Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 178



Weekly – Year XI, number 178 – 22nd October 2010

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

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

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.  




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

UN Secretary-General message for United Nations Day, 24 October


International legislation



Moldova becomes latest State party to International Criminal Court

14 October – Moldova has become the latest country to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is tasked with trying people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The country ratified the 1998 Rome Statute on Tuesday, bringing the total number of States parties to 114. The treaty will enter into force for Moldova on 1 January 2011. (...)

An independent, permanent court, the ICC was set up in 2002 after the number of ratifications passed 60 that year. It is currently investigating events in five countries or regions: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan’s Darfur region, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Kenya. An individual State or the Security Council can refer cases to the court for investigation.


New law bans illegal wood from EU markets

Posted on 12 October  The EU Regulation on Illegal Logging cleared its final legislative hurdle on Monday, following the adoption of the proposed draft by the Council of Ministers, effectively issuing a ban on illegal timber. In July, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a crack down on illegal timber, voting 644-25 in favor of the legislation.

The new law will require that all operators placing timber products on the market for the first time to ensure that their products have been legally harvested. "WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) welcomes this development and looks forward to the day on which Europe is no longer a market for illegal timber. For too long, those striving to operate responsibly, such as companies participating in the GFTN, have been forced to compete on an uneven playing field against less scrupulous operators,” said George White, Head of the GFTN.

In requiring operators to ensure the legality of their timber products, the Regulation calls for ‘due diligence’ systems to be put in place that address three elements inherent to risk management: access to information, risk assessment and mitigation of the risk identified.

“Combined with the US Lacey Act, this new Regulation begins to close two of the world's major markets to those who act irresponsibly and outside the law. The GFTN will continue to welcome companies that seek guidance on legal compliance and are committed towards taking this first step towards responsible forest management and building a solid foundation for robust and responsible forest products industry," concluded White.


Tunisia ratifies International Treaty banning cluster bombs

London, 1 October – The Republic of Tunisia ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 28 September 2010 during the United Nations General Assembly. Tunisia is the first country in the Middle East/North Africa region to formally ratify the treaty, which took effect as binding international law on 1 August.

The Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for victim assistance. To date, 108 countries have signed and 42 have ratified and are already or will soon become States Parties.

Tunisia is not believed to have used, produced, stockpiled, or transferred cluster munitions. It signed the Convention on 12 January 2009, the first signature since the Oslo signing conference in December 2008.


Malta ratifies treaty banning sale, prostitution of children during annual UN event

28 September – A top United Nations official today hailed Malta’s ratification of a global treaty banning the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as a critical step towards protecting the rights of young people. Malta’s ratification brings the number of State parties to the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography to 141.

The treaty, one of two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, extends the obligations of States parties to guarantee the protection of children from sale, pornography and prostitution, through explicit prohibition of these acts in their laws. (...)

Among the other ratifications today was that by Tunisia of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, by the Netherlands of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and by Togo of the Protocol against the smuggling of migrants.

In addition, Ethiopia signed the Optional Protocol on children and armed conflict and Paraguay signed the International Tropical Timber Agreement of 2006.



Human rights



Maternity rights: European Parliament votes for more equality between women and men and a more sustainable future

Brussels, 20 October - The European Parliament today by a large majority passed a Resolution in favour of substantially increasing European minimum standards for maternity and paternity leave provisions. In what supporters are lauding a great victory for the women and men living in Europe, the Parliament approved an increase of maternity leave provisions from 14 weeks to 20 weeks and the introduction of two weeks leave for new fathers, both fully paid.

The revision to the so-called ‘Maternity Leave Directive’ was first tabled in 2008. ‘If backed by European governments, this legislation will make a huge difference to the lives of millions of women across Europe’, explains EWL Secretary General, Myria Vassiliadou. ‘Sufficiently long leave allowances, pay and protection from dismissal upon return will ensure women do not have to sacrifice their careers in order to raise a family.’

Currently in Europe, women’s employment rates drop by more than 12% when they have children.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL membership extends to organisations in all 27 EU member states and the three candidate countries, as well as to 21 European-wide bodies, representing a total of more than 2500 organisations.


Madagascar: 80 law-enforcement officers enhance their knowledge of human rights

Antananarivo, 15 October – Eighty gendarmerie and national police officers are taking part in two seminars organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to deepen their knowledge of human rights principles applicable to operations undertaken to restore and maintain order. The first seminar, attended by gendarmes and other security officers, ended today in Antananarivo; the second, intended for 40 officers enrolled in the national police academy, will take place next week in Ivato.

The seminars, which are part of a training programme that has been organized by the French embassy for several years, also include a presentation of the ICRC's mandate and activities, and of the Malagasy Red Cross Society.

The ICRC has been working in Madagascar without interruption for the past eight years. Through its activities in the country, which are linked to situations of violence, it endeavours to improve living conditions for detainees and to provide support for the Malagasy Red Cross.


Human Rights Council concludes 15th session, adopts 34 texts

The Human Rights Council concluded its 15th regular session, held from 13 September - 1 October, by adopting 34 texts which included establishing the mandates of a Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; a Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practise; and a Working Group to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the regulation of the activities of private military and security companies on the enjoyment of human rights.

During the session, the Council held a number of general debates, including on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, and thematic reports presented by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office, on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention. The Council heard an update by High Commissioner Navi Pillay on the activities of her Office, followed by a general debate and an interactive dialogue on her annual report. The Council also heard a number of high profile reports and held interactive dialogues with the Special Procedures presenting them, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict following the presentation of her report. (...)

The Council also adopted texts on follow-up to religious intolerance; draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights; human rights and international solidarity; water and sanitation; leprosy; human rights education; migrants and maternal mortality and morbidity; indigenous peoples; the right to education; and the right to development, amongst others. (...)

The 16th regular session of the Council will be held from 28 February to 25 March 2011.



Economy and development



IFAD provides additional US$ 10 million to boost sustainable water management in Bangladesh

Rome, 18 October – A US$ 10 million supplementary loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh will improve rural livelihoods through investments in sustainable management of water resources, including flood management, drainage improvement and water conservation.

The loan agreement for the participatory Small-scale Water Resources Sector Project was signed today in Rome by Masud Bin Momem, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

The project due to start operations in January 2011, received an initial IFAD loan of US$ 22 million in September 2009. Under the project, this supplementary IFAD loan will enable an increase in the total number of water management schemes from 230 to 270. The project is being co-financed by the Asian Development Bank through a loan of US$ 55 million. 

The project is expected to benefit some 324,000 households consisting of small and marginal farmers, and also landless households who will benefit from agricultural wage labour opportunities and from non-farm employment generated by broad-based agricultural growth.

Contacts: David Florentin Paqui - Jessica Thomas

Useful links: Rural poverty in Bangladesh   IFAD operations in Bangladesh


UN chief spotlights role of job creation in fighting poverty

17 October – Marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underlined the crucial role of decent and productive work in building peaceful and stable societies. More than 60 million people around the world have pushed into poverty by the global economic crisis, with unemployment up by nearly one third since 2007. Bridging the gap from poverty to decent work, the Secretary-General said, will require investing in policies fostering job creation promoting decent labour conditions deepening social protection systems and easing access to education, public health and job training.

He also called for a special emphasis on youth employment. Young people are three times more likely to not be employed than adults, with more than 80 million youth having been unemployed last year, the highest number ever. “One of the best ways for youth to see a future of hope is through the prism of a decent job,” Mr. Ban stressed. World leaders agreed on an agenda to step up the global fight against poverty at last month's summit in New York to review progress made so far in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.


On World Food Day, UN calls for united front against hunger

15 October  With nearly one billion people still suffering from food shortages around the globe, the world must take a united stand against hunger, the United Nations said today, marking World Food Day. The number of the world’s hungry has dipped slightly from its record high last year, but “we are continually reminded that the world’s food systems are not working in ways that ensure food security for the most vulnerable members of our societies,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the Day. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of hungry people in the world is a pillar for achieving all eight of the globally-agreed targets with a 2015 deadline, Mr. Ban stressed. He highlighted the need for global cooperation – bringing together governments, intergovernmental organizations, regional and sub-regional bodies, business and civil society groups – to combat hunger.

The Day is commemorated every year on 16 October, marking the date of the founding of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. The agency’s campaign, which aims to encourage governments to make eliminating hunger their top priority, has surpassed 1 million signatures. A celebration was held to commemorate the Day in Rome today, with the FAO appointing four new Goodwill Ambassadors – Italian actor Raoul Bova, Canadian singer Céline Dion, Filipino singer Lea Salonga and United States actress Susan Sarandon – to raise awareness of the global fight against hunger.


New project extension: Colombia—USAID specialty coffee program

6 October – ACDI/VOCA has won a $2 million, 18-month extension to the USAID-funded Specialty Coffee Program. Acción Social, an entity of the Colombian government that coordinates social development programs, will contribute an additional $700,000 in funding.

The USAID Specialty Coffee Program will continue its activities to develop the Colombian specialty coffee sector’s value chain. Specific activities include working with indigenous communities within the Sierra Nevada area, partnering with the private company Nespresso in identified cluster coffee regions and strengthening the Colombian Association of Specialty Coffee. The extension allows ACDI/VOCA to continue to provide smallholder Colombian coffee farmers with skills and capacities to improve coffee quality, increase incomes and connect to high-value markets.






European Match Day against Hunger - 22-24 October

16 European football leagues will join forces to fight hunger

Rome, 20 October - 16 European football leagues will dedicate their matches to the fight against hunger and poverty as an impressive show of footballing solidarity during the “European Match Day against Hunger” (22-24 October) promoted by FAO and the European Professional Football Leagues Association (EPFL). The leagues are urging their fans to sign an online petition calling on governments to give priority to the elimination of hunger. 

"The 1billionhungry project” is a global outreach initiative of FAO and its partners. Since its launch in May, the petition has attracted more than 1.6 million signatures. "This shows that people around the globe are deeply troubled by the fate of the world’s hungry,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "They are urging governments to take more forceful action against hunger and extreme poverty.”

The EPFL/FAO “Match Day against Hunger” will bring together 16 professional football leagues and involve 314 professional football clubs playing in 157 stadiums across Europe. Millions of fans will see players, coaches and referees blow the yellow whistle, the campaign’s symbol signifying that it is time to stop the widespread suffering caused by chronic hunger. The yellow whistle, and with it the call to action against hunger, will be heard from Lisbon to Novosibirsk in Siberia to Glasgow to Palermo.

 Online newsroom:  


Vemma's second annual campaign raises $40,000 to benefit Children's Miracle Network

Scottsdale, Ariz., USA, October 14 - Vemma Nutrition Company, maker of premium liquid nutritional supplements, is pleased to announce a successful conclusion of its second annual fundraising campaign benefiting Children's Miracle Network. Through a combination of Vemma Brand Partner and Home Office employee contributions, as well as proceeds from the sale of the company's children's nutritional supplement, Vemma NEXT™, Vemma was able to raise $40,000 in donations, a 33% increase over last year's campaign.

Children's Miracle Network organization helps create miracles every day by raising funds for over 170 children's hospitals. Donations to Children's Miracle Network fund the medical care, research and education necessary to help save and improve the lives of over 17 million children each year. For more information, please visit (...)


HP connects people with technology services experts to raise funds for CARE

HP will donate $10 to CARE for every vote for a favorite HP Technology Services Expert

Palo Alto, United States, October 13 - HP today unveiled a new program that unites technology users with HP Technology Services Experts to raise donations for CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that fights global poverty.

As part of the HP Technology Services Experts sweepstakes, HP will donate $10 to CARE every time a registered visitor votes for his or her favorite Technology Services Expert on the sweepstakes site. Visitors are welcome to vote up to seven times a day.

This effort is part of a new HP Technology Services program designed to put the “humanity” back into services. The program showcases the expertise and know-how of the HP team – from engineers to service professionals – so clients can spend less time on problems and more time moving their business forward.

More information on the HP Technology Services sweepstakes, including how to enter a vote to havve HP donate to CARE, is available at (...)


Motorola volunteers in 37 countries support more than 300 community organizations, with a focus on environmental sustainability

More than 6,600 employees participate in Motorola's fifth annual Global Day of Service

Schaumburg, Ill., USA, October 13 - Motorola Inc. employees around the world participate in the company's fifth annual Global Day of Service  to continue Motorola's tradition of bringing people together in service. More than 6,600 Motorola employees in 37 countries will spend half the workday volunteering in the communities where they work and live. Motorola continues its commitment to environmental sustainability through this year's theme, "Green & Global," featuring environmentally themed projects and a partnership with to plant trees in honor of participating employees.

Projects cover a broad range of activities including: an electronics recycling event in Shanghai, China; a woodland conservation project in Wiltshire, England; painting a youth sports court in São Paulo, Brazil; and development of a green business case study for high school students in Chicago, Ill. To build on the "Green & Global" theme, one tree will be planted through for every employee that volunteers. Four additional trees will be planted for employees who reuse a previous Motorola t-shirt for the Global Day of Service. Tree planting will be concentrated in areas rebuilding from recent natural disasters, such as China and Haiti.


Red Cross responds to new flooding in South East Asia

Ahmad Husein, IFRC, Indonesia & Lasse Norgaard, IFRC, Bangkok

8 October – Torrential rains over the past six days in South East Asia have created severe flooding in the Indonesian province of West Papua and in central Viet Nam. More than 130 people have died, dozens are missing and hundreds have been injured. It is estimated that more than a million people across five provinces in central Viet Nam have been affected. Accessibility to some areas is becoming more difficult. Further rains are expected in the coming days.

Staff and volunteers from local chapters of the Red Cross of Viet Nam (RCVN) have been active since the onset of the disaster. They have assisted with evacuations and distributed household kits comprising blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen utensils and water containers, as well as plastic sheets. The IFRC has provided 155,064 Swiss francs (160,853 US dollars / 115,896 euros) through its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Red Cross of Viet Nam in delivering immediate assistance to some 50,000 beneficiaries.


IFRC and PRCS to supply 1 million flood victims with shelter

Recovery effort to take a lot longer than originally anticipated says the IFRC President

1 October – President of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Tadateru Konoé, told a press conference today that the IFRC wants to extend its relief programming to include a second round of relief aid distribution.

Some 150,000 families are currently benefiting from Red Cross and Red Crescent relief aid, consisting of both food and non-food items. Close to one million men, women and children are also receiving emergency and/or transitional shelter in time for the oncoming winter.

“The IFRC, in partnership with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, now hopes to conduct a second round of aid distribution to these families,” said Tadateru Konoé. “Winter is fast approaching and we are hoping to provide as many people as possible with more blankets to help them cope with the cold. But to do this, we need more money now.”

37 National Societies are working together with the IFRC to support PRCS in the provision of food and non-food relief items to hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. “We are committed to continuing our support to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society in relief and rehabilitation of the victims,” said Konoé. PRCS staff and volunteers, including foreigners, are working round the clock to provide relief supplies to flood victims in 89 districts.


Connecticut and Save the Children partner to protect kids in disasters

by Erika Viltz

Westport, CT, USA, October 1 - Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the State of Connecticut today announced a new 12-month initiative to ensure that the unique needs of children are met when and if disasters strike the state. Under the new project, Connecticut-based non-profit Save the Children and state officials will implement a comprehensive child care emergency initiative, which will improve disaster preparedness plans for children in the state. (...)

Under this partnership, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Governor M. Jodi Rell has designated the Departments of Social Services, Public Health and Emergency Management and Homeland Security to work with Save the Children, local emergency personnel and local child care programs to ensure that each program will have a comprehensive plan in place in case of an emergency.

This collaboration makes Connecticut the first state to work with Save the Children on comprehensive disaster planning. The initiative will result in the designation of Connecticut’s 211-Child Care, a public-private funded program of the United Way of Connecticut, as the communication entry point for child care providers and parents in case of an emergency effective July 2011. 211-Child Care is Connecticut’s comprehensive phone-based service, that parents and child care providers can call for information on child care options and other support in case of an emergency. (...)



Peace and security



Campaign urges governments to get on board cluster bomb ban

Lao PDR to host historic meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions - 9-12 November

New York, 19 October – Governments that have not yet joined the international treaty banning cluster bombs should get on board without delay and participate in next month’s historic meeting of the Convention, said the Cluster Munition Coalition today at a special event held at the United Nations in New York. “We challenge all states that have not yet done so to get on board the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay,” said Thomas Nash, Coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). “They should participate in the upcoming first meeting of the Convention and announce their intent to join.”

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010, bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires the destruction of stockpiles, the clearance of affected land and the provision of assistance to victims and affected communities. To date, 108 countries have signed the treaty and 42 have ratified.

The First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention will take place from 9-12 November in Vientiane, Lao PDR, one of the countries most contaminated by unexploded cluster bombs. The milestone meeting will bring together governments, UN agencies, international organisations, and civil society under the banner of the CMC to hammer out an action plan for States Parties to implement their treaty obligations.

Contact: in New York, Thomas Nash (English, French):;  

in Spain, Conor Fortune (English, Spanish):


Ethiopia signs peace deal with Ogaden rebel faction

13 October - Ethiopia signed a peace deal on Tuesday to end 20 years of war with a rebel faction that has comprised the main threat to foreign oil and gas firms in the disputed Ogaden region, both sides said. Abay Tsehaye, national security adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, welcomed the signing of the deal as something that would strengthen unity in the Horn of Africa country. (…) The ONLF has sought independence for the mainly ethnic Somali province. The faction with which Addis Ababa sealed the deal says it represents 80 percent of fighters who have menaced energy stakes in the Ogaden, which borders Somalia.


UN-backed demobilization process kicks off in southern Sudan

12 October – Thousands of former fighters are taking part in a new United Nations-supported disarmament drive in the far south of Sudan. The seven ex-combatants – three women and four men – were disarmed, registered and issued certificates during the launch of the scheme yesterday in Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria state in southern Sudan.

They are the first of some 2,600 people set to be disarmed in the scheme carried out by the Integrated UN Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation (DDR) Unit, comprising the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The move to disarm former combatants began in Sudan early last year as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running north-south civil war.

After undergoing disarmament and demobilization, including medical examinations and career counselling, the ex-fighters in Eastern Equatoria will be reintegrated by receiving training in small business skills and vocational training in carpentry, tailoring, auto mechanics, driving, plumbing and others areas.


SIGNIS-WACC Human Rights Award 2010 goes to documentary on Afghanistan

Brussels, October 12 (SIGNIS/WACC) - The SIGNIS-WACC Human Rights Award 2010 has been given to the documentary The Garden at the End of the World, directed by Australian film-maker Gary Caganoff. The film explores the legacy of devastation and trauma in Afghanistan and illustrates the tragic consequences of war and the widespread hunger, homelessness and lawlessness that it causes. In particular, it shows the impact on the lives of widows and orphans, who now number tens of thousands.

The Garden at the End of the World follows the work of two remarkable women – humanitarian Mahboba Rawi, and internationally recognised permaculturalist Rosemary Morrow, who offer alternatives to international ‘reconstruction’ efforts that have patently not worked. The documentary reveals how urban and rural families and communities have disintegrated after losing fathers, husbands, and brothers to 30 years of political conflict, poverty and the drug trade. Rosemary, a Quaker, brings a holistic perspective to these experiences, emphasising the links between sustainability and genuine empowerment.

Mahboba Rawi, a refugee from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, lives in Sydney, Australia. In 2001 she established a not-for-profit organisation called ‘Mahboba’s Promise’, to assist homeless widows and orphans. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to international humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

More information:

SIGNIS, World Catholic Association for Communication: -


Ban lauds global youth campaign to rid world of nuclear weapons

4 October – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today hailed a civil society initiative that aims to raise awareness about the importance of reducing military spending and ridding the world of nuclear weapons. “This impressive petition from more than five million young people of faith from all regions is testament to a groundswell of civil society backing for these goals,” Mr. Ban told participants at the meeting in New York of Religions for Peace. (…)

Mr. Ban welcomed the contribution that the group’s “Arms Down! Global Youth Campaign for Shared Security” is making to raising awareness about the importance of cutting military expenditure and promoting a nuclear-weapons-free world.


Sri Lanka - Over 300 acres given back to farmers after de-mining in Ariyalai - Jaffna

Due to speedy demining process underway in war torn areas in the Northern Province, over 300 acres of paddy fields in Ariyalai East were given back to their original owners on Tuesday (29 Sep).

The event was organized in parallel to the grand "Vap Magula" ceremony in "Maha" season.

Ariyalai East in the Nallur Divisional Secretariat remained a restricted area for civilians until Army Engineers cleared the area of mines laid by the LTTE.

Governor Northern Province Major General (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri made a special note of thanks to Commander Security Forces - Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe and all Army personnel who took a tireless effort for the farmers to resume their livelihood.

The event was coincided with distributing of Agriculture equipment among the farmers from the allocations of the Governor's fund. Thirteen hand tractors and paddy seed were issued free, while seventeen more hand tractors, water pumps and a stock of fertilizer were given at concessionary rates. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Department of Jaffna organized the "Vap Magula" ceremony with assistance of the Army.


Iraq: Areas contaminated by cluster bomblets cleared near Mosul

MAG cleared two areas contaminated by cluster submunitions in Kherava, around 55 kilometres north-west of Mosul city, after students at the local school told a Community Liaison team about the presence of bomblets in their village. In one of the areas, submunitions were blocking important land used for farming and grazing. The contamination had forced shepherds to travel far from the village to graze their sheep.

The second area is used by workers from Kherava to collect stones that are then taken to Mosul. "More than 30 trucks transport stones from Kherava to Mosul on a daily basis,” said Qayran Edo, the village leader.  “At least 15 people work at this site every day. The workers used to live with a daily threat. MAG has saved their lives."


Windows to each other - Palestinian, Jewish youth publish giving voice to one another

Windows - Channels for Communication -- - since 1991 brings together Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel and in Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Young women and men of excellence create media-related educational programs to involve Jewish and Palestinian youth more deeply in the experience of acquaintance with the “other”, and to communicate with each other about the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

Foremost among their Youth Media Projects is the production and distribution of Windows Hebrew-Arabic Youth Magazine -- The unique bi-lingual publication is written by and for Palestinian and Jewish youth ages 12-16.

Since 1995, Windows’ Youth Editorial Boards have produced 30 issues of the Magazine, with current distribution at 15,000-20,000 copies per issue.  Graduates of the Magazine program can continue on in our Through the Lens: Video Program (9th and 10th grade) and Youth Leadership Program (11th and 12th grade). Approximately 200 young journalists have taken part in a long-term process of producing the magazine reaching a large, diverse readership.

See video of Windows young journalists from Bethlehem, Jaffa and Tel Aviv talking about their experiences working in the Windows Youth Media Program. Israelis and Palestinians Using Video  - Windows youth- In their own words - 3-1/2 min youth-created video:


Sudan - Keeping children safe from landmines and UXO

As part of our role in reducing the risk to communities threatened by the presence of landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), MAG Sudan visited an orphanage and boarding school in Nimule, in the southern county of Magwi.

The MAG Community Liaison (CL) team provided all the children with a Mine Risk Education  session. The children, aged one to 17, were shown pictures of the most common landmines and UXO found in southern Sudan and were given a very simple yet super important message: Do not touch them. Tell your guardian or teacher if you see them.

Next, the CL team helped the children to understand the effects of playing with mines and UXO, using role-play activities. Six-year-olds James and Emmanuel were chosen to try playing football with just one leg, while Saima and Oremama, both 11, collected bricks to help build a house with just one arm.

These activities caused a lot of laughter, but the message was clear: “Playing with a mine or UXO can hurt you very badly,” said eight-year-old Fiona. “You may lose your arm or leg and then you cannot do many things. Maybe you can even die.”






Making clean hands a priority for more than just a day, Global Handwashing Day partners lather up with millions around the world

Handwashing with soap could save lives of millions

New York/Geneva 15 October - For the third annual Global Handwashing Day, more than 200 million schoolchildren, parents, teachers, celebrities and government officials around the world will lather up, but at the end of the day, they aim to have more than just clean hands. This year the theme of Global Handwashing Day – more than just a day – aims to make the simple, life-saving practice of washing hands a regular habit long after the sun sets on October 15. Global Handwashing Day shines a spotlight on the importance of handwashing with soap and water as one of the most effective and affordable health interventions. 

The global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap is a coalition of international stakeholders focusing on the importance of handwashing and child health. Established in 2001, the partnership aims to give families, schools, and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by supporting the universal promotion and practice of proper handwashing with soap at critical times.


Campaign against deadly cattle plague ending

End of field activities sets stage for rinderpest eradication

Rome, 14 October - An ambitious global effort that has brought rinderpest, a deadly cattle plague, to the brink of extinction is ending all field activities, paving the way for official eradication of the disease. It would be the first time in history that humankind has succeeded in wiping out an animal disease in the wild, and only the second time, after smallpox in 1980, that a disease has been eliminated thanks to human efforts.

Rinderpest does not affect humans directly, but its ability to cause swift, massive losses of cattle and other hoofed animals has led to devastating effects on agriculture for millennia, leaving famine and economic devastation in its wake. "The control and elimination of rinderpest has always been a priority for the Organization since its early days in its mission to defeat hunger and strengthen global food security," FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said as ministers, animal health experts and partners gathered in Rome (13-14 October) for a Global Rinderpest Eradication Symposium.

Participants of the symposium discussed lessons learned from international efforts to stamp out the disease, how to apply lessons learned to eradicate other diseases, and reviewed what remains to be done before and after a final declaration of eradication.

A joint FAO/OIE announcement of global rinderpest eradication is expected in mid-2011, pending a review of final official disease status reports from a handful of countries to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

FAO has spearheaded a coordinated, global effort to study the pattern and nature of rinderpest, help farmers and veterinary services recognize and control the disease, develop and implement vaccination campaigns and, ultimately eradicate the disease within the framework of the OIE pathway. That effort has involved a broad alliance of international partners such as the OIE, IAEA and donors, most recently under the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP).

Online newsroom:


Prefab container hospital could bring a decade of healthcare to Léogâne, Haiti

October 13 – The hospital was built by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Léogâne within five months and was inaugurated on October 8. Haitian officials attended the ceremony. The town of Léogâne, which was closest to the epicentre of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12 this year, has a brand new hospital. The last patients were transferred to the prefabricated containers in September, and the one remaining action to be completed was the inaugural ceremony.

Following the devastating earthquake, MSF teams were treating patients under canvas sheets and tents. While the new structure was being built, staff and patients had to be moved twice. The containers offered the possibility of being put together rapidly. It will also be possible to adapt this structure according to needs. “We had to finish this as quickly as possible, before the cyclone season. Normally it takes a year to complete such a project,” explained MSF’s logistics operational manager Guillaume Queyras. It took five months from start to finish.

The containers offer a 1,700 m² surface, have a 120-bed capacity and include two operation theatres, radiology service and seven consultation room. The hospital cost 3.2 million dollars to build and operating costs, including the salaries of 400 staff, are estimated at seven to eight million dollars a year.


Afghanistan: ICRC opens new prosthetic/orthotic centre in Helmand province

12 October – The deteriorating security situation and the multiplication of armed groups throughout Afghanistan continue to affect the Afghan people in many ways. In response to increasing numbers of weapon-wounded patients, the ICRC has opened its seventh limb-fitting centre in the country, in Helmand province.

Afghanistan is the ICRC's biggest operation worldwide. The organization has 136 international and over 1,480 national staff based in its main delegation in Kabul and in five sub-delegations and 10 offices countrywide. In addition, it operates seven prosthetic/orthotic centres.


Mental healthcare a core part of MSF's emergency aid

October 11 – Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) provides emergency medical aid in catastrophes all over the world - armed conflicts, natural disasters, famines and epidemics. But for more than 20 years, MSF has also been caring for patients’ mental health. For people who have lived through terrible events, the psychological consequences can be severe. Depression and anxiety can immobilize them, at just the time when they need to take action for themselves and their families.

MSF’s mental healthcare aims primarily to reduce people’s symptoms and improve their ability to function. Often this work is done by local counsellors specially trained by MSF. MSF psychologists or psychiatrists provide technical support and clinical supervision. When appropriate, MSF’s counselling services may reinforce or complement mental healthcare approaches that already exist in the local community. At the same time, specialized clinicians treat severe mental illness. But severe illness accounts for a minority of the cases that MSF sees.


Afghan students raise awareness for polio eradication

By Arnold R. Grahl

Rotary International News, 8 October - Afghan students from several high schools fanned out across Jalalabad in September, raising money and awareness for efforts to eradicate polio from their country. The students were all participants in the Global Connections and Exchange Program, a project of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA, which administer Internet training labs in six high schools as well as a central training facility in Jalalabad. The effort is funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department as part of a larger initiative to promote technology, curriculum development, and international collaboration.

On 21 September, Abdul Qaum Almas, a member of the Rotary Club of Jalalabad and director of the program, and La Jolla Golden Triangle club member Fary Moini organized a workshop on the importance of polio eradication, attended by the students and community members.

Ajmal Pardis, the regional director of public health, made presentations with his staff, while a few of the students put on a play they had prepared about a young person who became crippled because his parents would not allow him to receive the polio vaccine. The students left the workshop fired up to design their own fundraising drives, and spent two days visiting schools, businesses, homes, and government and political offices. (...)

Rotary Foundation Trustee Stephen R. Brown, a member of the La Jolla Golden Triangle club, said the students’ eagerness in spreading the word about polio was more significant than the AFA25,000 (US$550) raised. "These kids were armed with information, and they jumped on the opportunity to go out and talk to people about what polio is, and how two drops of vaccine can save lives." "This activity was the first of its kind in Afghanistan, with students fundraising to save others from polio and tell the Afghan public how to assist in this important cause," Almas added. (...)


National immunization days in Angola

Leadership takes to the streets to ensure children are vaccinated

3 October – In response to a lengthy and growing polio outbreak in Angola, leaders at national and provincial levels were out in force during the country's nationwide vaccination campaign last weekend. The Minister of Health, as well as the Governor and Vice-Governor of Luanda province, toured neighbourhoods where vaccinators were going door to door, immunizing 5.6 million children under five years old. While it is too early to determine the impact of the leadership's engagement on the coverage achieved during the campaigns, it is clear that the programme is being scrutinized by sub-national leadership. In all countries, it is leadership at this level which has been essential to eradicating polio. The Government is supported by civil society - the Angola Red Cross, Rotary International, religious groups, other NGOs and the business community. (...)


Africare launches Obama water project

Washington, 17 September – More than 800 government representatives, district chiefs, traditional leaders, heads of institutions and community members gathered in the Wassa Amenfi West District of Ghana on September 1, 2010 to witness the launch of the Ghana Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene for Health (WASHH) Project. The six-month project, a response to the significant challenges related to access to clean water and decent sanitation in Ghana, is being implemented by Africare with funds donated by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Through the Ghana WASHH Project, Africare is partnering with the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Wassa Amenfi District Assembly to improve the health status of people living in three communities in the District through increased access to clean water and sanitation.

The U.S. $ 100,000 that started the WASHH project was donated to Africare by President Barack Obama from a portion of his Nobel Peace Prize,, awarded to him in October 2009. Right from his inauguration, President Obama has been committed to working alongside people in developing nations.



Energy and safety



Water For People launches new mobile application for monitoring water and sanitation projects in developing countries

Open-source reporting system uses Google Earth for faster response times to problems and data-driven decisions

Denver, USA, October 21 - /CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - Water For People, (, a U.S.-based international development organization, introduced a visual, open-source mobile-based data monitoring and mapping tool called Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW) today at the annual Pop!Tech conference. This new mobile application baseline and monitoring tool allows the organization to capture, report and analyze real time and historical data on water-point and sanitation-project status in developing countries over time.

At the touch of a button, community members, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, partners, staff and volunteers can quickly report on the status of their projects - showing the world that water is in fact flowing or indicating that the water system is not working properly. This rapid feedback of information will allow Water For People to understand the long-term status of their work, build on programmatic strengths and proactively address weaknesses so that investments truly can transform lives with sustainable services.

Utilizing cutting edge technology, including Android® cell phone technology and Google Earth, FLOW enables Water For People to demonstrate real data as soon as it's reported. This wide-spectrum view into the organization's work will allow Water For People to be flexible and quickly respond when problems arise.


Cassava: a bio-energy crop?

Finland and Italy join UN organisations to develop a research agenda on food and fuel needs in rural areas 

Rome, 13 October – The Governments of Finland and Italy will join forces with experts from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Foundation, in Accra, Ghana, from October 18-19, to assess the impact of cassava as a bio-energy crop. Specialists from a broad spectrum of stakeholders; the private sector, public institutions, government officials, development organizations, research institutions, and academia, are gathering to consider aspects of the cassava value chain, with a special emphasis on bio-fuel/bio-energy production to benefit the rural poor, especially women.

This consultation will identify the issues in developing cassava as a bio-fuel/bio-energy: from breeding, production through to processing and the treatment of wastes, to develop the potential of cassava to meet both food and fuel needs of the rural poor, without compromising food security and environmental considerations.

IFAD has invested a total amount of about US$110.0 million in the cassava value chains in the four major producer countries in Western and Central Africa: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria. IFAD also launched a US$1.3 million regional initiative on cassava processing and marketing that was financed through Italian Supplementary Funds. Under the initiative, IFAD set up a number of partnerships with regional and national research institutions and the private sector, and has organized several learning events, such as study tours within and outside of the region, as well as workshops and training exercises.



Environment and wildlife



Sony with WWF support invites you to tackle environmental challenges through technology

12 October – Sony Europe has launched Open Planet Ideas,, a new online community that challenges users to rethink a smarter use for today’s technologies in a way that addresses key sustainability issues like climate change, biodiversity and water conservation.

Community members from across the globe can draw their inspiration from the environmental information hosted on the platform itself, which gives a snapshot of current environmental challenges based on the latest facts and figures assembled by WWF.

Open Planet Ideas will remain open until January 2011, when the most viable concepts – as selected by the community and a panel of top Sony and WWF experts – will be taken forward to examine their technical and environmental viability. The top collaborators and the creators of the winning idea will then work together with a team of Sony designers and engineers to develop the idea further in the ‘realisation’ stage of the programme.

Open Planet Ideas was developed in collaboration with global design and innovation consultancy IDEO to harness the collective power of communities to foster environmental and social good. It draws on community input at every stage of the project – from the initial ‘inspiration’ phase to help refine the challenge through to evaluation and eventual realisation. (...)


UN climate change talks in Tianjin: progress or losing ground

On 4-9 October more than two thousand participants, including government delegates as well as representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, civil society and research institutions, gathered at the UN Climate Change Conference in Tianjin, China, to continue discussions on the development of a long-term shared vision to deal with climate change; on adaptation and mitigation; on key operational elements, such as climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building; and on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. This was the final meeting before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP16) in Cancun (29 November – 10 December 2010).

On the last day of the meeting, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres mentioned that Tianjin had been successful. "This week has gotten us closer to a structured set of decisions that can be agreed at Cancun,” she said. Once more, she pointed out the importance to turn negotiating texts into “a set of keys that unlock a new level of climate action – among rich and poor, business and consumers, governments and citizens.” She also underlined the economic and human rights opportunities that a constructive approach to the climate challenge could bring.

According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s brief analysis of the meeting, progress was made, but “measuring how much progress was achieved … resides firmly in the eye of the beholder." Third World Network notes that deep divisions between developed and developing countries remain regarding a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and on further emission reduction commitments.


enVision Montpelier: Sustainability city planning with the Earth Charter

30 September - Making a decision to change the way an entire city conducts its legally mandated planning is not something that anyone does quickly or without thorough consideration. Never imagine that just because it is a good idea, all the political and financial processes of city government will fall in line. Cities are large ships, and turning them, even a few degrees, takes careful planning and forethought. It also takes time – making a change from a traditional master plan to a sustainable master plan that follows the principles and ethics of the Earth Charter will typically take between 18 months and three years, depending on the city, its leadership, and how many different aspects of city policy need to change.

Montpelier has just completed this long process with the City Council’s adoption of the new Master Plan on September 8, 2010. There have been several critical activities that helped with a successful outcome, they are:

    * an extensive public outreach and participation campaign designed to involve a broad cross-section of the city and its stakeholders in the planning process (find here the outreach plan, and participation report);

    * a grant program that allowed projects consistent with the planning process to move forward even before it was completed;

    * the adoption of the Vision and Goals of the plan by the City Council as an intermediate stage in the project;

    * and a citywide prioritization exercise that allowed citizens to have a voice in what the top priority strategies would be.



Religion and spirituality



2010 International conference on Youth and Interfaith Communication - October 22-24, Jos, Nigeria

Best-practices from Jewish-Palestinian successes will soon be experienced in Jos, central Nigeria by 200 courageous Muslim and Christian youth leaders. The 2nd International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Communication will be sponsored by Jos's New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation. Much is to be learned from the qualities of our Nigerian colleagues -- their sophistication, eagerness, cooperativeness, spirituality, and  effectiveness.

 "Building Bridges Through Interfaith Dialogue and Youth Participation" will be the theme for  youth choosing to create their shared destiny even in the midst of this years heartbreaking death all around them. Their days together will not be unlike past successful Palestinian-Jewish Peacemakers Camps. Many of the best-practices are preserved to freely use worldwide at The conference coordinator is Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba ( This week, Emmanuel is one of four Nigerians selected by his Ministry of Education to represent Civil Society Groups in a 3-day Roundtable on Education in Africa. Conference facilitators Libby and Len Traubman co-founded the 18-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo, California. For years these Muslims, Christians, and Jews have been featured on CNN and global print and broadcast news.


Unity Program - Transforming the present, shaping the future

The Unity Program is a course designed to educate high school students about Muslims, Jews, Islam, and Judaism while strengthening the relationships students have to their own communities and religious traditions. We examine issues within North American Jewish and Muslim communities, the historical relationship between Muslims and Jews, and the relationship between Judaism and Islam. Each of these components deepens students' understandings of their individual and group identities in the contemporary world as well as the textual, ideological, and historical relationship between and within each community.

This course derives its name from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who writes in his epic treatise, Why We Can’t Wait, “unity has never meant uniformity”. Whereas uniformity describes something unvaried and monolithic, unity portrays a pluralism of opinion and expression within a collective that shares a singleness of purpose. The Abraham’s Vision Unity Program is aimed at developing both Jewish and Muslim identities while drawing from the similar religious purposes of these two communities, teaching students the vital imperative to learn with and from the ‘other.’

The four major components of the Unity Program are:

(1) Teacher-led classes on issues related to Jewish-Muslim relations, Islam, and Judaism.

(2) Presentations by Muslim and Jewish guest speakers.

(3) Inter-school field trips to sites of cultural, historical, and/or religious significance.

4) Inter-school meetings in which train facilitators lead students in group dynamics sessions.



Culture and education



EI and ESU launched a toolkit on student-centred learning

October 15 – At the final event of the joint project with the European Students’ Union currently taking place in Leuven, Belgium, Education International launched a toolkit for staff and students to promote the concept of student-centred learning. The project, entitled “Time for Student-Centred Learning”, is a European-level campaign within the context of the European Higher Education Area, to advocate for a more participatory way of teaching and learning in higher education institutions.

The launch took place in Leuven’s Museum M, and was attended by the Belgian Minister of Education for the Flemish Region, Pascal Smet, the Mayor of Leuven, Louis Tobback, the chairperson of the Flemish student union VVS, Tom Demeyer, as well as EI Deputy General Secretary Monique Fouilhoux and ESU chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere.

Commenting on the crisis of financing for the higher education and research sector which resulted in staff having to do more with less, Fouilhoux remarked that by working together with the students on student-centred learning, staff send a strong message to governments and institutions that quality education requires the necessary resources and supportive environment.


Young workers: champions of quality public services

October 13 - “There is no work-life harmony; there is only work-life integration – you have to live as you work.” This joke set the tone for the Young Workers’ Forum held on 11 October, leading into the Quality Public Services, Action Now! Conference.

The Forum provided a valuable space for young workers to discuss their input into the Quality Public Services Charter and Action Plan. The participants from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Fiji, Georgia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, broke into small workgroups and discussed at length the global economic crisis and its impact on their working environment, home lives and provision of public services in their respective countries.

The participants were encouraged to think about how different groups are affected, in particular whether young people are being affected differently than others. Identifying the negative impacts was relatively easy and it became clear that participants faced similar issues across the globe.

Participants then faced the more difficult challenge of identifying the positive impacts of the crisis as well as signs of hope and concrete actions which can be taken.

The need for integration of young worker structures and a stronger union presence in the workplace were identified as some of the key concerns that were given greater urgency in the crisis. Many good ideas and suggestions came out of these sessions, in particular, participants felt that global union cooperation and networking was essential.


EI Africa Conference to advocate for investment in quality education

October 8 - Educators from across Africa are invited to attend the seventh Education International (EI) Africa Region Conference, to take place in November, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Teacher trade unionists will gather for the 5-day event, which runs from 29 November to 3 December, to engage in passionate and high level debate around key professional standards issues. With the conference taking place a few months after the UN’s Millennium Goals’ Review Summit in New York, where EI was represented by its Africa Chief Regional Coordinator, Assibi Napoe, the theme for the gathering will be: Unity for sustainable investment in quality public education in Africa.Key points for discussion on the agenda include: consolidating teachers’ trade union unity; investment in quality public education; challenges in achieving quality public education in the context of economic and financial crisis; and trade union rights in the education sector. (…)


PM Salam Fayyad and USAID inaugurate a newly constructed co-ed school in Beit Ijza, West Basnk

October 5 - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), representatives of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and other dignitaries celebrated the completion of the newly built Beit Ijza Basic Coeducational School. Funded by USAID through the Emergency Water and Sanitation and Other Infrastructure (EWAS II) Program and implemented by ANERA, the construction of the school cost around $864,000 and helped create 3,281 person-days of employment. An estimated 225 young boys and girls could benefit from the school, and currently, 171 students are enrolled.

The new Beit Ijza Basic Coeducational School has been built with all the standard facilities, including eight classrooms, a science lab, computer lab, school library, administration rooms and sanitation facilities, in addition to a large playground and a shaded area outdoors. This much needed intervention will help resolve the problem of shortage of classrooms in Beit Ijza, providing better and healthier educational facilities for the school’s students. It is currently the only basic coeducational school in the village.


Haitian children get a fresh start at school

Save the Children constructs prototype school at Quake Epicenter

Westport, Conn., USA, October 4 - As the new school year officially winds into full swing today, children in Haiti are returning to the routine that is so important for their well-being in the wake of January’s earthquake. While the country continues to struggle with clearing rubble, rebuilding homes and reestablishing infrastructure, schools in Haiti have been striving to make this new school year a fresh start for students.

Safer construction has been at the center of plans for rebuilding schools. Save the Children has rebuilt the Institut Abélard in Léogâne, at the epicenter of the earthquake. It is an example of disaster risk reduction construction principles taken to the next level — it features innovative yet simple techniques that make it more hurricane- and earthquake-resistant than buildings erected prior to the January 12 quake. The construction techniques used have been studied by both private builders and non-governmental organizations. The school serves as an example of best practices and as a prototype for building other schools around the country. (...)


2010 Right Livelihood Awards honour the power of change from the grassroots

30 September - The 2010 Right Livelihood Awards go to four recipients who will share the Euro 200.000 cash award:

Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria) receives an Award “for revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production and for his inspired work to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally”. Bishop Erwin Kräutler (Brazil) is honoured “for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction”. Shrikrishna Upadhyay and the organisation Sappros (Nepal) are recognised “for demonstrating over many years the power of community mobilisation to address the multiple causes of poverty even when threatened by political violence and instability”. The organisation Physicians For Human Rights-Israel (Israel) is awarded “for their indomitable spirit in working for the right to health for all people in Israel and Palestine”.

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Co-Chair of the Right Livelihood Awards, noted after the jury decision: “True change starts at the grassroots level: physicians who did not wait for politicians before acting to end unnecessary suffering in the Middle East; villagers who work themselves out of poverty; and environmental movements which unite the victims of ecological devastation. Combine this work on the ground with targeted advocacy, for example for the constitutional rights of indigenous people, and you understand why this year’s Right Livelihood Award Laureates yet again offer role models, whose work and commitment can be replicated throughout the world.”

Founded in 1980 the Right Livelihood Awards are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are often referred to as 'Alternative Nobel Prizes'. Jakob von Uexkull, a Swedish-German professional philatelist, sold his business to provide the original funding. Since then, the Award has been financed by individual donors.

This year, there were 120 proposals from 51 countries, whereof 69 candidates from "developing" countries. Award Ceremony and press conference with the 2010 Laureates  will be held  in Stockholm on December 6th.



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The Secretary-General message for United Nations Day, 24 October 2010


On United Nations Day, I express my great appreciation to the millions of people throughout the world who believe deeply in our work for peace, development and human rights and who uphold our ideals and help us achieve our goals.  To all of you, friends and fellow citizens of the world, I say: thank you.


Sixty-five years ago on this date, the founding Charter of the United Nations entered into force.  Every year on UN Day, we reaffirm our global mission.  We reassert the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity.  And we recognize the progress we have made together: gains in literacy and life expectancy, the spread of knowledge and technology, advances in democracy and the rule of law.


But above all, UN Day is a day on which we resolve to do more.  More to protect those caught up in armed conflict, to fight climate change and avert nuclear catastrophe; more to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to combat injustice and impunity; more to meet the Millennium Development Goals.


Last month’s MDG Summit at the United Nations generated political momentum as well as financial commitments that are especially significant in these difficult economic times. I am determined to press ahead as the 2015 deadline approaches.


Despite our problems, despite polarization and distrust, our interconnected world has opened up vast new possibilities for common progress.  Let us commit to do even more to realize the great vision set out in the UN Charter.



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Next issue:  12 November 2010.


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

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph.D. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti, Arianna Cavallo, Azzurra Cianchetta. Webmaster: Fabio Gatti. Media and NGOs coverage: Maurizio Palazzoni.  


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