Good News Agency – Year VIII, n° 11



Weekly - Year VIII, number 11 – 14th September 2007

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



Human rightsEconomy and developmentSolidarity

Peace and securityHealthEnergy and SafetyEnvironment and wildlife

Religion and spiritualityCulture and education

Editorial - 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference: Climate Change: How It Impacts Us All



Human rights



Mairin Iwanka Raya: Indigenous Women Stand Against Violence

A Companion Report to the United Nations Secretary General's Study on Violence Against Women

“Mairin Iwanka Raya: Indigenous Women Stand Against Violence” is a report of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI). It reflects FIMI’s efforts to develop effective strategies to combat violence against Indigenous women, and to bridge the gaps between the global women’s movement and the international Indigenous women’s movement. The report puts forward an Indigenous conceptualisation of gender-based on violence. It reflects the fruitful  result of efforts by Indigenous women around the world, highlights promising practices in research, political mobilization, and community organizing, and describes future challenges to guarantee (...) the right to a life free from violence. (...)

“Mairin Iwanka Raya: Indigenous Women Stand Against Violence” unites generations of Indigenous women from all over the world with a single purpose: to strengthening [their] ability to stand against violence and win our individual and collective rights to a life free of violence in all its dimensions.


Indonesia: ICRC and Ministry of Law and Human Rights host joint seminar on Additional Protocols

Jakarta, September 4 (ICRC)  – To mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 1949, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Indonesian ministry of law and human rights are hosting a two-day seminar on the “Additional Protocols”. These Additional Protocols are key instruments of international humanitarian law that aim to mitigate the impact of armed conflict on civilians.

The seminar brings together government officials, members of political parties, parliamentarians, military personnel, police, academics and legal experts from different ministries for a debate on how best to integrate key elements of IHL into national legislation. Discussions will focus on such vital issues as the prosecution of war crimes and limiting the use of weapons that cause unnecessary suffering. Georges Paclisanu, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Jakarta, pointed out at the opening ceremony how important it was to “entrench through ratification the existing laws designed to protect people affected by conflict".

In addition to raising awareness of IHL and promoting its implementation, ICRC activities in Indonesia include making regular visits to people arrested in relation to conflict or other types of violence, supporting physical rehabilitation services in areas of conflict or tension and working with the Indonesian Red Cross Society.


Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million goes to Tostan

Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million goes to Tostan, an African NGO changing the lives of millions through innovative human rights education in local languages

Program has led to shattering of cultural taboos – 2,600 villages have voluntarily abandoned female genital cutting and child marriages

Women of Senegal have announced 5-year initiative to be first African country to end FGC

Los Angeles, August 12 – Tostan, an organization that is empowering communities throughout Africa to transform their lives through an innovative non-formal educational program, teaching in local languages and with African oral traditions, has been selected to receive the 2007 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.

“Tostan means “breakthrough” in the Senegalese Wolof language and our distinguished independent prize jury found that the organization has indeed achieved major breakthroughs, empowering women and improving the lives of millions of people in nine African countries,” said Steven M. Hilton, President and CEO of the Hilton Foundation.  “Through Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program, villages have reduced infant and maternal mortality, ended domestic violence, improved community health services and nutrition, and provided education for their children.  Micro-credit, environmental and income generating projects have mobilized communities to work together to improve their lives.” (…)  

Through Tostan’s 30-month educational program, with human rights and democracy as its foundation, participants learn basic literacy and math, health and hygiene, problem solving and management skills.  UNICEF has selected Tostan as a model program to bring about social change across Africa. (…)


Latin American and Caribbean countries approve Quito consensus

The document reaffirms commitments to ensure women's political participation and recognition of their contribution to the economy and social protection.

10 August - With the approval of the Quito Consensus by 33 participating governments, the 10th Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean concluded yesterday in Ecuador. Convened by the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC), the conference is the region's leading intergovernmental forum for the analysis of public policies from a gender perspective. In the Quito Consensus, countries agree to adopt all necessary affirmative action measures and mechanisms, including legislative reforms and budgetary measures, to ensure the full participation of women in public office and in political representative positions, with a view to achieving parity in the institutional structure of the State (executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as special and autonomous regimes) and at the national and local levels, as an objective for Latin American and Caribbean democracies.

The document calls upon countries to develop electoral policies of a permanent character that will prompt political parties to incorporate women's agendas in their diversity, the gender perspective in their content, actions and statutes, and the egalitarian participation, empowerment and leadership of women with a view to consolidating gender parity as a policy of State. (…)



Economy and development



IFAD’s Executive Board approves more than US$197 million in loans and grants to combat rural poverty in 14 countries

Rome, September 13 – The Executive Board of IFAD approved almost US$164 million in loans and close to US$25 million in grants to support development programmes and projects that will improve the lives of poor rural people in 14 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East. The Board also approved close to US$9 million in grants to six international centres that conduct agricultural research and development activities in rural regions of poor countries. 

The 91st session of the Board took place at IFAD headquarters in Rome from 11 to 12 September.

Western and Central Africa to receive a US$5.7 million loan and US$15.0 million in grants.

Eastern and Southern Africa to receive US$19.35 million in loans and a US$4.35 million grant.

Asia and the Pacific to receive US$73.5 million in loans.

Latin America and the Caribbean to receive US$18.46 in loans and a US$3.9 million grant.

Near East and North Africa to receive US$46.8 million in loans and US$1.0 million in grants. (…)

For more information contact Farhana Haque-Rahman, Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes


ECLAC and the Government of Sweden forge cooperation programme for 2007-2008

Activities will aim to promote policy reforms that foster social equity and contribute to poverty alleviation, among other issues.

September 6 -  The government of Sweden, through its development agency (SIDA), reached agreement with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on a cooperation program for 2007-2008, aimed at promoting the formulation of policies and measures aimed at fostering poverty alleviation and strengthening social equity in the region, especially in the poorest countries and among the most vulnerable social groups. (…)This programme seeks to strengthen the existing cooperation relationship between ECLAC and SIDA, through the establishment of a strategic alliance between both institutions. Its general objectives include: promoting policy reform regarding social equity and poverty alleviation; fostering capacity-building through dialogue and the exchange of experiences among countries in the region and with European Nordic countries; disseminating "good practices" with particular emphasis on relevant experiences from European Nordic countries which may be adapted to the Latin American reality. (…)   


UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary praises role of Islamic financial institutions in promoting regional economic welfare

Beirut, September 5 (UNIS) -  UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary Bader Al-Dafa today said, “the distinguished role Islamic financial institutions play to improve the economic welfare of our society makes them unique among other operating financial institutions.” Al-Dafa was speaking at the opening session of “The Regional Forum on the Role of Islamic Financial Institutions in Financing for Development” organized by UN-ESCWA in cooperation with the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) on 5-6 September 2007 at the Manama Ritz Carlton Hotel. (…)

The UN official said the world body is paying special attention to achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which call for the alleviation of poverty in the world by 50 percent by 2015. “This is a challenging task for many developing countries, including countries in the Arab world,” he noted. In this regard, Al-Dafa said that the UN in March 2002 held its First United Nations Financing for Development Conference in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. This Conference which was attended by 50 heads of States and 200 high level officials was concluded by what came to be known as the “Monterrey Consensus”, which identifies areas in which efforts are to be intensified in order to mobilize domestic and foreign financial resources for accelerating economic development. (…) 


Spanish Government approves funds for development cooperation programme with ECLAC

Funding for five projects aims to extend the benefits of economic growth to all sectors of Latin American society.

 August 31 (AECI) - The government of Spain, through its Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, AECI), has awarded the  Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) financial resources for the  "ECLAC Cooperation Programme: Policies and Instruments for the Promotion of Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean," to be conducted over the next 12 months. (…) The "ECLAC Cooperation Programme: Policies and Instruments for the Promotion of Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean" is designed to broaden the benefits of economic growth to among Latin America's productive apparatus and social sectors, strengthening the capacity of governments to evaluate, design and formulate policies and instruments to achieve more solid and less volatile economic growth.(…) 


Farmers and fishers in Comoros will benefit from new IFAD-supported programme that will curb environmental damage

Rome, August 27 – A new US$7.2 million National Programme for Sustainable Human Development in the Comoros will assist farmers and fishers to raise their incomes and food security. Much-needed natural resource management practices will be introduced by the programme to improve productivity for the 20,000 families living in poor, environmentally fragile areas of the islands of Anjouan, Grande Comore and Mohéli.

The National Programme for Sustainable Human Development will be funded largely by a grant of US$4.6 million from IFAD. The programme is cofinanced by the Global Environment Facility and the Comoros diaspora, which will contribute US$1.0 million and US$1.2 million, respectively. (…) As a country with a high risk of debt distress, the Comoros is eligible for IFAD grant assistance, which replaces loans with grants for those countries considered unsuitable to sustain debt. (…)

The programme will introduce a system of terraces and ‘live fences’ in water catchment areas to help preserve soil fertility and prevent silting. Over time these measures will also allow the marine resources to regenerate. Land rehabilitation interventions will be underpinned by the introduction of sustainable local land management practices and environmental conservation. (…) Read more:

Rural poverty in Comoros    IFAD operations in Comoros


UNESCAP helps rural women to build up their businesses through the Internet

Regional Meeting Takes Place in Bangkok 23 – 24 August

Bangkok, August 20 (UNIS) - The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is working to establish a regional knowledge network of rural women’s cooperatives which will enable women entrepreneurs to share their business knowledge and experiences and market their products through the Internet.

A regional meeting is taking place from 23 to 24 August in Bangkok. Around 30 participants representing agriculture and cooperative ministries, organizations of rural women entrepreneurs, cooperatives and cooperative unions, regional knowledge networks and UN agencies are expected to attend the meeting. Participants will develop and adopt a strategy for the creation of a regional knowledge network of rural women’s cooperatives. They will discuss the implementation of a pilot model e-business centre in a women’s agricultural cooperative. The meeting will also serve to identify key training needs of women’s agricultural cooperatives to build their capacity in entrepreneurship and in information and communication technology (ICT) applications. Rural women’s cooperatives play a vital role in fostering women’s entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment and rural development. The proposed web-based knowledge network will enable women’s cooperatives across the region to share good practices, experiences, and information for business development, to strengthen entrepreneurial skills, and enhance marketing of their products through the Internet. (…)


UN helps Cambodia in its bid to move toward an information economy

UNESCAP held national seminar on internet governance

Bangkok, August 17 (UNIS) - Cambodia recently announced a plan to shift the country from relying on agriculture, garment manufacturing and tourism to a medium and high value-added economy, with information and communication technology (ICT) being a key sector. The country currently has one of the lowest rates of computer ownership in the region. Internet penetration is also low due to the high-cost of electricity and connection fees.

To help Cambodia realize its ambition, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) conducted a national seminar on Internet governance on 15 and 16 August in Phnom Penh, the capital. The event was organized in collaboration with the National ICT Development Authority (NiDA) of Cambodia, with financial support from the government of the Republic of Korea. (…)The roundtable pointed out that Cambodia was at a critical juncture in ICT development. It could benefit from the next generation network technologies (NGN) leading to a knowledge-based economy if the current flows of aid and investment were used productively in generating skilled labour and providing quality ICT education for the youth and for small and medium enterprises. There is a risk of missing the goal, however, if public goods and affordable ICT infrastructure fail to materialize. UNESCAP was requested by the Cambodian government to provide a follow-up to the meeting, focusing on policy on the convergence of various technologies, and on e-government development. 


Cereals production doubles in Afghanistan

Afghanis near cereals self-sufficiency

Rome, August 6 - Afghanistan’s cereals production has doubled in the six years since the ouster of the Taliban regime, according to FAO’s latest production figures. Despite the continuing tense security environment, FAO forecasts the country’s cereals output will reach 4.6million tonnes in 2007, more than twice the 2001 level of 2.0 million tonnes. This would represent a 700 000-tonne increase over 2006 production but a reduction of nearly the same amount from 2005’s near-record of 5.3 million tonnes.

On the basis of the harvest forecast, Afghanistan may need to import no more than 700 000 tonnes of cereals in the 2007/08 marketing season to cover its total requirements. Of this, 600 000 tonnes would come from commercial purchase on world markets, with the remainder provided as food aid. This compares with total cereal imports of some 1.5 million tonnes at the start of the decade, of which food aid accounted for more than 20 percent.

Afghanistan’s success with cereals stems largely from several consecutive years of generally favourable weather, but also from ongoing development efforts by a number of agencies and organizations, including FAO, which employs 400 staff in the country. Current projects include seed industry development, milk production, sugar industry rehabilitation, market information systems, food security and nutrition, bird flu prevention and poppy substitution.  (…)


IFAD's rice irrigation project transforms Mandrare region of Madagascar

A project supported by IFAD to rehabilitate rice production and develop more efficient farming methods in southern Madagascar has transformed the Mandrare basin from a famine-stricken region into a rice-exporting area.

The Mandrare basin is in the driest area in the otherwise relatively fertile island of Madagascar. Before the Upper Mandraré Basin Development Project got underway in 2001, Mandrare was one of the country’s poorest regions. People suffered from recurring famine. Farmers could not ensure an adequate supply of food and the economy of the entire region was in disarray. “Before the Mandrare project, rice irrigation had fallen into disuse, and very little rice was produced in the area,” said Andrianiainasoa Rakotondratsima, the project manager. “The region was completely cut off. It took about 12 hours to drive the 120 kilometres from the regional capital, Taolognaro (Fort-Dauphin), to the inland basin, and the area was shockingly poor.”

The IFAD-financed project rehabilitated irrigation systems, restored roads and other infrastructure and introduced more intensive farming methods. The second phase of the project increased the number of communes and villages in the programme and introduced a microcredit network, based on a similar, successful system in the north-east of the country.  “What is spectacular in this project is the fact that the area can now export up to 25,000 tonnes of rice to the whole southern region,” said Benoit Thierry, country programme manager for Madagascar at IFAD. “Not only is it self-sufficient but it supplies rice further afield.” In the course of a few years, the rice irrigation area doubled, expanding from the initial 1500 hectares to 3000 hectares. It is expected to double again under the current phase to nearly 6000 hectares, organized in plots of 50 to 100 hectares. In normal weather conditions, when there is no drought, one hectare of land can yield about three to four tonnes of rice - against 1.5 tonnes before the project. (…) 


Boosting farmer’s profits through better links to markets

Poor farmers in Tanzania are using modern information and communication technologies like mobile phones and even the Internet to get access to market information, and to learn how to build better and more collaborative market chains from producer to consumer. Market “spies”, known locally as shu shu shus, investigate prices and other aspects of local markets, then use their mobile phones to report the information back to their villages. Soon they might be using SMS to access Internet-based databases of locally-relevant market information, so playing a crucial role in the First Mile Project, an initiative linked to the Agricultural Marketing Systems Development Programme (AMSDP).

AMSDP is a seven-year, US$42.3 million programme, funded in part by a US$16.3 million grant from IFAD. The First Mile Project, funded by the Swiss Government, was launched in 2005 and is now in its second phase. The First Mile Project is about how small farmers, traders, processors and others from poor rural areas learn to build market chains linking producers to consumers. (…) The First Mile Project has a built-in sustainability strategy. Phase 2 will support the emergence of commercially viable rural service providers that can use modern ICTs to provide marketing services to small farmers. The focus will be on how to achieve sustainable and reliable services along market chains in rural areas of Tanzania. (…)

Building on the experience of the First Mile Project, IFAD is now working with FAO to support a Rural Knowledge Network project for East Africa. IFAD has provided a grant of US$1.5 million to FAO over three years to implement the project. The Rural Knowledge Network project will work with farmers and their organizations to build a region-wide knowledge management process that responds to farmers’ demands and generates and delivers information to meet their particular requirements in a useful form. 


Villagers and aid workers alike benefit from census project in Niger

Poor villagers in the Aguié area of Niger are discovering the many, unexpected benefits of keeping detailed records of their households and assets. As part of a new databank system introduced by IFAD in 2005, local people are developing a detailed census drawn from 27,000 individuals in 22 villages. The growing databank gathers a range of information, including the names of villagers, their status, the composition of their households, the amount of land they cultivate, the livestock they own, and how they rank themselves in terms of poverty. It is allowing project managers to target their work more effectively while providing villagers with jobs, food security and stronger village associations. It also helps them pinpoint the real impact of development activities.  (…)

The databank is an innovation designed to support the IFAD-funded Project for the Promotion of Local Initiative for Development in Aguié, based in the Maradi region. About 20 per cent of the country’s population lives in this region of southern Niger: most are small farmers who must battle drought, desertification, erratic rainfall and depleted soils. One advantage of the databank approach is that the local population participates fully, right from the start. Villagers take responsibility for providing accurate information to build up the databank. Local people are trained and paid to carry out the detailed census. Committee groups meet every 15 days to update the records. (…)






ANERA preschooler project continues despite challenges in Gaza

August 17 - Due to new restrictions on entry points into Gaza imposed in June, ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) has discovered greater challenges in working with Palestinians in need. Border closings mean supplies can't come in, which has a tremendous effect on the local economy. Contractors, for instance, can't work when construction materials aren't available. Families end up suffering the consequences, from the newly unemployed to the children who look to them for support.

Despite these constraints, ANERA remains committed to providing as much relief to Palestinians as possible. One success has been the Milk for Preschoolers project. In partnership with Islamic Relief, an international relief and development non-governmental organization, ANERA alleviates alarming rates of malnutrition by delivering daily rations of milk and fortified biscuits to preschoolers in 250 centers. Milk for Preschoolers was initiated by ANERA in February 2003 to serve several thousand children around the region. As part of its continued desire to serve impoverished Palestinians, ANERA will provide up to 25,000 preschoolers with a much-needed source of nutrition during the upcoming school year. (…)

ANERA is a registered 501(c)3 non-governmental organization and a founding member of InterAction, a coalition of over 160 US-based non-profits working to promote worldwide development.


WFP food airlifted to victims of hurricane Felix

WFP is also distributing food to thousands of people in Honduras and is assessing damage from Hurricane Felix

Panama, September  5 - An emergency airlift of food aid from WFP has arrived in the Nicaraguan coastal town of Bilwi (formerly Puerto Cabezas) for distribution to hungry residents who bore some of the worst of Hurricane Felix’s punishing Tuesday landfall. Because WFP has food stocks for its long-term projects in the area, we were able to respond with unusual speed Preliminary estimates by WFP indicate as many as 60,000 people were directly affected in the northern Nicaraguan region where high winds destroyed or damaged homes and commercial buildings. Despite these losses and the hardship, humanitarian officials were relieved that Hurricane Felix did not cause more damage during its trajectory through Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. (…) The food is enough to feed almost 900 people for ten days. Road transport has been halted after a key bridge was washed away by the rain-swollen river. “We are only able to deliver assistance to the affected areas by air, sea or river,” said WFP Country Director William Hart. The airlift marked the second emergency distribution of WFP food in the coastal region since Hurricane Felix struck early Tuesday. An additional 70 metric tonnes of WFP food were distributed on Tuesday in Bilwi and Waspam, just hours after Hurricane Felix struck the area. (…) 


Save the Children responds to hurricane Felix

Westport, CT, USA, September 5- Save the Children is assisting many of the more than 70,000 children and families that have been forced from their homes in Nicaragua as a result of Hurricane Felix - a powerful storm that has put many communities in its path on the highest possible emergency alert. (…) "We are very concerned for the well-being of children and their families in Nicaragua and Honduras," said Rudy Von Bernuth, who heads Save the Children's emergency response team. "We have staff in both countries who are continuing to assess the situation and respond to the urgent needs of children, including keeping them protected and safe." Felix is the second Category 5 storm to strike Central America in recent weeks and weather experts are worried its impact could rival Hurricane Mitch, which killed an estimated 10,000 people across Central America in 1998.


Hurricane Dean aftermath: WFP assisting over 10,000 victims in Jamaica and Belize

Panama City, August 30 - As victims of Hurricane Dean slowly try to rebuild their shattered lives, WFP has announced that its emergency feeding operations are assisting about 10,500 of the worst affected in Jamaica and Belize.  “While Hurricane Dean may have vanished from the front pages of the newspapers, the reality of its destructive power remains for thousands of very poor people who must begin to put their lives back together,” said Carlo Scaramella, who is managing WFP’s regional response to Belize. “WFP’s emergency food rations are a key first step that will ensure these people can begin the process of rebuilding,” he said.

In Jamaica, a total of 5,500 people will receive complementary food assistance which will consist of a 450 kcal ration per day of High-Energy Biscuits (HEBs) for two weeks. The victims are part of more than 30,000 people whose livelihoods have been affected when 200 km/h winds damaged housing, infrastructure and crops in the southern and south-eastern part of the island. An additional 5,000 people in Belize will receive a full daily ration which will continue for a period of two months and which will consist of rice, pulses, vegetable oil, and HEBs. All of the beneficiaries suffered a dramatic loss in their livelihoods means. The cost of the emergency response is US$256,131 which will be paid out of WFP’s Immediate Response Account – a special revolving fund that WFP can draw on to provide a swift response to emergencies without having to wait for donor contributions. In both cases, preparation before the storm and prompt action afterwards by WFP regional emergency team enabled supplies flow quickly to those affected. (…)


Musicians support World Leadership Awards

New York, August 28 – A former Caribbean tennis champ turned steel pan player, and an international recording artiste from the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union will showcase their musical genius at Counterpart International's 2007 World Leadership Awards, to be held at Guastavino's in New York City on Wednesday September 19, 2007.

 The New York-based Barbadian Adrian Clarke, equally proficient at playing Davis Cup team tennis and beating the steel pan, will offer his musical talent to support Counterpart International's awards which will recognise the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández; St. Lucia's Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Senator Allen Chastanet; Paxton Baker, Executive Vice President and General Manager of BET J and BET Digital Networks, and President of BET Event Productions; Public relations legend, David Finn, Co-founder and Chairman of Ruder Finn; and the Caribbean's largest carrier Air Jamaica, the national carrier of both Jamaica and Barbados. (…)

Tinatin Japaridze, an artist, songwriter and journalist, was born in Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia and is currently completing her debut album. Her first single, “We the Peoples”, inspired by the United Nations Charter and performed at the recent Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) meeting in Puerto Rico, has already premiered on American and British radio stations. A UN correspondent for Russian and American media, Tinatin’s regular column and US radio show "United Nations Uncovered" focuses on world events and global awareness of HIV/AIDS and the world’s struggle against the epidemic.

Also supporting the Awards will be virtuoso Jamaican jazz pianist, Monty Alexander who will present the CMEx Cultural Award to BET's Paxton Baker. The award celebrates the achievements of individuals who have enhanced and revitalized the cultures of destinations. (…)


Rotary helps Cambodian children pedal safely to school

Japanese delegation to arrive 17 August to help assemble donated bicycles

Tokyo, August 14 - For poor children in developing countries like Cambodia, a simple used bicycle may represent the most efficient and safest route to an education. Schools are scarce in many parts of rural Cambodia, forcing students to walk long distances under harsh conditions. Stifling heat, poisonous snakes, and abandoned landmines are just a few of the hazards the children face. Fortunately, many of the country’s most at-risk students soon will be able to get to school more quickly and safely thanks to members of the Rotary Club of Shin Fuji, Japan, which plans to provide more than 2,500 used bicycles to Cambodian schoolchildren over the next three years as the latest effort in an ongoing bike parts recycling project, Donating Bicycles to Children in Cambodia, launched in 2005-06.

Satoshi Koyama, president of the of the Shin Fuji Rotary Club, says the idea developed after the club learned of a similar Rotary-supported project in Thailand, which involved Japan’s Jitensha-Chushajo Seibi Center Foundation. The Rotary club contacted the foundation and worked out an agreement for the Cambodia project, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Phom Penh Metro. Over the past year, nearly 1,500 bicycles have been shipped to schools in Cambodia’s Kandal, Banteay and Meanchey provinces. A 16-member Rotary delegation will arrive in Cambodia 17 August to assemble 460 bicycles from parts shipped in July. On 21 August, they will present the bikes to children at Sakura School in Sihanoukville.

Koyama says the cost for each shipment of 230 bicycles is about JPY 90,000.The Jitensha-Chushajo Seibi Center Foundation pays to ship the bikes to Cambodia, and the Rotary clubs cover the cost of delivering them to the schoolchildren. Koyama says contributions from other Rotary clubs are welcomed.


The Africare Bishop Walker dinner, October 18: celebrating women's empowerment Africa-wide

Africare will celebrate Edwina’s triumphant journey and countless other examples of African women’s empowerment at the 17th Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner: Thursday evening, October 18, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The Africare Dinner is now the largest annual event for Africa in the United States. The event was first held in October 1990 in memory of the late John T. Walker, the first African-American Episcopal bishop of Washington and the longtime chairman of Africare's Board, who passed away on September 30, 1989.

This year’s theme, “women’s empowerment Africa-wide,” will be exemplified by a salute to Africa’s first elected female head of state: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. At the event, Africare will present President Johnson Sirleaf with the 2007 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award. Given each year at the Africare Dinner, the award recognizes those whose work has had a significant impact on raising the standard of living in Africa. Prior recipients include former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, then President Nelson Mandela, and other distinguished individuals such as Andrew Young, Dorothy I. Height, Graca Machel, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.

Proceeds from the event help support Africare's mission of assistance to the people of Africa in the areas of food security and agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, water resource development, environmental management, literacy and vocational training, microenterprise development, governance, and emergency humanitarian aid. The Africare Dinner is a top multicultural affair as well, embracing all races and a wide array of cultures and nationalities from around the world.


2007 Fall Conference for Community Foundations – San Francisco, September 16-19

Eureka! Learn, Lead, and Grow

The 2007 Fall Conference theme, "Eureka! Learn, Lead, and Grow," stresses the importance of advancing together and individually the unique role of community foundations in being "partners of place" as leaders, conveners and catalysts for positive community change.

In a short decade, community foundations have risen to prominence in the field of philanthropy as instruments for charitable giving, and for investing in people and places for the benefit of diverse communities. From the small towns and villages of the U.S. Midwest to the sprawling metropolises of the West and Atlantic coasts, across Canada, Asia, Europe and beyond, community foundations are firmly established as global enterprises that support new forms and avenues of charitable giving that work within and across communities of interest and place, and partner with donors and grantees to attain the goal of meeting some of society’s most basic human needs. (...)



Peace and security



Choose Peace – A benefit concert in support of NYDOP – New York, September 7

New Yorkers for a Department of Peace (NYDOP) and All Souls Church - Peace Task Force

September 11, 2006 marked the 100-year anniversary of when Gandhi launched a campaign of nonviolence that gave birth to a movement.  NYDOP, in partnership with Arun Gandhi, the Peace Alliance and Sony Pictures, commemorated the centennial by organizing: 100 Years of Nonviolence: Gandhi and Sept. 11, 1906-2006. This September, Gandhi's legacy continues with Choose Peace.  September 11 represents a choice point for human beings: we can continue to choose violence, or we can choose proven strategies of prevention and peaceful conflict transformation.  The Choose Peace Benefit Concert will bring together artists, politicians and peacebuilders who support the Department of Peace campaign and whose work would be enhanced by a future Department of Peace. (…)

Speakers include Dot Maver , Executive Director of The Peace Alliance which spearheads the national Department of Peace Campaign; NY City Council Member Robert Jackson who is a co-sponsor of the city council resolution supporting the national legislation; and Tina Allen , Spokesperson for Hour Children, an organization that provides support for incarcerated mothers and ex-offenders.  Host Rob Graydon produced and directed Satyagraha, a short documentary about the 100 Years of Nonviolence. 

NYDOP is a citizen organization working to establish a cabinet-level, federally-funded, United States Department of Peace that would promote nonviolent conflict resolution including: prevention, education and training both domestically and internationally.  -  Establish a U.S. Department of Peace:


China offers Jordan demining equipment

September 6 - China on Thursday handed over 30 mine detectors and 30 demining personal protective equipment outfits to Jordan in Amman. A hand-over ceremony was held at the Jordanian National Committee for De-mining and Rehabilitation (NCDR), which was attended by Jordan's Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Raad and Chinese Ambassador to Jordan Gong Xiaosheng. Speaking at the occasion, Royal Highness Prince thanked China for its donation and assistance to Jordan's demining programs.  NCDR's National Director Mohammad Breikat noted that international exchange of expertise and collaboration is essential to help Jordan overcome the challenges it faces in clearing its soil of all landmines.

Landmines were planted in Jordan in three distinctive periods: the 1948 partition of Palestine, the 1967-1969 Arab-Israeli conflict and the period surrounding the civil war of 1970.

The major remaining demining task confronting Jordan is the 100- kilometer mine-belt running along the Jordan-Syria border which contains 93 minefields, some 86,756 mines.


Mines Action Canada’s action toolkit to ban cluster bombs now online!

September 5 - This Action Toolkit is meant to be a one-stop shop for all the information and resources needed to get informed and take action to ensure that cluster bombs are finally banned.

In this Toolkit, you will find everything you need to take action at your fingertips, including:

• Ready-made presentations and slide shows explaining the issue in easy to understand language;

• Downloadable fact sheets;

• Video footage demonstrating how cluster bombs work and the impact they have on civilians;

• Sample article on the issue and what we need people to do to help us to adapt and run in local newspapers or newsletters;

• Posters to advertise your own events and signal your commitment to helping ban cluster bombs;

• Mines Action Canada’s petition to the Canadian government calling for more leadership and action in the movement to ban cluster bombs to be handed over on December 3rd, 2007;

• Photos to make your own posters and presentations;

• How-to guides for engaging your MP, the media and organizing a public event or fundraiser; and

• Much, much more!



The imperative of revitalizing nuclear disarmament

On the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, a distinguished group of 25 international specialists on nuclear weapons issues convened to discuss the urgency of revitalizing nuclear disarmament in order to free the world from the ever-present threat posed by nuclear weapons. Under the auspices of the Pugwash Conferences and the Middle Powers Initiative, the participants discussed a variety of measures that need to be taken by all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to provide needed momentum toward the goal of declaring nuclear weapons illegal and eliminating them entirely.

Source: The Sunflower, September,

To read more, visit:


FAO helps South Lebanon farmers return to work

Horticulture, livestock production to resume on cluster-bombed sites

Rome, August 8 – FAO is to launch a US$3.3 million programme in September to help smallholders in South Lebanon resume farming after months of interruption caused by last year’s war and unexploded ordnance. Many farmers in the area have been unable to go back to their fields given the presence of an estimated more than one million live Israeli cluster bombs left over from the hostilities. Over 200 people have been injured or killed by the devices since the conflict ended.  According to the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre in Southern Lebanon, about ten percent of the cluster bombs have now been cleared, allowing a resumption of farming activities in a number of districts.

FAO’s early recovery and rehabilitation programme will focus on the horticulture and livestock sectors and is funded under the United Nations Lebanon Recovery Fund. Fruit and vegetable farmers, most of whom are heavily indebted after losing their harvests and being forced to remain idle for months, will be provided with “aid-in kind,” – fertilizer, seeds and seedlings and with help to rehabilitate their greenhouses.  Livestock keepers who lost their animals will be helped to re-stock, while measures will be taken to improve productivity in affected areas. (…) 


Camps for Jews and Arabs (Muslims and Christian) in North America

Peace camp stresses unity in diversity

August - There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. And there are those who ask, "What happened?".

This is about those who are causing new relationships to happen - inventing their future - for Jews and Palestinians. Not waiting for governments or "experts," these cultural creatives hope their ideas will travel from North America across the ocean to Jerusalem and beyond.

Most Palestinians and Jews have never had an in-depth, sustained relationship, in the Middle East and worldwide. This "big disconnect" allows them to maintain stereotypes and dehumanize each other - staying at a distance, doing what they're doing to one another at this moment.

Thus the urgent need for a greatly enlarged public peace process to discover the "other" equally human, equally excellent persons. (...) There is something magic about "enemies" coming together in a safe place in nature, to discover the humanity of the "other" and transform the nature of their relationships forever. (...)


Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu announce The Elders

An Historic Group of World Leaders

Johannesburg (South Africa), July 18 - Out of deep concern for the challenges facing all of the people of our world, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu have convened a group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world´s toughest problems. Nelson Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, today in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday. He was joined by founding members of the group, Desmond Tutu, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus. Founding members, Ela Bhatt and Gro Harlem Brundtland were unable to attend.  (...)

Never before has such a powerful group of leaders come together. Free from political, economic or military pressures. The only agenda of The Elders is that of humanity. And their only purpose is to ease human suffering in three essential areas:

1. Offering a catalyst for the peaceful resolution of conflict.

2. Seeking new approaches to seemingly intractable global issues.

3. Sharing wisdom: reaching out to grassroots Elders and to the next generation of leaders. Listening and helping to amplify voices for good all over the world.


Culture of Peace Initiative - Invitation to post your events

WiserEarth ( is a free and international online directory that links together the hundreds of thousands of organizations worldwide working for Peace through social justice and the environment.

This year, the International Secretariat of CPI is delighted to offer an unprecedented opportunity, as we build a global campaign for Peace on International Day of Peace, September 21st. In preparation for Peace Day, we would like to invite you to use our new online platform, WiserEarth, designed to help visualize the scope of the extraordinary activities of Peacebuilders around the world. (...) The advantages of the CPI platform on WiserEarth are many:

1. You can search among over 100,000 organizations, as well as events and resources, by location, keyword or 372 different areas of focus. You can also add organizations, events resources and jobs under these same categories.

2. If you are a small organization, WiserEarth can replace the need for your own website.

3. Since WiserEarth is multilingual, information can be entered and read in your native language.

4. WiserEarth also offers free postings for recruiting staff, volunteers and interns. (...)

Paste this link into your web browser for easy access:


Beyond Bullets & Bombs: Grassroots Peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians

Edited by Judy Kuriansky

“Beyond Bullets & Bombs” is the new, definitive, most comprehensive-yet book to describe diverse initiatives and people in the citizen-to-citizen Middle East public peace process. It is a rich resource for on-the-ground, relationship-building activists as well as students and educators.

This August 30, 2007 publishing treasure is rich in graphics, tables, extensive contemporary references, quotes, and inspiration. Above all, while based in real, successful lives of Jews, Palestinians and dedicated others, it insists on fastening into literature and academia the living principles that succeed in everyday life on Earth. (...)

Israeli Jews and Arabs, and Palestinian Muslims and Christians, young and old, men and women, are cooperating in grassroots people-to-people projects. Face-to-face, shoulder-to-shoulder they are developing educational programs and creating activities to bridge their differences.

“Beyond Bullets & Bombs” showcases impressive and important projects that deserve more support and world attention, and without which governments alone cannot succeed.

In 40 captivating chapters, experts tell intriguing personal stories interwoven with psycho-social models and successful organizing principles - inspiring and instructing how people living in hostile cultures can establish sustainable peace.


The International Day of Peace

Join the worldwide movement to create a Global Ceasefire and day of peace and nonviolence

September 21 - Last year more than 3500 Peace Day events took place in 200 countries (including all 192 member nations of the United Nations) for a Culture of Peace.The International Day of Peace brought together more than 2000 organizations, mobilizing what UNESCO has called The Global Movemenr for a Culture of Peace. Peace is more than the absence of war. It is about transforming our societies and uniting our global community to work together for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world for all.






MSF opens first HIV/AIDS clinic in breakaway region of Transnistria

HIV prevalence in Transnistria is four times higher than in Moldova, according to official statistics. 

Tiraspol, September 9 - On Wednesday, August 8, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started to provide treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in the unrecognized breakaway region of Transnistria, Moldova. MSF began enrolling patients before the Out-Patient Department was actually finished and, in only four weeks, our doctors and nurses, alongside the Ministry of Health personnel, have already seen over 90 HIV positive patients. As a consequence, 26 of them have been initiated onto life-prolonging anti-retroviral treatment (ARV). (…)

Due to the international isolation of Transnistria, its healthcare system and population has been largely denied access to Moldovan government health funds/medicines, particularly ARV treatment for HIV/AIDS. This is in spite of the fact that Moldova is the recipient of funds to cover the whole population, including the breakaway region, and that the prevalence of HIV in Transnistria is four times higher than in Moldova, according to official statistics. (…)


Sébastien Dubois: putting his talent to the benefit of landmine victims

September 7 - Sébastien Dubois is a young industrial designer from Montreal who recently won a prestigious international award in Copenhagen ($145 000 CDN), intended for young designers. With the support of the Institut de réadaptation de Montréal and the assistance of Prosthetist Orthotist (P&O) Daniel Normandin, Sébastien invented a low-cost high technology artificial foot for amputees. This prosthetic “energy-return” foot favours high mobility and is financially very accessible: it costs only $10 CDN.

Moved by a strong social conscience, Sébastien wants to put his technology for the benefit of people with disabilities in developing countries, particularly for landmine victims. With Handicap International, a project proposal was elaborated to reach that goal. On the one hand, the project will enable the fabrication of the prosthesis in developing countries by local P & O technicians and on the other hand, it will facilitate easy access to this artificial foot by amputees in those countries. Therefore, there is also an important technology transfer component imbedded in this project. (…) Presently, Handicap International is still trying to mobilize funds for this project.

In the future, the organization hopes to pursue its collaboration with Sébastien Dubois in order for people with disabilities of other countries to benefit from this technology, particularly amputees of countries affected by landmines and other unexploded remnants of war.


New polio drive to protect Iraqi children

Immunization campaign for over 4.8 million Iraqi under fives aims to reach all, including in camps & conflict areas

Amman/Baghdad, September 2 – Another massive effort begins today to deliver a critical vaccine to as many Iraqi children under five years old as possible - 4.8 million children in total - even in the country’s most insecure and remote areas. Almost 20,000 vaccinators will participate in the house-to-house drive, set to last five days.  Their goal: to reach as many of Iraq’s under fives as possible with the oral polio vaccine (OPV), wherever they live, traveling by boat, car and on foot. Teams will also be working in every vaccination hospital and Primary Health Care Centre across the country. OPV protects children against polio, a highly infectious and incurable paralytic disease that mostly affects the young.

The current immunization campaign is part of Iraq’s ongoing polio eradication effort, which has kept Iraq polio-free since 2000, with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Conflict and insecurity have regrettably eroded Iraq’s routine health services, making mass campaigns such as this critical to maintain immunity against infectious diseases. But the challenges facing this campaign’s organizers and vaccinators are greater than ever. During the last campaign, in December 2006, only half as many children were immunized in parts of Baghdad and Diyala, as against the national average of 91 per cent. Reaching the most vulnerable and displaced children this time round is critical.(…) As well as posing risks to vaccinators, Iraq’s ongoing conflict has placed additional burdens on the “cold chain” network, which vaccines require to keep them safe and effective. Electricity shortages and insecurity have particularly affected the National Vaccine and Sera Institute in Baghdad - the central storage facility for vaccines for the whole of Iraq. The polio campaign was nearly delayed when access to the facility was compromised recently due to increased security measures in the area. (…) 


World Breastfeeding Week - Queen Rania opens Baby Friendly Hospital

Amman, August 29 – Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah inaugurated Dr. Jamil Tutounji Hospital in Sahab, a Baby Friendly Hospital on Wednesday as part of ongoing activities marking World Breastfeeding Week. This brings the number of Baby Friendly Hospitals in Jordan to six.  “There is nothing more natural, nothing more instinctive, and nothing more effective than breast-feeding. Protecting her baby is a mother's first instinct and a mother's milk is the most powerful vaccine there is against infectious and non-infectious disease. That is why I am proud of UNICEF's efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding,” said Her Majesty who is UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children.  Research has shown that neonatal mortality is reduced by 22 per cent when children are breastfed within an hour of birth.  This is very relevant to Jordan since 70 per cent of infant deaths are attributed to neo-natal death, thus reducing the latter will help reduce infant deaths and help Jordan achieve its Millennium Development Goal 4 on child mortality. (…)

UNICEF support for integrated, community-based health care includes the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and the agency works with partners, governments and communities to support national infant feeding legislation and improve care before and after birth. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, now implemented in 171 countries globally, is an accreditation process that requires a hospital to reach specific standards related to the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding.  The 10 Steps Initiative includes helping a mother begin breastfeeding within the first hour of life. 


After Indian court ruling, MSF hands over petition with 420,000 signatures to Novartis

MSF asks company not to pursue case 

Basel, August 8 - The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) delivered a petition with over 420,000 names to Novartis corporate headquarters in Basel today. Novartis lost a legal challenge against India's patent law on Monday. (…)

Novartis challenged a provision in India's Patents Act that makes it more difficult for companies to receive patents on changes to existing drugs or combinations of drugs, claiming that this was not compliant with WTO rules and with the Indian constitution. The court rejected all of Novartis's claims. If the company had won, drug patents would have likely been granted far more widely in India, restricting generic competition. (…)



Energy and safety



Rwanda: renovated spring catchments open in Muhanga

September 6 - Renovation of 23 spring catchments was officially completed today in Muhanga, 70 km south of the capital Kigali. The opening ceremony was attended by the minister of water and mines, accompanied by the ICRC head of delegation, the governor of Western Province, the mayor of Muhanga District, local authorities and people from the Kiyumba, Kibangu, Nyabinoni and Rongi Sectors.

The ICRC and the Muhanga District authorities launched the project in September 2006. It has given a major boost to the living conditions of the 3,200 people living in the area. "Improving access to clean water and improving sanitation are the key objectives," said Tobias Epprecht, head of the ICRC delegation in Kigali. The project has increased total water production capacity to 609 cubic metres per day, with each spring yielding 26 cubic metres a day. This was a joint project involving the local community, local authorities and the ICRC.

To ensure sustainable management and efficient operation of the newly renovated system, the ICRC helped set up monitoring committees in the four districts, and provided them with technical and accounting resources.

Earlier this year, the ICRC opened a water supply project in Kabaya and the organization plans to run five further projects, covering all four provinces and the city of Kigali. Estimates are that 63,000 people will benefit.


ACDI/VOCA’s MCA-Armenia water-to-market selects villages for training

August 15 - ACDI/VOCA’s $18.4 million Armenia Water-to-Market Activity (WTM), which is funded through the Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia (MCA-Armenia), has announced the training schedule for villages identified to participate in the project.

ACDI/VOCA and its partners Arcadis Euroconsult and VISTAA Plus implement the WTM to accelerate the transition of Armenian smallholder farmers to more profitable agricultural production. This is done by introducing and encouraging best practices in irrigated agriculture, fostering the adoption of improved water management techniques, strengthening the post-harvest and processing enterprises linking producers to their markets and strengthening the capacity of credit providers to fund viable proposals in production and post-harvest activities. The training programs within this activity will target 60,000 farmers over a period of five years.(…)


ISES Solar World Congress 2007 – Solar Energy and Human Settlement

Beijing, China, September 18-21

After the Solar World Congresses 2003 (SWC2003) in Gothenburg, Sweden and 2005 (SWC2005) in Orlando, USA, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ISES in the same year, the International Solar Energy Society and the Chinese Solar Energy Society warmly welcome you to the ISES Solar World Congress 2007 (SWC2007) in Beijing, China, from September 18 to 21.

China with its huge population and vast area, while in some parts still poverty-stricken and lacking basic supplies such as water and electricity, is one of world's biggest producers and consumers of energy. The economic miracle that has set the country on a trajectory of unheard-of growth puts its energy industry in the difficult position of having to face both insufficient energy supply and an ever more ardent need to engage in environmental protection. There is no way out of this predicament than to change the means of energy production, improve the efficiency with which energy is used, and adjust the overall energy structure, especially with a view to further incorporating solar energy and other renewable energies. Within the frameworks of such a new system of sustainable development, both economic growth and environmental protection will be compatible. (…) (Source: Green Cross Italia,


VI World Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition –  2 - 4 October, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Argentine Wind Energy Association (AAEE) and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) would like to welcome you to the VI World Conference and Exposition of Eolic Energy, organized for the first time in the American Continent. This conference will unite national and international figures in the political and scientific areas who will present during the three days of the event new technological advances and special research techniques.

Argentina, as a result of its vast wind resources, is in a privileged position with the conditions to install 2,100 eolic MW, 300 of them immediately, for the National Integrated Power Grid without risking its normal functions on the Atlantic Coast of the Province of Buenos Aires and other zones in Argentina. A new conference with current challenges and novel themes of international interest; a contemporary exposition with cutting edge technologies and updates.

(Source: Green Cross Italia,



Environment and wildlife



APEC countries bolster UN climate change process

Sydney, Australia, September 8 – Leaders of the world's fastest growing economies attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit rejected attempts by Australia and the US to bypass the United Nations in negotiations to reduce climate damaging emissions, says WWF.

"The developing country members of APEC have said clearly that the UN is the place where a new climate change agreement will be struck,” said Greg Bourne, CEO of WWF-Australia. "It is clear that Australia, the US, and Canada must commit to real binding cuts in emissions to enable post-2012 negotiations in Bali to come to a fruitful conclusion. Those leaders carry the responsibility for taking such targets to Bali." In December this year, government ministers will meet in Bali, Indonesia, at a meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to formally launch negotiations that will conclude in 2009 with an agreement on new binding, deeper cuts in heat-trapping climate pollution.

"This APEC Summit made clear that the UN framework is the right place to move towards deeper emission reductions," said Diane McFadzien, international climate policy expert at WWF. "The agreement expresses support to the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change, but the financing can be agreed only through an extension of the Kyoto Protocol."

According to WWF, negotiations for a binding post-2012 agreement must be launched in Bali to conclude by 2009. To keep warming well below the dangerous level of 2°C, that agreement will need to ensure that global emissions peak before 2020, and that industrialized countries reduce their emissions by at least 30% by 2020 from 1990 levels.

WWF expects leaders attending a high-level climate change meeting on 24 September at the UN headquarters in New York to welcome the formal launch of the Bali negotiations.


World’s first sustainable tuna fishery certified in US

San Diego, California, USA, September 6 – The world’s first certified sustainable tuna fishery was announced today, a move that could help save one of the world’s most valuable fish — and the fishing industry that relies on it — from extinction.

The American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) based in San Diego, California, has been officially certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, an independent standard-setting organization that ensures fish are caught according to strict methods that avoid overfishing and bycatch (the unintended capture of other fish, seabirds and marine mammals).

WWF sponsored the assessment of the fishery, hailing the move as a hopeful sign for dramatically declining tuna stocks, fishing livelihoods and food security.

“If we want our grandchildren to have tuna on their dinner plates and in the sea, sustainable tuna fishing practices must be adopted,” said Meredith Lopuch, Community Fisheries Programme Director with WWF-US. (…)


UN Launches CDM Bazaar web-portal to serve clean development mechanism

Bonn (Germany), Nairobi (Kenya) and Roskilde (Denmark), September 5 - The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today the launch of the CDM Bazaar , a web portal designed to facilitate exchange of information among buyers, sellers and service providers engaged in the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM).

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol buy CERs to cover a portion of their emission reduction commitments under the Protocol. "The CDM has seen exponential growth in number of projects, with strong interest in developing countries for projects and in developed countries for CERs. (…) 


Pioneering projects from Brazil, South Africa and Zimbabwe receive environmental "life-cycle" awards

New publication on life cycle management released at awards ceremony

Zurich, August 28 - Pioneering new research to measure the environmental impact of sugar production in South Africa, newsprint paper production in Zimbabwe and new approaches to assess impacts on biodiversity in Brazil have been recognized today by a new award from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  "UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Award" recognises work from academics and private companies in developing and emerging economies who have started visionary and innovative projects based on the "cradle to cradle" or "life cycle approach". The "life cycle approach" concerns the impacts on the environment of a product's production, use and disposal. "The growing attention to life cycle issues is a natural outcome of decades of UNEP work on cleaner production and ecoefficient industrial systems," said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. (…)

This year's winners of the new UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Award include Kevin Harding and the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, for their assessment of sugar production in South Africa, Charles Mbohwa and his team from the Mechanical Engineering Department in the University of Zimbabwe for its earlier research on the life-cycle of newsprint paper, and Danielle Maia de Souza and the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina for their work on adapting life-cycle approaches to measure the impacts of unsustainable practices on Brazil's biodiversity.  Three other projects concerned with waste in Taiwan, chocolate production in Ghana, and the creation of a "Brazilian Centre of Excellence on Life Cycle Thinking" were recognized as runner-ups. (…) In the new publication, companies such as Airbus, Nokia and Ford explain how it is possible to expand their business while minimising the environmental and social burdens along their entire product life cycles. 


Bioneers 2007 Conference - San Rafael (CA, USA), October 19-21

The Bioneers Conference is a dynamic, leading-edge forum, focused on practical and visionary solutions for restoring the Earth’s imperiled ecosystems and healing our human communities.

Founded by Kenny Ausubel in 1990, Bioneers was conceived to conduct educational and economic development programs in the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, traditional farming practices, and environmental restoration.

Our vision of environment encompasses the natural landscape, cultivated landscape, biodiversity, cultural diversity, watersheds, community economics, and spirituality. Bioneers seeks to unite nature, culture and spirit in an Earth-honoring vision, and create economic models founded in social justice.

Restoration addresses the premise that "sustainability" is problematic in the context of an environment that is already depleted. As Paul Hawken has noted, sustainability is simply the midpoint between destruction and restoration. The goal of Bioneers is restoration, addressing the interdependent array of economics, jobs, ecologies, cultures, and communities.


Towards green villages: a workshop on how to make villages sustainable

New Delhi, November 19-23

Why do some villages remain poor despite execution of development programmes? Why are certain villages prosperous? Why is the high growth in the Indian economy not translating into prosperous villages? Why is the gross national produce (GNP) not an indicator of real wealth? Why will the conventional development model not make villages poverty-free? Why is the GNP an answer to sustainable villages? How is a poverty line created? How can the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) be used to eradicate poverty?

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, announces a five-day refresher workshop on how to use the environment to eradicate poverty in rural India.

For more than two decades, CSE’s campaigns and research have shown that India’s poverty is ecological in nature. This means that to eradicate poverty, we have to regenerate our ecology. Many villages have done this. CSE has been studying their experiences.

The refresher workshop seeks to learn from these models and put in place a framework for sustainable villages. This highly interactive course is designed to clarify the linkages between environment and poverty, and to demonstrate its feasibility through a two-day field trip to Laporiya, a village of pastoralists who have collectively drought-proofed their village and created sustainable livelihoods. In addition to experienced CSE staff, the course faculty includes eminent development experts.


Women and Climate Change

Changing the Climate: Why Women's Perspectives Matter

It’s clear: climate change is a serious issue.  It will unquestionably affect everyone. But women are the most vulnerable and the best poised to curb the effects of climate change. And yet, they have remained invisible in these efforts. WEDO announces a new fact sheet that draws the links between gender and climate change and lays out why women need to be at the center of the climate change debate and policymaking table. (...)

This resource and advocacy tool is a must-read for anyone committed to making sure women remain a part of the solution to curbing climate change. Inside you'll find statistics, case studies of women on the ground, ways to get involved and resources for action. (...)

“Women must be at the heart of relief efforts and the re-building of shattered communities.”

Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UN - Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)



Religion and spirituality



International Day of Prayer for Peace - 2007

WCC member churches worldwide are once more invited to pray for peace on 21 September 2007 or the closest Sunday. The International Day of Prayer for Peace offers an opportunity for church communities in all places to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies. The idea was proposed in 2004 during a meeting between WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and coincides with the UN International Day of Peace. The Day of Prayer is one of the initiatives of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence. Congregations worldwide are invited to pray for peace - possibly using the same prayers - in all participating churches on September 21 or the Sunday preceding it. To read more:

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity. The WCC brings together more than 340 churches, denominations and church fellowships in over 100 countries and territories throughout the world, representing some 550 million Christians and including most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of denominations from such historic traditions of the Protestant Reformation as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed, as well as many united and independent churches.    


Christians around the world to pray for peace on 21 September

This coming 21 September Christians from Congo to the US, and from Colombia to Switzerland to South Korea will join in prayers during the International Day of Prayer for Peace.

On that day, women at the Socopao Limete Presbyterian Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo - a country where a five-year war has claimed an estimated three million lives - will meet for fasting and prayer. They will not be alone. The congregation of the First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Indiana, US, will, too, pray for peace on that day. In Colombia, the Ecumenical Network and the Evangelical Council of Colombia are planning to participate in the initiative. So do a small ecumenical prayer community of sisters in Switzerland and congregations belonging to the peace fellowship of the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea.

These are but a few examples of how Christian communities worldwide are responding to the WCC's invitation to celebrate an International Day of Prayer for Peace on 21 September or the Sunday preceding or following it.

For 2007, the WCC office for the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) has made available prayer and liturgical resources developed in the context of this year's DOV focus on Europe and its theme "Make me an instrument of your peace". (...)


Religious leaders unite in prayer on climate change

Greenland, September 7 - Religious leaders united in a silent "prayer for the planet" alongside a retreating Greenland glacier on Friday as part of a widening spiritual drive to combat climate change.  "In our small world we all need to struggle together," said Sofie Petersen, the bishop of Greenland, of the meeting of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Christians aboard a cruise ship amid icebergs near Illulisat on the west coast. (...)

Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians, led a two-minute silent prayer aboard the cruise ship in the iceberg-clogged fjord during a symposium he is leading called "The Arctic: Mirror of Life". (...) "This prayer is a recognition that we have spoiled the earth and we now need to rectify this by changing our lifestyles," said Musharraf Hussein, a British Muslim leader. "We seek the help of our creator to acquire the strength and ability to make the necessary changes." (...). During the prayer, which ended with singing by an Inuit choir, the loudest sound was the lapping of water on icebergs in the fjord, participants said. (...)


Spirit & Nature - Spiritual resources for sustainable living

Santa Barbara (CA), September 14-16

“Spirit & Nature - Spiritual Resources for Sustainable Living” will be held with the La Casa de Maria retreat center in Santa Barbara, California.  It is being presented by the Spiritual Paths Institute along with Community Environmental Council (CEC), the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), La Casa de Maria, the Fielding Graduate Institute, the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative, and the Santa Barbara Ecological Education Association. The retreat will bring together environmental activists, spiritual teachers, local clergy, educators, and the general public to share the spiritual insights and practices that can provide a foundation for environmentally sustainable ways of living. 

Spiritual traditions will include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Native American.  The program will provide a new lens through which participants look at their work and help build new constituencies for the environmental movement.  This program is one of an ongoing series of programs on the application of spiritual values and experiences to the critical issues of our times. (...) This program will help create a deeper sense of community, nurture those who are on the “front lines” of environmental activism, and create new partnerships and alliances.


Studying for a Unity-and-Diversity Ministry

August, Los Angeles, USA - For the first time in human history, democracy is entering into the realm of religion and showing itself as a way of life that includes diversity of faith and the need for mutual respect between the religions of the world, as well as between all aspects of life.  (…) In every community on earth, the spirit of democracy calls for a unity-and-diversity center that gives visibility to the world’s religions and spiritual movements, showing how each faith offers some aspect of the moral and spiritual heritage of the human race.  (…)

To develop this new kind of faith, a well-trained ministry is a necessary element.  These ministers-in-training will study all religions, as well as the relation of religion and science.  It will help its candidates to explore all areas of life in the search for unities and universals, as well as to develop an appreciation for the uniqueness of each faith and each dimension of life.  Symbolically, this ministry and these unity-and-diversity centers will stand at the center of community, being a gathering place for people of all faiths and cultures. 

 As the various other faiths serve their particular congregations with their important teachings and practices, the role of the unity-and-diversity minister will be to help provide the openness and place of understanding within which the universal community can come together and build bridges that will sustain the global civilization and the quest for peace, justice, and environmental sustainability for all peoples and all life. 

If you are interested in studying for this unique kind of ministry, you are invited to contact the Unity-and-Diversity Fellowship and apply for its training program.  It is possible to pursue this ministry through classes in the Los Angeles area or online around the world.



Culture and education



Trascend: 11 Days of Global Unity  -  September 11-21

We, The World - Making A Difference For Life

“11 Days” is an annual promotion of peace, justice and environmental stewardship that communities and organizations take part in around the world. It culminates on September 21st, the U.N. International Day of Peace (...)

“11 Days” now annually includes more than 500 concerts, festivals, webcasts, and many other activities, in over 60 countries around the world. By combining artistic presentations, inspiration, consciousness-raising and taking action, “11 Days” embodies our strategy of Inspire, Inform and Involve for moving humanity off the path of catastrophe and towards creating a world that works for all.,%20The%20World.html


Culture of Peace, Education, Arts - Sponsored by KIK Kulturel-Information-Koordination

Cosponsored by The Ribbon International, Fundación Culture de Paz, Coalition for Peace Action, and Communication Coordination Committee for the UN

New York, September 7 – In the framework of the 60th UNDPI-NGO Conference, this workshop focussed on how education and the arts can foster movement toward a culture of peace and away from a culture of war by moulding lifestyles and mindsets to accommodate the facts of climate change. War is destruction of life. UN-NGO partnerships can create action plans to address climate change through cultural dialogue. In the past NGOs have contributed to innovative solutions that once seemed distant possibilities. Civil society should likewise foster a more democratic and culturally-enriched world to address the issues brought about by war and by climate change.

KIK was founded in Copenhagen 1980 at the second UN Women Conference. “Our Climate Change Project will promote art and culture events (…)  We will focus on, how through education and the arts, we can bring awareness for a culture of peace from a culture of war. We will look at how we best educate people to use the principles of the Earth Charter for a well integrated focus on ecology, social and economic justice and peace as we work together in building a sustainable future.”  KIK-Kuturel-Information-Koordination,  Annelise Jarvis Hansen.



UN commends Jordan for educating Iraqi school children

Jordan, August 21 - With the new school year kicking off on Sunday in Jordan, the United Nations refugee agency today praised the country for opening the doors of its local schools to tens of thousands of Iraqi children who have fled war in their homeland.

There are currently 750,000 Iraqi refugees - half are believed to be children - living in Jordan, most of them having fled their homeland following the outbreak of violence in 2003.

Until now, Iraqi children uprooted in Jordan could not receive educations unless their parents had residency permits or paid fees. (...)

Iraqis will have until 15 September to take part in the registration process, and the Jordanian Ministry of Education has said it believes at least 50,000 Iraqi children will enrol in schools nationwide.

Iraqi children will follow the same curricula as Jordanian students and have access to the same school facilities. The programme is slated to include primary, secondary and vocational training as well as non-formal education where applicable. (...)

Late last month, UNHCR and the UN Children’s Fund joined together to launch a $129 million education appeal to send 155,000 Iraqi refugee children to school in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The funds would be used to provide prefab classrooms and buildings, upgrading water and sanitation in schools and building new schools and additional classrooms. (...)


2007 Monterrey World Forum of Cultures endorses the Earth Charter

Monterrey, August 15 - The organizers of the Monterrey World Forum of Cultures 2007 endorsed the Earth Charter in a ceremony on 3 July 2007. At this ceremony, leaders signed a commitment to use the Earth Charter as a guide and ethical framework to decisions, in the development of plans and policies, and as an educational guide. Othon Ruiz Montemayor, President of the Council of the World Forum of Cultures, committed to promoting the Earth Charter through various events during the three months of forum activities, and in the framework of the National Earth Charter Meeting in Mexico, planned for 11 and 12 October 2007.

The ceremony was held in the Forum press room in Cintermex. Participants included Fundación Monterrey; Othón Ruiz, President of the Council of the Forum; Jorge Ángel Díaz, Director of Dialogues; and  Eliseo Garza Salinas, Director of Exhibitions. Representing the Earth Charter were Mateo Castillo Ceja of the Earth Charter Council and Ministry of Environment of Mexico, and Abelardo Brenes. Enrique Leff of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Alberto Garza Santos, President of Fundación Mundo Sustentable, also joined the ceremony.


Transcend Peace University (TPU)

The world's first on-line peace university

TPU October Semester 2007 school features 22 online intensive courses, related to various spheres of Peace studies, including a specialized Expert online course "Advanced course on Peaceful Conflict Transformation - the TRANSCEND method", designed specifically for middle to senior level experts and mediators. Start date: October 1st, 2007. End date: December 21st, 2007. Applications are received until September 21st, 2007!


Graduate Climate Conference - Seattle (WA, USA), October 19-21

The University of Washington Program on Climate Change (PCC) has established a successful framework to promote interaction and collaboration among faculty and graduate students from a wide range of disciplines who share an interest in climate science research. The Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) extends this collaborative model, to provide a forum for graduate students studying climate at institutions across the country.

The 2007 Graduate Student Conference (GCC) will bring together approximately 60 graduate students for a three-day event. Through student presentations, poster sessions and informal interactions, the conference aims to provide a forum for discussion between graduate students in climate sciences from a multitude of disciplines, including earth, atmospheric, biological, and ocean sciences. The conference will allow students to take the lead in presentations, moderation, and discussion in a conference early in their scientific careers.


International Peace Day Celebration: “Educating for Peace in Difficult Times”

Brazil, Auditorium of the São Paulo Art Museum , September 21 at 7 pm

Education is a process that always presents difficulties and problems, but certainly this necessary and attractive task becomes even more important in the difficult and uncertain times in which we live. Factors inherent to the educational process (as clashes of values within or between the different segments of the educational community), or external to it (such as social and cultural diversity, nihilist relativism, loss of values, consumerism, social exclusion, urban insecurity) are the obstacles we must face. (…)  We must strive to achieve a deep understanding of these obstacles in order to challenge them ethically and educationally, constantly looking for the truth. It must also be very clear that tolerant and ambiguous positions cannot not be held in the face of violence, and less so in educational institutions. (…)

During this forum, which celebrates the International Peace Day, we will launch the book Educating for Peace in Difficult Times, by Prof. Dr. Xesús R. Jares, published by Palas Athena Publishing House.  -- Organized by the São Paulo Culture of Peace Decade Committee  -


UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007

This fifth edition of the EFA Global Monitoring Report assesses progress towards the first EFA goal, which calls upon countries to expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most disadvantaged children. Such interventions are crucial to improving children's present well-being and future development. (...)

As the lead agency for coordinating EFA, UNESCO carries a particular responsibility for placing EFA at the forefront of national and international agendas. There are promising signs: aid to basic education is increasing (...).

The findings of the 2007 EFA Global Monitoring Report remind us there is no place for complacency. We have a collective responsibility to ensure quality education for all, a responsibility that begins by providing strong foundations for children in the first years of life and continues through adulthood. Only by taking a comprehensive approach that encompasses all the EFA goals and society's most fragile and vulnerable members can this mission be honoured.


Life-Link Friendship-Schools Programme

A choice among more than 50 concrete care and peace actions/projects that will benefit your schools International Curriculum and promote a Global Classroom at low price.

501 schools in 74 countries (as of March 2007) profit from the peace education programme: ”Youth Caring and Sharing Peace Actions at Schools World-Wide”. UNESCO now introduces the Life-Link Friendship-Schools peace education program in schools in Arabic countries. 50 UNESCO ASP schools in Lebanon, Iraq, Oman, Jordan, Palestine,  Egypt and 50 Life-Link schools worldwide will join a first pilot  project Oct 07 - March 08, all performing two Life-Link Care Actions at the schools: 1. Culture for Peace through Life-Link Care Actions,  2. Water for Life.           

The Life-Link programme has two interrelated parts:

1. Peace Actions (projects, lectures). Youth, age preferably 12-19, in co-operation with teachers, and if possible also parents and community resource people involved, perform one or several  ”2 hours” or part-day peace actions as proposed in the Life-Link Manual.

2. School-Linking or Partner-Schools collaboration. When your school and your performed action/s are reported and listed on in practice: Schools&Actions, you can study if other schools in the world have performed similar peace action/s. Search on the specific peace action/s of your interest such as Tree planting (action 3:06) or Community Service (action 2:12). Your class/club/school might be interested to contact other school/s in order to exchange protocols and experiences on your specific peace actions of interest.

Life-Link Friendship-Schools is an independent Non Governmental Organisation which aims to promote contact and cooperation between young people around the world and their schools, through active participation in shared projects, vital for our time (e.g. Environment, Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Constructive Collaboration). The Life-Link philosophy is based on Natural and Social sciences and is neither politically nor religiously aligned.


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Editorial: 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, United Nations, New York, 5-7 September 2007


Climate Change: How It Impacts US All


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


This 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference reviewed scientific evidence on climate change, including its consequences affecting indigenous peoples, water security, land use and the politics of energy. The Conference highlighted efforts to reverse global warming begun over a decade ago, when the majority of UN Member States passed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As the UN has announced, this year’s Conference emphasised the facilitation of individual action plans addressing climate change and its profound planetary impact. The world is now equipped with a vast body of information, scientific, social and political -- all pointing to the potential devastation of our planet. This Conference addressed solutions, helping civil society consider best practices for implementation. The goal of this Conference was to build civil society’s knowledge of climate change into the viable habits of everyday practice that ensure a better future; and to evoke hope in the tremendous possibilities offered by civil society working in partnership with stakeholders from all sectors.


More than 2,500 civil society partners from 90 countries attended this Conference. United Nations, government and NGO representatives as well as other experts made presentations at plenaries, roundtables and mid-day workshops to review the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including its impact. According to experts, devastation can be avoided by acting swiftly and decisively at every level of the decision-making process. The Conference highlighted interconnections between climate change and other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sustainable improvements in the environment are linked with root causes of poverty and illiteracy. The international community’s ability to meet the MDGs will continue to be challenged unless governments, civil society and international organisations take action now.


The need to take decisive action to curb and reduce the devastating effects of climate change is now clear. The knowledge gained at this Conference is intended by the UN to assist civil society in disseminating information, not just to agencies and governments, but also to friends and neighbours – the ultimate fabric of civic culture. The information received can help educate communities regarding the importance of reducing carbon emissions, the necessity of encouraging conservation and the search for energy-efficient alternative fuel sources. Contacts made will equip NGOs with the skills to form effective partnerships and create those viable action plans to carry their efforts forward. As the United Nations reminds us daily – we are global citizens, and for the sake of generations to come, we have the responsibility to harness concrete solutions, implementing effective, meaningful measures. There is still time during this crucial period to influence the present and plan for a safer and more sustainable future. As a united front, civil society can create the historic “tipping point” needed to transform our global emergency into a profound global opportunity for effective, collective and collaborative action.


As the United Nations has publicised, the Conference made possible a unique environment for dialogue among civil society and international civil servants, UN experts, and leaders from government and industry. Citing clear evidence that global warming was real, mostly generated by humankind, and holding the potential to devastate our planet, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said that tackling climate change required a truly global effort that drew together governments, the private sector and civil society in “one sustained push for change”. While Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had identified climate change as one of his top priorities, “we also understand that this is not a challenge for the UN alone”, said Ms. Migiro. The ramifications of how global warming will be addressed carry grave implications for the future. She said this challenge presented a remarkable opportunity to implement a new sustainable development process, promote cleaner business, industries and jobs, make better and wiser use of limited natural resources, and re-invest in depleted natural capital.  Those changes would not prove painless, but their discomfort was far outweighed by the cost of not acting, she said, noting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had suggested, “it will not cost us the moon to save the Earth”. As little as 0.1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) might be needed annually for the next three decades, “if we start to act now”.


In a keynote address, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said 2007 was proving to be a pivotal year, and that people of the world, galvanised by the Intergovernmental Panel’s reports, had finally begun to ask their governments and leaders:  “What are you doing about this problem?”  Moreover civil society had escalated its already active involvement.  The UN in tandem with civil society has picked up the science on climate change and moved the discussion into the government arena, establishing the UNFCCC.  Achim Steiner noted that UNEP had set up the Intergovernmental Panel of some 2,000 renowned scientists who had turned a hotly contested ideological concept into a universally accepted basis for action in 2007.  “That is the (wrongly maligned) United Nations at work,” he said. This Conference underscored the reality of the urgent call to collective action resounding from the halls of the UN, governments and civil society organisations worldwide. And the challenge to take another major step forward would be again on the table of world leaders this December in Bali. 


General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said that a comprehensive global response to the climate change threat must be pursued within the rubric of the international development agenda.  It also required “a radical change of behaviour and consciousness”. She said, “the United Nations is an intergovernmental organisation, but it draws its strength and inspiration from the support of civil society worldwide,” she said.


After the above opening statements, several NGO representatives took the floor, including Sister Joan Kirby, Chair, NGO/DPI Executive Committee, who said that “the tide is turning and political leaders are responding here and around the world”.  She stated her hope that Conference participants would be transformed into “conservers rather than users of the Earth”, and leave knowing what they could do to respond to the challenge, equipped with the practical tools to do so.

Renate Bloem, President of the Geneva-based Conference of NGOs, urged NGOs to exert their “soft power” to persuade governments to set goals to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.  On an operational level, climate change should become an issue for all NGOs. Climate change was not just an environmental issue, but also an economic one -– an issue of food security, refugees and human rights and development -- particularly since it had a disproportionate effect on the lives of the poor. 

Richard Jordan, Conference Chair and Co-Chair of its Planning Committee, and representative of the International Council for Caring Communities, urged participants to pause for these three days and consider reasons for any lack of progress.  He said this civil society Conference would produce a Declaration, which he hoped would be a consensus document -- providing a greater understanding of climate change and its impact, including a call to action. 


The Collective Voice of Civil Society


Consensus hallmarks this civil society Declaration.  The collective voice of civil society is being heard increasingly within the halls of the United Nations – via this Conference, the Declaration that will emerge, the dialogues and initiatives underway, and the UN’s growing commitment to include NGOs as partners.

The MDGs in tandem with emerging climate change initiatives are key areas for cooperation between civil society and the UN System. These dialogues and global goals are evident in the Conference themes and sessions. Conference participants attended numerous multi-stakeholder roundtables.  Topics included “Climate Change: The Scientific Evidence; Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Traditional Knowledge; Water Security; Coping with Climate Change: Best Land Use Practices; The Economics and Politics of Energy and Climate Change.” In addition to these roundtables, participants engaged in similar Mid-day workshops. Over thirty student intern rapporteurs will summarise workshop proceedings for the final Conference report.

Leverage, accountability and solutions were emphasised. In addition to fundamental climate stabilisation, this Conference identified leverage points for equilibrating the planet, while transforming and evolving our organisations, communities, and global civil society.  The Conference made clear that global commitment must emerge from evidence of the gravity of climate change; and that civil society is operating interdependently with government, Member States and the UN System. Thus civil society is influencing government attitudes and planetary outcomes.  With increasing momentum, civil society, governments and the United Nations System stand poised for collective action on behalf of the common good.


References and Sources: United Nations Webcast, managed by Department of Public Information (DPI), features the latest multimedia technologies, from live video streaming to audio packages to searchable archives of meetings, briefings and special events taking place within the United Nations. The site is updated continuously throughout the day to maximise audience satisfaction. The UN’s DPI/NGO Executive Committee and its Conference Planning Committee have made available this Conference to those in attendance and to all who wish to watch its archived webcasts.


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Next issue: 5 October 2007.



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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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