From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Living Lands Charter
Mains level : Land degradation
All 54 Commonwealth members have agreed to voluntarily dedicate a ‘living land’ in their respective countries to future generations, in line with the strategy set for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Living Lands Charter
- The non-binding mandates that member countries will safeguard global land resources and arrest land degradation while acting against climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable management.
- It helps to encapsulate the combined effort to hold the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
- The document came after nearly two years of intense consultation, engagement and negotiation with member countries at UN Rio Convention.
- Leaders and their representatives noted with concern in the charter the alarming decline in the health and productivity of global land resources.
- It aimed to support member countries to effectively deliver their commitments under the three Rio conventions:
- UN Convention on Biological Diversity
- UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
- The attendees also underlined the principle of “critical guardianship” provided by indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting land and vital ecosystem services.
- The agreement was released along with a final wide-ranging communiqué by leaders, including on specific items on climate change.
- Country heads underscored in it that the “urgent threat of climate change” exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and presents a significant threat to COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Try this PYQ from CSP 2012:
Q.Consider the following statements:
- The Commonwealth has no charter, treaty or constitution
- All the territories/countries once under the British Empire (jurisdiction/rule/mandate) automatically joined the Commonwealth as its members
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Post your answers here.
Back2Basics: Commonwealth of Nations
- The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
- It dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonization of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories.
- It was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nation through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, and formalized by the UK through the Statute of Westminster in 1931.
- The current body was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernized the community, and established the member states as “free and equal”.
- The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth.
- The Queen is head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs.
- Member has no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.