Good News Agency – Year VII, n° 12
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 http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/uk/uk_sum_monde.htm
Kyrgystan joins Convention on Road Traffic
Geneva, 29 September - Kyrgyzstan has become the sixty-fourth Contracting Party to the Convention on Road Traffic. The Convention on Road Traffic, which was done in Vienna in 1968, regulates all facets of driving behaviour, such as speed and distance between vehicles, intersections and obligation to give way. Moreover, it details the technical conditions for the admission of vehicles to international traffic and provides models of domestic and international driving permits. Recent amendments to the Convention, which entered into force earlier this year, include the prohibition of the use of handheld mobile phones while driving, the obligation for national legislation to define the content and conditions for theoretical and practical driving tests and the medical requirements for receiving a driving permit, and the recognition of the validity of an international driving permit only if presented with a valid national driving permit. The object of the latter proposal is to combat the fraudulent and dangerous sale of international permits over the Internet. (…)
Azerbaijan adheres to the CMR Convention
Geneva, 20 September - On 18 September 2006, Azerbaijan deposited with the UN Secretary-General an instrument of accession to the UNECE Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). This brings the total number of States Parties to the CMR to 50. The CMR will enter into force for Azerbaijan on 17 December 2006. The CMR Convention fixes the conditions for the contract for the carriage of goods by road between the forwarder and the carrier. In particular, it provides for the use of the consignment note and establishes the conditions for liability, for example in the case of loss of the goods or delays. (…)
India - Child brides can declare their marriage void
27 September - Girls under the age of 18 who are married without their consent will now be able to declare the marriage void, after the Indian Cabinet amended child marriage laws. The amendments will give girls the option of leaving a marriage without being treated as a divorcee in the eyes of the law. According to the amendments, husbands will still be bound to pay maintenance.
A meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to bring in Parliamentary legislation to repeal the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, popularly known as the Sharda Act, and introduce the Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill 2006. Sources said penal provisions have also been made stronger and the reworked legislation is likely to invite stricter punishment for those found participating in child marriage.
The practice of child marriage, linked to poverty and societal attitudes, has been prevalent in the country for decades. According to the 2001 Census, nearly 35 per cent of women in India are married between 15–18 years of age. Mr Reni Jacob, Advocacy Director, World Vision, said, “it is a good step towards abolition of child marriage. But we need to keep in mind the Indian culture and tradition, which does not allow girls to step out of marriage even in cases of child marriage. Society does not support these girls. Therefore tradition and culture also needs to change along with the law.” He added, “we need to build the capacity of the girls and equip them with knowledge about their rights and laws that will help them.”
Conference highlights human rights challenges in OSCE region
Warsaw, 2 October - The OSCE's annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting opened today in the Polish capital with a call for states to take up the challenge of fulfilling their commitments to uphold human rights. "Many could argue that we are witnessing an implementation crisis indicative of corroding political will in the face of new challenges," said Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in his opening remarks. "This meeting provides us with a reality check."
Among the challenges highlighted by the ODIHR Director were torture, inequality and discrimination, stifling of the media by authorities, trafficking in human beings and inadequate protection of victims, widespread suppression of human rights and harassment of human rights defenders, and election fraud. The conference, which will run from 2 through 13 October, will host around 1,000 participants, including representatives from more than 300 non-governmental organizations.
In addition to reviewing the progress made by the OSCE's 56 participating States in implementing their commitments in the broad fields of human rights and democratization, there will also be three days dedicated to the special topics of trafficking in human beings; access to justice; and promotion of tolerance, non-discrimination, and mutual respect and understanding.
Securing Equality, Engendering Peace: A Guide to Policy and Planning on Women, Peace and Security
What must be done in order to transform written words into reality? One of today’s greatest development challenges is turning policy into practice. This is especially the case in the realm of women’s rights and gender equality, where the commitments made at the international and national levels remain far from the day-to-day realities of women’s lives.
This guide examines one of the crucial steps on the path towards the full implementation of existing laws, namely the formulation and implementation of concrete policies and plans. More specifically, this guide concentrates on the creation of action plans on the issue of women, peace and security (WPS).
The purpose of this guide is to help facilitate the development of realistic action plans on women, peace and security through the provision of good practices, specific recommendations and a six-step model process. The guide is designed as a resource for governments, United Nations and regional organisations as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in developing plans and policies on women, peace and security issues..
http://www.wunrn.com Guide can be Downloaded from website link.
Afghanistan: Conference on Islam and humanitarian law
21 September - Forty-two religious leaders from 32 Afghan provinces took part in a conference on Islam and international humanitarian law held at the headquarters of the Afghan Red Crescent Society in Kabul from 18 to 20 September. During this event, organized jointly by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Afghan Red Crescent, similarities and differences between Islamic values and humanitarian law were discussed with a view to ensuring that the victims of the intensified conflict in Afghanistan were better protected and assisted. (…)
Basic rules of humanitarian law, like the obligation to protect wounded people, detainees and civilians and to come to the aid of war victims, were discussed with the religious leaders in the light of Islamic values. "Islam has rules similar to those of international humanitarian law. However, it has different sets of rules for different situations. The work the ICRC does to treat the wounded and sick, protect detainees and transport mortal remains is in accordance with the Islamic tradition," said Mufti Habib-ur-Rahman, lecturer at the Faculty of Theology in Khost, south-eastern Afghanistan.
By organizing this conference, the ICRC hoped to mobilize religious leaders in an effort to improve the protection of the Afghan population against the effects of conflict. From the three days of discussion it emerged that nothing in the essence of humanitarian law contradicted the basic rules of Sharia law. The ICRC stressed that everyone able to influence the plight of the population should constantly remind the warring parties of their obligation to respect the rules applicable to armed conflict. So far, as part of its ongoing dialogue with scholars and other intellectuals from the Muslim world, the ICRC has held three similar events. (…) The ICRC is planning to hold more events of the same kind in other parts of the Muslim world in the near future.
21 September - On 20 and 21 September, the ICRC provided humanitarian aid for 1,200 families living between Isiro and Mungbere, in the district of Haut-Uélé (Orientale province).
In 2003, with an armed conflict raging in the d'Isiro region, these families had fled their villages (Beli, Matoko, Kputu, Penge, Alegu, Koli, Dila and Nekalagba), all of which were situated on the front line, and sought refuge dozens of kilometres from their homes in makeshift cabins deep in the forest. Security conditions in this part of the country have been steadily improving since January 2006 and the villagers have started to return home.
After assessing the situation with a view to resuming its activities in the northern part of Orientale Province, the ICRC decided to help the displaced people meet their vital needs by providing them with kits containing essential items (blankets, clothing for children and adults, hoes, buckets, kitchen utensils and soap). By maintaining regular contact with the authorities, civil society and all those bearing arms, the ICRC will continue to closely monitor the situation of these families, as well as the security situation throughout the region. The ICRC reminds all the military forces and armed groups involved of the obligation they have under international humanitarian law to respect the civilian population. (…) http://www.icrc.org/
UN global study on violence against children will be launched in New York on October 11
In preparation for the media and public interest in this study, this series of newsletters aims to give a regional and national perspective to global findings, plus strategies and solutions for reducing violence against children in East Asia and the Pacific. In this issue, explore the repercussions of violence in cyberspace, where interventions to protect children are struggling to keep up with changes in technology.
Issue four: Violence against children in cyberspace
Children speak out: in Thailand, Paroon is concerned about the increasing number of children with access to new technologies
ECPAT is leading the push to recognise and act against this form of violence. Find out why cyberspace violence is just as real and damaging as violence in the physical world
Crossing borders to prosecute offenders: how new laws and priorities are helping to track down online child abusers Plus essential media tips and story ideas, opinions and interview opportunities, and recommended reading for journalists and researchers alike.
Link to online version: http://www.vaceastasiapacific.org/images/unvac_issue4cyber.pdf
Information on the global launch, October 11: http://www.violencestudy.org/r25
Courageous Jamaican and Montréal AIDS activists recognized
2006 Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights
(New York, September 28, 2006) — Gareth Williams, a leading AIDS activist and voice for the rights of sexual minorities in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean, is the recipient of the 2006 International Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch announced today. Stella, a Montréal-based support and information group organized by and for sex workers, is the recipient of the Canadian award.
The awards highlight outstanding individuals and organizations that protect the rights and dignity of those infected with HIV and affected by HIV and AIDS.
“Violent homophobia combined with misconceptions about HIV have created a poisonous environment for lesbians and gay men in Jamaica,” said Rebecca Schleifer, a researcher with Human Rights Watch’s HIV/AIDS Program. “Against enormous odds and at great risk to his own physical safety, Gareth Williams has been a courageous campaigner against human rights violations targeting lesbians, gay men and HIV-positive Jamaicans.” (…) http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/09/27/jamaic14270.htm
ECLAC Launches Project to Improve Social Statistics in the Caribbean
September 28 - All countries collect Census data and population statistics, but many use different methods and measurements, which makes it nearly impossible to accurately compare their information or social indicators. For years, regional experts have called on Caribbean nations to standardize and compile reliable statistics, and representatives from these countries have long asked for technical assistance in strengthening their capabilities. Such assistance will now be available, thanks to a new project by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), entitled "Improving Caribbean Household Surveys," a project which recently received a grant from the United States of America Department of State. The project aims to improve the comparison of social statistics produced in the Caribbean region through household surveys. It also seeks to ensure that the region's statistics can be compared according to international standards. (…) ECLAC's Caribbean Subregional Headquarters will be responsible for the management of the project, including monitoring, procurement of professional services and accounting. (…)
Faith-based investors act to catalyze Katrina/Rita reconstruction lending
No longer on the front pages, hard work of rebuilding continues
New York City, September 27 - In an effort to increase investments in the struggling Gulf Coast region, Jewish, Mennonite, and Catholic investors today called on the investment community to play a larger role in rebuilding homes and businesses after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The group, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, released a set of opportunities for investors, clients, and customers of Gulf Region community development financial institutions. (…) The report, available here, lists eight community development financial institutions in New Orleans, rural Louisiana, and Mississippi. It is not a comprehensive list of investing opportunities, but Dekro and his colleagues hope it will spur investors to do their own investigations and place funds to build desperately needed housing in the area. (…)
ICCR is a thirty-five-year-old international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors including denominations, religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations, foundations and dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated $110 billion. ICCR members utilize religious investments and other resources to change unjust or harmful corporate policies, working for peace, economic justice and stewardship of the Earth.
World summit at United Nations headquarters:
ECLAC Supports First-Ever High-Level Dialogue to Coordinate and Govern International Migration
15 September - In a globalized world, migration offers benefits and challenges for national economies, and various countries have found the need to make their policies compatible at an international level, so as to try to manage their international migration. To achieve such coordination, the United Nations has spent more than two years planning a General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, being held September 14-15th, at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Long awaited by many countries and regional commissions, this is an unprecedented opportunity for the exchange of ideas and experiences, which constitutes the equivalent of a world summit on migration. Representing the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is Dirk Jaspers-Faijer, Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE) - of ECLAC's Population Division. He will participate in meetings and present the commission's report, entitled International Migration, Human Rights and Development, available in Spanish, online. This document seeks to provide a framework for the elaboration of coherent policies, and for the monitoring and evaluation of its effects on migratory trends. It analyses the human rights situation of migrants, noting the need to ratify international instruments and train personnel for their implementation. It also analyses the impact of remittances on the economies of small states, their use and measurement, and the impact of such transfers on welfare and productivity.(…)
Africa harbors 17 million international migrants; but only five million Africans live outside
Addis Ababa, September 13 - About 17.1 million international migrants live in Africa, but only five million Africans live outside the continent, according to a new report by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched today as preliminary activities for the high level dialogue on migration and development kicked off in New York. The report, International Migration and Development: Implications for Africa says contemporary African immigrants with a divergent range of skills ---medicines, engineering, education, research and nursing --- are increasingly establishing themselves in North America, Europe and the Gulf states, remitting billions of dollars to their home countries. An increasing number of skilled and professional African women are joining the migration streams previously dominated by men. “For instance,” says the report, “approximately 33.7 percent of sub-Saharan African physicians currently practicing in the United States are women.” “The growing feminization of migration is a key pathway to reducing gender inequality, reducing poverty and enhancing women’s economic security,” it says. International migration directly impacts level of poverty and promotes development. Citing studies, the report says that a 10 per cent increase in the share of international migrants in a country’s population could lead to a 1.9 percent decline in the number of people living in poverty. It also says that a 10 percent increase in the share of international remittances in a country’s GDP will lead to a 1.6 percent decline in the share of people living in poverty. The report adds that up to 40 percent of Somalis benefit from remittances and that poverty would increase by about 15 percent in Lesotho if migrant workers in South African mines were to stop sending money home.
Global festivities to celebrate World Food Day
Rome to host new Run-for-Food event
Rome, 19 September - Among the events taking place in over 150 countries to mark this year’s World Food Day on 16 October 2006, will be a five kilometre Run-for-Food race through Rome’s historical centre. Heading off from the stadium next to FAO headquarters, the event will take place on Sunday 15 October, and cover the area around the Circus Maximus, Piazza Venezia and the Roman Colosseum, with between 2000 and 5000 participants expected to join the race. Participants will also be able to take part in an international food fair and a cultural presentation involving folkloric groups.
Every year, World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 to mark the anniversary of the founding of FAO in 1945. This year, the World Food Day observance at FAO headquarters will include a musical presentation by an FAO Goodwill Ambassador; a keynote address by a high-level guest speaker, a papal message and a presentation of the World Food Day and FAO Goodwill Ambassadors video messages. The theme of World Food Day this year is “Investing in agriculture for food security”, recalling that in spite of the importance of agriculture as the driving force in the economies of many developing countries, this vital sector is frequently starved of investment. In particular, foreign aid to agriculture has shown marked declines over the past 20 years. (…)
Spain contributes to UNDP's development work
New York – Spain’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajίn, joined United Nations Development Programme Administrator Kemal Dervis today in signing into effect a new series of agreements for cooperative work on development. The accords secure contributions by Spain to trust funds to support democratic governance; poverty reduction; adoption of cutting-edge information technologies in service of development; and the incorporation of women’s empowerment into national and regional development policy. In addition, a new regional trust fund to support development in Latin America comes in effect with today’s signing. Pajίn and Dervis also signed an agreement to strengthen a strategic alliance with national and regional governments and the UN to promote initiatives based on the Millennium Development Goals. Additional accords signed earlier this summer support electoral processes in Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritania. (…)
MDG Media Awards to be launched in Kathmandu, Nepal
UNESCAP- UNDP-ADB initiative recognizes distinguished reporting
AIBD to act as project secretariat
United Nations Information Services Bangkok, 22 September – The first media awards of its kind in the region designed to recognize distinguished reporting on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), will be launched by UNESCAP, UNDP and ADB on 11 October in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Awards will be open to broadcast producers and journalists in print, radio and television media covering the Asia-Pacific region. The Awards carry a prize of US$7,000 for first prize winners, and a US$2,000 prize for runners up. They are being announced as part of a South Asian MDG Forum to be held in Kathmandu from 11-12 October. The prizes will be awarded during UNESCAP’s 63rd Commission Session scheduled for April 2007. “The media has an important role in promoting and communicating the MDGs to the general public,” notes UN Under-Secretary-General and UNESCAP Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su. “UNESCAP hopes that the MDG Media Awards will encourage increased MDG reporting in the Asia Pacific region and show the human face behind the efforts being made to meet the 2015 deadline.” The MDG Media Awards aim to generate better awareness and understanding of the MDGs among journalists and to recognize their contribution in advocating for the MDGs. They are part of a tripartite initiative between the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). (…)
The power of information - closing the knowledge gap
FAO’s AGORA initiative widens access to agricultural research by more countries
Rome, 27 September – Over 100 of the world’s poorest countries will now be able to access leading food and agriculture journals for little or no cost with the launch of the second phase of the Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) initiative, FAO announced today.
AGORA is a successful public-private partnership between FAO, 37 of the world’s leading science publishers and other key partners including the World Health Organization and Cornell University. Introduced in 2003 and providing access to 69 low-income countries, AGORA today expands to include universities, colleges, research institutes and government ministries as well as non-governmental organizations in an additional 37 lower-middle-income countries.
AGORA responds to the needs of thousands of students, researchers and academics in poorer countries, who continue to face challenges accessing up-to-date information which is vital to their work. “We have seen from the first phase of this initiative that there is increasing demand for access to vital information by poorer countries. In less than three years, AGORA has already helped bridge the knowledge gap by providing 850 institutions access to over 900 journals in the areas of agriculture and related subjects,” notes Anton Mangstl, Director of FAO’s Library and Documentation Systems Division.(…) AGORA is making an important contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by providing essential information to improve the livelihoods of those who need it most.
World Social Forum: what they'll talk about in 2007
By Joyce Mulama
September 6 - With dozens, if not hundreds of organisations likely to attend next year's World Social Forum (WSF) -- and almost as many issues clamouring to be addressed there -- nailing down a programme for the Jan. 20-25 event promises to be a daunting task. Nonetheless, organisers of the event are starting to do just that this week according to the website of the WSF, which is to be held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The programme will be shaped around information that participating groups were asked to provide by Aug. 30 about their aims and work, which can be viewed on the forum's site.
The Nairobi gathering will mark the first instance in which Africa is the sole host of the WSF. While the first-ever forum to be held on the continent took place earlier this year in the Malian capital, Bamako, it formed part of what was dubbed a "polycentric" WSF, which also saw meetings being staged in Caracas, Venezuela -- and the Pakistani financial centre of Karachi. (…)
A quick glance at the organisations that have submitted profiles to the WSF reveals a wide array of interests and activities, from ensuring that the African Union provides real solutions to the problems affecting the continent (Global Unification Africa, based in Addis Ababa) to including human rights and environmental issues in South Africa's education system (Rhodes University Environmental Education and Sustainability Unit). (…)
Clinton Global Initiative Results In Over $7 Billion in Pledges for Global Problems
by Kathryn Antony
Last week, former president Bill Clinton hosted the second annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Manhattan, an event that brought together over one thousand global leaders from business, politics, academia, science, religion, and non-governmental organizations, including numerous Heads of State and CEOs from major international corporations. The attendees had in common a desire to identify concrete and practical solutions to the many challenges facing today's global community, and the willingness to commit to begin effecting change in one of this year's focus areas: energy and climate change, global health, poverty alleviation, and religious and ethnic conflict. The conference was structured around a three-day series of lectures and panel discussions, designed to promote critical examination of these issues and deliberation of applied and immediate steps towards long-term solutions. Throughout the conference attendees pledged to make a specific commitment to working in one of the focus areas. By the third day 215 commitments had been made totaling more than $7.3 billion. Read more...
Blankets: a little something more for the vulnerable in Chad
By Thibault Mayaud, Secadev (Caritas Chad)
Vatican City, 29 September – The “Vulnerable”: in humanitarian lingo, this refers to the elderly, children who have been orphaned or separated from their parents, and people who are mentally or physically handicapped. In the midst of a population whose fate is anything but enviable, these are the people who have an even greater need for special care and attention.
“When we do the food distributions, we help them to gain access to the distribution corridors, or we just go to get their rations for them,” said Marie Funda, head of the socio-community sector at the Kounoungou camp for displaced people, managed by Secadev, the national Caritas in Chad. In this way, the most vulnerable do not have to be subjected to this trying but necessary monthly exercise. (…)
This time, the vulnerable are receiving blankets, which are supplied by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and are distributed in different areas of the camp over five or six days, since often the vulnerable groups have limited mobility. Other times, the gift is a distribution of pieces of soap, or the colorful veils which Sudanese women drape themselves in invariably, depending on what is coming in from Secadev’s partner agencies. But during the present rainy season, when the nights are cool and even during the day the temperature can suddenly fall, there’s nothing more needed than a warm blanket.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in over 200 countries and territories.
Iraq: Relief for needy families
28 September - During the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the ICRC is distributing food parcels for destitute families in Iraq.
It has already delivered 3,660 parcels – each sufficient to cover the needs of a family of five for a month – to various charitable institutions in the country. Almost half the parcels went to Sunni and Shiite Waqfs (religious endowments) in Baghdad.
The ICRC is also delivering relief goods to displaced people and others in need. Since June, in cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, it has been distributing such items as food parcels, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, jerrycans and blankets to 5,000 families every month, and it will continue to do so until November. In all, 30,000 families will benefit.
Counterpart ships essentials in wake of Ecuador quake
Washington, September 24 – Erupting several times this summer and pouring almost eight million tons of ash across farmlands and small towns dotting its mountainside, Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano reminded residents why its name in native Quechua means "throat of fire".
Responding to survivors' most urgent needs for breathing masks, goggles, eye drops, bronchodilators and other medications, Counterpart International is mobilizing its extensive donor network and strong humanitarian response team to provide the urgently needed items in collaboration with Ecuador Mi Pais (EMP), the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington DC, and the Ecuadorian Mission to the United Nations. (…)
More than 5,000 homes were destroyed in 10 villages, killing at least five. Many in the highland region are impoverished indigenous families, many of whom fled with their belongings strapped to their backs and their livestock trailing behind, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). While the volcano's activity is reported to have decreased in intensity, it remains highly active with the possibility of further eruptions. (…)
Toys, love and a future for vulnerable children in Panama
by Cristina Estrada in Panama
28 September 2006 - Coquito left for Spain nearly two years ago when he was adopted by a Spanish family. He was four years old and had been in the Red Cross for three years. Since then, his brothers and sisters shout ‘bye, bye Coquito’ and wave enthusiastically whenever a plane passes overhead.
The Panamanian Red Cross has been managing this home for abandoned or under protection children aged up to four years since 1964. It was given the premises by the government, although the programme itself started nearly 80 years ago. (…) Twenty children currently live in the home. Here, they get food, clothes, health care and education. Most important of all, they get affection. Twenty-three staff, including nurses, teachers and cooks, work with the children.
Some of the children arrive with nutritional problems and respiratory illnesses; most are longing for affection. “Some of them take time to let you get closer,” says Rosemarie Villareal, one of the daytime nurses. “Yet they are all craving affection and a sense of belonging.”
Each child is different. Their character and needs are different and each of them comes with a past, despite their young years. All have a thorough medical check up when they arrive and are reviewed regularly. Every new-comer changes the dynamic of the group so there is continuous readjustment. The best outcome for these children is to be adopted and the Panamanian Red Cross works hard to find them a family. (…)
Intelsat announces seventh consecutive year of charitable involvement with TeleFood campaign
Live broadcast of the "Música vs. Hambre" concert
Rome/Washington D.C., 20 September - For the seventh consecutive year, Intelsat is supporting the fight against hunger by providing satellite capacity for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s global solidarity concerts. The September concert, called “Música vs. Hambre”, is part of FAO’s annual worldwide TeleFood campaign dedicated to helping to reduce the number of hungry people in the world. FAO is one of the largest specialized agencies in the United Nations system and is the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. Intelsat is donating satellite capacity to enable a live broadcast of the concert throughout targeted countries in Latin America. The concert will take place in Asunción, Paraguay on Thursday September 21, 2006. Information on the event and artists featured can be found at:
Humanitarian operations phasing down as Lebanon recovery moves ahead
New York, 28 September - Lebanon is making speedy progress towards recovery following the destructive conflict between Israel and Hizbollah this summer, as signalled by tomorrow’s planned handover of the role of coordinator of international activities in southern Lebanon from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ahead of the official end of humanitarian operations on 24 October 2006, United Nations agencies are preparing to close down or transition their activities to relevant Government authorities or development agencies. The World Food Programme (WFP), which as the logistics cluster lead has been arranging cargo movements within Lebanon, will wind up those operations by 15 October. (…) On the water and sanitation front, the focus of activities has shifted to providing support for the Government and municipal water authorities rebuilding storage tanks, water lines and pumping stations. (…) Coordination of demining activities will continue through the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) in southern Lebanon. To date, some 592 cluster bomb strike locations have been identified, and 40,000 cluster sub-munitions and other pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been cleared. (…) A team of ten United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) experts is due to arrive on 30 September to conduct a post-conflict environmental mission, which will look at key environmental hazards including waste rubble, medical and industrial waste, coastal marine pollution, asbestos, and ground water contamination.(…)
Milestone reached in arms-destruction project in Ukraine
Project represents collaboration between NATO and Partnership for Peace program
Washington, 22 September - The controlled destruction of 1,000 Ukrainian shoulder-fired missiles was completed on September 20, the State Department says. The destruction of these arms, formally known as man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), took place outside the city of Shostka, Ukraine, according to a September 21 State Department announcement. This is only the first installment in a project to destroy weapons and munitions that will take 12 years to complete.
Ukraine is collaborating with NATO as part of a Partnership for Peace Trust Fund initiative. It is the largest multilateral project of its kind, according to the announcement. The Partnership for Peace program (PfP) involves practical bilateral cooperation between individual countries and NATO. It allows PfP countries to establish an individualized relationship with the alliance, choosing their own priorities for joint cooperation ventures. (…) http://usinfo.state.gov/
ACT members working together
By Jenny Williams, ACT International
Kitgum District, Northern Uganda, 25 September - In the district of Kitgum in Northern Uganda, a region of the country ravaged by 20 years of rebel warfare, the scale of operations required to assist the 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) means that coordination between non-governmental organizations is an important part of providing effective aid.
“Two heads are better than one” - In Kitgum, the relationship between the Church of Uganda (CoU) and the Uganda country program of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is an example of this "meeting of minds." Both the Kitgum diocese of CoU (working through CoU’s Plan for Development and Rehabilitation) and the LWF Uganda’s Kitgum project receive support from members of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International through ACT Appeal AFUG61 - Assistance to IDPs in Northern Uganda.
Coordination and cooperation among ACT members - In Uganda and other countries around the world where ACT is providing for the needs of people caught in emergencies, these principles of cooperation are emphasized over and over. Where there is more than one ACT member in a country, the members are urged to coordinate their efforts in responding to emergencies. (…)
Hilton Humanitarian Prize goes to Women For Women International that aids women survivors in conflict areas with emotional, economic, leadership training support
$1.5 million prize to be used for safe permanent women’s centers
Operates in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Los Angeles,September 12 – Women for Women International, a leading force in helping women in war and conflict areas move from crisis and poverty to stability and self sufficiency, has been selected to receive the 2006 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation presents the annual award, the world’s largest humanitarian prize, to an organization that significantly alleviates human suffering. (…)
Founded in 1993 by Zainab Salbi, herself a survivor of war and conflict in Iraq, Women for Women International today works with women survivors of wars and conflicts in nine countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Kosovo, Colombia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Picking up where humanitarian aid leaves off, Women for Women International has served more than 70,000 women and distributed approximately $28 million in direct aid and micro-credit loans, assisting 380,000 family members. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., field offices are staffed almost entirely by country nationals. (…)
Stepping into new life with the Jaipur Foot
New Delhi, 1 October - A prosthetic limb costing no more than $30 made and developed in India is transforming lives in battle-torn Lebanon, giving those crippled in the devastating war another chance. And that’s just what the Jaipur Foot has been doing for years, not only in India but also in trouble spots like Afghanistan and as far away as the Honduras.
The eponymous Jaipur Foot, named after the capital of India’s desert state of Rajasthan, was developed in 1968 and has since helped many hundreds of thousands of people the world over. Its main features are its lightness and mobility. Apart from helping in walking, those who wear it are able to climb trees, ride bicycles and drive cars. It is ridiculously cheap compared to the thousands of dollars a prosthetic would cost in the United States, for instance. Sublimely low tech, it is made mostly of rubber, wood and aluminium and can be can be fitted in just over an hour. (…) The Jaipur Foot is attached free of cost at the premises of the NGO, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti (BMVSS) in Jaipur, which was established in 1975. The rehabilitation centre has so far benefited over a million people. In June this year, a two-member team from the BMVSS conducted a preliminary camp in Beirut where they fitted the Jaipur Foot on 22 Lebanese who had lost their legs in landmine explosions. (…)
Children pay the price for lack of safe water and sanitation
UNICEF report says progress made, but more needed to prevent the deaths of more than 1.5 million children under five each year
New York, 28 September – More than 1.2 billion people have gained access to safe water since 1990, according to Progress for Children: A Report Card on Water and Sanitation, launched today by UNICEF. The report charts progress towards Millennium Development Goal seven which includes the target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Between 1990 and 2004, global coverage of safe drinking water rose from 78 per cent to 83 per cent. Latin America and the Caribbean and the South Asia regions will meet the drinking water target almost ten years early. (…)
Examining sanitation, the report finds that an estimated 1.2 billion people have gained access to basic sanitation since 1990, with global coverage rising from 49 per cent to 59 per cent. In South Asia, access to improved sanitation more than doubled between 1990 and 2004. In East Asia and the Pacific, the proportion of people with basic sanitation rose from 30 per cent to more than 50 per cent. (…) While the world is on track to meet the water target, progress could be impaired if the provision of safe water to the world’s poorest communities is not made a priority. Sanitation is a much greater challenge. Despite significant gains, the world is not on track to meet the MDG target for sanitation. In South Asia, for example, two out of three people still lack basic sanitation. The report says that the benefits of improved drinking water and sanitation are evident and could be extended to many more of the world’s people, if only sufficient resources and resolve were dedicated to the task.
Ethiopia can beat its biggest killer with historic push
Addis Ababa, 28 September - For the first time in history, Ethiopia has a chance of beating its biggest killer - malaria, UNICEF Ethiopia country representative, Bjorn Ljungqvist, said today. “We now have an historic opportunity to get on top of malaria. We can make this killer disease as manageable as measles and other childhood conditions in the West,” said Ljungqvist. “This is an opportunity that we must not miss.” He spoke as the Ethiopian government launched Africa’s biggest ever push against the disease which infects nine million Ethiopians a year and can kill more than 100,000 Ethiopians – many of them young children - in a matter of months during an epidemic. It is the unprecedented scale of the multi-million-dollar operation that is giving Ethiopia its once-in-a-lifetime chance, said Ljungqvist. The Ethiopian government, supported by several development organizations, is launching an overwhelming three-pronged attack on malaria.(…) “Ethiopia is managing to mount this level of response due to two main factors,” said Ljungqvist. “There is the strong commitment of the government’s Ministry of Health. And there is the commitment of key funders like the Canadian International Development Agency, the World Bank, USAID, the Government of Japan, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. At UNICEF we are proud to be a key player in this effort.” But he warned key challenges lay ahead. “We need to make sure that funders keep up their focus on malaria. “We need continued support for the hard-to-fund parts of any malaria campaign – the monitoring & evaluation and the general management costs to run such a large operation.” Contrary to one incorrect media report earlier this week, malaria control is rolling out across Ethiopia as planned, and efforts are in place to ensure that all supplies, including anti-malaria drugs, are utilized efficiently and correctly.
Uganda: New pharmacy for Kitgum Government Hospital
28 September - The ICRC has just finished building a new pharmacy and storeroom for the 185-bed Kitgum Government Hospital in conjunction with the Ministry of Health. The construction work, which cost 25,000 US dollars, lasted three months and was funded by the ICRC. After today's inauguration, hospital staff will be trained in pharmacy and stock management to improve the delivery of health services in this medical facility. (…) Kitgum Government Hospital and St. Joseph Missionary Hospital are the only two referral hospitals for the 300,000 inhabitants of Kitgum district, 80 per cent of whom live in camps for the internally displaced.
The ICRC will continue to provide support for seven hospitals in Pader, Gulu and Kitgum districts. It is currently assisting a total of 700,000 displaced persons in 65 camps in the conflict-affected districts of northern Uganda. http://www.icrc.org/
ADRA’s HIV and AIDS Street Theater educates migrant workers in China
Silver Spring, Maryland—The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is raising HIV and AIDS awareness among migrant workers and other vulnerable groups with a successful street theater project in Chifeng City, in eastern Inner Mongolia.
The first AIDS cases were reported in Beijing, China, in 1985. According to a 2006 report published by the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, there are 650,000 people living with HIV in China, including 75,000 living with AIDS. (…)
Through drama and music, the street theater performances educate migrant workers and other at-risk groups about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and other infectious diseases. Audience members also receive informational materials on HIV and AIDS.
Performances are held in several locations around Chifeng City. The theater project, which runs through December 2006, held the first performance this past March. A group of trained volunteers interviewed 275 audience members before and after the show. The volunteers reported a substantial increase among the attendees—56 percent—in awareness and knowledge of HIV and AIDS and how to protect themselves and others from the disease. (…) http://www.interaction.org/newswire/detail.php?id=5441
Global Bioenergy Partnership Secretariat up, running
Will promote move to bioenergy
Rome, 25 September - The Secretariat of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), launched at the 14th Session of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development in May 2006 in New York to promote the use of bioenergy, opened for business here this week. Located at FAO headquarters and supported by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, the Secretariat’s mandate is to facilitate a global political forum to promote bioenergy and to encourage the production, marketing and use of “green” fuels, with particular focus on developing countries. The Secretariat will be the principal coordinator of Partnership communications and activities and will assist international exchanges of know-how and technology, promote supportive policy frameworks and identify ways of fostering investments and removing barriers to the development and implementation of joint projects.(…)
The Partnership’s overall aim is to respond to the growing need to develop renewable energy sources in the light of high oil prices, global warming and concerns about diminishing fossil fuel reserves. FAO has always actively promoted biofuels as a means of reducing poverty while producing clean, low-cost energy. Given the right technologies, an abundant energy supply could be tapped by converting biomass such as crop residues, grass, straw and brushwood into fuel, while crops like sugar cane, corn and soybeans are already being used to produce ethanol or bio-diesel.(…) Italy and Mexico were respectively appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair of GBEP’s Steering Committee for the next two years.
Solar cooking spreads in Somalia
The organization Sun Fire Cooking is promoting Chinese solar concentrating cookers in northeastern Somalia. In 2003, 14 of these high-temperature "butterfly" style cookers were purchased and tested by households in the town of Bosaso, and user feedback was positive. The families, each with eight or more members, use the solar cookers to cook lunch and evening meals. One user said that her monthly charcoal usage dropped from 100 kg of charcoal each month to about 25 kg. Several others in the community expressed interest in purchasing solar cookers.
With funding from the United Nations, and in partnership with the NGO Horn Relief, Sun Fire Cooking recently distributed solar cookers to all 550 households in the small fishing village of Bander Beyla on the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. (Bander Beyla was damaged by the 2004 tsunami.) A team of 12 individuals, led by Shukria Dini, assembled and distributed the cookers, and trained the new solar cooks. Several families have shared stories of improved quality of life with solar cooking. One young woman commented that her fuel savings allow her to send her 10-year-old daughter to school. Another solar cook reported improved health due to reduced smoke exposure. In some parts of town the cookers are in constant use, while in other areas they mostly sit idle. Project leaders expect usage rates to increase as the solar squad makes additional follow-up visits to households. Sun Fire Cooking is planning for expansion to three additional coastal villages, including Dhuur and El-Didhir.
Liberian forestry sector emerges after 14 years of conflict and mismanagement
First-ever forestry policy for Liberia
Rome, 5 October - Liberia passed a new forestry law last night, opening a new era for the Liberian forestry sector after a long period of mismanagement and exploitation of forest resources to fuel conflict. The new legislation will allow the implementation of Liberia’s first-ever forestry policy, which FAO helped develop with numerous international partners through the Liberia Forest Initiative. (…) Forest resources in Liberia are important to its economy and amount to 47 percent of its land. In the late 1990s, their contribution to the gross domestic product amounted to about 20 percent and accounted for over 50 percent of the country's export earnings. (…)
The policy balances the community, conservation and commercial uses of Liberia’s forests to produce a range of goods and services for the benefit of all Liberians. It recognizes the importance of community involvement in forestry, which did not exist before. It emphasizes the importance of good governance. Its objective is to give more equitable access to forest resources to reduce the potential for future conflict. The policy is expected to maximize forestry’s contribution to income, employment, trade and the national development of Liberia.
Combatants of global desertification win key environment prize
Winners of 2006 United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Prize Announced
Nairobi, 28 September – The daily struggle of billions of people living in the world’s drylands is being recognized through the awarding of a key environment prize to two grassroots initiatives. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today that Rodrigo Vivas Rosas of Colombia and the Tenadi Cooperative Group of Mauritania will be the recipients of the 2006 UNEP Sasakawa Prize. The co-winners, who will receive their awards next month, are being honored for their achievements in combating desertification and land degradation—a major local and global problem that threatens the lives and livelihoods of two billion people inhabiting the planet’s dry and arid areas. The award underlines that many of the solutions to overcoming the global threat of desertification reside in the hands of local grassroots communities and indigenous peoples, including women and small-scale farmers. (…)
The new UNEP Sasakawa Prize, worth US$200,000 is awarded annually. The Prize, considered one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the world, recognizes innovative research and ideas and extraordinary grassroots initiatives from around the world. Each laureate’s scope of activities is associated with an environmental theme selected for the year. In 2006, the theme was ‘Deserts and Desertification’. The winners will receive the Prize from the Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, on 30 October 2006 at a special ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History, Rose Center for Earth and Space, in New York, USA.
Religion and spirituality
Universal Peace Meditation – One million people in Sri Lanka and worldwide
One million people are expected to gather in the sacred city of Anuradhapura on the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday to help create a critical mass of spiritual consciousness for world peace and loving kindness to all. Organised by the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement, friends of peace around the world are invited to link in during the actual time of the meditation which is from 7.30 – 10.30 pm GMT. Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, Founder-President of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, asserts that the underlying principles of this effort are:
1. A critical mass of spiritual consciousness can be created when over one million people join together in a spiritual process. 2. This critical mass can influence the consciousness of people throughout the world towards inner peace. 3. Along with inner peace, outer peace can also be created in the world by transforming the consciousness of people in more than 35 war-torn nations. 4. The objective of this event is not only to bring peace in the minds of people and in society, but also to bring about a dynamic equilibrium in our own planet and in the planetary system as a whole.
The 15,000 Sarvodaya villages are already being mobilised for this event. Each of these villages across the country will form a team of ten people. The groups will coordinate their daily individual meditation, their weekly collective meditation and monthly mass meditation programmes where over 10,000 participate.
Week of Prayer for World Peace – October 22-29
Since its founding in 1974 the Week of Prayer for World Peace has become a global inter-faith initiative, guided by the principle: The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world. We are convinced that there is only one humanity that prays, and only one Divinity that we pray to, whatever different opinions we may have about that one Divinity.
The Millennium Resolution
Let there be respect for the Earth,
Peace for its people, Love in our lives,
Delight in the good, Forgiveness of past wrongs,
And from now on, A new start.
The International Prayer For Peace
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
25th Anniversary Commemoration of 1981 UN Declaration on Religion or Belief
Saturday, November 25, 2006 - Prague, Czech Republic
The 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief reaches the 25th anniversary of its adoption on 25 November 2006. The Declaration remains pivotal to taking forward freedom of religion or belief internationally. 25 years on, it remains the only international human rights instrument exclusively focused on the matter of religion or belief.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Religion or Belief is the only UN mechanism (instead of international mechanism) exclusively focused on the matter of religion or belief. The 1981 Declaration is central to the legal framework in which she operates. The event to be held In Prague, on 25th November 2006, represents the official, international commemoration of the adoption of the United Nations 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The event has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (…) The day's program will include workshops on key thematic areas that continue to challenge the realisation of the Declaration's norms the world over: Protection of Religion or Belief vis-à-vis Freedom of Expression, Change of Religion or Belief - Enabling the Environment, Protection of Religion or Belief - Who benefits?, and Propagation of Religion or Belief.
Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program to hold first graduation event
Bangkok, Thailand, September 28 – The inaugural class of the Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Chulalongkorn University will graduate in a special ceremony at 3 p.m., Sept. 29. Among the government officials and dignitaries expected to attend is former Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Bhichai Rattakul, a past president of Rotary International.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, there will be a public seminar at Chulalongkorn Main Auditorium at 8:30 a.m., Sep.28 in which the graduates will present the conflict analysis projects they completed during the course of their studies. The seminar is open to the public and the press and will provide a revealing look at the core purpose of the program.
The Rotary-sponsored peace program conducted at Chulalongkorn University is designed to build conflict resolution skills for promising leaders and professionals who have extensive experiences in various fields relating to peace and conflict. The program offers an intensive, three-month curriculum developed by international and regional experts on peace and conflict studies.
The inaugural graduates of the program are a diverse group of 15 men and women from 11 countries. The class included mid- to upper-level government workers, officials from non-governmental organizations, educators, military and law enforcement officers, lawyers, media professionals and union leaders. (…)
The Peace and Conflict Studies program courses are taught in English. Participants earn a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies from Chulalongkorn University and The Rotary Foundation. Individuals interested in future sessions should contact their local Rotary clubs or email Bangkok.PeaceStudies@rotary.org for more information. Applications are currently being accepted for the July 2007 and succeeding sessions. Additional information, including profiles of participants, is available at www.rotarychula.org
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in nearly 170 countries.
Senegalese Koranic school children get learning support from Counterpart International
Dakar, Senegal, September 27 – Thanks to a US$250,000 grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Embassy in Senegal, Counterpart International is expanding its school lunch program to Koranic schools, allowing more children to attend classes while also improving learning conditions at the schools. Counterpart, in partnership with Senegal's Ministry of Education, will expand the traditional curriculum in Koranic schools to include basic mathematics and trilingual education in Arabic, French and local languages. (…)
Koranic schools, with their Islamic heritage, are the primary form of education available to poor children in Senegal. But these schools are often ill-equipped to provide their students – called talibes – with an adequate and modern education. To improve the learning environment, Counterpart and the local communities will work together to design the children's education, which includes vocational training. In an effort to promote healthy practices throughout the entire community, Counterpart will also provide basic education and training in hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention and care. (…)
Pakistan: 'Catch-up' kids saved from permanent school expulsion
by Dana Palade and John Schenk - World Vision Pakistan Communications
27 September - One hundred and forty teenagers recently resumed school after World Vision-sponsored “catch up” classes saved them from being permanently expelled from the education system. The school system recommended their expulsion after they displayed aggressive behaviour and performed poorly in the year following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that devastated northern Pakistan on 8 October, 2005. (…)
Staff became aware of the intended expulsions last June when they were invited to year-end school ceremonies. They intervened and asked school officials for the chance to bring the students up to academic standards as well as work on their disruptive attitudes. The students studied two hours a day and spent another two hours daily in psychosocial exercises built around creative and recreational activities plus one-on-one discussions with child protection officers.
The programme was built on existing staff, gift-in-kind school supplies and play materials from the 17 existing child friendly spaces (CFSs). No additional costs were entailed. Sixty girls and 80 boys attended the classes. (…)
25th Gandhi Week
Gandhi – The Map to Non-Violence
25 years ago we committed to the example Gandhi offered to all of those who had a true drive for peace, for understanding human diversity, and for the need to make coexistence a healthier and more comforting experience.
Many of the initiatives presently led by the civil society, and several academic programs and subjects created in universities, which aim at training us for dialogue, peaceful conflict resolution, and cultural diversity based on multiplicity of values have Gandhi as their conceptual basis or inspiration. The Bank for the Poor, the peasant and craft cooperatives, solidary economy, ecovilleges and other such initiatives have spread around the world inspired by Gandhi’s experiences in rural and deprived areas of his homeland.
The 25th Gandhi Week organized by Associação Palas Athena will involve over 5000 children, 1000 teachers of the governmental network of schools, health and educational governmental institutions, human rights organizations, artists, social actors, over 30 NGOs, and the public in general - all of them with free entrance. Various programs will be held during October in various cities.
School kits operation has started in Djibouti for the third consecutive edition
Djibouti, 21 September – UNICEF, USAID and the Ministry of Education jointly launched the third consecutive school kits distribution in Djibouti City. This distribution will reach over 32,000 children all over the country. “The kits mean a lot to the children, in part because school supplies are an essential component of education but also because these kits provide much joy to school going children,” said UNICEF Djibouti Representative, Aloys Kamurgiye. (…) The distribution aims at directly supporting parents by providing school kits for every child thus ensuring greater child enrollment and reintegration. The Minister of Education stressed that parents who have financial difficulties and are often obliged to take their children out of school will now be able to keep their children in school. He added that the collaboration between his department, USAID and UNICEF is a success. (…)
Global Youth Survey explores perspectives on social, cultural identity
Over 3,000 young people in 100 countries respond
Newton, Mass, USA, September 19 - According to a new survey asking young people worldwide about their social and cultural beliefs, most identified themselves as members of a “global community,” citizens of a broader multicultural world, concerned about the problems of the planet.
The World Youth Identity and Citizenship Survey, developed by the Our World Alliance, was intended to capture youth thoughts regarding their community and sense of belonging, their political and economic beliefs, and their social and cultural experiences. More than 3,300 young people age 24 or younger took the survey in 100 countries, in every major region of the world, with most responses from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia/New Zealand, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The administration of the survey was coordinated by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) in collaboration with the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and translated into eight languages, with most responses gathered via the Internet. (…)
The survey results indicated that those who viewed themselves as a member of the global community tended to be: older, more educated, and able to access the Internet. In fact, access to the Internet had a substantial impact on global citizenship scores and classification.
Respondents were also asked to rank the greatest problems faced by the world today. Most believed the three biggest problems to be poverty, terrorism, and AIDS and other diseases. Respondents believed that the strongest obstacles to world peace are: world leaders cannot agree with one another, too much inequality in living standards, and lack of opportunities for people to get to understand one another. (…)
1st African, Caribbean and Pacific Festival – 14 to 21 October, Santo Domingo
For the first time in its history, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States is organizing a Cultural Festival, which will showcase the cultural creativity and productivity of its 79 Member States. The 1st ACP Festival will be held in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) from 14 to 21 October 2006 and preceded by the 2nd meeting of ACP Ministers of Culture, scheduled for 13 October 2006. It is an opportunity for the ACP Group to invite the world to discover its cultural diversity.
The 1st ACP Festival is presented as the ”Festival of ACP Festivals”. During the course of one week, visitors, cultural operators, artists and culture professionals will have the opportunity to discover the rich cultural diversity and the artistic and cultural creativity of the 6 regions of the ACP Group. (…) The proliferation of cultural Festivals and operators, the increased involvement of Governments in cultural activities, and the interest of professional networks and international markets in ACP artists and cultural products, are all indicative of an evolving sector.
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Next issue: 27 October 2006.
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