Good News Agency – Year XII, n° 191



Weekly – Year XII, number 191 – 9th September 2011

Managing Editor: Sergio Tripi, Ph. D.

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

Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project presented to the UN General Assembly (, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information*.




International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

64th UN annual DPI/NGO conference:

Sustainable societies and the role of responsive citizens


International legislation



Philippines ratifies the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

30 August – Philippines today acceded to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), when it deposed its instrument of ratification at the United Nations in New York.

The Statute will enter into force for the Philippines on 1 November, bringing the total number of States that have joined the Rome Statute system to 117.

The ICC is the first permanent international court set up to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Established by the Rome Statute of 1998, the ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.  

Ban calls on hold-out States to ratify Treaty banning nuclear tests

New York, August 29 - Warning that voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are not enough, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Member States that have not yet done so to urgently ratify the United Nations-backed treaty banning them.  

“Over the course of the Cold War, hundreds of nuclear weapon tests left behind a devastating legacy for local citizens and their natural environment,” he said in a <"">message  marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests. “Current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable, yet they are no substitute for a global ban.”  

Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 182 have so far signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and 154 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States have yet to ratify it.   

For more details go to UN News Centre at


Grenada accedes to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

23 August – The International Criminal Court (ICC) today welcomed Grenada as a new State party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the tribunal, three months after the Caribbean nation deposited its instrument of accession to the accord, becoming the 115th signatory.

The statute took effect in Grenada on 1 August, the ICC said in a statement issued after the President of the Court, Sang-Hyun Song, presented the ambassador of Grenada, Stephen Fletcher, with a special edition of the Rome Statute in The Hague, where the court is based.


Cook Islands ratifies Cluster Bomb Ban

23 August - The Cook Islands ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 23 August 2011, becoming the 61st State Party.) Seven Pacific Island Forum members have signed the Convention (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand and Palau and Samoa), four of which have ratified, thus becoming full States Parties: the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa.

The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 109 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010.

The Cook Islands participated in the Oslo Process that established the Convention and supported efforts to establish a strong treaty text during the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. The Cook Islands has not used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions. The Cook Islands will formally become a State Party on 1 February 2012 after the waiting period mandated by the treaty.



Human rights



Nepal: ADRA offers protection and promotes the rights of children affected by conflict

August 26, Silver Spring, Md., USA - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Nepal is implementing the "Action for Social Inclusion of Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Nepal" (ASIC) project in four districts of mid-western Nepal. The project's objective is to provide protection and promote the rights of former child soldiers and conflict-affected children in Nepal.

The primary focused of the project improves literacy and job skills for 4,000 vulnerable children and adolescents, enhancing availability of quality and improving access to psychosocial support for 2,000 abused and exploited children, and increasing child protection, child labor, gender-based violence (GBV), and human trafficking awareness among 50,000 people at national, district and local levels.


UNHCR announces statelessness campaign

August 25 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that up to 12 million people around the world are living in perpetual statelessness, lacking citizenship and protection in any country. Though it is a legal issue, it has a human impact.  Stateless persons are unable to access basic rights, such as jobs, housing, education, health care, or the ability to vote.

Statelessness may be caused by gender, when countries do not recognize the nationality of a woman due to discriminatory laws. Statelessness may be inherited, by children born to stateless parents. It may be created in newly formed states, such as South Sudan, by intentional or unintentional legislative exclusion of any ethnic groups.

AlertNet has also created a statelessness campaign. The stories of stateless Nubians, Dominicans, Rohingyas and the stateless children of Sabah are highlighted on their website with short videos.

Read the full release from UNHCR:


Accra hosts Africa's hope - her youth

23 August - Accra, Ghana hosted the continent's youth at the 3-day African Youth Economic Forum from 11 to 13 August 2011. The forum was aimed at addressing Africa's socio-economic challenges along the theme: “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, Our Year, Our Voice.” In addition to the Ghanaian hosts, the forum drew representatives from Senegal, Cote D'ivoire, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, as well as the United States of America. Job creation was high on the Forum's agenda, so were education, entrepreneurship and social action. The call to the youth to step up to the plate was loud and clear, and African youth are answering this call with passion and vigor.


D.R. of the Congo: 5,500 army officers learn about international humanitarian law

Kinshasa (ICRC) 10 August – In connection with the restructuring process currently under way in the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been invited to spread knowledge of international humanitarian law among officers. Over a five-month period beginning in February, more than 5,500 officers and instructors of the Congolese army in North and South Kivu attended 124 ICRC-organized information sessions on compliance with international humanitarian law in military operations. International humanitarian law imposes obligations on all parties to armed conflict in order to protect civilians and people no longer taking part in fighting.

The ICRC has been working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1978 and currently has 750 staff, including 80 expatriates, in the country. In addition to promoting compliance with international humanitarian law, the ICRC upgrades water supply systems, delivers emergency aid, provides support for health-care services, in particular for victims of sexual assault, and reunites families dispersed by violence. The ICRC also visits detainees and helps them to stay in contact with their families.



Economy and development



Lebanese smallholder farmers invest in quality

GLOBALG.A.P. certification offers farmers new markets, higher prices

31 August – Consumers pay top dollar for food that has been certified as safe and healthful. Lebanese farmers know that such certification can open doors to European markets and high-end retail outlets in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Yet many of them are daunted by the certification process and sell their goods for low wholesale market prices.

Now technical assistance from ACDI/VOCA’s Lebanon Business Linkages Initiative is putting GLOBALG.A.P. certification—and higher prices for vegetables and fruits—within reach of Lebanese farmers.


Self-watering and self-fertilizing garden nurtures Ethiopians and their ecosystem

By Meg Hewitt

31 August - Carrots, beet root, leafy greens and other vegetables will finally be produced up to four times a year in a new environmentally friendly initiative involving raised-bed gardens in Central Ethiopia. Called a “keyhole garden,” it is a circular raised soil bed about 4 feet high and 6.5 feet wide with a small break in its round shape for access (the keyhole) to a composting basket in the center. The gardens circular keyhole shape makes all sections very accessible to tend.

The exterior of the keyhole garden is made of stones and the interior is comprised of five layers of materials. The bottom layer of the garden consists of iron scraps such as empty beverage cans, twigs, grass and broken clay pots or stones, which provide minerals to the soil.

A layer of top soil and manure are added for nutrients. Tall grass to retain moisture and wood ash to provide potassium are placed in the keyhole. The garden is ready for planting after a final layer of soil and manure is added. Earthworms are added to the gardens, which improve soil fertility.

Keyhole gardens were introduced to Lesotho in 2008 as a sustainable gardening technique, allowing community members to produce a wide variety of vegetables to feed their families. This gardening technique is a viable solution for regions in Ethiopia that have been plagued by deforestation, overgrazing, and other practices that contribute to soil erosion.


Counterpart brings its civil society expertise to Cameroon

By Jennifer O’Riordan

26 August - In anticipation of Cameroon’s 2011 and 2012 presidential and legislative elections, civil society organizations in four regions of the country will be trained to monitor elections and educate voters through a new Counterpart program. (...) The Strengthening Civic Engagement program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will last approximately 14 months and will be implemented by Counterpart in partnership with a member of the Global Civil Society Strengthening Leader with Associates (GCSS-LWA) consortium.

Eighty seven percent of Cameroon’s poorest citizens live in rural areas, they have the greatest need for government assistance and are the most likely to feel disconnected from policymakers, according to the World Bank. (...) The program’s efforts will not only engage citizens to vote, but also monitor balloting and advocate for improved election administration to ensure an efficient, transparent and participatory electoral system.

In addition to providing partner organizations in Cameroon with vital training and technical assistance, the program will also work with media outlets and independent journalists to improve election standards. (…)


Twenty years after Moldova's independence, agriculture and rural development show signs of progress

Rome, 25 August – As Moldova prepares to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its independence on 27 August, the country’s agriculture and rural development sectors are showing positive signs of development, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Moldova has continuously stepped up its efforts to improve its agri-business sector to meet demand from both domestic and export markets,” said Abdelkarim Sma, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Moldova. “Positive steps are also being taken with regard to employment opportunities for youth.”

More than half of Moldova’s population lives in rural areas with agriculture accounting for about 40 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Thirty-five per cent of the population is below the age of 24. IFAD has supported Moldova’s efforts to strengthen its rural areas since 1999, focusing on market access and enhancing the profitability of rural businesses to give rural communities decent employment opportunities.

Contacts: Sarah Hessel , Jessica Thomas


ADRA promotes green farming practices in Mongolia

August 19, Silver Spring, Md., USA - In Mongolia, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is actively integrating "green" approaches into their food security programs, training hundreds of farmers in best practices in the field of agriculture.

Currently, ADRA Mongolia is implementing three "green" projects, including Community Food Systems, Bio-Intensive Gardening, and Sustainable Economy and Agricultural Learning. The designs of ADRA’s programs are built on the practice of permaculture, an agricultural approach that maximizes natural land resources in efforts to minimize energy/waste.

Additionally, ADRA Mongolia actively promotes the practice of seed saving. Rather than annually purchasing seeds from commercial suppliers, seed saving preserves seeds from earlier harvests for use in succeeding harvests. Through techniques taught by ADRA, farmers have successfully planted increased varieties of potato and vegetable seeds in fertile soil. These practices are helping famers implement organic farming techniques, maintain soil fertility, and conserve water use.






Kohl's Department Stores donates $250,000 to the American Red Cross to support hurricane Irene relief efforts

Kohl's associates also encouraged to volunteer in impacted communities

Menomonee Falls, Wis., USA, September 1 - Kohl’s Department Stores today announced a $250,000 cash donation toward Hurricane Irene relief efforts. Kohl’s is providing this donation to the American Red Cross, which is delivering much-needed emergency supplies and services in the hurricane-impacted areas.

In addition to a financial contribution, Kohl’s encourages its associates to volunteer in support of cleanup efforts through its Associates in Action volunteer program. In recognition of volunteer hours, Kohl’s will donate corporate grants to the nonprofit organizations being supported by Kohl’s associates.

Kohl’s Associates in Action volunteers support a range of local nonprofit organizations year-round. More than 400,000 associates have donated more than 1.3 million hours of their time since 2001 as a result of this program, and Kohl’s has donated more than $38 million to nonprofits throughout the nation. The Associates in Action volunteer program is part of Kohl’s overall philanthropic platform, Kohl’s Cares®, which is committed to supporting children’s health and education initiatives in communities nationwide.


Global video project to capture power of humanity on film

Geneva (ICRC/IFRC/ODOE),30 August– The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is teaming up with One Day on Earth to launch an unprecedented initiative aimed at documenting a day-in-the-life of the world's largest humanitarian network. The video project also aims to demonstrate the power of individuals to make a difference. The global event will take place on 11 November 2011 (11/11/11) and will build on the success of One Day on Earth's 2010 filming endeavour, which saw participation from every country in the world.

The ever-expanding online community, which represents thousands of professional and amateur videographers and photographers around the world, will be called on to film Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers in action, as well as members of the public who are engaged in helping others on 11/11/11. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies hope to mobilize staff and some of the Movement's estimated 13 million volunteers to take part in the day of filming.


Mechanized system provides clean drinking water for 10,000 in Ghana

By Arnold R. Grahl

Rotary International News, 29 August – More than 10,000 people in three communities in Ghana are receiving safe drinking water from a mechanized system built through the efforts of the International H2O Collaboration, an alliance between Rotary International and USAID.

The water system is part of a US$2 million project that is providing boreholes, hand pumps, and mechanized pipes, as well as ventilated pit latrines and showers, across Ghana’s Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern, and Central regions.

During a ceremony on 21 August in Abutia Teti, RI and USAID representatives joined Ghanaian government officials in handing over responsibility for the completed system to the communities of Abutia Teti, Takla Gborgame, and Nyive.. (...)

The International H2O Collaboration is in its third year. As part of the efforts in Ghana, Rotarians are also working with villagers to change their sanitation practices and provide training to maintain the new equipment. The collaboration is also funding hygiene training and bio-sand water filters in the Dominican Republic, and a project in the Philippines to improve sewage collection and treatment that will help more than 150,000 people.(...)


New project won: Burkina Faso—victory against malnutrition

August 23 – USAID’s Office of Food for Peace recently awarded ACDI/VOCA a five-year, $35 million Title II program in Burkina Faso. Working with Save the Children and the Netherlands Development Organization, ACDI/VOCA will implement the Victory Against Malnutrition Project. The project will be known locally as Projet Victoire sur la Malnutrition (ViM) and Project Vim (vim means “life” in Moore, the local language of the targeted communities).

ACDI/VOCA and its partners will apply a comprehensive approach to reduce food insecurity and chronic malnutrition and to link vulnerable households to sustainable livelihoods in the Sanmatenga province, which has some of the highest rates of childhood malnutrition in the country.Until several years ago, Burkina Faso appeared to be on the road to becoming one of Africa’s success stories. However, in recent years, a series of external shocks have slowed growth and increased the national poverty rate to above 45 percent.


Entertainment industry launches Bob Marley campaign to reach nearly 600 million Facebook and Twitter fans to support Save the Children's East Africa appeal

Westport, Conn., USA, August 9 - Today sees the launch of a ground-breaking social media campaign, ‘I’m Gonna Be Your Friend’ supported by many of the world’s most famous names in entertainment and their fans. A global audience close to 600 million* Facebook and Twitter fans will be able to view a short film of the crisis in East Africa created by award-winning director Kevin MacDonald from footage of East Africa. The film is set to the 1973 Bob Marley & The Wailers song ‘High Tide or Low Tide’ and will reach over a billion people.

The campaign was developed to support Save the Children’s fundraising for the devastating food crisis affecting millions of children and their families across East Africa.

It brings together the combined resources of Universal Music Group, iTunes, Yahoo!, Facebook, AOL, MSN, YouTube, Twitter and others to give a potential global online reach in excess of a billion people. Many of these partners are showing the film and providing global editorial coverage, which will accompany the release of the downloadable track on the day of the launch.

From today, many icons, celebrities and artists across the world including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Eminem, Rihanna, Britney Spears, David Beckham, U2, Kanye West, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Muhammad Ali, Muse, Coldplay, Elton John, Lewis Hamilton, Bruno Mars, Robert Plant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Brian May, Sting, and many others are launching the campaign via their huge networks of friends and fans on Facebook and Twitter (#beafriend).

With over 50 global stars already signed up and more joining by the hour, the combined total of their fans and followers on the social networks is almost 600 hundred million people. This huge number will not only help raise awareness of the scale of the crisis but also vital funds for those suffering in the region.


Somalia and 2 others: CARE's Response in the Horn of Africa

As the drought and food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, CARE has scaled up our emergency response in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to assist more than two million people across the affected region. More than 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, such as water, food, medical assistance, shelter and help regaining lost livelihoods.

CARE, in close collaboration with the Ethiopian government, has opened 21 destocking sites to recover some value from emaciated and unproductive animals that would otherwise die, and to prevent conflict that might arise from competition around scarce pasture grounds. CARE pays cattle owners 800 Ethiopian Birr (47 U.S. dollars) per head of cattle, and provides hay and supplementary animal feed to save the lives of remaining cattle. Under supervision from official food inspectors, the meat from the slaughtered animals then goes to vulnerable families suffering from the food crisis.



Peace and security



11 Days to Global Unity - September 11 through September 21

“11 Days of Global Unity”, first started by We, The World, is expanding this year to mark the tenth anniversary of the tragic events surrounding September 11, 2001 and the thirtieth anniversary of the UN resolution creating the International Day of Peace, which takes place September 21st.

This year, We, The World, with support from United Religions Initiative in North America and in consultation with Pathways To Peace and the World Peace Prayer Society, is launching a campaign to build an unprecedented coalition of organizations and other change agents to take action in “11 Days – 11 Ways” for a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Lift Your Voice – Join the Chorus - Your participation will contribute an essential piece to the incredible mosaic that is quietly shaping the future of our world. During the 11 Days, and the months leading up to them, we invite you to join this global campaign in a variety of ways:

•Register your programs, events and actions related to the 11 Themes•Make grants and donations

•Explore other possibilities of how you and your organization can participate today.


At UN-backed consultative meeting, Somali regions agree to end dispute

5 September  – The leaders of two of Somalia's semi-autonomous regions today committed to a peaceful settlement of their dispute and adopted a four-point plan to ensure that hostilities between the two territories do not recur, the United Nations political office for the country said. The agreement between Mohamed Ahmed Alin, the President of the Galmudug state, and Abdirahman Mohamed MohamudFarole,” the President of Puntland was signed on the sidelines of the Consultative Meeting for Ending the Transition in Somalia, which got under way in the capital, Mogadishu, yesterday. (…) The pact was signed in the presence of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament, the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, and a number of ministers and other high-ranking officials.


Irina Bokova launches initiative to develop regional cultural networks in South-East Europe

On 2 September, together with the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Boris Tadic, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova opened the 9th Regional Summit of Heads of State of South-East Europe, held in Belgrade on the theme of "Contemporary Art and Reconciliation in South East Europe".

In her opening address, Irina Bokova emphasized that “the people of South East Europe have demonstrated that dialogue can help people overcome differences and reconcile after conflicts” and highlighted the important role played by art and memory in the process of reconciliation and everyday peace. The Director-General also launched a new initiative to build networks among professionals, civil society and politicians, "Culture: a Bridge to Development", the principles of which were endorsed at the Belgrade Conference last June by the Ministers of Culture of South Eastern Europe. The initiative will seek to unite the creative artistic forces of the region as distinct drivers of development.


Liberians vote on constitutional changes seen by UN as milestone in peace process

23 August – Liberians went to the polls today to vote in a referendum on constitutional changes, a move described by the United Nations envoy for the West African country as a milestone in the process to entrench peace and stability that has prevailed since the end of the civil war in 2003.

In the constitutional referendum, voters were asked to made a decision on four proposed amendments, three of which are election-related. (…)


Ban welcomes ‘step towards dialogue’ following deadly violence in Malawi

17 August – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the signing of a joint communiqué by the Malawian Government and civil society organizations in a meeting facilitated by the United Nations following deadly clashes last month.

According to media reports, organizers cancelled plans to resume anti-Government protests today after businessmen close to the governing party obtained a court injunction and because of UN mediation efforts, but they said they would continue protests next month unless the Government addresses economic problems and ends public threats against those with dissenting views.


FoEME wins the Outstanding Leadership Award

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) have won the Outstanding Leadership Award bestowed by the International Development Committee of the  Association for Conflict Resolution.

Each year, the International Section of the ACR honors exceptional work promoting conflict resolution in development projects around the world. The award aims to celebrate leadership in the field and draw attention to the importance of conflict resolution in creating stronger democracies and economies. The award ceremony is being held on the 12th of October, in San Diego, California U.S.A.

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage.


Western Sahara MACC reaches an important milestone

by Ginevra Cucinotta - MINURSO Mine Action Coordination Centre Programme Officer

There are not only sandy dunes in the landscape of the Western Sahara desert. Since 1976, an unknown quantity of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) lay scattered across the vast territory. The result is thousands of casualties and hundred of deaths amongst local population transiting across dangerous areas in search of water and grazing land for their livestock.

As of August 2011, many lives will be spared in Western Sahara. Coordinated by the Mine Action Center in MINURSO, the UNMAS contractor, Landmine Action U.K. (LMA) working east of the berm, completed the destruction of Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs)1 in the 433 known locations that resulted from a survey conducted in 2006/7.

In the process more than 7,000 UXO were destroyed, ranging from 250kg aircraft bombs, hundreds of artillery projectiles, hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades. The destruction of these ERW that endangered the lives of humans and animals, will allow for the local population and UN military observers to enjoy enhanced freedom of movement.

In addition to the destruction of Unexploded Ordnances, under the coordination of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), LMA also cleared 15,073,660 m², of cluster munitions strike areas and in the process destroyed more than eleven thousand cluster bomb units. (…)


Iraq: Eleven minefields safely returned to communities in Kirkuk

Almost 490,000 square metres of land that was heavily contaminated by landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been cleared, and will now be used for farming and infrastructure projects.

Teams of MAG deminers – funded by the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, the Dutch Government and the Belgian Government – removed more than 2,700 deadly items from 11 minefields in the Kirkuk sub-districts of Laylan, Qarahanjir, Takya Jabary, Shwan and Altun Kopri over a period of seven months.






Global grant project impressive in combating dengue fever

By Dan Nixon and Arnold R. Grahl 

Rotary International News, 1 September - A Rotary Foundation Global Grant project has proved highly effective in preventing the spread of dengue fever in a community in Indonesia. The one-year project, the first funded by a global grant under the Future Vision pilot, began on 1 July 2010, carried out by Rotarians in districts 3400 (Indonesia) and 7980 (Connecticut, USA).  The effort helped disrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitoes that transmit the disease in Kadipiro, a community of almost 50,000 people near Surakarta, Central Java.

During the project’s first six months, contractors installed white ceramic tiling on the interior surfaces of cement water tubs in more than 1,400 homes, making it easier to spot and remove gray mosquito larvae spawned in the tubs.  In the second half of the project, members of the Rotary Club of Solo Kartini, Indonesia, which came up with the idea for the effort, educated residents to empty and scrub the tubs twice a week, close the lid on water containers, and bury waste that can collect water.

The club also oversaw a group of monitors, who were paid a small stipend to visit participating homes weekly to check on compliance with the procedures.

As a result of the project, the incidence of dengue fever in Kadipiro fell to four cases in the first six months of this year, compared with 43 cases in all of 2010. The percentage of tubs infested with larvae averaged 1.4 percent, compared with 9.7 percent for tubs in homes not included in the project. (...)


Nigerian community leaders help track mobile populations

25 August - The community leaders, or 'Hardos', among the Fulani people in Katsina State, Nigeria, have come together under the Myetti Allah organization to help the Global Polio Eradicating Initiatrive (GPEI) vaccinate the hardest-to-reach children against polio, with spectacular success.

The Myetti Allah organization, led by the Hardos, is devoted to the development of the Fulani people and the protection of their unique cultural heritage. The Fulani ethnic group are a traditionally nomadic people, although many have now joined static settlements. Tracking those who are on the move or who have very recently settled can be difficult for vaccination teams. This is where the knowledge of the Hardos is invaluable.

Earlier this year, the community leaders were invited to attend meetings held in three senatorial zones of Katsina in order to facilitate an exchange of ideas. The Hardos were provided with information about polio and vaccination, and the GPEI was provided with information on the local situation. The meetings resulted in the mapping of common routes of travel for the nomadic people and many of the Hardos agreed to help spread the polio eradication message within their communities. Since the meetings were held, a substantial increase in the number of children vaccinated is already being seen. In the Safana local government area, for example, nearly 10,000 more children were immunized in May compared to January.


UN hails Europe’s retention of polio-free status as ‘tremendous news’

New York, August 25 - Europe will retain its status as a polio-free region after Member States took satisfactory steps to combat an imported outbreak of the debilitating and sometimes fatal disease last year, in what the United Nations health agency hailed as “tremendous news.”

The 53-nation region, which for the purposes of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) includes ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia, with a combined population of some 900 million people, was officially certified as polio-free in 2002 after there had been no indigenous cases for more than three years. But last year the infection was imported by a traveller or travellers from northern India into Tajikistan, from where it spread to some 475 patients, killing 30 of them, in Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

At a meeting yesterday in Copenhagen, Denmark, the European Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis Eradication (RCC), an independent panel of international public health experts, noted that transmission had been interrupted and no new cases had been reported since September 2010 because countries had taken effective action. Hence there was no need to re-certify all 53 Member States.

Since the launch in 1988 of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99 per cent.At the time, more than 350 000 children were paralyzed every year in more than 125 endemic countries. So far in 2011, 325 cases have been reported worldwide. Only four countries remain endemic: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.


International: New psychological first aid guide to strengthen humanitarian relief

19 August – Humanitarian emergencies - such as emergencies arising from natural disaster, war, or famine - not only affect people’s physical health but also their psychological and social health and well-being.

Today on World Humanitarian Day, the World Health Organization (WHO), the War Trauma Foundation (WTF) and World Vision International (WVI) announce the release of a ‘Psychological First Aid Guide for Fieldworkers.’ Psychological first aid covers both social and psychological support and involves the provision of humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings who are suffering from serious crisis events.

This guide – which can be taught to humanitarian workers within one day - was developed to have widely agreed upon psychological first aid materials for use in low and middle income countries. It reflects the emerging science and international consensus on how to provide basic support to people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.

Endorsed by 24 large international agencies, this tool gives simple, practical guidance for supporting people. This guide will enable humanitarian and emergency workers from all over the world to provide basic but very important psychosocial support to people in acute distress. (…)


The measles initiative vaccinates one billion children in first decade

Milestone marks progress and points to need for funding and political will to eradicate measles

Washington, DC, August 4 – The Measles Initiative today announced it has helped vaccinate one billion children in more than 60 developing countries since 2001, making significant gains in the global effort to stop measles.

The child who received the history-making measles vaccination was one of 3.5 million immunized in Mozambique this May. The immunization campaign was sponsored by the Measles Initiative’s five founding partners – the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, and World Health Organization (WHO).

Looking ahead to its second decade, the Measles Initiative will focus on achieving a series of interim targets toward the eventual eradication of measles. The first of these milestones will be to reduce measles mortality by 95 percent by 2015 (compared to 2000). The Measles Initiative estimates it will need approximately $212 million between 2012 and 2015 to reach the targets.



Energy and safety



DOE awards $145 million for next-generation solar

2 September - The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced over $145 million for projects to help shape the next generation of solar energy technologies through the agency's Sunshot Initiative. The SunShot Initiative seeks to reduce the cost of solar systems 75% by the end of this decade, to make the industry cost-competitive without long-term subsidies.

DOE selected 69 projects in 24 states to accelerate R&D that can increase efficiency, lower costs and advance cutting-edge solar technologies.

Some of the investments also support efforts to shorten the overall timeline from prototype to production and streamline building codes, zoning laws, permitting rules, and business processes for installing solar energy systems.


Uganda: Energy and climate education on the governmental agenda

2 September - Ugandan national authorities have launched an Energy and Climate Change awareness-raising campaign in schools for an energy- and environment-conscious new generation. The campaign, targeting students of primary, secondary and vocational levels, aims at raising awareness on sustainable energy and climate change, and making energy and climate change concepts easily understandable by the young students. It also promotes the use of efficient technologies and practices for sustainable energy and environment.

Education International welcomes this initiative on ‘green’ education, and calls on authorities in Uganda to give national teachers adequate resources to ensure quality public education, including on environmental issues. In a resolution entitled Education Unions Mobilising on Climate Change adopted by participants at its 6th World Congress, held 20-26 July 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa, EI notes  “that members of national education unions have an important role to play in educating students about the causes and the effects of climate change, and the necessary structural changes for the transition to a low greenhouse-gas production and distribution systems and in implementing carbon emission reduction measures in education institutions, particularly in the more energy-use intensive higher education and research sector.”


E-Stewards certification officially replaces older "Pledge" program

Pioneering badge of responsible e-waste recycling sunsets

Seattle, WA., USA, September 1 - The evolution and adoption of responsible electronics recycling practices made an important transition today as the Basel Action Network formally sunsetted the Pledged e-Stewards Recyclers program on September 1, 2011.  Established in 2003, the Pledge program was the first widely recognized initiative designed to identify electronics recyclers committed to globally responsible e-waste management practices.  Today marks its official and full replacement by the Certified e-Stewards® Recyclers program.

The Pledge has now been replaced by a more robust third party audited certification known as e-Stewards Certification, which is based on the comprehensive 51-page e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment.  Today, over 140 e-recycling facilities have been, or are in the process of, becoming certified. 

The Certified e-Stewards program has garnered the support of 70 environmental organizations as well as major enterprises such as Wells Fargo, Samsung, Bank of America, LG Electronics, Aloca and many others.  It is the only recycler certification that meets their stringent corporate requirements for globally responsible e-recycling. e-Stewards Certification has also been recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


Australia takes first steps into utility-scale solar

By Renewable Energy World Editors

31August, Geraldton, Australia - Australia is taking its first leap into utility-scale solar PV with a 10-megawatt (MW) AC project located in Western Australia – 10 times larger than any operating project in the country. The Greenough River Solar Farm will sit on more than 190 acres of land and work to offset power requirements of the nearby Southern Seawater Desalination Plant, which has purchased 100 percent of its output in a 15-year contract.

GE Financial Services and Western Australia (WA) state-owned utility Verve Energy will each own 50 percent of the farm. The WA government also provided $21.3 million for the project, with $10 million from the WA Royalties for Regions program. First Solar will provide the panels, and the project is expected to create more than 50 construction jobs.

“This announcement demonstrates the significant potential for renewable energy generation – especially utility-scale solar – in WA and throughout Australia,” said Jim Brown of First Solar in a press release. The project will contribute to Australia’s goal of 20 percent renewables by 2020, and is expected to be fully operational mid-2012.


UN report outlines investment strategies to reduce water scarcity

New York, August 25 -  An annual investment of $198 billion, or 0.16 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), in the water sector could reduce water scarcity and halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in less than four years, the United Nations said today.

In the water chapter of its Green Economy Report, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) <> said that investing in sanitation and drinking water, strengthening local water supply systems, conserving ecosystems critical for water supply, and developing more effective policies can help avert the high social and economic costs resulting from inadequate water supplies.

Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, for example, lose an estimated $9 billion a year, or 2 per cent of their combined GDP, due to problems caused by poor sanitation, according to the report, which was released during the World Water Week conference in Stockholm.

With the recommendations outlined in the report, global water use could be kept within sustainable limits and the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation could be met by 2015.



Environment and wildlife




September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

2011 Theme: HCFC phase-out: a unique opportunity

The Montreal Protocol on Preservation of the Ozone Layer (signed on September 16, 1987) is one of the great successes of modern international action to protect the environment. Following the Protocol treaty nations and companies acted with determination to replace ozone destroying gases from commercial products such as spray cans.

This is a Day to celebrate humanity’s ability to work together for a common cause and is a model for climate change agreements. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a class of ozone destroying gases being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.


"Last Call at the Oasis"  - World Premiere in Toronto, September 9

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is delighted to announce that the documentary film "Last Call at the Oasis" – in which FoEME's work on the region's shared water resources is featured - will have its World Premiere on September 9, 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Produced by Participant Media (the same production company that did Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"), this documentary illuminates the vital role water plays in our lives, exposes the defects in the current system and shows communities already struggling with its ill-effects and individuals championing revolutionary solutions. We are extremely proud and honored to be a part of this important film.


Sustainable palm oil milestone reached ahead of major WWF evaluation

31 August - The world’s largest sustainable palm oil body reached a major milestone last week in its on-going efforts to halt deforestation and bring sustainable palm oil to market – the millionth hectare of plantations has just been certified, an area roughly equivalent in size to the nation of Jamaica.  The result comes as WWF prepares its second instalment of the WWF Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard, which tracks the progress of major brands on their commitments and actions on buying and using sustainable palm.

Plantations owned by Brazil-based Agropalma, a leading producer of palm oil in South America, recently achieved certification against the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard, pushing the area of certified palm oil plantations past the 1 million hectare mark. That’s equal to about 1.5 million football pitches and is more than 6,000 times the size of Greater London.

The Agropalma certification brings the volume of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil close to 5 million tonnes, which represents around10% of the world’s total palm oil production.

WWF worked with a group of NGOs and the palm oil industry to set up the RSPO in 2003. Certified sustainable palm oil has been available since November 2008, and provides assurance that valuable tropical forests have not been cleared and that environmental and social safeguards have been met during the production of the palm oil.


New fund to protect African elephants launched at UN-backed conservation forum

New York, August 19 - Global conservation experts concluded a United Nations-backed meeting in Geneva today with important decisions to protect a number of endangered species, including the launch of a trust fund to ensure the long-term survival of the African elephant population.

Several countries have already contributed to the multi-donor technical trust for the implementation of an African Elephant Action Plan, and more were encouraged to do so by the participants of the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Elephant conservation and new financial mechanisms were among several issues on the agenda of the week-long meeting, in addition to measures to reduce current levels of poaching of rhinos, tigers and other big cats, illegal trade in mahogany and other timber species, the fate of sturgeon and the caviar trade, and the sourcing of reptile skins used in the leather industry.

The committee also reviewed efforts by Peru in establishing reliable timber verification systems, and new rules for introducing marine species from international waters, among other topics.

Some 175 States have joined CITES, an international agreement that entered into force in July 1975 and aims to ensure that global trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.



Religion and spirituality



A talk on Islam, multiculturalism and the lessons of Norway - London UK, 12 September

This lecture/seminar, organized, by the  Universal Peace Federation, will be held at the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A from 14,30 to 16,30. The event is supported by Gandhi Foundation, Runnymede Trust, Universal Peace Federation and Civ-World (U.S.A.) and is intended to mark 12th September as a Global Interdependence Day. is a faith – neutral, independent, privately – maintained Portal for free of charge use by non-profit, peace seeking communities and individuals of All Cultural, Ethnic, Faith and No-Faith backgrounds anywhere on Planet Earth. Our only objective is, to facilitate increasingly direct communication and joint experiences among people of different cultural and faith traditions.


Interfaith Encounters – Citizens Building Communities

We form and maintain on-going interfaith encounter groups, or centers, that bring together neighboring communities across the country.  Each center is led by an interfaith coordinating team with one person for each community in the area.

Women’s Interfaith Encounters (WIE) - In these encounters, Muslim, Christian, Druze and Jewish women study topics of relevance to women from the perspective of the different religions.  Not only is interfaith study is used as a vehicle  for understanding, acceptance and respect for the “other”, but also as a way to deepen awareness of one’s own religion.

The encounter is a source of strength and empowerment for women to recognize their shared values and struggles. Through monthly meetings and shared religious celebrations and conferences, WIE groups create a sacred space of trust, harmony and support during difficult times.



Culture and education



Nobel Peace Prize - International Network supports the nomination of Federico Mayor

September - We, The International Network, work and struggle together for a worldwide Culture of Peace.  The network is comprised of more than one thousand organizations from international civil society.  Network members include academics involved in political and scientific aspects of justice and peace. 

The International Network has decided to re-launch the nomination of Dr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Dr. Mayor Zaragoza’s outstanding resume includes his position as the former Director General of UNESCO, former President of the Foundation for Culture of Peace and Co-President of the High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations´ Program. Among Dr. Mayor Zaragoza’s achievements are his notable contributions to the conceptual development and universalization of the Culture of Peace paradigm.  The world currently stands at a crossroads.  The Culture of Peace paradigm should be recognized and promoted for what it truly is: the only alternative paradigm to the culture of violence that tragically grips current society. 

The International Network believes Dr. Mayor Zaragoza’s nomination is not simply the nomination of one man; rather, it represents the nomination of all those who struggle for international peace.  We invite individuals and entities, including distinguished Nobel Peace Prize recipients, organizations of the international civil society, grass-roots networks, world ecumenical organizations, and other organizations or institutions to actively support this nomination.

To express your support write to: Dr. Denis Torres, Director Instituto “Martin Luther King”, Universidad Politécnica de Nicaragua:; and/or Dra. Carmen Magallón, Directora de la Fundación Seminario de Investigación para la Paz :


Online seminars to introduce the Earth Charter and Earth Charter Initiative - September

The Earth Charter International Secretariat (ECI) will be offering four one and a half hour online seminars to introduce the Earth Charter to new initiative participants, volunteers, and any other interested parties. The seminars will take place once a week every week in September and will cover several Earth Charter basic topics.

The seminar will introduce the Earth Charter document, explain its origins, the process in which it was drafted, its significance in international sustainable development policy and practice, and will offer some examples of its relevance and use in ongoing sustainability and peace efforts. The seminar will expand on the importance of value systems and the ethical framework that the Earth Charter offers for promoting peace, sustainability, and justice and will engage attendees in an informal exercise. Finally, the seminar will offer several suggestions for attendees who want to get involved or learn more about the Earth Charter. The seminars will end with a question, answer, and discussion forum. The seminar schedule is included at:


North America - For more than 13,000 children in need, the path 'Back to School' has run through Henry Schein

14th Annual Henry Schein 'Back to School' Program at 16 locations again outfits and equips children for the classroom

Melville, N.Y., USA, September 2 - In 1998, when 150 Long Island children gathered in Henry Schein's cafeteria in Melville, N.Y. to receive new outfits and backpacks filled with school supplies, it would have been difficult to predict that such a modest beginning would grow into an annual event that now marks the end of summer and has benefitted more than 13,000 children in need from communities across North America. Now in its 14th year, Henry Schein's "Back to School" program is eagerly anticipated by the children who participate, the human service organizations that serve them, and the Team Schein Members who sponsor the children.

For 2011, Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), the largest provider of health care products and services to office-based practitioners, is helping a record nearly 2,500 children in 16 U.S. and Canadian cities return to the classroom well-dressed and well-prepared. The largest of the "Back to School" events took place yesterday at the Company's world headquarters on Long Island, where 600 children identified by 10 local human service organizations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties participated.


EI Research Institute study: Equity is a fundamental value of public education

2 September - Education International has published an exciting new study looking at equity issues concerning teachers and students. The work was commissioned by the EI Research Institute to a team of researchers, led by Dr. Elizabeth Wood, at the University of Exeter.

The study aimed to find new evidence about the importance of equity in education. It explores and analyses how teacher unions understand and use equity concepts in their policies and advocacy to advance the aim of quality education for all.

The study is based on an extensive literature review, an EI membership survey and a set of country case studies. Please click here to download the study in PDF format:


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64th United Nations Annual DPI/NGO Conference


Connecting the Dots: Sustainable Societies and the Role of Responsive Citizens

3 – 5 September, 2011 • Bonn, Germany


Lesley Vann, Good News Agency’s Publisher Representative to the UNDPI


The 64th Annual United Nations Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), was held in Bonn, Germany, 3-5 September 2011. This Conference was partly conceived as a bridge between the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the Rio+20 Conference to be held in 2012. “Connecting the Dots: Sustainable Societies and the Role of Responsive Citizens” thus served as a civil society link to the forthcoming Rio+20 Conference, while providing valuable network-building opportunities for all participants in Bonn, and establishing a baseline of shared recognitions regarding best practices, emerging developments and global projects.


In addition to representatives of NGOs, also present were civil society organizations, grassroots constituencies, civil servants from the UN system and Member States, representatives of the media, academia, the private sector and other institutions, thus enriching the dialogue. The Conference engaged these participants in sharing experiences and articulating perspectives about how to enhance their activities supporting the promotion of sustainable societies and how to engage citizens at all levels. The event highlighted effective ways in which civil society, in partnership with other actors, can contribute to fostering sustainability and citizen involvement. It also underscored the need for more integration within these offerings worldwide.


This year’s Conference had an Opening session, Roundtable panel discussions, Workshops, interactive dialogues, special Events, Exhibits, Youth activities, and a Closing session. There was a commitment to transparency and to making the proceedings available to the entire world. The Conference focused on the twin themes of volunteerism and sustainable development. Expert speakers, panelists and participants shared insights and best practices. They discussed global challenges and ways to promote the interconnectivity of citizen engagement and volunteerism, sustainable development, human security, the environment and climate change in the world and in their lives.


The United Nations makes possible this annual opportunity to learn from each other and create opportunities for new collaborations to achieve sustainable societies. The outreach of this Conference and its sessions was designed to foster increasing commitment by NGOs and the world community to the vital issues of sustainability, climate change, development, citizen action and opportunities for volunteer service and engagement. In addition, the Conference generated greater mobilization and cohesion within the NGO community – fostering dialogue. It furthered partnerships within and between vast numbers of NGOs and their participants. Solutions to pressing global conundrums were considered and generated. Breakthroughs for Millennium Development Goal (MDG) implementation were further envisioned and mobilized – thus renewing global dialogue and strategic planning.


In order to facilitate these exchanges, NGOs and participants were requested to participate in the Conference in the spirit of constructive dialogue and fraternity. These clear parameters sparked a dynamic and vibrant gathering, alive with the spirit of inquiry. The Opening and Closing sessions rallied participants with both vision and calls to action, which the four Roundtable panels and many Workshops underscored.


Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society had the opportunity to attend all the sessions and acquaint themselves with the latest developments and thinking on issues pertaining to sustainable development and volunteerism. These discussions and exchanges provided attendees insights and ideas, which they in turn can develop into actionable projects upon their return from the Conference. This process reflects key goals of the annual DPI NGO Conference, engaging civil society with the work of the United Nations and with forging collective solutions to global challenges.


It is said that sustainable development is about “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Balanced development lifts people out of poverty, while protecting the natural systems that support economic growth. We must “Connect the Dots!” As we look forward to Rio+20 – and also look back on decades of stalemate since the original Earth Summit – we all know it’s not a simple task. The UN has affirmed that the UN in concert with civil society must connect the dots between protecting the planet and giving people a chance for a better life. We need to ensure access to clean water for all while at the same time saving water. We must stimulate global economic growth while building inclusive political systems for the benefit of all.


Below is an overview of some of the proceedings, which sparked new collaborations and resolutions for constructive change within civil society. Roundtable One addressed “Shaping Sustainable Lifestyles and Livelihoods: Sustainable Consumption and Production Aspects of a Globalizing World.” Sustainability can only be ensured if humanity embraces sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles and adopts sustainable livelihoods. Unsustainable consumption and production patterns have been a major contributor to climate change and poverty. Willingness to share resources of all kinds is deeply embedded in all cultures. In a rapidly globalizing world, can voluntary effort…help create sustainable lifestyles rather than fuel consumerism in markets of the developed and developing world? Can citizens, responding through mindful volunteerism, prevail to create a better world of equity, wellbeing and happiness, for all communities and individuals?

Roundtable Two addressed, “Green Economy and Poverty Eradication: Climate justice as a bridge to a new global Economic Paradigm.” A true “green economy” within a sustainable society should be an economic system that ensures social equity, protects ecological balance and creates eco-sufficiency. Can a “green economy” with sustainable livelihoods be the replacement of the current economic order of inequity, resource depletion and greed that has kept half of the world in poverty and created a potential climate catastrophe? Should a new paradigm use the powerful organizational form of a global commons to encourage global stewardship through civic engagement for collective management? How do citizens advocate for personal, local and global responses to the multiple crises with concrete action that nurtures the wellbeing of the earth and all of life?


Roundtable Three addressed the “Role of Civil Society in a Fast-changing World: Civic Engagement and Voluntary Action for Achieving Sustainability.” Ethical values humanity wishes to bring to the fore, justice, equity, and solidarity, may shape future decisions. Volunteerism can help facilitate these by engaging our communities to volunteer services locally and worldwide through the matching of interests and skills to needs. How can partnerships between civil society, the private sector, parliaments and intergovernmental bodies create an effective atmosphere for volunteer efforts and impacts to grow nationally and internationally?


Roundtable Four addressed, “Sustainable Development Governance Issues from Local to Global: The Role of Citizen Participation.” What lessons can we learn from recent social uprisings in Central Asia, Africa, Europe and the Near East that could guide future democratic and social change movements? The “change” Ban Ki-moon speaks of in his work, includes a change in both thinking and action on the parts of individual citizens wherever they may be. And as we continue to see in North Africa and the Middle East, social change starts on the streets. It comes from responsive citizens, who think outside the box and take action to make change happen. By taking action to ensure sustainable development, even the most marginalized citizens can become agents for change, and active participants in shaping their own futures.


Sustainable development requires both individual and collective action. It is about empowering people to get involved. When civic engagement is harnessed to its full potential, it is a genuine force for social cohesion and sustainable societies. It’s not just the United Nations and governments around the world, responsible for achieving the Millennium Development Goals alone. Everyday citizens too must play their parts in making this possible. Through Conferences such as this, civil society promotes opportunities for popular global mobilization that make inroads toward MDG achievement in concert with institutional actors.

This is one job of NGOs and civil society: to connect the dots between sustainable development and the role of responsive citizens, engaging communities to not only respond to the challenge of building a “green economy” but to unite around the goal of building truly sustainable global societies to uplift and ensure the common good.


Encouraging this kind of voluntary action is a core value of those organizations working for sustainable development. They inspire, engage, and build on the capacities of people to create change from the grassroots levels upward. As their mandates evolve, this spirit and its commitment grow exponentially. Civil society works to meet this mandate in partnership with the UN System, governments and the private sector.


Citizens can gain the sense of wellbeing through their personal choices and decisions. The choice to stand up, step forward and volunteer is a powerful one. One individual changing their thinking or lifestyle makes a small difference. And when individual action becomes a collective force then the global community can expect the walls between global development and environment agendas to crumble. This will be put to the test at the upcoming Rio+20.


NGOs are indispensable partners with the UN in the twin goals of advancing sustainability and volunteer service toward achieving the MDGs. It is hoped that this three-day exchange of ideas and best practices in Bonn has created a lasting legacy within Germany and the rest of the world. NGOs have left Bonn inspired and reinvigorated so that NGOs in turn can advocate with governments, businesses, research think tanks and the wider public to galvanize each of us to better contribute to meeting the Millennium Goals and improving sustainability.

It was in this spirit that the Conference participants came together generating renewed global commitment among civil society to the redemptive work of the United Nations and its Millennium Development Goals.


The path to true sustainability is rooted in the abilities of citizens and organizations to respond to this vital call to collective action. The UN’s DPI NGO Conference called on all citizens and volunteer organizations everywhere to respond, commit, encourage and volunteer so each of us can do our part to build a sustainable future, assuring the global common good, and serving the needs of humanity and of all life.





Conference Website:


This site also offers other valuable social media tools for the public, civil society and the media. This Conference website is designed to serve as a resource for the press, photojournalists, the broadcast media, news agencies and bloggers. You will find information on the Conference including press releases, information on accreditation, and press coverage of the Conference. This site posts photographs and other media-related information materials, including speeches.


Contacts and resources:


Youth Sub-Committee:


Workshops Sub-Committee:


Group of Experts:


Exhibits Sub-Committee:


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Next issue:  September 30th, 2011.


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

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


Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations in 54 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oceania, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge 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, a registered educational charity chartered in Italy in 1979 The Association operates for the development of consciousness and promotes a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity in diversity and on sharing. It is based in Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy.

The Association is a member of the World Association of Non Governmental Organizations.


*In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) presented to the UN General Assembly (, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing a major role in the field of Information.  In section A - International Organizations, the Report says:

"Participatory Communication and Free Flow of Information and Knowledge has been advanced largely through use of the Internet by civil society corresponding to para 6 in the 1999 Programme of Action calling for the promotion of a culture of peace through sharing of information among actors in the global movement for a culture of peace (p.7). Diffusion and exchange of culture of peace information via the Internet has become the major instrument for several international organizations, notably the Culture of Peace News Network, the Good News Agency and the Education for Peace Globalnet (p.12).