Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 178
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.
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:
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-
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
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.
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.
Malta ratifies treaty banning sale, prostitution of children during annual UN event
September – A top United Nations official today hailed
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. (...)
the other ratifications today was that by
Maternity rights: European Parliament votes for more equality between women and men and a more sustainable future
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
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.
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
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
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.
provides additional US$ 10 million to boost sustainable water management in
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
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.
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
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 1billionhungry.org
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
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
"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
Online newsroom: http://www.fao.org/news/newsroom-home/en/
Vemma's second annual campaign raises $40,000 to benefit Children's Miracle Network
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 www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org. (...)
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
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 www.hp.com/go/TSvote. (...)
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
Projects cover a broad range
of activities including: an electronics recycling event in
Cross responds to new flooding in
8 October – Torrential rains
over the past six days in South East Asia have created severe flooding in the
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.
by Erika Viltz
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
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
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
UN-backed demobilization process kicks off in southern
October – Thousands of former fighters are taking part in a new United
Nations-supported disarmament drive in the far south of
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).
move to disarm former combatants began in
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.
Human Rights Award 2010 goes to documentary on
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
More information: http://www.thegardenattheendoftheworld.info
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.
Due to speedy demining process underway in war torn areas in the
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.
MAG cleared two areas
contaminated by cluster submunitions in Kherava, around
The second area is used by
workers from Kherava to collect stones that are then
Windows to each other - Palestinian, Jewish youth publish giving voice to one another
- Channels for Communication -- http://www.win-peace.org/ - since 1991 brings
together Jewish and Palestinian citizens of
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 -- http://www.win-peace.org/?page_id=16 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.
of Windows young journalists from
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
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
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.”
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
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
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: http://www.fao.org/news/newsroom-home/en/
container hospital could bring a decade of healthcare to
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
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
12 October – The deteriorating
security situation and the multiplication of armed groups throughout
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
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
On 21 September, Abdul Qaum Almas, a member of the
Rotary Club of Jalalabad and director of the program,
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
immunization days in
Leadership takes to the streets to ensure children are vaccinated
3 October – In response to a
lengthy and growing polio outbreak in
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
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. http://www.africare.org/news/news2010/obama-water-project.php
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, (www.waterforpeople.org), 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?
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:
Sony with WWF support invites you to tackle environmental challenges through technology
12 October – Sony Europe has launched Open Planet Ideas, www.openplanetideas.com, 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
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
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.
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.
* 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.
2010 International conference
on Youth and Interfaith Communication - October 22-24,
Best-practices from Jewish-Palestinian successes
will soon be experienced in Jos, central
"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 http://traubman.igc.org/campacts.pdf
The conference coordinator is Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
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.
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
The launch took place in
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
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
8 - Educators from across Africa are invited to attend the seventh Education
International (EI) Africa Region Conference, to take place in November, in
PM Salam Fayyad and USAID inaugurate a newly constructed co-ed
school in Beit Ijza,
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
Haitian children get a fresh start at school
Save the Children constructs prototype school at Quake Epicenter
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 (
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
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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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