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International Relations

10th World Water Forum

  • The World Bank study, “Water for Shared Prosperity,” was presented during the 10th World Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia.
  • It highlights the growing disparity in access to water resources and services, worsened by causes such as population expansion, urbanisation, and climate change.

About the World Water Forum:

  • It is a large-scale worldwide gathering centred on the discussion and development of solutions to global water concerns.
  • It’s held every three years. The inaugural forum was held in Marrakech, Morocco, in March 1997.
  • It is organised by the World Water Council, an international organisation.
  • It brings together stakeholders from a variety of sectors, including governments, organisations, corporations, and academics, to raise awareness, create political commitment, and spur action on vital water challenges at every level. 

What is the World Water Council?

  • The World Water Council was created in 1996.
  • The WWC concept arose from talks during the 1994 International Water and Sanitation Congress & Exhibition, as well as the 1996 Ministerial Conference on Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation.
  • WWC’s operations are focused on SDG 6 goals, among others. 
  • The Council was founded by famous water professionals and worldwide organisations such as academic institutions, commercial enterprises, governments, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • The Council’s principal goal is to promote awareness of essential water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making levels, in order to support effective conservation, protection, development, planning, management, and use of water resources across the world.
  • Membership: The WWC has a broad membership base of about 300 organisations from around 50 countries. 

Key Functions and Contributions:

  • World Water Forums: This is the world’s largest gathering on water, bringing together people from all sectors to discuss and collaborate on water concerns.
  • Policy Influence: The WWC attempts to shape policy by enabling interactions among political and economic leaders.
  • Research and Advocacy: The WWC promotes better knowledge and awareness of water concerns through its publications, policy papers, and strategic initiatives. 
Source: https://worldwaterforum.org/
Categories
International Relations

India-China Consumption Comparison

In 2023, India became the world’s most populated country, in contrast to China’s dropping birth rate. This leads to a comparison of their consumption habits and geopolitical ramifications.

Consumer size in India and China  

Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE):

  • In terms of Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE), India spends more than 58% of its GDP on consumption, whereas China spends only 38%.
  • Final consumption, including government expenditure, accounts for 68% of Indian GDP and 53% of Chinese GDP.
  • Despite China’s bigger economy, its PFCE is only around 3.5 times India’s, demonstrating that consumption contributes more to India’s GDP. 

Expenditure by Categories:

  • India’s consumer expenditure is characterised by increasing spending on food, clothes, footwear, and transportation, as expected in a developing economy.
  • In contrast, China’s consumption basket reflects a highly developed economy, with increased expenditure on housing, white goods, entertainment, education, and health care.
  • Despite accounting for one-fifth of China’s economy, India spends around half as much on food, transportation, clothes, and footwear as China.
  • Real growth rates for particular consumption categories in India frequently beat nominal growth rates in China. 

Conclusion: 

India’s higher PFCE as a proportion of GDP suggests a larger dependence on consumption-driven growth than China.The proportion of consumption spending in India and China demonstrates disparities in market maturity and consumer behaviour.Despite China’s larger economy, India’s consumer spending is comparatively high, signalling the possibility of further expansion and economic development.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/india-china-consumption-comparison/article68197627.ece#:~:text=While%20PFCE%20contributes%20more%20than,India%20and%2053%25%20for%20China.
Categories
International Relations

The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) Project

An Indian inter-ministerial delegation visited the UAE to explore the operational elements of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), a significant step forward since the agreement was signed.

About IMEC Project

  • IMEC is a component of the larger Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), which focuses on infrastructure development in economically developing countries.
  • The IMEC MoU was formally approved on September 10, 2023, at the 2023 G20 New Delhi summit.
  • Signatories to this pact include India, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union.
  • Aim: To strengthen economic cooperation between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. 
  • Objectives:
    • Increase transportation efficiency, reduce costs, and foster economic cooperation among member countries.
    • Create job opportunities and minimise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
    • Facilitate commerce and connectivity, altering regional integration throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. 

Significance:

  • IMEC will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network, complementing current marine and road transport networks.
  • The IMEC Project has great promise for rethinking regional trade dynamics and creating long-term economic growth and collaboration among participating nations. 
Source: https://ecfr.eu/publication/the-infinite-connection-how-to-make-the-india-middle-east-europe-economic-corridor-happen/#:~:text=IMEC%20would%20help%20reinforce%20European,connectivity%20with%20a%20central%20energy
Categories
International Relations

How Venezuela lost its last glacier and why it matters

Venezuela is likely the first country to lose all of its glaciers, with the Humboldt glacier melting quicker than expected. While experts predicted it would endure another decade, its fast melting surpassed expectations. 

Background:

  • In the Andes highlands of Venezuela, there were six glaciers located around 5,000 metres above sea level.
  • By 2011, five of them were disappeared. Scientists predicted the Humboldt glacier would endure another decade.

What are glaciers?

  • Glaciers are enormous volumes of ice formed on land over time when snow accumulates and compacts. They run like sluggish rivers and generally form in areas with near-freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and little summer melting.
  • According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), they typically exist and form in areas where mean annual temperatures are near freezing; winter precipitation results in significant snow accumulations; and temperatures throughout the rest of the year do not completely remove the previous winter’s snow accumulation.

Why are glaciers disappearing?

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Since the Industrial Revolution, the combustion of fossil fuels has released significant volumes of GHGs into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and methane.
  • Heat Trapping: Greenhouse gases operate like a blanket, trapping heat in the atmosphere. While they let sunlight to flow through, they prevent heat from escaping into space, resulting in an increase in global temperatures.
    • Since 1880, the global average temperature has risen by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius as a result of the current surge in GHG emissions.
  • Temperature increase has had severe repercussions, including more frequent and extreme heatwaves, floods, droughts, and sea level rise.
  • Glaciers, like ice cubes exposed to heat, are melting at an accelerated rate as temperatures rise due to global warming.
  • Natural Climate Phenomena: Natural climate phenomena such as El Nino can increase glacier melting by producing anomalous warming of surface waters, as seen with the Humboldt glacier in Venezuela. 

What are the effects of glacier loss?

  • Glaciers are important sources of freshwater, particularly during hot and dry spells, giving water to nearby inhabitants, plants, and animals. Their removal would increase the reliance on erratic rainfall for freshwater supplies.
  • Temperature Regulation: Glacial discharge serves to manage downstream water temperatures, notably by keeping them colder. This is critical for many aquatic species that require frigid water temperatures to thrive, affecting the entire ecosystem. 
  • Ecosystem Impact: Glacier loss has a direct impact on aquatic species, interrupting the food chain and perhaps causing biodiversity reductions.
  • Melting glaciers contribute to increasing sea levels, while smaller glaciers, such as Venezuela’s Humboldt glacier, may have less of an influence.
  • Cultural Impact: The disappearance of glaciers has far-reaching cultural consequences, particularly for people who rely on glaciers for cultural identity. Mountaineering and tourism are two activities that rely on glaciers.
  • Tourism and Recreation: Glaciers are frequently popular tourist destinations, bringing tourists for activities such as mountaineering and sightseeing. The retreat of glaciers would have an influence on tourism and recreation in the impacted areas. 
Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/venezuela-glaciers-9337469/#:~:text=The%20Andes%20%E2%80%94%20a%20mountain%20range,lost%20all%20of%20its%20glaciers.
Categories
International Relations

Positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) to help Monsoon this year

What is the Indian Ocean Dipole?

  • The IOD is often referred to as the Indian Nino. It is distinguished by the difference in temperature of ocean waters in the basin’s eastern and western regions.
  • The IOD, like the Pacific’s El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), consists of phases of ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions that influence weather patterns throughout the area and beyond.
  • There are two main phases of the IOD:
    • Positive Phase: During this phase, the western Indian Ocean warms above normal, while the eastern half cools below average. This causes increased convection and rainfall over the western Indian Ocean and surrounding land areas such as East Africa, whereas rainfall decreases over the eastern Indian Ocean and countries such as Indonesia and Australia.
    • During the negative phase, the waters in the western Indian Ocean are colder than those in the east. This causes more rainfall in the eastern Indian Ocean areas and drier weather in the west and East Africa.

Impact on the Indian Monsoon:

The Indian Ocean Dipole significantly affects the Indian Monsoon:

  1. Positive IOD frequently corresponds with a greater Southwest Monsoon, which brings more rain to India. This is due to the movement of warm water and associated convection towards India, which increases monsoon rainfall.
  2. Negative IOD can reduce the Southwest Monsoon, resulting in lower rainfall and probable drought in India. The movement of warm water away from India diminishes the essential heat and moisture to trigger monsoon rains.
Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/positive-iod-may-re-emerge-this-year-likely-to-boost-south-west-monsoon/article68149347.ece#:~:text=A%20positive%20IOD%20can%20boost,deficit%20in%20June%2C%20experts%20said.
Categories
International Relations

Reporters sans Frontières reports a decline in India’s press freedom score

According to Reporters Without Borders, India’s World Press Freedom Index score dropped from 36.62 to 31.28 during the last year. In South Asia, India is placed 159th, with Pakistan somewhat higher at 152.

India’s initiative of “Index Monitoring Cell”:

  • Purpose of the Cell: The Index Monitoring Cell has been established to strive towards improving India’s press freedom rating. It would be made up of members from various government departments and trustworthy journalists recommended by the Press Council of India.
  • Ranking Parameters: The cell will consult with institutions that produce the World Press Freedom Index, such as Reporters Without Borders, to gain a better understanding of the parameters and methodology used in the rankings. This will assist in developing an action plan to solve the concerns reported.
  • Coordination with State Governments: The cell will work with state governments to select nodal officials who can offer frequent reports on the situation of press freedom and any challenges that journalists experience on a local level.
  • Engagement with Stakeholders: The goal is to increase communication and visibility of efforts taken to protect press freedom and address issues identified by global media watchdogs.
  • Reporting methods: Establishing effective reporting methods is critical to ensuring that the data and information supplied to ranking authorities are current and correct. This will assist to paint a more accurate picture of India’s press freedom environment. 

Conclusion: 

India must implement and tighten legislation to preserve press freedom and journalist safety. This includes legislation to protect journalists from harassment, assaults, and threats, as well as measures for prompt and effective legal action in situations of censorship or intimidation.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-press-freedom-score-falls-says-reporters-sans-frontieres/article68136062.ece#:~:text=India's%20score%20in%20the%20World,by%20journalists%20in%20180%20jurisdictions.
Categories
International Relations

46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 46)

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will hold the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 46) in Kochi, Kerala. 

About Antarctic Treaty

Details
Signing and Entry into ForceSigned on December 1, 1959 in Washington, DC.
It went into effect on June 23, 1961.
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the 12 first countries. 
ObjectiveEnsure that Antarctica be used only for peaceful reasons, free of international conflict.
Key ProvisionsArticle I: Antarctica should be utilised for peaceful reasons exclusively.
Article II: Freedom of scientific study in Antarctica and collaboration
Article III: Scientific observations and results from Antarctica must be communicated and made publicly available. 
Territorial ClaimsNew territorial claims are strictly prohibited.
Existing claims to territorial sovereignty are preserved.
DisarmamentProhibits nuclear weapon testing.
Prohibits the dumping of radioactive waste.
Consultative MeetingsAnnual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM), in which member states discuss treaty implementation and cooperation.
Environmental ProtectionPromotes the conservation of the Antarctic environment.
Prohibits acts that cause pollution or environmental damage. 
Mineral Resource ExploitationBans mining operations until at least 2048.
Requires consensus for any review or update. 
Membership54 parties as of 2024.
29 Consultative Parties are actively involved in decision-making.
25 non-consultative parties. 
India ratified the treaty in 1983.
Madrid ProtocolAdopted in 1991.
It came into effect in 1998.
Strengthens environmental protection efforts in the Antarctic. 
Source: https://atcm46.ats.aq/
Categories
International Relations

India’s Growing Dependence on Chinese Imports

  • India’s imports from China increased to more over $101 billion in fiscal year 2023-24, up significantly from around $70 billion in 2018-19.
  • The share of China’s industrial products imports to India has increased from 21% to 30% over the last 15 years, according to a Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) analysis. 

India’s Imports: GTRI Study

  • According to the GTRI report, imports from China increased 2.3 times faster than India’s overall imports during the last 15 years.
  • Contrary to popular assumption, China has emerged as the leading supplier in eight key industrial sectors, including machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and textiles, among others.
  • India’s exports are static, valued at around $16 billion each year.
  • Over a six-year period from 2018-2019 to 2023-24, India’s cumulative trade imbalance with China exceeded $387 billion, raising concerns among officials. 

China’s Share of India’s Imports:

  • In 2023-24, China accounted for 15% of India’s total imports, with $101.8 billion out of $677.2 billion. 
  • Sector-wise Contributions:
  1. Electronics, telecommunications, and electrical products: China contributed 38.4% from April to January 2023-24.
  2. garment: Nearly 42% of India’s textile and garment imports were from China.
  3. Machinery Sector: China contributed for 39.6% of India’s total imports.
  4. China has a 29.2% stake in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector.
  5. Plastics and Related products: China supplied products worth $4.8 billion, accounting for 25.8% of total imports in this industry. 
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/up-23-times-in-15-years-indias-chinese-import-bill-to-rise-further/article68118302.ece#:~:text=Getty%20Images%2FiStockphoto-,India's%20imports%20from%20China%20crossed%20%24101%20billion%20in%202023%2D24,imports%20will%20rise%20sharply%20inSource: 
Categories
International Relations

Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) meeting in Ottawa

  • The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) is taking place in Ottawa, Canada.
  • The objective is to finalise a global agreement on plastic pollution by November of this year. 

What is the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)?

  • INC is a group tasked with developing a legally enforceable international instrument to eradicate plastic pollution by 2025 in accordance with United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 5/14.
  • It commenced operations in November 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay (INC-1).
    • The second summit (INC-2) was held in Paris, France, from May to June 2023.
    • The INC-3 convened in Nairobi in December 2023.
  • INC plans to finish its work by the end of 2024.

INC-4 Key Points: 

  • Previous sessions (INC-1, INC-2, and INC-3) prepared the groundwork for this one.
  • They are working on reducing excessive plastic consumption while still using it for critical purposes such as renewable energy.

Future Prospects:

  • INC-5 will take place in Busan, South Korea, and is intended to finalise everything.
  • Following that, leaders from other nations will sign the pact. 
Source: https://www.unep.org/inc-plastic-pollution/session-4
Categories
International Relations

 India presents CPGRAMS during the 3rd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Meeting in London

  • India’s Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) won worldwide recognition during the 3rd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Heads Meeting in London.

What is the Commonwealth of Nations?

  • The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation made up of 53 member nations, the majority of which are former British Empire possessions.
  • It dates back to the early part of the twentieth century, when the British Empire decolonized its colonies by increasing self-government.
  • The Balfour Declaration, issued during the Imperial Conference in 1926, established the British Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The UK formalised it with the Statute of Westminster in 1931. 
  • The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Head of the Commonwealth.
    • Membership: Based on free and equal voluntary cooperation.

History of Its Creation

  • The Commonwealth was formed in the early 1900s as nations that were once part of the British Empire began to split.
  • India is a founding member of the modern Commonwealth.
  • Although India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a crucial role in the establishment of the modern Commonwealth in 1949, Indian policymakers have long seen it as a vestige of empire with a colonial history.

Working of Commonwealth

  • Commonwealth members have no legal duties towards one another.
  • Instead, they are linked by language, history, culture, and common principles like as democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. 

Actual Functioning: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

  • Every two years, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) provides a forum for all Commonwealth leaders to convene and address Commonwealth-related topics.
  • The meeting’s slogan is to reaffirm common values, confront global concerns, and reach an agreement on how to work together to create a better future.
Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=2018818#:~:text=The%20Commonwealth%20Secretariat%20has%20recognized,2024%20in%20Marlborough%20House%2C%20London.
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