Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2024

Feb 26, 2024

Current Affair 1:
India and South Africa formally opposed the adoption of Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement 



India and South Africa formally opposed the adoption of Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) agreement for consideration during the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on February 28. 

Over 120 countries were pushing for IFD to become part of the multilateral trade body for improving investment and business climate. But India has termed it a non-trade issue that doesn’t fall within the framework of the multilateral trade body. 

The China-led group of countries wanted to bring the proposal for IFD, which will make the proposal binding on the members who sign it. 

According to the Marrakesh Agreement — the WTO’s constitution — a new plurilateral agreement can only be adopted through ‘Annexure 4’ rules, meaning by explicit consensus of all WTO Members. 

What is IFD about? 

The IFD Agreement aims to strengthen investment climates to grow the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to foster economic growth and sustainable development. 

It does so through either binding or best-endeavour provisions on: (1) transparency of investment measures; (2) streamlining and speeding up of administrative procedures; (3) providing focal points, domestic regulatory coherence and cross-border cooperation; and (4) sustainable investment. 

Current Affair 2:
Load-carrying capacity of hill towns and cities 


Conventional planning strategies and solutions cannot adequately address the challenges faced by hill towns in the wake of the changing climate.  

In August 2023, the Supreme Court mooted a re-evaluation of the load-carrying capacity of hill towns and cities, for which the Centre has proposed forming a 13-member technical committee headed by the Director of the GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment could evaluate the information collected by the States. 

 Here is a five-point agenda to consider while determining carrying capacity and development of hilly areas. 

  1. First, there is a need to understand the effect of slope, drainage and cover (high vegetation and forest land) on the stress that an area can take, based on which authorities must declare zones and sub-zones fit or unfit for construction.  

  1. Next, with rise in extreme weather events like floods and landslides, the scale of loss and damage is high in Himalayan states. Projections and simulations are needed to gauge climate exposure and map vulnerable areas. 

  1. Third, development works like hydropower projects are soaring in Himalayan states. These have impacts such as forest fragmentation, change in river course and sediment load, disappearance of underground springs and biodiversity loss.  

  1. Fourth, as the populations of hill towns increase, their capacity to adapt to climate change shrinks, due to challenges like water scarcity, sewage management, limited livelihoods, reduction in agricultural yield, inadequate infrastructure and increase in vulnerable population.  

  1. Finally, with hilly areas seeing a large influx of floating populations, there is a need for sound tourism and resource management strategies, including for traffic, water and waste. 

Current Affair 3:
East Africa is losing its glaciers at astonishing speed 



A study published in the journal Environmental Research February 12, 2024 showed the quick pace at which the tropical glaciers in East Africa are shrinking — the ice fields in Africa have more than halved since the beginning of the 21st century. 

In East Africa, glaciers are present in the Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda / Democratic Republic of Congo), Mount Kenya (Kenya), and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), all within 3° latitude of the equator. 

The area of tropical glaciers in East Africa was observed to have shrunk to 1.36 square kilometres, with a glacier area of 0.98 sq km on Kilimanjaro, 0.069 sq km on Mount Kenya and 0.38 sq km in the Rwenzori Range. 

Tropical glaciers are important indicators of climate variability and climate change. 

All tropical glaciers have one thing in common — they are situated near the Equator and inside the astronomic tropics, and are influenced by the Intertropical Convergence Zone. 

The Intertropical Convergence Zone is the region that circles the Earth, near the equator, where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together. 

Current Affair 4:
‘BioTRIG’: New waste management technology could improve life in rural India 



A new waste management technology that allows pyrolysis at a community level could help rural Indians cut indoor air pollution, improve soil health, and generate clean power, a recent study has claimed. 

The survey findings helped inform the researchers’ design for ‘BioTRIG’— a community-level pyrolysis system to run on the waste the villagers generate. It would also provide a series of benefits to rural communities living below the poverty line (BPL). 

Pyrolysis is a kind of chemical recycling that turns leftover organic materials into their component molecules. It works by sealing the waste inside an oxygen-free chamber and heating it above 400 degrees Celsius. Useful chemicals are produced in the process. 

In the study, the researchers outlined those three products of pyrolysis — bio-oil, syngas and biochar fertiliser — could help rural Indians live healthier and greener lives. 



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