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31st May Current Affairs

International Day of UN Peacekeepers

(GS-II: Important International Institutions)

In News:

International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed globally on 29th May.

Theme for 2022: “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships.”

Why is it observed on 29th?

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 1948, May 29 when the Security Council deployed a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) with the objective to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

What is peacekeeping? Its significance?

United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.

Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.

Composition:

UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.

Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  • Consent of the parties.
  • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

How are UN Peacekeeping operations funded?

While decisions about establishing, maintaining or expanding a peacekeeping operation are taken by the Security Council, the financing of UN Peacekeeping operations is the collective responsibility of all UN Member States.

Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 17 of the Charter of the United Nations.

The top 5 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping operations for 2020-2021 are:

  • United States (27.89%).
  • China (15.21%).
  • Japan (8.56%).
  • Germany (6.09%).
  • United Kingdom (5.79%).

Indus water talks between India, Pak begin in New Delhi

(GS-II: India and neighbourhood relations)

In News:

India and Pakistan have begun another round of the Permanent Indus Commission meeting that is held annually under Indus Water Treaty (IWT) 1960.

Details:

The Indus talks have survived the freeze in ties as both countries see it as mandatory under the IWT.

Under the provisions of the treaty, the two sides are required to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan.

The last meeting, held on March 23-24, 2021 in New Delhi.

About the Indus Water Treaty:

It is a Water-Distribution Treaty, signed in Karachi on 1960, between India (Pm Jawaharlal Nehru) and Pakistan (President Ayub Khan), brokered by the World Bank.

How is the Indus water share between India and Pakistan?

Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi — amounting to around 33 MAF (million acre-feet) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use.

The waters of western rivers — Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab — amounting to around 135 MAF annually are largely for Pakistan.

The right to generate hydroelectricity:

Under the Treaty, India has been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through a run of the river projects on the western rivers subject to specific criteria for design and operation.

It also gives the right to Pakistan to raise concerns on the design of Indian hydroelectric projects on western rivers.

Permanent Indus Commission:

The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.

The Commission according to the treaty must meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.

The functions of the Commission are:

  • to study and report to the two Governments on any problem relating to the development on the waters of the rivers.
  • to solve disputes arising over water sharing.
  • to arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.
  • to undertake, once in every five years, a general tour of inspection of the Rivers for ascertaining the facts.
  • to take necessary steps for the implementation of the provisions of the treaty.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM)

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

50% of rural households in India have now been covered under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Details:

At the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019, only 3.23 Crore households i.e. 17% of the rural population had access to drinking water through taps.

Performance of the scheme:

Certain state and union territories such as Goa, Telangana, A&N Islands, D&N Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry and Haryana have already achieved 100% household connections.

Punjab, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar have coverage of more than 90% and are progressing fast towards attaining the status of ‘Har Ghar Jal (water in every household)’.

About the Jal Jeevan Mission:

JJM envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.

It is under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

It was launched in 2019.

The mission ensures:

Functionality of existing water supply systems and water connections.

Water quality monitoring and testing as well as sustainable agriculture.

Conjunctive use of conserved water.

Drinking water source augmentation.

Drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse.

It also encompasses:

Prioritizing provision of FHTCs in quality affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages, etc.

Providing functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadi centres, Gram Panchayat buildings, Health centres, wellness centres and community buildings.

Technological interventions for removal of contaminants where water quality is an issue.

Implementation:

The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.

JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.

The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

UN Habitat

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

UN-Habitat has identified various pressing issues posing challenges for urban planners of Jaipur City.

Issues highlighted include:

  • Rapid expansion of cities.
  • Weak urban mobility.
  • Extreme levels of drought during summer and also urban floods.

Recommendations:

Increase the green cover, strengthen urban biodiversity, and thereby enhance the quality of life for citizens.

Implement the idea of a compact city with re-development and re-densification of the existing urban areas.

To curb development on the city’s outskirts, link the distance from the main city to the development charges imposed on citizens.

Eco-trails with plantations along natural drainage channels and railway tracks are recommended in the city.

The 800 dry wells in City could be used for rainwater harvesting and raising the water table, mitigating urban floods and ensuring efficient utilisation of water resources.

About UN Habitat:

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development.

It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976.

It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.

It has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Habitat Agenda:

The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996.

The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.