Good News Agency – Year VIII, n° 7
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. Editorial research by Fabio Gatti (in charge) and Elisa Peduto. Good News Agency is published in English on one Friday and in Italian the next. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to the editorial offices of more than 3,700 media in 48 countries and to 2,800 NGOs.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The Association has been recognized by UNESCO as “an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace” and it has been included in the web site http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/uk/uk_sum_monde.htm
Towards a comprehensive European Migration Policy: Cracking down on employment of illegal immigrants and fostering circular migration and mobility partnerships
Brussels, 16 May - The European Commission is determined to tackle the pull factor for illegal immigrants created by employers providing illegal work. Today it presented a proposal for a Directive on sanctions against such employers. This is part of a comprehensive European Migration policy which supports legal migration, fights illegal migration, builds cooperation with Third Countries and works with the development agenda. (…)
Precise figures are difficult to obtain but recent estimates of illegal migrants in the EU range between 4.5 and 8 million, with an estimated increase by 350 000 to 500.000 per year. From 7 to 16% of the EU's GDP is estimated to come from the shadow economy, although this is not entirely staffed by illegal migrants. Construction, agriculture, house-work, cleaning, catering and other hospitality services are the sectors of the economy most prone to such undocumented work in general and attracting illegal migrants in particular.
Member States already have sanctions to combat illegal employment, but these vary in severity and enforcement. Experience has shown that the existing sanctions have failed to achieve full compliance. Ensuring that all Member States introduce similar penalties, and enforce them effectively, will avoid distortions on the single internal market caused by unfair competition from employers of illegal migrants.
May 18 - The ICRC in Southern Sudan has organized the first course on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights for the Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) from 7th to 11th May 2007. The course, facilitated by the ICRC's Police and Security Forces pool officer, was organized for 13 training officers of the Central Training and Development Unit of the SSPS and held at the Police Headquarters in Juba.
The five-day training course addressed basic principles of Human Rights and IHL; use of force and firearms; prevention and detection of crime; arrest and detention; public order; and vulnerable groups. During his address at the closing ceremony, Maj. Gen. Angok Majok, SSPS Assistant Inspector General in charge of Training emphasized the importance of the application of Human Rights and IHL to police training and operations.
The ICRC's cooperation with Southern Sudan Police Service is part of its programmes of training the armed and security forces in Sudan including the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA) and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) to incorporate provisions of humanitarian law into their training and operations. (…)
Children’s Rights for Roma children
UNICEF study on the situation of Roma Children in South East Europe and Council of Europe/European Commission’s “Dosta!” campaign
Belgrade, 16 May – UNICEF’s study Breaking the Cycle of Exclusion: Roma Children in South East Europe, focuses on the 1.7 million Roma children living in South East Europe. Roma children suffer from poverty, discrimination and a lack of prospects for their future in eight states of South East Europe: Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. “Exclusion deprives children of their childhood and hinders them from fully developing their capacities to contribute in a substantial way to the economic and social development of their country,” said UNICEF Area Representative Ann-Lis Svensson. Breaking the cycle of exclusion by fighting stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination is the main purpose of the awareness raising campaign “Dosta! Go beyond prejudice, discover the Roma.” Initiated by the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The Dosta! campaign has two main objectives; the first is the recognition of Roma as fully fledged citizens of European countries, while the second focuses on the recognition of the contribution of the Roma culture to Roma cultural heritage.(…)
New NGO action group has been set up to monitor the EU’s strategy on the rights of the child.
On 17 April, a hearing on the European Commission’s Communication "towards an EU strategy on the rights of the child" was held in the European Parliament. The NGO Action Group prepared a set of key messages to be distributed at the hearing.
The International Federation Terre Des Hommes, World Vision, the European Foundation for Street Children Worldwide, Save the Children, EURONET, Eurochild, Plan International and SOS-Kiderdorf International endorsed the statement of recommendations to the Parliament.
They call for the European Parliament to ensure that:
· children’s rights are mainstreamed;
· child participation becomes a central element of the EU’s work;
· the EU devotes sufficient human and financial resources towards the issue; and
· the European Parliament plays a monitoring role to ensure the European Commission relises its commitment.
The Action Group highlight the following processes as an important means of achieving an EU strategy on the rights of the child:
· There will be a Green Paper (consultation) and subsequent strategy on the rights of the child which is planned for 2008.
· Two preliminary studies will be conducted by the European Commission in 2007, regarding the impact of existing EU instruments and actions on children’s rights and data on children’s rights.
· The creation of a European Forum on the Rights of the Child.
In order to strengthen the input of the European Parliament on this issue, the group of NGOs has suggested the Parliament creates a joint or inter-parliamentary group on children’s rights. (…)
Governance for equitable development
A joint EU/UNDP programme to strengthen rule of law and enhance civil society participation in China
14 May, Beijing - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement today to support a large-scale initiative aimed at strengthening rule of law and enhancing civil society participation in China. Entitled “Governance for Equitable Development,” the four-year, US$10.5 million, equivalent to EUR€8.08 million, programme is the first comprehensive initiative of its type, simultaneously addressing key issues and concerns in three arenas: law making through the National People’s Congress (NPC), the judicial process through the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and civil participation through the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA) and civil society organisations (CSOs) in China. “While China has enjoyed remarkable economic growth and much improved living standards in past decades, social inequality, corruption, and inadequate law enforcement have created severe barriers for vulnerable groups,” said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, at the signing event. “In an effort to address these issues, this agreement formalizes an unprecedented large scale initiative bringing together key development partners to work together on a bold and innovative programme aimed to improve access to justice and law making systems while broadening the capacities and involvement of civil society in the public sphere,” said Malik. (…)
Malik stressed that the programme is part of an ongoing shift in the relations between the government and CSOs in China. (…) Equally important, this joint initiative will assist the SPC in various policy and legal reforms aimed at creating a more transparent and equitable legal system in China. For example, it will help SPC enhance the legal channels for plaintiffs seeking compensation for crimes and rights violations.(…)
IFAD-backed US$27 million project in Haiti will develop small-scale irrigation systems for poor rural farmers
Rome, 15 May - A new US$27 million development project in Haiti will rehabilitate collective irrigation systems used by thousands of poor small farmers in the North-East and North-West provinces, two of the country’s poorest areas. IFAD will provide a loan of US$13 million for the Small-Scale Irrigation Development Project. [...] The Government of Haiti will contribute US$3.5 million to the project. The OPEC Fund for International Development will provide US$8 million and project participants will contribute US$2.5 million.
The project will help about 18,000 families in remote rural areas [...]. Small farmers will be able to grow a bigger range of irrigated crops and increase their agricultural production through more efficient water management. [...] The project will also help to establish a national water management programme for agriculture, and will continue to support private service providers. [...] In addition to improving traditional crop production and introducing new crops, the project will develop income-generating activities that are not farm related for people who have little or no access to land or irrigation. Women and young people in particular will get access to training in literacy and nutrition and assistance with small business development. With this project, IFAD has financed seven projects in Haiti with approved loans totalling US$84.3 million. To read more: http://www.ifad.org/media
Albania launches One UN Initiative
May 14 - The Government of Albania and United Nations Agencies launched today the One UN Pilot Initiative. Albania has been selected, along with seven other countries – the only one in Europe – to test a worldwide programme of UN reform. Part of ongoing United Nations efforts to enhance efficiency and responsiveness, the One UN Pilot Initiative aims to bring UN Agencies together – with one programme, one budget and one leader. Albania’s selection followed the request of the Albanian Government to the United Nations System.
The One UN pilot initiative aims to avoid fragmentation and duplication of development efforts. It will strengthen unity of purpose, coherence in management, while maintaining the distinct mandates and missions of the different UN agencies. “By volunteering to be a One UN pilot, Albania has taken a leadership role in helping the UN to deliver as one,” said Kemal Dervis, Chair of the UN Development Group and UNDP Administrator. “By coming together, we at the UN can realize our tremendous potential as partners in development.”
Through a nationally led process, UN Agencies are developing the One UN Programme, which will enhance their collaboration, while ensuring that support is closely aligned with Government priorities. The One UN Programme in Albania will focus on responding to the following national priorities: more transparent and accountable government; greater participation in policy and decision-making; increased access to quality basic services, and regional development. The programme will also focus on capacity development, gender equality and the environment.(…)
64 community projects from 14 countries in the running for social innovation prize
Local initiatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela move on to the next stage of the competition
8 May - A total of 64 projects from 14 Latin American countries have been selected from among 805 applicants to move on to the next stage of the "Experiences in Social Innovation," 2006-2007 competition, organized by ECLAC and the W.K.Kellogg Foundation. The competition, launched in 2004 and now in its third cycle, identifies and publicizes projects that take new approaches to social development and foster best practice for the benefit of the region's poorest. The 64 initiatives under consideration for 2006-2007 awards come from: Brazil (19), Argentina (7 ), Mexico (7), Colombia (6), Peru (4), Chile (4), Costa Rica (3), Ecuador (3), Paraguay (3), Bolivia (2), Honduras (2), El Salvador (2), Guatemala (1) and Venezuela (1). Sixty percent correspond to local and nationwide non-governmental organizations (NGOs); 10% to community-based organizations; and 10% to municipalities and other governmental offices. Twenty percent focus on income generation; 17% on education; 15% on rural development; 14 % on health; 11% on volunteer work; 9% on youth programmes; and 3 % on corporate social responsibility. (…)
US$39.9 million IFAD-supported development programme will boost productivity of old tea plantations
Rome, 8 May - A new US$39.9 million development programme in Sri Lanka will improve economic and social conditions for almost 40,000 people in the mid-country region of Kandy, Kegalle and Matale districts, and in the Moneragala district.
The Smallholder Plantations Entrepreneurship Development Programme will be financed partly by a loan of US$22.5 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). (...) The Government of Sri Lanka will contribute US$3.8 million (...). Additional financing of US$5.5 million will be provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Wellassa Rubber Company, a consortium of private rubber companies operating in Sri Lanka, will contribute US$5.2 million. (...)
The initiative has a number of important goals. It will improve access rights to land by poor people, using longer-term leases under outgrower schemes, whereby small farmers are directly linked to specialized factories for plantation crops that will process and market products so that both the farmer and the processor benefit. This will be combined with crop diversification and better access to markets and services for plantation crops, including tea, rubber and spices. (...)
UN launches ninth Cluster on Industry, Trade and Market Access in support of AU and NEPAD
Addis Ababa, 7 May (ECA) -UN agencies on 3 May in Vienna launched a ninth Cluster on Industry, Trade and Market Access (ITMA) in support of the African Union and its New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) vision. The launch and inaugural meeting of the Cluster were co-organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and presided over by the Executive Secretary of ECA, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, the Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Kandeh Yumkella and the head of NEPAD, Prof. Firmino Mucavele The Cluster, which was first mooted at the UN Regional Consultation Meeting in 2006, will build greater synergy in the industrial, trade and market access programmes and activities of the UN system and key stakeholders in Africa in support of the African Union and its NEPAD initiative. It will also undertake joint programmes and activities; joint studies and publications; joint seminars and workshops among other activities. The Cluster Convener will be UNIDO, while the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will serve as Vice Convener. (…)During the two-day meeting, participants adopted the Cluster's terms of reference and discussed its structure, processes and areas of focus. They also deliberated on a wide range of issues, including industrial development, supply-side constraints, assisting African countries in building trade capacity, securing access to markets and mainstreaming industrial policy and trade into national development strategies. (…)
Latin American and Caribbean firms increase the pace of their investments abroad
4 May - The year 2006 saw a significant increase in investments made abroad by Latin America and Caribbean-based companies, suggesting that regional firms are expanding internationally at a faster pace than in previous years. This is a key finding of the new report Foreign Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2006, released this week by ECLAC. This increase in outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) is largely attributable to the growth of the "trans-Latins," as this emerging group of outward-looking Latin America/Caribbean-based transnational corporations has been dubbed. A notable example comes from Brazil, whose investments outside its borders (US$ 28.202 billion in 2006) surpassed the total entering the country from foreign investment (US$ 18.782 billion).
The year's largest transaction was the acquisition of the Canadian firm Inco by Brazil's CRVD, for US$ 16.730 billion. This trend appears to have continued over the first months of 2007, with the announcement of new large-scale acquisitions, including confirmation of the purchase of the Australian firm Rinker by Mexico's CEMEX for US$ 14.630 billion, the purchase of the US-based Hydril by Argentina's Techint group for approximately US$ 2 billion, and the announcement that Techint will take control of the Mexican group IMSA.
Major progress towards paperless trade at United Nations Forum in Dublin
Geneva, 1 May - Cutting red tape, simplifying trade procedures, reducing costs. These topics, which are close to the heart of any international business, were the focus of a recent United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Forum held in Dublin, Ireland. Summarizing the Forum’s results, Mike Doran, Chair of the UN/CEFACT Forum Management Group, detailed an impressive range of new developments and standards delivered during the event. He noted, in particular, the publication of the electronic Cross Industry Invoice and the Business Requirements Specification of the UN electronic trade documents project, UNeDocs. These products will greatly enhance the exchange of paperless trade information, both nationally and internationally.
UN/CEFACT’s mission is to improve the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations from developed, developing and transitional economies to exchange products and relevant services effectively. A principal focus is facilitating national and international transactions by simplifying and harmonizing processes, procedures and information flows so as to contribute to the growth of global commerce (http://www.unece.org/cefact/). (…)
How much does the forestry sector of Uzbekistan contribute to the sustainable development of the economy?
You can find the answer to this question by reading the recently published UNECE/FAO discussion paper “Forest and Forest Products Country Profile: Uzbekistan” (ECE/TIM/DP/45).
The primary role of forests in Uzbekistan is to protect agricultural lands, populated areas and soil of surrounding territories from water and wind erosion, to prevent mudflows, and to stabilize sands of deserted areas. At the same time, the country’s forests are the source of some low-quality timber (also used for energy purposes), as well as of non-wood products such as nuts, fruits, medical plants and fodder. Forest areas constitute some 8 percent of the land and are unevenly distributed over the territory of the country. The forest ecosystems of Uzbekistan are extremely fragile and sensitive to human intervention. The area under forests has considerably declined during the last century, but the process is currently being stabilized. The forest and forest products sector of Uzbekistan like that of most of the countries of Central Asia has undergone considerable transformations during recent years. The transition to a market economy demands deep reform of forest management, so that it would be sound not only economically, but also socially and ecologically. (…)
Six coalitions led by non-government organizations announce plans to engage citizens and government
Media Advisory from the Embassy of the United States of America, Office of Public Affairs, Baku, Azerbaijan
USAID’s Civil Society Project is hosting a Dialogue and Advocacy Reception on May 7th, where six coalitions of NGOs and businesses will announce their plans to engage citizens and government through campaigns aimed at improving socio-economic conditions in Azerbaijan. (…) Participants will learn about the coalitions’ efforts to make improvements in traffic safety; job creation through historical preservation; public access to information; community services; and understanding of the rights of disabled women.
These collations are building on public dialogue involving 250 representatives of Azerbaijan’s civil society organizations, businesses, municipalities, local executive authorities, and the national government. These representatives, from across Azerbaijan, recently met for the purpose of building consensus on priority development issues and initiatives that can best be resolved by citizens constructively engaging with government.
The Civil Society Project aims to assist the citizens and government of Azerbaijan to further develop a dialogue while working towards the creation of a more representative and better functioning democracy. The project is implemented by the US NGO Counterpart International, in partnership with the Urban Institute and the International Center for Non-profit Law.
For more information about Counterpart (www.counterpart.org/), Urban Institute (www.urban.org), ICNL (www.icnl.org/) and USAID (www.usaid.gov) please visit their websites.
Rotarians help tornado victims rebuild
Rotary International News
22 May - Rotary District 5690, which covers Kansas and parts of Oklahoma, USA, and the local Rotary club are helping the victims of a 4 May tornado that killed nine people and damaged rural towns. The tornado demolished the town of Greensburg, Kansas. Nearby towns also suffered damage. It's estimated that more than 1,700 people were affected by this disaster, which caused numerous injuries, and destroyed homes, schools, and the local hospital.
Local Rotarians already have been busy helping the community. They made the local high school graduation possible by organizing the event, providing security, and hosting the reception.
District 5690 is collecting funds to help the people of Greensburg and the surrounding communities. It hopes to provide help with immediate needs, including temporary housing, equipment for cleaning up, donations of books and clothing, as well as long-term recovery.
ECHO and UNICEF promote Plumpy’nut production to improve child nutrition in Niger
By Sabine Dolan
Niamey, Niger, 18 May – Two years after Niger’s severe nutrition crisis, the sight of undernourished children is less common than it was, but chronic malnutrition still affects more than 50 percent of the country's young children. And 10 per cent of Niger’s children suffer from acute malnutrition, even when the harvests are good. To deal with this worrying situation, a large-scale effort is under way to address malnutrition at various stages in the lives of children under the age of five. One of the key tools being used in that effort is the therapeutic food known as Plumpy’nut, which helped save thousands of lives during the crisis in 2005.
Like many therapeutic health centres across Niger, the UNICEF-supported clinic in Tillabery – an hour away from the capital, Niamey – gives Plumpy'nut to severely malnourished children. The high-protein, high-energy, peanut-based paste typically comes in foil wrappers or small plastic tubs, which are practical for children who can easily eat them. (…) Since 2005, the Société de Transformation Alimentaire (STA) factory in Niamey has been producing the lifesaving food. It is the only Plumpy’nut factory in West Africa, and production has grown to about 40 tonnes a month, attracting the interest of neighbouring countries. With ECHO’s financial support, last year UNICEF was able to purchase about 130 tonnes of the Plumpy’nut produced at the STA factory. This year, UNICEF continues to strongly support local production of the user-friendly food. (…)
Accra, 18 May - WFP announced today that it was airlifting 31 metric tons of equipment from its Humanitarian Response Depot (HRD) in Ghana to support the agency's recently upgraded life-saving operation in the strife-torn Central African Republic. The equipment, including temporary storage facilities, living accommodations and accompanying tool kits, is scheduled to depart the Ghanaian capital today onboard a WFP-chartered Illyushin 76 cargo jet for the three-hour flight to Bangui in CAR. "In a matter of hours, we are going to move our gear from Accra into CAR, where it will be immediately deployed to support our complex logistics operation there,” said Amer Daoudi, Associate Director of WFP's transport division. (…) In order to reach at least 230,000 people affected by the current crisis in CAR, WFP is urgently scaling up its logistics capacity at an additional operational cost of US$3.5 million over the next nine months.
As part of the same effort, WFP earlier this week moved a fleet of 25 6X6 all-terrain trucks overland into CAR along with storage and living accommodation equipment. Funds are also required to repair crumbling roads and bridges. "This airlift from our Accra Humanitarian Response Depot confirms the importance for WFP of the global network of HRDs we are operating,” said Daoudi. "Airlifting equipment we had pre-positioned in Accra is resulting in huge savings of time and money.” (…) HRD Accra is part of the Global Network established by WFP to build on the success of the agency's original UNHRD in Brindisi, Italy.
In addition to Accra and Brindisi, other hubs have been established in Panama City and Dubai in order to support the emergency response effort of the UN, governments and international humanitarian organisations and NGOs. A fifth depot is planned for South East Asia.
Argentina: The Long (Children's) March Against Hunger
Buenos Aires, May 18 (IPS) – (…) "Hunger is a Crime" and "No Kid Lost to Hunger" were the slogans chanted by some 400 children, teenagers and teachers belonging to the Movimiento Nacional de Chicos del Pueblo (roughly - the popular national children's movement), who covered 4,500 kilometres in 11 days, from the northeast of the country to the capital, by way of towns and cities in the provinces of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires. (…)
Although social indicators show that conditions have been improving steadily and substantially over the last five years, since the late 2001 economic and political collapse, 26.7 percent of Argentina's 38 million people are still living below the poverty line and 8.7 percent are extremely poor, according to official statistics. But the movement's children point out that these averages hide major differences in living standards. On the basis of official Argentine statistics, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) indicates that 49.5 percent of children under 15 are poor, a proportion that rises to nearly 70 percent in the northern provinces.
The movement, coordinated by sociologist Alberto Morlachetti, is made up of some 400 children's and young people's grassroots organisations. Its main activity is the annual march from the provinces to the city of Buenos Aires. En route, the children are welcomed by other youngsters from a variety of institutions and organisations. "The miracle of our march is that just for a moment, organisations put aside their concerns and conflicts and come together to hear about the paradox of this country, which is the fifth exporter of cereal grains in the world, but where children are dying of hunger," Morlachetti told IPS. (…)
Episcopal Relief and Development - Chantal Valencia Lawrence
May 18 - Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) will provide emergency assistance to the people of Dajabón in the Dominican Republic after a tornado swept through the city.
On May 8, Dajabón was struck by a violent tornado that partially damaged or destroyed 255 homes. The tornado also tore down trees, electrical poles and agricultural crops. No lives were lost, but 36 people were injured, according to reports.
“It is absolutely amazing that no one was killed, because many homes have no basements and there is little protection from this type of storm,” said the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic. “The storm struck when many people were working or out-of-doors” said Bishop Holguín. ERD is working in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic to supply emergency assistance such as food, medication and construction material. Beds, mattresses and kitchen supplies will also be provided. (…)
Hilton Foundation brings new hope on Mother's Day with national initiative to help at-risk and homeless young mothers and children
Three projects in Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul selected to pilot model programs aimed at identifying long-term solutions
Los Angeles, May 15 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation today announced selection of three projects for its national initiative to improve housing, health, and development of young homeless and at-risk children and their mothers. Two are in Los Angeles and one in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Each will pilot and evaluate innovative programs for homeless children and their families, then share the strategies and services proven to be effective to provide a roadmap to enhance services nationally.
The five-year initiative, Strengthening At Risk and Homeless Young Mothers and Children, was launched in 2006 by the Hilton Foundation to mitigate the effects of homelessness on childhood development. Funding for the five-year project will total $11.2 million, with $3.6 million generated as funding matches by local partners. United Way will be matching funds for this important initiative for the first three years.
The three selected projects are: the Antelope Valley Homeless Coalition of Los Angeles, CA; PROTOTYPES, Centers for Innovation in Health, Mental Health and Social Services of Los Angeles, CA; and Reuben Lindh Family Services of Minneapolis, MN. A fourth site may be added to the initiative. Programs at each location will be supported by partnerships of local organizations and agencies. Matching funds will be provided locally in each year of the initiative. (…)
National partners in the initiative are The National Center on Family Homelessness, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the Child Welfare League of America. The three partner organizations act as the initiative’s Coordinating Center, bringing expertise to project selection, provision of training and technical assistance to project sites, and evaluation of pilot programs and services. (…)
African Well Fund “Building Hope, One Well at a Time” with Africare annual “Build a Well for Bono’s Birthday” campaign among efforts
Nicole Eley, (202) 328-5362, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC, May 10, 2007 — When the founders of the African Well Fund, inspired by the rock musician and activist, Bono, began their search for a charity to carry out their vision to bring clean water to Africa, they looked no farther than Africare. (…) Since 2003, the African Well Fund has partnered with Africare to bring clean water to remote communities in Africa. The combined efforts have brought wells and sanitation systems to villages every region of Sub-Saharan Africa — stretching as far southeast as Zimbabwe and as far northwest as Sierra Leone. To date, including 2007 gifts, the African Well Fund has donated close to $302,000 to Africare to fulfill its aims. (…)
Among those efforts is the Fund’s annual drive to “Build a Well for Bono's Birthday.” From March 22 through May 6, the African Well Fund invites U2 fans and others who are inspired by Bono's tireless activism on behalf of Africa to make a donation in honor of his May 10 birthday. Donations from the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 birthday campaigns totaled over $80,000. Donations honoring Bono’s 2007 birthday are still coming in (for more information or to donate, visit http://www.africanwellfund.org/Bono-Well-2007.html). This past September, two African Well Fund members traveled to Africa to see wells built by those previous birthday fundraisers: there is video from the trip at youtube.com or the trip blog from AWF's visit to Africa for more information.
Africare has launched water projects in Angola, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe with support from the African Well Fund since 2003. The most recent was a $22,000 project, which launched in February 2007 in Ntungamo, Uganda. That project will construct or re-install 15 water wells, serving 6,000 community members. (…)
May 10 - The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is continuing its assistance to the tsunami-affected Solomon Islands with a rehabilitation project to help 440 households on Choiseul Island rebuild their homes. The 14-week project began the first week of May and will benefit approximately 2,640 tsunami survivors.
In early April, a massive underwater earthquake triggered a 33-foot tsunami that swept through the western region of the Solomon Islands, leaving devastation in its wake. ADRA responded immediately to the disaster, providing emergency supplies for survivors in the coastal areas of the Choiseul, Ranongga, and Vella Lavella islands, including construction tools, cooking supplies, and basic agricultural tools to help affected families begin to rebuild their lives.
While coordinating its needs assessments and initial emergency relief efforts with the United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) and other humanitarian agencies, ADRA teams discovered that many villages on Choiseul Island lacked suitable housing, with one village alone reporting an estimated 300 homes destroyed or uninhabitable.
Although most villages are not this densely populated, ADRA will work with Choiseul Island residents in nearly 40 villages to rehabilitate, rebuild, and assist in redesigning their homes to be more resilient. ADRA will purchase and operate a portable sawmill and chainsaw to process local trees into lumber for the new homes and will provide tsunami-affected households with construction tools and supplies. (…)
G8 - Keep Your Word to the Poor!
This Friday, the finance ministers of the world's richest countries meet to plan the G8 summit in Germany. Two years ago, they pledged to double aid to Africa--but despite their promises, aid from the G8 has actually gone down, and 20,000 children every day are still dying preventable deaths.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has signed on to a letter organised by Avaaz and our friends at the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. The letter will be featured in big ads in the Financial Times and German press on Friday morning, so that the finance ministers are reminded of their promises before they meet. Let's show how many of us want the rich world to keep its promises to the global poor! Sign the letter now!
Norwegian people's aid helps clear landmines in Cambodia
by Kittisak Siripornpitak, www.scandasia.com
16 May - With around 840 landmine victims annually, Cambodia has the third highest number of casualties worldwide and projects have been carried out by the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) which are supported by the Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) to reduce this problem.
NPA has been supporting CMAC's development projects since 1993 to help with the development and implementation of technical survey project and is currently providing two technical advisors to the CMAC Mine Detection Dog Program.
With aims to clear mines and ensuring fair distribution of land, the NPA gives funding and is monitoring the CMAC Demining Unit 1 in the Beantey Meanchey province.
Landmine Monitor Report for Cambodia: www.icbl.org/lm/country/cambodia
Serbia/Montenegro: last Balkan mine stockpiles destroyed under NATO-supported project
May 16 - A milestone in the Balkans was reached with the completion of a NATO/ Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund project to destroy the complete stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines of both Serbia and Montenegro. With the destruction of the stockpiles in both Serbia and in Montenegro completed, there are now no more landmine stockpiles in the entire Balkans.
A ceremony to mark this important event was held on 16 May at the Ministry of Defence in Belgrade. Officials of the Serbian Ministry of Defence, of Montenegro and from NATO and donor nations attended the event.
Serbia and Montenegro acceded to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty in September 2003. The Trust Fund project was established in October 2004 to support implementation of the Ottawa Treaty obligations to destroy the declared stockpile of 1.3 million landmines. Approximately 40,000 of these mines were stored in Montenegro. Now completed, this project has resulted in the elimination of the last stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines in the Balkan region. (…)
May 16 - In collaboration with the ICRC, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda organized a one-day round table on the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its five Protocols. The round table was held in the framework of the implementation of the mechanism for the ratification and adhesion to conventions and international treaties on international humanitarian law (IHL).
The meeting brought together legal advisers from various ministries and institutions concerned with the ratification and implementation of this Convention. Its objective was to examine in depth certain legal issues and to encourage Rwanda, a country that attaches great importance to international conventions, to become a party to the CCW.
The 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons applies to specific weapons. Its five Protocols relate to: non-detectable fragments; the prohibition or the restriction of the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices; the prohibition or the restriction of the use of incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons and explosive remnants of war. The Convention's is aim to protect civilians against the effects of weapons used in a war, as well as combatants against the suffering that could be inflicted upon them in an unnecessary manner in the achievement of a legitimate military goal.
In Rwanda, a country that experienced war in the 1990s, mines still exist, as do explosives and other remnants of weapons which can cause injury to the civilian population, despite the fact that the country has been stable for more than a decade. There is, therefore, an imperative need to put in place mechanisms to protect the population. For some years, ICRC has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Rwanda to ratify conventions and treaties related to IHL.
UNICEF and Chad sign agreement to demobilize child soldiers
N’Djamena, Chad, 9 May – UNICEF and the Government of Chad signed an agreement today for the demobilization of child soldiers throughout the country. The accord, signed by UNICEF Representative Stephen Adkisson and Chad’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Djidda Moussa Outman, follows on Chad’s commitment at the Paris Protocols, agreed on 6 February 2006, to demobilize children enrolled in armed forces and groups. Today’s agreement is a significant step in the implementation of the Paris Protocols. “UNICEF places the utmost importance on the protection of children, especially those affected by conflict,” Adkisson said. He said that UNICEF’s support in the demobilization and reintegration of children will be carried out on two levels. UNICEF will help the government prevent the recruitment of children into armed forces and ensure their liberation and reintegration. It will assist the government with a national programme to release children from armed groups, offer them support and then, reintegrate them into their communities. The programme will also benefit Sudanese children who can be returned to their country of origin.(…)
Closing ceremony of the Croatia-Serbia cross border project supported by Spain, Canada and USA
8 May - The demined project area of the size 138.415 sq.meters is located in the border area of Croatia and Serbia, in Croatian municipality Vrbanja, village of Strošinci and in Serbian municipality Šid, village of Jamena. The area includes arable land and area of the future interstate border crossing which both countries have decided to establish upon removal of the mines. The clearance of this land, will benefit the local population from both countries as they will be able to cultivate the land again. Demining will increase safety of the local residents as well and enable the efficient border control.
LAOS: All female clearance team
Across all the regions where MAG works, women play a focal (although often unrecognised) role in the survival strategies and economy of the most vulnerable households within a community. In acknowledgment of this, MAG trains and employs women as deminers and UXO technicians, enabling them to more fully realise their potential and improve the quality of their lives and those of their families.
Demining is an income-generating opportunity which helps women not only to provide for their family but to build household assets, reduce vulnerability to disasters and improve household food security. In addition, due to the high regard people place on this type of work and the regular income it affords, the status of a female deminer increases within her community, enabling her to access services such as rural credit, which she could not before and broadening her role in decision making on a household and community level. All of which will lead to a significant increase in self-esteem and confidence. (…)
MAG (Mines Advisory Group) is one of the world's leading humanitarian organisations providing conflict-affected countries with a real chance for a better future.
Rotarians help beat back polio outbreak in India
By Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga, Rotary International News
23 May - Confident that India would soon eradicate polio, Past District 6900 Governor Robert Hall led several U.S. Rotarians to Subnational Immunization Days in Uttar Pradesh in November. The poverty stricken state in northern India was the epicenter of a 2006 polio outbreak. Rotary Foundation Major Donors Jim and Donna Philips, whose contribution to the PolioPlus Partners program helped fund the SNIDs, also traveled with the group. The team was encouraged by the collaboration among government officials, religious leaders, Indian Rotarians, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. "This trip was the experience of a lifetime for all 20 Rotarians who visited Uttar Pradesh," says Hall, who pledged the continued support of District 6900 (Georgia, USA) and Zone 34 Rotarians. (…)
India is countering the challenges of polio eradication through intensified immunizations with the monovalent oral polio vaccine. Because most of the reported cases in 2006 were from poor Muslim communities, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is working with religious leaders to persuade more families to have their children immunized.
Partly because of the Muslim clerics' support, India reported an overall increase in turnout of children during SNIDs in July, September, and November.
Global health partners mobilize to counter yellow fever
US$ 58 million GAVI contribution to prevent highly contagious disease in 12 West African nations
Geneva, 16 May - The effort to contain deadly yellow fever disease received a boost today with the launch of a Yellow Fever Initiative backed by a US$ 58 million contribution from the GAVI Alliance. Launched during the World Health Assembly currently meeting in Geneva, the new initiative will support special immunization campaigns in a dozen West African countries at high risk of yellow fever epidemics. (…) Until now, vaccine has often been too expensive for countries to afford when faced with a host of competing health problems and coverage rates in some West African countries are critically low. In Nigeria, for example, the coverage rate in 2005 was an estimated 36%. However, it is recommended that, to stop yellow fever infections from spreading into an epidemic, immunization coverage must be at least 60–80%. (…)
GAVI's grant to the Yellow Fever Initiative will cover the 12 countries which are at the highest risk from the disease – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo – and will help create a stockpile of 11 million doses of vaccine. Within the framework of the Initiative, the 12 Member States and WHO will identify specific target populations to vaccinate, with the aim of both preventing outbreaks and managing epidemics, and consequently increasing immunization coverage.
May 2 - Days after Afghanistan vaccinated more than 7 million children against polio, the world's top health official and Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to capitalize swiftly on the country's remarkable progress towards eradicating the disease. Of the four remaining countries which have never stopped polio, Afghanistan is the only one which has not reported any case so far this year. Click here for a story on the vaccination campaign.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan was in Afghanistan on the first leg of a two-part journey to Afghanistan and Pakistan to encourage high-level and combined efforts on the part of both countries to stop the final chains of polio transmission, which straddle their common border.
Record cereal production forecast in 2007 but supply/demand situation to remain tight
Biofuels industry drives up demand, prices
Rome, 16 May - World cereal production in 2007 is on track to reach a record level of 2 095 million tonnes, a rise of 4.8 percent over 2006 levels, FAO said in a tentative forecast issued today. But with stocks at their lowest level in over two decades, total supplies would still be barely adequate to meet increased demand, boosted by the fast-growing biofuels industry.
International prices for most cereals have risen significantly in 2006/07 so far and are likely to remain high in 2007/08, according to FAO’s latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. As a result, the cereal import bill of the low-income food deficit countries (LIFDCs) is forecast to increase by about one-quarter in the current season.
Technology meets Ecology - Green Cross Bolivia takes the lead
May 7 - Green Cross Bolivia's (GC Bolivia) Rainwater Harvesting and Ecological Latrines Project deals with the general water shortage and inadequate sanitary conditions endemic in families from the municipality of San Antonio de Lomerío, Bolivia.
In 2003, GC Bolivia volunteers and the Body of Peace first noticed this issue when helping the indigenous population develop crafts and promote ethno and ecotourism. The programme had the support of Green Cross Japan, who helped finance 13 ecological latrines and 14 rainwater tanks that were immediately made available to the families.
The International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance, in Geneva, was approached, and they provided funding for the construction of 25 new rainwater tanks, training the indigenous population construction with relevant technologies, and giving basic sanitation lessons to families.
In carrying out this project, 18 people are now fully trained in the construction of rainwater tanks and ecological latrines. Furthermore, 37 native families have been educated on water purification, personal hygiene, and other elements of basic sanitation. And thanks to the initiative, 1980 people now have access to clean water. These people are now beginning to share their knowledge with other communities. The rainwater tanks and the ecological latrines are an important and environmentally sound alternative because they use simple technology. Not only can this appropriate technology be applied to poorer communities, or those that have a water shortage or drought, but also to communities in bigger towns and cities. (…)
Energy Globe Award 2007 – Joining forces to solve environmental problems
We invite you to participate in the Energy Globe 2007
22 May - The Energy Globe Award is today’s most important environmental award worldwide. The Award distinguishes projects that sustainably use our resources such as water, earth, energy and air or use renewable energy forms. This makes a significant contribution to climate and environment. Only if such harbinger projects are followed by many other projects can climate change be slowed. The Energy Globe is awarded nationally and internationally in the categories earth, fire, water, air and youth. You will find details about possible projects on the back of the application form. The first prize in each category of the international Energy Globe Award wins €10,000. Awards are made in a televised gala that is viewed worldwide.
Your submission helps to introduce successful projects worldwide that can also be implemented in other locations – and the sum of many small contributions amounts to a huge contribution!
All submitted projects are documented in the Energy Globe Database at: www.energyglobe.info
We invite you to participate. Every project, large or small, is welcome. Please send your project documents by 31 July 2007 to: Energy Globe, Aubauerstraße 17, 4810 Gmunden, Austria or online to: email@example.com. Additional information and the application form for download are available at: www.energyglobe.infon
Source: UNRIC for Western Europe
UN campaign to plant billion trees in 2007 hits target seven months early
22 May - The campaign by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to plant a billion trees worldwide this year has met its goal seven months early after Senegal unveiled a pledge today to plant 20 million trees. The campaign, announced at the recent climate change convention conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, now switches to turning those pledges into one billion actual plantings by the end of 2007.
Senegal made its announcement on the International Day on Biological Diversity, which this year has a special focus on the relationship between biodiversity and climate change. In his message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described this year’s theme as timely given that climate change is increasingly identified as one of the biggest causes of a loss of animal and plant species. (…)
At a press briefing today in New York, representatives of indigenous peoples said climate change presented a major threat to their lands, customs and traditions. Lakhan Bibi from the Hindu Kush region in Pakistan’s high mountains said her people had long depended on melting from glaciers for water for farming. But the rate of melting had increased, causing flooding and avalanches, and thus considerable damage to native lands. Malia Nobrega from Hawaii said Pacific islanders were experiencing many negative effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity. Mangroves had been lost, fisheries depleted, and some islands have experienced droughts. At the same time, the island nation of Tuvalu could completely disappear due to rising sea levels. www.un.org/news
Combating international environmental crime spotlighted at China's Customs College
UNEP and World Customs Organisation Begin Cooperation with Shanghai Centre of Customs Excellence
Shanghai/Nairobi, 16 May - Efforts to assist customs officers deal with multi-billion dollar environmental crime are being stepped up in the Asia Pacific region with help from experts in China. The initiative, involving UNEP, secretariats of the Multilateral Environment Agreements, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and Interpol, is aimed at equipping customs officials with the necessary skills and know-how to address this growing problem. A workshop, being held this week at the Shanghai Customs College, underlines cooperation that it is hoped will become a lasting partnership between China customs officials and the other partners. (…) Environmental crime and illegal trade is, by some estimates, valued at tens of billion if not well over 100 billion dollars a year. A wide range of chemicals, including persistent organic pollutants and ones that deplete the ozone layer, are now controlled, banned or subject to phase outs under multilateral environmental agreements. (…) The four-day Shanghai workshop, taking place at the Shanghai Customs College, aims to 'train the trainers' from regional customs agencies. It is a concrete example of the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building. (…)
Washington, DC, May 14 - Multinational corporations and financial institutions that seek local community consent for their operations will have a competitive advantage over those that fail to do so, concludes a report released today by the World Resources Institute and endorsed by a $110 billion coalition of faith-based institutional investors.
Development Without Conflict: The Business Case for Community Consent is the first report to document the precise financial and operational opportunities and risks a company faces when engaging with communities affected by environmentally sensitive development projects. It provides a roadmap for implementing community consent procedures into project and investment strategies. The report's four case studies of industrial projects in the Philippines, Argentina, Thailand and Peru demonstrate the financial opportunities of achieving community consent including project cost savings, increased access to international capital and positive reputational benefits. Companies that fail to achieve consent face a range of financial implications including project cost-overrun risks, litigation, increased scrutiny and concern from Wall Street stock analysts, and significant reputational harm.
The report has received the endorsement of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a 35-year-old international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors, which include denominations, religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations, foundations and dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated $110 billion. (…) The report comes as recent news events and trends demonstrate the need for increased attention to community consent issues (…)
The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org/) is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research to create practical ways to protect the Earth and improve people's lives. For information on WRI events, publications, research projects and experts, contact: Nate Kommers, Media Officer, +1(202)729-7736, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Belarus Solidarity Cycling Tour – August 15-September 15
The European Centre for Ecological Tourism (ECEAT) in Amsterdam, a network of 16 NGOs national members, has for main purpose to promote ecological holidays. We are now associated with Country Escape, an ecotourism association in Belarus, with whom we have been developing our new project.
The Belarus Solidarity Cycling Tour has been set up for this summer and 2008. For thirty days, we will go through Belarus with 15 western Europeans and American volunteers, as well as 15 Belarusians. We will meet the local populations, and try to implement the intention of creating private initiatives for sustainable solutions. We want to raise awareness about nature, while local agendas 21 are being developed in several communities of villages.
Belarus has one of the few centrally-planned economy left, but is more and more opening itself to abroad, through tourism for example. We thus feel that it is our duty to support them in this objective. Volunteers for the tour are wanted; please write to Belarus@eceat.nl by end of May.
In observance of World Invocation Day, Festival of Humanity and the Festival of Goodwill
How can global consciousness respond to the cry of the Least Developed Countries?
Seminar at the United Nations HQ, New York - May 31, 2:00-4:30 p.m. - Guest Speakers and Keynote Talks:
1) Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, addressing the plight of the 50 Least Developed Countries through a multi-media presentation;
2) Janosh, Computer Graphic Design Artist, presenting sacred art in the form of brilliant holograms, accompanied by music;
3) Ida Urso, Ph.D., President, Aquarian Age Community and Spiritual Psychologist, addressing the theme, “How can global consciousness respond to the cry of the Least Developed Countries?”
Sponsoring organizations: UN-OHRLLS and the Aquarian Age Community. Co-sponsoring organizations: Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale; CONGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (NY); Legion of Good Will; Operation Peace Through Unity; Pathways to Peace; UN Days & Years Meditation Initiative & Other Fellow Supporting Organizations.
Everyone is required to register by May 28. Those without a valid UN Pass may request a One-Day Guest Pass. The website for registration is accessible from the home page of the Aquarian Age Community (address below) or you can go directly to the following address:
Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer
A life-affirming book edited by John Gattuso
Acclaimed writers of faith such as Karen Armstrong, C. S. Lewis, The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Harold Kushner, and Thomas Merton explore the meaning of prayer in this inspirational volume, illustrated with more than a hundred photographs representing the world’s spiritual traditions. Fifteen essays range over a wide array of topics from the perspective of many faiths. (…) Woven between the essays and pictures are quotes, insights, and prayers composed by such beloved spiritual guides as Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Henri Nouwen, and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Combining insightful text with compelling images and beautiful design, this life-affirming book is a journey into the mystery of prayer and the desire of people of all faiths to communicate with a reality greater than their own.
Boosting investment in people to help build peace
By Dan Nixon, Rotary International News
23 May - Former Rotary World Peace Fellow Umar Shavurov is fond of quoting a proverb popular in his native Kyrgyzstan: "The wise invest in people, fools invest in wars."
Shavurov has seen both sides of that proverb in action many times. In 1990, at age 11, he and his family were forced to flee ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the city of Osh. (…) At least 12,000 people died during the one-month violence, he says. Many others disappeared. His family stayed with relatives in a Kyrgyz village until peace returned to the region. "I have always asked why once-close neighbors kill each other and what are the ways to avert such acts," he says.
A Rotary World Peace Fellowship helped provide some answers. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Shavurov studied at the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina, graduating with a master's degree in international studies in 2005. "This fellowship helped me to acquire the tools for putting problems into perspective and dissecting them," he says. "Conflicts are everywhere: at home, at work, in society, in the government. So you become like a doctor, who is needed in many places to heal problems." (…)
Now with the World Bank's Doing Business Project in Washington, D.C., Shavurov helps governments around the world make business regulations simpler and more efficient to encourage free enterprise and foreign investment. "Last year, the Doing Business Project created reforms in 50 countries," Shavurov says. "The project shows governments where to begin sustainable reforms, so millions of people can access basic economic goods and services, improve their lives, send their children to school. We're removing bureaucracy, but we're actually doing far more – we're removing corruption."
Shavurov is thankful for the opportunity to improve people's lives and help build peace. "The peace fellowship has meaning to people who really want to change the world," Shavurov says. "One of the greatest lessons I learned in the program is that peace is about being patient. Everyone has a different understanding of peace and how to achieve it. It takes a lot of patience to bring together all of these understandings."
A Wonderful Week for the Earth Charter
Earth Charter International, 9 May - Beginning with national Earth Day celebrations in Mexico that featured both a national commitment to the Earth Charter, as well as a commitment from the President of the country to planting 250 million trees (among other actions), and closing with a set of high-level meetings in Brazil that included the signing of a formal agreement between the Minister of Environment for Brazil, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights (founded by Leonardo Boff), and Earth Charter International, as well as a formal commitment from the Mayor of Sao Paulo ... well, the period 22 April to 2 May 2007 must be reckoned as a major milestone in the history of the Earth Charter Initiative. (…)
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Next issue: 15 June 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: http://www.goodnewsagency.org
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