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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Jul 22, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies

The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) on 17 June 2022, marks a major step forward for ocean sustainability by prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks.

For the Agreement to become operational, two-thirds of members have to deposit their “instruments of acceptance” with the WTO.

Important points in agreement:

  1. No Member shall grant or maintain any subsidy to a vessel or operator engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or fishing related activities in support of IUU fishing.
  2. No Member shall grant or maintain subsidies for fishing or fishing related activities regarding an overfished stock. But member may grant or maintain subsidies if such subsidies or other measures are implemented to rebuild the stock to a biologically

sustainable level.

  1. The Agreement also prohibits providing subsidies for fishing on high seas, which are outside the jurisdiction of coastal countries and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations/ Arrangements (RFMO/As).
  2. Under the Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT), Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been allowed a transition period of two years from the date of entry into force of this Agreement. 
  3. Each Member shall, within one year of the date of entry into force of this Agreement, provide to the Committee a description of its fisheries regime with references to its laws, regulations and administrative procedures relevant to this Agreement.

Comment: The Agreement will eliminate the subsidies granted to fishing vessels or fishing operators engaged in IUU fishing. Such disciplining will check large-scale IUU fishing which deprives coastal countries like India of fisheries resources, thereby significantly impacting the livelihoods of our fishing communities. 

What is India’s stand?

  • India’s stand is that we are one of the lowest fisheries subsidisers despite such a large population and one of the disciplined nations in sustainably harnessing the fisheries resources.
  • India does not exploit the resources indiscriminately like other advanced fishing nations and India's fisheries sector primarily depends on several millions of small-scale and traditional fishers.

Therefore, those WTO Members who have provided huge subsidies in the past, and engaged in large-scale industrial fishing, which is responsible for the depletion of fish stocks, should take more obligations to prohibit subsidies based on the ‘polluter pay principle’ and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities.

Current Affair 2:
Nirbhaya Fund

News is not important but this fund is important to know.

PROCEDURE FOR SUBMITTING PROPOSALS

  1. Central Government Ministries/Departments can formulate proposals and send to MWCD.
  2. State Departments can also submit proposals to the concerned Central Government Ministry/Department.
  3. Autonomous and other govt. bodies can submit proposals through concerned

Ministries/Departments/State Governments.

The Empowered Committee is to appraise and take a view on the proposals.

 

Current Affair 3:
The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022

News:

The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on April 1, 2022.  The Bill seeks to give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.  It also seeks to protect the Antarctic environment and regulate activities in the region. 

Key features of the Bill include:

Applicability: The provisions of the Bill will apply to any person, vessel or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica under a permit issued under the Bill.  Areas comprising of Antarctica include: (i) the continent of Antarctica, including its ice-shelves, and all areas of the continental shelf adjacent to it, and (ii) all islands (including their ice-shelves), seas, and air space south of 60°S latitude.

 Central committee: The central government will establish a Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection.  The Committee will be chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.  10 members, not below the rank of joint secretary, will be nominated from various Ministries and organisations such as defence, external affairs, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, and National Security Council Secretariat.  In addition, two experts from Antarctic environment and geo-political fields will be nominated by the central government.

 The functions of the Committee include: (i) granting permits for various activities, (ii) implementing and ensuring compliance of relevant international laws for protection of Antarctic environment, (iii) obtaining and reviewing relevant information provided by parties to the Treaty, Convention, and Protocol, and (iv) negotiating fees/charges with other parties for activities in Antarctica.

Need for permit: A permit by the Committee or written authorisation from another party to the Protocol (other than India) will be required for various activities such as: (i) an Indian expedition to enter or remain in Antarctica, (ii) a person to enter or remain in an Indian station in Antarctica, (iii) a vessel or aircraft registered in India to enter or remain in Antarctica, (iv) a person or vessel to drill, dredge or excavate for mineral resources, or collect samples of mineral resources, (v) activities which may harm native species, and (vi) waste disposal by a person, vessel or aircraft in Antarctica.

Before a permit is granted by the Committee, the applicant has to carry out an environmental impact assessment of the proposed activities.  Moreover, a permit must not be granted unless a waste management plan has been prepared for the expedition by the Committee.

 Prohibited activities: The Bill prohibits certain activities in Antarctica including: (i) nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes, (ii) introduction of non-sterile soil, and (iii) discharge of garbage, plastic or other substance into the sea which is harmful to the marine environment.

Offences and penalties: The Bill specify penalties for contravention of its provisions.

For instance, conducting a nuclear explosion in Antarctica will be punishable with an imprisonment of 20 years which may extend to life imprisonment and a fine of at least Rs 50 crore.  Drilling for mineral resources or introducing non-native animals or plants in Antarctica without a permit will be punishable with imprisonment up to seven years and a fine between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 50 lakh.   The central government may notify one or more Sessions Courts to be the Designated Court under the Bill and specify its territorial jurisdiction to try offences punishable under the Bill

 

Current Affair 4:
Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)

The CTCN is the implementation arm of the Technology Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is hosted by the UN Environment Programme.

The CTCN promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries.

The CTCN consists of two parts: a centre—a coordinating entity located in UN City Copenhagen—and a worldwide network of organizations that delivers CTCN services—both virtually and actually.

India is part of it.

The CTCN is guided by an advisory board, which meets at least twice each year.

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