
“Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs” will be the
third to be held outside UN Headquarters in
The conference is organized by a partnership of the Department of Public Information (DPI) in cooperation with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee and the Government of Australia. The Conference Planning Committees of New York and Australia have invited world-renowned experts and grassroots activists in the field of global health to participate in an exciting programme that would include opening and closing sessions, roundtables, workshops and exhibits as well as opportunities for networking and experiencing Australia’s capital Melbourne for event, sport, culture an food. The Government of Australia has selected the award-winning MCEC, the largest and most versatile convention and exhibition space in the Southern Hemisphere.
26 April - The European Day of
Inter-generational Solidarity and Cooperation will come back on April 29th.
Promoted by Age Platform Europe (www.age-platform.org), the initiative, now in
its second year, as explained by the organisers,
“aims to encourage European politicians to put inter-generational solidarity on
the agenda of the European Union and support the proposal to make 2010 the
European Year of Active Ageing and Inter-Generational Solidarity”. As well as
the high-level conference due to take place in Logorno,
Spain, on April 29th and 30th, many initiatives have been organised
all over Europe. As to
Rotary - Matching Grant supports lifesaving heart surgery
By Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 23 April - A 1996 Group Study Exchange (GSE) spawned a project that today is providing lifesaving heart surgery to 100 low-income working women in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Many of the women contracted rheumatic fever, which can cause abnormal heart function, as children. They are receiving heart valve replacements through a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant project supported by the Rotary clubs of Coimbatore Metropolis and Pontllanfraith, Gwent, Wales. “The women are the daily providers for their families. Their failure to provide such support would leave their children as orphans,” says Mike Parry, governor-nominee of District 1150 (Wales), district Foundation committee chair, and a former GSE team leader to North Carolina, USA. (...)
The effort is one of five Foundation Matching Grant projects that have grown out of the relationship between the two clubs since the GSE. All have focused on meeting people’s health needs while protecting their livelihoods. (...)
Chinese magnate promises fortune to charity
April 23 - The real estate and hotel tycoon Yu Pengnian has pledged his entire fortune to charity, cementing his position as one of China’s leading philanthropists, Agence France-Presse reports.
Mr. Yu announced Thursday he was donating all of his wealth, some $470-million in cash and property, to his foundation in Hong Kong, bringing his total contribution to $1.2-billion. He said none of his wealth “will be inherited by anyone” or used for business or investment.
The newly released Hurun Philanthropy List, which tracks donations by China’s wealthy, ranked Mr. Yu No. 1 for the fifth straight year, China Daily writes. Overall giving by the country’s richest people is on the rise, with the 50 wealthiest Chinese residents donating $1.2-billion last year, an eightfold increase since the Hurun list debuted in 2004.
- UNICEF rushing classroom tents, school supplies to affected children by
Save the Children and Scholastic establish ‘Education Recovery Fund’ to benefit Haiti over the long term
The Scholastic Education Recovery Fund was seeded by a $50,000 contribution from Scholastic following the earthquake and will receive an additional $50,000 contribution from Scholastic in connection with this month’s publication of a new paperback edition of Hope Is An Open Heart by Lauren Thompson. The book pays tribute to children’s resilience and ability to consider the brighter aspects of life — to be hopeful — even in the most difficult situations. (...)
The Haitian Ministry of Education estimates that 90 percent of schools in the affected areas have been damaged or destroyed following the January earthquake, that over 400,000 children have been displaced, and that only 50 percent of students have returned to schools. In addition, many teachers and administrators in the Ministry of Education were killed or injured in the quake or were displaced from their homes. O’Gara added, “The education recovery fund will help us reach more Haitian children through our education programs, getting them back into school and a routine among friends, where they can begin to recover from this crisis, and setting them on a path of learning that will benefit them for years to come.”
organizes theatre performances for displaced people in
15 April - A theatrical
project supported by UNESCO with the
The aim of the play is at once therapeutic, cathartic and “psychosocial”, i.e. it takes into account the individual’s links to the collective. Psychosocial support helps relieve and heal psychological wounds caused by disasters or violence. (...) Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended the performance and said, “The population needs food for the soul too.” The theatre troupe is now much in demand and UNESCO is planning to sponsor a series of performances in other camps for displaced persons.
Empress Shôken Fund: helping national societies respond today, plan for tomorrow
April 12 - In 2010, the Empress Shôken Fund will grant more than 111,000 Swiss francs to three projects carried out by Red Cross Societies on three continents. The initiatives include a road safety project, called “A safe way to school” in Georgia, a youth brass band project in Sierra Leone and the development of community-based health and first aid in Tuvalu.
The Empress Shôken Fund was established in 1912 by Her Majesty the Empress of Japan to support Red Cross and Red Crescent activities worldwide. (...)
The projects are selected by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). (...)
Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, CARE and other partners help provide more than 13,000 additional emergency shelter kits for Haiti
Atlanta, GA, USA, April 12 - With $3.8 million in funding from the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and other groups today began assembling more than 13,000 additional emergency shelter kits for Haitians left homeless following the devastating January 12 earthquake.
A donation of $250,000 from the Atlanta-based humanitarian organization CARE also is helping to make these kits possible.(...) In total, Habitat for Humanity and its partners will distribute more than 21,000 kits - enough to help more than 100,000 survivors of the Haiti earthquake. Approximately 8,500 kits were assembled in Atlanta and the Dominican Republic in February. (...)
The emergency shelter kits are part of the first phase of Habitat’s three-fold response to improve the housing conditions of 50,000 affected families. The next phases include providing thousands with transitional and reconstruction shelter solutions. (...)
Progress in Haiti three months after earthquake
9 April - Progress is underway in Haiti as Caritas relief efforts have reached more than 1.5 million survivors three months after a devastating earthquake. The 12 January quake killed 230,000 people, destroyed infrastructure, affected three million people, and pushed a poor and underdeveloped country further into misery. Caritas members from over 60 countries have been supporting relief efforts to provide food, shelter, livelihoods, clean water, a safe place for children to play and learn, healthcare, and trauma counselling. Caritas has spent over US $14 million (Euro 10 million) so far and plans to respond to the emergency in Haiti over the next five years to help Haitians build a self-sufficient country.
Caritas shelter programmes have provided 100,000
people with tents or tarpaulins in the capital Port-au-Prince, in Léogâne,
Jacmel and other communities. Working with affected communities means providing
meals for 1.5 million people, trucking in
UN trust fund backs projects in fight against piracy off Somali coast
23 April - A United Nations
trust fund set up as part of the international fight against maritime piracy
today announced plans to support a series of five projects that are aimed at
B. Lynn Pascoe,
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and chair of the Board of the
Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of
Building trust in police is outstanding challenge in Timor-Leste
22 April - Timor-Leste’s police force has made considerable strides since its creation 10 years ago, the top United Nations police official in the nation has said, while adding that the key challenge remains bolstering the trust of the people in the fledgling institution.
UN Police Commissioner Luis Miguel Carrilho told the UN News Centre that Timor-Leste is now a “safe country” with extremely low crime rates. The restaurants in the capital and most populous city, Dili, are bustling, and “you can see people enjoying their daily routines,” he added.
The main task, the official said, is to “increase the trust of the community in the Timorese police [known as PNTL] and to make sure that we leave behind a sustainable and credible police force.” (...) Last month, parades were held in Dili to mark the first decade of existence of the PNTL, established on 27 March 2000 by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which was set up to assist the country during its transition to independence in 1999.
Since then, the Police Commissioner said, “very, very positive” steps have been taken to enhance the standing of the PNTL.
Iranian Kurdish Organizations prohibit the use of anti-personnel mines
Geneva, 21 April –The quest to rid the Middle East of anti-personnel mines has taken a step forward today with two armed non-State actors signing Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment. By signing this document, the “Kurdistan Democratic Party - Iran” and the “Free Life Party of Kurdistan/Liberation Forces of Eastern Kurdistan” have pledged to ban these weapons, as well as carry out, or co-operate in, necessary mine action. With two new signatories, all Iranian-Kurdish armed non-State actors have now committed to the ban of anti-personnel mines. (...)
Geneva Call is an impartial humanitarian organization that engages armed non-State actors in order to convince them to adhere to internationally recognized humanitarian standards in the conduct of war. (...) With the commitments by the KDP and the PJAK/HRK, 41 armed organizations around the world, among them six iranian, have prohibited anti-personnel mines. The Government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva serves as the custodian of these Deeds.
Switzerland again donates for demining activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 April - International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) received a donation from Switzerland, one of the most regular supporters of the ITF, in the amount of 300.000 CHF. (...) The 2010 donation is earmarked for demining activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina which will be carried out by the “Norwegian People’s Aid” (NPA), or more precisely to support two NPA`s demining teams (altogether 18 deminers), from January to December 2010.
In total, Switzerland has contributed to ITF more than 4.5 million US$ for demining activities in South East Europe and remains one of the most regular and recurring donors to the ITF since 1999. (...) Demining activities remain one of the most necessary conditions for socio-economic development of the mine contaminated countries, especially in Bosnia in Herzegovina, which is one of the most mine contaminated countries in the world. (...)
15 April - Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon today welcomed efforts by the ruling
parties in Sudan to enter dialogue with opposition candidates and parties as
polling ended in the country’s first national elections in 24 years. (...)
Polls closed across
The ruling parties have reportedly pledged to engage in dialogue with opposition candidates and parties, including those who boycotted the polls. (...)
The elections have been
regarded as an important milestone in the implementation of the CPA, which was
signed in 2005 to end two decades of warfare pitting the Sudanese Government
against the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
The SPLM formed the administration that runs southern
Two UN agencies team up to keep Afghan villagers away from heroin production
12 April - United Nations
agencies have distributed 60 metric tons of food to 700 villagers in western
Though the district is
considered poppy-free, drug trafficking remains a problem and those who cannot
find work in Khosan, near the Iranian border, travel
to Farah or Helmand, where
they receive about 500 Afghanis a day for harvesting poppies, the raw material
of opium and heroin. Some 90 per cent of the world’s heroin supply comes from
At the request of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World UN Food Programme (WFP) has compensated the canal workers by distributing daily rations.
To ensure that the improvement lasts, UNODC has simultaneously planned an ambitious land-stabilization programme to counter the effect of the past years of drought and the ensuing deforestation as farmers cut the already meagre vegetation for cooking and animal fodder, aggravating the precarious condition of their environment. As a result, sand blew onto the fields and into the canal. (…)
Rotary responds to polio outbreak in Tajikistan
By Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 23 April - Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative -- the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- are responding to a recent outbreak of wild poliovirus in Tajikistan. Rotary is providing a total of US$500,000 in emergency grants to UNICEF and WHO for immediate polio immunization efforts throughout the country. Neighboring countries are also increasing their surveillance efforts.
Seven children in Tajikistan have been stricken with polio, the first cases of the disease reported there since 1997, and the first in the WHO European region since it was certified polio-free in 2002. “Polio importations such as the Tajikistan cases demonstrate our global vulnerability to infectious disease,” said Carol Pandak, manager of RI’s PolioPlus program. “It highlights the fact that polio ‘control’ is not an option, and only successful eradication will stop polio in resource-poor countries.” Outbreaks of imported cases are not uncommon during eradication efforts, underscoring the critical need to stop polio transmission in the remaining endemic countries: Afghanistan -- which borders Tajikistan -- Pakistan, India, and Nigeria. (...)
Global polio eradication is achievable, and stepped-up efforts to end the disease are paying off. As of 20 April, Nigeria has reported two polio cases in 2010, compared with 193 cases for the same period in 2009. India has reported no cases in the past five weeks. Multicountry synchronized immunization campaigns are continuing in West Africa, and the outbreak that affected the entire region in 2009 now appears to be confined to the westernmost part. (...)
Since 1985, Rotarians have contributed more than $900 million to polio eradication, volunteered their time and personal resources, and helped immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries. http://www.rotary.org/en/MediaAndNews/News/Pages/100423_news_polio.aspx
155 million children to be vaccinated this week
As Tajikistan copes with polio
23 April - In a monumental effort to curb the ongoing outbreak
of poliovirus in West Africa and further boost immunity levels of children in
India and Pakistan, more than 155 million children in 18 countries will receive
polio vaccines in the week starting Saturday, 24 April. Children in Europe, the
Americas and the Middle East will also receive vaccines as part of Immunization
Week activities being held simultaneously in an effort to raise awareness of
the importance of immunization in these regions. The activities in Europe are
particularly timely as Tajikistan reported this week the first polio cases
since the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) was certified
Poliovirus travels long distances easily and polio-free regions continue to be at risk until poliovirus transmission is stopped every where. However, it is important to remember where polio has been stopped before it can be stopped more easily. The outbreak in Tajikistan is further evidence that a control strategy would be insufficient to protect children everywhere and that eradication is the only way the world can be sure its children are free from the threat of life time paralysis. http://www.polioeradication.org/content/general/LatestNews201004.asp#03
Beating malaria with protective nets and community campaigns
19 April – In a report issued on the eve of World Malaria Day (25 April), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has shown conclusive evidence that mosquito net distributions combined with “hang-up” education campaigns by community volunteers are significantly reducing the spread of malaria. (...)
The report details the findings of a study in Burkina-Faso, where the Burkinabe Red Cross and Ministry of Health piloted the first universal mosquito net distribution in the district of Diébougou last year. The Ministry of Health’s final report shows that while 99.7 per cent of households received a net and 98 per cent of those households received a hang-up visit from a Red Cross volunteer, use of nets increased by 70 per cent when distribution and hang-up information were combined. (...)
In 2010 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will carry out malaria prevention activities in the following countries: Haiti, Indonesia, India, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Renovations at Jericho Hospital begin
Jericho City, West Bank, April 14 – The Palestinian Ministry of Health and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced a $2.5 million project to rehabilitate the Jericho Government Hospital. ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) will implement the project, in cooperation with the PA Ministry of Health. Renovations should be completed by February, 2011. (...)
Jericho Hospital serves more than 60,000 residents of Jericho and the Jordan Valley. But the facilities have deteriorated over the years and are in dire need of renovation. The project will focus on rehabilitating and upgrading the sewage collection system, ventilation and air-conditioning system, hot and cold water systems and other infrastructure. ANERA will also build a new kidney dialysis department and medical staff quarters. Not only will the new facility help improve the quality of care, it also will provide some create 4,000 days of work in an area where job opportunities are scarce.
Rehabilitation of the Jericho facility is one of four hospital renovation projects that ANERA is implementing in the West Bank under the USAID-funded Emergency Water and Sanitation and Other Infrastructure Program, known as EWAS II. The hospitals earmarked for rehabilitation – at a total cost of $7.5 million – include Rafidya Surgical Hospital, Beit Jala Government Hospital and Ramallah Government Hospital. (...)
The Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program supports the development of advanced technology vehicles with improved fuel efficiency that help reduce the nation’s dependence on oil. This is the fourth loan arrangement signed by DOE with an advanced technology vehicle manufacturer.
US Secretary Chu announces more than $200million for solar and water power technologies
funding will create jobs, expand the availability of cost-effective renewable
energy, and reduce
Wind energy reduces electricity prices, says independent study
Wind power reduces electricity prices and CO2 emissions, a study published today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveals
21 April - The review ‘Wind
Energy and Electricity Prices’, a comprehensive assessment of studies of the
impact of wind energy on electricity prices, was carried out by the independent
consultancy Pöyry AS on behalf of EWEA. It brings
together, for the first time, the findings of case studies in
“It has already been well-established that wind reduces CO2 emissions,” said Christian Kjaer, EWEA’s Chief Executive. “But now we have stronger evidence than ever before that wind power also reduces electricity prices for consumers. The message is clear - if you want affordable CO2-free electricity, increase the amount of wind power in your electricity mix.” (...)
Wind: 50% of EU electricity in 2050
20 April - Wind energy will
meet 50% of the EU’s electricity demand in 2050, top
wind energy personalities told
Topping the agenda at the
opening day of the European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (EWEC 2010)
With the G8 and EU already
committed to an 80% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050, Zervos
added: “We can’t allow the politicians to make grand statements and leave the
serious decisions to the next generation. Given the long life of power plants
our vision for 2050 has to be reflected in the construction of new power plants
from at least 2020 onwards.” “A fully renewable power sector is the only
solution to reaching 80-95% CO2 reductions by
marine protected areas safeguard northern
“Underwater parks” will boost the region’s environmental and economic health
The science-based marine protected area network, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point, is designed to restore sea life and protect habitat. It creates 21 marine protected areas, 3 marine management areas and 6 special closures. Eighty-six square miles (11 percent) of state waters along the north central coast have been designated as fully protected marine reserves, leaving almost 90 percent of the coast open to fishing.
This marks the latest step in
a five-stage process to implement the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which
requires the state to develop a network of marine protected areas down the
entire 1,100 mile coastline.
Fifth Global Ocean Conference at UNESCO, from 3 to 7 May
“Ensuring Survival, Preserving Life, and Improving Governance”
26 April - The 5th Global
Conference on Oceans, Coasts and
The conference is held within the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity and of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. (...)
countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the
The Innsbruck Initiative was
adopted on the occasion of the 53rd session of the TEM Steering Committee and
the 28th session of the TER Steering Committee, which took place at a joint
project meeting held from 19-23 April
Experience gained to date shows how efforts aimed at making transport more sustainable could enhance security, safety, reduce environmental impact and contribute to the economy. Investment in safe, efficient and environmentally friendly transport systems and infrastructure help to reduce congestion, accidents, crime and pollution, and thereby contribute to sustainable mobility and to combating climate change. (...)
WWF and Industry Leaders join forces to save European fisheries
The alliance is also seeking to have all regional stakeholders play effective roles in developing fisheries plans and a culture of compliance for fisheries. (...)
Ramping Up for Earth Day
Washington, DC, 21 April - US Vice President Biden kicked off Earth Day early this year with the announcement $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up” in a speech at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building earlier today. These funds will make energy efficiency affordable for hundreds of thousands of businesses and homeowners, and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process.
Investing in retrofits is a triple win. It’s a win for consumers who save money on their energy bill. It’s a win for the environment because we’re using less energy, which cuts down on harmful emissions from greenhouse gases. And, finally, it’s a win for the American economy, because it creates green jobs, jobs that can’t be outsourced. These awards are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy efficiency and take a new approach toward retrofitting homes and businesses for greater energy efficiency and are part of an overall. (...)
In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Obama Administration is kicking off five day’s worth of activities, starting with the Vice President’s announcement today. (...)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/04/21/ramping-earth-day Posted by Katelyn Sabochik
European Council of Religious Leaders annual meeting addresses justice, equality and sharing
Istanbul, 26 April - The European Council of Religious Leaders - Religions for Peace annual meeting opened in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday 26 April 2010. The meeting lasts until Wednesday and the main theme is “At the Crossroads: Justice, Equality and Sharing as a Basis for Cultures of Peace”.
Dr A Hadi
Adanali, the adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister on
intercultural affairs, gave the key note address in the opening session of the
meeting. He presented the Turkish government’s initiatives linked to the
Alliance of Civilisation process; “The first decade
of the 21st century has seen a growing recognition of the role of religion in
the meeting of cultures,” he said, and also emphasised
the necessity in our time for religious leaders to understand and interact with
youth culture. In his report to the council, ECRL Moderator Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, placed the work of the council within the context or
present day challenges for religions in
At People’s Conference, Christians commit to help Mother Earth
22 April - In an ecumenical declaration to be presented at the final session of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Christian organizations and individuals stress the positive role that religions and spirituality can play for a more harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature.
The 19-22 April conference in
The declaration calls for a new spirituality of respectful co-existence, to be forged in a dialogue among the peoples of the earth. It is part of the contribution a coalition of Christian organizations brought to the conference. (...)
Asian Christian assembly heads for prophetic witness and reconciliation
15 April - In a keynote speech on the theme of the 13th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) “Called to Prophesy, Reconcile and Heal”, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) said: “There is no true prophecy that does not speak both the critical truth and contribute to the building up of a vision, a dream of the new life in common.” The CCA assembly, which is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15- 20 April, also reached “an important milestone in the ecumenical movement,” Tveit said referring to the election of its first woman general secretary. The Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat Lebang was elected as the next general secretary of the CCA, a regional body of over 100 member churches from different denominations. In his 15 April speech, Tveit said that the “combination of callings” expressed in the theme points to the “significant contribution” of Asian churches to the “global reflection of what it means to be one”. (...)
Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day - May 16, 2010
World Shift Day will launch a
24 hour meditation and prayer marathon to encircle the globe starting with the
The kick off event for World
Shift Day will be the Symphony of Peace Prayers event taking place at the Mt.
Fuji Sanctuary in
Link simultaneously with
Co-sponsors of the Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day ate: The World Peace Prayer Society and The Club of Budapest
27 April - No-access system to
protect copyrights, the role of Europe in the debate on trans-national regulation
of the Internet, responsibility for contents published online, protection of
online privacy, and measures against cyber-crime: these are the main points on
the agenda of the third European Dialogue on Internet Governance (Eurodig) due to take place in Madrid on April 29th and 30th
to coincide with the Spanish presidency of the EU. Promoted by the Spanish
Forum on Internet Governance, the Council of Europe and the Swiss Federal
Communication Office (Ufcom), the meeting will bring
together delegates from governments, parliaments, civil society, media and organisers from all over Europe to exchange experiences
about the use of social networks by children, new first-level domain names (Tld), issues under local jurisdiction, the appearance of
cloud computing and the Internet on the horizon of 2020. The results will be
used to prepare the European contributions for the Internet Governance Forum
that will be held in
Preserving creativity from piracy the focus of UN celebrations for day of books
23 April – The United Nations agency tasked with preserving cultural
diversity and global heritage is marking World Book and Copyright Day today by
highlighting its new online database aimed at protecting creativity from
intellectual piracy. The World Anti-Piracy Observatory (WAPO), launched in
January by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is a free,
web-based reference tool that provides information on national anti-piracy and
copyright measures and policies, as well as updated news and best practices.
And in her message marking the Day, UNESCO Director-General Irina
Bokova also emphasized the need for better protection
for intellectual rights. (…) The World Book and Copyright Day has been observed for the past 15 years to promote reading,
publishing and the protection of intellectual property. It is celebrated on 23
April, a symbolic date for literature as it coincides with the deaths on that
day in 1616 of Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de
UNESCO World Anti-Piracy Observatory
22 April - The World Book and Copyright Day, on 23 April, is the occasion to highlight the importance of the fight against piracy to preserve creativity. The World Anti-Piracy Observatory (WAPO), launched in January 2010, is an innovative web-based reference tool that provides detailed information on national anti-piracy measures and policies. In addition, WAPO contains useful information on best practices, capacity-building, awareness-raising, and news pertaining to anti-piracy activities worldwide. (...) The World Anti-Piracy Observatory provides: a collection of national copyright laws and anti-piracy legislation; news and events pertaining to anti-piracy activities worldwide; information on best practices in the field of anti-piracy; awareness-raising initiatives and capacity-building tools for free and direct download and use.
100 country profiles that streamline anti-piracy related information on a national level are available for free download and use. These 100 profiles can be accessed by region under the “Anti-Piracy Worldwide” heading or by topic such as “Legislation”. These links can be found on the left-hand information panel of the Observatory.
Intercultural dialogue is a must in ever more connected world, Ban says
2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures
21 April - With the implosion
of financial markets on Wall Street and the explosion of a volcano in
“Like never before, global challenges have local impacts. Local events can have global impacts. This compels us to strengthen cooperation - expand the space for dialogue - and replace barriers of distrust with bridges of understanding.” Mr. Ban stressed that this fundamental reality is also the raison d’être of the UN. “Quite simply, we are in this together,” he said. “Dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions is crucial to fulfilling the central objectives of the United Nations Charter, upholding human rights and advancing development.” (...)
DAFI graduates return to school to teach other refugees in
Making a Difference
Are you water wise? Earth Day 2010 celebrates a precious resource
‘Be wise with water’ is the message for this year’s fortieth anniversary of Earth Day celebrated on April 22 with a variety of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) events worldwide.
14 April - Launched in
Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point for advancing climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. The Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions of people who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a unique opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to unite and create a global green economy.
ANERA funds new engineering faculty in West Bank
Washington, DC, April 7 – ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is pleased to announce its agreement with Al-Quds University to establish a new engineering facility for undergraduate degrees.
ANERA Advisory Council member Fawzi Kawash was
instrumental in organizing this major educational project located on
Initially, the school will offer degrees in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering and later will add courses in communications and architecture. (...)
Ground will be broken in the fall of 2010 with a completion date scheduled for 2012. (...)
The Practical Visionary - A new world guide to spiritual growth and social change
By Corinne McLaughlin with Gordon Davidson
There is surprising evidence of a powerful new world growing right in our midst -- despite escalating worldwide crises — if you know where, and how, to look. The Practical Visionary reveals this new world and provides eight keys to spiritual growth and social change.
The Practical Visionary helps you discover eight keys to a new world within you and an astounding new world all around you—with creative solutions to our toughest problems pioneered by practical visionaries:
This book gives you tools to connect with your inner light--the new world within you. It helps you invoke the magic of your soul, so you can find the part that you can play in the new world all around you, and attract the resources you need to thrive despite crises. For more info and video clips on the book: http://www.thepracticalvisionary.org/
2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures
Already 350 activity proposals
The year 2010 is celebrated as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (see Resolutions). The goal of the International Year consists in making the rapprochement of cultures the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels, involving the greatest number of relevant stakeholders.
Entrusted with the mandate to contribute to build “the defences of peace in the minds of men” thanks to international cooperation in the fields of its competence, namely through education, sciences, culture and communication, UNESCO is designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year within the United Nations system. In fact, over the years and indeed in the past decade, the Organization has gained special experience and has won recognition through its efforts to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity highlighting the importance of borrowings, transfers and exchanges between cultures. (...)
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