Stockholm+50 is a conference being hosted in Stockholm, Sweden. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference).
This international summit will be hosted by the United Nations General Assembly.
Even after 50 years of the Stockholm Declaration, the world is confronting a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and waste, nature and biodiversity loss, and other planetary challenges. The accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals is jeopardised as a result of this.
One of the agenda items will be a long-term recovery from the Covid-19 epidemic.
What is the 1972 Stockholm Conference?
Background: In 1968, the United Nations General Assembly debated climate change using increasing scientific knowledge.
A research study published actual estimations of global temperature based on CO2 levels in 1967. Furthermore, it was expected that doubling CO2 levels from existing levels will result in a nearly 2°C rise in global temperature.
Sweden was the first to propose the Stockholm Conference. That is why it is also known as the “Swedish Initiative.”
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm from June 5th to June 16th, 1972.
This was the first worldwide summit on the planet’s environment.
‘Only One Earth’ was the theme.
The meeting was attended by 122 countries.
The goal is to develop a unified governance framework for the global environment and natural resources.
Stockholm Declaration and Human Environment Action Plan
The Declaration of Stockholm:
The Stockholm Declaration was adopted by 70 of the 122 participating countries, 70 of which were developing and impoverished countries.
The Stockholm Declaration included 26 principles that signalled the start of a dialogue between industrialised and developing countries.
This helped to establish “interconnections between development, poverty, and the environment.”
The Action Plan was divided into three major areas, each of which was further subdivided into 109 recommendations:
Programme for Global Environmental Assessment (watch plan)
Environmental management tasks
International measurements to assist with assessment and management operations at the national and international levels.
The Conference Has Three Dimensions:
Countries agreed not to “damage one other’s environment or areas beyond of national authority.”
A plan of action to investigate the harm to the Earth’s environment.
Establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to foster international collaboration.
What were the Stockholm Declaration’s main points?
Natural resources such as air, water, land, vegetation, and fauna must be carefully planned for the benefit of current and future generations.
Toxic material and heat emissions should not be allowed to exceed the environmental capacity.
The poor and emerging countries must be helped in their fight against pollution.
States’ environmental policies should promote developing countries’ current and future development potential.
States and international organisations should take appropriate steps to obtain an agreement on meeting the potential national and international economic repercussions of environmental actions.
States have the sovereign right to utilise their own resources in accordance with their own environmental policies, according to the UN charter and norms of international law.
However, governments bear the obligation of ensuring that activities within their jurisdiction or authority do not impair the environment of neighbouring states or places beyond national jurisdiction.
What is the significance of Stockholm in 1972?
The first worldwide conference on the environment took place when the environment was neither a global concern nor a national priority.
Previously, the UN charter never addressed the issue of the environment.
Until 1972, no country had an environment ministry.
Following that, countries such as Norway and Sweden established environmental ministries.
India established its Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985.
After 1972, environmental issues such as species extinction and mercury poisoning began to make headlines, and public awareness grew.
The modern “environmental age” began with the Stockholm conference.
Many of today’s environmental conventions can be traced back to the Stockholm Declaration.
Climate Change Framework Convention of the United Nations (UNFCCC)
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (CBD)
What are the Obstacles?
Global politics has had a negative impact on the conference from its inception.
Some countries raised worry over rich countries’ dominance, claiming that the policies are more beneficial to wealthier, industrialised countries.
Nations’ lack of coordination has contributed to the world warming by at least 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This is twice the 1.5 degree Celsius increase mandated by the Paris Agreement.
1-3 billion people are expected to be displaced by climate change during the next 50 years.
It is the most significant impediment to implementing sustainable environmental measures, as poverty cannot be addressed without the use of science and technology.
Policies for a sustainable environment cannot be implemented effectively unless the poor or developing countries can offer employment and meet people’s daily needs.
The Way Forward
The majority of the globe must recognise that ecology and conservation are not in their best interests. Instead, this will make a difference in their life.
The developed world is primarily concerned with air and water pollution, whereas developing countries seek assistance in eradicating poverty while minimising environmental damage.
As a result, environmental protection measures must be implemented to ensure the economic development of developing countries.
As time is running out, it is critical for Stockholm+50 to establish concrete timetables for achieving the goals aimed at achieving a sustainable environment.
Israel has signed a free trade agreement with the UAE.
Why in the news?
Israel just struck its first free trade agreement with an Arab country, with the United Arab Emirates, building on their US-brokered normalisation of relations in 2020.
The UAE was the first Gulf country to normalise relations with Israel, and the third Arab country to do so, following Egypt and Jordan.
What are the main points?
Trade between the two nations: In compared to 2020, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics observed a more than 30% rise in import and export of products to and from the United Arab Emirates, excluding diamonds.
In 2021, two-way commerce was worth approximately USD 900 million.
Non-oil commerce exceeded USD 1.06 billion in the first three months of 2022, a fivefold increase over the same time the previous year.
The Free Trade Agreement’s Importance:
It builds on the US-brokered Normalization of Relations: The agreement demonstrates the long-term viability of the Abraham Accords, a series of diplomatic agreements signed in 2020 that normalised relations between Israel and four Muslim countries: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan.
Great Economic Potential: Because of the peoples’ physical and cultural proximity, as well as the UAE’s distinctive qualities, Israel’s connection with the UAE has great economic potential.
The UAE is the Arab world’s second largest economy (behind Saudi Arabia), with a strong emphasis on technological products and innovative solutions, where Israel has a comparative edge.
Faster Market Access and Reduced Tariffs:
As both countries work together to grow trade, create employment, encourage new skills, and deepen collaboration, businesses in both countries will benefit from faster market access and lower tariffs.
The agreement eliminates customs charges on 96 percent of the products traded between the two parties.
The agreement also covers regulatory and standardisation problems, as well as customs, collaboration, government procurement, e-commerce, and intellectual property rights.
The value of non-oil bilateral trade between Israel and the UAE will now exceed $10 billion as a result of this agreement.
Trade between the UAE and Israel will top $2 billion in 2022, growing to nearly $5 billion in five years, thanks to partnership in the renewables, consumer products, tourism, and life sciences sectors.
Israel Can Establish a Foothold in the International Market:
Long-term, both governments hope that Israeli companies will establish production in the United Arab Emirates, which acts as a centre for the Middle East, Asia, and Africa—markets where Israel has struggled to establish a presence.
What does this mean for India?
This pact, together with India’s and the UAE’s Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), has the potential for considerable trilateral collaboration and economic ties.
It has also increased prospects for partnership with the US in other industries.
These were made possible by the Abraham Accords, which marked a watershed moment in the promotion of peace and prosperity for all.
Israel, India, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States are also members of the West Asian Quad, a new organisation formed as a forum for economic cooperation.
They are pursuing a positive agenda centred on the economy, particularly infrastructure initiatives.
What exactly is a Free Trade Agreement?
FTAs are agreements between two or more nations or trading blocs to lower or remove customs tariffs and non-tariff barriers to significant trade between them.
FTAs typically cover either goods trade (such as agricultural or industrial items) or services trade (such as banking, construction, trading etc.).
Other topics covered by FTAs include intellectual property rights (IPRs), investment, government procurement, and competition policy, among others.
For example, India has negotiated FTAs with other countries, including Sri Lanka, as well as various economic blocs, like ASEAN.
Preferential Trade Agreements, Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements, and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements are the three types of FTAs (CEPA).
The Way Forward
This trade agreement with Israel will usher in a new era for the West Asian region, demonstrating the necessity of strong ties.
This will provide substantial diplomatic links in the near future and aid in the resolution of long-standing issues in the Middle East region between Israel and numerous West Asian countries.
Report of the United Nations on the Taliban Regime
Why in the news?
Foreign terrorist organisations continue to have a safe haven under the new Taliban rule, according to the United Nations Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
What is the Monitoring Team’s Mission at the UN Security Council?
The monitoring team provides assistance to the UN Security Council sanctions committee, and its report, which is distributed to committee members, informs the formation of UN strategy in Afghanistan.
India presently chairs the sanctions committee, which includes all 15 UN Security Council members.
This is the first report issued since the Taliban reclaimed control in August 2021.
This is the first of its stories that has not been influenced by official Afghan briefings.
The team gathered information by talking with UN member states, international and regional organisations, private sector financial institutions, and the operations of organisations such as the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
UNAMA is a United Nations Special Political Mission intended to help the Afghan government and people in creating the groundwork for long-term peace and development.
Since the Taliban regime, how has India approached Afghanistan?
Methods of Participation:
Following the Taliban takeover, India is caught in a bind between restoring Afghanistan as a strategic priority in its policy and the practical challenges on the ground.
Currently, India is considering three broad avenues of potential engagement with Afghanistan: humanitarian assistance, cooperative counterterrorism efforts with foreign partners, and discussions with the Taliban.
The ultimate purpose of all of this is to restore people-to-people linkages and prevent a reversal of the developmental accomplishments earned in Afghanistan by Delhi over the last two decades.
India has completed over 400 significant infrastructure projects in all 34 Afghan provinces and secured critical agreements to strengthen commerce and bilateral relations.
How has terrorism influenced the two countries’ relations?
The terrorism threat emanating from Pakistan has underpinned India’s policies toward Afghanistan.
India is concerned about a terror corridor that could be opened up from eastern Afghanistan to Kashmir if a land-based link is developed.
India has continuously expressed its support for UN Security Council Resolution 2593 and insists that Afghan soil not be utilised for anti-India terrorist actions.
Counterterrorism is likely to play a growing role in determining India’s policies toward Afghanistan, even as India strives to match its broader Indo-Pacific duties with its immediate South Asian ambitions.
Why is Afghanistan important to India?
Afghanistan is a strategic and economic gateway to the oil and mineral-rich Central Asian states.
Afghanistan’s major advantage is its location, as whoever controls the land connections connecting India and Central Asia (via Afghanistan).
Afghanistan, located at the centre of the historic Silk Road, has long served as a crossroads of commerce between Asian countries, connecting them to Europe and strengthening religious, cultural, and commercial ties.
The country’s vast redevelopment initiatives would provide numerous chances for Indian businesses.
Three major projects have cemented India’s position in Afghanistan: the Afghan Parliament, the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam (Salma Dam), along with India’s assistance of more than USD3 billion in projects, and hundreds of small development projects (of schools, hospitals, and water projects).
Security Concerns: India has been the victim of state-sponsored terrorism emanating from a terrorist group funded by Pakistan that operates in the region (e,g. Haqqani network). Thus, India has two interests in Afghanistan: preventing Pakistan from establishing a favourable government in Afghanistan and preventing the resurgence of Islamist forces such as al Qaeda from attacking India.
The Way Forward
Most international and regional countries agree with India’s wait-and-see strategy on official recognition of Afghanistan under the Taliban and engagement with Kabul.
India is hesitant to draw firm conclusions about the nature of Taliban governance.
However, there is a growing recognition that India must remain relevant and influential in the area.
While Delhi endeavoured to convene key stakeholders and lay the groundwork for a cohesive regional response to the Taliban, it encountered numerous challenges in persuading its South Asian neighbours to support its leadership.
Instead of joining India, Pakistan and China elected to participate in the Troika-plus discussions.
These opposing approaches to Afghanistan will continue to exist in the future. A realistic assessment of its long-term and short-term aims, as well as readjustments, is required in developing a strategically sustainable Afghanistan policy.
Israel has signed a free trade agreement with the UAE.
The Prime Minister has expressed his condolences on the death of famous Indian National Army (INA) Veteran Anjalai Ponnusamy of Malaysia.
Despite the fact that she was not born or reared in India, Madam Anjalai enlisted in the INA’s Rani of Jhansi regiment at the age of 21. (1943).
[The Rani of Jhansi regiment of the Indian National Army is the world’s first women’s army.]
She had received combat training.
She has experience accompanying troops all the way to the Burma-India border in the battle to free India from British rule.
The Netaji Service Centre in Malaysia also bestowed upon her the moniker “Veera Thaai” (Valiant Mother).
The United States would give its most advanced artillery rocket launcher, HIMARS, to Ukraine’s military in the intention of providing it an advantage over Russia.
Artillery rockets are weapons that can carry a variety of warheads and are typically driven by a solid-fuel motor.
In the 1970s, the United States developed the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) for use if Russian armoured vehicles massed on the Western European border for World War III.
The M270 MLRS launcher was an armoured vehicle that could carry two “pods” of ammunition, including an Army Tactical Missile System guided missile (ATACMS).
Later, the United States created a more portable variant known as the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) truck.
HIMARS are high-tech, lightweight rocket launchers that are wheeled, giving them more agility and manoeuvrability on the battlefield.
The GPS guided rockets have a significant benefit in that they can be reloaded in approximately a minute with a small crew.
The HIMARS truck, unlike its predecessor, carries only one pod of explosives. However, it is far faster both on and off the road.
Each M31 Guided MRLS (GMLRS) rocket’s warhead holds a single charge of around 200 pounds of high explosives, whereas howitzer 155 mm shells contain approximately 18 pounds.
The GMLRS rockets can be launched singly or in a chain of six in seconds, rivalling the strength of an airstrike dropping guided bombs.
Using the HIMARS and GMLRS together can provide firepower comparable to an airstrike.