Good News Agency
A culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour
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. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information
It is a supporter of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) provided to the UN Secretary-General for presentation to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing an active role in the field of Information through Internet.*
International legislation – Human rights – Economy and development – Solidarity Peace and security – Health – Energy and Safety – Environment and wildlife Religion and spirituality – Culture and education
Initial UN report aims to ‘reconnect science and policy towards global sustainable development’
1st July – To achieve a sustainable transition by 2050, when more than nine billion people will live on Earth, there needs to be significant adjustment to the current patterns of consumption and production, delegations heard today as a United Nations high-level political forum considered a new report aiming to lay the foundation for a new global sustainable development agenda.
The “prototype” Global Sustainable Development Report, created by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, looks three generations back — from 1950 to 2013 — and 40 years into the future to 2050, to learn from what was tried, in order to put economies and societies on the path of sustainable development.
The Report aims to make the findings of a wide range of scientific currently meeting in New York under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council.
Among the findings, the report authors said that historical progress towards sustainable development has been mixed. The world has managed to feed, nurture, house, educate and employ on the order of an additional 800 million people every decade from 1970 to 2000, and even 1.1 billion people in the 2000s, it reports. “Yet, we have not managed to employ our much greater wealth and technological capacity to eliminate poverty and hunger,” they wrote, noting that 850 million people today remain food insecure. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsId=48184#.U7PSHvl_uSo
U.S. Conference of Mayors adopts bold resolution on nuclear disarmament
Santa Barbara, CA – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), a non-partisan association of America’s big cities, on June 23, 2014 unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums at its 82nd annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.
The resolution notes that on April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed landmark cases in the International Court of Justice against all nine nuclear-armed nations, claiming that they failed to comply with their obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law to pursue negotiations for the global elimination of nuclear weapons. They also filed a companion case in U.S. Federal District Court. In its resolution, the USCM “commends the Marshall Islands for calling to the world’s attention the failure of the nine nuclear-armed states to comply with their international obligations and calls on the U.S. to respond constructively and in good faith to the lawsuits brought by the RMI.”
The U.S. based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a consultant to the Marshall Islands on the lawsuits. David Krieger, President of the Foundation, stated, “It is extremely reaffirming that the U.S. Conference of Mayors is supporting the Marshall Islands in its legal cases against the ninenuclear-armed nations. Their resolution reflects an understanding that every city in the world is a potential target for the devastation that would be wrought by the use of nuclear weapons.”
Europe: progress for transgender rights
June 24 – The Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland have moved to improve the rights of transgender people. However, each country retains some requirements that undermine the right of transgender people to have their identity reflected in law. On July 1, 2014, a new Dutch law on transgender rights will come into force allowing transgender people to change the gender designation on their official identity papers.
The United Nations joins the world in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela
Every year on 18 July — the day Nelson Mandela was born — the UN joins a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day” in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities. It acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. http://www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay
Ethiopia: helping South Sudanese refugees to survive
4 July – The Ethiopia Red Cross Society, assisted by the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Swiss Red Cross Society, is responding to the urgent needs of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who have fled the fighting in South Sudan. As more refugees cross from South Sudan into Ethiopia to escape the fighting, ICRC, Ethiopia Red Cross and other Red Cross Movement staff and volunteers are working hard to provide proper hygiene, water, sanitation, household items and emergency health care.
Economy and development
International Cooperative Day – July 5
Co-operative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all. The cooperative movement encompassing financial organisations, farmers, producers and consumers is playing an incredible role in pioneering new ethics and values in business and economics.
This Day, which is observed on the first Saturday of July, marks the formation in 1895 of the International Cooperative Alliance. Today the Alliance includes 268 member organizations (many of which include thousands of cooperatives) from 93 countries, representing one billion individuals worldwide. We forget how widespread cooperative enterprises are: in Kenya 63% of the population derive their livelihood from cooperatives; in the US 30,000 cooperatives provide over 2 million jobs; in 2007 consumer cooperatives in Denmark held 36.4% of the consumer retail market; 91% of all Japanese farmers are members of cooperatives.
UN conference to convene Civil Society to support post-2015 development agenda
Will conclude with adoption of ambitious “Action Agenda” for NGO community
New York, July 1 – The 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, titled “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,” will be held at United Nations headquarters from Wednesday, 27 August to Friday, 29 August 2014. In line with previous conferences, this 65th conference will adopt an outcome declaration that aspires to be ambitious and inspiring and to offer a civil society “Action Agenda” for the post-2015 development goals. The 65th DPI/NGO Conference will take place less than a month prior to the 23 September 2014 Climate Summit convened by UNSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the launch of intergovernmental negotiations at the 69th Session of the General Assembly.
Representatives of civil society will convene from around the world to discuss key issues on thepost-2015 development agenda, including climate change. The conference provides a unique opportunity for NGOs to come together to engage diplomats, UN officials, policy experts, scientists, educators, businesses, trade unions, parliamentarians, local authorities and others from around the world on the role of civil society in the post-2015 development agenda.
A “zero draft” of the document that will serve as the basis for the conference outcome declaration is posted on the conference website for inputs, in addition to information about the programme:
Four new Africa Solidarity Trust Fund projects will benefit 24 countries
June 25, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea – The FAO-managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund today gave a green light to four new, continent-spanning projects. The projects, worth $16 million, will span 24 different countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, focusing on youth employment and malnutrition, transboundary animal diseases and food safety and urban food security.
The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund was launched in 2013 as a unique Africa-led initiative to improve agriculture and food security across the continent. Since its inception, the Fund has already provided financing for projects in six countries – Mali, the Niger, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Malawi– including building resilience for conflict affected rural communities, reducing rural poverty through youth employment opportunities and building best practices to increase crop and livestock production.
Next allocation planned will cover a continental intervention to support African rural youth future through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and a facility for South-SouthCooperation from Africa to Africa, to allow a better sharing of knowledge and development solutions within the continent.
Fishing families in Pakistan benefit from Saudi Fund and IFAD fortified partnership
June 24, Jeddah – The Saudi Fund for Development and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) strengthened their partnership today to support a US$35.3 million project aimed at providing income-generating opportunities for women and men in coastal communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The MOU specifically highlights the Saudi Fund’s contribution of $3.3 million for the on-going,IFAD-supported Gwadar-Lasbela Livelihoods Support Project, which is connecting small fishers to regional markets. The two target districts of Gwadar and Lasbela share three quarters of
Pakistan’s coastline, where more than 60% of the population lives in poverty. Because of their distance from the capital and limited connections with the rest of the country, these districts remain underdeveloped despite large fishing grounds and ample growth potential.
To address these challenges, the project is improving infrastructure and marketing facilities, enhancing communities’ access to capital, and strengthening community and village organizations.
Summary of the First UN Environment Assembly of the UN Environment Programme
23-27 June - The first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was held at Unep headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-27June 2014. More than 1,200 participants, including environment ministers, heads of international organizations, government representatives, civil society representatives and business leaders, attended the assembly. The overarching theme of the session was “Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production.”
Delegates adopted one decision and 17 resolutions on, inter alia: strengthening UNEP’s role in promoting air quality; the science-policy interface (SPI); ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA); implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; illegal trade in wildlife; chemicals and waste; and marine debris and microplastics. During the closing plenary on Friday, the Ministerial Outcome Document of the UNEA of unep was adopted, although several member states noted their reservations with the document.
Many described the first session of the UNEA as a historic event but called for continued efforts to strengthen UNEP to support implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
Canada donates 6.7 million dollars towards WFP Programmes in Pakistan
July 3, Islamabad – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of US$6.7 million from the Government of Canada for nutrition, school feeding and relief activities in Pakistan. The contribution will enable WFP to run its school feeding programme without a break in food supplies until December 2014, supporting more than 200,000 students in nearly 1,200 schools in six agencies of FATA. Part of the donation will also be used for nutrition activities. In addition, the funds will support the milling and fortification with micronutrients of 2,905 metric tons of wheat donated by the Government of Pakistan to WFP for its relief operation.
WFP’s school feeding programme focuses on the conflict-affected areas of FATA which are highly food insecure and characterized by low literacy rates, especially among women. WFP is targeting approximately 60 percent of the schools in six agencies with the aim of stabilising enrolment and encouraging boys and girls to get an education. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/canada-donates-67-million-dollars-towards-wfp-programmes-pakistan
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation joins Shakira’s Pies Descalzos Foundation and Activia to provide school meals to children through the World Food Programme
July 2, Los Angeles, CA, USA – Due to the overwhelming success of the campaign launched by Shakira and Activia, Howard G. Buffett, a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger since 2007, today announced a commitment by the Howard G.
Buffett Foundation to provide additional funding to support WFP’s school meals program. The foundation will provide funding for 600,000 school meals and will match additional public donations made at www.wfp.org/shakira for another 600,000 meals. With each meal costing just US$0.25, WFP can provide a child with a month’s worth of school meals for $5.
As part of the campaign supporting WFP, Activia and Shakira’s foundation, Pies Descalzos, donated a total of 3 million meals for children in need. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/howard-g-buffett-foundation-joins-shakiras-pies-descalzos-foundation-and-activia-p
Caritas aids families caught in Iraq conflictby Caritas Internationalis
1st July – Caritas Iraq is providing food, bedding and hygiene kits to 2000 Iraqi families who have fled their homes after fighting broke out in the north of the country.
Heavy clashes between armed groups intensified in June, causing a massive movement of 400,000 people out of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, and other towns towards Kurdistan. Iraqi Christians have been one of the groups affected.
Christians have also fled Mosul in large numbers.(…) People are living in camps, churches, mosques and with local people. Caritas Iraqi staff and volunteers in the north will distribute aid to a further 1000 families more than the 2000 already reached.
Caritas helps people regardless of their religion. Pope Francis has called for peace and political dialogue, and reaffirmed that more violence will never bring hope and peace. Caritas France (Secours Catholique) has launched a petition in English and French calling on the EU to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty as a way to stem the flow of arms into the region. http://www.caritas.org/2014/07/caritas-aids-families-caught-in-iraq-conflict/
Canada supports WFP’s fight against hunger and malnutrition in Sudan
1st July, Khartoum- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed today a generous contribution of US$4.5 million from the Government of Canada towards WFP emergency operations in Sudan. The new contribution will be used to support nutrition activities which are a key component of WFP’s emergency response in Sudan where more than 2 million children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition every year.
Canada has also contributed half a million Canadian dollars towards the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) in Sudan which is managed by WFP and provides safe and efficient passenger and small cargo services to the humanitarian community across Sudan. Canada is one of WFP’s top donors in the fight against hunger. Sudan remains one of WFP’s largest and most complex operations. In 2014, WFP plans to reach 4.1 million people across Sudan, of whom 3.2 million are in the conflict-affected region of Darfur. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/canada-supports-wfp%E2%80%99s-fight-against-hunger-and-malnutrition-sudan
USA – Corporate, philanthropic leaders pledge $1.5-billion in impact investments
June 25 – More than 20 private-sector investors have committed to $1.5-billion in new investments designed to deliver positive social and environmental impact, in addition to profit, according to the White House. The pledges came out of a roundtable on impact investing hosted today by the White House. They include a commitment from Prudential Financial to create a $1- billion impact-investing portfolio by 2020 to promote financial and social mobility, and promises from the McKnight Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to dedicate 10 percent of their endowment assets to impact investments.
In addition, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation pledged investments meant to expand energy efficiency, and the Ford Foundation said it will invest in economic mobility.
Among the other participants are The Wallace Global Fund, the Omidyar Network, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. http://philanthropy.com/blogs/philanthropytoday/corporate-philanthropic-leaders-pledge-1-5-billion-in-impact-investments/87301
US wheat grain contribution helps food insecure Palestinians
June 22, Jerusalem – After a journey of 21 days, a ship carrying wheat grain from USA delivered its cargo for WFP’s food assistance operations in Gaza and the West Bank.
The grain will be offloaded and transported to the West Bank and Gaza, where it will be milled in local Palestinian milling factories, supporting the local economy. After the milling process, the flour will be bagged and distributed to food insecure Palestinians as part of WFP’s in-kind food distributions. The wheat will feed 85,000 people in Gaza for three months, while 73,000 people in the West Bank will receive wheat flour for more than five months.
The wheat grain donation, worth more than USD 7.4 million, is part of a larger overall contribution by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to WFP’s operations in the West Bank and Gaza. Over the past three years, USAID has donated more than USD 55 million for WFP’s operations in Palestine.
Save the Children to provide child-friendly spaces for children affected by US border crisis
Fairfield, Conn., USA, June 21 – Save the Children is working to address the immediate needs of children at the US border who have fled violence and insecurity in Central America. Thousands of minors are now overwhelming our border control institutions ill-prepared to meet the basic needs of such large numbers of unaccompanied children. Those numbers are only expected to grow in the coming weeks and months: according to government estimates, more than 47,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border, with more than 60,000 expected this year.
“Parents have made the desperate decision to send children alone across thousands of miles. These children have already faced a long and dangerous journey to reach the United States, and are extremely vulnerable to further harm,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “We are working quickly to identify their needs and help provide them a safe space where they receive the age-appropriate care and support they need.”
Save the Children opened a child-friendly space in McAllen, Tex. on Saturday to provide psychosocial support and care programs that will serve an estimated 150 mothers and children each day. Child-friendly spaces are one of Save the Children’s signature programs to provide care and services to children in crisis, both in the US and globally. http://www.savethechildren.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=8rKLIXMGIpI4E&b=8943305 &ct=13999347¬oc=1
Bulgarian Red Cross responds as thousands are affected by floods
By Andreea Anca, IFRC
21 June – The Bulgarian Red Cross staff and volunteers responded immediately to the humanitarian needs following the flash floods that suddenly hit the north-eastern part of the country late on Thursday, 19 June. Disaster emergency response teams are in place and volunteers distribute blankets, pillows, bed linen, food, drinking water to the affected population in and around the cities of Varna and Dobrich. Teams of psychologists provide psychosocial support in order to help people cope with the impact of the disaster.
Thunderstorms and torrential rains triggered floods that claimed 13 lives so far in Varna and two in the town of Dobrich, and caused dozens of evacuations and considerable damage to houses, private businesses, roads and other public infrastructure. (…) Authorities declared a state of emergency on Friday, June 20 in the two worst affected municipalities of Varna and Gabrovo and declared a day of mourning on Monday, 23 June. The Bulgarian Red Cross response teams continue their work and assessment of needs in cooperation with the structure and teams of the Ministry of Interior. No IFRC assistence is requested so far. http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/news-stories/europe-central-asia/bulgaria/bulgarian-red-cross-responds-as-thousands-are-affected-by-floods-66191/
Iraq: ICRC steps up aid operation as conflict intensifies
20 June – Armed conflict continues in Iraq. Fighting has spread from Mosul into parts of central Iraq, and has been taking place in Anbar since December. Thousands are dead and over 800,000 displaced. The ICRC has been helping displaced people since the beginning of the year. So far, we have provided food and other aid to over 150,000 people who have fled the fighting. The ICRC has carried out distributions in Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Karbala, Najaf, Babel, Al Qadissiya, Salah al- Din, Kirkuk, and Nineveh.
After negotiating with all parties to the conflict and coordinating its activities with the Ministry of Health, the ICRC directly delivered wound-dressing materials for 500 patients to Fallujah’s main hospital. We provided three other hospitals with enough dressing materials for 550 patients. The ICRC also completed the repair of a primary health-care centre and a water pumping station in Ramadi city, which had been damaged in clashes. http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/2014/06-20-iraq-aid.htm
THE ONE 2014 assigned to Barbara Hoffman for her cause in Mozambique, Africa
On a heartwarming and uplifting night in the lively city of Hong Kong, filled with touching stories, entertainment and charity, THE ONE 2014 – Barbara Hofmann, was announced on June 12th at the award’s third Gala Dinner held at Holiday Golden Mile. 400 of Hong Kong’s socialites, celebrities, decision makers and entrepreneurs came to honour the four finalists. Donations continued throughout the evening with several generous individuals making personal donations to each of the finalists and to THE ONE Foundation.
THE ONE Committee’s recent formation of a US$100,000 Emergency fund will, on a case by case basis, be used to help any one of the selected finalists over the years. This emergency fund was developed as a result of our experiences in which our finalists have written to us for assistance after they have used up their funds. These additional funds will be used to help them in the case of emergencies to ensure that they can continue helping individuals in need.
We are proud to dedicate THE ONE 2014 award of $100,000 USD to Barbara Hofmann, known to many thousands of children in Mozambique as “Mama,” who devoted her life to the children ofwar-torn Mozambique by founding the ASEM – Association Pour Les Enfants de Mozambique – in 1991. Her mission involves working directly to help the marginalized children and youth of Mozambique and investing in ways to improve and empower these children towards a better tomorrow.
Over the first three years, THE ONE has awarded and supported 13 unsung heroes who have used the award money to build schools and hospitals, to provide medicine and medical care to the needy and to educate and protect the powerless children of the world. These heroes have affected and improved the lives of millions in India, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, East Timor, Thailand, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. http://www.theonerotary3450.org/?page_id=394
Kyrgyzstan: protecting children from violenceby Almaz Jumaliev
12 June – A number of street and working children are increasing rapidly in Kyrgyzstan due to difficult economic and social situations in the country. It creates family relation problems, alcoholism and violence against children. DanChurchAid and the Centre for the Protection of Children aims to address the issues and problems facing the children by providing education, temporary shelter, food, and psychological support.
Recently, DanChurchAid financed a new project titled “Stop Silence about Violence against Children” implementing by CPC together with other local civil society organizations.
The “Stop Silence about Violence against Children!” is funded by the European Union and implementing by the Center for Protection of Children, in partnership with the Association of NGOs to promote the rights and interests of children, Legal Clinic ‘Adilet’, ‘Y-Peer’ and Danish international organization DCA Central Asia.
The total budget of the project amounts to EUR 875,000. The European Union provided EUR 710,000 and DanChurchAid contributed EUR 165,000. http://www.danchurchaid.org/news/news/kyrgyzstan-protecting-children-from-violence
Peace and security
Integrating mine and explosive risk education into the primary schools of DRC
June, 25 – In 2013 UNMAS-DRC provided, through its programme, risk education to more than 218,000 Congolese. One of the most important groups that UNMAS targets is young people. This is an enormous task. To address it, UNMAS-DRC, in partnership with the national Ministry of Education, took the initiative to develop teachers’ capacities in delivering risk education in primary schools with the aim of raising awareness about mines and explosive remnants of war. Due to the size of the country and number of schools, the UNMAS-DRC programme is building a pool of national experts who can train teachers around the country. An important group of trainers, National Education Inspectors, participated in a three-day Training of Trainers on Risk Education session recently in Kinshasa. http://www.mineaction.org/news/integrating-mine-and-explosive-risk-education-primary-schools-drc
Syrian Kurdish armed non-State actor commits to ban anti-personnel mines, sexual violence and child recruitment
16 June – On 5 June 2014, in Ramalan, in the Kurdish region of Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the « Democratic Self-Administration in Rojava » signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning AP mines and the Deed of Commitment prohibiting sexual violence in armed conflict and against gender discrimination.
Geneva Call’s delegation also raised the issue of child recruitment and use in hostilities. “Despite earlier measures to prohibit the recruitment of children under 18, we admit that the problem persists, we are aware of international concern about this issue, and we are making every effort to find a permanent solution, in collaboration with all stakeholders, and particularly with Geneva Call,” YPG Deputy General Commander Redur Xelil said.
Geneva Call will visit the police training academy for a closer review of the curriculum, and assess the requirement to integrate other norms into it, such as the treatment of detained minors. http://www.genevacall.org/syrian-kurdish-armed-non-state-actor-commits-ban-anti-personnel-mines-sexual-violence-child-recruitment/
Palestine announces intention to join cluster bomb ban
6 June – Attending a 27 May workshop on the Convention for Arabic speaking countries hosted by Norway and facilitated by Lebanon, Geneva-based representative of Palestine Ibrahim Musa stated Palestine’s intention to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the next group of treaties that Palestine signs.
Palestine’s announcement of its intention to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions was warmly welcomed by attendees at the workshop including the Cluster Munition Coalition, International Committee of the Red Cross, and other states in attendance.Palestine also indicated its intention to join the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/en-gb/media/news/2014/palestine-announces-intention-to-join-cluster-bomb-ban.aspx
South Africa – More MSF patients with DR-TB gain access to dramatically cheaper version oflife-saving drug
Johannesburg, June 30 — After a three-year long struggle, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has received approval from the South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) to import a dramatically more affordable version of an antibiotic, linezolid, in order to expand access to the medicine and provide better treatment options to patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR- TB) in Khayelitsha, Western Cape.
With the MCC approval, MSF can now import the first quality assured generic version—that has been approved by the UK regulatory authorities—at a purchase price of US$8 per tablet (~R85). This is an 88% price reduction on the brand name private sector price. While this generic linezolid is not yet registered in South Africa, MSF is now allowed to import the product after applying for permission from the MCC under section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965. (…)
Volunteers mount vaccine drive after polio crops up in Syria
June 24 – Thousands of volunteers recruited and deployed by nonprofit groups have inoculated some 1.4 million children in rebel-held parts of Syria this year, braving shelling and air strikes to combat the disease after an outbreak in October, reports The Washington Post.
A handful of groups active in Syria, united as the ad hoc Polio Control Task Force, won cooperation from opposition fighters to orchestrate the vaccine campaign in the northern part of the country, to which UNICEF and other global aid agencies have had limited access. The effort is supported by a patchwork of local charities, international aid groups, and foreign governments.
Polio had not been seen in Syria for 15 years before last fall’s outbreak.
Mali: Health professionals trained in war surgery
Bamako/Geneva, 24 June – A workshop on the treatment of patients injured by firearms or explosive devices, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is opening today in Bamako. Over three days, some 30 surgeons, anaesthetists and specialized nurses from northern Mali and neighbouring Niger will share their experience with one another and discuss topics such as ballistics, the surgical treatment of abdominal injuries and of chest or brain trauma caused by weapons or mines, mass casualty management, the prevention of infection, and the physical rehabilitation of war-wounded patients.
The ICRC is providing support for several health-care facilities in northern Mali.
Hilton Foundation launches Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis
Los Angeles, CA, USA, June 17 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is issuing an open invitation to submit proposals for the Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research. The goal of the award is to stimulate innovative and potentially paradigm-shifting research on Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which may otherwise go unfunded in times of fiscal restraint.
The Foundation expects to commit up to $6 million in grant funding to be distributed over a four- year period, with the intention of supporting multiple awards. For this funding cycle, the Marilyn Hilton Award will support grants of up to four years, totaling no more than $900,000 per organization over the grant period. A Scientific Advisory Committee will select the winners. http://www.hiltonfoundation.org/hilton-foundation-launches-marilyn-hilton-award
Energy and safety
USA – Renewables provide 14 percent of electrical generation during first third of 2014
Kenneth Bossong, SUN DAY Campaign
Washington D.C., 26 June – Two new back-to-back reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) provide a snapshot of U.S. energy trends for the first months of 2014. (…)
From EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” report, five developments of particular note include: First, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided over 14 percent of the nation’s electricity for the first four months of 2014 (i.e., 14.05 percent) — a level that the EIA has been saying might not be reached until 2040. Second, wind has now passed the 5 percent threshold (i.e., it accounted for 5.15 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. during the first third of 2014). Third, electrical generation from solar for the first four months of 2014 is more than double that for the same period in 2013 (increasingly 108.9 percent). Fourth,non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) have produced more electricity in the U.S. than conventional hydropower for each of the first four months of 2014 as well as for the cumulative four-month period (52.7 percent vs. 47.3 percent). Fifth, electrical generation from nuclear power rose 0.7 percent in the first four months of 2014 compared to the first third of 2013; however, as a share of total U.S. electrical generation, nuclear declined from 19.71 percent in the first third of 2013 to 19.15 percent in first third of 2014. (…) http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/renewables-provide-14-percent-of-electrical-generation-during-first-third-of-2014
Israel, Finland, U.S. – best places for cleantech start-up creation
27 June – Israel, Finland and the U.S. provide the best conditions today for clean technologystart-up creation according to the second edition of the Global Cleantech Innovation Index, released today by Cleantech Group and WWF. While China and Brazil currently fall outside of the top bracket of start-up generators they are strong commercializers of cleantech , and even the laggards, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia have shown a significant move towards clean technology over the last few years. The Index explores the question of where sustainable innovation companies are being created across the globe, as well as how well their products are being commercialized. It looks at why entrepreneurial companies, developing sustainable innovations, seem to spring up in certain geographies, and which economic, social and environmental conditions cultivate hotbeds for such innovation. http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/press_releases/?224394/Israel-Finland-US–best-places-for-cleantech-start-up-creation
Lighting rural communities and reducing greenhouse gas emission in Africa and Asia
Panasonic joins the Business Call to Action
New York and Tokyo, June 25 – Panasonic Corporation joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) today with a commitment to improve the quality of life for the people in Africa and Asia by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing greater access to energy. The company plans to provide 1 million solar lanterns as a clean and safe light source for people living in regions without electricity by the end of 2018 fiscal year. Launched in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand in early 2014, these lanterns will soon be available in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya and Malaysia. Panasonic’s commitment to the BCtA is focused on providing low-income communities with greater access to affordable light.
By replacing kerosene lamps with its solar lanterns, Panasonic is helping to reduce low-incomehouseholds’ spending on kerosene, which can cost up to US$100 per year. The solar lanterns will also contribute to eliminating pulmonary sickness caused by kerosene lamps. http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/37222-Lighting-Rural-Communities-and-Reducing-Greenhouse-Gas-Emission-in-Africa-and-Asia
French State Bank sets aside 5 billion Euros for green projects
Tara Patel, Bloomberg
Paris, 23 June – Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a French state bank, is setting aside 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion) for green projects after the government proposed a law to spur use of renewable electricity and boost efficiency.“We want to promote the emergence of green debt,” Pierre Ducret, head of the lender’s environmental unit CDC Climat, told a conference on energy and finance today in Paris. Half of the money will go toward making buildings more energy efficient, 2 billion euros for clean transport and 500 million euros for renewable-energyproduction, Ducret said. The funding is among initiatives pledged by banks including Credit Foncier de France and Societe Generale SA today for loans related to the proposed energy law. Legislation unveiled June 18 seeks to promote growth of renewable power like solar and wind, and reduce energy waste from buildings and transportation.
Financing will be mostly from private industry, with loans “at the heart” of achieving the law’s goals, Finance Minister Michel Sapin told the conference. (…) http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/06/french-state-bank-sets-aside-5-billion-euros-for-green-projects
WFP supports the rehabilitation of a water reservoir in North Kordofan
June 22, Shabboha, North Kordofan – At the site of a haffir, or water reservoir, in Shabboha, a small village near El Obeid, North Kordofan’s capital, residents of eight villages are participating in a Food-For-Work project implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP). The project, supported by the government of Japan, is run in partnership with Al-Sugya, a local NGO helping communities that have low access to potable water. When fully rehabilitated, the haffir will provide water to a population of 3,280 people.
Through its food-for-work programme, WFP provides food to local communities as seasonal support in order to participate in the rehabilitation work.
Shabboha haffir was originally constructed in 1994 with a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters. Now with this rehabilitation the new capacity will be 35,000 cubic meters which is sufficient to provide water to the nearby communities for 6 months following the rainy season. http://www.wfp.org/stories/wfps-food-work-programme-helps-bring-food-and-water-village-north-kordofan
Asia-Pacific: UN launches Sustainable Energy for All Decade, regional hub
18 June – With an estimated 628 million people in Asia- and the Pacific lacking access to electricity and more than 1.8 billion using natural fuels, the United Nation office in the region launched today the UN Decade of Susta