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15 May Current Affairs

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

In News:

India has been unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020.

Details:

The decision was taken during the recently held meeting of GFDRR in Geneva, Switzerland on the margins of the 6th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

What is GFDRR?

It is a global partnership that helps developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.

It is a grant-funding mechanism, managed by the World Bank, that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide.

GFDRR contributes to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by helping countries to integrate disaster risk management and climate change adaptation into development strategies and investment programs and recover from disasters quickly and effectively.

Roles: It provides technical assistance, capacity building, and analytical work to help vulnerable nations improve resilience and reduce risk.

India became a member of CG of GFDRR in 2015.

About Sendai Framework:

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.

Key features of the Sendai framework:

It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.

It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

World Reconstruction Conference (WRC4)

In News:

The Fourth edition of the World Reconstruction Conference (WRC4) was held in Geneva. This conference was organized in conjunction with the 6th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR).

Theme: “Inclusion for Resilient Recovery”.

Participants: Experts, practitioners and stakeholders from governments, civil society, private sector, academia, international organizations and community-based organizations.

What is WRC?

The World Reconstruction Conference is a global forum that provides a platform to collect, assess, and share disaster reconstruction and recovery experiences and take forward the policy dialogue for an effective international disaster recovery and reconstruction framework.

Significance of the theme- Inclusion for Resilient Recovery:

Social inclusion is defined throughout Inclusion Matters as both “the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society” and, more specifically, as “the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.”

Inclusion in disaster recovery and reconstruction is a key condition for the people’s resilience.

Significance: A more inclusive recovery fosters equal rights and opportunities, dignity and diversity, guaranteeing that nobody from a community is left out because of their age, gender, disability or other factors linked to ethnicity, religion, geography, economic status, political affiliation, health issues, or other life circumstances.

Need: The international frameworks set up by the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on climate change all advocate for an increasing focus on resilience and inclusion.

YUva VIgyani KAryakram

In News:

ISRO recently inaugurated the Young Scientist Programme YUVIKA 2019.

About YUva VIgyani KAryakram:

Launched by Indian Space Research Organisation.

It is a special programme for School Children, in tune with the Government’s vision “Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan”.

Aim: The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.

Participants: It is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus.

Eligibility: Those who have just completed 9th standard will be eligible for the online registration. The selection is based on the 8th Standard academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria. In case there is tie between the selected candidates, the younger candidates will be given priority.

Source: The Hindu

The menace of wastewater

In News:

The National Green Tribunal has directed 18 States and 2 Union Territories to submit their respective action plans on utilisation of treated wastewater to reduce pressure on the groundwater resources across the country.

Details:

The states and UTs were ordered to submit their action plan within 3 months time to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Background:

The action plan includes establishing a monitoring mechanism for coordination with the local bodies, which will be overseen by the chief secretaries of all the states and UTs.

Concerns and challenges:

Almost 80% of water supply flows back into the ecosystem as wastewater. This can be a critical environmental and health hazard if not treated properly but its proper management could help the water managers in meeting the city’s water demand.

Currently, India has the capacity to treat approximately 37% of its wastewater, or 22,963 million litres per day (MLD), against a daily sewage generation of approximately 61,754 MLD according to the 2015 report of the Central Pollution Control Board.

Moreover, most sewage treatment plants do not function at maximum capacity and do not conform to the standards prescribed.

Need of hour:

A paradigm shift from “use and throw – linear” to a “use, treat, and reuse – circular” approach is needed to manage wastewater. That said, investment in wastewater treatment has associated risks as well. It is therefore important to understand the underlying social, political, technical, and financial factors that will drive, facilitate, and sustain wastewater management interventions in India.

Critical factors for making an informed decision:

  • Drivers for initiating wastewater management,
  • Policies and regulations,
  • Access to technology and finance,
  • Scale of intervention,
  • Management strategy and institutional framework,
  • Public perception,
  • Phases of deployment, and
  • A framework for participatory approach.

Way ahead:

The 2017 United Nations’ Water Development Programme’s World Water Development Report (WWDR) – Wastewater: The Untapped Resource makes clear that we can no longer afford this disconnect.

As we pursue the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 663 million people around the world who still lack improved sources of drinking water put into perspective the urgency of our mission.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 specifically focusses on water and sanitation, with Target 3 addressing water quality, but the availability of water is a cross-cutting issue upon which every aspect of development hinges.

Put simply, water is life, and without a sustained commitment to improving and benefiting from effective wastewater management, that precious resource, and the billions of lives it nourishes, are in peril.

Source: Indian Express

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

In News:

The executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has offered India an ‘Observer’ status and access to state-of-art International Monitoring System (IMS) data.

Benefits of becoming an Observer:

India can benefit immensely from becoming a CTBTO Observer as the organisation setting has changed a lot over the years. India will have access to the data available which was traditionally not made available.

Background:

Although more than 180 countries have signed the CTBT, and mostly ratified it, the treaty can only enter into force after it is ratified by eight countries with nuclear technology capacity, namely China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

What is CTBT?

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the Treaty banning all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone. The Treaty was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996.

Why is the CTBT so important?

The CTBT is the last barrier on the way to develop nuclear weapons. It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs. When the Treaty enters into force it provides a legally binding norm against nuclear testing. The Treaty also helps prevent human suffering and environmental damages caused by nuclear testing.

India and the CTBT:

Since its inception, India has had a number of reservations about the CTBT. While it has stood by its demand for a nuclear weapons-free world, various principled, procedural, political, and security concerns have stood in the way of its support for the CTBT.

India’s principled opposition drew from its emphasis on universal and complete nuclear disarmament in a time-bound manner. India has traditionally believed this to be the end goal with the test ban just being a path to get there. But it did not insist on a complete disarmament clause in 1994, acknowledging that it was a “complex issue.”

Another major concern was Article XIV, the entry-into-force (EIF) clause, which India considered a violation of its right to voluntarily withhold participation in an international treaty. The treaty initially made ratification by states that were to be a part of the the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS) mandatory for the treaty’s EIF.

Need of the hour:

CTBT has an essential role within the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. More than 20 years since its negotiation, the Treaty has yet to enter into force. Every effort must be made to bring about the immediate entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT. The failure to bring the treaty into force prevents its full implementation and undermines its permanence in the international security architecture.

Source: The Hindu

Lecanorchis taiwaniana

It is a type of orchid that was recently discovered in Assam. This is the first time it is discovered in India.

The orchid species is already known in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos.

It is one of two known types of parasitic plants which have abandoned photosynthesis.

It derives nutrients and its energy from fungus.

It is India’s one of smallest botanically recorded orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom.

Background: India has about 1,300 species of orchids.

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