Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 177
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 1,600 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.
anti-crime body lauds
22 September - The head of the
United Nations crime watchdog today applauded the accession by
The two pacts are part of the
UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which is under the
jurisdiction of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and was adopted in the
Italian city of
During this year’s treaty
anti-corruption academy inaugurated in
September 2 – An
anti-corruption academy co-sponsored by the United Nations opened today in
The International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), based in Laxenburg, will educate public and private sector anti-corruption practitioners in more effectively implementing the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
The convention, which entered into force in December 2005, is the world’s first legally binding international anti-corruption instrument. It requires signatories to implement a wide range of measures in areas such as law enforcement, asset recovery and international cooperation. (...)
The academy is the result of
collaboration between UNODC,
Timor-Leste: ICRC kicks off teaching programme on international humanitarian law
Dili, September 23 - Today the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Timor-Leste Red Cross signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education of Timor-Leste to launch a programme aiming at teaching the basics of international humanitarian law in the country's secondary schools.
"Our primary goal is to introduce young people to humanitarian principles, such as the requirement that life and human dignity be respected at all times," said Zurab Burduli, the ICRC's head of mission in Timor-Leste. "The Exploring Humanitarian Law programme will be launched on a trial basis in selected secondary schools as of 2011. Together with the Timor-Leste Red Cross, the ICRC will provide technical and academic support and help train teachers."
The programme will be adapted by the Timor-Leste education authorities to the country's secondary-school system.
The Exploring Humanitarian Law programme is an important part of the activities developed by the ICRC in Timor-Leste to promote international humanitarian law. It is currently used in 60 countries, with teaching materials available in 40 different languages.
Arab States pushed towards abolition
While Arab states such as
"While most of the world is going toward abolishing the death penalty, the MENA region has the highest rate of death penalty per capita -- even higher than China," said Mervat Reshmawy, a human rights consultant.
Abolitionists attending the
Growing food in greener cities
Urban horticulture supplies fresh food, creates jobs, recycles waste
The concept of "green cities" is usually associated with urban planning in the more developed world. But it has a special application, and significantly different social and economic dimensions, in low-income developing countries. The challenge is to steer urbanization from its current, unsustainable path, towards greener cities that offer their inhabitants choice, opportunity and hope. One solution is urban and peri-urban horticulture, according to FAO.
Governments in 20 countries have sought FAO's assistance over the past decade in removing barriers and providing incentives, inputs and training to low-income "city gardeners". FAO has also provided tools, seeds and training to establish thousands of school gardens, a proven means of promoting child nutrition, in more than 30 countries.
Union channels €20 million through IFAD to boost food security in
Rome/Abuja, 28 September - The European Union (EU) has provided €20 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to work with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in developing a coordinated response to increasing food security in the region by improving access to food.
IFAD will implement the programme in close collaboration with ECOWAS, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and national governments in the context of on-going IFAD-financed projects in the region. The programme aims to increase availability of improved seed varieties in the ECOWAS region. This will help small farmers to increase agricultural production and grow enough food in the long-term to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in the region.
The implementing programme partners will work with smallholder seed
producers, farmers’ organizations and National Agricultural Research Systems on
the key food crops of
Northwest region to benefit with seeds and fertilizers for wheat planting season
Islamabad/Rome, 23 September -
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to provide
FAO with $16 million to support wheat planting, prevent further livestock
losses and de-silt irrigation systems in
The donation marks an
auspicious start for FAO’s $107 million appeal in the
UN’s Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan appeal, announced in
More than 160 000 households
will benefit from the
Trilogy International and Mercy Corps Partner to maximize NGO resources, expand access to financial services
by Trilogy International Partners
New York, September 23 - PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) announced this morning that the Commitment to Action by Bellevue, Washington-based Trilogy International Partners and international relief and development agency Mercy Corps has been selected as a 'Feature Commitment' for its ability to "catalyze financial access and enable economic empowerment for the rural poor in Haiti through the introduction of mobile money services." The first-of-its-kind mobile money solution was launched on Tuesday. More on Trilogy and Mercy Corps' mobile money announcement can be found here.
Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Square and co-founder and chairman of Twitter recognized John Stanton, Chairman of Trilogy International Partners and Nancy Lindborg, President of Mercy Corps for their Featured Commitment prior to the Mobile Revolution: Transforming Access, Markets and Development panel at CGI in which Trilogy chairman and wireless pioneer John Stanton was a participant.
The panel discussed the
explosive growth of mobile phones in developing countries and how new mobile
applications can be harnessed to stimulate economic development and lift
millions out of poverty. In addition to
September 17 - The
microfinance lender Finance
“We’re transforming lives
through innovative finance,” says Finance
“We want to see the women who
sell bread on the streets today become tomorrow’s bread bakery owners,” says
Tim Carson, chairperson of Finance
Development through trade
Since its trade arrangements
with the African,
The new arrangements, the so-called economic partnership agreements (EPAs), are aimed at promoting trade and thus through trade support development, sustainable growth and poverty reduction in the ACP countries. They are also intended to foster the ACP states' gradual integration into the world economy and attracting foreign direct investments.
The ACP countries have been grouped into regions so as to tailor the arrangements to suit specific local circumstances. The agreements give free access to the EU markets without export duties, whereas ACP markets will only gradually be opened to EU products and services. The most advantageous rules are applied to the least-developed countries.
Solar cooking - Rwanda/United States
The “Bake the Cycle” project helps break the cycle of poverty by providing solar bakery jobs to widowed women
U.S-based True Vineyard
Ministries provides sustainable opportunities for widows and children impacted
by genocide, subsequent conflicts, and HIV/AIDS in
According to True Vineyard Ministries, the project is already having an impact. “For the first time in the widows’ lives, they are able to consistently provide food, clothing, shelter, and education for their families.” www.truevineyard.org
by Maria Di Mento and Caroline Preston
September 23 - Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old chief executive of Facebook, has announced that he is giving $100-million to
improve the public school system in
This is the first such publicized charitable donation from the young entrepreneur, who is worth at least $6.9-billion according to Forbes magazine. He ranks No. 35 on the magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, released today.
The donation is also
significant for being the first donation of $100-million or more from an
American of Mr. Zuckerberg's generation. To see how
his pledge compares to those of other major donors, see The Chronicle's annual
by Caroline Preston
September 21 - Omidyar Network, the philanthropy started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, will invest $55-million in technology to promote government transparency and help people rise out of poverty.
The pledge, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative, will be spent over three years. About $30-million will go to organizations that use technology to share information about how people are governed and enable them to have a greater say in the process. The new commitment expands on Omidyar's work in the realm of government transparency; to date, the philanthropy has supported organizations including the Sunlight Foundation, mySociety, and Global Integrity.
The remaining $25-million will support cutting-edge efforts to use mobile technology to expand access to banking, health care, agriculture, commerce, and other activities and services. Past grants in the field of mobile technology have gone to FrontlineSMS, Ushahidi, and Opportunity International, among other groups.
Proof Positive - A significant decline in the number of children in foster care
by Christine James-Brown
September 20 - For those of us who work in the nonprofit arena, making a case for investing in programs and efforts that help those less fortunate is central to what we do. Even with great research, it can be difficult to convince others that investing money and time, in a smart and strategic way, will make a difference for vulnerable people.
That’s why it was so exciting to see recent figures released by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services showing a significant decline in the number of children in foster care. In a decade’s time, the number of children in the system declined from
How did it happen? As the
number of children in foster care exploded, major national and grassroots
public relations and direct service efforts evolved that put the issue on the
radar for more Americans. The idea that the nation’s foster care population was
greater than several mid-sized
CARE announces $1.5 million gift from UPS to enhance global humanitarian relief
Donation helps build capabilities of Atlanta-based CARE to swiftly respond to disasters around the world
Atlanta, USA, September 16 - CARE, an Atlanta-based humanitarian organization that fights global poverty by empowering women and girls, received a $1.5 million gift from The UPS Foundation to further the organization's emergency response efforts across the globe. UPS's $1.5 million gift to CARE includes cash and in-kind support to strengthen CARE's disaster response and relief efforts and improve CARE's supply chain management capabilities during emergencies. It also will help support CARE's National Conference and Celebration, an annual event that gathers hundreds of volunteers on Capitol Hill to urge members of Congress to improve the lives of millions of marginalized women and girls around the world.
In 2007, The UPS Foundation met with CARE to identify opportunities to most effectively assist humanitarian relief logistics. Since then, UPS has worked with CARE and Aidmatrix to implement a technology solution for commodity tracking, develop a supply chain unit with oversight for all processes and implement procedures for warehousing, inventory management, and procurement.
Even before violence engulfed
"By the end of the year,
we intend to bring water that is safe to drink to another 22,000 people,"
said Aleksandr Mailyan, an
ICRC water engineer based in
The ICRC has been visiting
detainees and carrying out other humanitarian activities in
Mali/Niger: over 300,000 receive ICRC aid during food crisis
September 16 - Though the July
rains this year held the promise of a more or less normal harvest in
Since April this year, the ICRC has been working hard to mitigate the effects of the food crisis in the worst-hit parts of the two countries. ICRC employees have paid good prices to purchase more than 36,000 heads of cattle, weak but still healthy, from local stockbreeders. The money the stockbreeders receive enables them to buy grain and other basic necessities. The cattle are slaughtered for their meat. If edible, it is distributed among vulnerable groups such as street children and detainees. The stockbreeders themselves get some of it too. In a parallel aid operation, nearly 200,000 people received food to tide them over until their next harvest, or to feed their remaining animals.
First tried by the ICRC in
Conrad N. Hilton
Foundation awards $575,000 to organizations helping children impacted by
New grants bring
Foundation's support of humanitarian operations in
28 September - The United
Nations and the African Union have launched a joint task force on peace and
security as the two organizations continue to step up their cooperation in
conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding
across the continent. The Joint Task Force, launched at UN Headquarters in
Ban and Ping noted in a press
release that they were determined to strengthen existing cooperation between
the two organizations beyond the "groundbreaking joint efforts in
The task force's programme of work will be mapped out in coordination with the newly established UN Office to the AU and the AU's Permanent Observer Mission to the UN.
25 September 2010 – The world
has made important progress towards nuclear disarmament in the past year, but
United Nations Member States now need to build on that momentum and take steps
to head towards an era without nuclear weapons,
Early next year a competence
centre for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation will open in
DanChurchAid’ Mini Mine Wolf
(MMW) is now operational in Luena area,
September 8 - In 2009 DanChurchAid received DKK 5.500.000 from A.P Møller and Wife Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller's Fund for General Purposes for purchasing a new mine clearance machine – a Mini Mine Wolf – to assist the manual demining operation in Angola.
A Mini Mine Wolf is an armoured ground preparation machine, it tills the soil in front of the machine and any mines will explode. This helps the manual deminers in identifying minefields.
The machine is increasing the
productivity of the demining and will play a crucial
role in rapid clearance of land mines in
In a landscape so heavily contaminated with remnants of conflict it is common for people to find dangerous items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) while going about their everyday chores. How a person responds having found such an item can be the difference between life and death. Understanding this threat to the community, MAG provides a telephone 'hotline' number that enables members of the public to directly report the location of UXO they find.
MAG cleared agricultural land in Tien’s village in 2007, destroying 31 dangerous items in the process. However, the scale of contamination in the province is so great that it is not possible to clear all the land in a village. The result is that community members continue to find UXO on land that has not yet been cleared. When they do so, they telephone MAG and make an emergency report.
In the 12-month period from July 2009 to June 2010, MAG received 115 such reports of UXO in the province, 16 of them from this village.
D.R. Congo: 100,000 weapons destroyed
A ceremony to mark the
destruction of the 100,000th weapon by MAG in partnership with the Congolese
Ministries of Interior, Defence and Foreign Affairs
has been held in
This was followed by the handover of three marking machines, to officially launch the weapon marking campaign MAG expects to be part of. (…)
MAG is the largest actor in the CWMD field in DRC, working hand in hand with the Congolese authorities since 2006 to make arms and ammunition management more secure and accountable, and to reduce the risks currently posed by poorly maintained stockpiles.
We currently operate one mobile CWMD team, a mobile stockpile assessment team and a destruction team based at the Logistics Central Base in the capital, under funding from the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and the Dutch Government.
Between 2006 and June 2010 more than 105,000 arms and 670 tons of ammunition were destroyed.
by Charles Mpaka
Chief Kwataine, who has 89 villages in Ntcheu under his traditional authority, launched a maternal health campaign that first addressed common cultural beliefs associated with pregnancy, for example that a woman’s first child should be born at home or that the men of the family decide when women need medical attention. Kwataine also banned all traditional birth attendants in his villages, compelling women to give birth in hospital.
These measures have gone hand in hand with a widespread maternal health education campaign. In each of the 89 villages, between two and five skilled maternal counsellors register every pregnancy and advise mothers on best practices for achieving maternal health. Bright messages sprayed on the walls of villagers’ houses are bold reminders of important health messages. (…)
Rotary: Working together to improve global health
by Ryan Hyland
Rotary International News, September 17 - To increase awareness of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and its successes, Rotary International organized a workshop held 30 August at the United Nations Department of Public Information/Nongovernmental Organization Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
More than 2,200 representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 70 countries took part in the three-day conference, which aimed to build support for improving global health and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Rotary's workshop, "Coordination a Public-Private Public Health Campaign: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative," was moderated by Rotarian Jenny Horton and featured presentations by Bruce Thorley of the World Health Organization and Lieven Desomer of UNICEF.
"The hope was that attendees left understanding how partners can work together, confronting all challenges while preventing disability and death in children who suffer from polio," said Horton, a member of the Rotary Club of Kenmore, Queensland, who served as a WHO consultant. (...) Horton said the workshop emphasized how GPEI programs have increased routine immunization, helped with the development of disease surveillance systems, and provided a structure that has benefited other disease interventions.
"Seeing and hearing just what is being done about polio eradication by many NGOs was amazing," she said. "Looking at the bigger picture to build partnerships to achieve a goal and ensure community participation is the best way to achieve the best outcome."
A registered nurse and volunteer
for Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP), Horton has led polio surveillance
activities and immunization campaigns in
The model has also made it simpler for patients in remote areas to obtain their drugs, as they only have to pay for transport for the designated group leader.
September 16 - In
HIV project in the Tete district in northern
“This model has led to a
reduced burden on healthcare services, as fewer patients need to queue up at
the health centre to get their drugs,” explained Tom Decroo,
MSF’s Medical Focal Point in Tete.
“It has the potential to facilitate the scaling up of ARV treatment - something
that is desperately needed in a place like
The model has also made it simpler for patients in remote areas to obtain their drugs, as they only have to pay for transport for the designated group leader, and do not need to sacrifice a day’s work to travel to the health centre. Yet another advantage is that it enables group members to support each other in overcoming problems related to the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
CARE to invest $1.8 billion to improve maternal, newborn and child health by 2015
Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2010) - Today the humanitarian organization CARE announced that it will invest $1.8 billion to expand its maternal, newborn and child health programs to more than 30 countries in five years. This investment will deepen CARE's commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality by 2015 and will support the United Nations Secretary General's Global Strategy on Women's and Children's Health, which will be unveiled at next week's MDG Summit.
As a leading organization that fights global poverty by empowering women and girls, CARE has made reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality one of its top priorities. With more than 50 years of experience and success developing and implementing maternal and child health programs, CARE empowers vulnerable women with services and information while affecting policies to ensure that safe pregnancy and birth are a basic human right.
September 8 - More than five weeks since the first floods overwhelmed regions in the north of Pakistan, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency medical and water and sanitation teams expand operations to the south of Punjab and in hard-hit Sindh province, where millions of people have been displaced by fresh flooding.
Major concerns about
waterborne diseases, malnutrition, shelter and clean, safe water prevail as
teams rush to establish new bases in
The rural population of the Tibetan Plateau relies heavily on biomass fuels, especially dung and wood, for cooking and heating. These fuels cause indoor air pollution, contribute to climate change, and perpetuate gender inequality because girls spend long hours collecting fuel while boys attend school.
One Earth Designs (OED), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, has developed a novel solar device to reduce reliance on these fuels in this region. The device, called the SolSource 3-in-1, not only enables rural communities to harness the sun’s energy for portable solar cooking, but for space heating and electricity generation as well. High-temperature parabolic solar cookers are currently available and used in Himalayan communities. However, they are often made out of mirror-lined concrete shells that are heavy and breakable. Many nomadic villagers shared with OED a desire for parabolic solar cookers that are portable enough to be taken into the fields while working or tending flocks, but sturdy enough to withstand the harsh winds of the Tibetan Plateau.
OED worked with rural communities in the Himalayan region to design the SolSource 3-in-1 according to these local needs and with local materials when feasible. The first module cooks food and pasteurizes water. Its high focal temperature enables traditional cooking that relies primarily on stir-frying and boiling water for tea and tsampa. A second module collects and stores heat for later use in the home. A third module generates and stores about 20 watts of thermo-electricity per hour.
The SolSource 3-in-1 has been recognized for its innovative design by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Yunus Innovation Challenge, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Web: www.oneearthdesigns.org
In 2007, the Pacific Islands
Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) began a series
of solar cooking demonstrations in
Four women’s groups were given
solar cooking training by the Kiribati Ministry of Public Works and Utilities,
and the group’s members were then allowed to use the cookers over a period of
several weeks to test the cookers’ usefulness for local foods and to record
reductions in traditional cooking fuel use, particularly that of kerosene. A
similar project was conducted in
SOPAC continues to promote
solar cooking in
In conjunction with
Global Postal Industry cuts over half a million tonnes of Co2 in one year
Industry one third of way to achieving 2020 target in first year of sustainability reporting
by International Post Corporation
The Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) programme was launched with the presentation of the industry's benchmark report at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, when the postal industry became the first global services industry to adopt a sector-wide approach to sustainability. The sector then set itself an emissions reduction target of 20% based on 2008 figures, by 2020 (the '20/2020 target').
In this first year of
reporting nearly all of the 20 participating postal operators improved their
carbon management scores on 2008, reporting a collective reduction in CO2
emissions of a total 597,000 tonnes. In 2009 these
posts collectively emitted 8.63m tonnes of CO2, so
this figure represents over a third of the required emissions reduction to meet
the 20% target by 2020 set in
The plan is focused on restoring the savannah’s most vulnerable places - areas with high deforestation rates, rich biodiversity and important freshwater resources.
Targets include the creation of 25 thousand square kilometers of national parks and other protected areas, the ratification and demarcation of 5.8 million hectares of indigenous territories, and a land use plan that balances environmental and economic needs.
Central to this is a legal framework that protects the environmental services provided by the resource-rich area. Studies show that close to 90% of Brazilians consume energy generated in the region, most of which comes from protected areas. But just over 8% of the Cerrado is now officially under the government’s watch. The new commitment will, however, shelter an additional 15% of the savannah by the end of 2010, including the regulated indigenous territories that appear in the plan.
blocks plan for new piers and boat facilities on
Decisive victory ensures development plans will be held to high standard
Sacramento, CA, USA, September
17 - In a landmark decision that will affect all future development plans at
Lake Tahoe, a federal district court judge on Thursday overturned a plan to
allow the addition of new piers, boat ramps, buoys and other boat facilities
along the lake’s shoreline. Judge Lawrence K. Karlton
of the U.S. District Court in
In November 2008, the groups filed suit against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to force a proper environmental review of the agency’s shoreline development plan. The plan would have allowed for the building of 138 new piers, thousands of new buoys, and other boat facilities, resulting in more than 62,000 additional boat trips each year on the lake. The construction and additional traffic would have imperiled water and air quality, and negatively affected non-motorized boaters and public shoreline access. As a result of Thursday’s decision, miles of Tahoe shoreline will remain pristine and enjoyable for all users. (…)
Leadership Team visits Interreligious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bruxelles, September 30 -
The Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe is a strong network of young Christians
promoting the unity of Christianity throughout all of
During this encounter the team had an opportunity to explain the campaign to the council's staff and to invite the council's young contacts to become more involved in the campaign as it prepares to enter its third year. It is hoped that the council's young networks will become involved in several ways, including participating in seminars, organising their own local initiatives related to their experience of fundamental attitudes, and writing for forthcoming Fundamental Issues.
In return, the Leadership Team heard from the council's youth programme leader, Mrs Bozana Katava, about the work of the council and in particular its activities with groups of young people from a wide variety of religions and denominations, theologians and non-theologians alike. The team was very encouraged to hear about the great energy and enthusiasm that these young people are pouring into their interreligious encounters and initiatives, and looks forward to further collaboration with the council and its youth network over the next years as well as in preparation for their final campaign seminar planned to take place in Bosnia & Herzegovina during autumn 2010.
International Muslim-Christian Consultation "Transforming Communities", 1-5 November
Muslim and Christian leaders
as well as scholars and interfaith practitioners will gather in
The consultation is being jointly planned, funded and convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and several Muslim organizations. The 60 participants plus guests will address three key issues in the present context of Muslim-Christian relations:
• Beyond Majority and Minority
• From Conflict to Compassionate Justice: Building Ecologies of Peace
• Learning to overcome; formulating educational tools to resolve issues
The consultation is expected to identify and address issues of common concern and provide guidance to enable cooperation between Muslims and Christians at all levels, including faith-inspired approaches for joint Christian-Muslim action.
World Council of Churches: a worldwide fellowship of 349 churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. WCC work on Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.
Promoting good inter faith relations - Highlighting the contribution of faiths to building community - Increasing understanding between faiths and wider society
Inter Faith Week will run from Sunday 21 to Saturday 27 November 2010. Its aims are:
to strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels;
to increase awareness
of the different and distinct faith communities in the
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 led by the
Inter Faith Network for the
Peace and War
NPA Newsletter, October - The National Peace Academy
(NPA) is partnering with the
The summit will consist of seven different panels
designed to facilitate new and diverse conversations relating to peace and
More information and a complete schedule of events can be found here.
Bioneers at Findhorn - "Breakthrough Solutions for People and Planet"
October - 2 November -
"No conference on Earth celebrates more fully the possibilities of creating a world that is conducive to life; Bioneers is central to the re–imagination of what it means to be human." Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest
We invite you to join us and be refreshed by the 'good news' stories of cutting edge developments in social and environmental sustainability. Meet pioneering world leaders in their fields and explore with them innovative and holistic approaches that support the wellbeing of all life.
Bioneers at Findhorn will provide a balance of inspirational presentations with times of deepening, practice, dialogue, integration and unique networking opportunities. It will feature plenary speakers and community building activities in the morning, and a wide variety of more in-depth, practical workshops in the afternoon. In the evenings we will come together for cultural activities of music and dance.
USAID awards EDC
$10M for basic education, skills training in
As part of the new program,
EDC will provide up-to-date basic education and technical training skills to
improve the preparation of youth entering the workforce. It will also offer
assistance to Educatodos, an alternative basic and
secondary education program for out-of-school children and youth. In 2000, EDC
helped implement Educatodos, and it has since become
an integral component of
In addition to assisting Educatodos, EDC will establish private-sector alliances and provide youth with training opportunities to obtain career readiness certificates that will help them secure jobs in the local labor market.
Rotary helps foster peace and understanding through education
Evanston, Ill. USA, September 21 - Rotary takes a direct approach to world understanding by providing future leaders with the tools they need to “wage peace” on the global stage with its innovative Rotary Peace Centers program. Launched in 2002, Rotary awards up to 100 full scholarships each year for master’s-level degrees or a professional certificate in peace and conflict studies at six Rotary Peace Centers located at: University of Bradford, United Kingdom; University of Queensland, Australia; International Christian University, Japan; Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, (an intensive, three-month course for mid-level professionals in government, nongovernment organizations, and international industry).
Those interested in the program can apply through local Rotary clubs. Applications for the 2012-13 class will be available for download from the Rotary website in January 2011, and are due to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July 2011. Qualified applicants must possess an undergraduate degree, have a minimum three years of professional experience at international agencies, government and non-governmental organizations, businesses or academic institutions; and demonstrate a commitment to peace and international understanding through their volunteer, academic, and professional achievements.
Focus is on STEM learning and teaching
Newton, MA, USA, September 8 - Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), has received more than $5.6 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research and develop programs to boost the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“This investment means more
jobs and groundbreaking scientific research in
“This new round of funding
from the National Science Foundation allows EDC to continue its leadership in
this area,” said President and CEO Luther Luedtke.
“We understand how learners learn and what it takes to support learning in all
settings. As one of the top recipients of NSF funding in
* * * * * * *
by Sergio Tripi*
In April 1945 the
representatives of fifty nations met in
This question is put to me often by university students, by the public at conferences and by friends and acquaintances. To try to answer seriously, one must start from this “counter-question”: what are the Member States of the UN doing to enable this planetary organization to resolve these problems? Many people think that the UN is responsible for the world situation, but they do not realize that is an organization formed by national governments and that, as such, it can act only in terms of two fundamental factors expressed by its Member Nations: the delegation of authority which they are willing to confer on it and the resources which they are willing to put at its disposal. In the final analysis, this is the whole problem. In evaluating the effectiveness of the UN from this viewpoint, one is surprised to note that everyone agrees on the fact that the delegation of authority is conferred very sparingly and that the resources are granted in dribs and drabs.
Today, with the prospect of
the serious environmental and social problems of a global nature, one can
perceive a new openness of the Member States to give the UN a role of
coordination and leadership in organizing the necessary work to address serious
problems like poverty, illiteracy, environmental pollution and threatening
illnesses like Aids. In general, however, as far as the allocation of resources
for development is concerned, the countries of the western world, with few
exceptions, continue in their restrictive and short-sighted attitude. Forty
years ago, it was clearly stated that 0.7 percent of the GPD of the
industrialized countries would be sufficient to overcome these problems, but
after all this time we are not even halfway! And the exceptions represented by
generous countries like
In the 65 years since the Organization of the United Nations was founded, the world has changed drastically. With 141 new Member States, the political map has had to be redrawn, natural resources are no longer abundant and cheap and it is clear that the national economies now depend on the global economy. Human rights have emerged with a more profound meaning than ever, while humanity is slowly opening up to a new awareness: that of its intrinsic unity. However, with the exception, of an illuminated and growing minority which has for some time been affirming that new values and thus new types of behaviour must be expressed by humanity, if we finally wish to build a world based on right relationships and shared responsibilities, the work of the UN is only marginally known to most of the public and only in situations of dramatic emergency. And yet, never as in the last decade have the United Nations called the attention of the world to problems which are potentially explosive and disastrous such as global pollution, desertification, hunger, demographic growth, human rights, the state of women and the defence of children, to mention only some of the areas in which the UN is working with greater intensity. All these activities are finally beginning to get some attention from the mass communication media but the public is not yet well aware of them.
Some reflections on the major problems of our times
An analysis of the main results obtained in the last decades in the struggle against the crucial problems of this period clearly shows the positive role of the UN, the highest world organization, which has been combating these grave situations right from the time of its constitution. Naturally, those who bring about the positive evolution of dramatic situations are the Member States themselves, but the guiding role of the United Nations has been very precious and often decisive.
Security – The emergence of this decade – the defence of security – has brought out the need for an agreement on the limited and well defined use of force as the key to defence of peace and the maintenance of security. A significant part of world public opinion (myself included) considers that the correct viewpoint for responding to extreme necessities of this kind is that of assigning to the highest assembly of peoples existing on the planet, that is the UN, the task of appraisal and the political responsibility for action, to be taken with coalition forces placed under its political control. Much has been said and written about terrorism and the recurrent element, especially in recent times, is that this terrible world threat should be faced by the whole world community. In fact, could we ever imagine that this terrible scourge, which expresses a perverse, homicidal fanaticism that finds proselytes in the terrible social conditions which the world continues to maintain in some areas of the world, can be healed by something less than the whole community of the planet? Can one ever have any doubt about the idea that, in an interdependent world, the long-term reply to terrorism must express new forms of synergy between the nations both at the level of security and at the level of responding to endemic causal situations such as hunger, deprivation of human rights, extreme poverty and illiteracy?
Hunger – As far as the scourge of hunger is concerned, the most dramatic fact is that over a thousand million people live in extreme poverty, that is with less than a dollar a day. But for an evaluation of this scourge, the picture to bear in mind consists of the progress of the general situation reflected by the historical data of half a century and by two particularly significant reports published by the United Nations in this decade. According to the estimates of the UN, in 1950 the malnourished were 50 percent of the population of the poor countries, in 1970 they were 37 percent and in 2000 they were 17 percent. The SOFI report 2006 of FAO, The State of World Food Security, pointed out that world population had grown in the previous decade but at the same time the percentage of the population struck by hunger in the developing countries had diminished. The report published by the World Food Programme in November 2001 recalled that, at the beginning of the 1970s the people who died every day of hunger or for reasons attributable to hunger were 41 000, while in 2001 they were 24 000. It is always an alarming, dramatic figure, but the tendency induces us to intensify our efforts and to persevere. And if, in the light of the present economic crisis, in the near future new “historical” facts establish a recrudescence of this scourge, I believe that in the medium term the continual work of the UN and the ever more significant work of civil society will support the positive trend.
Health – In this field,
the most significant battle is to defend the life of children. The global rate
of infant mortality of children below five years of age has constantly
diminished in the last two decades. Conversely, the rate of reduction of infant mortality of
children below five years of age has been increasing since the 1990s: there was
an average rate of decrease between 2000 and 2008 of 2.3 percent, compared with
an average of 1.4 percent between 1990 and
In recent years, illnesses like mad-cow disease and human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, to mention some, have highlighted dramatically the insubstantiality of territorial boundaries, the need for coordinated scientific research and the urgent need for a global health response. In the field of health, agencies of world-wide importance, like, for example, FAO, WHO and UNICEF, are exerting enormous efforts to respond to the dramas of our time; and this high degree of specialization and mobilization has also re-echoed in the sector of the non-governmental organizations and the voluntary associations engaged in this field. Significantly, also the work that civil society is carrying out, with growing intensity and support and in synergy with the programmes of the UN, is now considered an element of primary importance by the United Nations. One very meaningful example: the campaign against polio conducted by the UN specialized Agencies like WHO and UNICEF, and some organizations of civil society, in particular Rotary, campaign that has reduced the incidence of polio in two decades from many tens of thousands of cases a year all over the world to a few tens of new cases a year in four countries.
Environment – In spite of the
obstacles and the temporary arrests in the march toward the assumption of a global
responsibility, is it possible to imagine that the adoption of effective
anti-pollution measures and, more generally, measures to protect the
environment can be anything less than global? Can we render partial the
greenhouse effect? Can a nation or a group of nations adopt solutions which are
geographically partial, trusting in the right direction of the wind to maintain
its safety? The battle against pollution and the measures for the defence of
the environment, like the research on alternative forms of energy, have to be
conceived globally and to be applied globally, even if gradually and with programmes of realization that take into account the
different regional and local situations.
In this field also the role of the UN is fundamental,
both in the most significant steps of progress and in the so-called
standstills, as most people consider the
Education and illiteracy - The awakening of consciousness to the social duties of sharing and commitment is not merely a desirable prospect but a sine qua non. The dramatic fact is that today at least 113 million children in the world do not attend school and of these two-thirds are girls (yes, the mothers who will bring up the new generation …). It is not necessary to recall here how the lack of education precludes these children of our world from an existence worth living and relegates them instead to an existence of privation and an ever shorter survival period without human meaning.
From this viewpoint, the fight
against illiteracy takes on a crucial importance, well focalized by the
specific Millennium Goal: to make education accessible to all by the year
The crucial point then is this: can we do without the UN? I maintain that the UN is an organization which is not only necessary but indispensable. When the common good requires a renunciation of national sovereignty, the nations are put to the test and nationalistic egoism is faced with the necessity for international cooperation. Before the world community this is then the question which predominates over all the others: will the nations be willing to renounce nationalistic interests and goals with the aim of working together for a world in which peace and global progress do not remain a utopia? On reflection, I do not think we have any other choice. And the choice must include in primis the renewed consciousness of the indispensability of the UN, an organization which, if it did not exist, would need to be invented.
*From October 1996 to February
2001 he was the Representative to
Translation by Jancis Browning.
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Next issue: 22 October 2010.
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