Good News Agency – Year II, n° 16
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.
Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 2,400 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 46 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Finland, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA, and it is also available in its web site: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, the Club of Budapest, the Earth Charter, Radio For Peace International and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing. Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Milestone in Campaign Against Worst Forms of Child Labour
Geneva, 26 September - The world has moved at a record pace in ratifying an international convention that calls for immediate action to outlaw the worst forms of child labour, says the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The ILO announced today that Estonia had become the latest member State to ratify its Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, bringing the number of ratifications for the international treaty banning the most abusive, exploitative forms of child labour to 100. The ILO has 175 member States.
ILO Convention No. 182 was unanimously adopted two years ago by the International Labour Conference, on 17 June 1999. It first came into force on 19 November 2000 - one year after gaining ratifications from two Member States.
"This historic milestone shows beyond a doubt that the world is uniting to combat the most abusive forms of child labour," said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. "The world is now closer to achieving the dream of stamping out the worst forms of child labour and giving millions of children a chance to have a better life". (…)
Nepal: ICRC assists in the release of policemen
2 October – Geneva/Kathmandu (ICRC) - On 2 October, 17 Nepalese policemen detained by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) were released under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The release took place in Surkhet district, some 600 kilometres west of Kathmandu, where the policemen were handed over to a team of ICRC delegates who had previously interviewed them in private and checked their state of health.
The policemen were later transferred by the ICRC to the regional headquarters of the Nepal Police in Nepalgunj. The Swiss Red Cross, which is working in Nepal, provided the ICRC with logistical support to carry out the operation.
Since 1998, the ICRC has been visiting people detained by the government of Nepal in connection with the situation in the country. So far, however, it had never visited people detained by the Maoists or assisted in their release. (…)
Nigeria: fighting the traffic in women, children
24 September - More than 200 victims of traffickers of women and children have been sent back to Nigeria from various countries within one month, according to reports received by a presidential committee set up to fight the trafficking of human beings, its chairman, Musa Elayo Abdullahi, said.
President Olusegun Obasanjo established the committee on 23 August when the president of the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation presented 33 victims of human trafficking to him. Abdullahi, who is also minister of state for justice, said his committee had received reports of 262 more victims repatriated between 21 August and 15 September from countries such as Algeria, Benin, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Spain.
A bill on the establishment of a national agency that would deal with the trafficking of persons and child labour is now under preparation in Nigeria.
International Conference on Conservation Agriculture - Madrid, October 1-5
FAO: conventional ploughing erodes the soil - zero-tillage is an environmentally-friendly alternative
Madrid/Rome, 1 October - Intensive land cultivation methods using tractors and ploughs are a major cause of severe soil loss and land degradation in many developing countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement today. Especially in warmer areas, where the topsoil layer is thin, conventional tillage contributes to soil loss. Land degradation also occurs in industrialized countries due to exaggerated mechanised tillage using powerful heavy machines.
If farmers applied ecologically sound cultivation and the concept of 'Conservation Agriculture', millions of hectares of agricultural land could be protected or saved from degradation and erosion, FAO said on the occasion of the opening of the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture, taking place in Madrid/Spain (October 1-5). (…)
"Conservation Agriculture reaches yields comparable with modern intensive agriculture but in a sustainable way," FAO stressed. "Yields tend to increase over the years with yield variations decreasing." (…)
Benin: WFP food for vulnerable populations
24 September - The World Food Programme (WFP) is to provide Benin with US $ 3 million worth of food, services, equipment and non-food supplies annually for four years under an accord signed on Thursday in the economic capital, Cotonou. WFP said the programme, which actually began a few months ago, will be executed primarily in parts of the north and centre that are most prone to food insecurity. The beneficiaries will be mainly women and children.
Chad: ADB approves $11.6 m for rural development project
24 September - The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of about US $11.6 million for a project to reduce rural poverty in Biltine Department, eastern Chad. The project aims to increase farmers' incomes, improve access to health by 20 percent and raise access to education by 10 percent within six years, the Bank said in a press release on Wednesday.
Vienna, Austria, 21 September - A Public/Private Sector delegation from India, comprising Ministry of Small Scale Industries (MSSI) Development Commissioner, S. K. Tuteja, Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) President, S. G. Shirgurkar and Executive Director A. Mukherjee and UNIDO's International Centre for Advancement of Manufacturing Technology (ICAMT) Project Director, V. Yadav, were in Vienna for the signing of two Trust Fund Agreements totaling US$1.2 million to support the development of the Indian machine tool and lock industrial sectors. (…)
The total budget of the machine tool and lock sector projects for the next three years is US$2,0 million and US$1,2 million respectively. Both projects have been developed and will be implemented by UNIDO through ICAMT. It has already mobilized US$2,7 million out of total US$3,2 million bringing together the resources from the Government, private sector and banks. (…)
Vietnam: tea and fruit development project
Hanoi, Vietnam, October, 1 - Small-scale farmers in 13 provinces of Vietnam will be better able to diversify into more profitable fruit and tea production because of a US$ 40.2 million loan from the Asian Development Bank. “The provision of long-term finance to support and facilitate the further development of the agriculture sector has long been one of the strategic objectives of ADB in its assistance program for Vietnam”, said Mr. J.Samy, Resident Representative of the ADB in Vietnam. The Tea and Fruit Development Project will provide credit lines and know-how to subsistence farmers. The tea replanting will re-establish perennial cover and reduce erosion on sloping land. The planting of fruit trees on deforested land will protect the soil and stabilize land use. The ADB loan will be repayable over 32 years, including a grace period of eight years. Interest will be 1 percent per annum during the grace period and 1.5 percent per annum thereafter.
The Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem - 1-4 October
FAO Director-General: too many vessels chasing too few fish
Reykjavik/Rome, 1 October 2001 - Countries could get more fish from the oceans if they allow overfished stocks to recuperate, reduce wastage and manage fisheries resources better, said FAO Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, in Reykjavik (Iceland) today.
Dr. Diouf opened the "Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem", jointly organized by the Government of Iceland and FAO and co-sponsored by the Government of Norway. Over 400 delegates from 70 countries are participating in the meeting. (…)
The objectives of the Reykjavik Conference are: to gather and review the best available knowledge on marine ecosystem issues; to identify means by which ecosystem considerations can be included in capture fisheries management, and to identify future challenges and relevant strategies.
A final declaration is expected to be submitted to the FAO Conference in November this year and to the 10th Session of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED+10) in September 2002.
Participants include policy-makers and administrators in fisheries and ocean management within national and international institutions, scientists, and representatives of the industry, NGOs and other interested parties. (…)
Republic of Guinea: Red Cross / Red Crescent assists nearly 10,000 flood victims
4 October – Following the recent flooding in Guinea, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, whose operations are being coordinated by the ICRC, has taken urgent steps in Haute-Guinée while waiting for the arrival of other humanitarian organizations. From 25 to 27 September, Guinean Red Cross volunteers carried out an initial distribution of blankets, buckets, soap and sleeping mats to around 1,000 families, or nearly 10,000 people.
As soon as it was announced that water levels were rising, the volunteers identified the displaced people in Kankan, in the north of the country. Most of the supplies distributed came from ICRC stocks, although some were provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Similar assistance will be distributed to 125 familles in Mandiana, near the border with Mali.
National Society volunteers also received training in health education from the ICRC and the International Federation and were provided with teaching materials. They are now going to brief the inhabitants of Haute-Guinée on the basic rules of hygiene and the dangers of waterborne diseases so as to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. (…)
MSF sends more supplies into Afghanistan region
Brussels, October 2 - This week, three charter planes are bringing a total of 115 tons of supplies to the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) missions in and around Afghanistan. MSF will use these supplies to maintain and reinforce its current programs and to be fully prepared in the event of a new emergency.
A plane carrying 37.5 tons of supplies arrives today in Osh, Kyrgysztan. On board are 10 tons of medical materials for the existing projects in Faizabad and Ishkashim, in the area of Afghanistan held by the Northern Alliance. In addition, the plane transports 8.5 tons of high-protein food, medical kits, materials for water supplies and five mobile clinic tents.
A second charter is scheduled to land today (October 2) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. It has a 40 tons capacity and carries medicines, medical kits, water and sanitation materials, tents and cars. Later this week, there will be another cargo flight to Ashgabat. On board will be 38 tons of emergency materials, mostly surgical and medical kits and water and sanitation items.
Together, these and locally bought supplies make it possible for MSF teams to provide increased assistance to the Afghan people, either in their own country or, should they flee to neighbouring states, in refugee settlements. The supplies can also serve to reinforce the projects in Afghanistan from which MSF's international staff was evacuated after the attacks in the United States.
MSF has teams in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In Taleban-held Afghanistan, MSF teams left behind stock to keep the projects going. Additional supplies were transported to the Mazar-e-Sharif region over the past two weeks. MSF is also assisting the current refugee populations in camps near Peshawar in Pakistan, and Mashad in Iran. (…)
UN Population Fund launches emergency effort to save Afghan women’s lives
United Nations, New York, 28 September - Responding to the grave health emergency now facing Afghan women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is mounting its largest-ever humanitarian operation. The Fund is asking international donors for $4.5 million to support the effort.
Thousands of pregnant women are among the Afghan civilians who have fled their homes in recent days and are massed along the country’s borders. The lack of shelter, food and medical care, and unsanitary conditions pose a serious risk to these women and their infant children. Even before the current crisis, poor health conditions and malnutrition made pregnancy and childbirth exceptionally dangerous for Afghan women.
To provide displaced Afghan women with lifesaving reproductive health care services, UNFPA is preparing to pre-position emergency relief supplies in the countries bordering Afghanistan. These are intended both for the large anticipated influx of refugees—into Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—and for distribution inside Afghanistan, if possible. (…)
Non-food aid emphasizes medicine, immunization, safe water, education
Geneva / New York, 28 September - The United Nations Children's Fund today said it needs more than $35 million in special donor support to help the children and women of Afghanistan survive a humanitarian crisis that features a trio of threats - drought, war, and winter.
The UNICEF emergency appeal is part of a larger relief drive announced by the United Nations on Thursday, totaling over $582 million, mostly covering food and shelter for an estimated 7.5 million people in need.
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, speaking in Geneva, said that while her agency's humanitarian appeal represents a relatively small portion of the total funding request, "it will have a very large impact on the health and survival of children." (…) Bellamy said that of the estimated 7.5 million Afghans who may have to rely on international relief to survive, 20 per cent are children under the age of five. A total of 70 per cent are children and women.
UNICEF will use the funds it receives to provide life-saving medicines, water purification supplies, nutritional supplements for malnourished youngsters, oral re-hydration salts to combat deadly diarrhea, and other relief items including blankets, clothing, water containers, and education kits for makeshift classrooms. (…)
Lesotho: project to benefit water-starved households
28 September - About 15,000 households would benefit from a US $8.7 million water supply project launched in June, news reports from Lesotho said on Wednesday. The Maseru Peri-urban Water Supply Project was expected to serve at least 85,000 people and would be conducted in two phases, one report said.
According to the report, the first phase would include a new pumping station at the Maseru water treatment plant. Communities from at least 13 suburbs were expected to benefit, the report said. It added that the second phase would involve the installation of a reticulation network of pumping stations, a transmission line reservoir and house connections to at least seven other areas. (…)
Minister of Natural Resources, Monyane Moleleki, was quoted as saying that the project was vital because it would go a long way towards meeting the World Health Organisation's (WHO) requirement that a human being should not walk more 150 metres to fetch water.
Mozambique: IMF/World Bank gives additional debt relief
28 September - The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank this week gave Mozambique additional debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC), making it eligible for an extra US $600 million. "As a result of the HIPC assistance and bilateral debt relief already committed, Mozambique's external debt is reduced by some 73 percent, and possible additional bilateral relief could raise this figure," a statement from the two organisations said this week. Mozambique becomes the third country after Bolivia and Uganda to have reached this point.
Burkina Faso: Sweden funds poverty alleviation programme
24 September - Sweden will provide Burkina Faso with the sum of 2.8 billion fCFA (about US $ 4 million) for a poverty alleviation programme under an agreement the two countries signed on Tuesday. The agreement is the first between Burkina Faso and Sweden since the launch in July 2000 of a strategic anti-poverty framework worked out by the Ouagadougou government, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
RAWA renews its efforts for Afghan women in spite of very scarce resources
RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, was established in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1977 as an independent political/social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and for social justice in Afghanistan. RAWA has been operating out of Pakistan since 1992. News from their website:
“Apart from the political challenges facing RAWA, tremendous social and relief work amongst unimaginably traumatised women and children lies ahead of us, but unfortunately we do not at the moment enjoy any support from international NGOs, therefore our social programmes are presently greatly reduced for lack of funds.
Nevertheless, our activities in Pakistan can be summarized as follows:
Education: To run primary and secondary schools for refugee girls and boys and many literacy courses for women. To provide teachers and material for some schools for refugee children especially girls' schools run not by the fundamentalists. RAWA is also running two orphanages comprising girls and boys.
Health care: We have mobile health teams in Pakistan that are active mainly in refugee camps in Peshawar and Quetta. But the hospital we have been running for about 11 years in Quetta is on the verge of being closed, as we cannot afford to finance it.
Human rights: We are providing human rights and other interested organizations and media with news and reports about killing, stoning, amputation, imprisoning, torturing, beating, lashing, insulting and other inhuman acts of the Taliban and other fundamentalists. We also try to put all or at least important parts of the news and reports on our web site in addition to printing parts of them in our publications.”
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Healthy cities network
4 October – On 28 September in Mostar, mayors from 13 cities throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina signed the founding statement of a "healthy cities" network. The event, part of the World Health Organization's Health 21 strategy, under which similar networks have been set up worldwide, required months of preparation and was supported from the outset by the ICRC and the National Red Cross Society.
According to ICRC primary-health-care (PHC) manager Irma Sladic, the signing was "the culmination of an enormous effort by the PHC team to help establish such a network".
The ICRC's "healthy communities" programme in Bosnia-Herzegovina is based on the WHO principle of Health for All. Through the programme, which includes peer group work among doctors and nurses, the ICRC and the National Society facilitate community health-reform projects in cooperation with local social services across the country. (…)
Rebuilt primary health facilities save lives in Iraq
28 September - Iraq has rehabilitated primary health care facilities and training in two governorates over the past four years with support from UNDP and the World Health Organization (WHO), producing significant health gains.
The project has helped reduce anaemia incidence among school children in Rahmania-Shu'la, Baghdad, from 47 per cent to 23 per cent over 13 months. In Shamiya district, Qadissiya, it virtually eliminated malaria, of which there used to be 20 cases per 10,000 people. It has also prevented infants dying from neonatal tetanus, which claimed eight lives among every 10,000 babies born alive during 1998 - 1999. Measles vaccination coverage has increased by 10 per cent and 16 per cent in Baghdad and Qadissiya respectively, and the rate of BCG vaccination against tuberculosis increased by 6 per cent each month in Baghdad. (…)
27 September - A new website for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Compiles individual sites of all African countries, with links to key HIV/AIDS info. Also features a daily HIV/AIDS news page (updated daily), a discussion forum and other scientific articles.
Uganda: making a difference for children affected by AIDS
27 September - Many organizations provide support services to children affected by AIDS in East and southern Africa. Yet few of these programmes have been evaluated. In Uganda, PLAN International, Makerere University, and the Horizons Program are collaborating on a study to assess the impact of an orphan support programme on the physical, educational, and emotional wellbeing of children. The researchers are also studying a different programme, called succession planning, in which children are reached before the death of the parent.
Further details: http://www.kabissa.org/kfn/newsletter.php?id=3011
EPA promote energy efficient buildings
Washington, USA, October 5 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has award a host of grants intended to promote energy efficiency in homes and businesses.
This is the sixth year that EPA has supported EEBA (Energy Efficient Building Association) in their mission to educate builders in energy efficient construction and best management practices for reducing energy consumption in homes. EEBA will use this grant supporting annual builder conference, distributing climate specific and other best practices builder guides, and recognizing outstanding builders who use energy efficient building practices. (…)
The EPA has awarded a grant of $37,000 to the University of Maryland to study the energy efficiency of combining heating, air conditioning and power systems in small buildings. These combined systems have the potential to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas - by up to 70 percent, improve indoor air quality.
Contributions for the conversion of vehicles
In October operation "gas cars" was launched in 17 Italian cities. A new decree of the Department for the Environment is allocating 40 billion Italian Lira (about US$ 20 million) for the conversion to GPL and methane gas of older, non catalytic motor vehicles. For the conversion of these vehicles there will be a bonus of 600.000 Lira (about US$ 300), to which the firm undertaking the conversion will add a further contribution.
Fuel cell buses to offer relief for polluted mega-cities
1 October - A US$60 million initiative supported by UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) will introduce fuel cell powered buses in six major cities in developing countries to help reduce urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The five-year programme will provide Beijing, Cairo, Mexico City, New Delhi, Sao Paulo and Shanghai with 46 buses powered by fuel cells to assess the viability of the technology. (…)
In addition to the $60 million committed by the GEF for the programme, participating governments and the private sector are expected to provide $140 million, said Richard Hosier, the UNDP-GEF Principal Technical Adviser for Climate Change.
Studies indicate that replacing all diesel buses in developing countries with fuel cell buses operating on hydrogen by 2020 could cut 440 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
IAEA General Conference adopts resolution on the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities
Agency to redouble efforts to combat nuclear-related terrorism
21 September - The IAEA General Conference adopted today a resolution that emphasizes the importance of physical protection of nuclear material in preventing its illicit use and the sabotage of nuclear facilities and nuclear materials. (…)
In response to the resolution, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said the Agency will be looking at ways to increase its information, advisory and training functions to help Member States to ensure in their countries that:
· nuclear regulatory infrastructure is in place;
· nuclear material, other radioactive materials and facilities are properly protected against theft and sabotage;
· the detection measures and equipment at borders and elsewhere are effective in combating illicit trafficking;
· plans are in place to respond effectively to such events; and
· issues regarding nuclear installation safety are addressed. (…)
US review of the safety of pesticides in food
28 September - To the dismay of pesticide-makers, a federal judge on Wednesday approved a settlement between enviros and the U.S. EPA that will speed up a review of the safety of pesticides in the food supply. The agency now has until next August to assess the risks of 39 commonly used organophosphates, a class of highly toxic pesticides that accounts for about half of the insecticides sold in the U.S. The EPA will also be required to protect farm workers from the effects of three insecticides and to reevaluate the health threats posed to children by pesticides. The settlement came in a lawsuit filed in 1999 by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups to force the agency to meet deadlines set by Congress to review pesticide safety.
Egypt: free internet access?
Egypt is talking about free Internet access. Beginning early next year, Egypt's 60 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will not charge customers for basic web access. This follows on the free service provided by ABSA in South Africa - although other South African ISPs still charge access fees. Hopefully the trend will follow through to other African states.
Brazzaville, Congo, October, 3 - Ministry representatives of the environment in six countries of the Congo Basin, plus Chad, gathered together to set up a priority action plan with conservationists and funding groups in Central Africa. Gabriel Bokoumaka, Cabinet Director of Congo's Ministry of Waters and Forest, reiterated his statement regarding the challenge to consider during the 4-day workshop: "the necessity of resulting to a common, converging mechanism should be kept in mind to support coordination and monitoring conservation activities in our Congo Basin countries.”
Côte d'Ivoire, Africa, October 4 - President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, supports tropical forest conservation efforts in West Africa. He expressed his appreciation of WWF's efforts in Taï National Park with other conservation partners and agreed to act on WWF's suggestion points by asking his peers to consider the issue of Guinean moist forest conservation as an agenda item of the upcoming ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Summit in December 2001 .
Rome, Italy, September, 29, 2001- The treaty to create the Whale Sanctuary in the Mediterranean has been ratified by the Italian Parliament. The Whale Sanctuary will be the largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean and covers around 84,000 square kilometres, lies between the French Côte d'Azur, Monaco, the Ligurian coast and tuscany coast in Italy and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Eighteen different cetacean species live in this area – killer whale, the black pilot whale, fin whale, sperm whale, common dolphin, striped dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and the Risso's dolphin -present during the summer months in a number two to four times higher than in the rest of the Mediterranean Sea. “This is a great achievement, the result of a 10-year effort led by WWF and other environmental groups,” said Paolo Lombardi, the Director of WWF Mediterranean Programme Office. WWF urges prompt regulation of whale-watching activities and strict monitoring of pelagic drift-net fishery - a major threat to the cetaceans - throughout the Whale Sanctuary, as prescribed by the European law of 1 January, 2002.
India: successful conservation practices for tigers
27 September - The number of tigers at the Panna Tiger Reserve in India has more than doubled, and enviros are calling on the government to expand the reserve's successful conservation practices to other areas. The Panna population has grown from two to three tigers per 40 square miles to seven to eight tigers -- a number high enough for healthy breeding. The Environmental Investigation Agency, an international organization that investigates and exposes environmental crimes, helped convince the government to close sandstone mines and reduce the environmental impact of diamond mines around the reserve. The government also worked to discourage tiger poaching and stop illegal logging and grazing in the reserve. One tiger a day dies from poaching or habitat loss in India.
Philippines, ADB and WWF sign cooperation agreement
Manila, Philippines, September, 26 - The ADB (Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution owned by 59 member countries, mostly from the Asia and Pacific region, with central goal to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific) and WWF (the conservation organization), today signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for joint activities. This is ADB's first such accord with a non-government organization (NGO). The two agencies have formed a partnership for sustainable management of natural resources in vision of poverty reduction, environment protection and improve the quality of life. “Poverty and the environment are interlinked issues. ”, said WWF's Dr. Martin, “To protect the environment, we have to tackle poverty. Likewise, to alleviate poverty, we have to protect the environment”. In the Asia and Pacific region, ADB and WWF will develop collaborative ventures to address poverty and environmental challenges. Myoung-Ho Shin, ADB Vice President (Region West) said: “ADB is excited about future collaboration with WWF, which has played a major role in the evolution of the global conservation movement”. The first joint activity will involve preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002.
UK Government pledges big backing for UNEP's Great Apes Survival Project
Nairobi, 26 September - Substantial support for an international effort to save the Earth's remaining great apes was today pledged by the government of the United Kingdom in a move which has been welcomed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In a statement to a gathering of government representatives, held at UNEP's headquarters, the UK government said it would be lending significant expertise and giving crucial financial backing to the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).
GRASP, which has brought together wildlife groups and charities from across the globe to save humankind's closest-living relatives, was announced in May by Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director. (…)
Under GRASP, key ape projects in Africa, Sumatra and Borneo have and are being drawn up for support. The problems are many. Some sites are in need of equipment and training for wildlife protection staff and park rangers. Others need help in areas such as developing eco-tourism schemes so as to give local people alternative livelihoods. (…)
Project pumps life back into Jordanian oasis
25 September - The Azraq oasis in Jordan's eastern desert is staging a remarkable ecological recovery. A US$6 million rehabilitation initiative funded by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has restored a mosaic of critical habitats at the core of the oasis' wetlands that were degraded beyond recognition a few years ago and is helping to improve livelihoods in the community.
The project is pumping water back into the oasis, reviving habitats for a spectacular array of wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, which made Azraq famous among nature lovers around the world.
Thousands of tourists are once again visiting the Azraq region to savour its lush vegetation, set like an emerald island amidst one of the driest deserts in the Middle East. Visitors thrill to dramatic scenes of water buffaloes, blue-necked ostriches, Nubian ibexes, dozens of dragonfly species, and archaeological sites that include renown desert castles. (…)
18 new sites added to UNESCO’s network of biosphere reserves
Paris, September 21 - Eighteen new sites in 13 countries have been added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves and two existing biosphere reserves have been extended. The reserves provide a framework for the study and conservation of the environment and for the sustainable utilization of natural resource. A key aspect of the World Network, which now consists of 411 sites in 94 countries, is that local populations work together with all other concerned parties to achieve these aims.
The new sites and extensions were approved by the Bureau of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme at its meeting on September 19-21 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The meeting follows on the announcement, September 5, that MAB has been selected to be this year’s laureate of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for Concord (Spain).
The new biosphere reserves are very varied, differing in size, population density, ecological features, land use and challenges. (…)
UN Population, Environment and Development Wall Chart 2001
The United Nations Population Division has issued a new wall chart on population, environment and development. The chart features demographic data on total population and population density, as well as total, urban and rural growth rates for all countries of the world. The chart also presents indicators on fresh water, forests, agriculture and nutrition, poverty, energy consumption and other environmental and development issues.
The chart is available on-line at: http://www.un.org/esa/population/popenvdev.htm
Global Teach In will help children understand and fight hunger and malnutrition
Rome, 2 October - An international coalition of partners will launch a global education campaign on the occasion of World Food Day to encourage children and youth to get actively involved in creating a world free from hunger and malnutrition, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today. Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger is an initiative that provides model lesson plans and resource materials on such topics as What are Hunger and Malnutrition? Who is Malnourished? Why is there Hunger and What Can We Do To Help End Hunger?
The global teach in is scheduled to take place in more than 30 countries during the week of 14-20 October. World Food Day is 16 October and commemorates the founding of FAO on that date in 1945, in Quebec City, Canada.
"We expect teachers around the world will adapt and refine the course materials to meet local needs and conditions," said Nutrition Officer Valeria Menza in FAO's Nutrition Division, who helped develop the initiative. (…)
"Science Almanac" : on-line journal of the CNR
"Science Almanac" is the title of the new electronic journal of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - CNR National Research Counsel. The periodical, created chiefly for students, gives news on the activities of the CNR, on other research bodies, and on the most interesting books and topics of the scientific world. This new fortnightly is free and, with a simple registration, may be received directly in your e-mail.
Women's groups to help curb Southern Caucasus conflicts
1 October - The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is promoting women's involvement in conflict resolution and peace-building in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The project will encourage women's groups to engage in dialogue among parties in actual or potential conflicts and link such initiatives with groups and networks working for peace in other parts of the world. It will also strengthen efforts by civic groups to assist refugees and displaced people and foster a "culture of peace" through public education campaigns. Other steps will seek to change attitudes, laws and diplomatic norms to encourage cooperation for peace across borders.
"Women and men must work together to shape the kind of future that they, their families and communities need, a future free of violence, hatred and fear," said UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer. In carrying out the project UNIFEM, a UNDP affiliate, will work with government representatives, civic groups and UN agencies.
Education: UNESCO's new approach focuses on tolerance
27 September - The objective of education worldwide, which until the last decade focused on universal access to schooling, is now heading towards a concept of teaching for learning to live together, says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Promoting community radios in the Horn of Africa
Dec 11-13: Symposium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa
The symposium aims to introduce and discuss the concepts and practices of community radios and their relevance to the Horn of Africa. The intent is to build on what is happening in areas of social development in the Horn and to reflect on the relevance of community radios in advancing social development initiatives. This will be accompanied by relevant experiences elsewhere in Africa that could provide learning opportunities to the Horn.
* * * * * * *
Next issue: 26 October 2001