Current Affairs Compilation for Prelims 2022 | International Resolutions, Conventions, legislations and Agreements – Part 2

Dear Friends,

This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered all of the current affairs linked to International Resolutions, Conventions, legislations and Agreements of September, October 2021, and April 2022 months.

To Read Other Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC Prelims 2022– Click here


International Resolutions, Conventions, legislations and Agreements


UN Resolution 2593

News

The UN Security Council, under India’s Presidency, adopted Resolution 2593. The resolution was sponsored by France, UK & USA. Along with 13 other members, India voted in favour of the resolution. Amongst permanent ‘members’ Russia and China both abstained from voting.

Demands of Resolution 2593
  • It demands that territories in Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country.
  • Afghanistan should not provide shelter or train terrorists. Also, it should not plan or finance any terrorist acts.
  • In compliance with Resolution 1267, it should emphasize combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
  • The resolution expects the Taliban to adhere to its commitments regarding the safe and orderly departure of Afghans and all foreign nationals from the country.
  • It emphasized the importance of maintaining humanitarian access, upholding human rights and reaching an inclusive political settlement.

India-Africa Defence Dialogue

News

India has announced that it will hold the India-Africa Defence Dialogue alongside DefExpos once every two years.

First India-Africa Defence Dialogue

The first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave (IADMC) was held in LucknowUttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo in 2020.

It was co-organised by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs.

A Joint Declaration, ‘Lucknow Declaration’ was adopted after the conclusion of IADMC 2020 as an outcome document.

About India’s proposal

India has proposed to make the India-Africa Defence Dialogue a regular event by holding it along with the DefExpo military exhibition, which is held every two years.

The dialogue will help build on existing partnerships between African countries & India and will explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagements.

Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses shall be the knowledge partner of the India-Africa Defence Dialogue.

About the upcoming India-Africa Defence Dialogue

India’s Defence Minister will host the next India – Africa Defence Dialogue on the sidelines of the DefExpo that is scheduled to be held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat in March 2022.

The broad theme of the Dialogue will be ‘India – Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’.


EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

News

The European Union has released a new Indo-Pacific strategy for boosting economic, political and defence ties in the Indo-Pacific.

Reason for separate Strategy for the Indo-Pacific

The Indo-Pacific region is increasingly becoming strategically important for the EU. The EU is already the top investor, the leading development cooperation partner and one of the biggest trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Together, the Indo-Pacific and Europe hold over 70% of the global trade in goods and services, as well as over 60% of foreign direct investment flows.

Aim of the Indo-Pacific Strategy

The aim of the strategy is:

To strengthen and expand economic relations

To reinforce the respect of international trade rules

To help partners fight and adapt to climate change and biodiversity loss

To boost cooperation on health care so least-developed countries can better prepare for crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

Strategy on Security and Defence in the Indo-Pacific

As part of the strategy, the EU will promote an open and rules-based regional security architecture, including secure sea lines of communication, capacity-building and enhanced naval presence by the EU Member States in the Indo-Pacific.

Furthermore, the EU will seek to conduct more joint exercises and port calls with Indo-Pacific partners, including multilateral exercises, to fight piracy and protect freedom of navigation in the region.

The EU will also intensify its dialogues with partners on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity.


Global Methane Pledge

News

The US President has announced the Global Methane Pledge at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate(MEF).

About the Global Methane Pledge

Global Methane Pledge is a joint US-European Union(EU) pledge to cut global methane emissions by nearly 30% in the next decade.

The pledge will be formalized at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.

Significance of this pledge

Methane is the second most abundant human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) and is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over 20 years in the atmosphere, and 34 times more powerful over 100 years.

Because it exists for a relatively short time in the atmosphere, cutting methane provides a quick benefit in terms of limiting near-term temperature rise.

Most human-caused methane emissions stem from three sectors: agriculture (40%), energy (35%) and waste (20%).

Studies estimate that ambitious actions to reduce methane can avoid 0.3C of warming by 2050.

About Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF)

Launched in: 2009.

Aim: To facilitate candid dialogue among major emitting countries, both developed and developing, to garner the political leadership needed to advance efforts against climate change.


Blue Flag Certification

News

The two more Indian beaches namely Kovalam beach in Chennai and Eden beach in Puducherry have been awarded the Blue Flag certification.

About the Blue Flag Certification

‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label. 

The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education.

Criterion: The certification is accorded based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads:

  1. Environmental education and information,
  2. Bathing water quality
  3. Safety and services at the beaches
  4. Environment management and conservation

Indian Sites under Blue Flag: There are now total of 10 sites under Blue Flag Certification. These are Shivrajpur – Gujarat, Ghoghla – Diu, Kaskarkod and Padubidri – Karnataka, Kappad – Kerala, Rushikonda – Andhra Pradesh, Golden – Odisha, Radhanagar – Andaman and Nicobar, Kovalam – TamilNadu and Eden beach in Puducherry.

About the Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) Initiative

The BEAMS Initiative was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.

Objectives: The objectives of the BEAMS Initiative is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, and protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources.

The other objectives include striving and maintaining high standards of cleanliness, Hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with the coastal environment & regulations.


Indo-US Health Dialogue

 News

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has addressed the closing session of the 4th Indo-US Health Dialogue.

About the Indo-US Health Dialogue

Indo-US Health Dialogue is being hosted by India. The dialogue aims to deliberate upon multiple ongoing collaborations in the health sector between the two countries.

The focus of the Dialogue: The issues that were discussed at the dialogue include: strengthening of epidemiological research and surveillance, vaccine development, One Health, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, health systems and health policies.

During the dialogue, an MoU was signed between the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services of the USA concerning cooperation in the field of health and biomedical sciences.

Moreover, the two countries also signed a separate memorandum to continue joint support for the highly productive Indo-U.S. International Center of Excellence in Research (ICER) program. It is an infectious disease research partnership located at the National Institute for Research on Tuberculosis in Chennai.


Right to a clean environment

News

The United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) has unanimously voted for recognising a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right.

About the Right to Clean the Environment

The idea of the Right to a clean environment is rooted in the “1972 Stockholm Declaration”.

The right brings together the environmental dimensions of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights, and protects the core elements of the natural environment that enable a life of dignity.

Legality of Right to Clean Environment adopted by UNHRC

The Right is not legally binding, but it has the potential to shape global standards.

The resolution emphasises on the rights to life, liberty and security of human rights defenders working in environmental matters referred to as environmental human rights defenders.

Need for recognition of Right to clean environment

Environmental defenders across the globe are subject to constant physical attacks, detentions, arrests, legal action and smear campaigns. Some 200 environmental defenders have been murdered in 2020 alone.

About Special rapporteur

The UNHRC has also passed another resolution creating a three-year post of a special rapporteur.

The special rapporteur will monitor how the adverse effects of climate change, including sudden and slow-onset disasters, affect the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.


Water Declaration

News

World Meteorological Congress has endorsed the ‘Water Declaration’, wherein early warnings about floods and droughts will be available for people everywhere on the planet by 2030.

The Congress also endorsed the Water and Climate Coalition for promoting sharing and access to integrated hydrological, cryosphere, meteorological and climate information.

Significance of Water declaration

The formation of the Coalition is significant at a time when just 40% of countries globally have operational early flood and drought warning systems.

The endorsements at the Congress are significant as more than half of the world’s population will be living under water-stressed conditions by 2030, according to the WMO, and will be more vulnerable to water-related disasters especially cyclones, floods.

Also, some 60% of WMO member countries lack hydrological monitoring capabilities, according to the organisation. Globally, more than three billion people have no quality management system for their water-related data in place.

This means close to half of the world’s population is at risk due to a lack of information on the state of their water resources including rivers, lakes, groundwater, according to the most recent UN estimates.

Expected benefits

Some 107 countries are not on track to have sustainably managed water resources. Water and Climate Coalition aimed at accelerating the progress of water-related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG-6 (water and sanitation for all).

The coalition thus, aims to boost resilient water adaptation to climate change as well as demographic and socio-economic development for the future.

Also, it will contribute to the new Sustainability Strategy for strengthening the Flash Flood Guidance System with Global Coverage (FFGS/WGC) approved at the World Meteorological Congress.


G7 Digital Trade Principles

News

The Group of Seven (G7) countries have agreed on a joint set of principles to govern cross-border data use and digital trade.

About Digital Trade

Digital trade is broadly defined as trade in goods and services that is either enabled or delivered digitally, encompassing activities from the distribution of films and TV to professional services.

Key provisions of the G7 Digital Trade Principles

Open Digital Markets: Digital and telecommunications markets should be competitive, transparent, fair, and accessible to international trade and investment.

Cross Border Data Flows: To harness the opportunities of the digital economy, data should be able to flow freely across borders with trust, including the trust of individuals and businesses.

Safeguards for Workers, Consumers and Businesses: Labour protections must be in place for workers who are directly engaged in or support digital trade. They have to be provided decent conditions of work.

Digital Trading Systems: To cut red tape and enable more businesses to trade, governments and industries should drive forward the digitisation of trade-related documents.

Fair and Inclusive Global Governance: Common rules for digital trade should be agreed upon and upheld at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Data Encryption: Businesses should not be required or coerced to transfer technology or provide access to source code or encryption keys as a condition of market access. At the same time, governments must retain sufficient flexibility to pursue legitimate regulatory goals, including health and safety.

Significance of the G7 Digital Trade Principles deal

The deal is a first step in reducing trade barriers and could lead to a common rulebook of digital trade.

The deal also sets out a middle ground between highly regulated data protection regimes used in European countries and the more open approach of the United States.


India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement(ETCA)

News

India and Australia have signed the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement(ETCA).

About the Bilateral Trade Between India and Australia

Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India, and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner.

India and Australia are partners in the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) arrangement along with Japan, which seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Further, India and Australia are also members of the Quad also comprising the US, and Japan, to further enhance cooperation and develop partnerships across several issues of common concern.

Key provisions of the India-Australia ECTA

Zero Duty Access on Goods: It provides zero-duty access to 96% of India’s exports to Australia. This includes shipments from key sectors such as engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles, apparel and leather.

It also gives about 85% of Australia’s exports zero-duty access to the Indian market, including coal, sheep meat and wool, and lower duty access on Australian wines, almonds, lentils, and certain fruits.

Indian Students: Under the agreement, Indian graduates from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will be granted extended post-study work visas. Australia will also set up a programme to grant visas to young Indians looking to pursue working holidays in Australia.

Strict Rules of Origin: The agreement also includes strict rules of origin to prevent any routing of products from other countries and provides for a safeguard mechanism to address any sudden surges in imports of a product.

Faster approval of Indian Medicines: The agreement will allow for faster approval of Indian medicines by Australian regulators, as they have agreed to use inspection reports and approvals from Canada and the EU in the evaluation process for Indian pharmaceuticals and manufacturing facilities.

Addressed issue of Double Taxation: Australia has addressed a long-standing concern of Indian IT firms on double taxation by agreeing to amend local taxation laws to stop the taxation of offshore income of Indian firms providing technical services to Australia.

Significance of this agreement

It is the first Free Trade Agreement(FTA) that India has signed with a major developed country in over a decade.

In February 2022 India signed an FTA with the UAE and is currently working on FTAs with Israel, Canada, the UK and the EU.


Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council

News

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution titled  ‘Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council’.

About the resolution

The resolution would require the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to justify their use of the veto in future.

Note: The United States, China, Russia, France and the UK are the five members with veto power.

It says that the UN General Assembly will be convened within 10 working days after a veto to hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast.

The UN assembly is not required to take or consider any action, but the discussion could put veto-wielders on the spot and let other countries be heard.

Significance of this resolution

The resolution is intended to make veto-holders more accountable while exercising their power.

It will also shed light on the use of the veto and on the blockages within the Security Council.

Criticism against this resolution

Firstly, this resolution is non-binding and nothing prevents a country that has used its veto from declining to explain its actions to the General Assembly.

Secondly, many analysts feel that this resolution is directed against Russia. This is because the resolution came as the UN Security Council has proven incapable of condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of Moscow’s veto power


India-Australia Trade Agreement

 News

India and Australia have signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA). The landmark bilateral trade pact is the second trade agreement India has signed this year, after inking a similar deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Main provisions of the India-Australia ECTA

Indian Agriculture: Under this, Australia will get the opportunity to export certain varieties of agricultural produce like potatoes, lentils, and meat products with some caveats. However, bovine meat is not part of the agreement. Australia may also send machineries that are required for food processing.

Wine Sector: India may open up to a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including Australian beer. Australian wines costing over $5 may face lower import duties in the Indian market.

Labour Intensive Sectors: Australia will provide ‘preferential access’ to “all the labour-intensive sectors” of export items from India such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, engineering products, medical devices and automobiles. India will also allow Australia to export raw materials under preferential terms, like coal and mineral ores.

Services Sector: Australia has offered wide-ranging commitments in around 135 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation in 120 sub-sectors which cover key areas of the Indian services sector like IT, ITES, business services, health, education and audiovisual services.

– Indian chefs and yoga teachers will get specific entry quotas into Australia, while Indian students in Australia will be able to secure work visas for periods ranging from 18 months to four years on a ‘reciprocal’ basis.

Pharmaceutical sector: India and Australia have agreed to enable fast track approval for patented, generic and biosimilar medicines.

Dispute Settlement: India and Australia have agreed to hold consultations — and make “every effort” to find a solution — in case of disputes that may emerge in the course of trade in goods or services. They have also recognised that in case they have to resort to international arbitration, they may opt for an organization (i.e, World Trade Organization) where both are members.


China-Solomon Islands security deal

News

China’s government has signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands.

About the China-Solomon Islands security deal contain

Firstly, it says that the Solomon Islands may request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement to the Solomon Islands. This is to assist the island in maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property or providing assistance on other tasks agreed upon by the parties.

Secondly, it allows China with the consent of the Solomon Islands to make ship visits, carry out logistical replenishment and have stopovers in the Solomon Islands.

About Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Source: Britannica

The Solomons are an archipelago of hundreds of small islands in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. It is located approximately 2,000 km from Australia.

There are six big islands – the largest, Guadalcanal, is home to the capital Honiara. The others are New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Choiseul, Malaita, and San Cristobal.

The island in particular has significant reserves of timber and mineral resources, along with fisheries.


Digital Services Act(DSA)

News

The European Parliament and European Union(EU) Member States have announced that they have reached a political agreement on the Digital Services Act(DSA).

About the Digital Services Act(DSA)

Purpose: The Act is a set of rules on intermediaries’ obligations and accountability across the single market and ensures higher protection to all EU users irrespective of their country.

The Act will work in conjunction with the EU’s Digital Markets Act(DMA).

Coverage: The Act will apply to a large category of online services, from simple websites to Internet infrastructure services and online platforms. Any service with more than 45 million monthly active users in the EU will fall into this category.

Key provisions of the Digital Services Act(DSA)

Removal of Illegal Content: Online platforms and intermediaries will have to add procedures for faster removal of content deemed illegal or harmful. The platforms will also have to clearly explain their policy on taking down content and users will also be able to challenge these takedowns as well.

Data Access to researchers: It allows independent vetted researchers to have access to public data from these platforms to carry out studies to understand these risks better.

Ban Dark Patterns: It proposes to ban ‘Dark Patterns’ or “misleading interfaces” that are designed to trick users into doing something that they would not agree to otherwise.

Crisis Mechanism Clause: It incorporates a new crisis mechanism clause — it refers to the Russia-Ukraine conflict — which will be activated on the recommendation of the Board of national Digital Services Coordinators. This clause will make it possible to analyze the impact of the activities of these platforms on the crisis. However, these special measures will only be in place for three months.

Protection for Minors: It allows for stronger protection for minors and aims to ban targeted advertising for them based on their personal data.

Liability: The platforms and other intermediaries will not be liable for the unlawful behaviour of users. So, they still have ‘safe harbour’ in some sense. However, if the platforms are aware of illegal acts and fail to remove them, they will be liable for this user behaviour.


The UK-Rwanda Asylum Deal

News

The United Kingdom has signed a deal with Rwanda to send illegal asylum seekers coming to the UK to Rwanda.

About the UK-Rwanda Asylum Deal

Aim: To deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom thereby breaking the business model of people-smuggling networks.

Under the deal, Rwanda will commit to taking in asylum seekers who arrive in the U.K on or after January 1, 2022, using illegally facilitated and unlawful cross border migration.

Rwanda will basically function as the holding centre where asylum applicants will wait while the Rwandan government makes decisions about their asylum and resettlement petitions in Rwanda.

The UK will bear all operational costs under the deal and provide a stipulated amount for each migrant.

Need: According to the U.K. government, the deal was needed to combat people smugglers who often charge exorbitant prices from vulnerable migrants to put them on unseaworthy boats from France to England often leading to mass drownings.

About the deal and the problem of illegal migration

It remains unclear if the Rwanda Deal will solve the problem of unlawful crossings. But if we go by similar experiences from the past, such policies do not fully combat people smuggling. Instead, they create a parallel problem.

For example, Australia had inked a similar off-shore processing deal with Papua New Guinea that was challenged through a class-action lawsuit.

In 2017, the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled that the processing centre was illegal and unconstitutional and ordered that Australia pay 70 million Australian dollars as compensation to the 2,000 people detained at this centre.


Conventions and Declarations related to Anti-Doping

News

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has released India’s contribution to the UNESCO Fund for Elimination of Doping in Sport in 2022.

About the Conventions and Declarations related to Anti-Doping
Copenhagen Declaration

The Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport was agreed upon by governments at the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2003.

Purpose: The declaration was the political document through which governments signalled their intention to formally recognise and implement the World Anti-Doping Code.

Significance: This declaration was the first step toward the preparation of the UNESCO International Convention against doping in sports.

India agreed to this declaration in the year 2003.

International Convention Against Doping in Sport

It is also known as the ‘UNESCO Anti-Doping Convention’. It was adopted at the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris in 2005. It entered into force in 2007.

Objective: To promote the prevention of and the fight against doping in sports, with a view to its elimination.

India ratified this convention in 2007.

Note: National Anti-Doping Agency, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs, is responsible for adopting, implementing and enforcing anti-doping programmes in India.

UNESCO Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sports

Established in: 2008

Purpose: The fund assists States Parties to the International Convention against Doping in Sport to develop and implement anti-doping projects.

The Fund has three priorities: Education projects focusing on youth and sports organizations, policy advice and mentoring and capacity-building.

Reason for India’s contribution to UNESCO Fund for Elimination of Doping in Sport

The State Parties had agreed to provide 1% of the contribution of the regular budget of respective nations to UNESCO towards the Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport. This decision was taken as per the resolution of the seventh Conference of Parties(COP) held in Paris in 2019.


 

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