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 Important international organizations, groupings, and initiatives from Nov. 2021 to March 2022. In the 2nd part, we will cover the rest of the current affairs of the period July 2021 to 31st April 2022.
List of Contents
- Important international organizations, groupings, and initiatives
- Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan
- India-Central Asia Dialogue
- Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero
- Global Gateway Plan
- G20 ‘Troika’
- ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting
- India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership
- Asian Clearing Union (ACU)
- 2 Vs 2 Agri-Market Access Issue
- New Development Bank (NDB)
- Munich Security Conference
- Colombo Security Conclave
- G77 Group
- BASIC Countries
- International Solar Alliance
- Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) groups
- Organisation of Turkic States
- Russia-India-China (RIC) Group
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Important international organizations, groupings, and initiatives
Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan
News: A meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has agreed to establish a Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan.
About the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan
The fund will be set up under the Islamic Development Bank to channel aid to Afghanistan in coordination with other groups.
Aim: To address the growing economic crisis in Afghanistan, which has left millions facing hunger over the winter.
Significance: This fund is crucial, as allowing Afghanistan access to financial resources would be pivotal to preventing economic collapse.
About Islamic Development Bank
It is a multilateral development finance institution that is focused on Islamic finance. It is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. There are 57 shareholding member states with the largest single shareholder being Saudi Arabia.
About Organisaion of Islamic Cooperation
It is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations.
Aim: To safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
Members: 57 states.
Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
India is not a member of the OIC. However, India was invited as a guest of honor at the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in 2019.
India-Central Asia Dialogue
News: India has hosted the third edition of the India-Central Asia Dialogue in New Delhi.
About India-Central Asia Dialogue
It is a ministerial-level dialogue between India and the Central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
All the countries participating in the dialogue, except for Turkmenistan, are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The dialogue focuses on several issues, including ways to improve connectivity and stabilise Afghanistan.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
It is a permanent intergovernmental international organization that aims at Strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism that comprised of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001, following this the Shanghai Five was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero
News: India and the United States have launched a programme titled “Technology-based Energy Solutions: Innovations for Net Zero”.
About the Program
It has been launched by United States-India Science & Technology(S&T) Endowment Fund (USISTEF) in partnership with Social Alpha, a non-profit organization promoting S&T entrepreneurship.
Objective: To encourage out-of-the-box, innovative ideas from the community to address the goal of getting to net-zero.
Focus Areas: The program would support project proposals that address the climate and clean energy challenges in the following focus areas:
- Next-generation Clean and Renewable Energy
- Energy Storage
- Carbon Sequestration
Funding and Award
Ignition Stage I: To help teams proposing early-stage creative ideas develop a proof-of-concept and/or build a prototype (up to INR 50,00,000/- or approx. $66,000/- up to 12 months)
Ignition Stage II: To support teams with a workable, validated prototype. The technology must have significant potential to commercialize within 2-3 years (INR 1.5 Crore or approx. $203,560/- up to 24 months).
Global Gateway Plan
News: The European Commission has announced an international infrastructure plan called the “Global Gateway Plan”.
About the Global Gateway Plan
The plan aims to invest €300 billion ($340 billion) globally in infrastructure, digital and climate projects by 2027. This will help strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world.
The investment will be made in projects that can be delivered with high standards, good governance, and transparency while ensuring financial sustainability at the same time.
Implementation of the Global Gateway Plan
The Plan will be implemented in a Team Europe approach that brings together funding from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions.
The plan will require buy-ins from international institutions and the private sector.
Significance of the Global Gateway Plan
Firstly, the Plan is considered an offshoot of the Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative.
Secondly, the plan is being seen as a European effort to challenge China’s Belt and Road Initiative which was launched in 2013 and funds infrastructure projects in the developing world.
News: India has joined the G20 ‘Troika’.
About the Troika
Troika refers to the top grouping within the G20 that consists of the current, previous, and incoming presidencies.
Currently, Troika consists of Indonesia, Italy, and India – the current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies respectively.
Indonesia has assumed the G20 Presidency from Italy and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit in October 2022 under the overall theme of “Recover Together Recover Stronger”.
India will assume the G20 Presidency on December 1, 2022, from Indonesia and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in India in 2023.
It is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, which reflects a recognition that global prosperity is interdependent and that our economic opportunities and challenges are interlinked.
The G20 (19 countries and the European Union) was born in 1999 as a consultation forum between finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s major economies. Following the 2008 economic crisis, it became a forum between Heads of State and Governments, aimed at improving coordination on the main global issues.
It has no permanent secretariat and its declarations are not legally binding.
ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting
News: The 2nd ASEAN Digital Ministers (ADGMIN) meeting took place in a virtual mode.
About the ASEAN Digital Ministers (ADGMIN)
ADGMIN is an annual meeting of Telecom Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries and dialogue partner countries – Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, UK, and US.
India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership
News: India and Denmark have agreed to initiate joint research and development on green fuels, including green hydrogen. This joint research is a part of the already adopted Green Strategic Partnership – Action Plan 2020-2025.
About India-Denmark Green Strategic Partnership
India-Denmark launched the Green Strategic Partnership during their virtual summit in September 2020.
The partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement to advance political cooperation, expand economic relations, promote green growth, create jobs, and strengthen cooperation in addressing global challenges.
Focus sectors: water, urban development, renewable energy, and intellectual property rights.
Under the partnership, a joint action plan has also been prepared. As per the plan, Danish companies with the pertinent technologies and expertise will help India in meeting its air pollution control targets, specifically the key problem of burning crop stubble.
The plan also includes cooperative efforts in water efficiency, construction of India-Denmark energy parks and an India-Denmark skill institute to train Indian manpower.
Significance: The partnership signifies the two countries’ commitment to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to the mitigation of the global climate crisis.
Asian Clearing Union (ACU)
News: India has confirmed a $400 million currency swap with Sri Lanka while deferring another $500 million due for settlement to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU).
About Asian Clearing Union (ACU)
Asian Clearing Union (ACU) was established in 1974 at the initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP).
Objective: To facilitate payments among member countries for eligible transactions on a multilateral basis, thereby economizing on the use of foreign exchange reserves and transfer costs, as well as promoting trade among the participating countries.
Members: The Central Banks and the Monetary Authorities of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are currently members of the ACU.
Headquarters: Tehran, Iran.
About Currency Swap
A currency swap between the two countries is an agreement or contract to exchange currencies with predetermined terms and conditions.
As per the arrangements, both countries pay for import and export trade at the pre-determined rates of exchange, without bringing in third-country currency like the US Dollar. In such arrangements no third country currency is involved, thereby eliminating the need to worry about exchange variations.
2 Vs 2 Agri-Market Access Issue
News: In accordance with the discussions at the 12th India – USA trade policy forum meeting, India and the United States have signed the framework agreement for implementing the “2 Vs 2 Agri-Market Access Issues”.
About 2 Vs 2 Agri-Market Access Issues
Under this deal, two Agricultural Products from India will be exported to the US. Similarly, two American products will be imported to India.
From the Indian Side, Indian mangoes & pomegranate have been chosen for export to the USA, while the US will export cherries and Alfalfa hay to India.
About India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF)
India-United States TPF is a premier forum to resolve trade and investment issues between the two countries.
The forum is co-chaired by the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Trade Representative.
The forum has five focus groups – agriculture, investment, innovation and creativity (intellectual property rights), services, and tariff and non-tariff barriers.
New Development Bank (NDB)
News: India has welcomed Egypt as the fourth new member of the New Development Bank (NDB).
About the New Development Bank (NDB)
It is a multilateral development bank jointly founded by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014. The Bank formally came into existence in 2015.
Purpose: To mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies.
Projects: Projects in areas such as transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure, and urban development are within the scope of the bank.
Members: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay and Egypt.
UN Observer Status: In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the UN General Assembly, establishing a firm basis for active and fruitful cooperation with the United Nations.
The Bank’s Articles of Agreement specify that all members of the United Nations could be members of the bank. However, the share of the BRICS nations can never be less than 55% of the voting power.
Headquarters: Shanghai, China.
Munich Security Conference
News: India’s External Affairs Minister has addressed the Munich Security Conference, 2022.
About the Munich Security Conference
It is an annual conference on international security that takes place in Munich, Germany.
Started by: It was started in 1963 by Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin.
Motto: Peace through dialogue.
Significance: It is the world’s largest gathering of its kind.
Colombo Security Conclave
News: The 5th Edition of Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) started in the Maldives.
The conclave was attended by National Security Advisors and representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Bangladesh, and Seychelles.
Note: Bangladesh and Seychelles attended as observers at this conclave meeting.
About Colombo Security Conclave
India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka began a National Security Advisor (NSA)-level trilateral meeting on maritime security cooperation in 2011.
Following a halt from 2014-2019, the trilateral meeting was resumed in 2020, when the decision was taken to establish the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC).
Aim of the Conclave: To forge closer cooperation on maritime and security matters among the three Indian Ocean countries.
Pillars of Cooperation: There are four pillars of security cooperation including marine security, human trafficking, counter-terrorism, and cyber security.
Secretariat: Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Key takeaways from the fifth edition of Colombo Security Conclave
Firstly, Mauritius was included as a new member of the conclave.
Secondly, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief has been added as the fifth pillar.
News: Pakistan has been elected the next chair of the Group of 77 (G77) for the year 2022 at the 45th ministerial meeting held virtually.
About the Group of 77
It is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations. It was established in 1964 by 77 developing countries.
Aim: To promote its members’ collective economic interests, create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations and promote South-South cooperation for development.
Members: The members of G-77 have increased to 134 countries. However, the original name was retained due to its historic significance. India is one of the members of the G77.
Chairmanship: Guinea holds the chairmanship as of 2021.
News: Ministers of India, Brazil, South Africa and China representing BASIC Group meet at COP26. It was the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, held at the SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
The group was formed as the result of an agreement signed by the four countries on November 28, 2009. The four countries acted together at the Copenhagen Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
They stand at a common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change.
The BASIC countries also constituted one of the main parties in the Copenhagen Accord reached with the US-led grouping. However, the accord was not legally binding.
International Solar Alliance
News: The United States of America (USA) has joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a member country. The US has become the 101st member to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
This will motivate many other countries to join. It will also ensure ISA’s financial sustainability and enhance its global climate change role.
It is a multilateral forum jointly launched by India and France on the side-lines of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
Aim: To work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs
- To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
- To bring about a major decrease in the cost of solar energy
- To scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries and facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D).
Members: The ISA is open to all 192 member countries of the United Nations. So far most of the members are located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Headquarters: Gurugram, India.
Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) groups
News: Recently, the ministerial meeting of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) has took place. The ministerial meeting of LMDC was hosted by Bolivia.
About the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) groups
LMDC is a group of developing countries that have organized themselves as block negotiators in international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. They represent more than 50% of the world’s population.
Member countries: LMDC comprises around 25 developing countries from Asia and other regions. It includes countries like India, China, Bolivia etc.
Organisation of Turkic States
News: The Council of Turkic States has been elevated to “Organisation of Turkic States” at the 8th Istanbul summit.
In 1992, the then Turkish President convened the first Turkish summit with some central Asian states.
In 2009, the annual summit with the inner Asian states was converted into a Council of Turkic States. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan joined Turkey as founding members. It was hailed as the “first voluntary alliance of the Turkic states in history”.
During the Istanbul summit, the forum has been elevated to an “Organisation of Turkic States”.
About the Istanbul Summit
Joining of new members and observers: Uzbekistan joined the organisation at the Istanbul Summit. Hungary and Turkmenistan have joined the organisation as observer nations.
Adopted a vision document “Turkish World 2040”: The document aims to guide the organisation’s efforts to develop intensive cooperation among its members and contribute vigorously to regional and international security.
Potential of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS)
With the formation of OTS, Turkey is determined to rewrite the geopolitics of Eurasia. The potential of OTS includes – becoming an economic and political community like the European Union, Emerging as an “Army of Turan” or possibility of becoming a NATO-like military alliance.
Note: In Persian, “Turan” refers to Central Asian regions to the north of Iran.
Russia-India-China (RIC) Group
News: Recently, 18th RIC summit took place between the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China in virtual mode.
About Russia-India-China (RIC)
It is a strategic grouping that was founded in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician, as a counterbalance to the Western alliance.
Aim: To end its subservient foreign policy guided by the USA, renew old ties with India and foster the newly discovered friendship with China.
Significance: Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of the global GDP. Moreover, all three countries are nuclear powers and the two countries namely Russia and China are permanent members of the UN Security Council, while India aspires to be one.