Good News Agency – Year IV, n° 17
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. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti. Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 2,400 media in 47 countries, as well as to 1,000 NGO.
It is a service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.
Geneva, 31 October - The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has initiated a series of workshops on issues related to post-EU-enlargement economic cooperation and integration. The next Workshop, entitled “EU Enlargement: Regulatory Convergence in Non-acceding Countries”, takes place in Athens on 7 and 8 November. The Workshop is supported by the Government of Greece.
For ensuring that the non-acceding countries benefit from the enlarged EU Internal Market, common rules and standards are indispensable. If companies, for instance, wish to purchase materials for their supply chains internationally, they will need to have harmonized standards. This Workshop will examine how non-acceding countries can increase their trade and economic cooperation with the enlarged EU by harmonizing their legislation and technical regulations and standards. (…)
Geneva, 31 October - To strengthen environmental democracy and promote the public’s involvement in environmental decisions throughout the European Union, the European Commission has adopted three legislative proposals to put the Aarhus Convention, negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), into practice. If the European Commission’s proposals are adopted, the provisions of the Aarhus Convention will apply in full to the European Union’s bodies and institutions. The European Commission is also proposing a directive on access to justice in environmental matters and a decision on formally ratifying the Aarhus Convention.
In effect, this means that European Union bodies and institutions will have to respond to requests from the public for specific environmental information. They will also have to make information on the state of the environment available to the public at large. Moreover, the public will have a say in the preparation of environmental policies. According to the European Commission’s proposals, the public will also be able to haul EU bodies and institutions before the European Court of Justice if they do not comply with environmental legislation. (…)
Republic of Korea Hosts United Nations Workshop on Space Law, 3-6 November
Vienna, 31 October (UN Information Service) - A four-day workshop on space law: “United Nations treaties on outer space: actions at the national level”, will be held at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, from 3 to 6 November 2003, for the benefit of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The workshop is organized jointly by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, and the Republic of Korea. It is the second in a series of workshops that OOSA intends to organize in order to build capacity in space law. (…)
The goals of the United Nations/Republic of Korea Workshop are: (a) to promote understanding, acceptance and implementation of the United Nations treaties and principles on outer space, especially in the Asia-Pacific region; and (b) to discuss the implementation of the United Nations treaties on outer space on the national level and identify common changes that States might need to make to their national laws, when becoming Party to the treaties, especially any changes that are not obvious and apply both to space-faring and non-space-faring countries. (…)
NGO Declaration demands international monitoring of human rights practices in terrorism fight
31st October 2003 - A group of international Non-Governmental Organisations has launched a Joint Declaration calling on the United Nations to monitor the impact on human rights of the fight against terrorism. Practices such as torture, detention without judicial review, unfair trial, criminalisation of acts in exercise of fundamental rights, and suppression of the right to association have been sharply on the rise as a result of measures taken in the fight against terrorism. The Declaration calls on the UN Commission on Human Rights at its 60th session in March/April 2004 to establish as a matter of utmost priority an independent mechanism on the question of human rights and counter-terrorism. (…)
The founding signatories of the Declaration include the seven members of the Coalition of International Non-Governmental Organisations against Torture (CINAT) (Amnesty International, Association for the Prevention of Torture, International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), International Commission of Jurists, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), Redress: Seeking Reparation for Torture Survivors, and World Organization against Torture (OMCT)), as well as Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers), Human Rights Watch, and International Service for Human Rights.
The Declaration is now open to all international and national NGOs for signature.
31 October, United Nations, New York -- The United Nations today launched a major international drive to increase the production of rice. Launching the International Year of Rice 2004, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. Jacques Diouf, said that rice "is the staple food for over half of the world's population" but warned that "its production is facing serious constraints." Dr Diouf pointed out that the world population was continuing to grow, but land and water resources for rice production are diminishing. (…)
FAO figures show that, by 2030, total demand for rice will be 3 percent higher than the annual amounts produced between 1997 and 1999. Rice is the most rapidly growing food source in Africa and has a major influence on human nutrition and food security all over the world. Sustainable rice-based production systems can help the eradication of world hunger and achieving the UN Millennium Goals. (…)
The campaign was sparked by a proposal last year from 44 UN member countries, citing a 'pending crisis' in rice production. (…)
Improved rural financial services in Uganda will benefit rural poor people
Rome, 27 October – Farmers in some of the poorest areas of Uganda will benefit from a new USD 24.5 million loan programme that will make financial services such as credit and savings facilities more accessible to rural poor people. The seven-year programme will be financed largely by a USD 18.43 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The loan agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters (…)
This programme will strengthen the country’s existing microfinance institutions and rural finance services and expand their reach to a greater number of rural people. By complementing the government’s existing programmes and those of donor partners, it will help create a strong, long-term finance system that will help rural poor people improve their livelihoods and quality of life.
This programme will continue a trend in mobilizing and assisting women in rural Uganda. For example, a typical women’s enterprise is the production of a banana locally known as matoke, a staple crop in Uganda. With even a minimal loan, a Ugandan woman could purchase new seeds or fertilizers that may improve her output, and so increase her income and her ability to save.
With this project, IFAD will have financed 10 projects in Uganda, totalling USD 132 million.
30 October, Geneva - Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassadors are inviting 40 of their friends from European football clubs to play in a “Match Against Poverty” on 15 December at the St. Jakob Park Stadium in Basel, Switzerland. Ronaldo and Zidane will each captain a team of star football players who will contribute their time and talent to raise resources that will help combat poverty and to call upon everyone to get engaged in one way or another. Pierluigi Collina has agreed to referee the match.
Actively supported by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), “The Match Against Poverty: Ronaldo and Friends vs. Zidane and Friends,” is included in FIFA’s official events 2003 Calendar. It will kick off after the FIFA World Player Gala, which takes place earlier the same day. (…)
Net profits of ticket sales, sponsorship and television rights will fund anti-poverty projects selected by UNDP in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and help mobilize people around the globe. (…)
October 27 - The Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, Ms. Susan Whelan today signed a memorandum on behalf of the Canada Fund for Africa of the Canadian International Development Agency committing over US$10 million (15 million Canadian dollars) to UN-HABITAT's Water and Sanitation Trust Fund. She congratulated UN-HABITAT for the success of the first part of the Water for African Cities programme.
The fund, launched in October 2002, is designed to improve water and sanitation in African cities, provide sanitation and hygiene education in schools, and demonstrate innovative approaches to providing affordable services to urban poor. (…)
New York, 27 October - Good ideas often have humble beginnings. Such is the story of "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF," which started in 1950 when a group of young trick-or-treaters went door-to-door on Halloween with their pastor in Philadelphia. At each door, they not only opened their bags for candy, but held out empty milk cartons to collect coins for children in need overseas. They collected $17 and sent it to UNICEF. The result was much bigger than those children ever imagined. (…)
Since 1950, "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" has been responsible for bringing new meaning to Halloween. Through the years, the children of the United States have raised more than $119 million to help build a better future for children around the globe. (…)
WFP welcomes donation from Thailand to people of Iraq
Bangkok, 21 October – The United Nations World Food Programme today warmly welcomed a donation of 902 metric tons of rice from the Government of Thailand destined for the vulnerable people of Iraq. The donation, with a cash value of 15 million Thai Baht (US $372,670) is the second donation from the Government of Thailand to a WFP emergency operation. In 2001, the Government of Thailand gave WFP 3,000 metric tons of rice for its assistance to Afghanistan after the outbreak of war in that Central Asian country. (…)
WFP launched the largest food aid operation in history in Iraq this year, planning to bring into the country about 2.2 million tons of food commodities by the end of October. The budget for the operation stands at US$1.5 billion. (…)
11 October, Mt. Katahdin, Maine (Northern Terminus, Appalachian Trail), USA - After enduring seven months of blisters, camp food, heat, cold and rain, attorneys Mike Kanarick and his wife Liz Kleinberg completed their promise to the kids- to hike the entire length of the 2,172 mile Appalachian Trail, raising funds for children in need through the venerable Child Welfare League of America. This week they were greeted by family, well-wishers and cameras as they completed in Millinocket, Maine. (…)
Maine was the objective from the start. It marks the end of the Appalachian Trail, which Mike and Liz began climbing from Amicalola Falls in Georgia on March 24. Kanarick and Kleinberg have gathered sponsorships for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the country's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. The CWLA and its 1,100 private and public member agencies offer help including programs for children separated from their families, in foster care and adoption programs. CWLA helps more than 3 million kids per year. The pair has raised over $50,000.00 over these past 8 months. (…)
Bradford, Yorkshire, UK, 29 October - More than 400 professional and business leaders, members of Rotary clubs throughout the world, will discuss the humanitarian organisation's newest peace initiative, the Rotary Centres for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution at a Rotary Presidential Celebration on 1 November at the University of Bradford, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. Rotary International President Jonathan Majiyagbe will deliver the keynote address and renowned peace expert Professor Paul Rogers will speak on world conflict issues. (…)
The University of Bradford's Department of Peace studies was selected from over 100 institutions around the world to become one of only seven Rotary Centres for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.
This year marks the completion of the first year of study for Bradford Rotary World Peace Scholars, who have completed one of the University's internationally-renowned MA courses in Peace Studies, Conflict Resolution, or International Relations and Security Studies. (…)
Mine-affected countries Burundi and Sudan come on board.
Author: Sue Wixley
24 October - Burundi and Sudan, both mine-affected countries, recently ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. Burundi submitted its ratification instrument to the United Nations on 22 October and Sudan completed its ratification on 13 October 2003. Now Somalia (which does not have a functioning government) is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that is neither a State Party nor a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty. Ethiopia is the only remaining signatory in the region.
The ratifications bring to 141 the number of States Parties to the convention, with a further 9 countries having signed but not yet completed their ratification process. Treaty universalisation has gathered pace in recent months. Long-awaited ratifications and accessions have now been completed by Belarus, Greece, Guyana, Serbia & Montenegro and Turkey. Campaigners are pleased that Bujumbura and Khartoum have confirmed their commitment to a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel landmines by ratifying the treaty. However, they are concerned about allegations of ongoing mine use in Burundi and Sudan. Any allegations of use will now be subject to critical examination by fellow States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. (…)
24 October - A group wedding was celebrated under ICRC relief tents this week by families whose homes in Rafah had been destroyed in the Israeli military operation conducted on 11 and 12 October. The grooms invited friends and relatives from Rafah and the neighbouring towns to take part in the festivities. (…) More than 250 families in the Yebna refugee camp had had their homes destroyed in the military operation and at least 10 men had been planning to get married. They all decided to put the tragedy behind them and celebrate their weddings on the same date, using tents provided by the ICRC. (…)
The ICRC has been working in Israel and the occupied/autonomous territories since 1967. In the Gaza Strip, it helps people whose homes have been destroyed or damaged or whose movements are restricted by military operations. The organization also monitors compliance with international humanitarian law, mainly the Fourth Geneva Convention for the protection of civilians. In addition, it visits people detained by the Palestinian Authority to monitor their treatment and living conditions.
Jerusalem, 31 October – The Government of Japan has donated 2 million US dollars to UNICEF in support of the prevention of infectious diseases for Palestinian Children and Women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Immunization Plus is one of the key priorities of the UNICEF medium term strategic plan that would contribute to the global efforts to eradicate polio and in line with the Millennium Development Goals. Japan’s gift is an infusion not only of needed funds but of moral leadership in contributing towards improving the quality of life of Palestinian children. It recognized the right of every Palestinian child and women to basic health services which is central to poverty reduction and a core indicator of human progress.
The donation from Japan aims at supporting the Palestinian Authority in sustaining the over 95% immunization coverage rates for basic Expanded Programme on Immunization antigens and to ensuring effective management of the national immunization programme in OPT. (…)
29 October - The Olympus Corporation is donating US$33,000 for HIV/AIDS education in Africa at the opening of an exhibition of images from its landmark A Day in the Life of Africa collection at the United Nations in New York today. The funds, donated on behalf of the Japanese people, are from ticket sales at a recent exhibition of the images in Kobe, Japan. (…)
Olympus organized the exhibit in partnership with UNDP to focus attention on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October, and the UNDP Poverty Eradication Awards.
UNDP is presenting the awards at the UN tonight to recognize five individuals, one from each region of the world, who are making a significant impact in support of efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). (…)
The funds will help an exciting new UNDP initiative, Africa 2015, to mobilize Africa's best-known musical artists, writers and other cultural leaders and sports stars to reach out to all Africans to promote "an AIDS-free generation by 2015." This is to help achieve MDG Goal 6 — halting and then reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. (…)
"With this announcement, the World Health Organization's objective of reaching three million by 2005 becomes much more feasible."
Geneva, 23 October - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has welcomed today's announmcement by the Clinton Foundation that generic AIDS drugs will now be available in some developing countries at dramatically reduced prices - the new price of US$0.36 per day nearly halves the lowest price to date. The generic companies involved in this agreement are producing fixed-dose combinations, which can be taken in the form of one pill twice a day. (…)
The best price of the most frequently used fixed-dose combination in MSF's projects - lamivudine/stavudine/nevirapine - until today has been US$255. The new price for this combination will be US$132 per patient per year, a near 50% drop. (…)
Mass immunization campaign launched to protect 15 million children from polio, as outbreak in Nigeria spreads across West Africa
Geneva, Switzerland, 22 October - A new polio outbreak spreading from Nigeria to neighbouring countries is putting 15 million children at risk, requiring a massive immunization campaign across five countries in west and central Africa. Beginning today, hundreds of thousands of volunteers and health workers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo will aim to reach every child in those countries with polio vaccine in just three days.
The campaign, organized at a cost of more than US$10 million, comes in response to nearly a dozen children being paralyzed in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Togo, from poliovirus genetically traced to northern Nigeria. A further case recently reported in Chad means similar campaigns are planned in that country and Cameroon for mid-November. The polio-infected states in Nigeria, centering around the state of Kano, have re-infected other areas of the country, most worryingly the city of Lagos with its ten million inhabitants. (…)
Senior epidemiologists from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative convened a high-level meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Health at the end of September, at which the Minister provided his assurance and commitment to eradicate polio in Nigeria by end-2004. (…)
Timely emergency obstetric care for pregnant women will spur progress to curb maternal mortality
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21 October – Obstetric complications continue to be a leading cause of death and disability for women of reproductive age in developing countries. Over half a million women die during pregnancy and childbirth each year, the majority in Africa and Asia. Although a key Millennium Development Goal, agreed upon by 189 governments, is to reduce maternal deaths by three quarters by 2015, global progress to save women’s lives remains slow. (…)
Mr. Waki [a Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund] reported on advancements made by UNFPA over the past four years to improve the availability, quality and use of emergency obstetric care in 16 countries through the AMDD programme. In India, Morocco, Mozambique and Nicaragua, basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care facilities have been rehabilitated, equipped and staffed to provide quality service round the clock. In eight West African countries, UNFPA completed needs assessments to determine the national capacity to provide emergency obstetric care and additional assessments are underway in four Latin American and Caribbean nations. (…)
Strategy for International Chemicals Management To Be Launched In
Bangkok 9 to 13 November - 500 delegates will look at ways to improve chemical safety
Bangkok, 5 November - A major new effort to improve the way the world deals with chemicals begins this weekend in Bangkok, Thailand. More than 500 delegates from environment, health, agriculture, industry, labour, foreign affairs and development sectors will participate in the meeting from 9 to 13 November. It aims to develop a strategic approach to international chemicals management (SAICM), initiated last year by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and endorsed at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. (…)
Global chemical sales have
increased nine-fold since 1970 and will continue growing, with production
shifting increasingly to developing countries. In 1998 the industry
generated $1,500 billion in sales, accounting for 9 per cent of international
trade and employing over 10 million people, according to 2001 report by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD). (…)
UNEP has brought together a broad partnership of international organizations to oversee planning for the SAICM process. The steering committee comprise UNEP, IFCS, FAO, ILO, OECD, WHO, the World Bank, as well as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. (…)
Information and Communication Technology Division - The Information Society
The Regional Profile for the Information Society in Western Asia - a flagship output of the ICT Division for the current biennium - and the related Database on Regional ICT Indicators was launched by ICTD at the Dubai GITEX Conferences on 18 October 2003 at the World Trade Centre. Mr. A. Farahat, Chief of ICTD and Mr. M. Farah made a presentation of the report discussing its objectives, content, main findings and recommendations.
The profile covers comparative analysis of the 13 ESCWA member countries (EMC) endeavors in the main areas of the information society, starting with the enabling environment, such as ICT policies, strategies, legal framework and ICT infrastructure, all the way through assessment of the process of capacity building and creation of an ICT industry sector, and ending with a detailed review of key ICT applications across various sectors, such as government, education, commerce, and health, as well as digital Arabic content.
Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China , November 1, 2003 -- The Shell Foundation, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government today announced the creation of the Shanghai Sustainable Transport Partnership. The partnership, outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government Construction and Management Commission, is an agreement to create a set of sustainable transport indicators and to design an innovative mass transit system. The goal is to enhance the city’s ability to alleviate traffic congestion and air pollution.
The MOU signed today is the result of nearly a year of discussions with the Shanghai government. It follows the April 2002 release of the Shanghai Metropolitan Transport White Paper, a study prepared by the government, which outlines long-term goals for all forms of transportation in the city. The transit system design outlined in the MOU will focus on a bus rapid transit (BRT) model that will integrate with the city’s existing and planned metro and light rail systems that are the core of its mass transport service. (…)
Washington DC, USA, 30 October – Today the US Senate voted for the first time on mandatory carbon caps included in the McCain-Lieberman bill. Forty-three senators supported the bill, shattering the myth that the US senate will never seriously consider action to address the environmental problem of global warming. (…)
The McCain-Lieberman bill sets mandatory caps on CO2 emissions, the biggest contributor to global warming. While the cap is much weaker than WWF would have liked, it indicates major advances in the support of the US Senate for serious action on global warming and blows the myth that there is no federal support for mandatory caps on CO2 emissions.
This vote adds to the growing support for action on global warming. In the past year, there has been a groundswell of state legislation and legal action on climate change, growing investor concern over the financial risk posed by CO2 emissions, and continued strong public support for action. (…)
Kabul/Nairobi, 28 October - At the request of the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with the European Commission and the Ministry of Irrigation, Water Resources and Environment (MIWRE) today announced a €4.27 million programme to promote good environmental governance and to support the rehabilitation of the country’s environment.
The two phased project, largely funded with €3.75 million from the European Commission, will address the key environmental intervention priorities inscribed in the 1382 National Development Budget of the Government of Afghanistan. These interventions aim to address many of the institutional recommendations contained in UNEP’s January 2003 “Afghanistan Post-conflict Environmental Assessment” report.
With an initial funding of €973.000, phase one of the project was launched in Kabul today as a part of the European Commission’s Public Administration Programme. The first phase will organize and build the capacity of a specialized environmental Afghan public administration.
The second phase of the programme, beginning in 2004, supported with another €3,3 million, will further strengthen the capacity of the Ministry’s Department of Environment. This phase will also address other pressing environmental needs such as the development of a protected areas network and related management plans, and the development of environmental education at the university, secondary, primary, and community level. (…)
Sustainable development pioneer and wildlife champion co-winners of prestigious Environment Trop
United Nations Environment Programme announces 2003 recipients of the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize
Nairobi, Kenya, 27 October – Xie Zhenhua of China, who has worked tirelessly to steer the world’s most populous country and fastest growing economy on an environmentally friendly path, is co-winner of this year’s prestigious United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Sasakawa Environment prize. He is joined by Dener Jose Giovanini of Brazil, whose innovative approach to curbing illegal wildlife trafficking has become a model not only in Latin America but for the rest of the developing world. The Prize, worth US$200,000, which will be shared equally by the winners, is considered one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the world.
Mr. Xie, Executive Vice Chair of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) and Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration of China (SEPA), will receive the prize from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi A. Annan on 19 November 2003. He will be joined by Mr. Giovanini, founder of the National Network for Combating Wild Animal Trafficking (RENCTAS), at a special evening ceremony to be held at the New York Historical Society. (…)
Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Milan, Italy from 1 to 12 December
The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Milan, Italy from 1-12 December 2003. The conference, which is likely to attract 4,000 participants, includes a special high level segment on 10-11 December during which ministers from some 70 countries will take part in a series of round table discussions. The Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will meet in Milan prior to the opening of COP 9 on 27-28 November.
Press accreditation for media participation to COP 9 is now open. Full details, forms and conference information are available at: http://unfccc.int/press/accred/index.html
28 October - For the second consecutive year, UNESCO is organizing Philosophy Day, an event for the general public, which is invited to reflect on current issues in the company of some 50 philosophers from different regions of the world. It will take place at UNESCO on November 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. UNESCO and its partners have organized 12 thematic round-table discussions (…)
For this event, UNESCO's Paris Headquarters will turn into a huge forum hosting an array of activities, including a “Café Philosophique”, a Philosophy Book Fair, documentary film screenings, an “art event” and the XIth International Philosophy Olympiads.
The day will conclude with a philosophical conversation with Roger-Pol Droit, followed by a debate on philosophy and music and a concert featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute Musicians.
As with last year, Philosophy Day will be celebrated in several countries. More than 3,500 people attended the event at UNESCO last November 21.
27 October - Paris - UN agencies will launch the 2003 Education For All Monitoring Report on 3 November in London, UK. The official release of the report will be held in New Delhi, India on 6 November at the EFA High-Level Meeting, which will be attended by Education International President Mary Futrell. Entitled "Gender and Education For All: The Leap to Equality", the report is divided into 7 chapters which elaborate on the progress made, various strategies used, lessons to be learnt as well as the importance of achieving gender equity in education.
Australia: victory in higher education
23 October, Australia - Virtually all Australian higher education institutions closed on 16 October in a strike to protest against the Federal government's proposal to tie a $404 million (US$283 million) in education funding to hard-line industrial reform. The latter listed a series of conditions for universities to access the amount in additional funding, including stripping higher education personnel of the right to collective bargaining. Education International affiliates NTEU and AEU jointly referred the matter to the ILO's Committee of Experts, condemning the breach of Article 4 of ILO Convention 98 on freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively. The strike was a huge success, with the support of students and parents. As a result, the Australian National University and NTEU concluded a three-year agreement that contains none of the hardline industrial requirements proposed by the Government. (…)
Earth Scouts: a new program based on the Earth Charter
Earth Scouts, a new national program based on the Earth Charter: A Declaration of Interdependence, with badges centered on respect for nature, economic justice, universal human rights and a culture of peace, is inviting volunteers including parents, youth, educators, artists and other enthusiastic community members to help in its formation. (…)
Program and badge templates are being developed by "Trailblazer" groups for children and youth from 3 years to 17 years. Historically, badges prescribe specific steps for youth to follow. Instead, the badge templates will give guidelines and examples for each of the 16 principles of the Earth Charter in order to build experiences that demonstrate the interdependence of life and inter-relatedness of all issues. Youth will be given age appropriate guidance and support in designing their own requirements for fulfilling the badge. (…)
Earth Scout groups will be co-coordinated by one adult and youth who believe and act in ways congruent with the Earth Charter principles and serve as mentors and models.
Training is being offered to volunteers to "try out" the badge templates with children and youth to assure the templates are "kid friendly" and meaningful.
Florence – Education International will be organising its annual round table for affiliates in OECD countries, this time in Florence (Italy) from 17-19 November. This year, the round table will focus on the theme: Social inequalities and school success - How schools and trade unions are taking into account the different levels of success. The invitation is extended to all EI affiliates in OECD countries and for the first time, members from some non-OECD countries (South Africa, Brazil and Russia) will be joining in the discussions this year. For more information, visit our Events section.
31 October - UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will name Ukrainian athlete Serhiy Bubka UNESCO Champion for Sport at a ceremony to be held in the presence of Mykola Kostenko, Minister of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine, on November 4 at 8.15 p.m. at Organization Headquarters. The appointment of the pole vaulter Serhiy Bubka as UNESCO Champion for Sport recognizes “his role in the promotion of peace and tolerance through sport and the Olympic spirit, his humanitarian activities in favour of young people, his action to enable disadvantaged children to benefit from physical education and his dedication to the Organization’s ideas.”
Six time world champion (1983, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997), European champion (1986) and Olympic champion (1988, Seoul), Serhiy Bubka, who passed the six-metre mark 44 times, became an international star of pole vaulting. He went on to found the Annual International competition “The Pole Stars” in Ukraine. (…) He created a Children’s Sports Club in Donetsk (Ukraine), which has 300 members. He is also a member of the Public Regional Coordination council for Social Protection of Disabled Children and Orphans. (…)
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