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International Organization related to Environment

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Established : The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 during Rio Earth Summit as a $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development.

Headquarter: Washington

Key Functions:

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

The GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Funding: The GEF also serves as the financial mechanism for the following conventions:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury

Extra Note:

India has formed a permanent Constituency in the Executive Council of the GEF together with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. 

India is one of developing country in the world that has been a participant of GEF since its inception in 1991. It has played a major role in shaping GEF. India is both donor and recipient of GEF.

It works as an innovator and catalyst through the supports multi-stakeholder alliances to preserve threatened ecosystems on land and in the oceans, build greener cities, boost food security and promote clean energy for a more prosperous, climate-resilient world.

Green Climate Fund

The GCF was set up in 2010 under the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism to channel funding from developed countries to developing countries to allow them to mitigate climate change and also adapt to disruptions arising from a changing climate.

How it helps?

The Green Climate Fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows.

  • It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.
  • The Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The Fund will strive to maximize the impact of its funding for adaptation and mitigation, and seek a balance between the two, while promoting environmental, social, economic and development co-benefits and taking a gender-sensitive approach.

Who will govern the Fund?

The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for funding decisions and that receives the guidance of the Conference of Parties (COP). The Fund is accountable to, and functions under the guidance of, the COP.

Why in news?
 

In a move that may positively impact over 10 million people living on the coastline, India has kicked-off a USD 43 million project to boost climate resilience in three coastal states in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project is funded by the Green Climate Fund.

Details:

  • The six-year project will build climate-resilient livelihoods for 1.7 million people in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.
  • It seeks to offset 3.5 million tonnes of carbon, protect vulnerable ecosystems, and benefit another 10 million people with improved shoreline protection.
  • The project will work with communities in restoring ecosystems and promoting climate-resilient livelihood options, such as the sustainable farming of mud crabs.

Climate finance

  • Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions to address climate change.
  • The Convention (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement call for financial assistance from Parties with more financial resources to those that are less endowed and more vulnerable.
  • This recognizes that the contribution of countries to climate change and their capacity to prevent it and cope with its consequences vary enormously – common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.
  • It is important for all governments and stakeholders to understand and assess the financial needs of developing countries, as well as to understand how these financial resources can be mobilized. Provision of resources should also aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation.

What is mitigation?

  • Mitigation deals with reducing GHG emissions and is mostly identified with renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • They include policies, incentive schemes and investment programmes which addresses all sectors, including energy generation and use, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture, forestry and other land use, and waste management.

For Adaptation– Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, as significant financial resources are needed to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate.

What is Adaptation?

  • Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts.

Adaptation Fund (AF) was established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and has committed US$ 532 million to climate adaptation and resilience activities.

  1. Which of the following statements regarding ‘Green Climate Fund’ is/are correct?
  1. It is intended to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
  2. It is founded under the aegis of UNEP, OECD, Asian Development Bank and World Bank
    Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Climate Financing in India

  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are nationally binding targets adopted under UNFCCC. India has to reduce GHG emissions under this, which requires climate financing.

National Clean Energy Fund:

  • The Fund was created to promote clean energy, funded through an initial carbon tax on use of coal by industries.
  • Governed by an Inter-Ministerial Group with the Finance Secretary as the Chairman.
  • Its mandate is to fund research and development of innovative clean energy technology in the fossil and non fossil fuel based sectors.

National Adaptation Fund:

  • The fund was established in 2014 with a corpus of Rs. 100 crore with the aim of bridging the gap between the need and the available funds.
  • The fund is operated under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM):

  • It allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2.
  • The CDM is the main source of income for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund.
  • The Adaptation Fund is financed by a 2% levy on CERs issued by the CDM.

Internal Programmes:

  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), Disaster Management Fund etc.

A Climate Change Finance Unit was set up by Department of Economics in the Ministry of Finance to advise and guide the MoEF&CC as well as to lead on global climate finance issues.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Established:   It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland

Key Functions:

  • The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • IPCC reports cover all relevant information to understand the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research.
  • Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis.
  • The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in two equal parts, between the IPCC and an American Environmentalist.

The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:

  1. Human-induced climate change,
  2. The impacts of human-induced climate change,
  3. Options for adaptation and mitigation.

Funding: The IPCC receives funding through the IPCC Trust Fund, established in 1989 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Why in news?

IPCC Working Group III is meeting in India to further preparations of Sixth Assessment Report.

The meeting is hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.

Background:

IPCC Working Group III is responsible for assessing the mitigation of climate change – responses and solutions to the threat of dangerous climate change by reducing emissions and enhancing sinks of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.

Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014, and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.

What is Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?

  1. It will examine topics such as the link between consumption and behaviour and greenhouse gas emissions, and the role of innovation and technology.
  2. It will assess the connection between short to medium-term actions and their compatibility with the long-term temperature goal in the Paris Agreement.
  3. It will assess mitigation options in sectors such as energy, agriculture, forestry and land use, buildings, transport and industry.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made public ‘The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ which underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers, and ice-deposits on land and sea at the United Nations Climate Summit underway in the United States.

  • The published report is the last in a series of three reports on specific themes that IPCC has published namely:
  • Global Warming of 1.5° C: A special report, which was commissioned to specifically explore the scientific feasibility of the 1.5°C goal set in the Paris Agreement, on global warming.
  • Land and climate change: The report focuses on the contribution of land-related activities to global warming i.e how the different uses of land affect the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • The report also updates the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report — and summarises the disastrous impacts of warming based on current projections of global greenhouse gas emissions.
IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. However, IPCC does not conduct its own research. The Assessment Report released by IPCC in 2014 was the 5th in a series of such reports. 6th Assessment Report of IPCC is expected to be released in 2022.  

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Established

Founded in 1948, today IUCN the largest professional global conservation network. IUCN has more than 1,200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations.

Headquarter: Gland, near Geneva

Key Functions: Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. The main areas of function are:

  • Science  – the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
  • Action – hundreds of conservation projects all over the world.
  • Influence – through the collective strength of more than 1,200 government and non-governmental Member organizations.

Funding:  Funded by governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, member organisations and corporations.

Extra Notes:

Governance by a Council elected by member organizations every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly.

  • India became a State Member of IUCN in 1969, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The IUCN India Country Office was established in 2007 in New Delhi.
  1. With reference to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. IUCN is an organ of the United Nations and CITES is an international agreement between governments
  2. IUCN runs thousands of field projects around the world to better manage natural environments.
  3. CITES is legally binding on the States that have joined it, but this Convention does not take the place of national laws.

Select the correct using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • It is an UN agency
  • It coordinates UN’s environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • It was founded as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in 1972
  • Headquater : Nairobi, Kenya
  • UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.
  • Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy.
  • UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects.
  • UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways
  • UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol
  • The International Cyanide Management Code, a program of best practice for the chemical’s use at gold mining operations, was developed under UNEP’s aegis.

World Nature Organisation

Established:  Formed in 2010 (Established in 2014)

What is it:  an intergovernmental organisation which promotes global environmental protection

Location: Geneva

Functions:

  • WNO acts as a centre of competence for environmental protection, green technologies and sustainability, and as a mediator and initiator, making available experience of practical applications and strategies, offering support on all issues related to responsible conduct as regards the natural environment and its resources and assisting States to benefit from efficient development and from scientific and technology transfer.
  • The World Nature Organization  promotes sustainable conduct as regards the natural environment, together with new, environments-friendly technologies, green economies and renewable energies.

India is not a member.

World Food Programme:

Established :  The WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Rome

Key Functions:

  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.  
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
  • WFP has coordinated the five-year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project which assists smallholder farmers by offering them opportunities to access agricultural markets and to become competitive players in the marketplace.

Funding:  The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors

The objectives of the World Food Programme are:

  1. Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
  2. Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
  3. Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
  4. Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
  5. Zero Hunger in 2030.

Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

  • It is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (activities commonly referred to as REDD+).
  • The World Bank assumes the functions of trustee and secretariat.
  • The World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme are Delivery Partners under the Readiness Fund and responsible for providing REDD+ readiness support.

Objectives

  • To assist countries in their REDD+ efforts by providing them with financial and technical assistance.
  • To pilot a performance-based payment system for REDD+ activities.
  • To test ways to sustain or enhance livelihoods of local communities and to conserve biodiversity.
  • To disseminate broadly the knowledge gained in Emission Reductions Programs (ERPs).

Q. With reference to ‘Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society and indigenous peoples.
  2. It provides financial aid to universities, individual scientists and institutions involved in scientific forestry research to develop eco-friendly and climate adaptation technologies for sustainable forest management.
  3. It assists the countries in their ‘REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+)’ efforts by providing them with financial and technical assistance.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

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

UN-REDD and REDD+

UN-REDD REDD+
The United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. Membership: 64 Partner Countries. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+)
It is a multilateral collaborative programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was created in 2008 in response to the UNFCCC decisions on the Bali Action Plan and REDD at COP-13. Voluntary climate change mitigation approach that has been developed by Parties to the UNFCCC.
It partners with developing countries to support them in establishing the technical capacities needed to implement REDD+ and meet UNFCCC requirements for REDD+ results-based payments. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation. It aims to incentivize developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserve forest carbon stocks, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks.
  • In addition to the UN-REDD Programme, other initiatives assisting countries that are engaged in REDD+ include the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund etc.

Q3. Which of the following statements is/are correct?

Proper design and effective implementation of UN-REDD+ Programme can significantly contribute to

  1. protection of biodiversity
  2. resilience of forest ecosystems
  3. poverty reduction

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

  • IWC is an Inter-governmental Organisation whose purpose is the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
  • The legal framework of the IWC is the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was established in 1946.
  • The commission is the pre-eminent global body responsible for the conservation and management of whales and leads international efforts to tackle the growing range of threats to whales globally, including by-catch, ship strikes, entanglement, noise, and whaling.
  • India is a member of IWC.

Antarctic Treaty

  • The treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961.
  • The original signatories were 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • India is also a party to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • Some important provisions of the Treaty:
  • Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only.
  • Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end shall continue.
  • Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made
    freely available.
  • India is expanding its infrastructure development in Antarctica. The government is rebuilding its station, Maitri, to make it bigger and last for at least 30 years.

Arctic Council

Established: The Arctic Council was founded on the initiative of the Government of Finland in September 1989 where officials from the 8 Arctic Countries met in Rovaniemi, Finland, to discuss cooperative measures to protect the Arctic environment.

Headquarter: The location of the Secretariat was rotated biennially with the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Key Functions:

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The main focus areas of the Arctic Council are:

  • The Environment and climate change
  • Bio-diversity
  • Oceans
  • The indigenous Arctic peoples

Funding: By member states

India is an Observer State

Bio-carbon Fund initiative

Established:  The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) is a multilateral fund, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank. It is has been operational from 2013.

Headquarter: USA

Key Functions:

  • It seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.
  • The initiative will be managed by the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private program housed within the World Bank that mobilizes finance for activities that sequester or conserve carbon emissions in forest and agricultural systems.
  • The new Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes seeks to scale up land-management practices across large landscapes, including improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable forest management, with a focus on protecting forests and greening and securing supply chains.
  • It will engage a broader range of actors, including the private sector, initially through a portfolio of four to six programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  1. ‘BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes’ is managed by the

(a) Asian Development Bank

(b) International Monetary Fund

(c) United Nations Environment Programme

(d) World Bank

 BirdLife International 

  • Former name — International Council for Bird Preservation
  • Formation — 1922
  • Type – INGO ( international not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation)
  • Headquarters — Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources
  • It is the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations,
  • Official listing authority for birds for the World Conservation Union’s Red List of threatened species
  • Regional work: BirdLife International has conservation work programmes in the following parts of the world, which it describes as “regions” – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific
  • BirdLife partnership has 6 Regional BirdLife Coordination Offices throughout the world and a Global Office in Cambridge, UK – together known as “The BirdLife International Secretariat”. The Secretariat co-ordinate and facilitate the BirdLife International strategies, programmers and policies.
  • Important Bird and Biodiversity Area(IBA) –area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations. Criteria are
  • A1. Globally threatened species — hold a population of a species categorized by the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable.
  • A2. Restricted-range specie
  • A3. Biome-restricted species — adequate representation of all species restricted to a given biome, both across the biome as a whole and for all of its species in each range state.
  • A4. Congregation
  1. With reference to an organization known as ‘Birdlife International’ which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. It is a Global Partnership of Conservation Organizations.
  2. The concept of ‘biodiversity hotspots’ originated from this organization.
  3. It identifies the sites known/referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

CITES — Washington Convention

  • It is an International agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species
  • It restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.
  • It was signed on March 3, 1973 (Hence world wildlife day is celebrated on march 3).
  • It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Secretariat— Geneva (Switzerland).
  • CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.

Classifications:

It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are.

  • Appendix I: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.
  • Appendix II species: They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.
  • Appendix III species: They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

Why in news?

A resolution calling for Japan and the European Union (EU) to close their legal domestic ivory markets was not adopted at the ongoing 18th Conference of Parties (CoP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva on August 21, 2019.

The Conference also accepted a separate proposal by India, moved together with the EU, the US and the Philippines.

1. It is for inclusion of a species of ‘Gecko lizard’ for protection as a species not necessarily threatened with extinction.

2. It is found widely in South Asia, the US, and Madagascar.

3. To control the trade in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival.

• Members voted to move the Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I.

1. It is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction

2. It is detrimentally affected by international trade and habitat loss.

• The other proposal that was passed was to include the ‘Tokay gecko’ (Gekko gecko) in CITES Appendix II.

• India had proposed Appendix I status for the small-clawed otter, mako shark, the Indian star tortoise and the Tokay gecko.

UN Convention to Combat Desertification: COP 14

The 14th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ended on 13th September 2019.

  • Held in Greater Noida, this was the first time that India hosted an edition of the UNCCD COP.
  • The theme of the Conference was ‘Restore land, Sustain future’.
  • India being the global host for COP 14 has taken over the COP Presidency from China for the next two years till 2021.
  • India is among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land.

Key Takeaways

  • Delhi Declaration: Commitment for a range of issues, including gender and health, ecosystem restoration, taking action on climate change, private sector engagement, Peace Forest Initiative and recovery of five million hectares of degraded land in India.
  • The country parties have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030, a national target for action.
  • Peace Forest Initiative: It is an initiative of South Korea to use ecological restoration as a peace-building process. It aims at addressing the issue of land degradation in conflict-torn border areas and would go a long way in alleviating tensions and building trust between communities living there and between enemy countries in particular.
  • Drought Toolbox: It is launched as a one-stop-shop for all actions on drought. It is a sort of knowledge bank which contains tools that strengthen the ability of countries to anticipate and prepare for drought effectively and mitigate their impacts as well as tools that enable communities to anticipate and find the land management tools that help them to build resilience to drought.
  • International coalition for action on Sand and Dust storms (SDS): The coalition will develop an SDS source base map with the goal of improving monitoring and response to these storms. SDS affects approximately 77% of UNCCD country Parties or approximately 151 countries.
  • Initiative of Sustainability, Stability and Security (3S): Launched by 14 African countries to address migration driven by land degradation. It aims at restoring land and creating green jobs for migrants and vulnerable groups.
  • Cooperation From Youth: The global Youth Caucus on Desertification and Land convened its first official gathering in conjunction with the UNCCD COP14 to bring together youth advocates from different parts of the world, to build their capacity, share knowledge, build networks and to engage them meaningfully in the UNCCD processes.

About UNCCD:

  1. Established in 1994.
  2. It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
  3. It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21.
  4. To help publicise the Convention, 2006 was declared “International Year of Deserts and Desertification”.
  1. Focus areas: The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  2. Aim: Its 197 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect land from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide food, water and energy.
  3. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal Ministry for this Convention.

Need of the hour:

Responsible land governance is key to provide an enabling environment for ecosystem restoration, biodiversity protection, land use-based adaptation and for improving the livelihoods of many small-scale farmers.

At the UNCCD COP 14, parties to the convention have the opportunity to adopt an ambitious resolution on land tenure for Land Degradation Neutrality. They must use this opportunity to empower communities to better adapt to the impacts of the climate emergency.

Basel Ban Amendment

 The 1995 Basel Ban Amendment, a global waste dumping prohibition, has become an international law after Croatia (97th country to ratify) ratified it on September 6, 2019.

What next?

It will become a new Article in the Convention and will enter into force in the 97 countries after 90 days — on December 5.

About the 1995 Basel Ban Amendment:

Adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995.

To protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.

The amendment prohibits all export of hazardous wastes, including electronic wastes and obsolete ships from 29 wealthiest countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to non-OECD countries.

Basel Convention —  Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal:

  • Opened for signature on 22 March 1989
  • entered into force on 5 May 1992
  • Parties — 187.
  • It is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).
  • It does not address the movement of radioactive waste.

To implement and restrict the trade of hazardous waste between more developed countries and less developed countries an organization is formed which is known as Basel Action Network (BAN)

About Basel Action Network (BAN): Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network is a charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle. BAN is the world’s only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts.  

Ratification status of other major countries:

  • According to BAN the United States, the world’s most wasteful country per-capita, has not ratified the Basel Convention, nor the Ban Amendment
  • Other developed countries like Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, likewise, have e-waste export problems and they too have so far refused to ratify the Ban Amendment.
  • South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil, and Mexico are yet to ratify the ban.

Climate Action Summit

What is Climate Action Summit?

  • The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, hosted the 2019 Climate Action Summit.
  • The Summit was held to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • It took place amidst one of the largest environmental protests ever and a heart-wrenching speech from Greta Thunberg.
ActNow campaign ActNow is the United Nations global call to individual action on climate change. The campaign is a critical part of the UN’s coordinated effort to raise awareness, ambition, and action for climate change and accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement. It is primarily an online and social media campaign that seeks to educate and encourage individual actions, mainly by adjusting consumption patterns. It highlights the impact that collective action can have at this critical moment in our planet’s history. The more people act, the bigger the impact. ActNow harnesses advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to spur behaviour change. Fridays For Future It is a movement that began in Sweden in August 2018 by Greta Thunberg to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. The hashtags #FridaysForFuture and #Climatestrike became so popular that many students and adults began to protest outside of their Parliaments and local city halls all over the world. #Climatestrike is a global event to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels & climate justice for everyone. It is a wake-up call to our generation to solve the greatest environmental challenge in human history.  

Clean Air Cities Declaration

Clean Air Cities Declaration’ was unveiled at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, an event that occurs once every three years and is designed to implement “substantive clean air policies by 2025”.

About C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration:

Through this Declaration, mayors commit to using their power and influence to reduce air pollution and work towards meeting the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines.

This means cities will continually reduce their local emissions, and advocate for reductions in regional emissions, resulting in continuous declines in air pollution levels that move towards the WHO guidelines.

Signatories of the declaration pledge to:

  1. Set ambitious pollution reduction targets within two years that meet or exceed national commitments, putting them on a path towards meeting World Health Organization guidelines;
  2. Implement substantive clean air policies by 2025 that address the unique causes of pollution in their cities; and
  3. Publicly report progress on achieving these goals.

Expected outcomes:

  1. If the 35 signatories reduce annual average PM2.5 levels to WHO guidelines (10 ug/m3) it could avoid 40,000 deaths each year. 
  2. C40 research shows that if all C40 cities cleaned their transport, buildings and industry this would reduce GHG emissions by 87%, PM2.5 by nearly 50% and would avoid over 220,000 premature deaths per year. 

International Seed Treaty

  • ITPGRFA (International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) also known as Seed Treaty is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources.
  • It aims for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.
  • The governing body meets biennially and India is a signatory to the treaty.

Objectives

  • Farmers’ Contribution: To recognize the contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops,
  • Access and Benefit Sharing: Establish a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials,
  • Sustainability: To conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act

  • The PPV&FR Act, 2001 was enacted to grant intellectual property rights to plant breeders, researchers and farmers who have developed any new or extant plant varieties.
  • The rights granted under this Act are exclusive right to produce, sell, market, distribute, import and export the variety.
  • According to the act, a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except the brand name.
  • The Act is compliant to Article-9 of the Seed Treaty.
  • A few months back in April 2019, PepsiCo sued Gujarati farmers by invoking the provisions of the act.
  • The PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers.

Rights under the Act:

Breeders’ Rights: Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety. Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.

Researchers’ Rights: Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research. This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.

Farmers’ Rights:

  1. A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
  2. Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
  3. A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
  4. Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
  5. There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
  6. Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.

International Union for Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV Convention)

  • The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • UPOV was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The Convention was adopted in Paris in 1961 and it was revised in 1972, 1978 and 1991.
  • UPOV’s mission is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.
  • The UPOV Convention provides the basis for members to encourage plant breeding by granting breeders of new plant varieties an intellectual property right: the breeder’s right.
  • In the case of a variety protected by a breeder’s right, the authorization of the breeder is required to propagate the variety for commercial purposes. The breeder’s right is granted by the individual UPOV members.
  • Only the breeder of a new plant variety can protect that new plant variety. It is not permitted for someone other than the breeder to obtain protection of a variety.
  • There are no restrictions on who can be considered to be a breeder under the UPOV system: a breeder might be an individual, a farmer, a researcher, a public institute, a private company etc.
  • India is not a member.

UN global climate action award

Infosys has won the United Nations Global Climate Action Award (UNGCAA).

About Global Climate Action Award:

  • The Climate action awards are given by the Momentum for Change initiative at UN Climate Change.
  • The award-winning projects fall within four focus areas namely (a) Planetary Health (b)Climate Neutral Now (c)Women for Results and (d)Financing for Climate Friendly Investment.
  • The projects are recognized as innovative solutions that not only address climate change but also help drive forward progress on many other sustainable development goals such as innovation, gender equality and economic opportunity.

About Momentum for Change initiative: 

  • The UN Climate Change’s Momentum for Change initiative is implemented with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. 
  • The initiative operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), donors supporting implementation of UN Climate Change’s Gender Action Plan and Climate Neutral Now.

Platform of Science-based Ocean Solutions

It aims to enhance the sharing of knowledge created by various actors in the ocean and climate community to advance ocean-climate action.

Objectives:

  • To encourage the incorporation of the ocean in climate strategies (NDCs, NAPs, Adaptation Communications, and National Policy Frameworks).
  • To facilitate access to key resources and solutions for the ocean,
  • To highlight the importance of the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and its main findings, as the best available science for the planning and implementation of national policies
  • To involve and engage a large number of actors in ocean-climate action: academia, the public sector, the private sector and the civil society

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