Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- UN World Food Programme
- UN Treaty on High seas
- Integrated Medicine System
- Facts for Prelims
1 . UN World Food Programme
Context: India announced the supply of 20,000 MTs of wheat assistance to Afghanistan in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) through Iran’s Chabahar Port. The announcement was made at the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Afghanistan
About the India Humanitarian Assistance Programme to Afghanistan
- India has provided the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan particularly supplies of wheat, medicines and vaccines. Earlier The Government of India and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to supply wheat to Afghanistan where nearly 19 million people – half of the population – are facing acute food insecurity, compounded by the earthquake that struck the eastern part of the country in June. The MoU marks the Government of India committed as humanitarian food assistance for Afghanistan in 2020.
What is UN World Food programme?
- The World Food Programme (WFP) is an international organization within the United Nations that provides food assistance worldwide. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and the leading provider of school meals. Founded in 1961, WFP is headquartered in Rome and has offices in 80 countries. In 2022, WFP assisted about158 million people,a historic high.
- World Food Programme works across a broad spectrum of Sustainable Development Goals, because food shortages, hunger, malnutrition and foodborne illness cause poor health, which subsequently impacts other areas of sustainable development, such as education, employment and poverty (Sustainable Development Goals Four, Eight and One respectively).
- In addition to emergency food relief, WFP offers technical and development assistance, such as building capacity for emergency preparedness and response, managing supply chains and logistics, promoting social safety programs, and strengthening resilience against climate change. It also a major provider of direct cash assistance and medical supplies and provides passenger services for humanitarian workers.
- WFP is an executive member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, a consortium of UN entities that aims to fulfill the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with a priority on achieving SDG 2 for “zero hunger” by 2030.
- The World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to provide food assistance in areas of conflict, and to prevent the use of food as a weapon of war and conflict
What are the other UN principal organs?
- The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of Justice; and the UN Secretariat.
- The UN System includes a multitude of specialized agencies, funds and programmes such as the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. Additionally, non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN’s work.
About Chabahar Port
- Chabahar Port is a seaport located in south-eastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port and consists of two separate ports namely Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti. It is only about 170 kilometres west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar. The significance of the Chabahar port is that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan
- The first meeting of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Afghanistan was held in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by the Special Envoys/Senior Officials of the Republic of India, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Country representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) also participated in the meeting.
- During the meeting, the Special Envoys exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan, including the political, security and the humanitarian situation. While emphasizing the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs, this group reiterated support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan
2 . UN Treaty on High Seas
Context: UN member states agreed on a historic treaty for protecting marine life in international waters that lie outside the jurisdiction of any country, marking the culmination of over a decade of negotiations to protect the high seas that cover nearly two-thirds of the global ocean.
What are the high seas?
- Parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial waters or the internal waters of a country are known as the high seas, according to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas. It is the area beyond a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone which extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline and till where a nation has jurisdiction over living and non-living resources. No country is responsible for the management and protection of resources on the high seas.
What is the importance of High seas?
- The high seas account for more than 60% of the world’s ocean area and cover about half of the Earth’s surface, which makes them a hub of marine life. They are home to around 2.7 lakh known species, many of which are yet to be discovered. The high seas are fundamental to human survival and well-being.
- IUCN states that “The high seas regulate the climate by playing a fundamental role in planetary stability by mitigating the effects of climate change through its absorption of carbon and by storing solar radiation and distributing heat around the globe. In addition, the ocean provides a wealth of resources and services, including seafood and raw materials, genetic and medicinal resources, air purification, climate regulation, and aesthetic, scientific and cultural services”
History of the Treaty on High seas
- In 1982, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS was adopted. The Convention delineated rules to govern the oceans and the use of its resources. But there was no comprehensive legal framework that covered the high seas. As climate change and global warming emerged as global concerns, a need was felt for an international legal framework to protect oceans and marine life. After years of informal discussions, the UNGA decided in 2015 to develop a legally binding instrument within the framework of UNCLOS. Subsequently, the IGC was convened to frame a legal instrument on At the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), countries agreed to protect 30% of oceans by 2030, as part of the ’30 x 30 pledge’ made by the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) in December.
- On February 20, IGC negotiations resumed with the conclusive round and a binding document was finally agreed upon by member states in March
What is UN Treaty on High Seas?
- The draft agreement of the ‘High Seas Treaty’ recognises the need to address biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems of the ocean and proposes rules to protect oceans outside national borders and regarding the sustainable use of its resources. It places “30% of the world’s oceans into protected areas, puts more money into marine conservation and covers access to and use of marine genetic resources,” as per the United Nations.
- A marine protected area (MPA) is defined as a “geographically defined marine area that is designated and managed to achieve specific long-term biodiversity conservation objectives and may allow, where appropriate, sustainable use provided it is consistent with the conservation objectives.
Key features include:
- Regarding the developing countries’ access to benefits reaped from the commercialisation of resources (especially genetic resources) extracted from the ocean the treaty has agreed to setup an access- and benefit-sharing committee to frame guidelines.
- Activities concerning marine genetic resources of areas on high seas should be in the interests of all States and for the benefit of humanity. They have to be carried out exclusively for peaceful purposes.
- Signatories will have to conduct environmental impact assessments before the exploitation of marine resources. Before carrying out a planned activity, the member will have to undertake processes of screening, scoping, carrying out an impact assessment of the marine environment likely to be affected, identifying prevention, and management of potential adverse effects, and information on the public consultation process, a description of follow-up actions, including an environmental management plan.
- It stipulates that marine resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction that are held by indigenous people and local communities can only be accessed with their “free, prior and informed consent or approval and involvement”. No State can claim its right over marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction, the drafts.
- Members will have to provide the clearing-house mechanism (CHM), established as part of the treaty, with details like the objective of the research, geographical area of collection, names of sponsors, etc.
- Provision of funding to help developing countries implement the treaty. A special fund will be established which will be fixed by the conference of parties, which will be formed as part of the pact. The conference of parties will also oversee the functioning of the treaty.
3 . Integrated Medicine System
Context: Integrated Medicine systems have the potential to alter the future of disease Management. Recently published papers in the journals of the American College of Cardiology and the American Academy of Neurology had found that using yoga as an additional treatment can help patients suffering from migraine headaches and from syncope.
What is integrated medicine system?
- An Integrated Medicine system is an approach to medical care that recognizes the benefit of combining conventional (standard) therapies (such as drugs and surgery) with complementary therapies (such as acupuncture and yoga) that have been shown to be safe and effective.
- Integrative medicine is the treatment of patients through spiritual, emotional, mental, and environmental in addition to the physical means.
- The general principle is that all aspects of the patient are considered in treating illness, which include natural and less invasive alternatives when possible
What are the types of traditional medicine systems present in India?
- Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga, Naturopathy and Homoeopathy.
What are the benefits of Integrated medicine system?
- Integrative medicine is healing-oriented rather than disease-focused.
- It promotes the combination of mind, body and spirit to regain the body’s natural equilibrium to achieve health.
- Integrated medicine’s focus, like the ancient systems of Ayurveda, is about wellness, vitality and healing, rather than focusing just on the disease.
- Integrated medicine puts the focus on how various symptoms can be connected and search for the root cause, rather than treating individual symptom.
- Integrated Medicine system is cost effective
- Integrated Medicine system emphasis the therapeutic relationship. The integrated partnership guides and advises patients regarding treatment options. Together, doctor and patient decide on the best plan of action
- Integrated medicines are highly Personalized medicine.
What are the steps taken by the government to popularise AYUSH?
- An Advisory Committee on formulation of Integrative Health Policy has been constituted by the NITI Aayog to propose framework of comprehensive integrative health policy to achieve an inclusive, affordable, evidence-based healthcare; and roadmap for disease prevention and health promotion in National programmes based on modern and traditional integrative approaches.
- The Ministry of AYUSH has launched a scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals which aims at certifying the competence level of Yoga professionals through certification process and promoting authentic Yoga as a preventive and health promoting drugless therapy.
- The government of India is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the National AYUSH Mission (NAM) in the country through State and UT governments for the promotion and development of AYUSH systems. Under the concept of AYUSH Gram, AYUSH-based lifestyles are promoted through behavioral change communication, training of village health workers towards identification and use of local medicinal herbs, and provision of AYUSH health services
- Under Central Sector Scheme for promotion of International Cooperation, (IC Scheme), the Ministry of AYUSH undertakes various steps to promote and publicize AYUSH systems of medicine including Ayurveda across the globe
4 . Facts for Prelims
Laws applicable to cryptocurrency
- Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that doesn’t rely on banks to verify transactions. It’s a peer-to-peer system that can enable anyone anywhere to send and receive payments. Instead of being physical money carried around and exchanged in the real world, cryptocurrency payments exist purely as digital entries to an online database describing specific transactions. When you transfer cryptocurrency funds, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrency is stored in digital wallet.
- Central government has brought digital assets and fiat currencies, virtual digital assets, their trading safe keeping and related financial services under the ambit of Prevention of Money Laundering Act
- Significance- Money Laundering act now apply to India’s cryptocurrency sector as government seeks to tighten the oversight of digital assets in the country
- With this inclusion, crypto dealers’ exchanges and intermediaries will now be required to perform KYC and maintain their records of the clients and users of the platform as are usually done by the banks.
- Under this Act any financial wrongdoings involving cryptocurrency assets can now be investigated by Enforcement Directo. The definition of virtual assets would be as same as the Income tax.
- NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit observatory jointly developed by NASA and ISRO.
- According to ISRO, NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater and natural hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.
- NISAR carries L and S dual-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with the Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swaths with high-resolution data. The SAR payloads mounted on Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory.
- Importance – NISAR will be the first radar of its kind in space to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in earth’s surface less than a centimetre across.
- NISAR will provide a wealth of data and information about the Earth’s surface changes, natural hazards, and ecosystem disturbances, helping to advance our understanding of Earth system processes and climate change.
- The mission will provide critical information to help manage natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, enabling faster response times and better risk assessments.
- NISAR data will be used to improve agriculture management and food security by providing information about crop growth, soil moisture, and land-use changes.
- The mission will provide data for infrastructure monitoring and management, such as monitoring of oil spills, urbanization, and deforestation.
- NISAR will help to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change on the Earth’s land surface, including melting glaciers, sea-level rise, and changes in carbon storage.
- ISRO is looking to launch the satellite in 2024 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Srihari Kota.