The Crisis In The Middle East

Arab League demands UN Peacekeepers in Palestine

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Arab League; its members

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

The Arab League called for UN peacekeeping forces in the Palestinian territories during a summit in Bahrain’s Manama. The “Manama Declaration” issued by the league sought UNPKF in the occupied Palestinian territories” until a two-state solution is implemented.

Back2Basics: United Nations Peacekeeping

  • UN Peacekeeping is a collective effort by the international community, led by the United Nations, to maintain peace and security in regions affected by conflict.
  • UN peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

History:

  • The concept of UN peacekeeping emerged in the aftermath of World War II, with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.
  • The first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, following the Arab-Israeli War, to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
    • This mission, known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), set the precedent for future peacekeeping operations.
  • Since then, the scope and complexity of UN peacekeeping have evolved significantly, with operations conducted across the globe in regions affected by conflict, civil war, and humanitarian crises.

Operations:

  • UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
  1. Consent of the parties
  2. Impartiality
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
  • UN peacekeeping operations are deployed with the consent of the main parties to the conflict. It can be deployed at the request of the parties involved in a conflict or with the authorisation of the UN Security Council.
  • The objectives may vary depending on the specific context but often include monitoring ceasefires, disarming combatants, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, promoting human rights, and supporting the establishment of democratic governance structures.
  • UN peacekeeping operations operate under the principles of impartiality, consent of the parties, and non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

India’s Role:

  • India has been one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations since their inception.
  • India has contributed nearly 195,000 troops, the largest number from any country, and participated in more than 49 missions and 168 supreme sacrifices while serving in UN missions.

About Arab League

Details
Establishment Founded on March 22, 1945, in Cairo, Egypt.
Founding Members Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria.
Objective Promote economic, cultural, political, and military cooperation among member states. Safeguard independence and sovereignty.
Functions 
  1. Operates on consensus among member states. Decisions are made through consultations and discussions.
  2. Regular meetings among Arab leaders to address regional issues, formulate policies, and coordinate actions.
  3. Specialised committees and councils address specific areas of cooperation, such as economic affairs, social affairs, and defence.
Member States Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Observer Nations
  • Non-Arab countries with observer status include Brazil, Eritrea, India, Venezuela, and others.
  • No voting rights are accorded to Observer nations.
Important Achievements
  • Proposal of the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002.
  • Coordination of military efforts in various conflicts.
  • Promotion of economic cooperation through initiatives such as the Arab Free Trade Area.
  • Facilitation of cultural and educational exchange programs among member states.
Challenges Internal divisions, Differences of opinion over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict etc.

 

PYQ:

[2014] Recently, a series of uprisings of people referred to as ‘Arab Spring’ originally started from

(a) Egypt

(b) Lebanon

(c) Syria

(d) Tunisia

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Antarctic Parliament meets in Kochi: What’s on the table?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ATCM 46, Antarctic Treaty, India in Antarctica.

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

  • India is hosting the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 46), also known as the Antarctic Parliament, from May 20-30 in Kochi.
    • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa, through the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has organised the meeting, which will be attended by the 56 member countries of the Antarctic Treaty.

What is the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM)?

  • ATCM is the primary forum for discussing and coordinating activities related to the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • It was established under the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in 1959 and entered into force in 1961.
    • It serves as the annual meeting of the parties to the Antarctic Treaty, known as Consultative Parties.
    • The ATCM adopts legally binding agreements, known as Antarctic Treaty Measures (ATMs), as well as non-binding recommendations on various matters.
    • Decisions within the ATCM are made by consensus among the Consultative Parties.
  • The ATCM established the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) as a subsidiary body to provide advice and recommendations on environmental matters.
  • India had last hosted the ATCM in New Delhi in 2007.

India’s Agenda at ATCM 46

  • During the Kochi meet, India will table its plan to construct Maitri II before the members.
  • Any new construction or initiative in Antarctica requires the ATCM’s approval.

About Antarctic Treaty

Details
Signing and Entry into Force
  • Signed on December 1, 1959 at Washington DC.
  • Entered into force on June 23, 1961.
  • 12 Initial Countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the USSR, the UK, and the US.
Objective Ensure Antarctica remains exclusively for peaceful purposes, free from international discord.
Key Provisions
  • Art. I: Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only
  • Art. II: Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation
  • Art. III:  Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available
Territorial Claims
  • Prohibits new territorial claims.
  • Preserves existing territorial sovereignty claims.
Disarmament
  • Prohibits testing of nuclear weapons.
  • Prohibits disposal of radioactive waste
Consultative Meetings
  • Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS), established in 2004, serves as the administrative hub for the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • Annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) where member states discuss treaty implementation and cooperation.
Environmental Protection
  • Promotes protection of the Antarctic environment.
  • Prohibits activities causing pollution or environmental damage
Mineral Resource Exploitation
  • Bans mining activities until at least 2048.
  • Requires consensus for any review or modification
Membership
  • 54 parties as of 2024.
  • 29 Consultative Parties actively participate in decision-making.
  • 25 Non-Consultative Parties.
  • India ratified the treaty in 1983.
Madrid Protocol
  • Adopted in 1991.
  • Entered into force in 1998.
  • Strengthens environmental protection measures in Antarctic.

India in Antarctica

1. Governance:

  • Since 1983, India has been a consultative party to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • Of the 56 nations that are part of the Antarctic Treaty, 29 have consultative party status.
  • In this capacity, India votes and participates in all key decision-making processes regarding Antarctica.
  • India has undertaken scientific research in Antarctica since 1981.

2. Scientific Expeditions:

  • The first Indian Antarctica research station, Dakshin Gangotri, was set up in 1983, some 2,500 km from the South Pole in Queen Maud Land. The station operated till 1990.
  • In 1989, India set up its second Antarctica research station, Maitri, in the Schirmacher Oasis, a 3-km wide ice-free plateau with over 100 freshwater lakes.
  • It is still operational and located about 5 km from Russia’s Novolazarevskaya Station, and 90 km from Dakshin Gangotri.
  • In 2012, India inaugurated Bharati, its third Antarctica research station, located around 3,000 km east of Maitri, on the Prydz Bay coast.
  • Although the station focuses on oceanographic and geologic study, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) utilises it for receiving Indian Remote sensing Satellite (IRS) data.
  • India plans to open a new station, Maitri II, a few kilometres from the ageing Maitri station. Operations are set to begin by 2029.
  • In 2022, India enacted the Antarctic Act, reaffirming its commitment to the Antarctic Treaty.

About the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)

  • NCPOR is an Indian research and development institution, situated in Vasco da Gama, Goa.
  • It is an autonomous institution of the Department of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, established in 1998.
  • It is responsible for scientific and strategic endeavors in the Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic), the Himalayas, and the Southern Ocean.

PYQ:

[2015] The term ‘IndARC’ sometimes seen in the news is the name of

(a) An indigenously developed radar system inducted into Indian Defence.

(b) India’s satellite to provide services to the countries of Indian Ocean Rim.

(c) A scientific establishment set up by India in Antarctic region.

(d) India’s underwater observatory to scientifically study the Arctic region.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is an Interpol Blue Corner Notice?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Interpol, Blue Corner Notice

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • Karnataka’s political landscape is rocked by accusations of sexual abuse against a sitting MP belonging to a prominent political family.
  • Following explicit video leaks allegedly implicating him, Interpol has issued a Blue Corner notice, as he remains on the run.

INTERPOL’s Notice System:

  • The Interpol issues various types of notices to its member countries about individuals who are either missing or wanted.
  • While these notices aren’t legally binding and countries aren’t required to act on them, they are commonly used to arrest and extradite suspects.

The following entities can request for a notice:

  • Notice request by the Member Country
  • International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court can also request notices for individuals accused of serious crimes like genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity under their jurisdiction.
  • The United Nations can request notices related to enforcing sanctions imposed by the Security Council.

What are Blue Corner Notice?

  • Purpose: Blue corner notice, also known as an “enquiry notice,” facilitates sharing critical crime-related information, including criminal records verification and locating individuals.
  • Example: In January 2020, Interpol issued a blue corner notice to locate fugitive Nithyananda, a self-styled godman.

About INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization)

Details
Overview
  • Established in Vienna, Austria (1923), it enables cross-border police cooperation and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
  • An inter-governmental organization comprising 195 member countries,
  • Facilitates better coordination among police forces globally
Functions
  • Enables member countries to share and access data on crimes and criminals
  • Offers technical and operational support to member countries
  • Manages 19 police databases containing information on crimes and criminals, accessible in real-time
  • Provides investigative support, including forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives worldwide.
Working
  • Run by a Secretary General
  • Headquarters located in Lyon, France
  • Global complex for innovation based in Singapore.
  • Several satellite offices in different regions.

I-24/7 Service: Global Police Communications System that provides a common platform for the member countries’ police organizations to share sensitive and urgent police information.

India’s Membership
  • Joined in June 1956.
Functioning in Member Countries
  • Each member country has a National Central Bureau (NCB), serving as the central point of contact for the general secretariat and other NCBs worldwide
  • NCBs are typically managed by police officials and situated in the government ministry responsible for policing (e.g., CBI in India)
  • Interpol’s databases contain various information, from names and fingerprints to stolen passports, accessible in real-time to member countries
  • Provides investigative support to member countries, aiding in forensic analysis and locating fugitives globally.
Notices Interpol issues seven types of notices:

  1. Red Notice: Seeks the location and provisional arrest of fugitives.
  2. Blue Notice: Requests information about a person’s identity or activities.
  3. Green Notice: Warns about individuals likely to repeat crimes.
  4. Yellow Notice: Aids in locating missing persons.
  5. Black Notice: Seeks information about unidentified bodies.
  6. Orange Notice: Warns of imminent threats to public safety.
  7. Purple Notice: Seeks or provides information on criminal methods.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

[pib] 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Commission on Population and Development (CPD)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

India’s Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) are participating in the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57) 57th session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

About Commission on Population and Development (CPD)

Details
Establishment Established by United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 18(IV) in 1946 to advise on population and development issues.
Mandate Provides guidance and recommendations on population and development policies to ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly.
Membership Comprises 47 member states elected by ECOSOC for 4-year terms, based on geographic representation and expertise.
Meetings Holds annual sessions at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, typically in April.
Themes Focuses each session on specific population and development themes, such as youth empowerment and gender equality.
Reports and Resolutions Prepares reports and adopts resolutions containing recommendations for action by ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly.
Linkage to SDGs Closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 3, 5, 10, and 17.
Regional Collaboration Collaborates with regional commissions and expert groups to analyze population trends and develop strategies at regional and national levels.

 

PYQ:

[2017] What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it.

[2017] With reference to the role of UN-Habitat in the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future, which of the statements is/are correct?

1. UN-Habitat has been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities to provide adequate shelter for all.

2. Its partners are either governments or local urban authorities only.

3. UN-Habitat contributes to the overall objective of the United Nations system to reduce poverty and to promote access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1 only

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) Meeting in Ottawa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) is happening in Ottawa, Canada.
  • The goal is to finalize a global agreement on plastic pollution by November this year.

What is the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)?

  • INC is a committee that aims to develop a legally binding international instrument to end plastic pollution by 2025, as mandated by United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 5/14.
  • It began working in November 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay (INC-1).
    • The second meeting (INC-2) took place in May-June, 2023 at Paris, France.
    • The INC-3 met in Nairobi in December 2023.
  • INC is scheduled to complete its work by the end of 2024.

Key Points from INC-4:

  • Previous meetings (INC-1, INC-2, INC-3) paved the way for this one.
  • They’re focusing on cutting out unnecessary plastic use while still using it for important things like renewable energy.

Future Prospects:

  • INC-5 will happen in Busan, South Korea, and it’s meant to finalize everything.
  • After that, leaders from different countries will sign the agreement.

 

PYQ:

[2014] With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’

(b) It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level

(c) It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment.

(d) Both A and B

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

The Crisis In The Middle East

Tensions grow in West Asia, a heavily militarised region

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Map of West Asia

Mains level: Reason behind the west Asia is a heavily militarised region

Why in the news? 

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers 2023’, four of the top 10 largest importers of arms last year were from West Asia, with the U.S. being the main supplier

SIPRI Report: Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2023

  • India’s Arms Imports: Increased by 4.7% compared to 2014-18.
  • European Arms Imports: Saw a staggering 94% increase between 2014-18 and 2019-23, likely influenced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Russia-India Arms Trade: Russia remained India’s largest arms supplier, accounting for 36% of total imports.
  • Top Global Importers: India, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar emerged as the top three importers globally.
  • Ukraine’s Arms Imports: Became the fourth largest arms importer during the specified period.
  • China-Pakistan Arms Trade: Pakistan, the fifth largest arms importer, obtained 82% of its arms from China.
  • France’s Arms Exports: Emerged as the world’s second-largest arms supplier, after the United States.
  • French Arms Exports to India: India was highlighted as the largest single recipient of French arms exports.

 

West Asia has largest expenditure in Defence as per GDP %

Reason behind the west Asia is heavily militarised region:

  • Regional Conflicts and Tensions: The region is characterized by ongoing conflicts and tensions, such as those in Yemen and Syria, leading countries to seek advanced weaponry to address security challenges
  • Oil Boom: The oil boom in West Asia has led to increased military spending as countries seek to protect their oil resources and maintain regional stability
  • Internal Factors: The presence of Western arms and personnel in some Persian Gulf countries has contributed to internal resurgences, leading states to invest in military capabilities for self-defense
  • Diversification of Arms Suppliers: West Asian states have adopted the principle of diversifying sources of arms supply, leading to a broader range of arms imports from various suppliers globally
  • Client-Supplier Relationship: The relationship between client states and arms suppliers is often favorable to the recipient, with the recipient receiving the arms they wish and the supplier bowing to their demands
  • Regional Disputes and Border Skirmishes: Border disputes, threats, and wars have made it imperative for West Asian states to resort to modern and efficient national defense systems like conflict between Iran and Israel

Conclusion: 

Encourage diplomatic efforts to resolve regional conflicts and tensions through dialogue and negotiation, aiming to reduce the need for excessive military spending. Advocate for the establishment of regional arms control agreements to limit the proliferation of weapons and promote stability in the West Asia region.

Mains PYQ 

Q How will I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics?

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Digital India Initiatives

[pib] India showcases CPGRAMS at 3rd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Meeting in London

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Commonwealth of Nations, CPGRAMS

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

India’s Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) received global recognition during the 3rd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Heads in London.

What is CPGRAMS?

  • The primary objective of CPGRAMS is to provide citizens with a user-friendly mechanism to register complaints or grievances related to various government departments and agencies.
  • It is an online platform available to the citizens 24×7 to lodge their grievances to the public authorities on any subject related to service delivery.
  • It was created in June 2007 by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances.
  • It has been designed in-house by the National Informatics Centre team.
  • Prime Minister is the supreme head of the CPGRAMS.

Key functions of CPGRAMS include:

  • Grievance Lodging and Tracking: Citizens can lodge grievances online and track their progress using a unique registration number generated by the system.
  • Role-Based Access: Every Ministry and state have role-based access to this system, ensuring that grievances are forwarded to the concerned Ministries or Government Departments.
  • Appeal Facility: CPGRAMS provides an appeal facility to the citizens if they are not satisfied with the resolution by the Grievance Officer.
  • Feedback Mechanism: After the closure of grievance, if the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution, they can provide feedback. If the rating is ‘Poor’, the option to file an appeal is enabled. The status of the Appeal can also be tracked by the petitioner with the grievance registration number.

Issues that are NOT taken up under CPGRAMS:

  • Subjudice cases or any matter concerning judgment given by any court.
  • Personal and Family disputes.
  • Right to Information (RTI) Queries.
  • Anything that impacts upon territorial integrity of the country or friendly relations with other countries.
  • Grievances of Government employees concerning their service matters including disciplinary proceedings etc because there is already a mechanism for addressing these issues.

What is the Commonwealth of Nations?

  • The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organization 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 Nations through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference.
  • It was formalized by the UK through the Statute of Westminster in 1931.
  • The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth.
    • Membership: Based on free and equal voluntary cooperation.

History of its creation

  • The Commonwealth was created in the early 1900s when nations that were formerly a part of the British Empire began to secede.
  • India is one of the founding members of the modern Commonwealth.
  • India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a key role in the creation of the modern Commonwealth in 1949, Indian policy-makers over the years have considered it as a relic of empire and steeped in colonial legacy.

Working of Commonwealth

  • Commonwealth members have 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.

Actual functioning: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

  • CHOGM which takes place every two years is a platform for all Commonwealth leaders to meet and discuss issues about the Commonwealth.
  • The motto behind the meeting is to reaffirm common values, address the shared global challenges and agree on how to work to create a better future.

 

PYQ:

[2012] With reference to consumers rights/privileges under the provisions of law in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Consumers are empowered to take samples for food testing.

2. When a consumer files a complaint in any consumer forum, no fee is required to be paid.

3. In case of death of a consumer, his/her legal heir can file a complaint in the consumer forum on his/her behalf.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

[2016] The plan of Sir Stafford Cripps envisaged that after the Second World War,

(a) India should be granted complete independence

(b) India should be partitioned into two before granting independence

(c) India should be made a republic with the condition that it will join the Commonwealth

(d) India should be given Dominion status

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] World Future Energy Summit 2024

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Future Energy Summit 2024, YFEL Program

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

A panel discussion on “Future Growth Opportunities for Long Duration Energy Storage” was held at the World Future Energy Summit 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

About World Future Energy Summit (WFES)

  • The WFES is an annual event held in Abu Dhabi; hosted in the United Arab Emirates, aiming to advance future energy, energy efficiency, and clean technologies.
  • It began in 2008, held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
  • Public relations firm Edelman helped set it up to “burnish the UEA’s green credentials“.
  • It was established as a platform to address the growing need for renewable energy solutions and sustainable development in response to global energy challenges.

Key Initiative: Young Future Energy Leaders

  • The Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) is an element of the annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
  • A program of the Masdar Institute, it is committed to raising awareness and engaging students and young professionals in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.

PYQ:

[2014] Which of the following organizations brings out the publication known as ‘World Economic Outlook’?

(a) International Monetary Fund

(b) United Nations Development Programme

(c) World Economic Forum

(d) World Bank

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII); United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

  • The 23rd session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, commenced on April 15 in New York.
    • It focuses on the pressing need to accelerate the recognition and protection of Indigenous Territories (ITs) worldwide.

About UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII):

Details
What is it?
  • One of three UN bodies mandated to deal specifically with indigenous peoples’ issues.
  • Others are-
  1. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and
  2. Special Rapporteur Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Formation 28 July 2000
Headquarters New York, USA
Parent Organization United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Membership
  • 16 independent experts serving three-year terms, with eight nominated by member governments and eight directly nominated by indigenous organizations
  • Countries: Finland, Nepal, Chad, Australia, Colombia, Bolivia, United States, Russia, China, Ecuador, Burundi, Denmark, Mexico, Namibia, Estonia, and one additional rotating seat
Mandate
  • Provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the Council, UN programs, funds, and agencies through ECOSOC.
  • Raise awareness and promote integration of indigenous issues within the UN system.
  • Prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues.
Secretariat
  • Established by General Assembly in 2002.
  • Based in New York within Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

 

PYQ:

[UPSC CSE 2009] With reference to the United Nations, consider the following statements:

  1. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of UN consists of 24 member States.
  2. It is elected by a 2/3rd majority of the General Assembly for a 3-year term.

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

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The recent gathering of major funders and promoters of the carbon offsets market in London raised concerns about the role of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in limiting the market’s growth.
  • SBTi’s stringent criteria for net-zero plans have made it a gold standard in emissions accountability, but some argue it hinders the potential of carbon offsets in combating climate change.

What is Carbon Offset?

  • A carbon offset broadly refers to a reduction in GHG emissions – or an increase in carbon storage (e.g., through land restoration or the planting of trees) – that is used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere.
  • A carbon offset credit is a transferrable instrument certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction of one metric tonne of CO2, or an equivalent amount of other GHGs.

What is Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)?

  • The SBTi is a collaborative effort spearheaded by four international organizations:
  1. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),
  2. United Nations Global Compact (UNGC),
  3. World Resources Institute (WRI), and
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • The SBTi focuses on assisting companies in setting ambitious and scientifically sound greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.
Details
Purpose To drive ambitious corporate action on climate change by providing a framework for setting science-based targets aligned with the Paris Agreement goals.
Launch Year 2015
Founding Organizations
  1. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),
  2. United Nations Global Compact (UNGC),
  3. World Resources Institute (WRI), and
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Methodologies SBTi offers guidelines and methodologies for companies to set targets that are consistent with the latest climate science and contribute to limiting global warming.
Global Reach Engages with companies worldwide, collaborating with partners across sectors, regions, and industries to promote adoption of science-based targets.
Recognition
  • Recognized as a leading platform for corporate climate action;
  • Companies comply to set science-based targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Updates and refines its methodologies and verification processes to reflect advances in climate science and best practices in emissions reduction.

 

PYQ:

[2021] The ‘Common Carbon Metric’, Supported by UNEP, had been developed for:

(a) Assessing the carbon footprint of building operations around the world.

(b) Enabling commercial farming entities around the world to enter carbon emission trading.

(c) Enabling governments to assess the overall carbon footprint caused by their countries.

(d) Assessing the overall carbon footprint caused by the use of fossil fuels by the world in a unit time.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

India ranks number 10 in World Cybercrime Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Cybercrime Index, India's position

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

A new research effort, the ‘World Cybercrime Index,’ sheds light on the global cybercrime scenario, ranking India in the 10th position worldwide.

About the World Cybercrime Index

  • The World Cybercrime Index has been developed as a joint partnership between the University of Oxford and University of New South Wales, Sydney.
  • It has been funded by CRIMGOV, a European Union-supported project.
  • The index was developed to identify major cybercrime hotspots globally by ranking countries based on the significant sources of cybercrime at a national level.
  • The study ‘Mapping the global geography of cybercrime with the World Cybercrime Index’ has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The five major categories of cybercrime assessed by the study were:

  1. Technical products/services (e.g. malware coding, botnet access, access to compromised systems, tool production).
  2. Attacks and extortion (e.g. denial-of-service attacks, ransomware).
  3. Data/identity theft (e.g. hacking, phishing, account compromises, credit card comprises).
  4. Scams (e.g. advance fee fraud, business email compromise, online auction fraud).
  5. Cashing out/money laundering (e.g. credit card fraud, money mules, illicit virtual currency platforms).

Key Findings of the Report

  • India occupies the 10th position in the cybercrime rankings, with scams involving advance fee payments being the most prevalent type.
  • Russia leads the index, followed by Ukraine, China, the US, Nigeria, and Romania, with North Korea, the UK, and Brazil rounding out the top positions.
  • Russia and Ukraine emerged as highly technical cybercrime hubs, while Nigerian cybercriminals primarily engaged in less technical forms of cybercrime.

PYQ:

[2018] The terms ‘Wanna Cry, Petya and Eternal Blue’ sometimes mentioned in the news recently are related to:

(a) Exo-planets

(b) Crypto-currency

(c) Cyber attacks

(d) Mini-satellites

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: INCB, Its composition, key functions

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Mrs. Jagjit Pavadia (IRS) India’s nominee has been re-elected for a third term to the INCB for the period of 2025-2030.

About International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

Description
Establishment Established in 1968 by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.
Headquarters Based in Vienna, Austria, with a Secretariat supporting its activities.
Membership Consists of 13 members elected by ECOSOC, experts in drug control and related fields.
Role and Mandate Independent body monitoring compliance with UN drug control conventions.
Functions Assess global drug situation, evaluate licit drug production, and publish annual reports.
Collaboration Works with governments and international organizations on drug control issues.
Control Measures Monitors and evaluates national drug control measures for treaty compliance.
Advocacy and Awareness Promotes adherence to drug treaties and raises awareness on global drug issues.
Cooperation Collaborates with UN agencies like WHO and UNODC to address drug-related challenges.

 

India’s Election to Key UN Bodies

India’s proactive engagement at the United Nations resulted in its election to several pivotal bodies:

1.    Commission on the Status of Women (2025-2029)

2.    Executive Board of UNICEF (2025-2027)

3.    Executive Board of UNDP and UNFPA (2025-2027)

4.    UN Office for Project Services (2025-2027)

5.    Executive Board of UN Women (2025-2027)

6.    Executive Board of the World Food Programme (2025-2027)

 

PYQ:

[2019] Consider the following statements:

1. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air’.

2. The UNCAC is the ever-first legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.

3. A highlight of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the inclusion of a specific chapter aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners from whom they had been taken illicitly.

4. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated by its member States to assist in the implementation of both UNCAC and UNTOC.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, and 4

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

[pib] IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum is set to be held in Singapore.

About IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

  • The IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum brings together the region’s top investors, philanthropies, financial institutions, innovative companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
  • The Forum aims to mobilize investments into sustainable infrastructure, climate technology and renewable energy projects.
  • It is managed by Invest India (www.investindia.gov.in), India’s National Investment Promotion Agency.
  • The Department of Commerce is the nodal agency for the IPEF engagements.

The Forum will have opportunity for the Indian industry in the two following tracks:

  1. Climate Tech Track: Under this track, IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum is holding an open call that aims to recognise the top climate tech companies and start-ups among the member countries and present them to global investors.
  2. Infrastructure Track: Under this track, India will showcase selected investible sustainable infrastructure projects at the 2024 Forum. The sectors of focus are-energy transition (e.g electric gird; renewable energy, including solar, and onshore wind; sustainable aviation fuel; battery storage; hydrogen; green data centers), transport and logistics (e.g. Electric Vehicle, EV charging points), waste management/waste to energy.

About Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

  • It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnerships among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The IPEF was launched in 2021 with 12 initial partners who together represent 40% of the world GDP.
  • The IPEF is NOT a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) but allows members to negotiate the parts they want to.

 Four main “Pillars” of IPEF:

 

Trade that will include digital economy and emerging technology, labor commitments, the environment, trade facilitation, transparency and good regulatory practices, and corporate accountability, standards on cross-border data flow and data localisations;

Supply chain resilience to develop “a first-of-its-kind supply chain agreement” that would anticipate and prevent disruptions;

Clean energy and decarbonization that will include agreements on “high-ambition commitments” such as renewable energy targets, carbon removal purchasing commitments, energy efficiency standards, and new measures to combat methane emissions; and

Fair Economy Agreement, with commitments to enact and enforce “effective tax, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery schemes in line with [American] values”.

 Members Countries include:

  • Currently, India and 13 countries other located in the Pacific Ocean are its members: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

How is IPEF different from other trade deals?

  • No market access or tariff reductions have been outlined in the IPEF, although experts say it can pave the way to trade deals.
  • It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it arrangement, like most multilateral trade deals are.
  • Since the IPEF is not a regular trade pact, the members so far are not obligated by all four pillars despite being signatories.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

UNCTAD Report Highlights Shifts in India’s Trade Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNCTAD: its establishment, composition and members

Mains level: NA

What is the news?

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Global Trade Report revealed an evolving trade landscape for India, marked by increased reliance on China and the European Union (EU).

About UNCTAD

  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
  • It is part of the UN Secretariat.
  • The UNCTAD Conference ordinarily meets once in four years.
  • It reports to the UNGA and the Economic and Social Council, but has its own membership, leadership and budget.
  • It is also a part of the United Nations Development Group.
  • It supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively.
  • Reports published by the UNCTAD are-
  1. Trade and Development Report
  2. World Investment Report
  3. Technology and Innovation Report
  4. Digital Economy Report

Membership:

  • UNCTAD’s membership consists of all 195 member states of the United Nations.
  • India is an active member. The second UNCTAD Conference took place in New Delhi, India in 1968.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  1. Key Findings on India
  • Trade Trends: India’s trade dependence on China and the EU rose by 1.2%, while reliance on Saudi Arabia declined by 0.6%.
  • Factors: This shift occurred amidst supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, leading to record-high food and fuel prices.
  • Policy Measures: Despite efforts to reduce dependency on China through initiatives like the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and Quality Control Orders (QCOs), India’s trade relations with China strengthened.
  1. Insights from the Report
  • Stable Proximity: Geographical proximity of international trade remained relatively constant, indicating minimal near-shoring or far-shoring trends.
  • Political Proximity: However, there was a noticeable rise in the political proximity of trade, favouring countries with similar geopolitical stances.
  • Concentration of Trade: Global trade increasingly favored major trade relationships, although this trend softened towards the end of 2023.
  • Sectoral Trends: Most sectors experienced a decline in trade value, except for pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment, and electric cars.
  • Global Forecast: Global merchandise trade is expected to contract by 5% in 2023, with services trade projected to gain 8%.
  1. Impact of Russia-Ukraine Conflict
  • Shifts in Trade: The ongoing conflict led to a surge in Russia’s trade dependence on China by 7.1% while decreasing reliance on the EU by 5.3%.
  • Oil Trade: Russian oil shifted from the EU to China and India, with China becoming a significant trade partner for Russia.
  • US Trade Dynamics: The US managed to reduce reliance on China by 1.2% in 2023, while increasing dependence on the EU and Mexico.

PYQ:

The Global Infrastructure Facility is a/an: (2017)

(a) ASEAN initiative to upgrade infrastructure in Asia and financed by credit from the Asian Development Bank.

(b) World Bank collaboration that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enable mobilization of private sector and institutional investor capital.

(c) Collaboration among the major banks of the world working with the OECD and focused on expanding the set of infrastructure projects that have the potential to mobilize private investment.

(d) UNCTAD-funded initiative that seeks to finance and facilitate infrastructure development in the world.

 

Practice MCQ:

With reference to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), consider the following statements:

1. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly.

2. It is part of the UN Secretariat.

3. India has never hosted the UNCTAD Conference.

How many of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) One

(b) Two

(c) Three

(d) None

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc.

UNEP Food Waste Index Report, 2024

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Food Waste Index Report

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Food Waste Index Report, 2024 was recently released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK based non-profit organization.

Food Waste Index Report:

  • It tracks the global and national generation of food and inedible parts wasted at the retail and consumer (household and food service) levels.
  • It was first launched in 2011.
  • It was conceived as a tool to monitor progress towards international targets, such as those outlined in the SDG 12.3, which calls for halving food waste by 2030.

 

Key Findings of the 2024 Report

  1. Total Food Waste Generation in 2022:
    • Globally, 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste were generated in 2022.
  2. Distribution of Food Waste by Sector:
    • Households accounted for 60% of the total food waste.
    • Food services were responsible for 28% of the total food waste.
    • Retail accounted for 12% of the total food waste.
  3. Per Capita Food Waste:
    • The average per capita food waste was 132 kilograms in 2022.
  4. Economic Cost of Food Waste:
    • The economic toll of food loss and waste is estimated at $1 trillion.
  5. Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
    • Food loss and waste contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 8-10% of annual global emissions.
  6. Regional Trends:
    • Food waste levels vary minimally across income groups.
    • Hotter climates tend to generate more household food waste due to consumption patterns and infrastructure limitations.
    • Rural areas generally exhibit lower levels of food waste compared to urban areas.
  7. Policy Integration:
    • Only 21 countries, including Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, have included food loss and waste reduction in their climate plans or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

PYQ:

2019: In India, ‘extended producer responsibility’ was introduced as an important feature in which of the following?

(a) The Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998

(b) The Recycled Plastic (Manufacturing and Usage) Rules, 1999

(c) The e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011

(d) The Food Safety and Standard Regulations, 2011

 

Practice MCQ:

Which of the following statements is correct about the Food Waste Index Report?

(a) It tracks only the global generation of food waste at the retail level.

(b) It was first launched in 2011 to monitor progress towards reducing food waste in households and food service sectors.

(c) It is a tool aimed at monitoring progress towards international targets outlined in SDG 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.

(d) It primarily focuses on tracking inedible parts wasted at the industrial level.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

India Employment Landscape: Insights from the ILO-IHD Report 2024

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ILO, India Employment Report 2024

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

According to the India Employment Report 2024 released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD), India’s youth account for almost 83% of the unemployed workforce.

About the International Labour Organization (ILO)

 

  • The ILO is a UN agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.
  • Founded in 1919 under the League of Nations (under Treaty of Versailles) it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN.
  • India was one of the founding members of the ILO, joining the organization in 1919.
  • The ILO has 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands.
  • Its international labour standards are broadly aimed at ensuring accessible, productive, and sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.
  • The Governing body is the apex executive body of the ILO which decides policies, programmes, agenda, budget and elects the Director-General.
  • It meets 3 times a year, in March, June and November.
  • ILO has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.

 

Major Conventions of the ILO:

  • Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
  • Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
  • Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
  • Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
  • Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
  • Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)

 

Highlights of the India Employment Report 2024:

  1. Labour Market Dynamics
  • Long-Term Deterioration: The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), Worker Population Ratio (WPR), and the Unemployment Rate (UR) showed a long-term deterioration between 2000 and 2018, but witnessed an improvement after 2019.
  • Education Impact: The share of youngsters with secondary or higher education in the total unemployed youth has almost doubled from 35.2% in 2000 to 65.7% in 2022, indicating a significant shift in educational qualifications among job seekers.
  1. Challenges and Insecurities
  • Informal Workforce: Almost 90% of workers remain engaged in informal work, while the share of regular work declined after 2018, leading to widespread livelihood insecurities.
  • Contractualisation: There has been a rise in contractualisation, with only a small percentage of regular workers covered by long-term contracts, exacerbating job insecurities.
  1. Skills Gap and Gender Disparities
  • Skills Deficiency: Despite being a demographic dividend, the report notes a skills gap among India’s young workforce, with a significant percentage unable to perform basic digital tasks or mathematical operations.
  • Gender Gap: India faces substantial gender disparities in the labour market, with low rates of female labour force participation and high levels of unemployment among highly educated young women.

 


PYQ:

2018: International Labour Organization’s Conventions 138 and 182 are related to:

  1. Child labour
  2. Adaptation of agricultural practices to global climate change
  3. Regulation of food prices and food security
  4. Gender parity in the workplace

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc

[pib] India to co-chair of its ITU Digital Innovation Board

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Mains level: NA

What is the news-

  • Neeraj Mittal, Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India was unanimously elected as co-chair of the Digital Innovation Board of International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

About ITU Digital Innovation Board

 

  • This board is established under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development.
  • It comprises of Ministers and Vice Ministers of Telecom/ICT of 23 Member Countries.
  • The Alliance establishes the Board to provide strategic guidance, expertise and advocacy regarding its mission of building critical local enablers.

 

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance

 

  • ITU has started this Alliance to respond to significant unmet needs of ITU Membership in the area of innovation.
  • It is based on the Kigali Action Plan adopted at the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2022 (WTDC-22) and the Outcomes of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22).
  • The Alliance has three main vehicles: –
  1.     Digital Transformation Lab
  2.     Network of Acceleration Centres
  3.     Digital Innovation Board

What is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)?

  • The ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for issues related to information and communication technologies (ICTs).
  • It was established in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, making it one of the oldest international organizations.
  • In 1932, the organization was renamed the International Telecommunication Union to reflect its broader mandate.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Its functions include:
  1. Allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits,
  2. Develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and
  3. Strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.

Membership:

  • ITU’s membership includes 193 member states (countries) and over 900 private sector entities, including telecommunications companies, equipment manufacturers, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • India has been an active member of the ITU since 1869 and has been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952.

PYQ:

2020: In India, the term “Public Key Infrastructure” is used in the context of

  1. Digital security infrastructure
  2. Food security infrastructure
  3. Healthcare and education infrastructure
  4. Telecommunication and transportation infrastructure

 

Practise MCQ:

The global telecom body International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recently elected India as the co-chair of the Digital Innovation Board. Which of the following statements about ITU is/are correct?

  1. It is the United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies.
  2. Its entry is open to all countries, Private Companies as well as institutions.
  3. India has been a member of ITU since 1869.

Select the correct option:

  1. All are correct
  2. Only 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1 and 2

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

World Happiness Report, 2024: Key Highlights

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Happiness Report , India's ranking

Mains level: Not Much

What is the news-

  • India was ranked 126th out of 143 nations in the World Happiness Report 2024, a global happiness index which was released, March 20 to mark the UN’s International Day of Happiness.

About the World Happiness Report

  • The WHR is an annual publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  • It is released in partnership by Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the World Happiness Report’s Editorial Board
  • It measures three main well-being indicators: life evaluations, positive emotions, and negative emotions (described in the report as positive and negative affect).
  • The report considers six key factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and the absence of corruption.
  • It was adopted by the UN General Assembly based on a resolution tabled by Bhutan.

Key Highlights of the 2024 Report

  • Top: For the seventh successive year, Finland topped the list of the happiest countries in the world.
  • Runner-ups: The other countries in the top ten were Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia.
  • Bottom: Afghanistan was at the bottom of the list.

Indian Scenario

  • Ranking: India maintains its position at 126th in the happiness index. Surprisingly, it is behind Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Niger.
  • Neighbourhood: China was ranked 60th, Nepal at 93, Pakistan at 108, Myanmar at 118, Sri Lanka at 128 and Bangladesh at 129th spots.
  • Influencing Factors: Marital status, social engagement, physical health, and satisfaction with living arrangements influence life satisfaction among older Indians.
  • Gendered Happiness: Older Indian women tend to report higher life satisfaction despite facing more stressors and health challenges.
  • Key Predictors: Factors like education level, social caste, social support, perceived discrimination, and self-rated health significantly impact life satisfaction among older Indians.

PYQ:

2018: “Rule of Law Index” is released by which of the following?

  1. Amnesty International
  2. International Court of Justice
  3. The Office of UN Commissioner for Human Rights
  4. World Justice Project

 

Practice MCQ:

With reference to the World Happiness Report, 2024, consider the following statements:

  1. The report is an annual publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  2. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly based on a resolution tabled by Bhutan.
  3. India’s ranking has been consistently improved in this report in last two years.

How many of the given statements is/are correct?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. None

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

WTO and India

India pursues Lowering Cost of Cross Border Remittances at WTO

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Cost of Remittances, Remittances Inflows, WTO

Mains level: NA

What is the news-

  • India is strongly pursuing its proposal for lowering the cost of cross-border remittances, which it presented at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi last month.
  • It has now requested the WTO’s general council (GC) to initiate a work program to make recommendations for reducing remittance costs.

Why discuss this?

 

  • In 2023, India witnessed the highest remittance inflows globally, amounting to USD 125 billion.
  • Lowering the costs of remittances would primarily benefit low and middle-income countries, which accounted for 78% of remittances flow in 2023, according to estimates.
  • India’s draft proposal at MC13 highlighted that the global average cost for sending remittances remained high at 6.18%, more than twice the SDG target.

 What is Cost of Remittances?

  • Remittances are financial transfers sent by migrant workers to their families or relatives in their home countries.
  • The cost of remittances refers to the expenses incurred by individuals or businesses when sending money from one location to another, typically across international borders.
  • The cost components of cross-border payments can include:
  1. Bank fees,
  2. Intermediary fees,
  3. Compliance fees,
  4. Operational costs, and
  5. FX (foreign exchange) rate margin
  • Innovative technologies like DeFi payment rails are emerging to reduce the total cost of payments for cross-border transactions.

About World Trade Organization (WTO)

Details
Establishment 1995, replacing GATT
Objective To regulate international trade
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Members
  • 164
  • India is a Founding Member.
Objectives
  • Formulate rules for trade
  • Negotiate further liberalization
  • Settle disputes
  • Assist developing countries
  • Cooperate with major economic institutions
Principles
  • Non-Discrimination
  • Most Favored Nation
  • National Treatment
  • Reciprocity
  • Predictability through Binding Commitments
  • Transparency
  • Encourage Development and Reforms
Important Trade Agreements
  • Agreement on Agriculture (AoA),
  • Agreement on TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights),
  • Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS),
  • Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT),
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS),
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) etc.
WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA)
  • Negotiated during Uruguay Round (1995)
  • Aims to reform trade in agriculture
  • Allows support for rural economies with fewer trade “distortions”
  • Focuses on improving market access, reducing subsidies, and eliminating export subsidies

Subsidies Types:

  1. Green Box – No distortion in trade
  2. Amber Box – Can distort production and trade (subject to limits)
  3. Blue Box – Subsidies linked to production-limiting programs
Most Favoured Nation Clause
  • Ensures non-discriminatory trade
  • Prevents discrimination among trade partners
  • First clause in GATT
  • Special trade statuses extended to all WTO members

 


PYQ:

Q.The terms ‘Agreement on Agriculture’, ‘Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures’ and Peace Clause’ appear in the news frequently in the context of the affairs of the: (2015)

  1. Food and Agriculture Organization
  2. United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change
  3. World Trade Organization
  4. United Nations Environment Programme

 

Q.Which of the following constitute Capital Account? (2013)

  1. Foreign Loans
  2. Foreign Direct Investment
  3. Private Remittances
  4. Portfolio Investment

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 1, 2 and 4
  3. 2, 3 and 4
  4. 1, 3 and 4

 

Practice MCQ:

Consider the following statements:

  1. India is the highest recipient of remittances globally.
  2. UAE is the largest source of remittances to India.
  3. The current cost of remittances meets the SDG target.

How many of the given statements is/are correct?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. None

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Insights from the WMO’s State of the Climate Report, 2023

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: State of the Climate Report, 2023, Key Highlights

Mains level: Surging impact of Climate Change

What is the news-

  • The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) recent State of the Climate report highlights unprecedented climatic shifts, with numerous indicators reaching record levels.

About World Meteorological Organization

  • It is an intergovernmental organization and a specialized agency of the UN for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
  • It was established in 1950 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It origin traces to the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.
  • Currently it has a membership of 191 countries. India is also a member.

Key Highlights of the State of the Climate Report, 2023

[1] Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

  • Record-High Concentrations: GHGs like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide reached record levels in 2022, contributing to global warming. The concentration of GHGs observed in 2022 is the latest year for which consolidated global values are available (1984–2022).
  • Long-term Trend: The rise in GHG concentrations underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to mitigate their impact.

[2] Surface Temperature

  • Historic Spike: Global surface temperatures in 2023 surged to 1.45 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, marking the highest recorded temperature. This temperature rise is attributed to the combined effects of rising GHG concentrations and the onset of El Nino in 2023.
  • El Nino Influence: The onset of El Nino exacerbated temperature extremes globally, amplifying the impacts of climate change.

[3] Ocean Heat Content (OHC)

  • Unprecedented Heat: Ocean heat content reached its highest level in the observational record of 2023. The ocean heat content (OHC) refers to the total amount of heat the oceans store.
  • Long-term Trend: The continual increase in OHC underscores the ongoing challenge of ocean warming and its implications for marine ecosystems.

[4] Marine Heat Waves (MHWs)

  • Widespread Occurrence: The global ocean experienced a significant increase in marine heatwave (MHW) coverage in 2023. The average daily marine heatwave coverage reached 32%, surpassing previous records set in 2016.
  • Duration and Intensity: Prolonged MHWs pose threats to marine biodiversity, ecosystems, and fisheries, highlighting the urgency of climate action.

[5] Antarctic Sea-Ice Extent

  • Record Low: Antarctic sea-ice extent plummeted to 1.79 million km2 in February 2023, the lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. The extent remained below average throughout the year, signalling ongoing trends of sea-ice loss in the Antarctic region.
  • Persistent Decline: The continued decline in Antarctic sea-ice extent underscores the vulnerability of Polar Regions to climate change.

[6] Glacier Mass Balance

  • Unprecedented Loss: Glaciers worldwide experienced the largest annual loss of ice on record in 2022-2023. The annual mass balance, which measures the amount of mass gained or lost by glaciers, dropped to a new low of ‘–1.2 metre water equivalent’.
  • Regional Disparities: Glacial mass balance varied across regions, with North American and European glaciers particularly affected by ice loss.

Significance of the report

  • The figures presented in the WMO report underscore the magnitude of climate change impacts on various Earth systems.
  • Urgent action is needed to address rising GHG emissions, mitigate temperature extremes, protect marine environments, and preserve critical cryospheric regions.

PYQ:

2018: “Momentum for Change: Climate Neutral Now” is an initiative launched by

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  2. The UNEP Secretariat
  3. The UNFCCC Secretariat
  4. The World Meteorological Organisation

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch