Good News Agency – Year VII, n° 11



Weekly - Year VII, number 11 – 15th September 2006

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. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (in charge) and Elisa Peduto. 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 3,700 media in 48 countries and to 2,800 NGOs.

It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it has been included in the web site



International legislationHuman rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

Editorial - Civil society, or the future which we are building



International legislation



Fighting poverty, UN reform to top General Assembly agenda, says new president

 12 September – As the General Assembly opened its 61st session today, the body’s new president promised to focus on alleviating extreme poverty and advancing the process of UN reform undertaken during the previous session. “The General Assembly has to continue to evolve and strive to deliver sustainable solutions to the major challenges of our time,” Sheikha Haya Rashid Al Khalifa told delegates this morning. “Reform is a process rather than an event.”

She noted that several recommendations of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document have yet to be fully realized, such as disarmament and non-proliferation, Security Council reform, mandate review and system-wide coherence.

The UN also had a crucial role in promoting peace and security, she said. “Today, man-made conflicts are destroying lives and displacing people on a scale that sometimes exceeds the destructive effects of nature – floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.”

A pressing issue was combating international terrorism, which required the adoption of both preventive and defensive measures, she said. Later briefing reporters, she expressed the hope that after last week’s adoption of a resolution on a global counter-terrorism strategy, the current Assembly session would reach agreement on a comprehensive definition of terrorism.

She also said that it was important to consolidate the reforms that had been achieved in the past year, notably by ensuring that the new Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council have a real impact on large numbers of people.

Improving the situation of women is also one of her top goals. The fact that half the world’s population typically have less access to health care, employment, decision-making and property ownership needed to be addressed, she told Assembly delegates.

Sheikha Haya is the first female General Assembly President since 1969 and the first Muslim woman to hold the post. “It does not matter that I am a Muslim or a Christian or Jewish,” she told reporters. “We are human beings and we have the same worries and we have the same problems.”


Five former Soviet Republics swear off nuclear weapons

Arms Control Association applauds central Asian States for forswearing nuclear arms

Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball

Washington, D.C., September 8 - Today, five former Soviet republics committed themselves to never acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, or testing nuclear weapons by signing a treaty to create a Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone. The nonpartisan, independent Arms Control Association (ACA) welcomed the move as a positive step forward in reinforcing a beleaguered nuclear nonproliferation regime and advancing the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Central Asia used to house part of the sprawling Soviet nuclear weapons complex. But now Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have broken with this nuclear past by signing the free zone pact at a former Soviet nuclear testing site, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. Negotiations on the agreement started in 1997. (…)

The Central Asian zone will be the fifth such arrangement. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (Treaty of Rarotonga), Southeast Asia (Treaty of Bangkok), and Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba) have also banded together to create nuclear-weapon-free zones. Mongolia has also outlawed nuclear weapons on its territory and all countries are prohibited from stationing nuclear weapons in Antarctica, on the seabed, and in outer space.


Albania joins the AETR Agreement

Geneva, 22 August -- On 20 July 2006, Albania adhered to the European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport (AETR). This new accession brings the total number of States Parties to the AETR Agreement to 45. The AETR Agreement regulates the working and rest periods of professional drivers and the control device enabling the control of those periods. In doing so, the AETR Agreement contributes to harmonize the conditions of competition among road carriers. It also contributes to reduce the risk of road crashes by avoiding excessive driving periods and fatigue of drivers of trucks and coaches. (…)



Human rights



"Freedom From Want": The Development Agenda

Amnesty International applauds UN Agreement on New International Treaty to Protect Rights of Persons with Disabilities

WFUNA, UN Connections, 6 September - Amnesty International warmly welcomes the agreement reached by the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on the text to create a new core human rights treaty to better promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. This new Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, once formally adopted by the General Assembly and entered into force after ratification by the necessary number of UN Member States, will be a key tool in assisting millions of people with disabilities in achieving recognition of their dignity and the effective protection of their human rights.

For the text of the Convention, go to:


Colombia - The State recognizes its children as subjects with rights

Bogota, August 31 - The 215 articles approved by the Senate of the Republic on 29 August mark the beginning of a new phase for Colombia’s 18 million children and adolescents. With them, the country has updated its legislation on children, adjusting it to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. After seven sessions, the Senate approved a set of articles that make children subjects of rights, and not objects of protection. With the Senate’s decision, and after three years of consideration in Congress, the text is now in the hands of the Conciliatory Commission between the House and the Senate. Following this process, the law can be sanctioned by the President, and then will be ready to enter into effect. Senators Gina Parody and Héctor Héli Rojas were the ones who sponsored the passage of the bill through Congress. Some of the most significant changes the law introduces, vis-à-vis the former Code for Minors, deal with child labor, the operation of adoption agencies, the criminal liability of young people, sentences for crimes committed against children, the restoration of rights, and State support for the provision of health and education services for persons under 18. (…)


Azerbaijan: students broaden their knowledge of International Humanitarian Law

31 August - Students of international law and international relations in Azerbaijan have had the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of international humanitarian law (IHL) at the first National Summer School on IHL to be held in the CIS. The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Baku.

A total of 18 students participated in the ICRC-sponsored event held from 22 to 25 August in Guba. It included a series of lectures on IHL and discussions of practical cases.  The Guba course design was based on the existing Regional Summer School programme organised by the ICRC in Moscow since 2005 for students from CIS countries. The training course brought together students from the Academy of Public Administration, "Azerbaijan" University, Baku State University, "Khazar" University and the National Academy of Aviation.

Experts from Baku State University, Azerbaijan University of Languages, Moscow State Law Academy and the ICRC conducted presentations to enable a better understanding of IHL practice and current issues. The school consisted of 7 presentations on topics such as the definition of IHL and its link with international human rights, the protection of prisoners of war and civilians, restrictions on the means and methods of warfare and the suppression of IHL violations. (…)



Economy and development



NGOs gather at New York for annual session

Fostering partnerships for security and sustainable development

New York, September 6 - At least 2,500 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York for an annual conference that this year focused on the theme of fostering partnerships for security and sustainable development.

Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), which sponsored the three-day event, said participants had come armed with specific examples of “effective partnerships to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” – a set of international targets for eradicating poverty and other global ills by 2015.

“We have such huge tasks now that I sometimes ask myself, ‘Will we make it?’ ” General Assembly President Jan Eliasson told the gathering. He said those present faced a “huge test of multilateralism” and pointed to the need to prove that “working together, creating international structures, creating strong and effective international cooperation, strengthening the United Nations, is a good thing for the world.”

For that reason, reform of the UN was critical, said the President, whose term ends in five days when a new leader of the 192-member Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain, takes up her position. Mr. Eliasson has presided over an unprecedented reform effort over the past year, during which time the scope of what the UN addresses has been expanded and the organizational structures used to achieve its ends have been reformed.

Looking around the room, he said the NGOs had worked with the UN “at the barricades together” on such issues as AIDS, disability and disarmament. “We need your voices; we need your contribution,” he stressed. “I want you to feel that you are partners with us in the work on development, security and human rights, and the basic pursuit that we must work for a life of dignity for all.” A number of representatives of governments and NGOs also addressed the opening session, which was held in the morning. In the afternoon, panellists discussed the theme “Moving Development Forward.”

Source: UN News Service


Record rice yields for Egypt

FAO-led project to solve rice production gap

Rome/Krasnodar (Russia), 5 September - Egypt has achieved record rice yields with varieties that included hybrids developed locally under an FAO-led project. “The world’s highest national average rice yield in 2005 was 9.5 tonnes per hectare from Egypt,” the Executive Secretary of the International Rice Commission, Mr Nguu Nguyen, told an international scientific conference on sustainable rice production in Krasnodar, Russia today.

Egypt's average yields were boosted by the introduction of newly-developed hybrid varieties such as SK 2034 and SK 2046, which outperformed the best local varieties by 20-30 percent. They were selected from more than 200 hybrid varieties under the FAO-led project, intended to help Egypt produce more rice with less water and less land. Implemented by the Cairo Agricultural Research Centre and the Rice Research and Training Centre (RRTC), the project also helped train seed breeders and production personnel as well as extension workers and farmers.


Higher hopes for C4 rice

Increasing yields to feed a growing world population

Rome, 25 August – “The development of the C4 rice or similar varieties is very much welcome and we strongly recommend member governments and the donor community to provide full support to the current research based on improving the photosynthetic efficiency of the rice plant”, the International Rice Commission Secretary Nguu Nguyen said today.

Mr. Nguyen was commenting on recent reports on a major international scientific effort to enhance the rice plant’s efficiency, or what is known to experts as converting rice from a C3 plant to a C4 plant, where the “C” refers to the carbon captured by photosynthesis for growth.

The more solar energy a rice plant can efficiently capture, the more it will yield, explained Mr. Nguyen. “We need to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population which is projected to reach 8.3 billion in 2030 with an accompanying rice demand of 771 million tonnes,” he said.(…)






3.9 tons of medical aid delivered securely to Lebanon, put to immediate use

Santa Barbara, CA, USA, September 8 - In response to humanitarian needs caused by the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanese organization Hezbollah, Direct Relief International has provided $1.1 million in medical material aid to support Hammoud Hospital and the Rafic Hariri Foundation, two partner organizations in Lebanon. (…) The Rafic Hariri Foundation and its subsidiary Directorate of Health and Social Services provide primary care and mental health services from three medical centers and various mobile medical teams throughout Lebanon. Though founded by former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, the organization is apolitical and independent of any religious affiliation.

Due to damage to infrastructure and the Israeli blockade, aid has been difficult to deliver in Lebanon. Direct Relief has worked with the U.S.-based Freedom and Peace Trust to arrange the recent provision of aid. Direct Relief’s medical assistance was airlifted from Amman, Jordan by aircraft provided by Queen Raina of Jordan. The recent lifting of Israel's blockade will ease the provision of aid, and Direct Relief expects to provide air-lift shipment of assistance to Lebanon within the next week.


Community centers provide help that heals

By Charlotte Brudenell, ACT-Caritas

Dereig camp, South Darfur, 7 September - People living in camps in Darfur depend on humanitarian aid agencies for all their basic needs: food, water, shelter and essential household items. But with community centers in eleven camps, ACT-Caritas is providing something more: these centers help people overcome trauma.

On the outskirts of the town of Nyala, Dereig camp is a temporary home for more than 20,000 people who have been displaced by the ongoing violence in Darfur. They have been attacked, have lost family members and had their homes destroyed. However, a community center inside the camp is enabling people to help each other to overcome their traumatic experiences. (…)

Action by Churches Together International (ACT) and Caritas Internationalis (CI) are working together in a joint response to the Darfur crisis. ACT International is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations present in 200 countries and territories.

DanChurchAid is a member of ACT International - a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies.


British amputee completes bicycle tour in Cambodia to raise money for charity

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 8 September - A British land mine amputee said Friday he beat hot weather and bumpy roads to complete a 900-kilometer (559-mile) bike ride through Cambodia to raise money for the country’s land mine survivors and disabled people. With stops at night, the journey took him through Cambodia’s main tourist town of Siem Reap, and Kep, a small beach town in the country’s southwest, before finishing in Phnom Penh. 

He completed the tour to raise money for The Cambodia Trust, a Britain-based charity providing rehabilitation for Cambodian land mine amputees, polio victims and other disabled people.

It was Moon’s second cross-country journey in Cambodia. In 1999, he did a two-week run from Poipet to Sihanoukville, a port city in southwest Cambodia, also to raise money for land mine survivors. Moon helped clear mine fields in Cambodia for the British charity Halo Trust before undertaking similar work in the African nation of Mozambique, where he suffered his injuries.

In Cambodia, he had already once survived a potentially deadly situation. (…)


Futbol Club Barcelona, UNICEF team up for children in global partnership

UNICEF center of club’s jersey "More than a Club" reaches out

New York, 7 September – Futbol Club Barcelona and UNICEF today kicked off a global partnership to benefit children in the developing world. The first beneficiaries will be vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS in Swaziland. During the announcement ceremony, the legendary sporting club unveiled its 2006-2007 jersey featuring the UNICEF logo on the front, the first time in the club’s 107 year history that a logo has been featured. In addition to the UNICEF-branded jersey, Futbol Club Barcelona (FCB) has also agreed to donate at least €1.5 million per year to UNICEF over the next five years to support UNICEF programmes for children all over the world. The first year’s donation will support programmes in Swaziland (…)


Lutheran World Relief providing assistance to flood-affected families In India

Baltimore, USA, September 5 - Lutheran World Relief (LWR) today announced it will be providing assistance to families affected by recent flooding in India.

Since late July, torrential monsoon rains have caused widespread flooding throughout several Indian states, driving 4.5 million people from their homes and damaging crops, livestock, property and infrastructure. Over 200 deaths have been reported and thousands of people lack basic necessities such as food, drinking water, shelter and clothing. (…)

LWR is responding to the situation through Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, a global alliance of churches and related agencies that assists in disaster response worldwide. Relief efforts will initially focus on providing temporary shelter and distributing food, water, blankets, clothing, and school supplies to the most vulnerable people affected by the floods. In addition, emergency sanitation and health services will be provided in order to prevent the outbreak of disease. Post-crisis intervention will include housing support, assistance with rebuilding livelihoods, the rebuilding of public infrastructure and environmental restoration. Communities will also receive training in disaster preparedness and advocating for government assistance. Throughout the aid process ACT partner churches, district officials and community organizations will provide ongoing assessment in order to best help those affected regain self-sufficiency. (…)


Russian Federation: New clothes for new school year in northern Caucasus

31 August - For the new school year, starting on 1 September in the Russian Federation, the ICRC is distributing autumn clothes, shoes and school kits for children of families that have been affected by the conflict in Chechnya. Over 23,000 children from needy families in Chechnya itself and from families of internally displaced people from Chechnya living in Ingushetia and Daghestan are receiving a range of items.

It is a custom in the northern Caucasus to buy new clothes for a child to mark the beginning of the school year. But the high unemployment rate in the region makes this difficult for many families. "When you have three children, the clothes and everything else you need for school just cost a lot of money," said Zarema Naurbieva, a Chechen mother. "Neither I nor my husband has any income at all. So what can we do?"

The ICRC distributes essential household items every three months to over 60,000 people in Chechnya and to displaced persons in Ingushetia and Daghestan.


New Orleans Rotary plays key role in Warren Easton’s resurrection

Club volunteers raise sweat and money to make school’s reopening a reality

Wayne Hearn

New Orleans, USA, August 29 — The Rotary Club of New Orleans has maintained a long relationship with historic Warren Easton High School, so club members were not about to abandon their old friend in its darkest hour. After Hurricane Katrina’s winds and flooding dealt the 93-year-old building a near death-blow, the Rotary club rallied in response, first by helping to convince school authorities that Warren Easton should reopen at all, and then by raising money and providing the “sweat equity” to make it happen.

The Rotary club so far has raised more than $100,000, and its members — along with Rotary members from other states — put in over 2,000 volunteer hours in the sweltering Gulf Coast summer to ready the school for its Sept. 7 reopening. The Rotary teams stripped and repainted 10 classrooms, the main administrative office and two staircases. They replaced old chalk blackboards with new, dry-erase whiteboards and installed new bulletin boards. Joining the local Rotary volunteers were 33 Rotary members from Berkeley, Calif., plus several from Rochester, N.Y., and Warrington, Pa.. Additional donations came from Rotary clubs in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Florida, New York and Germany.

The New Orleans Rotary club “adopted” Warren Easton in 1985. It sponsors the school’s Interact club (a Rotary-like service club for students) and awards annual scholarships to college-bound seniors. Future Katrina-related improvements planned by Rotary include fresh paint for more classrooms, the installation of mini-blinds, plumbing repairs, and equipping and stocking three science labs, the library and the virtual learning center. (…)


On October 15&16 the world will…

STAND UP against poverty, stand up for the Millennium Development Goals

Launched by the Millennium Campaign, STAND UP is an innovative and exciting challenge to set an official Guinness World Record - the greatest number of people ever to STAND UP Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals - on October 15-16 2006. Within a 24-hour period, a minimum of 10,000 people must physically and symbolically "STAND UP" to communicate their desire to fight poverty and to hold their governments and leaders accountable for promises to end poverty by 2015. The purpose of this action is to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to publicly demonstrate to policy makers the growing global support for the achievement of the MDGs and for the strengthening of development policies in both Northern and Southern countries.

STAND UP is a mobilization initiative designed to coincide with global mobilizations around the International Day of Poverty Eradication and the White Band Day of the Global Call to Action against Poverty. (…) Monitored by Guinness World Records the STAND UP challenge will take place between 10.00am (GMT) 15 October to 10.00am (GMT) 16 October. During this time thousands of people will be standing up all over the world. In schools, universities, offices, churches, town halls and at sporting events and concerts. Either join one of these events or gather your friends, colleagues and family and create your own STAND UP event.


UNA-USA Honors Bill Clinton and Dean Kamen

On October 10, UNA-USA will honor former President Bill Clinton and inventor Dean Kamen at its annual Global Leadership Award Dinner. More then 6 years after leaving the White House, Clinton has taken on the challenges of human development with tireless energy and remarkable vision. His foundation's health programs have  helped numerous African nations in their struggle to turn back the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and his Global Initiative has already raised about $2 billion in commitments on poverty and climate change. Dean Kamen—the creator of Segway—has recently turned his attention to the needs of the world's poorest, designing relatively low-cost power generators and water distillers, so that, in his own words, "…well over a billion people who have neither reliable access to water or power might have an improved life." Check our website next month for gala photos.


Architecture for Humanity's Model Home Program

Architecture for Humanity launched a program to build a number of Model Homes  These homes will meet the new FEMA elevation and building code requirements of Biloxi while remaining affordable to the area's residents, many of whom live on fixed incomes. We invited twelve teams of architects to create concept designs and families selected six of those designs for construction. (See pictures of last week's House Fair …) Construction on the homes is planned to begin early next year. Overall our work in Biloxi has helped hundreds of residents in tangible ways both small and large.

In New Orleans our work took a different tack. Rather than partnering with community and volunteer groups, we've been working one-on-one with residents to pair them with architects willing to volunteer their time to help the reconstruction effort. So far, this approach has brought design services to about a half a dozen projects, including the Saloy House, the Calhoun Photography Studio and The Greater Little Zion Baptist Church and Field School. In the months ahead we expect to pair as many as a dozen more design teams with projects…

Although reconstruction has begun, much work lies ahead. Many projects are still underfunded and residents have yet to see little if any of the financial assistance that has been promised. If you'd like to sponsor a project, let us know--and of course it's never too late to donate or volunteer.



Peace and security



Australia funds landmine clearance in southern Lebanon

8 September - Australia is providing USD500,000 to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to remove landmines and unexploded ordnance in southern Lebanon.  The funding is being used to clear rural and residential areas for the many people who have returned home following the recent conflict.

"Unexploded ordnance poses a direct threat to communities and internally displaced persons and hampers humanitarian relief," said Australia’s Special Representative on Mine Action and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Teresa Gambaro. The World Food Programme has reported that there were many casualties from unexploded ordnance in Lebanon arising from the recent hostilities. "In recognition of our leading role in international action against landmines, Australia will preside over the September meeting of States Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention in Geneva," Ms Gambaro said.


Catholic Relief Services begins Youth Summer Camps in Lebanon to ease trauma of war

Beirut, Lebanon, September 7 – This week Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its local partner Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) opened a five-day summer camp to provide psychosocial support to children in southern Lebanon. This is the first of six overnight youth camps CRS is supporting. The camps are aimed to help alleviate the psychological impact of the war on children as they await the start of the school year early October.

Camp activities include picture-drawing to address trauma and conflict-resolution games to foster youth leadership and peace building. Children also receive three meals a day plus snacks. More than 100 children, boys and girls ages nine to 16, are attending this week’s session in the city of Jezzine. All come from four war-ravaged villages in southern Lebanon near the Israeli border.

Although activity-filled days cannot erase the trauma of war, the camp does offer children methods to express themselves and an outlet to socialize and play far from their devastated villages. "Maybe their houses are destroyed. Maybe even a family member is dead. The main thing is that they can laugh here,” says Farah Hassouna, a DPNA social worker. (…)

CRS and its other local partner agency, Caritas Lebanon, provided emergency aid to nearly 100,000 people during the height of the fighting. CRS, a worldwide aid and relief agency, has a permanent operation in Lebanon with a core, international staff in place to help lead long-term recovery and rehabilitation programs. CRS and Caritas Lebanon expect to reach 50,000 people in 30 villages with continued assistance.


UN to convene international conference in support of Palestinian people

6 September  – A United Nations committee will convene the UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People tomorrow in Geneva in a bid to help alleviate their plight. The two-day Conference will focus on the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and related civil society action, according to a press release issued in connection with the event. Representatives of civil society organizations from all regions will discuss the situation on the ground, promote their current programmes, develop action-oriented proposals in support of the Palestinian people and coordinate their activities.

In a series of meetings and workshops, the event will address such issues as the impact of peace movements, political parties and trade unions; campaigns to uphold international law; and strengthening civil society initiatives. An action plan is expected to be adopted at the closing session on Friday afternoon. The meeting is being convened by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.


Clear Path sponsors landmine survivors to attend sport events

September 4 - Started on September 3rd, 2006, 40 qualified people with disabilities (PWD) athletes entered their 28 days intensive training period in Dong Ha town. After the training, a short list of 30 athletes will be finalized for National round of qualification which will be held in Ho Chi Minh City in late September. Then the chance of being a member of the National team is open for everyone, who would have the best scores, to compete at the Asian Sport Event for PWD called FESPIC games 15 in Malaysia late this year.

30 out of 40 athletes are landmine/UXO survivors, who had overcome their pains, sorrows, family circumstances… to be what they are today. Each of them is aiming to gain a ticket to Malaysia. As an encouragement, Clear Path is sponsoring the costs of 3/4 major categories proposed by the Sport Department. All landmine survivors/athletes will have their costs covered on lodging, two ways travel and, as a plus, all 40 athletes are granted a T-shirt with Clear Path logo.

Sponsoring the participation of landmine survivors in sport events has been CPI’s annual activity since 2003. With this assistance, many poor survivors could have a chance to assess to the tracks; and surprisingly, quite a few survivors wrote their names in the National Team to compete at the regional events.


Memorandum of Understanding signed between ITF and Azerbaijan 

On 4 September 2006, the official singing of Memorandum of Understanding between International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance and the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) took place in Baku, Azerbaijan. Both ANAMA and ITF are committed to solve landmine problem in Azerbaijan. ITF and ANAMA are currently working in cooperation on 3 mine action projects and are anticipating to broaden the area of cooperation in the field of mine victims assistance.


What will you do for peace on 21 September?

September 1 – “With just ten days to go until Peace Day, I am delighted to tell you that we now have commitments to mark the Day in 183 member states of the United Nations. There are only a few member states in which no commitments have yet been made. They are as follows: Antigua and Barbuda, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands.” (As of 15 September preparation to mark the Day are under way in Samoa.)

The Peace One Day (POD) film project began as the vision of one man, British filmmaker, Jeremy Gilley. Launched in September 1999, POD gained active support from all sectors of society, from governments through to individuals. In September 2001, POD achieved its primary objective. A United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/Res/55/282), put forward by the UK and Costa Rican governments, was unanimously adopted by all UN member states, formally establishing an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace, fixed in the global calendar on 21 September - Peace Day. All sectors of society are being asked to honour and celebrate the Day on 21 September. The vision of the Day extends far beyond the cessation of violent conflict and represents an opportunity for individuals to join in a moment of global unity.

On the journey to establish a Peace Day, teachers encouraged Jeremy to provide a resource pack that would support young people to become the driving force behind the vision of a united world. The pack focuses on practical issues of peace and non-violence, and provides guidelines for extended Peace Day projects. The pack contains a multi-region DVD containing both a 32-minute classroom version and the feature-length version of the award-winning documentary Peace One Day, plus extras. Although this resource pack has been created specifically for the UK National Curriculum, teachers from overseas will certainly find it useful. The long-term vision is to create a generic global resource to be made available in 2007/8.


Aid for Lebanon: the European Commission's contribution

The European Commission boosted its contribution to the Lebanon to over €100 million at the international donor conference that took place in Stockholm on 31 August. The Commission's package aims to address immediate reconstruction needs and to lay the foundation for long-term recovery through support for crucial political and economic reforms.

€10 million will be used to create a Reconstruction Assistance Facility aimed at offering technical assistance to the government for the reconstruction process and at increasing administrative capacity. The Lebanese private sector will receive €18 million to reinforce its competitiveness. Another €4 million will be made available to ensure that the rule of law is respected and to improve internal security. Regarding humanitarian assistance, current key priorities are access to drinking water, the provision of shelter, access to health care and the removal of landmines.

The Commission's action falls within the framework of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which provided the basis for an end to hostilities. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, insisted that in implementing the resolution, the security situation cannot be separated from economic and humanitarian aspects. (…) The Commission stressed that the priorities agreed on in the joint EU-Lebanon Neighbourhood Action Plan were more vital now than ever and explained that the EU was ready to support Lebanon in the post-conflict period. However, it warned that a successful long term recovery would not be possible without political and economic reforms.


Memorandum of Understanding signed between ITF and Macedonia

On 31 August 2006, the official singing of Memorandum of Understanding between International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance and Republic of Macedonia Protection and Rescue Directorate took place in Skopje. Both Directorate and ITF are committed to solve landmine and unexploded ordnance problem in Macedonia. The Directorate is currently carrying out demining operations in northern Macedonia, which are expected to end by the end of September 2006, with support from ITF and USA as donor. By that the last mine suspected areas in Macedonia will be reduced and cleared. Macedonia will thus become first country in South-Eastern Europe to achieve mine free status according to commitments accepted with signing Ottawa convention.


Peace educators explore uses of the Earth Charter

The 2006 annual International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) — held 30 July to 6 August in San José, Costa Rica — included three different workshops on how the Earth Charter can be used in education at all levels, from earth childhood development to university courses. The IIPE event, entitled ¨Toward a Planetary Ethic: Shared and Individual Responsibility,¨ was organized by the Peace Education Center of Teachers College, Columbia University (New York), and by the UN Mandated University for Peace, an ECI Strategic Partner. In sharp focus: the principle of universal responsibility.  For more information, see:


Imagine a Culture of Peace

To young people, ages 5-25, around the globe: an invitation from the Dalai Lama Foundation, Peace Alliance Foundation, Opening of the Heart, and the Voices in Wartime Education Project

Tell a story, write a poem or essay, paint a picture or take a photo. Share your impression of what

"peace" and "a culture of peace" look like. Join your dream of peace to ours, and help make it concrete. Select an incident or situation of conflict or violence in your family, school, community state, nation, or the world. Reflect on how the conflict arose, and imagine how it might be avoided or resolved peacefully. Take action! Accept a challenge! Create an individual or community project that will help to create a culture of peace.

Express your impressions artistically. Choose how to best describe or demonstrate the incident or situation you select: letter to a parent, friend, government official or newspaper; letter to your future self from the present, or to your present self from the future; essay, poem, drama script, song, or short story. Create a report – either text or images -- of your own practical project to help create a culture of peace. Photo journal, or photos of your painting, collage, or sculpture. Submit your impression of peace as an individual or as part of a classroom or community group. Submit your work on line. Share your work with others. Read the acceptance criteria and submission procedures for Imagine a Culture of Peace at E-mail your questions to


Iraqi-Kurd bomb clearance team flies into Lebanon

MAG sends in staff from northern Iraq

MAG has sent a special team from Iraq into Lebanon to help get rid of the thousands of cluster bombs and other unexploded munitions from the villages and towns in the south of the country. The charity is also bringing in much-needed safety equipment, high-powered metal detectors and mapping equipment to speed up the conflict recovery operations.

The teams will be concentrating on clearing from homes, schools, gardens, access routes and other populated areas in the Nabatieh region, as well as providing education programmes to manage the risk to thousands of returnees. The UN recently stated that they have seen around 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets at 359 separate sites in Lebanon and, according to figures from the Lebanese military, there have been 39 injuries and 8 deaths - though these figures are rising. MAG thanks the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Centre and the General Directorate of Mine Action of the Kurdistan Regional Government for their support in this iniative.

MAG (Mines Advisory Group) is one of the world's leading humanitarian organisations providing conflict-affected countries with a real chance for a better future. We clear the remnants of conflict from some of the world's poorest nations, we educate and employ local people and help provide solutions for those trapped by poverty and economic devastation through no fault of their own.


The Peace Alliance Foundation proudly announces the launch of the Peace Registry 

The Peace Registry of the Peace Alliance Foundation (PAF) is an interactive, online database of individuals and organizations, large and small, who demonstrate and are working for a culture of peace—a culture characterized by nonviolence, compassion, cooperation, and inclusion.

The Peace Registry is located at Visitors may learn about and network with peace workers at the local, national, and international levels; search by location, area of interest, or focus: nominate their own candidates for inclusion in the Peace Registry.

Currently, there are over 200 entries in the Peace Registry with listings of organizations based in the United States and abroad.  PAF anticipates that by July 2007, there will be at least 1000 entries identifying organizations around the world. Anyone can nominate a candidate for the Peace Registry just by going to and filling out the on-line nomination form.

Some organizations already listed in the Peace Registry include the Center for Non-Violent Communication, CodePink, BothAnd, the Dayton International Peace Museum, and Environmentalists Against the War.  Each of these organizations takes a different approach to building a culture of peace ranging from personal communication skills to global environmental awareness.  For more information, please contact Theresa McGallicher at






East Asian Rotarians pioneer rural health projects in Mongolia

By Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga, Rotary International

11 September - Thousands of women and children in Mongolia are healthier today because of the joint medical initiatives of Rotary clubs in East Asia. In the past year alone, two such efforts have directly benefited more than 4,000 residents of rural Mongolia. The more recent of them, a cervical cancer screening project called Test for Life, took place across four provinces in July and August. Seven local and international Rotarians and 13 non-Rotarian medical professionals traversed 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles) on some of the world’s roughest tracks to reach impoverished communities. Sponsors of the effort included the Rotary clubs of Khuree (Mongolia), Cheonan-Dosol (Korea), Hong Kong, and Taipei Genius and Taipei Tin Harbour (Taiwan). The Rotary Foundation contributed a US$23,000 Matching Grant to the project.

Cervical cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Mongolian women, according to Luvsandorj Bayarsaikhan, a doctor and Khuree club member who is the driving force behind the screening initiative. He notes that up to 40 percent of the population is infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), the major cause of cervical cancer. The incidence of cervical cancer is expected to rise among Mongolian women, 95 percent of whom have never been screened for the disease. (…)


UN Health Agency to vaccinate millions of children in the Horn of Africa

8 September  – In the largest-ever synchronized vaccination campaign in the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya will simultaneously vaccinate millions of children under five years of age starting this weekend, the United Nations World Health Organization. Polio-free for almost three years, Somalia became re-infected last year with a poliovirus imported from Yemen, WHO said, and has since seen some 215 confirmed cases. Since its re-infection in December 2004, Ethiopia has reported a total of 37 polio cases with four out of 11 regions infected. The high-risk areas remain the cross-border region of Somali, Ethiopia and north/central areas of Somalia. Kenya has been polio-free for the last 22 years. The upcoming drive will involve teams on the ground ensuring that every child is vaccinated by moving from house to house, in cities, towns, and villages, and in hard to reach areas, using all transportation means possible, such as camels, horses and donkeys. The polio eradication effort in the Horn also involves religious and community leaders, women’s groups, youth associations, schools, and governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), all working to prevent the paralysis of children, WHO said.  


Swaziland -  Male participation in HIV support group improves community engagement

by Mandla Luphondvo - World Vision Swaziland Communications

September 6 - More men are joining support groups for people living with HIV.  As a result, more men are also participating in community development initiatives. In Lubombo Plateau Area Development Programme (ADP) two support groups initiated by women now have close to 20 men each. Five women started Mlindazwe support group in March this year. It has 49 members, 16 of whom are men who intend undertaking a chicken rearing project. The women are currently undergoing training on sewing at Mlindazwe primary school. (…) At Sitsatsaweni, men who have been diagnosed HIV positive have joined hands through a support groups initiated by women. They have raised and sold 450 chickens to the ADP. Through the support group, members are able to generate some income. Most of the members are on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and need to have a balanced diet.

These support groups have been motivated and facilitated by Lubombo Plateau ADP. These efforts have been complemented by a new system devised by Good Shepherd Hospital which makes it easier for people on ART to meet for the purposes of support.

Medical doctors help newly diagnosed patients contact other HIV positive patients for support. After this introduction, the member who joins the network is then able to get support and be part of the nearest support group in his or her community.


China province project reaches out to young people

6 September - The guidebooks call it ‘remote’, ‘undiscovered’ – China’s south-western province of Guizhou is home to some examples of extreme natural beauty including China’s largest waterfall, the ‘Huangguoshu’ and the Zhijin Caves, famous for their massive-scale stalagmite stone pillars. But despite its remote location and idyllic surroundings, the province, like every other in China, is increasingly affected by HIV. (…)

A joint HIV prevention and care project, run by Guizhou provincial authorities, and UNAIDS` Cosponsor UNICEF is making some headway towards tackling the growing figures and at the same time involving people and groups from all sectors in the AIDS response. Established in 2001, the project focuses particularly on young people, tackling the often difficult issue of injecting drug use and its crossover with HIV, as well as providing care and support for people living with HIV. (…)


Patient mobility: European Commission to launch public consultation on EU framework for health services

Brussels, 5 September - The European Commission today decided to launch a public consultation on how to ensure legal certainty regarding cross-border health services under Community law, and to support cooperation between the health systems of the Member States. The consultation will be based on a Communication to be drawn up by European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou setting out ideas for an EU framework for safe, high-quality and efficient healthcare services, reflecting the outcome of the orientation debate held today by the Commission. The first step will be a consultation on issues such as: the conditions according to which cross-border health care must be authorised and paid for, and the provision of information to patients about treatments available in other Member States; which health authority is responsible for supervising cross-border health care in different circumstances; responsibility for any harm caused by healthcare and compensation; patient rights; and supporting health systems through European co-operation. On the basis of responses to this consultation, any formal Commission proposals will follow in 2007.


Summer caravan drives forward HIV prevention efforts in Morocco

4 September - Caravanning in Morocco has taken a whole new meaning with a special summer caravan travelling around the country in a quest to raise awareness about HIV prevention among young people. Parking at some of Morocco’s most popular resorts from the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts to the remote Atlas Mountains sites, the caravan has visited 19 youth campsites where more than 7000 young men and women have stayed during their holidays. The SIDA mobile initiative’s caravan is run by the Moroccan-based organization ‘Association de Lutte Contre le SIDA’ in Morocco (ALCS) and the Ministry of State for Youth. (…) At each stopover, the facilitators –all doctors who have been specially trained to work with young people on the issue of HIV— initiated open and frank discussions about sex and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In less than a month, the caravan distributed some 35 000 flyers on HIV and 15 000 condoms were given to young people at their request. Also more than 700 people asked for, and received, a confidential HIV test with counselling.(…)


FEANTSA conference on ensuring access to health for homeless people

FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless organises in Poland, on the 12 and 13 October 2006 a conference entitled "The right to health is a human right: ensuring access to health for homeless people". FEANTSA 2006 annual theme focuses on health and homelessness. Withing this framework, the conference aims to point out the difficulties and issues with which homeless people are faced - ranging from the type of health problems faced by homeless people and the issue of complex and multiple needs; barriers to care faced by homeless people and finding solutions to overcome them; policy solutions to tackle the health needs of homeless people; and the right to health for homeless people.

The conference aims to bring together policymakers, homelessness service providers and healthcare professionals from across the EU to establish a better common understanding and what could be the role of the EU. The conference will feature 5 workshops: Ensuring access to health for homeless people; Mental Health and Dual Diagnosis; The Right to Health; Information and Training for Health; 5. Health Promotion. To register:



Energy and safety



Côte d’Ivoire: UN sends team to help coordinate response to deadly toxic waste crisis

11 September – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today dispatched a three-member team to Côte d’Ivoire to help the West African country’s Government respond to the contamination crisis following last month’s dumping of toxic waste around the city of Abidjan. A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team will offer particular help in technical coordination and information management on health and security issues, OCHA said. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have also contributed medicines worth almost $50,000 to the Ivorian Ministry of Public Health.

Three people are reported killed and some 3,000 others have sought medical help, complaining of intestinal and respiratory problems, as well as vomiting, nausea and nose bleeds, after inhaling fumes from hazardous substances dumped at a series of sites around Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s biggest city and commercial capital. (…)  The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, known by its acronym UNOCI, has helped establish an inter-agency UN taskforce to coordinate the world body’s response and run a public awareness campaign.

Following a formal request from the Ivorian Government, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is conducting an investigation through the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which it administers.

The Secretariat is probing whether the Basel Convention’s trust fund can be used to help pay for the clean-up operation, which could cost more than $13 million. It is also studying where legal responsibility for the crisis may lie.


World Water Week

WFUNA, UN Connections, 6 September - World Water Week in Stockholm is the leading annual global meeting place for capacity-building, partnership-building, and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development. Held from 20-26 August this year, World Water Week brought together experts from the scientific, business, policy and civil society communities in order to advance efforts related to water, the environment, livelihoods and poverty reduction. Professor Asit K. Biswas, a tireless water proponent who constantly challenges the "status quo", received the 2006 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, presented to him by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.


Implementing the research & innovation agenda for Europe:

SusChem puts sustainable chemistry into action

Brussels, 28 August – Yesterday 27 August in Budapest, a set of proposals to implement an ambitious European research agenda for the chemical & biotech sciences developed by SusChem (the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry) was discussed and endorsed by a meeting of stakeholders. The workshop on the SusChem Implementation Action Plan (IAP) also looked at the ongoing role of SusChem, examined funding possibilities and debated the specific needs of new EU Member States.

The IAP activities are collected around themes of major importance for sustainable chemistry: bio-based economy; energy; health care; information and communication technologies; nanotechnology; sustainable quality of life; sustainable product and process design; and transport.  The IAP further outlines three visionary projects, introduced in the SusChem Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). These projects crystallised the possible future societal benefits of the proposed research. (…)

The need to create a supportive regulatory and financial environment for innovation and research was also emphasised. Finally, the future role of SusChem as a European networking body in chemistry and biotechnology was discussed. (…)



Environment and wildlife



Preliminary Court decision would bar leasing in critical wetlands at Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska

Decision could save the internationally significant wildlife habitat

Juneau, AK, September 7 -- The US District Court for Alaska today issued a strongly worded preliminary decision that could save the internationally significant wildlife habitat around Teshekpuk Lake in the Northeast Planning Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA).  In the decision released today, US District Judge James Singleton, Jr. stated that the Department of Interior failed to consider the cumulative environmental impacts of widespread oil and gas drilling in the NPRA, a key point in conservation groups' arguments against the plan to lease the area around Teshekpuk Lake, and signaled that he intends to overrule the Department's plans for leasing the area. (…)

Alaska Native communities near the lake have voiced strong opposition to a federal plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the area around the lake, which is an important subsistence hunting and fishing ground.  They have been joined by scientists, sportsmen's groups, other conservationists, and hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens who have voiced their concerns about potential impacts to nesting and molting grounds used by large populations of geese and other waterfowl. (…) Judge Singleton has allowed for additional arguments from both sides, and is expected to issue a final ruling by the end of the month.


Satellites help scientists track migratory birds

GPS the latest tool in fight against avian influenza

Rome/New York, 6 September – Wearing light solar-powered global positioning system (GPS) satellite transmitters, wild swans from Mongolia are winging their way across Eurasia, while land-bound scientists tracking the birds’ journeys on computers say that these unique studies will shed light on how wild birds may be involved in the spread of avian influenza.
In August, a team of international scientists from FAO and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS) in the surveillance project, which is part of the Wild Bird Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance (GAINS) programme funded by USAID. The team attached the GPS transmitters to wild whooper swans in an effort to track the birds to their wintering grounds. Such research is providing information on migration routes and informs governments about potential threats from diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The HPAI strain known as H5N1 is highly lethal for a variety of species, especially poultry and some waterfowl species. When transmitted to people through close contact with infected birds, the virus can be deadly. (…)


Great Barrier Reef fish rebound in marine protected areas

September 4 - Great Barrier Reef, Australia – Recovery rates of fish in the Great Barrier Reef have increased significantly as a result of marine protected areas. According to a study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University, populations of important fish species — such as coral trout — are up to 50 per cent more abundant in marine sanctuaries than in reefs still open to fishing. Research done on fringing reefs around the Whitsunday Islands showed coral trout and stripy sea perch up 60 per cent.

“The results of the study demonstrate what scientists and conservationists having been saying for years, that creating marine sanctuaries means fish can mature and populations can recover,” said Richard Leck, a marine and coastal policy officer with WWF-Australia. “What is truly exciting about this research is that not only are the protected areas flourishing but there is very likely to be a spillover effect to surrounding areas which will benefit the whole ecosystem. This research clearly shows that a network of marine sanctuaries with a strong zoning plan is vital to ensuring the sustainable future of the reef.”

Stretching for over 2,000km along Australia’s northeast coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. Under a 2004 zoning plan, strict protection of the reef system rose from 4.6 per cent to 33 per cent within the existing Marine Park and World Heritage Area. The network of highly protected areas is aimed at reducing pressure on the Great Barrier Reef and enhancing its capacity to overcome large-scale threats such as coral bleaching, which is linked to climate change and global warming.

WWF is a strong advocate of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In the last few years alone, the global conservation organization has helped achieve protection for more than 200,000km2 of marine areas around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, which cover coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangroves, fish breeding grounds, and deep-sea habitats. (…)


Course to develop statistical indicators of environmental sustainability

In Guatemala City, organized by ECLAC, the course will strengthen production of national statistics toward Millennium Development Goal No. 7.

4 September -  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is holding a four-day course to help experts develop the statistical indicators necessary to measure and advance Millennium Development Goal environmental sustainability targets for the year 2015. The course, "Fundamentals of Statistics for the Development of Indicators for Goal N° 7 of the Millennium Development Goals" (Curso "Fundamentos Estadísticos para Desarrollar Indicadores del Objetivo 7 de los Objetivos de desarrollo del Milenio"), is being held from 5 to 8 September in Guatemala City. The course is organized by ECLAC's Statistics and Economic Projections Division within its "Improving the Capacity of Latin America and Caribbean Countries to Measure Advances in the Fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals" project, in conjunction with the Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (IARNA) of the Rafael Landívar University of Guatemala and experts from environmental and statistics agencies in the region. (...) 


World environment body gets a US$3 billion boost

New Funds will Combat Environmental Degradation

Cape Town, South Africa, 28 AugustThe world’s largest environmental funding body—Global Environment Facility (GEF)—received its biggest ever financial boost today with 32 governments agreeing to contribute US$ 3.13 billion to finance environmental projects over the next four years. The agreement was endorsed by the 32-member GEF Council in Cape Town where the Third GEF Assembly will commence tomorrow. “This strong show of support from the international donor community is remarkable, and signals firm commitment to protecting the global environment,” said Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson. (…) Over a year ago, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment warned that human activities are “putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.”  Similarly, the United Nations has warned that environmental degradation will hamper ongoing efforts by developing nations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.(…);jsessionid=a7bmlcX7o8qc



Religion and spirituality



International Day of Peace Vigil, September 21

In 2006 the International Day of Peace will be observed on Thursday, September 21st. Find out how you can take part in a global vigil of meditation and prayer in support of the Day.

Every year the United Nations calls upon individual people of goodwill and organisations to observe this International Day with activities dedicated to the creation of a culture of peace, and to a day of global cease-fire and non-violence.

To support this special Day on a spiritual level, a group of organisations representing a wide variety of religious and spiritual traditions has, since 2002, co-ordinated an International Day of Peace Vigil, encouraging local groups and individuals to hold a 24 hour Vigil in houses of worship and places of spiritual practice.

As a contribution to this global focus the United Nations Days & Years Meditation Initiative and Intuition in Service have, since 2002, coordinated an international Vigil of meditation and prayer for the 24 hours of September 21st from midnight to midnight. The 24 hours are divided into 15 minute periods. The aim is to have individuals or groups commit themselves to spend specific 15 minute periods in prayer or meditation for world peace. You can choose the 15-minute time slots you will participate, and see the list of all participants in your slots. You can also see a list of all the participants in the Vigil in the equivalent GMT times. 



Culture and education



UNA-USA Student Alliance Programme:  revamped

Student Alliance is excited to kickoff the school year with new web features including the Student Alliance Blog, FAQs and online Leadership Manual. Student Alliance has undergone multiple changes to offer more benefits to its members including online opinion polls  & quizzes, advocacy alerts and news flashes. For a direct link to the Student Alliance portion of the website, visit To request Student Alliance brochures and posters, please email Suzanne Domenici at


11 Days of Global Unity - Creating a Culture of Peace - Celebrating a Sustainable Future

September 11 – 21 - Culminating on the International Day of Peace

With more than 250 events in over 60 countries!

You are invited to participate in the annual 11 Days of Global Unity! 11 Days is an annual worldwide promotion of peace and sustainability launched in 2004 by We, The World with more than 250 concerts, festivals, webcasts, and other events culminating on September 21 the U.N. International Day of Peace.

This year 11 Days will be bigger than ever. We are collaborating with many groups with special celebrations. See 11 Days Highlights below or go to  for the complete Calendar and other information. Some of the vents around the world: Earthdance will celebrate their 10th Anniversary on the weekend of Sept. 15th to 17th including Arun Gandhi and "The Gandhi Tour"; Earthdance is a leading participant in 11 Days with more than 220 events in 50 countries, such as South Africa, Taiwan, Brazil, Zambia, Nepal, Denmark Australia, United States (Northern California Hub Event) and many more!; 100 year Anniversary of Gandhi's first nonviolent campaign Sept. 11th against racial prejudice in South Africa with MK Gandhi Institute; Interfaith Ceremony Sept. 11th with Arun Gandhi on the mall in Washington DC; Peace Alliance Foundation Launch of it's Peace Registry ; Peace Alliance/Dept. of Peace National Walk for Peace September 16th; 100 Years of Non-Violence/New Yorkers for A Dept. of Peace September 11th USA nationwide screenings of the movie Gandhi; We, The World presentation of the Heart of Humanity Award to Arun Gandhi for the Gandhi Family in recognition of 100 years of Satyagraha (Nonviolence) at Earthdance Hub Event ("The Gandhi Tour") Sept. 15th in Northern California above San Francisco; Pathways to Peace/International Day of Peace. Sept. 21st (25th Observance of the International Day of Peace) including more than 600 events in 160 nations!


New comic book on HIV/AIDS launched for deaf community in South Africa

By Caroline Nenguke

10 September - Using illustrations of South African Sign Language instead of speech bubbles, a new comic book is reaching out to the deaf community with messages about HIV and AIDS, sexual violence and sexual rights.  The 14-page 'Are Your Rights Respected?' follows a group of friends attending deaf school as they learn about their sexuality, how to protect themselves from HIV, their rights to health and education, and how to deal with sexual abuse. (…)

South Africa has one of the highest AIDS infection rates in the world with around 21 percent of the adult population HIV positive, according to United Nations figures. National HIV and AIDS awareness programmes have largely overlooked disabled groups such as the deaf where ignorance about the disease remains high.

The new comic book was developed by the Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA) - an independent project of the South African History Archives at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg - and funded by the Foundation for Human Rights. It will be distributed to deaf schools and communities throughout the country. (…)


Lesotho: HIV and AIDS message delivered through song

by Makopano Letsatsi - World Vision Lesotho Communications

September 6 - Twelve primary schools from Nazareth Area Development Programme (ADP) recently participated in a HIV and AIDS awareness song and poetry competition with the theme ‘we will overcome AIDS’. The crowd was entertained by poems delivered by pupils from seven schools, focusing on the theme of the day. The performers of the three winning poems were awarded school bags, while the rest were given a pencil, rubber, and ruler each.

A song aimed at disseminating the HIV and AIDS message to primary school children was composed specifically for World Vision in the Nazareth ADP by local composer Karabo Lekhanya and carried the theme of the competition.

The Nazareth ADP HIV and AIDS Officer and event organiser said the music event was part of an awareness campaign whose aim is to educate school children on preventive measures. Song composer Lekhanya said the song depicts the devastating effects that HIV virus brought to Basotho nation and the world at large. Later in the song there is a message of hope that through combined effort, HIV can be overcome like other diseases. (…)


Private Sector comes forward to support girls’ education in Yemen

Yemen, 30 August - Yemen’s national efforts for acceleration of girls education and reduction of the gender gap are getting a major boost with the launch of Business Partnership for Girls Education here on Saturday that marks the beginning of a novel tripartite coalition between government, private sector and UNICEF. The Business partnership for Girls Education is first major private sector initiative of its kind in the country and is spearheaded by three leading business houses of Arwa Group (Shamlan Water), Spacetel and Universal Group. The Partnership illustrates private sector’s affirmation and resolve to play their role in the promotion of girls’ education that has emerged as a national challenge demanding collective social action. Business Partnership goes into action in different audiences from people all over Yemen to parents, teachers and children in 5 specific districts. (…) The partnership is devoted to build a national consensus and attitudinal change for making a positive contribution in cash and kind to help overcome the barriers that surround the girls’ education. Yemen is facing a serious challenge to bridge the gender gap that at the national level shows that there are 63 girls per 100 boys in the Primary schools. Beyond the national average, urban/rural differences are marked and rise to a high gender gap of 55 points meaning that there are 45 girls are enrolled per 100 boys—making the gender gap one of the highest in the region.(…)


Earth Charter International and UNESCO conference in Latin America draws additional support, aims to be major event -  31 October-2 November, University for Peace, Costa Rica

As reported in our last issue, UNESCO now considers Earth Charter International as a strategic partner in advancing the goals of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development ("DESD"). UNESCO together with the Earth Charter Center on Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE are convening a regional meeting on the DESD in Latin America, scheduled for 31 October - 2 November 2006.

The conference is already attracting considerable attention, and additional funding and sponsorship have now been committed from the United National Environment Program (UNEP) and the Avina Foundation. Approximately one hundred participants are expected, including senior government officials from education ministries throughout Central and South America. The conference will explore strategies and methods for advancing ESD, with the Earth Charter as a framing reference document.


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 Civil society, or the future which we are building

by Sergio Tripi


Reflections on the  59th Annual UNDPI-NGO Conference: “Effective Partnerships for Human Security and Sustainable Development”, for which 2,500 representatives of non-governmental organizations from more than 90 countries gathered together at the United Nations in New York from the 5th to 8th September.


This annual UNDPI-NGO conference has shown, once again and increasingly, the stupendous process of transformation which is being carried out by a meaningful part of humanity which, refusing the old values, is fighting to build a different reality. If some events make it seem as if we are living in the stone age, for other reasons we seem to be on another planet;  and the attentive eye of the observer must know how to perceive above all the positive and promising signs, because those are the ones which announce the future that we are in the process of building. “Energy follows thought” says an old axiom; and, in a world which has scientifically demonstrated that it is made of energy, thought tries once again and definitely to be the “motor” of reality and thus the promoter of the evolution of consciousness which is changing reality from the inside. It is the most silent evolution and at the same time the loudest one that man can make, the only one capable of making a permanent impression on the reality of our lives and of reestablishing a scale of values worthy of this definition.


Undoubtedly, today’s crisis of values reflects a lack of readiness to cooperate, distribute and circulate resources throughout the whole body of humanity and in harmony with the environment. From the ethical perspective, the aim of serving the common good should prevail over the interest of one party, whether this is understood as a corporation or social class, or as a single nation in the international context. However, the social, political and economic system of the world is still mainly set up to take, to accumulate, to separate. We have learnt to master the art of creating barriers and, as a result, we excel in the sad capacity of creating worlds of “those who have” and “those who have not”. And thus we discover that the global psychic and physical environment is threatened and we inwardly realize the absolute necessity of a creative change of consciousness.


Consciousness, if we look carefully, is deeply changing. We are quickly accepting the fact that we cannot go ahead as we have done so far and we are becoming ever more open to new possibilities. A wise use of creative imagination is essential for recognizing among these new possibilities those most able to improve the quality of life. It is necessary to utilize those noble inclinations of behaviour which are called solidarity, sharing and responsibility for the common good. And the growing and no longer marginal participation of civil society in the process of reaching the Millennium Development Goals is the direct and tangible confirmation, extremely tangible, of the silent evolution of consciousness which the world is carrying out and which is hardly talked about, though for not much longer.


There is no doubt that the most advanced part of humanity, that which is most aware of its duties and rights, is more and more refusing those obsolete values which have given rise to objectives and models of behaviour which tend to gratify the single individual or the single country. Those types of behaviour, to make it clear, that have placed on the altar material success, hedonism, consumerism and the lack of an ethical code of responsibility which limits what it is right to pursue in relation to respect of the rights of others. It now seems evident that the silent part of humanity of which I speak, the one mobilized by and for the evolution of consciousness, has begun to respond with growing determination to this new way of being. To this farsighted part of humanity it is quite clear what should now be refused as undesirable and unworthy of the evolutionary level and the capacity for understanding that man has reached, and it is equally clear to it what road should be taken, where to aim for, what to seek.


Today there appears in consciousness the need, and at the same time the initial evidence, of a new and global system of ethics, which can only spring from that new concept which many people of advanced consciousness have already begun to make their own: that of unity in diversity. It is a  concept of enormous power: it knocks down the limitations of different doctrines, overcomes the barriers of different conceptions and behaviour and defeats the incomprehension, animosity and hatred which such differences, heightened to the point of fanaticism, have given rise to and consolidated. It is in this way that comprehension is born: first of all from respect of the other, whether this “other” is a type of behaviour, a person, a  philosophical doctrine or a religious belief. From this evolutionary concept, easy to say but difficult for many to assimilate, it will certainly be possible to make the right reply emerge to those questions which humanity is asking itself in order to refound the science of human relationships and build a new era of peace.


Utopias, chimeras? Certainly not, because civil society is now on the march. The direction is the right one, it is the one of evolution. The evidence of its incredible force, made of love and spirit of brotherhood, is before the eyes of the person who wants to see and can see, of the person who has not failed to notice already that public opinion, now brought together by modern means of communication which inform it in real time on the events of the planet, is now strong enough to be able to modify the society which expresses it. Consequently, civil society is having a new, deep and increasingly determining role for the future that we want to build.


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Next issue: 6 October.


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Good News Agency is distributed free of charge through Internet to over 3,700 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 48 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway,  Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, USA. It is also distributed free of charge to over 2,800 NGOs around the world and it is available in its web site:

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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.         

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