19th October Current Affairs
October 19, 2020
21st October Current Affairs
October 21, 2020
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20th October Current Affairs

‘Blue Flag’ beaches:

In News:

Two beaches in Karnataka are among the eight in India that have bagged the coveted eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ from the international agency, Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark.

Details:

The two are:

  • Kasarkod beach near Honnavar in Uttara Kannada.
  • Padubidri beach near Udupi.

Other beaches:

  • Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat).
  • Ghoghla (Diu).
  • Kappad (Kerala).
  • Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh).
  • Golden (Puri-Odisha).
  • Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).

Background:

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ certification for 13 beaches in the country.

About Blue flag programme:

The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).

It started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.

What is a Blue Flag beach?

It is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.

Criteria:

There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.

Relevant facts for Prelims:

Spain tops the list with more than 560 such beaches; Greece and France follow.

Chandrabhaga beach of Odisha’s Konark coast is the first to complete the tag certification process.

India is now in the league of 50 “BLUE FLAG” countries.

Japan, South Korea and the UAE are the only other Asian nations that have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches, however, in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years.

Is Blue Flag certification available only for beaches?

No. It can be given to a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator.

Basically, the Blue Flag is a trademark.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

In News:

ADB, India sign $270 million loan to improve urban services in 64 Madhya Pradesh small cities.

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank.

  • established on 19 December 1966.
  • headquartered — Manila, Philippines.
  • official United Nations Observer.

 Who can be its members?

The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.

ADB now has 68 members, 49 from within Asia.

Voting rights:

It is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.

As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).

Roles and functions:

Dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

In News:

7th Justice Ministers’ Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States to be hosted by Union Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on 16th October, 2020.

About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.

  • It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

The SCO’s main goals are:

Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.

Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture.

Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.

Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Currently:

SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

SCO counts four observer states, namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Mongolia.

SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.