9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 10th, 2019

World observes Human Rights Day today

News: Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on 10th December

Facts:

About Human Rights Day

  • Human Rights Day marks the day on which the United Nations General Assembly, in 1948, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • Theme for 2019 Human Rights Day is – Youth Standing up for Human Rights.

Additional Information:

About Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

  • The UDHR urges member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights. It is not legally binding.
  • The Declaration has served as the foundation for two binding UN human rights covenants: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • These treaties were adopted in 1966, and, together with the UDHR, are known as the International Bill of Human Rights.

About United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States. It was established in 2006 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the world.

UNHRC elections:

  • UNHRC member states are elected yearly by the General Assembly for staggered three-year terms.
  • Members are selected via the basis of equitable geographic rotation. Council seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows: 
    • African States: 13 seats;
    • Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats;
    • Eastern European States: 6 seats;
    • Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
    • Western European and other States: 7 seats.

India calls for Speedier Expansion of International Solar Alliance

News: India has called upon more countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Facts:

About International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • ISA is partnership of solar resource rich countries. It seeks to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on development of solar energy resource. It is registered as an intergovernmental body under Article 102 of the UN Charter.
  • It was jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France in 2015 at UNFCCC CoP 21 Paris, France. It is headquartered in India. It has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon, Haryana
  • Members: The ISA is open to 121 countries, most of them located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. So far, 84 countries have signed the ISA agreement.
  • Aim: To create a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies. This would enhance energy security & sustainable development and ensure equitable access to energy.
  • The ISA is in accordance to Sustainable Development Goal 7. SDG 7 calls to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Objectives:

  • Promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance income generation for the poor and global environment
  • Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications
  • Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms to reduce cost of capital
  • Build a common Knowledge e-Portal for sharing of policy development experiences and best practices in member countries
  • Facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R&D among member countries

Target:

  • The ISA has set a target of 1 TW of solar energy by 2030, which would require $1 trillion to achieve.
  • India has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar energy.

India up one rank in UN development index

News: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released Human Development Index 2019.

Facts:

Key takeaways:

  • Norway ranked first in HDI 2019, followed by Switzerland and Ireland.
  • India ranked 129 out of 189 countries in 2019. HDI value was 0.647. India had ranked 130 in 2018.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka ranked 71, China ranked 85. Bhutan Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan were ranked lower than India.

Additional Information:

About HDI

  • It measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
  • A long and healthy life- measured by Life expectancy at birth
  • Access to knowledge: measured by Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling
  • Decent standard of living- measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (PPP US$).
  • These dimensions are derived from the notion of human capabilities as proposed by Amartya Sen
  • Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq created HDI in 1990. This was further used to measure the country’s development by UNDP in the first published HDI in 1990.

Other important indexes published by UNDP

  1. Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI): It adjusts the Human Development Index (HDI) for inequality in distribution of each dimension across the population. 
  2. Gender Inequality Index (GII): It reflects women’s disadvantage in three dimensions—reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market.
  3. Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): It identifies multiple deprivations at the individual level in health, education and standard of living.
  4. Gender Development Index: It addresses gender-gaps in the dimensions of HDI: life expectancy, education, and incomes.
  5. Gender Empowerment Measure: It is based on estimates of women’s relative economic income, participation in high-paying positions with economic power, and access to professional and parliamentary positions.
  6. Multidimensional gender social norms index: It shows how social beliefs can obstruct gender and women’s empowerment. It takes into account four dimensions – political, educational, economic and physical integrity.

ISRO to launch spy satellite, 9 foreign customer satellites on Dec 11

News: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch RISAT-2BR1 and nine foreign satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on December 11.

Facts:

About RISAT-2BR1

  • RISAT-2BR1 is a Radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 628 kg. It will be launched aboard PSLV-C48.
  • It has synthetic aperture radar to provide all-weather surveillance. It will enhance India’s defence capabilities to monitor the cross border activities.
  • The RISAT-2BR1 is the second satellite in the RISAT-2B series. The first satellite in the RISAT-2B series was launched in May 2019.

Additional Information:

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV):

  • It is an indigenously-developed expendable launch system of the ISRO. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
  • It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the GeoSynchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

Energy Conservation Week

News: National energy Conservation week will be held from December 14th to December 20th, 2019

Facts:

About National energy Conservation Day

  • The National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated every year on December 14 since 1991.
  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under Ministry of Power, spearheads the celebrations.

Additional Information:

Initiatives to Promote Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency

  1. Standards and Labeling: The BEE initiated the Standards and Labeling programme for equipment and appliances in 2006. It provides the consumer knowledge about the energy efficiency of appliances through a star rating. 
  2. Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC): It was launched by Ministry of Power in 2007.It sets minimum energy standards for new commercial buildings.
  3. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE): It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It aims to strengthen the market for energy efficiency by creating conducive regulatory and policy regime.
  4. Perform Achieve and Trade Scheme (PAT):  The scheme provides the option to trade any additional certified energy savings with other designated consumers to comply with the Specific Energy Consumption reduction targets.
  5. Bachat Lamp Yojana (BLY): It is a PPP program comprising of BEE, Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) and private investors. It seeks to accelerate market transformation in energy efficient lighting. 
  6. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme: It seeks to promote efficient lighting and enhance awareness on using efficient equipment.
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