Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 180
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.
Debating the future of European agriculture
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to be reformed in order to guarantee sustainable food security and to keep the rural economy alive. On 29 November, agriculture ministers held an initial discussion on the Commission's Communication The CAP towards 2020, thus launching the institutional debate on the subject.
The proposal addresses the new challenges EU agriculture is confronted with. It should continue to ensure food supply for the citizens under the strict European standards, which take into account food safety but also environmental concerns and animal welfare. Increasing globalisation makes for fiercer competition between agricultural producer countries. A reshaping of the system is needed to help farmers cope with situations such as last year's dairy crisis. In addition, more equity is to be introduced in the distribution of support among "old" and "new" member states and among large and small farmers.
The Council will hold an in-depth debate in December. The new rules resulting from the reform, to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament, should come into effect by 2014.
26 November – The International Criminal Court
(ICC) today received a donation from the
Welcoming the £200,000
($311,945) donation, ICC Registrar Silvana Arbia said it constituted an important gesture towards the
victims and witnesses of post-election violence in
The ICC Special Fund is intended to assist States parties that are willing to host witnesses at risk, but lack the capacity to finance such support. It is aimed at fostering regional solutions for the relocation of witnesses at risk, thereby reducing the impact of relocations on their lives.
CMC opening remarks at the CCW meeting of High Contracting Parties
Geneva, 25 November - Earlier this month, at the milestone First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, more than 120 states sent a resounding message that cluster munitions are thoroughly unacceptable weapons. Two weeks later in Geneva, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) took stock of Vientiane meeting’s success while calling on states parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons to take national steps to move towards the emerging global norm aimed at ending the harm caused by cluster munitions, rather than negotiating a protocol that would set a lower standard in international humanitarian law.
Here is the full text of the opening remarks as delivered by CMC Coordinator Thomas Nash:
Milestone reached as
17 November -
The International Convention Against Doping in Sport, which promotes no-advance-notice, out-of-competition and in-competition testing, was adopted unanimously by the General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in October 2005.
The treaty is designed to ensure a consistent approach to anti-doping efforts and compel governments into action to restrict the supply of performance-enhancing substances and methods, curtail trafficking and regulate dietary and nutritional supplements.
Since entering into force on 1 February 2007, the Convention has become one of UNESCO's most rapidly implemented treaties.
The government has set the
minimum wage at only HK$28 (US$3.60).
The ITUC and its
Exclusion from the minimum
wage is only one example of discrimination against foreign domestic
Only about one percent of
For full report, see: http://www.ituc-csi.org/report-for-the-wto-general-council,8080.html
Teacher unions work to prevent violence against women
24 November - On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Education International pledges to accelerate its awareness programmes and union education activities to prevent violence against women.
Describing why equality should
be a matter for all classrooms and trade unions, EI General Secretary, Fred van
Leeuwen, explained that: “Discrimination and violence
exacerbate social exclusion, so gender equality remains a critically important
issue, particularly with respect to ending violence against women, pay inequity
and discrimination in employment.” (…) EI and its women’s networks, across all
regions, are working to ensure that public policy and legislation does not
discriminate, and women’s rights are actively implemented into practice.
Teachers and their unions are organising activities
to bring about change in the stereotypical conceptions of gender roles through
education. (…) These themes will be addressed during the first EI World Women’s
Conference – On the Move for Equality – which will be held in
19 November - Tougher measures are needed if
International Symposium, Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture in the Century of Cities
The dream of green sustainable cities is as relevant to the developing world as it is to the developed one, and arguably even more necessary. An estimated 60% of Africans will live in urban areas by 2050, as more and more people move from rural areas in search of better opportunities. Urban horticulture will therefore have an increasing role to play in food security and nutrition.
FAO has gathered together leading experts and practitioners on urban horticulture for an International Symposium, Urban and Peri-urban horticulture in the Century of Cities, the first of its kind, to study best practices and opportunities.
Papers will be presented on a range of subjects, from the role of vegetable growing in combating desertification in the Great Green Wall of Africa Project, food supply and distribution in cities, to re-using waste water for irrigation safely and the role of urban horticulture in nutrition of very poor people. Experts will also discuss how cities in developed countries can help cities in the developing world through sponsorship of urban gardening projects.
The Symposium, to be held in
Tomato plant provides market outlet for Egyptian farmers
November 24 – For
seven years the only modern tomato processing facility in
But that changed this month
when a new deal—facilitated by ACDI/VOCA staff through our USAID Global
Development Alliance project in
The plant, located in Qeft, is well placed to meet the demands of a voracious
international market within easy shipping distance of
ACDI/VOCA has implemented the
Global Development Alliance project in
Geneva/Islamabad (ICRC), November 23 – Tens of thousands of displaced flood victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are racing against the onset of winter to restore their homes, clear flood debris and plant crops. "The challenge for returning subsistence farmers is to till the land and sow the winter cereal crop before the temperatures drop too much for good germination," explained Peter Shamberger, the economic-security coordinator of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Pakistan.
Farm machinery donated by the
ICRC is being used around the clock to prepare arable land for sowing, and
distributions of seed and fertilizer are enabling farmers to plant the critical
winter cereal crop. In
The ICRC is also supporting Ministry of Agriculture veterinary activities and enrolling people in cash-for-work projects clearing debris and renovating farm irrigation systems. In addition, it continues to fund Pakistan Red Crescent health units and repair water facilities, besides carrying out other traditional assistance activities.
Gates Fund to spend $500-million to encourage poor people worldwide to save
By Caroline Preston
November 16 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $500-million over the next five years to programs that enable poor people in developing countries to save money, an approach to fighting poverty that the philanthropy says has received too little attention.
Melinda Gates announced the
commitment today in
The Gates fund has been narrowing its focus on savings programs since it began supporting financial services for the poor in 2006. Its officials felt that savings services, even more than small loans, were in high demand and needed the kind of flexible capital that philanthropy can provide, says Bob Christen, who leads the Seattle foundation’s grants to expand financial services.
“Some of our early grants to banks in Africa found that more than five and as many as 12 people coming in asked to open a deposit account for every one who wanted a microloan,” says Mr. Christen. (...)
8th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations: MDG executive sessions, January 20-21
Registration open until December 15, 2010
Hundreds of young
professionals, corporate executives, and un officials
plan to converge at U.N. headquarters in
The MDG Executive Sessions is
free after registration and acceptance.
The January events will cultivate capacity for Young Professionals by
outlining tactical principles for civil society and MDG project development and
capacity building. Events will include
networking, talks, and think tanks utilizing the case study method developed at
Ms. Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor of the UN Foundation, the foundation’s Executive Director Patrick Sciarratta, and several noted corporate executives will speak or lead workshops on the role of Corporate Social Responsibility and the success of the MDGs.
“Fostering an intimate and intensive version of what is known of the Youth Assembly held each August will allow us to work with, and build capacity among young professionals and young professional networks.” – Evangeline Taylor, former youth assembly participant and current Project Coordinator for the YA.
The YA empowers nearly one thousand young people annually. Attendees receive free, practical training on how to start NGOs, administer or manage campaigns, and identify existing work by governments, the UN, or civil society - at home or abroad.
New partnership launched in time for Cyber Monday online holiday sales will generate up to $1 million for programs empowering girls and women around the world
Silver Spring, Md., USA, November
12 - In the aftermath of hurricane Tomas, a category 1 storm that on October
30-31 passed over the island of St. Lucia with sustained winds of
Official reports estimate that 14 lives have been lost and approximately 75,000 residents are left in need of aid as a result of Hurricane Tomas. Lack of clean, drinkable water and access to food has been identified as the most pressing needs. To meet those needs, ADRA is providing drinking water and emergency food items to 600 households or approximately 1,800 people. In addition, ADRA staff is providing 4,000 beneficiaries, who have been displaced to shelters, with hot meals for one week ending November 12.
As part of ADRA’s ongoing response, emergency care packages will also be distributed to those living in areas where clean water and food supplies have been sparse. The prepared packages include rice, flour, sugar, liquid milk, tuna, beans/peas, oil, biscuits, salt, and breakfast cereal.
ADRA is partnering with the local government, partaking in a large-scale effort to supply all affected communities with water, safe enough to drink and use for food preparation.
November 12 – Silver Spring,
Md., USA - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is responding to
what is being reported as the worst flash flooding in decades in the southern
provinces of Thailand that has affected more than 30,000 households since the
floods began only days ago. The city of
In response, ADRA is meeting the immediate needs of flood victims, distributing emergency care packages for 1,000 beneficiaries. The distribution targeted families identified by the Provincial Emergency Services as most seriously affected and took place November 5-8. Through ADRA’s partnership with the local government, military transportation and personnel assisted in the distribution of the emergency care packages.
World Giving Index 2010
November - The “World Giving
Index” is the first report of its kind looking at charitable behavior across
the world. Using data from
The study also found that being happy is more of an influence on giving money to charity than being wealthy. People from “happy” countries are far more likely to volunteer and give aid than people from “wealthy” countries. Young people were found to give far less money to causes, perhaps due to less disposable income, but youth are far more likely to “help a stranger”, according to the findings.
World leaders in Astana to
address security challenges at OSCE
Astana, 30 November - Heads of
State and Government from the 56 OSCE participating States and 12 Partner
countries are in
The Astana Summit will bring together 38 Heads of States and Governments, one Vice President, seven Deputy Prime Ministers, 14 Ministers and other top officials from OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, as well as from other international and regional organizations.
The meeting will begin on 1 December with an opening address by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This will be followed by addresses by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Petros Efthymiou, and OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut.
Saudabayev emphasized that
the OSCE Summit - the first since the Istanbul Summit in 1999 and the first
ever to be held in Central Asia - offered a unique opportunity to address
urgent security challenges including transnational threats such as terrorism
and trafficking, and the recent unrest in
Record-breaking progress for mine ban
According to Landmine Monitor 2010 released today
In 2009, 3,956 new landmine
and explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were recorded, the lowest number
for any year since the Monitor began reporting in 1999. The Monitor removed
An area over five times the
November 23 – The fact that a
greater variety of goods are now available in Gaza, thanks to the easing of the
blockade that has been choking off the Strip for over three years, has brought
little tangible relief to the population. The private sector has remained at a
standstill since exports remain prohibited and the movement of people in and
The ICRC monitors the situation of destitute civilians who have no other choice but to live and work in and around the buffer zone close to the fence, which extends in practice over one kilometre into the Gaza Strip. In confidential dialogue with the parties to the conflict, the ICRC has raised concerns about these people. It has taken action to reduce their exposure to hostilities and to improve their access to lands they need to use for activities such as farming or collecting rubble and gravel, which constitute their main source of income.
November 10 - Andrew Mitchell MP, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, explained how funding from UK Aid, from the Department for International Development (DFID), will allow MAG to deliver lifesaving Mine Risk Education to more than 80,000 people in Sudan and remove and destroy more than 30,000 lethal landmines and other weapons.
Mr Mitchell MP made
the funding announcement during the official opening of the UK Government’s new
office in Juba, southern
Funding from DFID has been crucial to MAG’s work all over the world for many years, with more than £18 million being received by MAG in 11 countries since 2002.
For people like Pia, a landmine survivor who worked with MAG as a community volunteer, and the children at the Shekinah Orphanage, MAG's work, supported by the UK government as well as our other donors, is absolutely vital.
Focusing on projects that have the best possible humanitarian impact – such as removing mines that prevent access to vital trade routes, or land that could be used for agriculture or building – has long been a priority for both DFID and MAG.
UNESCO supports online youth TV programme
20 young people from
Young people are often seen as the innocent victims of conflict - passive, silent bystanders confined by political, religious, racial, territorial or family wars that they do not understand and can do nothing about. A conflict takes lives, imprisons family members and friends, creates fear and loathing, denies futures, prevents education and healthcare, stops food, breaks economies, yet the resilience, particularly of children and young people, to survive is evident around the world. http://www.signis.net/article.php3?id_article=4286
Vientiane, Laos, November 3 –
Switzerland is set to contribute 3 million dollars to Laos' Cluster Munitions
Trust Fund, designed to clear the country of thousands of unexploded bomblets, reports said Wednesday.
'The most recent pledges will
bring the total amount of the fund, previously subscribed to by
26 November - The cholera epidemic
continues to spread to an alarming extent in 10 departments of
The ICRC delegation in
The organization is coordinating its activities with the rest of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and all others involved. (...)
ICN and the Burdett Trust for Nursing announce partnership for the Global Nursing Leadership Institute
Geneva, Switzerland , 25 November - The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing to support the implementation of the Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) from 2011 to 2013 which will ensure that nurses from low income countries can take part in this important programme through bursaries.
Established in 2009, the GNLI offers an advanced leadership programme for nurses in senior and executive level positions in developed and developing countries. The programme draws on the expertise of international expert faculty, allowing participants to review and enhance their national and global leadership skills and behaviours within a collaborative and stimulating learning culture.
The next GNLI will take place 10-16 September 2011. Applications will be invited from 1 December 2010 and closing date is 15 February 2011. Further information about the GNLI can be accessed at www.icn.ch/pillarsprograms/global-nursing-leadership-institute/
At least 56 countries have either stabilized or achieved significant declines in rates of new HIV infections
New UNAIDS report shows AIDS epidemic has been halted and world beginning to reverse the spread of HIV. New HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20% in the last 10 years
Geneva, 23 November - A new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), released today, shows that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course as the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing. Together, this is contributing to the stabilization of the total number of people living with HIV in the world. Data from the 2010 UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic shows that an estimated 2.6 million [2.3 million–2.8 million] people became newly infected with HIV, nearly 20% fewer than the 3.1 million [2.9 million–3.4 million] people infected in 1999.
The 2010 report contains basic HIV data from 182 countries and includes country-by-country scorecards. The report gives new evidence that investments in HIV prevention programming are producing significant results in many of the highest burden countries.
From 2001 to 2009, the rate of
new HIV infections stabilized or decreased by more than 25% in at least 56
countries around the world, including 34 countries in sub-Saharan
Among young people in 15 of the most severely affected countries, the rate of new HIV infections has fallen by more than 25%, led by young people adopting safer sexual practices.
Even though the number of new HIV infections is decreasing, there are two new HIV infections for every one person starting HIV treatment. Investments in HIV prevention programmes as whole have not been adequate or efficiently allocated. HIV prevention investments comprise about 22% of all AIDS-related spending in low- and middle-income countries.
Rotary International News, 23
November - The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian
Through an agreement with event concessionaire Buona Companies, 8 percent of the concession proceeds went to Rotary, allowing volunteers to raise $142,000 for Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge. Rotary volunteers worked a total of 2,829 eight-hour shifts, logging 22,632 volunteer hours.
"The event provided tremendous Rotary exposure," says Robert Ryan, governor of Rotary International District 6740 and a member of the Rotary Club of Lexington. "We helped welcome the world to the games." The World Equestrian Games are held every four years and this year featured athletes and horses from more than 50 countries competing for world championships in eight equestrian disciplines. More than 500,000 people attended the games, which were broadcast on NBC sports and internationally through the European Broadcast Union. .(...)
RI President Ray Klinginsmith and his wife, Judie, attended the opening ceremonies of the games, helping kick off the volunteer effort. (...)
Economic benefits of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative estimated at US$40-50 billion
New study in Vaccine offers strong economic justification for finishing the job on polio as quickly as possible
November 22 - A new study being released this week estimates that the global initiative to eradicate polio could provide net benefits of at least US$40-50 billion if transmission of wild polioviruses is interrupted within the next five years. The study provides the first rigorous evaluation of the benefits and costs of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)—the single largest project ever undertaken by the global health community. The study comes at a crucial time—following an outbreak in the Republic of the Congo and one in Tajikistan earlier this year—that highlight the risk of delays in finishing the job on polio.
Published in the journal Vaccine, the study, “Economic Analysis of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” considers investments made since the GPEI was formed in 1988 and those anticipated through 2035. Over this time period, the GPEI’s efforts will prevent more than 8 million cases of paralytic polio in children. This translates into billions of dollars saved from reduced treatment costs and gains in productivity. The study also reported that “add-on” GPEI efforts improve health benefits and lead to even greater economic gains during the same time period. Notably, it estimates an additional $17-90 billion in benefits from life saving effects of delivering vitamin A supplements, which the GPEI has supplied alongside polio vaccines.
the Children strengthens response to
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, November 16 - As cholera continues its deadly spread throughout Haiti, Save the Children is intensifying efforts to prevent additional infections and treat cases in the areas where the agency is currently providing emergency and development programs.
The government of
Save the Children reports increasing cases in its program locations. The organization is broadening prevention and education activities to provide families with lifesaving information, including the importance of washing hands with soap, boiling water and seeking medical support at the first sign of illness.
Save the Children has set up
cholera treatment units in the capital,
cholera cases increase, Project Hope brings team of international experts to
Millwood, Va., USA,16 November - Project HOPE, the global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, is deploying a team of international cholera experts to train Haitian health care professionals to better care for and manage the rapidly growing number of patients suffering from the illness.
The eight-person team from the
Four Project HOPE volunteer health professionals and four representatives from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) will join the ICDDR,B experts to train Haitian health professionals. Project HOPE is coordinating the training through the Haiti Ministry of Health. It is the first official cholera training offered through the Haiti Ministry of Health since the cholera outbreak emerged.
The Project HOPE-ICDDR,B-USAID team will divide into two groups and fan out to conduct
training over a three-week period beginning on November
Drug company to provide $100-million to fight diabetes in the
By Caroline Preston
November 11 – The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation announced today that it will give $100-million over five years to fight adult-onset diabetes in the United States, a disease the federal government estimates could afflict one in three Americans by 2050.
“Type 2 diabetes is really at
epidemic proportions,” said John L. Damonti,
president of the foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the
The foundation will also ask charities to apply for grants related to specific challenges, the first of which is fighting diabetes among black women. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s philanthropy will award five grants of up to $300,000 each to groups that have a plan for working with black women to control the disease. (...)
Nations Climate Change Conference -
The United Nations Climate
Change Conference is taking place in
Official website of the Conference: http://unfccc.int/2860.php
On November 30, FoEME held in
Instead of the static agreement that characterizes the Oslo Accords, this model is based on a dynamic agreement between the sides and suggests an alternative to the "temporary agreement" in effect since 1995 that has failed to preserve shared water resources, especially the Mountain Aquifer, allowing for over pumping by Israel, pollution of groundwater and surface water originating in the West Bank and continuing into Israel, and the unfair allocation of shared water resources.
Over 120 Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians attended the event, including MK Yoel Hasson, Head of the Lobby for Water Security from the Israeli Parliament; a representative of the Quartet, Prince Firas from Jordan; as well as representatives from both the Israeli and Palestinian Water Authorities, water experts, international water law experts from academia, and Good Water Neighbors community activists involved in our 'Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians' project. http://foeme.org/www/?module=events&record_id=70
November 19 -
Since 2006 the Vienna-based organization has been making data available to tsunami warning centres from its network of seismic facilities that register movement in the Earth’s crust.
“This shows the trust we have
in the work and the quality of the work done by the (CTBTO),” Florence Mangin, the French Permanent Representative to the
organization, said at a signing ceremony with Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO yesterday. The data
will be used by the French tsunami warning centre in
CTBTO data are readily available and provide tsunami warning centres with greater knowledge upon which forecasters are able to base warnings of tsunamis linked to seismic activity.
Currently the CTBTO is sending data to tsunami warning centres in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and the USA (Alaska and Hawaii) while discussions are being held with additional countries, including Malaysia, Oman and Sri Lanka, Tóth said.
He said the CTBTO data on tsunami warnings, which have the ability to identify earthquakes that could produce tsunamis and provide faster warnings, “are of paramount significance, due to the speed, quality of data received and reliability.”
The International Monitoring System (IMS) will, when complete, consist of 337 facilities worldwide to monitor the planet for signs of nuclear explosions. Already 80 percent is in place.
Rotary International News, 18 November - To celebrate "100 Years of Rotary in Colorado," the Rotary Club of Denver, Colorado, USA, working with other Rotary clubs in the state, helped obtain a $100 million stimulus grant from the U.S. government to bring low-cost, high-speed Internet to the entire state.
"At present we’re 42nd in
the nation in terms of Internet connectivity," says John Klug, a member of the Denver Rotary club. "But soon, our
schoolchildren, even in remote rural locations, will be able to operate an
electron microscope located at a major research center from their schoolroom,
or control in real time an astrophysical facility in
The Internet project grew out
Klug and Past RI Director Grant Wilkins met with the state's three RI district governors to get all 144 Rotary clubs behind the idea. They then lined up the support of former U.S. Senator Hank Brown and former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm for a YouTube video touting the proposal.
Rotarians throughout the state
beseeched school boards, elected officials, and business groups to get
involved. The Colorado Legislature passed a joint resolution supporting the
initiative, which was then forwarded to the
FAO receives top award for forest fire protection
Spanish NGO awards Agency’s Forestry Department with “El Batefuegos de Oro”
Each year, the Spanish
non-governmental organization "Asociación para
This year, the jury, which is made up of high-level experts from Spanish ministries, NGOs and civil society, chose FAO's Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division to receive its 2010 honour. The award came under the "International" category for helping developing countries in particular in forest fire prevention and suppression.
FAO has coordinated the development of the Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines aimed at helping countries develop an integrated approach to fire management, from prevention and preparedness to suppression and restoration. The FAO Guidelines advise authorities and other stakeholder groups that fire-fighting should be an integral part of a coherent and balanced policy applied not only to forests but also across other land-uses on the landscape. The Guidelines are now widely used all over the world by industralized and developing countries as a basis for formulating fire management policies, strategies and practices.
‘The lynx’s survival is at
Lynx population in
WWF started raising funds to pay for the transfers. The cost of relocating just one lynx is 10’000 Zloty, almost eight times more than the country’s minimum wage.
There are currently only 200
The Leonardo DiCaprio fund at CCF commits $1 million to WWF to save tigers now
DiCaprio, a WWF board
member, recently visited
are key to cleaner
Washington, D.C. November 15 -
The EPA committed to set
nutrient pollution limits after the Bush administration determined that they
were needed in
Houses of Worship - Excavation
work commences for
The ground work comes after a
prolonged search for a site and unprecedented technical challenges, which
included the invention of an entirely new material for the building's exterior.
The site has now been set at a location in the hills of Peñalolen,
a "commune" within metropolitan
When completed, the edifice in
Baha'i Houses of Worship are distinctive buildings, open to everyone, where visitors can simply pray and meditate in a serene atmosphere, or - at certain times - listen to the holy scriptures of the world's religions being recited and sung. An integral concept of each House of Worship is that they will, in due course, provide a spiritual center around which agencies and institutions of social, humanitarian, and educational service will be established for the surrounding population.
Migrant churches challenge old understanding of mission
November 25 - With migrants
tallying some 250 million of the world’s population, churches need to help
defuse public hostility towards them. That is what participants agreed at an
international consultation on the mission and ecclesiology of migrant churches,
jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith
and Order, the WCC programme on Just and Inclusive
Communities, and the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism together with
the Ecumenical Network on Multicultural Ministry and
The global phenomenon of large scale migration brings the challenges of racism, sexism and of tensions arising out of political and ethnic loyalties into the current discourse on the shape of the ecumenical movement in the 21st century, said Sydia Nduna, WCC programme executive for Migration and Social Justice.
It also poses serious challenges to the churches’ self-understanding and calls for a reassessment of how migrant Christians and their churches relate to established local churches in terms of mission, witness, hospitality and mutual accountability. Migration presents unique challenges for the ecumenical journey towards the unity of the church, while at the same time reflecting a wondrously rich diversity within the "body of Christ" (the universal church or the community of Christian believers) that goes beyond denominationalism, said John Gibaut, director of the WCC’s Commission on Faith and Order.
This is an interfaith event sponsored by the Global Network of Religions in favor of Childhood with global reach.
Each November 20th, remembering the Convention of Rights for Children we celebrate the Day of Prayer and Action. 102 countries of all continents that participate of GNRC network invite the community and religious leaders from different religions to join youth to pray from diverse backgrounds for children and to generate actions so that the Rights of Children are made visible in all countries.
18 November - The United Nations marked World Philosophy Day today with a call for greater efforts to guard
against the politics of polarization and the rejection of stereotypes,
ignorance and hatred. “Let us instead
fortify our societies through reason and dialogue – the lifeblood of
philosophical debate,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
in a video message for an event marking the Day at the
UN Foundation/UNA-USA strategic alliance
The alliance announcement was made on November
UN Foundation / United Nations Association of the
UNA-USA is now a robust program of the UN Foundation, combining the strength of more than 125 UNA-USA chapters around the country with the UN Foundation and Better World Campaign's dynamic and vibrant advocacy community -- forming the single largest network of American UN supporters, and creating new momentum to strengthen the U.S.-UN relationship.
* * * * * * *
Civil society is on the march
In setting out to write this article, I looked among my notes and on the web for some famous phrase which would give it a good beginning; after selecting some, I chose two which give an appropriate context to the theme and foreshadow its development. “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can change their lives by modifying their mental attitudes” (William James). And the American sociologist and anthropologist Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has".
On reflection, these are really revolutionary observations, because they assign to humanity as a whole, but also to every single inhabitant of this planet, the responsibility and the faculty for contributing to the creation of a better future. It now seems clear that this must be based on the emerging values of unity in diversity and of the consequent responsibility for sharing. It is in this context that the transformation of consciousness, which is giving a new voice to a civil society that is now on the march, has its roots and reason for existence.
It is undoubtedly true that the most advanced part of humanity, the part that is more aware of its duties than its rights, is increasingly refuting those obsolete values which led to goals and models of behaviour tending to gratify the individual person or country. That is to say those forms of behaviour that have put on the altar material success, hedonism, consumerism and the lack of an ethical code of responsibility providing a limit to what can be lawfully pursued in consideration of the rights of others. And it is now evident that this transformation of consciousness has given life to a silent and global army, an army mobilized by and for the revolution of consciousness, an army on the march which responds with growing determination to the serious problems of our times, fighting with altruism and a strong spirit of sacrifice for their solution.
That the voice of civil society is able to make itself heard loudly and clearly is by now a fact that can only be overlooked if one does not wish to see it. To cite some of the significant recent examples, let us remember that the summer of this year was characterized by three global events which bear witness to the force, scope and effectiveness that civil society has come to express.
The Convention on Cluster
Bombs became an international law on 1st August
CIVICUS is a world alliance for the participation of citizens, whose members constitute a network of influential organizations at the local, national and international level, which includes organizations of civil society, networks of religious organizations, professional associations, non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and other financing organisms, entrepreneurs and trade unions. This organization has been active for more than ten years and works to reinforce initiatives of civil society all over the world, especially in those areas in which the democratic participation and freedom of association of the citizens are in danger.
At the CIVICUS annual World
Assembly last August (the ninth) the representatives of civil society
identified new solutions in the collective work on resolving the global crisis.
Many hundreds of
non-governmental organizations associated with the UN met at the end of August
Underlining all the time the substantial and often decisive contribution of civil society, they examined how to continue stimulating the developed countries to work for greater global equity, together with what actions are necessary to reinforce the dialogue on the synergy between human rights and public health. They also examined how the NGOs can ensure that the concentration on the objectives of reducing mortality does not distract attention from the conditions which determine the quality of life, for example: access to vital goods like food and shelter, personal security and the problems of disability and of health itself. In the discussions the ways in which it is possible to document accurately progress in attaining gender parity were also examined. The participants in the Conference, coming from many countries of the world, represented a broad regional diversity which bore witness to the global involvement of civil society.
The causes of conflicts, like those of separatism, are profoundly rooted in materialism and egoism, which are in turn aspects of avidity, directly reflected in the international economic situation. Very rich nations live side by side with nations which are not even able to feed their inhabitants. World resources are used up recklessly by the rich countries and this leads to a growing strain on the world economic and environmental structure. The differences are more marked and unnatural all the time. In some countries people live with every comfort and kind of affluence, while in other parts of the world there are people who live and die in the street, without the possibility of satisfying even the fundamental needs of a little food and a roof: unwanted people, abandoned and without hope. The death from hunger of many millions of children every year is the most terrible indicator of this heightened difference.
This economic and social imbalance cannot last and constitutes a real threat to world peace. The non-governmental and voluntary associations are well aware of this. It is this awareness that spurs them to coordinate and engage themselves even in the most remote and inhospitable areas of the world. The thousands of non-governmental organizations, the many thousands of charitable associations and the many millions of people dedicated to voluntary work bear witness to the fact that a silent revolution of consciousness is already in progress, which is producing a growing mobilization and commitment of civil society. This march is the best guarantee that we will gradually be able to build a society which is more just and more inwardly aware of the meaning of right human relations; and is the best evidence that each one of us, in the family, in our profession, in our place of work, in our free time, can bring our own contribution.
Yes, the need for, and at the same time the initial evidence of, a new and global ethic is emerging, which can only spring forth from the new concept that many people of advanced consciousness have begun to make their own: the concept of unity in diversity. It is a concept of explosive power: it knocks down the fences of different doctrines, overcomes the barriers of different conceptions and behaviour and defeats the misunderstanding, animosity and hatred which such differences, sometimes exasperated to the point of fanaticism, have caused and consolidated. Animated by this new concept, the march of civil society, which is fighting for the building of a just future, can no longer be halted.
Bibliography and references:
Cluster Munition Coalitition: www.stopclustermunitions.org/news?id=2563
LXIII UNDPI-NGO Annual Conference: http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference/
*Journalist and writer,
Director of Good News Agency and Founder and President of the publishing
educational charity. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Representative to
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