Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 21 Jun 2022

Daily Mains Newsletter For
UPSC | RaghukulCS

21 June 2022 - Tuesday


Table of Contents

Terrorists are listed in the UN Security Council 1267 Committee.

Why in the news?

  • India and the United States jointly proposed that Makki, a leading LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) Militant, be listed on the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) Sanctions Committee, also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee.
  • However, China has placed a “technical hold” on the proposal to list Makki, which can last up to six months at a time.
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sometimes known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is a transnational Sunni rebel organisation based mostly in western Iraq and eastern Syria.

What exactly is the United Nations Security Council?

  • The UN Charter established six major organs of the UN, including the UN Security Council. Article 23 of the UN Charter addresses the composition of the UN Security Council.
  • The General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat are the UN’s other five organs.
  • The UN Security Council has been charged with the primary role of ensuring international peace and security, and it may convene whenever peace is threatened.
  • The council’s headquarters are in New York.

The UN Security Council has 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent.

China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the five permanent members.

  • Ten non-permanent members include: 
  • The General Assembly elects them for two-year periods.
  • For the eighth time, India joined the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member last year (2021) and will serve for two years, from 2021 to 2022.
  • The General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of a total of ten) for a two-year term each year. The 10 non-permanent seats are allocated regionally.

What is the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Committee?

  • It was founded in 1999 and strengthened following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee is now in place.
  • It consists of all permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
  • The 1267 terrorist list is a global list with a UNSC stamp. It is teeming with Pakistani nationals and residents.
  • It is one of the most important and active UN subsidiary groups involved in anti-terrorism activities, particularly in connection to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
  • It examines UN initiatives to curb terrorist movement, particularly those involving travel bans, asset freezes, and terrorism-related arms embargoes.
  • In the previous decade, India has made at least three attempts to designate JeM commander as a “global terrorist,” in 2009, 2016, and 2017. China has stopped all attempts at Pakistan’s request.
  • Listing Procedure: Any member state may make a proposal to list an individual, group, or entity.
  • The application must include acts or activities that show the proposed individual/group/entity was involved in “the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” related to “ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida, or any cell, affiliate, splinter group, or offshoot thereof.”
  • Consensus is used to make decisions on listing and de-listing. The proposal is distributed to all members, and if no member objects within five working days, it is adopted.
  • An “objection” signifies the idea is dead in the water.
  • Any Committee member may also place a “technical hold” on the proposal and request additional information from the proposed member state. Other members may also put holds during this time.
  • The subject remains on the Committee’s “pending” list until the member state that placed the hold decides to change its decision into a “objection,” or until all those who have placed holds remove them within the deadline set by the Committee.
  • Pending issues must be resolved within six months, however the member state that imposed the halt may request an extension of three months. If no objections are filed at the conclusion of this period, the subject is considered authorised.

What exactly is a Foreign Terrorist Organization?

  • Foreign organisations designated by the US Secretary of State are known as FTOs.
  • This is crucial in the fight against terrorism because it is an effective way of reducing support for terrorist actions and encouraging groups to leave the terrorism industry.

WTO Ministerial Conference No. 12

Why in the news?

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) just ended its 12th Ministerial Conference.
  • The primary subjects of debate included the WTO’s response to the pandemic, negotiations on fishery subsidies, agriculture issues such as public stockholding for food security, WTO reforms, and a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission.
  • Following the postponement of Covid-19, the 164-member World Trade Organization conducted its first ministerial meeting in nearly five years.

What are the 12th Ministerial Conference’s Key Results?

WTO Restructuring:
  • Members reaffirmed the WTO’s founding values and pledged to an open and participatory reform process for all of its functions, from deliberation to negotiation to monitoring.
  • Notably, they agreed to work toward having a fully functional dispute resolution system available to all members by 2024.
  • Agreement to Reduce Harmful Fishing Subsidies: For the following four years, it would reduce ‘harmful’ subsidies to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in order to better conserve world fish populations.
  • Since 2001, member countries have been negotiating the prohibition of subsidies that encourage overfishing.
  • In this accord, India and other developing countries were able to obtain some concessions. They successfully fought to get a provision of the proposal that threatened some incentives for small-scale artisanal fishing removed. This agreement would not impose any restrictions on artisanal and traditional farmers.
  • Members agreed to a binding decision exempting food acquired by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian purposes from any export restrictions.
  • In view of the worldwide food shortages and rising costs caused by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the group’s members released a statement emphasising the importance of trade in global food security and pledging to avoid food export prohibitions.
  • Countries would, however, be permitted to restrict food supplies in order to meet domestic food security demands.
  • Agreement on E-commerce Transactions: Between 2017 and 2020, developing nations wasted around USD 50 billion in potential tariff income on imports of only 49 digital products.
  • WTO members first agreed in 1998, when the internet was still in its infancy, not to levy customs taxes on electronic transmissions. Since then, the moratorium has been frequently extended.
  • All members, however, decided to extend the long-standing ban on customs taxes on e-commerce transmissions until the next Ministerial Conference or until March 31, 2024, whichever comes first.
  • WTO countries decided to temporarily waive intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines without the approval of the patent owners for 5 years, allowing them to manufacture them more easily domestically.
  • This “will help to continue efforts to concentrate and diversify vaccine manufacturing capacity so that a crisis in one location does not cut off others.”
  • The present deal is a watered-down version of India and South Africa’s original proposal from 2020. They want broader intellectual property concessions for vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics.
  • Rich pharmaceutical corporations had vehemently resisted this, stating that IP does not impede access to Covid medicines and that removing patent rights sends a negative message to researchers who quickly generated life-saving vaccinations.
  • Advocacy groups opposed the WTO waiver for being too restrictive in scope, as it does not include all medical tools such as diagnostics and therapies. “As it does not sufficiently waive IP on all essential Covid-19 medical equipment and does not apply to all countries, this agreement fails to provide an effective and meaningful solution to help expand people’s access to vital medical tools during the pandemic.”

What are the issues that India has raised?

Concerning WTO Reforms:
  • India believes that WTO reform discussions should centre on strengthening the organization’s fundamental principles.
  • At this time, reserving Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT), which encompasses consensus-based decision making, non-discrimination, and special and differential treatment, should not result in the perpetuation or exacerbate of inherited inequities.
  • India takes the lead in proposing changes for developing countries (Developing countries reform paper “Strengthening the WTO to Promote Development and Inclusion”).
  • India made a proposal in which it took the lead in attacking the European Union and Brazil’s proposals, both on the process and its goals. It was opposed to a never-ending exercise on WTO changes.
  • E-commerce Transactions: India requested that the World Trade Organization review the continuation of the moratorium on customs taxes on e-commerce transactions, which comprise digitally exchanged goods and services.
  • It contended that the financial ramifications of such a moratorium would disproportionately affect underdeveloped countries.
  • Concerning Food Security, the World Trade Organization should rewrite subsidy regulations for government-backed food purchasing programmes targeted at feeding poor citizens in developing and poor countries.
  • India wants reassurance that its state stock-holding programme, which buys entirely from the country’s farmers and has previously exported, will not be challenged as illegal at the WTO.

What Are the Most Important World Trade Organization Facts?

  • About: It was founded in 1995. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was created after World War II.
  • Its goal is to make commerce more fluid, free, and predictable.
  • It has 164 members and accounts for 98 percent of global trade.
  • It evolved as a result of a series of trade discussions, or rounds, held under the GATT.
  • GATT is a set of multilateral trade agreements aimed at eliminating quotas and lowering tariffs among contracting nations.
  • The WTO’s regulations – the accords – are the result of member talks.
  • The current set is essentially the result of the Uruguay Round discussions from 1986 to 1994, which included a major modification of the original GATT.
  • The WTO Secretariat is headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland).
WTO Ministerial Meeting:
  • It is the WTO’s highest decision-making body, meeting every two years.
  • The MC includes all WTO members and has the authority to make decisions on any issues covered by multilateral trade agreements.

Gaps in the Global Biodiversity Framework After 2020

Why in the news?

According to a group of environmental scientists, ecologists, and policy specialists, the draught of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework does not account for the entirety of chemical pollutants that threaten ecosystems worldwide.

What are the Framework’s Gaps?

Chemical Pollutants:

The draught agreement falls short by confining itself to nutrients, pesticides, and plastics, leaving excluded many compounds of great concern and importance, such as persistent and hazardous pollutants like mercury and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), as well as pharmaceuticals.

LNPP Inside Protected Areas:

At the moment, LNPP (area where natural processes predominate) comprises approximately 56 percent of terrestrial land, excluding permanent ice and rock. However, just 20% of this land is legally protected. This indicates that, excluding permanent ice and rock, LNPP covers only 11% of the world’s land inside protected zones. The group believes that this is a problem because the post-2020 framework calls for at least 30% of land to be conserved by 2030.

LNPP refers to land with little human disturbance and/or ecologically intact vegetation, which provides room and habitat for biodiversity to thrive.

What exactly is the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework?

  • It is a new framework that will guide global initiatives to preserve and maintain nature and its important services to humanity through 2030.
  • It seeks to elicit immediate and transformative action from governments and all sectors of society in order to contribute to the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, its Protocols, and other global biodiversity agreements, procedures, and instruments.
  • The framework is based on a philosophy of change that emphasises the need for immediate policy action at the global, regional, and national levels to reform economic, social, and financial models.
Goals and objectives:
Four objectives must be met by 2050:
  • To halt biodiversity extinction and decline.
  • By conserving, we can improve and maintain nature’s services to humanity.
  • To ensure that all people benefit fairly and equally from the exploitation of genetic resources.
  • To bridge the gap between existing financial and other implementation resources and those required to accomplish the 2050 Vision.
  • 2030 Action Targets: 
  • The framework comprises 21 action-oriented targets for urgent action over the next decade, including:
  • To include at least 30% of the world’s land and sea in protected zones.
  • A 50% reduction in the rate of invasive alien species introduction, as well as controls or elimination of such species to remove or reduce their impacts.
  • Reducing nutrient loss to the environment by at least half, pesticides by at least two-thirds, and plastic trash discharge by at least half.
  • Nature-based contributions to global climate change mitigation efforts of at least 10 GtCO2e (gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide) per year, with no detrimental impacts on biodiversity.
  • Redirecting, reusing, modifying, or eliminating damaging to biodiversity incentives in a reasonable and equitable manner, with a reduction of at least USD 500 billion per year.

What are the suggestions?

  • A broader range of chemical contaminants must be targeted for policies and actions to be implemented under the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • Countries from all around the world have decided to form an intergovernmental science-policy panel on chemicals and waste in order to combine existing information and inform policymakers.
  • Chemical contaminants prevalent in every ecosystem on the planet, including distant Arctic, Antarctic, and Himalayan ecosystems, should drive new biodiversity framework negotiators to include these as threats to global biodiversity.
  • Protecting biodiversity is critical for food supply; there should be a net gain of at least 5% in the area, connectedness, and integrity of natural systems by 2030 and 15% by 2050 to support healthy and resilient populations of all species.
  • Changing diets, raising crop and livestock productivity, and limiting agricultural land expansion would all contribute to meeting global biodiversity, food security, and climate mitigation targets by 2050.

What is the Biological Diversity Convention?

  • Since 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been in existence as a legally enforceable convention to conserve biodiversity. It has three key goals:
  • Biological diversity preservation.
  • The long-term utilisation of biological diversity components.
  • The equal and fair distribution of the advantages derived from the use of genetic resources.
  • It has been ratified by nearly all countries (notably, the US has signed but not ratified).
  • The CBD Secretariat is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and is run by the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • The Parties (Countries) to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) convene on a regular basis, and these gatherings are known as Conferences of Parties (COP).
  • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a supplementary agreement to the Convention, was adopted in 2000. It went into effect on September 11, 2003.
  • The Protocol aims to conserve biological variety from the threats posed by live changed organisms as a result of modern biotechnology.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Resulting from Their Utilization (ABS) was adopted at the COP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. It went into effect on October 12, 2014.
  • It applies not only to CBD-covered genetic resources and the benefits derived from their use, but also to traditional knowledge (TK) linked with CBD-covered genetic resources and the benefits derived from their use.
  • Along with the Nagoya Protocol on Genetic Resources, the COP-10 created a ten-year framework for all countries to take action to conserve biodiversity.
  • Officially titled as the “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020,” it established a set of 20 ambitious yet feasible biodiversity targets known as the Aichi Targets.
  • In order to give effect to the CBD rules, India established the Biological Diversity Act in 2002.

Single-Use Plastic Ban

Why in the news?

  • The Centre recently specified a list of single-use plastic items that will be prohibited beginning July 1, 2022
  • The manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of notified single-use plastic commodities, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, will be forbidden from July 1, 2022.

What exactly is single-use plastic?

It refers to single-use plastic objects that are discarded.

Highest percentages of manufactured and used plastic:
  • Single-use plastic accounts for the majority of plastic created and consumed, ranging from item packaging to bottles (shampoo, detergents, cosmetics), polythene bags, face masks, coffee cups, cling film, garbage bags, food packaging, and so on.
  • Accounts for one-third of all plastic produced worldwide:
  • According to the Minderoo Foundation, an Australian philanthropic organisation, single-use plastics account for one-third of all plastic produced globally, with 98 percent generated using fossil fuels.
  • Single-use plastic accounts for the majority of plastic trash – 130 million metric tonnes globally in 2019 – all of which is burned, buried in landfills, or thrown directly into the environment.
  • Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Based on current manufacturing trends, single-use plastic is expected to account for 5-10% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Indicators for India:

  • According to the survey, India ranks 94th among the top 100 countries in terms of single-use plastic trash generation (the top three being Singapore, Australia and Oman).
  • With an annual domestic production of 11.8 million metric tonnes and imports of 2.9 MMT, India’s net generation of single-use plastic garbage is 5.6 MMT, with a per capita generation of 4 kg.

Why are these goods included?

  • The difficulty of collection, and hence recycling, influenced the selection of the initial batch of single-use plastic items for the ban.
  • When plastic remains in the environment for an extended amount of time and does not degrade, it degrades into microplastics, which infiltrate our food supplies and subsequently the human body, which is exceedingly dangerous.
  • Packaging accounts for the lion’s share of single-use plastic, accounting for up to 95 percent of all single-use plastic, ranging from toothpaste to shaving cream to frozen foods.
  • The things selected are of low value and turnover, and are unlikely to have a significant economic impact, which could be a contributing factor.

How will the prohibition be enforced?

The prohibition will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre, as well as the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), who will report to the Centre on a regular basis.

Directions have been issued:
  • National, state, and local authorities have given directives, for example, to all petrochemical firms not to supply raw materials to enterprises involved in the prohibited commodities.
  • Promoting Compostable and Biodegradable Plastics: The CPCB awarded one-time certificates to 200 compostable plastic firms, while the BIS approved biodegradable plastic standards.
  • Penalty: Those who violate the ban may face up to 5 years in prison, a fine of Rs 1 lakh, or both.
  • The SPCB may also require violators to pay Environmental Damage Compensation.
  • Municipal rules on plastic garbage exist, each with its own penal code.

How do other countries handle single-use plastic?

Resolution of Signs:
  • In 2022, 124 countries, including India, signed a resolution to draught an agreement that will make it legally binding for the signatories to address the complete life cycle of plastics, from manufacture to disposal, in order to halt plastic pollution.
  • Plastic bag bans were in place in 68 countries as of July 2019, with different degrees of enforcement.
Plastic-Free Countries:
  • Bangladesh was the first country to outlaw thin plastic bags in 2002.
  • New Zealand:
  • In July 2019, New Zealand became the latest country to prohibit plastic bags.
  • China issued a plastic bag ban in 2020, with staggered implementation.
  • US: Eight states in the United States have outlawed single-use plastic bags, with California leading the way in 2014. In 2018, Seattle became the first major US city to prohibit the use of plastic straws.
  • European Union: In July 2021, the European Union implemented the Single-Use Plastics Directive (EU).
  • The directive prohibits the use of single-use plastics for which alternatives are available; for example, single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, and cotton buds cannot be sold in EU member states.
  • The same rule applies to cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and all oxo-degradable plastic products.

Burmagomphus Chaukulensis (Burmagomphus Chaukulensis)

Why in the news?

  • Burmagomphus chaukulensis, a rare dragonfly, was recently spotted in Kerala
  • Platygomphus benritarum, a new species of dragonfly, was discovered in Assam earlier this year.

What are the Results?

  • This is a dragonfly from the genus Burmagomphus, which has three species: B. Cauvericus, B. Pyramidalis, and B. Laidlawi.
  • While B. laidlawi can be found throughout the Western Ghats, B. cauvericus has a more limited range.
  • pyramidalis is found in both the Western Ghats and Peninsular India.
  • The rest of the genus’s species are located in the Western and Eastern Himalayas.
  • The patterns on the lateral thorax and the unusual shape of the anal appendages distinguish the new species from its congeners.
  • This species is only found in the Western Ghats.

What exactly are dragonflies?

  • It is an aerial predator insect that is most usually found near freshwater areas around the world.
  • Their vibrant hues make them stand out. As a result, they are valuable subjects for insect behaviour research in both ecology and art.
  • The majority of dragonfly species live in the tropics, notably in rainforests.
  • Significance:
  • Dragonflies are essential bio-indicators of an area’s ecological health. Because they prey on mosquitos and other insects that transmit life-threatening diseases such as Malaria and Dengue.
  • Threats:
  • Rapid habitat destruction offers a direct threat to their survival, making conservation vital.
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