Daily Current Affairs – 2020Topic: For Prelims and Mains
The Environment Ministerial Meeting (EMM) of the G20 countries took place through video conferencing under the Presidency of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Representing India, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar applauded the launch of Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program and two documents on climate change related to managing emissions and climate change adaptations under the G20 this year.
The Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation aims to strengthen the implementation of existing frameworks to prevent, halt, and reverse land degradation within G20 member states and globally, taking into account possible implications on the achievement of other SDGs.
The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform is an innovative action-oriented initiative aimed at creating a global research and development (R&D) program to advance research, innovation and capacity building to enhance coral reefs conservation.
UNCCD defines land degradation as a “reduction or loss, in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest, and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a process or combination of processes, including processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns-
(i) soil erosion caused by wind and/or water;
(ii) deterioration of the physical, chemical, and biological or economic properties of soil; and
(iii) long-term loss of natural vegetation”.
Land degradation (LD) can be broadly divided into physical, chemical & biological degradation
According to Article 1 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, Paris, 1994), desertification means “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.”
Causes of land degradation and desertification in India:
It Includes earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, avalanches, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires.
It aims to Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
India joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCOC) as an observer as part of efforts aimed at enhancing maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.
It is also known as the Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
Objective: Under the code, the signatories agreed to co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
Jeddah Amendment: An amendment to DCOC was made in 2017 to cover other illicit maritime activities, including human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to build national and regional capacity to address wider maritime security issues, as a basis for sustainable development of the maritime sector.
Signatories: It has been signed by 20 countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
Boosting its Indian Ocean Outreach: As India is strengthening its position in the Indian Ocean and nearby waters as part of its overall Indo-Pacific policy, this move will help it in increasing its strategic footprints in Western and Eastern Indian Ocean besides Eastern African coastal states.
Blue Economy: Blue economy is one of the key areas of the Jeddah Amendment.
It refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
India-China: China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, its claim in the East China Sea and its rapid advance into the Indian Ocean through ambitious strategic and economic initiatives like the String of pearls and Belt-and-Road Initiative may pose a threat to India.
Further, China is modernising its military base at Djibouti.
Quad: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) refers to an ad hoc group including Australia, India, Japan, and the USA with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
India has signed reciprocal military logistics support agreements with Australia, USA and Japan to increase interoperability with the navies of those countries.
ASEAN: India has emphasized the centrality of ASEAN in its Indo-Pacific framework and India’s Act East policy provides strategic direction to increase its cooperation with ASEAN members.
SAGAR: The Indian government introduced the concept of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) in 2015 as its strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Region.
Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced their predictions about the new solar cycle, called Solar Cycle 25, which they believe has begun.
Since the Sun’s surface is a very active space, electrically charged gases on its surface generate areas of powerful magnetic forces, which are called magnetic fields.
The sun is said to have gone into a state called the ‘solar minimum’ and is about to enter the deepest period of ‘sunshine recession’ as sunspots are virtually not visibly at all.
Some reports suggest that it has been almost 100 days this year when the sun has shown zero sunspots.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has invited proposals for the National Highways Excellence Awards for the year 2020.
The awards were instituted in the year 2018.