Good News Agency – Year XI, n° 185
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.
Parliament alliance to protect children in
30 March - Children make up a third of the world’s population, but seldom come
first with the world's politicians. In
Why did you create the "alliance" and who will participate?
The goal of the
UN-backed tribunal concludes appeal hearing for convicted Khmer Rouge figure
30 March – The United
Nations-backed tribunal in
Kaing Guek Eav, whose alias is Duch, was sentenced last July to 35 years in prison by the trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), with a five-year reduction to remedy his illegal detention at a Cambodian military court.
The court found that Mr. Kaing not only implemented, but also actively contributed to the development of the policies of the Communist Party of Kampuchea at the S-21 camp, where numerous Cambodians were unlawfully detained, subjected to inhumane conditions and forced labour, tortured and executed in the late 1970s.
The Supreme Court Chamber is expected to hand down its appeals judgment in a few months. The appeal took place as the ECCC prepares for its second case concerning the four most senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who are still alive.
More than half of the 108 countries that signed the treaty have now ratified, and the Cluster Munition Coalition urges the remaining 53 to ratify promptly and all other countries to accede to the Convention without delay.
The 2008 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 assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 108 countries
have signed the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law
on 1 August 2010. Its historic First Meeting of States Parties was held in
DR Congo: UN provides logistical support for rape trial of army general
30 March – United Nations
human rights officials are providing technical and logistical support to
military justice authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in
the rape trial of General Jerôme Kakwavu,
the highest ranking national army officer to be prosecuted for such crimes. UN
Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(MONUSCO) spokesperson Madnodje Mounoubai
told a news conference in
Improving people's protection in war
Practice of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America has been ascertained by studying military manuals, national legislation, case law and official statements and reports, all of which have been translated into English, analysed and now made available in one single online source on customary international humanitarian law.
Updates of State practice from about 100 countries will be available by mid-2012 on the database which the ICRC developed with the British Red Cross. The practice relates to current armed conflicts and issues of humanitarian concern such as the distinction between combatants and civilians, the use of certain weapons, recruitment of child soldiers, and war crimes.
Customary international humanitarian law is a set of unwritten rules derived from a general or common State practice generating a custom which is regarded as legally binding. It lays down the basic standard of conduct in armed conflict demanded by the world community and is universally applicable. Under customary law it is not necessary for a State to formally accept a rule to be bound by it, provided that the overall State practice on which the rule is based is widespread, representative and virtually uniform. Customary law is especially important in non-international armed conflicts, for which treaty law is less well developed.
signs US$3 million loan for poverty reduction programme
US$7.5 million Market Access and Rural
Rome, 30 March – Representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Grenada signed a US$3 million loan today in Rome for a new poverty reduction programme that will benefit some 12,000 poor rural people in Grenada and Carriacou. The six-year US$7.5 million Market Access and Rural Enterprise Development Programme will create jobs, improve market access, and support rural micro-enterprise development in 50 communities. The Government of Grenada will provide US$2.2 million in co-financing, with the Caribbean Development Bank providing another US$2.3 million.
“Despite its relatively high
Gross National Income, the rural areas of
Implemented by the Grenada Ministry of Finance, the programme seeks to improve access to financial services, strengthen community organizations and producers associations, and support a national advocacy campaign that addresses gender and youth issues.
Contacts: Greg Benchwick, Regional Communications Specialist: email@example.com
Small-scale fishers in the Coral Triangle get big break in global market
Mindoro, Philippines, posted on 29 March –– Tuna handline fishers in the Philippines now have a better chance at competing in European markets through a private-public partnership between WWF, Blueyou Consultancy, European seafood companies and the Government of Germany.
Strict European Union policies on sourcing tuna plus increasing consumer demand for responsibly-caught seafood have made it difficult for small-scale fishers in impoverished tuna producing countries to stay on par with global standards, oftentimes losing out on profitable market opportunities.
“Through this partnership, we aim to create enabling conditions for small-scale fisheries to move towards a more sustainable management regime and generate more equitable market benefits in the long term,” says Dr Jose Ingles, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Tuna Strategy Leader.
The project, which focuses on handline-caught Yellowfin tuna,
will be implemented in identified pilot sites in the
twenty two month food facility project of DCA-Ethiopia is funded by the
European Union as a rapid response to the soaring food prices in
20 March - Taking into
consideration food security through increased crop production amongst the
highest priorities of the Ethiopian government, the project was launched in
Key stakeholders are food insecure farmers with small farmlands including female headed households, who are exposed to drought, dependent on natural resources that are already degraded and lack essential inputs. Farmers’ cooperatives and unions, agricultural and rural development offices at the district and regional levels are also amongst the stakeholders.
The project has been realizing its objectives through implementation of different activities related to improvement of soil fertility, improved soil moisture, agricultural extension services, water development/rain water harvesting, income generating activities and Marketing.
the Children announces $400,000 Walmart grant for
women’s empowerment in
Save the Children announced today that it will use a $400,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to provide new economic opportunities to up to 3,000 women in San Pedro Masahuat, which suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Ida.
Save the Children plans to use the Walmart Foundation’s grant to work with 3,000 women over the next two years. The project will identify women who are recognized as community leaders and provide them with the economic, marketing and technical skills they need to start small businesses. The women will then serve as mentors and will help other women start their own income-generating activities. Save the Children anticipates that 10,800 women and their family members will directly benefit from the project. (...)
Japanese Rotarians use district grant to meet humanitarian, educational needs
By Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 1
April - During the first year of the Future Vision pilot, many clubs and
districts have gained experience with the new, simplified grants structure
offered under The Rotary Foundation’s Future Vision Plan. District 2650 (
District leaders got a head
start by asking clubs to identify projects they would like to carry out and
applying for a 2010-11 district grant in June. After the US$271,000 grant was
approved and paid in July, the district immediately distributed funds to 42
club projects. (...) With the grant, clubs carried out projects such as
providing computers, sewing machines, and other vocational training equipment to
a village in the
The ICRC first sent delegates
Niamey (ICRC), 1 April – The
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in cooperation with the Red
Cross Society of Niger, is opening a temporary shelter and transit centre this
Friday in Agadez, northern Niger. The centre will
take in the most destitute migrants from
The city of
Independent, neutral and
impartial, the ICRC is one of the few international humanitarian organizations
By Ryan Hyland and Dan Nixon
Rotary International News, 25
March - Rotarians
have been finding a number of ways to help victims of the devastating
earthquake and tsunami in
In response to the disasters,
The Rotary Foundation established the Rotary Japan Disaster Recovery Fund , which will support long-term recovery projects in the
affected areas. More than US$500,000 has been donated since the fund opened on
11 March. “It is encouraging to know that our overseas Rotary friends care
about us,” says Yuzaburo Mogi,
president of the Rotary Club of Tokyo. “I am confident that the people of
District governors in
The first Matching Grant
project to receive support from the fund was approved a week after the
disaster. Clubs in districts 3350 (
Three Rotary districts in
The Rotary Club of Akashi, Hyogo, sent a private airplane carrying a load of
medical supplies to the Rotary Club of Sukagawa,
31 March – Kalie Kamara, like thousands of young Sierra Leoneans, was caught up in the atrocities of the civil war which raged for 11 years. Kalie explains “After all the soldiers were disarmed, I was living an awful life. I was drinking and stealing and pretty miserable. Even though my friend tried to persuade me to go to the Red Cross I refused, because I was so unhappy.”
Eventually, Kalie enrolled in the child advocacy and rehabilitation (CAR) programme run by the Sierra Leone Red Cross, which helps young people like Kalie to recover from their experiences and reintegrate into society. Supported by Land Rover through a global partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the programme provides young people with counselling support, basic education and vocational training, as well as ensuring they are accepted and reintegrated within their community.
The five CAR centres in
Save the Children teams up with Music for Relief on ‘Download to Donate for Tsunami Relief’ campaign
Eileen Burke - Lane Hartill
Save the Children has been
Music fans and people who want to help Japanese in need are encouraged to share the program through their own social networks to help spread the word. (...)
ADRA’s response is
targeting the region of Kupini in eastern
ADRA Bolivia has been in
Silver Spring, Md, USA, March 22 - A dangerous combination of heavy rains and overflows from the Kavango and Zambezi Rivers are threatening tens of thousands of people in Namibia to flee their homes. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is responding, proving emergency supplies to people who are in danger of potentially facing some of the worst floods in Namibia’s history.
Additionally, ADRA is distributing basic emergency supplies, such as mosquito nets and blankets. Priority will be given to families with young children or chronically ill persons as precautionary measure to reduce the risk of exposure to malaria. (...)
EU responds quickly to Japan's call for help as the country struggles with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, including the crisis at some of its nuclear plants
17 March – On 15 March Japan asked the European Union for help with the unfolding humanitarian crisis - hundreds of thousands of people are in immediate need of medical care, shelter and food after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's north-eastern coast. The EU activated its emergency response system which helps its 27 member countries coordinate assistance when domestic and international crises occur.
This led to immediate offers
from several countries to help with
The EU is providing additional help, such as:
to send relief items to northern
The roads from
Handicap International to receive $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize
International jury selects largest NGO that aids and advocates for people with disabilities
Formed in 1982 by two French doctors to help Cambodians seriously injured by landmines, Handicap International now provides crucial assistance to acutely vulnerable people around the world including those disabled from natural disasters, injury, armed conflict, disease and poverty. It currently manages 300 projects in 60 countries and has become a major first responder for persons with disabilities in emergency situations.
official inaugurates anti-piracy information centre in
31 March – The head of the
United Nations maritime agency today in the Kenyan port city of
The centre in
The code of conduct, which
took effect in 2009, is designed to strengthen cooperation in the fight against
piracy. It provides for the creation of the three information centres in
The information-sharing centres will ensure coordinated, timely, and effective flow of information, according to IMO. They will be capable of receiving and responding to alerts and requests for information or assistance at all times. (…)
welcomes transition to constitutional order in
30 March – Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon has telephoned the key players in the
recent elections in
Mr. Ban called Lieutenant
General Salou Djibo, Head
of the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, on Monday and voiced
his satisfaction at the successful way in which
He also spoke to Mahamadou Issoufou, proclaimed winner by the Independent Electoral Commission, who will be inaugurated as President on 7 April, and to Seini Oumarou, who has conceded defeat. He praised both contestants for the dignity, leadership and statesmanship displayed by them and for their efforts to promote national reconciliation. (…)
Ban lauds transfer of police responsibility from UN mission to Timorese force
28 March – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the transfer of responsibilities for all police operations in Timor-Leste from the United Nations mission to the country’s national force, calling it an important step for the young nation.
The UN Integrated Mission in
Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the Policia
Nacional de Timor-Leste
(PNTL) have worked together for more than four years to build the capacity of
the national police to maintain law and order. The UN police assumed security
functions following the deadly violence that broke out in
The handover of responsibility from UNMIT to the PNTL that took place on Sunday in the capital, Dili, marked the culmination of a process that began two years ago, when the PNTL resumed policing responsibilities in the district of Lautém. (…)
Reduction in landmine accidents in Cambodia
18 March - Norwegian People’s
Aid’s work in
The Cambodian Mine Action
Authority also told the ambassador that they are very positive to the
possibility of the Cambodian government signing the Convention of Cluster
Munitions. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports Norwegian
People’s Aid’s mine action programme in
14 March - Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon today commended the “peaceful and
orderly” conduct of the first round of presidential elections in
The election’s first round – twice delayed because of concerns over the credibility of the process – took place yesterday, with media reports indicating that President Boni Yayi and opposition candidate Adrien Houngbedji were likely to advance to a run-off round.
In a statement ssued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said the successful
staging of the first round was “a testament to the patience and civic
responsibility of the people of
MAG has destroyed more than
430 deadly weapons that were threatening the lives of truck drivers and
blocking development at one of the biggest trading points between
The items, which included
unexploded shells, mortars and rockets, were removed by MAG
"In coordination with
local authorities in the area, and the local workers and owners in the Kharabadar trading complex, we were able to identify the
location of most of the hazardous items in the area," said Vadar Mustafa, MAG
"MAG's Community Liaison teams delivered risk education sessions to the villagers and trade workers in the area, to teach them about the risks posed by the weapons. We distributed different materials, such as booklets and leaflets, to the villagers and trade workers in support of our risk education activities.”
Indian philanthropist donates another US$1.12 million to polio eradication
By Antoinette Tuscano
Rotary International News, 29 March - Rajashree Birla, of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, has donated another US$1.12 million to The Rotary Foundation in support of Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge. Including this contribution, Birla has given a combined total of more than $4.2 million to the Foundation for polio eradication. Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan says that Birla's extraordinary generosity stems from her belief that giving to others is the best way to make a lasting change in the world. As a mother, she has compassion for the young victims of polio and wants to help Rotary achieve its goal of eradicating the disease, he says. (...)
Birla's late husband, Aditya Birla, made the Aditya Birla Group into a Fortune
500 company and one of the largest in
Among her many awards and
honors, Birla is an honorary member of the Rotary
Club of Bombay, which presented her with the Citizen of Bombay Award in
Birla Centre has helped immunize about three million
children against polio in 3,200 villages in
Massive international effort to stop polio epidemic across west Africa
With west Africa on the verge of success, experts caution that complacency could breathe new life into outbreak
25 March - Health experts today confirmed that a devastating polio epidemic in west African countries is on the verge of being stopped - but warned that complacency could breathe new life into the outbreak. Since mid-2009, polio has re-infected eleven countries across west Africa, claiming many lives and leaving hundreds of children paralyzed for life.
A series of synchronized,
multi-country immunization campaigns in the second half of 2009 and 2010 have
now succeeded in all but wiping out this outbreak. A further multi-country campaign on 25 March
and again on 28 April across 15 countries will aim to immunize more than 38
million children, by a network of more than 180,000 volunteers armed with 48
million doses of polio vaccine, to extinguish any remaining chains of polio
transmission. At the same time, polio
eradication efforts are further intensifying in
But while the region stands on
the threshold of a public health success, experts warned against complacency,
cautioning that any pockets of unimmunized or
under-immunized children could result in the outbreak gaining a second
wind. This risk was further underscored
with confirmation of a new case reported in March in
support to health facilities in the Middle East and
23 March – Ever since civil
unrest and violence erupted in countries across North Africa and the
Similar support is given to
people in Dehiba,
Gift of Life
A Rotary project to save the lives of children suffering from heart ailments
Its bjective is to arrange ‘free heart surgery’ for children suffering from congenital heart diseases who cannot afford high cost of surgery and have no access to quality medical care. The project goes on full steem; its March activity includes the following cases:
Nenwachu Seb, 2 months old from Dimapur,
Nagaland came to
Pushkar, 3 ½ years, male, from Uttranchal was admitted to
Pabitra Pariyar, 12 years, female from
Vishmi, 3 years old, from
Chu announces over $110 million in SunShot projects to advance solar photovoltaic
manufacturing in the
April 5 - As part of the SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the selection of up to $112.5 million over five years for funding to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic (PV)-related manufacturing processes throughout the United States. The Department’s SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships will help the solar power industry overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations, help the U.S. regain the lead in the global market for solar technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs for years to come.
This program is modeled in part
on SEMATECH (Semiconductor Manufacturing TECHnology).
Faced with falling
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation pledges $50 million to improve global water conditions, building on 20-year commitment to its safe water mission
Unsafe water is the greatest crisis of our time; 900 million people globally have no access to clean water and 3.4 million die as a result every year
900 million people (14% of the world population) do not have access to adequate clean water. More than 2.5 billion people (38% of the world population) live without basic sanitation.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation works to increase sustainable access to safe water for people in severe need within developing countries. By building appropriate water systems, training people, and supporting water treatment research, the Foundation has created local capacity for ongoing water quality testing and management. http://www.hiltonfoundation.org/news/press-releases/35-fdnnews/319-conrad-n-hilton-foundation-announces-a-pledge-of-50-million-in-grants-over-five-years-to-address-global-water-needs
and climate change in the
New partnership established to address threats to forests
6 April - A new partnership for Mediterranean forests has been established to
address major threats to the region's forests being exacerbated by the severe
impact of climate change. The partnership was announced at the Second
Mediterranean Forest Week, which is taking place in
"The Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests will help raise awareness on the wealth of vital functions Mediterranean forests provide. These include soil and water protection, landscape values, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. It is urgent that we join efforts to restore and preserve their functions for future generations," said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department.
The partnership involves 12
institutions and organizations including FAO and will focus primarily on six
countries in the southern and eastern Mediterranean:
The Mediterranean region is confronted with a considerable increase in longer and more frequent drought and heat waves, resulting in the growing risk of large scale forest fires as well as more water scarcity, affecting both rural and urban populations.
The government estimated
current tiger numbers in
Figures were broken down by site with some populations showing increases, and others falling.
The figures marked the opening of the International Tiger Conservation Conference, a three day meeting following on the heels of the groundbreaking Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP), a worldwide plan to bring the species back from the brink of extinction which was forged in November 2010 at an international tiger conservation meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia organized by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The count was conducted by
In its detail, this tiger
estimation exercise shows the importance
3rd Annual International Conference on "Religion, Conflict, and Peace:" Walking The Talk to Compassion and Harmony -
An inclusive, interactive 3-day public forum promoting Inter-religious and Intra-religious dialogue to explore the challenges of Social Paranoia, Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping, Scapegoating, and Islamophobia, and the promise of Reason, Understanding, Compassion, and Cultural Harmony.
Join over 40 Presenters and Facilitators as we explore:
1) The mutual dilemmas of religious ignorance, extremism, intolerance, negative stereotypes, prejudice, demonization and dehumanization, scapegoating, and fear of "the other," that can lead to toxic divisiveness, polarization, and social paranoia targeting any religious/cultural communities, including the current example of Islamophobia and it's impact on the Muslim community, and
2) The power of personal engagement through dialogue and practical applications in promoting a shared consciousness of peace - and in doing so promoting the religious experience as a healing remedy rather than problem.
An Official Partner and Event of the Charter For Compassion and the Parliament of World's Religions, sponsored by Common Bond Institute; co-sponsored by: Pathways To Peace, Henry Ford Community College, Parashakti Temple, Bharatiya Temple, Hindu American Foundation, International Humanistic Psychology Association; supported by: Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan; endorsed by over 100 universities and organizations internationally.
More than 10,000 people from diverse religious, spiritual and convictional traditions will participate in the 2014 Parliament, which will last for 7 days and will comprise more than 500 programs, workshops and dialogues, alongside music, dance, artistic exhibitions and related events hosted by religious communities and cultural institutions.
Since the historic 1893
World’s Parliament of Religions was held in
Council for a Parliament of the World's
Social media to help Nigerian poll
31 March - Social media will
play a major role in ensuring that
An increasing number of youngsters have jumped onto the social media networking bandwagon in recent years, thanks to improved mobile internet connectivity in the country. Elections results will be posted on the internet as soon as they become available. There are almost 300 local and international groups that will monitor the elections.
Young Afghans, many of them girls, benefit from UN-backed computer courses
28 March – Hundreds of young
Afghans, many of them girls, are getting free computer and English training
under a United Nations-backed programme that is free
and prepares them for future employment by assisting them with resume writing
and preparing for job interviews. The ICT4Youth a programme,
created by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and
Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs, trained some 300 young Afghans in 2010,
nearly 40 per cent of them girls. In the first quarter of 2011, about 400
students have signed up. Students are trained by a qualified teacher for one
hour every day in basic computer software and Internet skills in classes that
are timed so as not to conflict with regular school, and flexible enough to
allow participants to continue with their activities at home. (…) The programme is part of UNDP’s
National Institution Building Project to develop comprehensive and sustainable
capacities in government of
Teachers are indispensable for the promotion of health and safety in schools
This conclusion was drawn by
Professor Davison Munowadawafa at a meeting on school
health and safety, evaluating the outcome of the EI EFAIDS programme.
The meeting, which took place in
UNESCO launches new web portal on Education for Sustainable Development
From climate change to teacher education to new green technologies, UNESCO's new Web portal on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) demonstrates how education helps societies and individuals to achieve sustainability.
The web content has been entirely updated to set out UNESCO's priorities for the remaining half of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014). It presents the aims and focus of the DESD and highlights UNESCO's work in relation to major sustainability themes like climate change, consumption and biodiversity. In addition, it explains how education can bring about the societal change needed to build sustainable societies. Also on the web portal is information related to the ESD work of DESD major partners.
ESD is a key means through which education can engage people, as conscious consumers and responsible citizens, in redefining their lifestyles to address current sustainability issues.
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Next issue: 6 May 2011.
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