international-organizations

1. UNITED NATIONS AND ITS ORGANS

  • The United Nations (UN) is a global diplomatic and political organization dedicated to international peace and stability.
  •  The UN was  established in 1945 following the horrific events of the Second World War, when international leaders proposed creating a new global organization to maintain peace and avoid the abuses of war.

  • The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories
  • Its mission is to maintain international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
  • The U.N. initially had just 51 member states; today, the organization, which is headquartered in New York City, has 193 members.
  • António Guterres, a Portuguese politician and diplomat is serving as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • UN is made up of the
    • Main Organs established by the Charter of the United Nations
    • Specialized agencies &
    • Funds & Programmes established by the General Assembly

MAIN BODIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS

 

UN Secretariat

  • It undertakes the day-to-day work of the UN, administering and managing the programmes and policies.
  • The Secretariat carries out the substantive and administrative work of the United Nations as directed by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the other organs.
  • The Secretariat has an important role in setting the agenda for the deliberative and decision-making bodies of the UN (the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Security Council), and the implementation of the decision of these bodies.
  • It is headed by the UN Secretary-General, aided by a staff of international civil servants.

UN-General Assembly  

  • It is the main deliberative organ and composed of all member states, each of which has one vote.
  • It provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of international issues including peace and security
  • The mandate of UNGA is to discuss, debate, and make recommendations on subjects pertaining to international peace and security, including development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the peaceful arbitration of disputes between nations
  • It considers reports from the other four organs of the United Nations, assesses the financial situations of member states, and approves the UN budget, its most concrete role. 
  • The United Nations General Assembly is headed by President of the United Nations General Assembly.
  • The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on a yearly basis.
  • The President presides over the sessions of the General Assembly.

 

Sessions- The assembly meets in Regular session (annually from Sep to Dec), Special session and Emergency Special Session (within 24 hours) at the request of UN Security Council or majority of members or one-member state if the majority of states concur

Appointments by UNGA - It appoints Secretary General of UN based on the recommendations given by Security Council.  General Assembly elects Non-Permanent members in Security Council and elects Members for Social and Economic Council

Along with Security Council, General Assembly elects Judges to International Court of Justice.

Membership -There are 193 UN member states, each with a vote in the General Assembly.

The assembly’s president changes with each annual session and is elected by the body itself.

Notable actions in the past

  • In 1948, it promulgated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which contained 30 articles outlining global standards for human rights.
  • In 1950, it initiated “Uniting for Peace” resolution which states that if UNSC fails to exercise its primary responsibilityfor maintaining international peace and security, UNGA should take up the matter itself and urge collective action. 
  • In 2000, it set forth the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a time bound and measurable targets for reducing poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and improving access to primary education.
  • In 2015,in New York, the UN under its transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development adopted 17 SDG(sustainable development goals ) with 169 monitorable targets
  • In 2012, UNGA voted to denounce the Syrian government for atrocities since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011.
  • In 2014, Crimea’s referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia was held invalid by the UNGA by adopting a nonbinding resolution. It also held that Russia‟s annexation of Crimea is illegal.

Budget of the UN

  • United Nation is funded by its member states through compulsory and voluntary contributions.
  • The size of each state’s compulsory contribution depends mainly on its economic strength, though its state of development and debt situation are also considered.
  • Member countries can make voluntary contribution to UNESCO, WHO, UN Programmes and Funds such as Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

REFORMS NEEDED

  • The United Nations often becomes a battleground for power politics based on contributions. The developed world in the past and china off late is using its economic clout to arm-twist the UN.
  • It is in this context, a suggestion to levy tobin tax on trade is made by experts that could be used to finance UN and ensure its impartial functioning.

 

Tobin Tax

  • A proposed tax on international financial transactions, especially speculative currency exchange transactions.
  • It was put forward in 1972 by the Nobel-prize winning economist James Tobin.
  • In context of the United Nations, this tax can aid in its impartial functioning.

 

  • Adoption of Resolution: Resolution in GA can be adopted in two ways i.e. reaching consensus among member states and by voting on the resolution.  Consensus- All member states have agreed to adopt the text of a draft resolution without taking a vote.
  • Consensus is not reached, even if just one Member State requests a vote.
  • It is important to note that consensus does not mean that all Member States agree on every word in the draft resolution and they still have reservation about certain parts.  Thus, the viewpoint of every member countries is taken into consideration. This process is inclusive in nature.
  • Voting -It need to get a simple majority to agree on the text of a resolution that is generally procedural in nature.

 

Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

  • The Responsibility to Protect (R2P or RtoP) is a global political commitment which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit in order to address its four key concerns to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity
  • The principle of the Responsibility to Protect is based upon the underlying premise that sovereignty entails a responsibility to protect all populations from mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations.
  • The Responsibility to Protect provides a framework for employing measures that already exist (i.e., mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctions, and chapter VII powers) to prevent atrocity crimes and to protect civilians from their occurrence

 

Recent Developments

  • Recently, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution, calling for global cooperation to ensure ‘equitable and fair’ access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment for all nations to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The resolution titled 'Global solidarity to fight the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19)' was the first such document on the global pandemic to be adopted by the world organisation.
  • The resolution called for "intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic, including by exchanging information, scientific knowledge and best practices and by applying the relevant guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.
  • The resolution aims to prevent any undue stockpiling of essential medical supplies.
  • Encourages member states to work in partnership with all relevant stakeholders to increase research and development funding for vaccines and medicines.
  • Called to bolster coordination with the private sector towards rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of diagnostics, antiviral medicines, personal protective equipment and vaccines, adhering to the objectives of efficacy, safety, equity, accessibility, and affordability.

United Nations Security Council

  • The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter. 
  • The council has 15 members: 5 Permanent - US, UK, Russia, France & China and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for 2-year terms.
  • The main criterion for eligibility is contribution “to the maintenance of international peace and security”, often defined by financial or troop contributions to peacekeeping operations or leadership on matters of regional security.
  • Equitable geographical distribution is also taken in to account for membership - African Group (3), Asia-Pacific Group (2), Latin American and Caribbean Group (2), Western European and Others Groups (WEOG)(2)and Eastern European Group (1).  Arab states are given 1 seat alternately drawn from either Africa’s quota or Asia’s by informal agreement.  Turkey and Israel, which has never served on the council, is represented in WEOG
  • While other organs of the UN can only make recommendations to member states, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions on member states.  All the members have one vote and permanent members have veto power.

 

VETO POWER

The United Nations Security Council "veto power" refers to the power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to veto any "substantive" resolution.

  • This veto power does not apply to "procedural" votes, as determined by the permanent members themselves
  • The veto power is controversial. Supporters regard it as a promoter of international stability,a check against military interventions, and a critical safeguard against US domination.
  • Critics say that the veto is the most undemocratic element of the UN, as well as the main cause of inaction on war crimes and crimes against humanity, as it prevents UN action against notable human rights abuses of nations like China, Russia, Israel and the United States.

 

  • Decisions on procedural matters should have vote of at least 9 of the 15 members and decision on substantive matters require nine votes and the absence of negative vote by any of the 5 permanent members. 
  • Veto powers of P5 countries have been used most frequently by Russia, blocking 123 resolutions since the council’s founding.
  • China used it 9 times, it was used 18 times by France,32 times by UK and 83 times by united states.  Most recently, in 2018, the U.S vetoed a resolution condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths during border protests in Gaza.
  • The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically among 15 members every month.

Proposed Reforms in UNSC 

The demands for reform of the UNSC are based on five key issues:

  1. Categories of membership (permanent, non-permanent).
  2. The question of the veto.
  3. Regional representation.
  4. The size of an enlarged Council and manner of its working.
  5. The relationship between the Council and General Assembly.

Notably, any reform of the Security Council would require the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states. Importantly, the agreement of all the permanent members of the UNSC enjoying the veto right is also required.

Issue  with the  reforms

  • An informal “coffee club” comprising 40 odd member states, mostly middle sized states (Italy, Spain, Canada, South Korea, Argentina and Pakistan) consistently opposes any reform in the council without a broad consensus.
  • The permanent members are non committal towards any reforms as it will lead to withering of their power.
  • The power dynamics between the P3(USA,UK,France) and P2(Russia and China) is also a big hindrance in any meaningful reform getting through the UNSC chambers.
  • The status quo nature of the existing council and obstinate obstruction by the coffee club is proving detrimental to the idea of the Security Council reflecting the realities of today.

 

INDIA AND THE UNSC

  • India won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group at the UN in support of its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC for a 2-year term in 2021-22.
  • It was elected to the  non-permanent seat at the UNSC for the 8th time with 184 votes of 193
  • As active member of G4, it consistently voices its support for reform of the council.

The G4 nations comprise of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan. The four countries collaborate to support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • India got re-elected as Non-permanent Members of UNSC with 184 out of the 192 valid votes polled in its favour.
  • India begins its term at the beginning of 2021 and will hold the position until the end of 2022.
  • The two-year term will begin on 1 January 2021, and along with India — Ireland, Mexico and Norway were also elected to the council.
  • India was the sole candidate from the Asia-Pacific region vying for a non-permanent membership. Its candidature was unanimously endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group in June last year.
  • This is the eighth time India has been elected a non-permanent member of the UNSC. Previously, it has been elected as a member for the period of 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.

UN Peacekeeping

  • Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peace Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace".
  • The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security.
  • So far India has taken part in 43 Peacekeeping missions with a total contribution exceeding 180,000 troops and a significant number of police personnel having been deployed.
  • In 2014 India is the third largest troop contributor country [TCC] with 7,860 personnel deployed with ten UN Peacekeeping Missions of which 995 are police personnel, including the first Female Formed Police Unit under the UN
  • The 7 Garhwal Rifles Infantry Battalion Group was awarded the United Nations Medal for "selfless service" in the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

 

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • It is the principal organ responsible for guiding sustainable development policies and coordinating the activities of several UN units and organisations working on development and social and economic issues.
  • It is the principle body for the implementation of internationally agreed development goals
  • It has 54 members, which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term.  Seats in the council are allocated based on geographical representation.11 of them are allotted to Asian states.
  • For the nations to be the elected as members of ECOSOC for a three-year term, it needs 2/3rdmajority of UN General Assembly votes.  Each member of the council has one vote and generally voting in the council is by simple majority.
  • The president is elected for a one-year term. 

 

India and the ECOSOC

  • In 2018, India got elected to various crucial subsidiary bodies working under ECOSOC such as. Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations (2019-2023) , Commission on Population and Development (2018 – 2021) ,Commission for social development ( 2018-2022) , Commission on crime prevention and criminal justice ( 2019 – 2021)
  • India has won its re-election to ECOSOC for another three-year term. 

 

UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

  • Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime.
  • UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90% of its budget.
  • UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
  • The three pillars of the UNODC work programme are:
    • Field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
    • Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions.
    • Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies.

 

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

  • Established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
  • Headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland
  • The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB).
  • It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
  • It coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.

 

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

  • It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations also called the “World Court”, seated at the Peace Palace, Hague (Netherlands), and the only principal organ of UN to be not located in New York.
  • It settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to the UN and its specialized agencies, cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference, ethnic cleansing, and other issues.
  • It is presided over by 15 judges elected to 9 year terms by the UNGA and the UNSC from a list of people nominated by the national group  in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.  A candidate needs to get an absolute majority in both the chambers i.e. the UNGA and the UNSC.
  • 5 judges are elected every 3 years to ensure continuity within the court and are eligible for re-election.
  • No two judges can be the nationals of the same country.
  • The Court settles legal disputes between nations only and not between individuals, organizations and private enterprises in accordance with international law.
  • If a country does not wish to take part in a proceeding it does not have to do so, unless required by special treaty provisions. Once a country accepts the Court's jurisdiction, it must comply with its decision
  • Other existing international thematic courts, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) are not under the umbrella of the ICJ and it is legally and functionally independent from United Nations.

 

India and the ICJ

  • An Indian justice Dalveer Bhandari was recently re-elected to ICJ in an historic vote that led to the UK Withdrawing its nominee for the court
  • On 8 May 2017, India filed an Application instituting proceedings against Pakistan in respect of a dispute concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 “in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”, who had been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan in April 2017.
  • India contended that Mr. Jadhav had not been informed of his rights under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and that India had been denied access to Mr. Jadhav while he was in detention.
  • The ICJ on 18th May 2017, directed Pakistan to ensure that Mr. Jadhav would not be executed pending a final decision in the case, and to inform the Court of all the measures taken in implementation of that Order. India also was granted consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

 

Trusteeship Council

  • It was formed to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories that had been placed under the administration of Member States, and to prepare the territories for self-government and independence.
  • By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence, with the last nation being Palau. So, UN suspended its operation on 1994, and it continues to exist only on paper.
  • Based on a resolution adopted in May 1994, the Council amended its rules of procedure to drop the obligation to meet annually and agreed to meet as occasion required by its decision or the decision of its President, or at the request of a majority of its members or the General Assembly or the Security Council.
  • Its future role and existence remain dubious given its limited utility on contemporary times.

 

SPECIALIZED AGENCIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Specialized Agencies are independent international organizations which operate with their own rules, membership, organs and financial resources, which were brought under the ambit of the United Nations via negotiated agreements.

1. World Bank group

  • With 189 member countries, world bank group is a unique partnership fighting poverty worldwide through sustainable solutions
  • It comprises of
  1. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
  2. International Development Association (IDA).
  3. International Finance Corporation (IFC).
  4. Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
  5. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

IBRD, IDA and IFC are UN specialized agencies, while MIGA and ICSID are not

  • The IBRD and IDA provide loans at preferential rates to member countries, as well as grants to the poorest countries.
  • IFC established in 1956, provides various forms of financing without sovereign guarantees, primarily to the private sector. 
  • ICSID came into being in 1966, works in tandem with the  governments to reduce investment risk.
  • MIGA, created in 1988, provides insurance against certain types of risk, including political risk, primarily to the private sector.

 

1.1 World bank

  • IBRD and IDA are collectively known as World Bank that provides loans to countries for capital programs.
  • They were created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference in the state of New Hampshire, US
  • MEMBER COUNTRIES- 189 (Republic of Nauru joined in 2016)

  • These member countries or shareholders are represented by a Board of Governors (BOG), who is the ultimate policymakers at the World Bank.

 

REPORTS BY WORLD BANK

Ease of Doing Business Report, Global Economic Prospects, Global Financial Development Report, International Debt Statistics, World Development Report, World Development Indicators, Poverty and Shared Prosperity

 

1.2 International Bank for Reconstruction & Development

  • IBRD is a global development cooperative owned by 189-member countries and it is the largest development bank in the world.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., established in 1944
  • It supports the World Bank Group’s mission by providing loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries.
  • IBRD finances investments across all sectors and provides technical support and expertise at each stage of a project.
  • IBRD places special emphasis on supporting lower-middle-income countries as they move up the economic chain, graduating from IDA to become clients of IBRD.  It will also help coordinating responses to regional and global challenges.

 

2. International Monetary Fund (IMF)

  • The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944.
  • The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • IMF provides loans to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problems. 
  • Unlike development banks, the IMF does not lend for specific projects.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

It is the IMF’s unit of account and not a currency.

  • The currency value of the SDR is determined by summing the values in U.S. dollars, based on market exchange rates, of a SDR basket of currencies
  • SDR basket of currencies includes the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016).
  • The SDR currency value is calculated daily (except on IMF holidays or whenever the IMF is closed for business) and the valuation basket is reviewed and adjusted every five years.
  • The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries

 

IMF over the years

  • During 1973 oil crisis, IMF estimated that the foreign debts of 100 oil-importing developing countries increased by 150?tween 1973 and 1977, complicated further by a worldwide shift to floating exchange rates. IMF administered a new lending program during 1974–1976 called the Oil Facility. Funded by oil-exporting nations and other lenders, it was available to nations suffering from acute problems with their balance of trade due to the rise in oil prices.
  • IMF was one of the key organisations of the international economic system; its design allowed the system to balance the rebuilding of international capitalism with the maximisation of national economic sovereignty and human welfare, also known as embedded liberalism.
  • The IMF played a central role in helping the countries of the former Soviet bloc transition from central planning to market-driven economies.
  • In 1997, a wave of financial crises swept over East Asia, from Thailand to Indonesia to Korea and beyond. The International Monetary Fund created a series of bailouts (rescue packages) for the most-affected economies to enable them to avoid default, tying the packages to currency, banking and financial system reforms.
  • Global Economic Crisis (2008): IMF undertook major initiatives to strengthen surveillance to respond to a more globalized and interconnected world. These initiatives included revamping the legal framework for surveillance to cover spill-overs (when economic policies in one country can affect others), deepening analysis of risks and financial systems, stepping up assessments of members’ external positions, and responding more promptly to concerns of the members.

 

Recent Developments

  • The International Monetary Fund formally selected Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria as the second woman ever to lead the 189-member institution for a five-year term starting on October 1, 2019
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) has proposed to deploy its full 1 trillion US Dollar lending capacity to support countries battling COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The IMF Board has already approved debt relief for 25 of its poorest members.

 

3. International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States , Established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations.
  • Became the first affiliated specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946.
  • It is the only tripartite U.N. agency. It brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men
  • To set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
  • The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. 
  •  The ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.

Core Conventions of the ILO

  • Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
  • Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
  • Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
  • Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
  • Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
  • 8. Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)

 

The Functions of the ILO

  • Creation of coordinated policies and programs, directed at solving social and labour issues.
  • Adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations and control over their implementation.
  • Assistance to member-states in solving social and labour problems.
  • Human rights protection (the right to work, freedom of association, collective negotiations, protection against forced labour, protection against discrimination, etc.).
  • Research and publication of works on social and labour issues.

India and ILO 

  • India is a founding member of the ILO and it has been a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body since 1922.
  • In India, the first ILO Office was started in 1928. The decades of productive partnership between the ILO and its constituents has mutual trust and respect as underlying principles and is grounded in building sustained institutional capacities and strengthening capacities of partners.
  • India has ratified six out of the eight-core/fundamental ILO conventions. These conventions are:
    • Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
    • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
    • Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
    • Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
    • Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
    • Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
  • India has not ratified the two core/fundamental conventions, namely Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).
  • The main reason for non-ratification of ILO conventions No.87 & 98 is due to certain restrictions imposed on the government servants.
  • The ratification of these conventions would involve granting of certain rights that are prohibited under the statutory rules, for the government employees, namely, the right to strike, to openly criticize government policies, to freely accept a financial contribution, to freely join foreign organizations etc.

 

4. Food and Agricultural Qrganization (FAO)

The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

  • Established in 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has its headquarters in Rome, Italy. 
  • it was founded with a goal to provide food security for everyone and assure that people will have access to high-quality food in sufficient quantities to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
  • Every year, the FAO publishes a number of major ‘State of the World’ reports related to food, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural resources.

Role and Functions of Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is a global organisation and its functions can be listed as follows:

World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency that fights hunger by providing food assistance, school meals, cash-based transfers to deprived communities across the globe

  • Helping Governments and Development Agencies coordinate their activities which are targeted to develop and improve agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other water and land resources. 
  • Conducting research and providing technical assistance to various projects related to improving agricultural output and development.
  • Conducting training and educational programs and also collecting and analyzing agricultural data to improve yield and production.
  • The FAO also brings out a number of publications/reports, some of which are, the State of the World, the Global Report on Food Crises, the State of Food and Agriculture, the State of the World’s Forests.
  • Other functions include dealing with matters related to Food and Agriculture around the world. It also executes current and prospective activities of the Organisation including its Programme of Work and Budget, administrative matters and financial management of the Organisation and constitutional matters.

 

India and FAO 

  • FAO council approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021.
  • It has also decided to observe “International Year of Millets‟ in 2023, upon the request from Indian government.
  • India celebrated 2018 as “National Year of Millets‟ and notified millets as nutri-cereals and allowed its inclusion in Public Distribution System (PDS).

 

5. UNESCO

  • UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency responsible for promoting peace, social justice, human rights and international security through International cooperation on educational, science and cultural programs.
  • UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate members.Based in Paris, France, most of its field offices are "cluster" offices that cover three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.
  • It is the successor of the league of nation international  committee on intellectual cooperation and was founded on 16 November 1945.

Cultural Conventions of UNESCO: These conventions have helped in the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the world.

  • Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property (1970)
  • Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972)
  • Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001)
  • Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001)
  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
  • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)
  • UNESCO sponsors many programmes such as in the fields of teacher training, science, promotion of media and press freedom, regional and cultural history, cultural diversity, natural and cultural heritage, translating world literature, human rights, etc.
  • It publishes the Global Education Monitoring report and Gender Parity Index
  • It also leads the Man and Biosphere Programme for protecting Biosphere reserves across the world

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site recognized by UNESCO as having a distinctive cultural or physical significance, and which is considered of outstanding value to humanity. There are more than 1000 heritage sites across 167 nations.

  • The World Heritage Committee is the main body in charge of the implementation the Convention.
  • The site should have an Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for World Heritage nomination.
  • To determine OUV for World Heritage nomination, there are 10 enlisted criteria.  The proposed nomination must satisfy at least one of these ten criteria.
  • Ahmedabad became the first Indian city to get into the list.  Following it, Jaipur became the second city made its entry in to the list.
  • The decision was taken at the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) in the historic city of Baku, Azerbaijan.  With its inclusion, the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites across India has grown to 38, including 30 cultural properties, 7 natural properties and 1 mixed site.
  • Reports published by UNESCO - Global Education Monitoring Report, Science Report, State of the Education Report for India: Children With Disabilities.

UNESCO and India

  • India is a founding member of UNESCO. 
  • The National Commission in India that works with UNESCO (as mandated by UNESCO’s Constitution) is called the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU).
    • The INCCU comes under the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, GOI.
  • UNESCO has its presence in India since 1948 and currently has two offices.
  • India has been continuously re-elected to the Executive Board of UNESCO since 1946.
    • Members are elected for four-year terms.
  • India makes huge contributions to the organisation in the form of funds every year.
  • A UNESCO Category I Institute dedicated to education for peace and sustainable development was established in 2012 and is called the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).
    • Located in New Delhi, It is the first and only category 1 Research Institute in the Asia Pacific and focuses on achieving the SDG 4.7 towards education to foster peaceful and sustainable societies.
  • UNESCO’s most significant work in India relates to the cultural heritage of the country.
    • UNESCO works closely with the Ministry of Culture in this regard.

 

Recent Developments 

  • The United States and Israel have officially quit the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural agency, UNESCO.
  • The two countries have blamed UNESCO for having an anti-Israel bias like criticizing Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, naming ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites and granting full membership to Palestine in 2011.
  • The United States had pulled out of UNESCO in 1984 as well because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The US rejoined in 2003.

 

6. World Health Organization (WHO)

  • World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health was founded in 1948.
  • Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
  • The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

 

Objectives

  • To act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
  • To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate.
  • To provide assistance to the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
  • To promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.

 

Governance

World Health Assembly

  • The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Members.
  • Each Member is represented by not more than three delegates, one of whom is designated by the Member as chief delegate.
  • These delegates are chosen from among persons most qualified by their technical competence in the field of health, preferably representing the national health administration of the Member.
  • The Health Assembly meets in regular annual session and sometimes in special sessions as well.

Functions

  • The Health Assembly determines the policies of the Organization.
  • It supervises the financial policies of the Organization and reviews and approves the budget.
  • It reports to the Economic and Social Council in accordance with any agreement between the Organization and the United Nations.

 

WHO and Covid-19

  • WHO convened international expert networks, covering topics such as clinical management, laboratory and virology, infection prevention and control, mathematical modelling, sero-epidemiology, and research and development for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, which have held frequent teleconferences, starting in early January. These networks include thousands of scientists, medical and public health professionals from around the world.
  • EPI-WIN, WHO’s information network for epidemics, has convened 60 technical webinars, making available 287 expert panellists to more than 13,500 participants, from more than 120 countries and territories, with representation from as many as 460 organizations
  • WHO’s landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines lists 17 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 132 in preclinical evaluation.
  • The Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH) has met 35 times. STAG-IH provides independent advice and analysis to the WHO Health Emergencies Programme on the infectious hazards that may pose a threat to global health security.

Recent Developments 

  • During its 71st World Health Assembly, WHO released its “Saving lives, spending less” report, this report for the first time measured the health and economic benefits of implementing the most cost-effective and feasible interventions to prevent and control NCDs in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
  • Soumya Swaminathan, a Deputy Director-General of the WHO has been named its Chief Scientist.
  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India, was recently elected the Chair of World Health Organization’s Executive Board.
  • The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and advice and facilitate its work.

 

7. International Maritime Organization (IMO)

  • As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. 
  • Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.
  • IMO measures cover all aspects of international shipping – including ship design, construction, equipment, manning, operation and disposal – to ensure that this vital sector for remains safe, environmentally sound, energy efficient and secure.
  • It is the only UN special agency to have its headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is the first ever international organization devoted exclusively to maritime matters.
  • As part of the United Nations family, IMO is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated SDGs.
  • IMO is instrumental in implementation of two conventions, namely, Ballast water management convention (adopted in IMO in 2004 and came into force in September, 2017) and The Bunker convention (adopted in 2001 and came into force in 2008).

 

Ballast Water Management Convention establishes standards and procedures for the management and control of ships' ballast water and sediments.  All ships in international traffic are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard  according to the management plan

Bunker Convention aim is to ensure that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by oil spills, when carried as fuel in ships' bunkers.  It applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States Parties.

 

India and IMO 

  • India has had the  unique privilege of being elected to and serving  the council of the IMO, ever since it started functioning, except for two years during 1983-1984
  • In the 30th session of IMO held in London, India had been re-elected to the council of IMO under “Category B” for two years (2018-2019).

 

8. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

  • It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
  • Its headquarters is located in the Quartier International of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, its infrastructure, flight inspection, prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation.
  • ICAO is distinct from other international air transport organizations, particularly because it alone is vested with international authority, among signatory states

CORSIA

The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation is a global market-based measure adopted by ICAO.  It seeks to offset annual increases in CO2 emissions from international civil aviation above 2020 levels.  As a market-based measure, it  is a policy tool that is designed to achieve environmental goals at a lower cost and in  a more flexible manner than traditional regulatory measures. E.g. Levies, emissions trading systems, and carbon offsetting.  It relies on the use of emissions units to offset the amount of CO2 emissions. One emissions unit represents one tonne of CO2 emissions reduced.  It compares the total CO2 emissions for a year (from 2021 onwards) against a predetermined baseline.  The proposal has been described as "a delicate compromise between all involved in its elaboration. Any international aviation CO2 emissions that exceed the baseline level should implement offsetting measures.  It only applies to international flights. Domestic emissions fall under the purview of UNFCCC, and are covered by the Paris Agreement.

 

9. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories
  • It followed on from the International Meteorological Organization, founded in 1873, a non-governmental organization. Reforms of status and structure were proposed from the 1930s, culminating in the World Meteorological Convention signed on 11 October 1947 which came into force on 23 March 1950. It formally became the World Meteorological Organization on 17 March 1951, and was designated as a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • WMO has a membership of 193 Member States and Territories as of May 2019. The Convention of the World Meteorological Organization was signed 11 October 1947 and established upon ratification on 23 March 1950.
  • Secretariat - Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It also draws world attention to the depletion of the ozone layer

India and WMO

  • India has been designated as a nodal centre for preparing flash-flood forecasts by the WMO.  India will also develop a customised model that can issue advance warning of floods in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
  • The system is called the Flash Flood Guidance System which aims to provide forecasts 6 hours in advance.
  • The WMO says flash floods account for 85% of flooding incidents across the world, causing some 5,000 deaths each year.

 

10. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

  • WIPO is the global forum for Intellectual Property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation
  • It is designed to promote the worldwide protection of both industrial property (inventions, trademarks, and designs) and copyrighted materials (literary, musical, photographic, and other artistic works).
  • Headquarter - Geneva, Switzerland
  • Its mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.

Marrakesh Treaty of WIPO - It facilitates access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired and print disabled.  India was the first country to sign this treaty. EU has recently ratified to ease access to reading material for print-disabled people. With this, the treaty  expands to 70 countries.  The governments that are party to the Marrakesh treaty are obliged to adopt laws authorizing the conversion  of books into accessible formats such as braille, e-text, audio and large print by designated organisations.

 

India and WIPO

  • Union Cabinet has approved the proposal regarding accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty. 
  • The treaty extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.  It is seen as a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, 2016. 

 

11. International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

  • The International Telecommunication Union originally the International Telegraph Union  is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies
  • The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards
  • Founded - 1865, Secretariat - Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The ITU has 193-member states that elect representatives to  the ITU Council. Apart from member countries, ITU currently has a membership of more than 700 private-sector entities.

India and ITU

  • India has been a regular member of the ITU council since 1952 and has been elected as a Member of the ITU Council for another 4-year term (2019-2022).
  • ITU has recently decided to set up the ITU South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre in New Delhi.

 

12. International Fund for Agricultural Development

  • It is an international financial institution and specialized UN agency  based in Rome, the UN‟s food and agriculture hub.

Sahel is the eco-climatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea

  • Setup after “The World Food Conference 1974” which was organized in response to the food crises of 1970s in Sahel Countries of Africa. 
  • IFAD is dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.  It provides low-interest loans and grants to developing countries to finance innovative agricultural and rural development programmes and projects.

 

13. UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

  • The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that assists countries in economic and industrial development
  • It is headquartered at the UN Office in Vienna, Austria, with a permanent presence in over 60 countries
  • Its mission is to promote Inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in was described in the Lima Declaration.
  • The main objectives of UNIDO are,
    • The promotion of industrial growth and technological progress
    • Most effective use of human resources
    • Equitable development through industrialization, industrial development and environmental protection
    • International cooperation in industrial investment and technology       
  • It has a Regional Office in New Delhi
  • It acts as a focal point to promote UNIDO‟s mandate.

 

14. UN World Tourism Organization

  • The United Nation World Tourism Organization is a united nations specialized agency responsible for promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
  • It is the leading international organization in the field of tourism, which promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development, environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to sectors advancing knowledge and tourism policy worldwide
  • The UNWTO Executive Council represents the Organization’s governing body.
  • The executive council take all necessary measures in consultation with the Secretary-General, for implementation of its own decisions and recommendations of the Assembly.

 

UNITED NATIONS - Funds, Programmes and other initiatives

In the manner of working, they are subordinate to the United Nations, however  their activities are more operational and  carried out at field level, they have needs dictated by an environment quite different from that of headquarters-centred administrative agencies.

  • UNCTAD
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was formed specifically to handle the problems of developing countries dealing with trade, investment and development issues. 
  • It support developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively help equip  and help them to deal with the potential drawbacks of greater economic integration.
  • It publishes reports like Trade and Development Report, World Investment Report, The Least Developed Countries Report, World Economic Situation and Prospects.

 

  • UN WOMEN
  • The united nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, also known as UN Women is a UN agency working for empowerment of women
  • It was established in 2010 to improve the coordination and coherence of gender equality and empowerment of women, and promote more effective gender mainstreaming.
  • UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide.
  • UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality, and in all deliberations and agreements linked to the 2030 Agenda. The entity works to position gender equality as fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals, and a more inclusive world.

 

  • UN Habitat
  • The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development.
  • Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.
  • It reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
  • The first UN-Habitat Assembly was held in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat conference) is held once in bi-decennial cycle (1976, 1996 & 2016).
  • Habitat III took place in Quito, Ecuador in 2016 to ratify the “New Urban Agenda”, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.  Habitat III was one of the first UN global summits after the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
  • India had been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat in the year 2017. Accordingly, India presided over the governing council meeting for 2 years (2017-2019).  India is elected as an executive board member in the assembly.   

 

  • UNEP
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
  •  The mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations
  •  Headquarters-Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It honoured PM Narendra Modi with “Champions of the Earth‟ award in the leadership category for his work in championing the International Solar Alliance and for his pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022‟.
  • Reports published - Global Environment Outlook, Emission Gap Report.

 

  • UNDP
  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for them.
  • Headquartered in New York City, the status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly.
  • The UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. The organization operates in 177 countries, where it works with local governments to meet development challenges and develop local capacity.
  • UNDP works with nations on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners. However UNDP offers to help only if the different nations request it to do so.
  • It works internationally to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP was one of the main UN agencies involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all".[The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
  • Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first. That is why the SDGs are designed to bring the world to several life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls
  • The goals are broad based and interdependent. The 17 sustainable development goals each has a list of targets which are measured with indicators.
  • Everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from all of society is necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context.
  • As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is well-placed to help implement the Goals through our work in some 170 countries and territories

RELATED AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • World Trade Organization, as an institution was established in 1995. It replaced General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) which was in place since 1946.
  • Five principles of WTO 

    1. Non-discrimination 
    2. Reciprocity 
    3. Binding and enforceable commitments 
    4. Transparency 
    5. Safety values.
  • Officially commenced under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
  • General Council is the top day-to-day decision-making body. It has representatives from all member governments and also meets, under different rules, as the Dispute Settlement Body.
  • Dispute Settlement Body establishes “panels” of experts to consider a case.  DSB accepts or rejects the panels‟ findings.
  • The panel’s report can only be rejected by consensus in DSB; hence its conclusions are difficult to overturn.

 

WTO Trade Agreements - There are more than different 60 agreements overseen by the WTO. Any country which is accessing to WTO must sign and ratify all WTO agreements, some of them are-

  • Agreement on Agriculture (AoA)
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
  • Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
  • Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
  • Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

 

The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) - was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995. 

  • It aims at reforming trade in agriculture, envisaging a fair and market-oriented system, which improves predictability and stability for both importing and exporting countries.
  • As per the AoA, the WTO Members committed to set tariff bindings to agricultural products and assumed reduction commitments on tariffs, which are contained in each Member’s WTO Schedule of concessions on goods.
  • Domestic Support (Subsidies) - This pillar is based upon the assumption that not all subsidies distort trade to the same extent. The Agreement distinguishes between two categories of domestic support:
    • Domestic support with no, or minimal, distorting effects on trade – not subject to reduction commitments. These were kept in Green Box and Blue Box Measures.
    • Domestic support with distorting effects on trade – subject to limits and reduction commitments. These were kept in Amber Box measures.

The subsidies are categorized under three categories - Green box, Blue box and Amber box subsidies:

  • Green Box Subsidies - Green box subsidies are those subsidies which cause no, or at most minimal, trade distorting effects or effects on production. Since they are permitted in WTO regime, the most developed countries have kept providing subsidies to their farmers.
  • Blue Box Subsidies - Blue Box contains direct payment subsidies which can be increased without limit, so long as payments are linked to production-limiting programs
  • Amber Box Subsidies - All domestic support measures considered to distort production and trade (with some exceptions) fall into the Amber Box and are prohibited. The Amber box subsidies include the direct payment to the farmers to reduce production.

 

Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS), resulting from the Uruguay Round, recognizes that certain investment measures may cause restrictive effects on international trade in goods. Policies such as local content requirements and trade balancing rules that have traditionally been used to both promote the interests of domestic industries and combat restrictive business practices were major focus.

  • The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) requires most-favoured-nation Treatment, market access commitments and national treatment. GATS was agreed upon at the end of the Uruguay Round negotiations with the participation of all Member nations including developing countries.

 

Ministerial Conferences

  • The first Ministerial Conference (i.e. MC1) was held in Singapore in 1996 and the last one (MC11) was organised in Buenos Aires in 2017. All these Ministerial Conferences have evolved prevailing current global trading system.
  • The first ministerial brought forth issues termed as the Singapore issues which signified the priority of the first ministerial. These included trade and investment, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement and trade and competition.
  • The fourth ministerial held in Doha, Qatar culminated in Doha Development Agenda which was a rapprochement between the developed north and developing south.

 

DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Agriculture: The special and differential treatment for developing countries shall be an integral part of all elements of the negotiations to enable developing countries to effectively take account of their development needs, including food security and rural development.

Services: The negotiations on trade in services shall be conducted with a view to promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing and least-developed countries.

It recognizes the work already undertaken in the negotiations, initiated in January 2000 under Article XIX of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the large number of proposals submitted by members on a wide range of sectors and several horizontal issues, as well as on movement of natural persons.

Market access for non-agricultural products:

The negotiations shall take fully into account the special needs and interests of developing and least-developed country participants, including through less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Article XXVIII is of GATT 1994.

Transparency in government procurement:

Recognizing the case for a multilateral agreement on transparency in government procurement and the need for enhanced technical assistance and capacity building in this area, it agreed that negotiations would take place on the basis of a decision to be taken, by explicit consensus.

 

  • With Doha Round seemingly adrift (directionless), the global Great Recession that began in the second half of 2008 led to fears that the world may face a wave of protectionism that the WTO would be powerless to prevent. Negotiations continued after the 2008 global financial crisis with low expectations.
  • The 2013 Ministerial Conference (MC9) in Bali, Indonesia, delivered a significant achievement, the first multilateral agreement since the creation of the WTO
  • This was the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which aims to speed up customs procedures and make trade easier, faster, and cheaper.
  • The ministerial in Nairobi culminated in the adoption of the "Nairobi Package", a series of decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs).
    • Agriculture - Special Safeguard Mechanism for Developing Country Members;
    • Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes;
    • Export Competition;
    • Developed country Members, and developing country Members declaring themselves in a position to do so, shall grant preferential trade arrangements in favour of LDCs, as from 1 January 2016, duty-free and quota-free market access for cotton produced and exported by LDCs.
  • LDC issues - Preferential Rules of Origin for Least Developed Countries;
    • Implementation of Preferential Treatment in Favour of Services and Service Suppliers of Least Developed Countries; and Increasing LDC Participation in Services Trade;
  • The decision in Nairobi builds on the 2013 Bali Ministerial Decision on preferential rules of origin for LDCs.
  • In 2017 Ministerial Conference Buenos Aires (MC11), USA reflected the skepticism toward multilateralism when it blocked agreement on a draft ministerial declaration that would have “reaffirmed the centrality of the multilateral trading system and the development dimension of the organisation’s work”.

 

India and the WTO

  • India suffered a setback at the WTO in a dispute against the US that had challenged its key export subsidy schemes including the one for special economic zones.
  • Its dispute settlement body also ruled in favour of Indian government Domestic Content Requirement (DCR), where solar panel manufacturers were to source solar films domestically. The WTO body found DCR compliant of its rules.

 

  • International Organization for Migration
  • It was established in 1951.
  • The organization acted as an observer to the UN since 1992 and joined the UN system in 2016.
  • Headquarter - Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It works in the field of migration with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
  • The organisation has 166 member countries (including India) and 8 observer states.
  • IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management:
    • Migration and development
    • Facilitating migration
    • Regulating migration
    • Forced migration
  • It aims to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people. 
  • IOM activities that cut across these areas include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants' rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.
  • It publishes the “World Migration Report 2018” in the IOM council held at Geneva

 

  • Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.
  • It was established in the year 1997 with headquarter at The Hague, Netherlands.
  • The OPCW Member States share the collective goal of preventing chemistry from ever again being used for warfare, thereby strengthening international security.
  • It is the implementing body for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.
  • It has membership of 193 countries.
  •  India is a member. Israel has signed but not ratified the Convention.
  •  Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan have neither signed nor acceded.

 

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • The IAEA was established as an autonomous organisation on 29 July 1957. 
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria
  • The main functions of the IAEA are to: encourage and assist research, development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world; establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that such activity assisted by the Agency is not used to further any military purpose
  • IAEA is also the investigating agency under UN mandated, Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (nuclear deal of fair usage signed between the permanent five members of the United Nation Security Council, Germany and Iran)

 

Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA)

  • Signed between P5 + 1 (USA, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and EU) and Iran.
  • This nuclear deal or JCPOA seeks to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon — something Iran insists it does not want to do — by putting curbs on its atomic programme in exchange for economic incentives.
  • As per the deal, Iran reduced the number of its centrifuges used for enriching uranium by two-thirds, restricted its uranium enrichment to 3.67%, and removed the core of its heavy water facility in Arak.
  • The nuclear deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted on July 20, 2015.
  • Iran’s compliance with the nuclear-related provisions of the JCPOA is verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) according to certain requirements set forth in the agreement.
  • Following the issuance of an IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended.
  • 15-year term: After the 15 years, the treaty will come to its term; then the extraordinary restrictions will no longer be applicable

 

India and IAEA:

  • India has ratified an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means that its civilian reactors are under IAEA safeguards and open for inspections.
  • Currently, 26 Indian nuclear facilities are placed under IAEA Safeguards.

 

OTHER UN AGENCIES

UN-HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (UNHRC)

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
  • The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC assesses the human rights situations in all UN Member States by taking into account information from different sources including the NGOs.
  • UNHRC has 47 seats with a term of 3 years. No member may occupy a seat for more than 2 consecutive terms.
  • It meets 3 times a year to examine human rights violations worldwide.  Its resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral authority.

India and UNHRC

  • India was elected as a member in the beginning of January 1, 2019, in the Asia-Pacific category with highest number of votes among all candidates.
  • India also regularly voices its concerns on events happening around the world that seeks to threaten international peace and amity.

 

UNCITRAL

  • The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. 
  • A legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 50 years, UNCITRAL's business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business.
  • Headquarters in New York and at the Vienna International Centre at Vienna
  • The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the General Assembly in 1966 (Resolution 2205(XXI) of 17 December 1966). 

Recent Developments –

A deliberation on resolution of commercial disputes was convened by UNCITRAL in New York recently. India is also a part of this deliberation.  It has formulated principles on which countries should recognise and enforce mediation agreements arising from cross-border disputes.

  • UNICEF CRYPTOCURRENCY FUND
  • It is a special program of the United Nations devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.
  • It became first UN organisation to hold and make transactions in cryptocurrencies ether and bitcoin. It will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world.

 

  • GLOBAL COMPACT FOR MIGRATION
  • It is the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of UN to cover all dimensions of migration.
  • The agreement was signed in the UNGA by adopting a political declaration “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” in 2016.
  • It is framed consistent with one of the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which member States have committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.
  • The pact is not binding on member countries. All the 193 member countries of UNGA are part of the global pact for migration.

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants

The New York Declaration reaffirms the importance of the international refugee regime and contains a wide range of commitments by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.

It has paved the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018: a global compact on refugees and a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

 

  • UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT
  • It is a voluntary initiative to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN  goals
  • Building resilient infrastructure and fostering innovation thereby ensuring sustainable economic development.

 

INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

1. International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
  • The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force.
  • The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC's foundational and governing document.
  • States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC.
  • India is not a party to ICC.

 

Recent Developments

  • In 2014, the ICC charged the Kenyan President of crimes against humanity, relating to the death of hundreds in the 2007 post-election ethnic violence.  This ruling convicted the former Vice President of DRC in 2016 and handed an 18-year sentence.
  • In 2019, former President of Ivory Coast was acquitted of crimes against humanity.

 

2. Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • The PCA is not a court "in the traditional sense" but provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise out of international agreements between member states, international organizations or private parties.
  • The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.
  • The organization is not a United Nations agency, but is an official United Nations Observer.

 

ICC

ICJ

PCA

Established in the year 2002 by Rome Statute

Established in the year 1946 as the principal justice arm of UN

Established in the year 1899

Criminal prosecution of individuals

Provides judgements on contentious opinions between parties, mostly advisory

Serves as a body for international arbitration and other related procedures, including commissions of enquiry and conciliation

Located at the Hague, Netherlands

Located at the Hague, Netherlands

Located at the Hague, Netherlands

Funded by voluntary contributions as it is largely outside ambit of UN

Funded by the UN.

Voluntary contributions and funded on case to case basis by aggrieved parties

 

3. New Development Bank (NDB)

  • The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
  • The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China
  • The first regional office of the NDB is in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The main organs of the bank are:

  • Board of Governors
  • Board of Directors
  • President and Vice-Presidents
  • The New Development Bank has an initial subscribed capital of US$50 billion and an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion
  • All members of UN could be members of the NDB; however the share of the BRICS nations can never be less than 55% of voting power.

 The main objectives of the NDB can be summarized as follows

  1. Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact in member countries.
  2. Establish an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks.
  3. Build a balanced project portfolio giving a proper respect to their geographic location, financing requirements and other factors.

Recent Developments

  • NDB’s first non-sovereign project was a $200 million loan to Brazil’s Petrobras for an environmental protection scheme and the second a $200 million loan to South Africa’s Transnet to reconstruct a port in Durban.

Contingent Reserve Arrangement

Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is a framework for the provision of support through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures. It was established in 2015 by the BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The legal basis is formed by the Treaty for the establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, signed at Fortaleza, Brazil on 15 July 2014

The objective of this reserve is to provide protection against global liquidity pressures

The CRA is generally seen as a competitor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and along with the New Development Bank is viewed as an example of increasing South-South cooperation

 

4. Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966
  • HQ - Manila, Philippines
  • ADB now has 67 members of which 48 from within Asia and Pacific while remaining 19 from outside.  The bank admits member countries from Asian region and non-regional developed countries.
  • As of 31 December 2016, Japan holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.677%, closely followed by United States with 15.567?pital share. China holds 6.473%, India holds 6.359%, and Australia holds 5.812%.

Focus areas

  • Eighty percent of ADB's lending is concentrated public sector lending in five operational areas.
  • Education – Most developing countries in Asia and the Pacific have earned high marks for a dramatic rise in primary education enrollment rates in the last three decades, but daunting challenges remain, threatening economic and social growth.
  • Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management – Environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for economic growth and poverty reduction in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Finance Sector Development – The financial system is the lifeline of a country's economy. It creates prosperity that can be shared throughout society and benefit the poorest and most vulnerable people.
    • Financial sector and capital market development, including microfinance, small and medium-sized enterprises, and regulatory reforms, is vital to decreasing poverty in Asia and the Pacific.
    • This has been a key priority of the Private Sector Operations Department (PSOD) since 2002. One of the most active sub-sectors of finance is the PSOD's support for trade finance. Each year the PSOD finances billions of dollars in letters of credit across all of Asia and the rest of the world.
  • Infrastructure, including transport and communications, energy, water supply and sanitation, and urban development.
  • India is a founding member and the 4thlargest shareholder.
  • ADB is developing New Delhi as a regional hub for its operations in South Asia

 

South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)

  • Established in 2001, the SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • The seven-member SASEC comprises India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program, which has supported around 50 projects in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Bringing regional cooperation to a higher level, the SASEC OP plans to extend physical linkages not only within SASEC but also with East and Southeast Asia by the next decade.

 

5. Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB)

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The bank currently has 82 members as well as 20 prospective members from around the world. The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015.
  • The bank was proposed by China in 2013] and the initiative was launched at a ceremony in Beijing in October 2014. It received the highest credit ratings from the three biggest rating agencies in the world, and is seen as a potential rival to the World Bank and IMF.
  • It has authorized capital of US 100 billion dollars and subscribed capital of USD 50 billion.
  • China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders of AIIB with voting shares are 26.06%, 7.5% and 5.92% respectively.  US & Japan are not its members
  • It aims to stimulate growth and improve access to basic services by furthering interconnectivity and economic development in the region through advancements in infrastructure.

India & AIIB 

  • Power transmission and distribution projects in Assam, metro rail projects in Chennai, Mumbai and rural  water supply system in Karnataka, major irrigation and flood management project in West Bengal, 250MW solar project in Rajasthan, Mumbai urban transport project etc are some of the projects sponsored by AIIB.
  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) Board of Directors has approved a loan of USD500 million to support India’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 by strengthening the preparedness of the country’s national health system. The project is funded by AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility created to adapt to urgent financing needs of the Bank’s members impacted by the pandemic.

 

ADB

AIIB

NDB

Established in the year 1966

Established in the year 2016

Established in the year 2014

It is a regional development bank focussed on developmental activities and its promotion that includes education, housing etc.

a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region

Promote infrastructure and sustainable development projects with a significant development impact

Located at the Manila, Philippines

Located at the Beijing, China

Located at the  Shanghai, China

ADB now has 67 members of which 48 from within Asia and Pacific, including India

The bank currently has 82 members including India

Being part of BRICS, India is an invaluable member

 

6. European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD)

  • It was set up after the fall of the Berlin wall to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe
  • Headquarter – London, UK.
  • ts initial focus was on the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Gradually, it expanded to support more than 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia in their development.The biggest shareholders of EBRD are from the United States. The member countries of EBRD are distributed over five continents besides Europe. They are Australia, Africa, Asia, North America.
  • The mandate of the EBRD works only in those countries that are committed to democratic principles. It does not finance stand-alone gambling facilities, substances banned by international law, selected alcoholic products, defence-related activities and the tobacco industry.
  • EBRD is owned by 66 countries and two EU institutions i.e EU & EIB(European Investment Bank)
  • EBRD's core operations pertain to private sector development in their countries of operation

 

7. UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON LAW OF SEAS (UNCLOS)

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is an international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
  • The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced the quad-treaty 1958 Convention on the High Seas.
  • 167 countries plus the UN Observer state Palestine, as well as the Cook Islands, Niue and the European Union have joined in the Convention.
  • UNCLOS  serves as a parent convention to
    • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    • International Seabed Authority
    • Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
  • The convention gives a clear definition on Internal Waters, Territorial Waters, Archipelagic Waters, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone, and Continental Shelf.
  • Mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction is regulated through an International Seabed Authority and the Common heritage of mankind principle.
  • According to UNCLOS, Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.  Ships and aircraft of all countries are allowed "transit passage" through straits used for international navigation. 

  • Coastal States have sovereign rights in EEZ with respect to natural resources and certain economic activities, and exercise jurisdiction over marine science research and environmental protection.
  • All other States have freedom of navigation and over flight in the EEZ, as well as freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines.
  • Land-locked and geographically disadvantaged States have the right to participate on an equitable basis in exploitation of an appropriate part of the surplus of the living resources of the EEZ's of coastal States of the same region or sub-region.
  • All marine scientific research in the EEZ and on the continental shelf is subject to the consent of the coastal State, but in most cases, they are obliged to grant consent to other States when the research is for peaceful purposes.  Disputes can be submitted to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established under the Convention, to the International Court of Justice, or to arbitration.
  • The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction over deep seabed mining disputes.

 

8. International Seabed Authority (ISBA)

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA)  is an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica
  • established to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world's oceans
  • It is an organization established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • It has obtained its observer status in the United Nations.
  • UNCLOS defines the international seabed area as “the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction”.
  • It helps in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

India and ISBA

  • India was re-elected as a member of the Council of ISBA (2017-2020).
  • India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin have also been extended by 5 years.  India through the Ministry of Earth Sciences is implementing a programme on exploration of Polymetallic nodules.

 

9. International Tribunal for law of Seas (ITLOS)

  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Seais an independent judicial body established by the UNCLOS to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the UNCLOS Convention
  • Headquarters - Hamburg, Germany.
  • The Tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea
  • The Tribunal is open to  both states and non-state  parties to the Convention  It is also open to intergovernmental organisations which are not parties to the Convention and also private entities
  • Dr. Neeru Chadha has become the first Indian woman to be elected as a judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas (ITLOS).

 

10. International whaling commission (IWC)

  • The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is an international body set up by the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW),
  • The convention seeks to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry
  • The main duty of the IWC is to keep under review and revise as necessary the measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which govern the conduct of whaling throughout the world.
  • HQ - Impington, near Cambridge, England.
  • India is a member of IWC.
  • Aboriginal subsistence hunting is allowed in several countries including the US, Russia, Greenland, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean for people who are historically and culturally depend on whale for subsistence and not for profit.
  • In 1982 the IWC adopted a moratorium on  commercial whaling and is binding on all the members.

 

Japan and IWC

  • Japan recently announced its withdrawal from IWC and resumes commercial whaling.
  • Whale hunting was banned in 1986 by the IWC due to dwindling whale populations, with a worldwide moratorium placed on the practice to allow the species to rebound.  But Japan then began what it called scientific whaling.
  • Japan has been whaling in her own waters every year, despite the moratorium on whaling in 1986.
  • Iceland and Norway are the only other nations which allow commercial whaling.

 

11. Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES)

  • It is an intergovernmental institution registered with UN, for the generation and application of early warning information.
  • It operates from its regional early warning centre located at campus of Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand.
  • It seeks to establish regional early warning system within multi-hazard framework for generation and communication of early warning information and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards.
  • It provides information related to Tsunami and extreme weather conditions. It also acts as a test bed for emerging technologies and help to enhance performance

India and RIMES 

  • Odisha government signed a MoU with RIMES for enhancing early warning system for effective management of disasters in the state.
  • It will help state government to integrate new generation digital algorithm-based technologies and best practices from 48 RIMES member countries with the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
  • India is current chair of the body.

 

12. Caspian Sea Breakthrough Treaty

  • Five Caspian Sea states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan) reached a breakthrough agreement on sovereign rights to the sea.
  • This paved the way for new oil and gas extraction and pipelines after more than two decades of disputes.
  • The treaty ends a spat over whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake, granting it special legal status and clarifying the maritime boundaries of each surrounding country.
  • The surface water will be in common usage, meaning freedom of access for all littoral states beyond territorial waters.  But the seabed - which is rich in natural resources - will be divided up. 

  • It also allows each to lay pipelines offshore with consent only from the neighboring states affected, rather than from all Caspian Sea nations.
  • It also removes a legal barrier to building a trans-Caspian gas  pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe.

       

Indian Ocean Dialogue

  • The Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) is a flagship initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • It is originated in the 13th Council of Ministers meeting, held in 2013 in Perth, Australia.
  • The first IOD was held in Kerala, India in 2014
  • Areas of discussion include economic cooperation, maritime safety and security, blue economy, human assistance and disaster relief, etc.

 

13. Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association was set up with the objective of strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean Region    
  • The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them
  • India, Australia, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, Madagascar, UAE, Yemen, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros and Oman are among the members of IORA.
  • Pakistan is not a member.
  • Maldives has become the latest member
  • The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.

India and IORA

  • India hosted the 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial meet in 2018.
  • It has adopted "Delhi Declaration on Renewable Energy in the Indian Ocean Region"
  • The declaration stipulates that IORA member nations will collaborate with the ISA member nations to exchange knowledge and share potential interests in the renewable energy sector.

 

14. Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

  • It is a voluntary initiative among the navies and maritime security agencies of the member nations    
  • Members - Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Eritrea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand & Timor  Observer - China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
  • The Chairmanship rotates for every 2 years. Iran assumes chairmanship (2018-2020) and France will assume in 2020.     
  • The theme for the 10th anniversary seminar is “IONS as a Catalyst for SAGAR” i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) is in consonance with India’s Act East‟ policy and the nation’s diplomatic, economic and military outreach in the region.

 

15. Nuclear suppliers Group (NSG)

  • Originally called “London Club”, a voluntary, non-legally binding export control regime founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in 1974
  • It is a Group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  • Not a formal organization and its guidelines are not binding. Decisions, including on membership, are made by consensus.
  • It has 48 members with European Commission and the Chair of Zangger Committee as observers.

The Zangger Committee, also known as the Nuclear Exporters Committee, sprang from Article III of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which entered into force on March 5, 1970. Under the terms of Article III International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards must be applied to nuclear exports.

 

Criteria for membership:

  • The ability to supply items (including items in transit) covered by the annexes to Parts 1 and 2 of the NSG Guidelines;
  • Adherence to the Guidelines and action in accordance with them;
  • Enforcement of a legally based domestic export control system which gives effect to the commitment to act in accordance with the Guidelines;
  • Full compliance with the obligations of one or more of nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
  • Support of international efforts towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery vehicle.

India and NSG

  • After India U.S Civil Nuclear Agreement, India has been trying to become a member. But its membership has been blocked by China consistently
  • India should convince China that, its interest in NSG membership is not guided by any political or strategic considerations but only to facilitate the expansion of its clean and green nuclear energy programme.no decision in NSG is taken without consensus.

 

16. Wassenaar Arrangement

  • It promotes transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
  • It came into being in 1996 to succeed the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls.
  • Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
  • Members - 42 countries.
  • India joined as the 42nd member.
  • China is not a member.

 

17. Australia Group

  • It oversees that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
  • Coordination of national export control measures assists Australia Group participants to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to the fullest extent possible.
  • Delegations representing the countries meet every year in Paris.
  • It has 43 members including India
  • China is not a member

 

18. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

  • It was established in 1987 at the behest of Japan
  • It aims to limit the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems that could be used for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks.
  • mission is to coordinate national export licensing efforts aimed at preventing proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction
  • It seeks to restrict the exports of missiles and related technologies of any type of weapon of mass destruction
  • It has 35 members including India.
  • China is not a member

 

19. Hague code of conduct (HCOC)

  • The International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, also known as the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC), was established on 25 November 2002 as an arrangement to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
  • The HCOC is the only multilateral code in the area of disarmament which has been adopted over the last years. It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles. The HCOC does not ban ballistic missiles, but it does call for restraint in their production, testing, and export.
  • As agreed by the conference in The Hague, Netherlands serves as the Immediate Central Contact (Executive Secretariat) and therefore coordinates the information exchange of the HCOC.
  • Since the signing and entering into force of the HCOC Code in November 2002 in The Hague, (Netherlands) the number of signatories has increased from 96 to 138 members.
  • India, which joined on 1 June 2016, is the latest signatory of the HCOC.
  • China is not a member.

 

20. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

  • The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States. Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction. 
  • The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.
  • Some chemicals which have been used extensively in warfare but have numerous large-scale industrial uses such as phosgene are highly regulated.
  • Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement.  Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.

India and CWC

  • As a signatory, India enacted Chemical Weapons Convention Act in 2000.
  • It defines chemical weapons and empowers the Centre to set up a National Authority.
  • It defines chemical weapons as toxic chemicals, including munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm. 
  • The definition includes in its ambit “any equipment” specifically designed for employing chemical weapons.

 

21. UN Disarmament Commission

  • The United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) is a United Nations commission under the United Nations General Assembly which primarily deals with issues relating to Disarmament.
  • The commission works under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Security Council and its mandate included: preparing proposals for a treaty for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments, including the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
  • It reports annually to General Assembly

Conference on Disarmament

  • The Conference on Disarmament (CD) is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements
  • Based at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Conference meets annually in three separate sessions in Geneva.
  • All decisions of the body must be agreed upon by consensus according to the rules and procedures of the conference

 

22. Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty)

  • Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, abbreviation INF Treatynuclear arms-control accord reached by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 in which those two nations agreed to eliminate their stocks of intermediate-range and shorter-range (or “medium-range”) land-based missiles (which could carry nuclear warheads).
  • It was the first arms-control treaty to abolish an entire category of weapons systems.
  • In 2014, the US alleged that Russia violated the treaty and it has deployed the non-compliant missile.
  • On August 2 2019, the US formally exited from the treaty.
  • The reasons cited by Trump administration is Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system—the SSC-8 or 9M729 ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile.

 

23. International Disability Alliance

  • The International Disability Alliance (IDA) was established in 1999 as a network of global and regional organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and their families.
  • IDA was a key player in the negotiation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
  • The Alliance aims to promote the effective and full implementation of the UN CRPD worldwide.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy full equality under the law.

 

24. World Travel and Tourism Council

  • It is a forum for the travel and tourism industry,  made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the industry
  • Headquarters – London
  • It is known as the forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the travel and tourism industry worldwide.
  • It publishes research in conjunction with Oxford Economics on the economic and social impact of the industry.

 

25. APRACA

  • The Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) aims to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of rural finance and access to sustainable financial services for small farmers in its member countries.
  • Currently, APRACA has members in over 23 countries, and it acts to promote the exchange of information and expertise on rural finance between them.
  • It also provides rural finance-related training, consultancy, and research publications to assist them.
  • They were established to provide financial services to small farmers and rural people in general.
  • All the three credit associations were established, with the help of FAO, following the 1975 World Conference on Agricultural Credit.
  • Recently APRACA co-hosted 6th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance along with NABARD in New Delhi.

 

26. World Gold Council

  • The World Gold Council is the market development organization for the gold industry
  • Headquartered in London, UK
  • It works across all parts of the industry, from gold mining to investment, and their aim is to stimulate and  sustain demand for gold
  • They frequently publish research that demonstrates gold’s strength as a preserver of wealth both for investors and countries.
  • WGC recently released Gold Demand Trends Report, which highlights that Gold is the third most consistently bought investment, 46% of global retail investors have chosen gold products, behind savings accounts (78%) and life insurance (54%).

 

INTERNATIONAL GROUPS

  1. Commonwealth of Nations
  • The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth,[3] is a political association of 54 member states, nearly all former territories of the British Empire.

  • Member states have no legal obligation to one another.
  • Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, free speech, human rights, and the rule of law.
  • Every two years, member countries meet to discuss issues affecting the Commonwealth and the wider world at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
  • All members have an equal voice, regardless of size or economic stature.
  • Some members treat resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries preferentially to citizens of non-Commonwealth countries.  Britain and several others, mostly in the Caribbean, grant the right to vote to Commonwealth citizens who reside in those countries.  In non-Commonwealth countries in which their own country is not represented, Commonwealth citizens may seek consular assistance at the British embassy.

Recent Developments

  • The Maldives has recently re-joined the Commonwealth as 54th member, reversing its earlier policy of isolation.
  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international nongovernmental organization, headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The organization works for the practical realization of human rights across the Commonwealth.
  • In 1987, several Commonwealth associations founded CHRI as a response to South Africa’s policy of racism.  These groups felt that while member countries had a common set of values and legal principles from which to work and a forum within which to promote human rights, there was relatively little focus on human rights issues. 
  • CHRI's objectives are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other internationally recognized human rights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in member states.

 

28. European Union(EU)

  • The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe.
  • The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. 

  • EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on trade agriculture, fisheries and regional development.
  • The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome
  • The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union in 1993 and introduced European citizenship.
  • Schengen Agreement (1985) paved the way for the creation of open borders without passport controls between most member states. It came into effective in 1995.
  • Containing in 2020 some 5.8% of the world population, the EU (excluding the United Kingdom) had generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$15.5 trillion in 2019.

 

The Treaty of Lisbon 2007

On 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty entered into force and reformed many aspects of the EU. In particular, it changed the legal structure of the European Union, merging the EU three pillars system into a single legal entity provisioned with a legal personality, created a permanent President of the European Council.

 

The Maastricht Treaty-1992

The Maastricht Treaty also called the Treaty on European Union was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands to further European integration.

  • European Communities (ECSC, EAEC, and EEC) incorporated as European Union.
  • European citizenship was created, allowing citizens to reside in and move freely between Member States.
  • A common foreign and security policy was established.
  • Closer cooperation between police and the judiciary in criminal matters was agreed.
  • It paved the way for the creation of a single European currency – the euro. It was the culmination of several decades of debate on increasing economic cooperation in Europe.
  • It established the European Central Bank (ECB).
  • It enabled people to run for local office and for European Parliament elections in the EU country they lived in.

 

To become a member, a country must meet the Copenhagen criteria, of the European Council which requires a stable democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law; a functioning market economy; and the acceptance of the obligations of membership, including EU law.

  • On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom became the first member state to leave the EU.
  • After strenuous negotiations and multiple resignations, Brexit became a reality.

 

BREXIT

Following a UK-wide referendum in June 2016, in which 52% voted to leave and 48% voted to remain in the EU, the British government formally announced the country's withdrawal in March 2017, beginning the BREXIT process.

  • The withdrawal was delayed by deadlock in the UK Parliament after the general election which was held in June 2017 resulted in an unexpected hung parliament which then led to three subsequent extensions of the Article 50 process and was only resolved after a subsequent general election was held in December 2019.
  • Following the outcome, the UK Parliament finally ratified the withdrawal agreement, and the UK left the EU at 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020. This began a transition period that is set to end on 31 December 2020, during which the UK and EU are negotiating their future relationship
  • The UK remains subject to EU law and remains part of the EU customs union and single market during the transition, but is no longer part of the EU's political bodies or institutions.

 

Future enlargement of EU

  • Six countries have applied for membership in EU.
  • Candidate Countries - These countries are in the process of 'transposing' (or integrating) EU legislation into national law.
  • They are Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
  • Potential Candidates - Potential candidate countries do not yet fulfil the requirements for EU membership. They are Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008 is not recognised by all EU member countries. 

The European Council gives political direction to the EU.

 

29. Council of Europe

  • It aims to uphold human rights, democracy, and rule of law in Europe and promote European culture
  • It emerged in 1949 from the ashes of World War II and now includes all European countries apart from Belarus, where the council is concerned about the human rights situation, and Kosovo, the independence of which is not recognised by many Council of Europe members.
  • The best-known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the member states.

Issues with the council of Europe

  • There is concern inside and outside the Council of Europe that its work overlaps with that of other pan-European bodies, including the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
  • The EU plans to enhance the role of its anti-racism body to monitor certain types of human rights abuses.
  • Critics accuse the council of being a talking shop with little power, other than mild diplomatic pressure, to halt rights abuses.

 

30. Eurasian Economic Union

  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an international economic union that comprises of countries located in northern Eurasia.
  • The founding member states, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia established the union by treaty and entered into force on January 1, 2015.
  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was created in part in response to the economic and political influence of the European Union and other Western countries.
  • As of May 2018 member states included Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
  • Key objectives of the EAEU include increasing cooperation and economic competitiveness for the member states, and the promotion of stable development in order to raise the standard of living in member states.

 

31. Eastern Economic Forum

  • The Eastern Economic Forum was established by decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It takes place each year in Vladivostok.
  • It serves as a platform for the discussion of key issues in, world economy, regional integration and the development of new industrial and technological sectors.
  • PM in his address to the 5th plenary of EEF launched 'Act Far East' policy and asserted that India will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Russia in its development of the Far East as he announced a $1 billion line of credit for the development of the resource-rich region.
  • The “Far East‟ is the easternmost part of Russia.  The macro-region borders two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic, and 5 countries, China, Japan, Mongolia, the United States and the North Korea.
  • The Far East is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, gold, tungsten, fish and seafood.

 

32. European Free Trade Association

  • It is a bloc comprising of four countries - Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
  • The four EFTA countries are not part of the EU.
  • India EFTA Pact - India and EFTA started negotiating a broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement in 2008, shortly after India started FTA talks with the European Union.
  • The agreement is expected to promote economic ties between the countries.

 

33. North Atlantic Treaty organization(NATO)

  • It is an intergovernmental political and military alliance among 29 independent member countries across North American and European states.
  • HQ - Brussels, Belgium. Founded in 1949
  • The key member States included the United States, Canada, and American allies in Europe.
  • NATO is committed to the principle that an attack against one or several of its members is considered as an attack against all. This is the principle of collective defence, which is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
  • As a response to NATO, the USSR created Warsaw Pact

Issues with NATO

  • Maintaining a united stance on the INF.
  • Managing NATO's role in the Western Balkans.
  • Navigating political tensions in NATO operations.
  • Balancing European ambitions for strategic autonomy.

WARSAW PACT

Signed in 1955, the pact was formed on the immediate aftermath of admitting West Germany to NATO, during cold war.

It is a treaty establishing a mutual-defence organization among then Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

After democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of Soviet Union, the pact was formally dissolved in 1991

 

34. Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok  Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

  • Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
  • The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.

 

AIMS AND PURPOSES

  • To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations;
  • To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter
  • To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields
  • To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres.
  • To promote Southeast Asian studies
  • To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.

 

ASEAN COMMUNITY

  • The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.
  • At the 9th ASEAN Summit in 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established.
  • The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint, and, together with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan Phase II (2009-2015), they form the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015.

 

  • ASEAN shares land borders with India, China, Bangladesh, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea, and maritime borders with India, China, Palau, and Australia.
  • ASEAN plus Three was created to improve existing ties with the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • ASEAN became ASEAN plus Six with additional countries: Australia, New Zealand and India.

ASEAN-led Forums –

  • ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF): Launched in 1993, the twenty-seven-member multilateral grouping was developed to facilitate cooperation on political and security issues to contribute to regional confidence-building and preventive diplomacy.
  • ASEAN Plus Three: The consultative group initiated in 1997 brings together ASEAN’s ten members, China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • East Asia Summit (EAS):  It is a regional premier forum for strategic dialogue.
    • It has 18 members - the 10 ASEAN countries along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the US and Russia.
    • 2018 meet held in Manila included discussion about terrorism and violent extremism, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the situation in Rakhine, cyber security, women's economic empowerment, regional economic integration etc
    • They also meet for ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus meet.

 

35. G7

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is a forum of the seven countries with the world's largest developed economies—France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada—whose government leaders meet annually on international economic and monetary issues.
  • EU is also represented within the G7. Formerly called G8 with Russia in it, but due to Crimean crisis Russia was expelled from the group.
  • The G7 is not an official, formal entity and, therefore, has no legislative or authoritative power to enforce the recommended policies and plans it compiles.
  • G7 summit is being held annually to discuss economic policies, while the G7 finance ministers have met at least semi-annually.
  • India is not a member of the G7 group.
  • As developing nations began to represent a larger part of the global economy, the absence of a forum about international financial matters that included those emerging economies became more glaring.
  • In response, the Group of 20, or G-20 was created in 1999, comprising all the members of the G-7 plus 12 additional countries and the European Union.

 

36. G20

  • It is an international forum that brings together the world's leading industrialised and emerging economies
  • In addition to the United States, those countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey

  • In 2008, amid the throes of the global financial crisis, world leaders upgraded G20 from what used to be an obscure finance ministers' conference into a high-profile meet of powerful heads of government and state to coordinate policies and tackle the worst financial crash since the Great Depression of the 1930
  • Collectively, its members represent more than 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
  • In addition to the member countries, Spain is a permanent guest and always participates in the G20 summits. Every year, the host country also chooses other guests.
  • The group does not have permanent offices or employees.
  • The G20 heads of government or heads of state have annually met at summits, and the group also hosts separate meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors.

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

  • The 14th summit level meeting  of G-20 meeting was held in Osaka, Japan
  • Osaka Track" on the “digital economy" was proposed and sought the participation of G-20 countries unanimously.

The Osaka Track, according to the 50 signatories, is a process for promoting “international policy discussions, inter alia, international rule-making on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce at the WTO."  India, South Africa, and Indonesia have boycotted the “Osaka Track" on the “digital economy"

  • For the first time, India will host the annual G20 summit in 2022.
  • The 6th Parliamentary Speakers‟ Summit of G 20 Countries was recently held in Tokyo, Japan. Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla took part in the meeting highlighting the impact of terrorism on society.
  • Participating in the third Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors via video conference, Indian Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman shared with G20 India's success in using technology-based financial inclusion to make contactless transfers of USD 10 billion to 420 million bank account.
  • On 26 March 2020, the G20 members held an emergency summit via video conference, maintaining social distancing amid COVID-19, in order to plan a coordinated global response against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Chaired by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who is presiding the G20 Summit for 2020, the meeting aimed at finding ways to tackle the economic implications of the virus on global economy, with people losing their jobs and incomes due to lockdowns and curfews imposed across globe
  • The 2020 G20 Riyadh summit will be the fifteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20). It will be held on 21–22 November 2020 in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

 

37. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

  • It is a regional political and economic alliance of six Gulf States i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Headquarter - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Its aim is to achieve ever closer union between the energy rich Gulf countries.
  • It has failed to resolve a diplomatic crisis that continues to grip the region.  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt have imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Qatar since June 2017.

Recent Development

  • The 40th summit was recently held in Riyadh, for second year in a row.  Qatar and GCC - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt imposed a political and  economic boycott of Qatar in June 2017 over allegations that Doha backs terrorism.  Kuwait and the United States have tried to mediate the rift.
  • After 2 years of strained relationship, Qatar’s Prime Minister attended the recent meeting which is the sign of thaw in a regional dispute.  PM is the most senior Qatari to attend the annual gathering since 2017, follows an intensification of efforts to resolve the Gulf dispute.

 

38. Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
  • The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world.
  • Its administrative centre is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • India is not a member to this organisation but was invited to the meeting as a guest of honouring 2019, Pakistan in retaliation skipped the meeting.

 

39. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.

  • Headquarters – Vienna, Austria.
  • Qatar announced its termination of its membership from January 2019.
  • The countries accounted for an estimated 42% of global oil production. Since 2007, OPEC has published the "World Oil Outlook" annually, in which it presents a comprehensive  analysis of the global oil industry including medium- and long-term projections for supply and demand proven" oil reserves.

 

40. International Energy Agency (IEA)

  • The International Energy Agency is a Paris based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
  • The Agency's mandate has broadened to focus on the "3Es" of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. The latter has focused on mitigating climate change. The IEA has a broad role in promoting alternate energy sources (including renewable energy), rational energy policies, and multinational energy technology co-operation.
  • Only OECD member states can become members of the IEA.
  • In 2018, Mexico officially joined IEA as its 30th member country. It is the first Latin American country in IEA. 
  • Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore and Thailand are the associate members of IEA.
  • Reports published by International Energy Agency - Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, World Energy Outlook, World Energy Statistics.

 

41. Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives
  • Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, OECD work on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

  • The OECD member states collectively comprised 62.2% of global nominal GDP (US$49.6 trillion) and 42.8% of global GDP (Int$54.2 trillion) at purchasing power parity in 2017
  • The OECD plays an integral role in promoting economic stability on a global scale. The OECD publishes and updates a model tax convention that serves as a template for allocating taxation rights between countries.
  •  From improving economic performance and creating jobs to fostering strong education and fighting international tax evasion, OECD  provide a unique forum and knowledge hub for data and analysis, exchange of experiences, best-practice sharing, and advice on public policies and international standard-setting.
  • The OECD also maintains a “blacklist” of nations that are considered uncooperative tax havens
  • It also took efforts to eradicate tax avoidance by profitable corporations and in the G-20 countries. It also encourages the G-20 countries to promote tax reforms.
  • The OECD provides its members with a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

 

Recent Developments

  • India recently became the signatory of the Multilateral Instrument (MLI).
  • Multilateral Instrument (MLI) is an agreement put out by OECD to prevent base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).
  • It will help them crack down on abuse of bilateral tax treaties and treaty shopping.  India and 68 other jurisdictions became signatories of MLI.
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently released a research analysis- The Long View: Scenarios for the World Economy to 2060.
  • As per the report by 2060, India, China, and Indonesia combined will represent almost half of the world’s economic output.

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)

It refers to tax planning strategies used by multinational companies to exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules.  The company artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity. In general BEPS strategies are not illegal; rather they take advantage of different tax rules operating in different jurisdictions.

 

42. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  •   It has the capacity to counterbalance North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), therefore, it is sometimes considered as “alliance of the East”, i.e, the Eastern complementary of NATO.
  • SCO has an evolving mandate which started off by being an economic, political, cultural and regional security organization. But with time, the security (military coordination, cyber coordination, etc.) aspect gained prominence)
  • The SCO's main goals are as follows:
    • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states
    • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas
    • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region
    • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.
  • The original purpose of the SCO was to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas bordering both Russia and China.

Recent developments

  • SCO‟s Council of Foreign Ministers was held in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
  • India hosted SCO‟s meeting on Urban Disaster Handling
  • The 5th meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)‟s Heads of Ministries and Department of Science and Technology was held in Russia.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government meeting is set to be held in India at the end of this year (2020). Invitations have been sent to all the member countries including Pakistan for the summit. However, there are apprehensions regarding Prime Minister of Pakistan’s presence at the SCO summit.

 

43. Ashgabat Agreement

  • It aims to create multi modal international transport transit corridor.
  • It has Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as founding members. Kazakhstan joined this arrangement subsequently.  Pakistan joined it in 2016.
  • India has also become member of the agreement. This would enable India to utilize this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.
  • It will enable India to utilize the existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.
  • It would synchronize India’s efforts to implement the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
  • India would get an opportunity to reorient the freight traffic to the transcontinental land routes from the conventional Sea routes
  • The operation of a multi-purpose terminal at Chabahar including India’s plan to build a 610 km north-south railway from Chabahar to Zahedan couldn’t have been realized unless India joined a Central Asian-led transport mechanism

 

44. International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

  • The International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
  • The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.

  • The corridor aims to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, and Bandar Anzali.
  • The main objective of this route are:
    • Increasing effectiveness of transport ties in order to organise goods and passenger transport along the International ‘North–South’ transport corridor
    • The promotion of access to the international market through rail, road, sea, river and air transport of the state Parties

 

India’s Extended Neighbourhood and INSTC

  • One of the significant corners of India’s extended neighbourhood is the Central Asia, with which it aims to re-connect, with our Connect Central Asia policy.
  • INSTC, or International North-South Transport Corridor, receives special mention in India-Central Asia relations.

 

45. Financial Action task Force (FATF)

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.
  • The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
  • With more than 200 countries and jurisdictions committed to implementing them.  The FATF has developed the FATF Recommendations, or FATF Standards, which ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism
  • The FATF reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and continuously strengthens its standards to address new risks, such as the regulation of virtual assets, which have spread as cryptocurrencies gain popularity
  • The FATF monitors countries to ensure they implement the FATF Standards fully and effectively, and holds countries to account that do not comply.
  • Financial Action Task Force decided to put Pakistan on grey list (officially called “Other monitored jurisdictions”) till June, 2020.
  • Putting a country in “grey list” does not involve a direct legal or penal action but involve increased scrutiny from watchdogs, regulators and financial institutions.
  • Now Pakistan is required to submit an action plan to FATF to curb terror financing and money laundering by May 2020.
  • The group can place Pakistan on its blacklist or "Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories" (NCCTs), along with North Korea and Iran if it fails to act appropriately.

Black list

Grey list

  • Countries known as non-cooperatives are put in black list.
  • These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities.
  • Countries that are considered safe havens for terrorist and money laundering
  • The inclusion serves as a warning for the country in question.

 

Asia Pacific Group

  • In 1995 an Asia-Pacific regional office called the "FATF-Asia Secretariat" was established and funded by the government of Australia.  It worked with countries in the Asia-Pacific to generate wide regional commitment to implement anti-money laundering policies.
  • In 1997, the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) was officially established as an autonomous regional anti-money laundering body. 

 

46. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. 
  • APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favourable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region.
  • The 21 Members countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russian and Vietnam.
  • These countries collectively account for nearly 50% of world’s trade and about 57% of GDP.
  • Three official observers - ASEAN, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.
  • It was established due to growing inter dependence among Asia Pacific regions, increasing regional trade blocs, to diffuse growing power of Japan; establish agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.
  • The criterion for membership is that the member is a separate economy, rather than a state and the result of it is the inclusion of Taiwan.

 

47. Asia Pacific trade Agreement (APTA)

  • The Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), is a preferential tariff arrangement that aims at promoting intra-regional trade through the exchange of mutually agreed concessions by member countries.
  • Its current Members are Bangladesh, China, India, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR and Sri Lanka.
  • It is the oldest trade agreement between the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. It is also the first preferential trade agreement between developing countries. It was earlier known as the Bangkok Agreement and was renamed to APTA in 2005
  • The agreement has seven signatories with a combined GDP of US$ 14615 billion and a population of 3 billion people.
  • The main objective of APTA is to speed up economic development in the seven participating states. It aims to liberalize trade and investment which would promote inter-regional trade and strengthen the economies of the participating countries. It also aims to reduce tariff and regulatory barriers for commodities, technology and investments.

 

48. BRICS

  • The acronym "BRICS" was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim O'Neill, of Goldman Sachs, in a report on growth prospects for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China – which together represented a significant share of the world's production and population.
  • In 2006, the four countries initiated a regular informal diplomatic coordination, with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
  • South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.
  • It represents over 40% of the world’s population and accounts for nearly 30% of global GDP.
  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.

Objectives –

  • The BRICS seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development
  • BRICS takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible
  • BRICS is emerging as a new and promising political-diplomatic entity with diverse objectives, far beyond the original objective of reforming global financial institutions.
  • At the Fortaleza Summit (2014), in Brazil, important institutions were created: the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
  • So far, the NDB has approved more than 8 billion-dollars in infrastructure and renewable energy financing projects in the BRICS countries. The CRA is operational and is an important financial stability mechanism for countries affected by crises in their balance of payments.
  • The five-nation group of emerging economies BRICS has agreed to set up an independent BRICS Rating Agency in its efforts to challenge western hegemony
  • It was announced during the 8th BRICS summit held in Goa, India.  BRICS comprises five emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South AfrIca.
  • The BRICS Rating Agency will be based on market-oriented principles to strengthen the global governance architecture.
  • It will be launched as per the shared vision of the BRICS nations for institution-building to transform global financial architecture based on the principles of fairness and equity.
  • BRICS Plus - China introduced the “BRICS Plus” format at the Xiamen summit in 2017.  It involved inviting a few countries from different regions.  South Africa emulated it, with representation of 5 nations of its choice - Argentina, Jamaica, Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt.

 

INDIA AND BRICS

  • India can benefit from collective strength of BRICS by way of consultation and cooperation on economic issues of mutual interests, as well as topical global issues, such as, international terrorism, climate change, food and energy security, reforms of global governance institutions, etc.
  • India remains engaged with the other BRICS countries on its NSG membership.
  • The NDB will help India to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects. The NDB has approved its first set of loans, which included a loan of US$ 250 million in respect of India for ‘Multi-tranche Financing Facility for Renewable Energy Financing Scheme’.

 

49. BIMSTEC

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional multilateral organisation.
  • Its members lie in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.

  • This sub-regional organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Following the inclusion of Myanmar in 1997 Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’
  • With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting in Thailand (2004), the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).

Potential of BIMSTEC

  • The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
  • BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
  • The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economies. In the last five years, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5?onomic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown.

BIMSTEC Ports’ Conclave

  • The first ever BIMSTEC Ports‟ Conclave was organised at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  •  The conclave is expected to explore the possibility of increasing economic cooperation by furthering EXIM trade and coastal shipping. 
  • It discussed on various investment opportunities, best practices adopted for productivity and safety at Ports.
  • Objective of BIMSTEC is to harness trade and accelerated growth with mutual cooperation in different areas of common interest by utilising the regional resources and geographical advantage.

 

50. Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)

  • The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.
  • It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Lao PDR. Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.
  • The MGC is also indicative of the cultural and commercial linkages among the member countries of the MGC down the centuries.

Areas of Cooperation

  • India announced 50 new ITEC scholarships for MGC countries in areas of culture, tourism, engineering, management, teachers training, film directing, sound, lighting and stage management in addition to 900 scholarships already given every year. New Centres of excellence in Software Development and Training were announced. Existing capacity building programmes in law enforcement, financial markets, ICT and space, to supplement the requirements of MGC partners was also announced.
  • India's assistance to Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) under the MGC Quick Impact Project Scheme (QIPS) since its inception in 2014 is moving at a steady pace.

 

51. South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP)

  • SACEP is an inter-governmental organization, established in 1982 by the governments of South Asia.
  • The objective is to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of the environment in the region
  • It also acts as the Secretariat for the South Asian Seas Programme, which comes under the purview of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme.
  • India’s Environment Minister will represent the country in this meeting.

 

52. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

  • South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), organization of South Asian nations, founded in 1985 and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development. Emphasizing collective self-reliance.

  • Its seven founding members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • Afghanistan joined the organization in 2007.
  • States with observer status include Australia, China, European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea and United States.
  • SAARC foreign ministers’ meet was recently held at the sidelines of UNGA meet
  • Cabinet approved the Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries in 2012.
  • Recently union cabinet approved an amendment to the arrangement to incorporate ‘Standby Swap’ amounting to USD 400 million operated within the overall size of the facility USD 2 billion.

 

SAFTA

  • The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached on January 6, 2004, at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • It created a free-trade area of 1.6 billion people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016.
  • The SAFTA agreement came into force on January 1, 2006, and is operational following the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments.
  • SAFTA required the developing countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) to bring their duties down to 20 percent in the first phase of the two-year period ending in 2007.
  • India and Pakistan ratified the treaty in 2009, whereas Afghanistan as the 8th member state of the SAARC ratified the SAFTA protocol on 4 May 2011.

SAARC Development Fund

  • It was created by SAARC member states in 2010 to promote welfare of the people of SAARC region, improve their quality of life, and accelerate economic growth, social progress and poverty alleviation in the region.
  • It has an authorised capital of $1.5 billion and a total capital base of $500 million.  It aims to become a full-fledged regional development bank in the near future.
  • SDF partnership conclave was recently organized to rope in top institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the AIIB.

 

53. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Initiative (BBIN)

  • In 1996, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, formed the South Asian Growth Quadrangle to boost energy and power, trade and investment, transport, and tourism.
  • They requested ADB’s assistance
  • In 2014, when SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement failed due to rejection by Pakistan, BBIN Initiative was formulated to push the agenda.  The landmark BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement was signed by Transport Ministers of the BBIN in 2015.
  • Bangladesh, India and Nepal have agreed on the operating procedures for passenger vehicle movement in the sub-region under the MVA.  Bhutan did not ratify it, demanding a cap on vehicles entering its territory for some time.

 

54. Indo-Africa forum summit

  • Indo Africa Forum Summit-I (IAFS-I) is a programme fully sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) with a view to develop Indo-Africa cooperation by helping African countries to develop their own potential for development in human resource and agriculture etc.
  • It is the official platform for the African-Indian relations.
  • Regular summits are organized for improving relationship between India and Africa. IAFS is generally held once in every three years.

 

55. CPTPP

  • CPTPP/TPP-11 is a free trade agreement between Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • It came to replace TPP after President Donald Trump announced withdrawal of US from the erstwhile TPP trade treaty.

  • Despite the withdrawal of the world’s largest economy(US) from the agreement, CPTPP is one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, representing nearly 13.5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). 
  • Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Vietnam and Singapore have so far ratified the treaty.

 

56. TTIP

  • It is a proposed trade agreement between the EU and US, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth
  • Its main three broad areas are
    • Market access
    • Specific regulation
    • Broader rules and principles and modes of cooperation.
  • The European Parliament is empowered to approve or reject the agreement.
  • The European Commission says that the TTIP would boost the EU's economy by €120 billion, the US economy by €90 billion and the rest of the world by €100 billion.
  • Negotiations were halted by President Donald Trump,who then initiated a trade conflict with the EU. Trump and the EU declared a truce of sorts in July 2018, resuming talks that appeared similar to TTIP.On 15 April 2019, the negotiations have been declared "obsolete and no longer relevant" by the European Commission.

 

57. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement in the Indo-Pacific region between the ten member states of ASEAN, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and five of ASEAN's FTA partners—Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India
  • Negotiations of RCEP will aim to achieve the high level of tariff liberalisation, through building upon the existing liberalisation levels between participating countries.
  • It takes into account the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) initiatives, with the difference that the RCEP is not working on a pre-determined membership.
  • Instead, it is based on open accession which enables participation of any of the ASEAN FTA partners (China, Korea, Japan, India and Australia-New Zealand).

Recent Developments

  • India has decided not to join RCEP on the grounds of
  • Since India has a whooping trade deficit of 109 billion dollars with all the countries combined, a free trade agreement will exacerbate such deficits
  • Besides, the manufacturing industry in India needs push, in case of RCEP it can lead to flooding of goods in the market thereby defeating the purpose of ‘make in India ‘

 

58. Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)

  • The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.
  • The ReCAAP Agreement was launched in November 2006 with14 Asian Contracting Parties including North, Southeast, and South Asian countries. It has 20 Contracting Parties today, including Europe (Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), Australia, and the United States.

  • At the 12th Governing Council Meeting in 2018, the Council announced that ReCAAP ISC has met the criteria to be a Centre of Excellence for information sharing in combating piracy and armed robbery against ships at sea.
  • The main objective of this workshop is to share updated situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia and best practices of Asian countries.
  • The capacity building workshop for 2019 is being held in Delhi, India.

 

59.NAFTA

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.
  • The goal of NAFTA was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
  • It established the CANAMEX Corridor for road transport between Canada and Mexico, also proposed for use by rail, pipeline and fiber optic telecommunications infrastructure.
  • However, it was criticized in recent times for causing loss of American jobs and depressing American wages.

 

60. USMCA

  • The Agreement between the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada, commonly known by its American English title United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), 
  • It is a free trade agreement concluded between Canada, Mexico, and the United States as a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement
  • The agreement has been characterized as "NAFTA 2.0,or "New NAFTA, since many provisions from NAFTA were incorporated and its changes were seen as largely incremental.
  • This deal covers more than $1 trillion trade.
  • The treaty came into force on 1st July, 2020.

 

61. MERCOSUR

  • It is a South American trade bloc established by the Treaty of Asunción in 1991 and Protocol of Ouro Preto in 1994.
  • Its full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Venezuela is a full member but has been suspended since 1 December 2016. Associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname.
  • Mercosur's purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.
  • Since its foundation, Mercosur's functions have been updated and amended many times; it currently confines itself to a customs union, in which there is free intra-zone trade and a common trade policy between member countries.
  • In 2019, the Mercosur had generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around 4.6 trillion US dollars, placing the bloc as the 5th economy of the world.
  • The bloc places high on the human development index. It has signed free trade agreements with Israel, Egypt, Japan and the European Union, among others.

 

62. International Solar Alliance

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an initiative proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was launched by him at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris along with the President of France. It was launched on 30th November 2015. 

  • It is instituted to connect 121 solar-resource-rich nations for research, low-cost financing and rapid deployment of clean energy.
  • It aims to channel $300 billion in 10 years to promote renewable energy projects under a global mega fund for clean energy.
  • Membership - The 121 prospective member countries (those falling between the Tropics of Caner and Capricorn) of the ISA and are also the United Nations member, can join the Alliance by signing and ratifying the Framework Agreement or by acceptance or approval.
  • 73 countries have so far signed the Framework Agreement and 50 have ratified it.
  • UN member countries which are located beyond the Tropics can join the ISA as Partner Countries”.

Recent Developments

  • The second assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is being hosted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy from 30th-31st October 2019.
  • The Assembly is the supreme decision making body of the ISA, and gives directions on various administrative, financial and programme related issues.
  • India (represented by the Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Power) is the President and France is the Co-President of the ISA Assembly.
  • Global Solar Bank - ISA plans to setup global solar bank to finance $150 billion of power projects.
  • ISA will approach multilateral development banks (MDBs) to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV). This SPV would become a Global Solar Bank.
  • First Assembly of ISA - The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy organized the first assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi.
  • The assembly is the supreme decision-making body of ISA.
  • Solar Technology Application Resource Centre (STAR C) project was approved in its first assembly.
  • Second Assembly of ISA - Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hosted 2nd assembly of International Solar Alliance at New Delhi.
  • The assembly had the participation from member countries, ISA Partners, and other invitees.  As of now, there are 83 member countries with Eritrea and St. Kittis and Nevis latest countries to join ISA.

 

63. Asia Europe Meeting

  • It is an exclusively Asian–European forum, established in 1996.
  • It currently has 51 nations including two regional organisations (ASEAN, EU) as partners.
  • India is also a member
  • The 3 pillars of ASEM are Political, Economic, Socio Cultural and Educational.
  • The grouping is a platform for non-binding discussion on economic and trade issues.  2018 Meeting was held under the theme 'Global Partners for Global Challenges'.
  • National Human Rights Commission of Korea has been hosting international conferences at the ASEM level for the last three years since 2015 regarding human rights of older persons.
  • Accordingly, Conference on "Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons" was held in 2018
  • National Human Rights Commission of Korea has been hosting international conferences at the ASEM level for the last three years since 2015 regarding human rights of older persons.

 

64. African Union

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • It was officially launched in 2002 in Durban, South Africa
  • It is successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • Headquarters - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • The main objectives of the OAU were to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonisation and apartheid.
  • Vision - An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing as dynamic force in the global arena.

Recent Developments

  • Members have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for goods and services at the 12th AU Summit.

African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area which, as of 2018, includes 28 countries.
  • It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.
  • The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
  • The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018
  • The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

 

65. Arctic Council

  • The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. 
  • The eight countries with sovereignty over the lands within the Arctic Circle constitute Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. Outside these, there are some observer states.
  • The Ottawa Declaration lists the following countries as Members of the Arctic Council - Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.
  • In addition, 6 organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants.

  • The Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to Non-Arctic States. Observers primarily contribute through their engagement in the Council at the level of Working Groups.
  • Observers - China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and UK.

 

66. NAM

  • NAM was established in 1961 with 29 members.
  • India is one of the founding members.
  • It has since grown to 120 members to become one of the largest groupings of nation-states.
  • It held its first ministerial in Belgrade (erstwhile Yugoslavia) in 1961 and complete independence of members in their foreign policy was ingrained.
  • In the aftermath of the Second World War and the decolonisation process, many countries in the developing world in Asia and Africa felt the need for a strong movement towards securing peace and prosperity, and establishing security for all countries
  • This was when the world was divided into two power blocs, that of the USA and the Soviet Union, especially after the signing of the NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
  • One of the chief objectives of NAM was “to create an independent path in world politics that would not result in member States becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers.”
  • In the current times, an objective of the organisation is restructuring the international economic order.

  • NAM espouses ideals such as the right to self-determination, anti-aparthied, anti-colonialism, national independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations, anti-imperialism in all forms, non-adherence to multilateral military pacts, disarmament, against racism, against foreign occupation and domination, peaceful coexistence among all countries, strengthening the UN, no use of threat or force in international relations, socio-economic development, etc.
  • NAM 2.0 – There were calls for reviving the non-alignment concept in 2012 to suit the emerging current realities of an emerging and assertive China.
  • The 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) were held at Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • The theme is “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world”.

 

67. BASIC

  • The 29th ministerial meeting of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) countries on Climate Change was organised at Beijing, China recently
  • The meeting has called for "comprehensive" implementation of the Paris climate deal amid threats by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from it.
  • The meeting worked out priorities and issues as a group to be highlighted at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Chile in December 2019
  • UN Conference will discuss the implementation of the Paris deal to cut the greenhouse gas emissions as well as mitigation, adaption and climate finance.

 

68. Clean Energy Ministerial

  • It is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.
  • At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of parties in Copenhagen in December 2009, Clean Energy Ministerial meeting was proposed by U.S. Secretary of Energy.
  • It is focused on three global climate and energy policy goals - Improve energy efficiency worldwide, Enhance clean energy supply, Expand clean energy access. 
  • The framework for the CEM was adopted at the 7th CEM meeting in 2016., The 10th CEM meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada in 2019.

SEAD initiative - The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) of CEM is a voluntary collaboration among governments to promote use of energy efficient appliances worldwide.  It is a task of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC).  Presently, there are 18 participating governments to this initiative.  If all SEAD governments were to adopt current policy best practices for product energy efficiency standards, 2,000 TWh of annual electricity could be saved in 2030, equal to the energy generated by 650 midsized power plants.

 

69. Carribean Community (CARICOM)

  • It is treaty among Caribbean countries to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.
  • Formed in 1973, and Chairmanship of the Community is rotated every six months among the member countries.
  • Seat of Secretariat: Georgetown, Guyana
  • The India- CARICOM meet focused on fighting climate change and increasing India's participation with the grouping.
  • India announced 14 million US dollar grant for community development projects in Caricom & 150 million line of credit for solar, renewable energy and climate change related projects.

 

70. Bangladesh China India Myanmar (BCIM)

  • The Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM) is a proposed corridor connecting India and China through Myanmar and Bangladesh as a corridor.
  • The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China's Yunnan province, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and West Bengal in Eastern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region
  • The BCIM envisages greater market access for goods, services and energy, elimination of non-tariff barriers, better trade facilitation, investment in infrastructure development, and joint exploration and development of mineral, water, and other natural resources

 

71. IPBES

  • The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body.
  • The objective is to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
  • Currently has over 130 member States.
  • A large number of NGOs, civil society groupings, individual stakeholders, also participate in the meet.
  • It found that many of the world’s pollinator species are on the decline.

 

TREATIES AND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS

1. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

  • It is the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for complete nuclear disarmament.
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices
  •  Signatories are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices control over such weapons, or any assistance with activities prohibited under the Treaty.
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons does not contain a verification regime
  • 122 of the 124 nations that participated in the negotiations had voted in favour of the treaty.
  • The eight nuclear weapon states i.e. US, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan and North Korea along with Israel had not participated in the negotiations.
  • India maintained that it recognises the “Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament‟ as the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum & it is not convinced of the potential of the current treaty to address the disarmament issue
  • In January 2019, El Salvador and Saint Lucia ratified the treaty to become state parties, and Cambodia signed the treaty.

 

2. Pelindaba Treaty

  • The African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty/Pelindaba treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties
  • It also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties.

Other Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

  • Antarctica
  • Tlatelolco (Latin American and Caribbean)
  • Rarotonga (South Pacific)
  • Bangkok (ASEAN).
  • The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (ANWFZ) covers the entire African continent as well as the following islands: Cabo Verde, Canary Islands, Chagos Archipelago Diego Garcia, Comoros, Europa Island, Madagascar, Mauritius, Prince Edward & Marion Islands, Réunion, Rodrigues Island, Seychelles, Tromelin Island, and Zanzibar and Pemba Islands.
  • South Sudan is not a signatory to this treaty.
  • The Treaty requires all parties to apply full-scope IAEA safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities.

 

3. Hague Adoption Convention

  • It was adopted in 1993 to protect children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad
  • It reinforces Article 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Objectives

    • To establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights as recognized in international law,
    • To establish a system of co-operation amongst Contracting States to ensure that those safeguards are respected and thereby prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children,
    • To secure the recognition in Contracting States of adoptions made in accordance with the Convention.
  • The convention operates through a system of national Central Authorities
  • In India, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is the nodal agency designated to deal with the provisions of this convention.
  • Recently, the government of Australia has decided to recommence the adoption programme with India as per this convention.

 

4. Biological Weapons Convention

  • It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons
  • The Geneva Protocol prohibits use but not possession or development of chemical and biological weapons.
  • BWC commits the 182 states to prohibit the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.
  • Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, Syria and Tanzania have signed but not ratified it.
  • Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan, Tuvalu have neither signed not ratified it.
  • The absence of any formal verification regime to monitor compliance has limited the effectiveness of the Convention.

 

5. Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

  • The Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) aims at establishing a minimum national compensation amount and at further increasing the amount of compensation through public funds to be made available by the Contracting Parties should the national amount be insufficient to compensate the damage caused by a nuclear incident.
  • The Convention is open not only to States that are party to either the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage or the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (including any amendments to either), but also to other States provided that their national legislation is consistent with uniform rules on civil liability laid down in the Annex to the Convention.
  • Date of adoption: 12 September 1997
  • Date of entry into force: 15 April 2015
  • India had also passed its own domestic nuclear liability law, the Civil Law for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act in 2010.
  • Countries such as the U.S. have criticized Indian laws to be violating the CSC, but this has been denied by India.

 

6. Hong Kong Convention for Ship Recycling

  • The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives; do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.
  • The Hong Kong Convention was adopted at a Diplomatic Conference held in Hong Kong, China, in May 2009.
  • It intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone depleting substances and others.
  • It will address concerns about working and environmental conditions in many of the world's ship recycling facilities.

 

7. Budapest Convention

  • It is the sole legally binding multilateral treaty that coordinates cybercrime investigations between nation-states and criminalises certain cybercrime conduct
  • The convention is led by Council of Europe, which is distinct from EU
  •  It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties to this treaty.
  • India, Russia and China are not members to this convention.

 

8. 1951 Refugee Convention

  • It is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.
  • It builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.
  • The core principle is non-refoulement, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a rule of customary international law
  • UNHCR serves as the ‘guardian’ of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. 
  • USA and Venezuela are parties only to the Protocol.
  • India is not a member to this convention or to the protocol.

 

9. UN Convention Against Torture

  • It was adopted by UNGA in 1984 to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
  • It is ratified by 161 nations including Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
  • India has signed but is still among the only 9 countries worldwide which are yet to ratify.
  • The Law Commission of India recommended that the government should ratify the convention.
  • This UN convention will help to tide over difficulties in extraditing criminals from foreign countries due to the absence of a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities.

 

Some of the key provisions are:

  • Prohibition against torture shall be absolute and be upheld even in a state of War.
  • Each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture and consider it as a criminal offence within the legal system.
  • Each State party shall ensure to victims of torture an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation
  • No expel or extradition of a person to a State where there are substantial grounds for danger and being subjected to torture.
  • State shall ensure that that an individual who alleges that he has been subjected to torture will have his case examined by the competent authorities
  • State shall take a person suspected of the offence of torture into custody and initiate investigation or extradite that person. 

 

10. Warsaw Convention

  • The Convention for the Unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air, commonly known as the Warsaw Convention, is an international convention which regulates liability for international carriage of persons, luggage, or goods performed by aircraft for reward.
  • Warsaw Convention defines "international carriage" and the convention's scope of applicability.
  • Sets rules for documents of carriage
  • Sets rules for the air carrier's liability and limitations thereof
  • Sets rules for legal jurisdiction
  • Mandates carriers to issue passenger tickets;
  • Requires carriers to issue baggage checks for checked luggage;
  • Creates a limitation period of two years within which a claim must be brought.

Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty adopted by member states of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention's regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters.

It unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that had developed haphazardly since 1929.

MC99 is designed to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world.

 

11. Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

  • It is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.
  • The Convention was adopted on 14 April 1961 by the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities held at the Neue Hofburg in Vienna, Austria, from 2 March to 14 April 1961
  • The convention forms the legal basis for diplomatic immunity.
  • It is ratified by 192 countries except Palau, the Solomon Islands, and South Sudan.
  • The present treaty on the treatment of diplomats was the outcome of a draft by the International Law Commission.
  • The treaty was adopted on 18 April 1961, by the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities held in Vienna, Austria, and first implemented on 24 April 1964.
  • The treaty is an extensive document, containing 53 articles. The following is a basic overview of its key provisions.
  • Article 9: The host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff to be persona non grata. The sending state must recall this person within a reasonable period of time, or otherwise this person may lose their diplomatic immunity.
  • Article 24: establishes that the archives and documents of a diplomatic mission are inviolable. The receiving country shall not seize or open such documents.
  • Article 27: The host country must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country. A diplomatic bag must never be opened, even on suspicion of abuse. A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained.
  • Article 29: Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32.

 

12. TIR Convention

  • Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • The 1975 convention replaced the TIR Convention of 1959, which itself replaced the 1949 TIR Agreement between a number of European countries

  • It came into force from 1975to facilitate the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention
  • India also ratified the convention.
  • It would enable India to move goods seamlessly along the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and also boosting trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

 

13. Kimberley Process

  • The Kimberley Process (KP) unites administrations, civil societies, and industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds - ‘rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments’ - around the world
  • The KP unites 82 countries around the world
  • The KP observers include the World Diamond Council representing the diamond industry
  • India is one of the founder members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. 
  • Department of Commerce is the nodal Department and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is designated as the KPCS Importing and Exporting Authority in India.  
  • The Plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was hosted by India, the present Kimberley Process (KP) Chair, from 18th to 22nd November, 2019 in New Delhi.
  • The importance of KPCS is immense to India as more than one million people are directly employed by the diamond industry. The industry also plays pivotal role in sustaining livelihoods of these people.

 

14. Outer Space Treaty

  • The Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository Governments (the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) in January 1967, and it entered into force in October 1967.
  • It represents the basic legal framework of international space law.
  • 108 countries are parties to this treaty, including India.
  • The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:
    • The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
    • Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
    • Outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
    • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
    • The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
    • Astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
    • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
    • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
    • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.
  • However, the Treaty does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons in orbit and thus some highly destructive attack strategies such as kinetic bombardment are still potentially allowable.
  • The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet.

 

15. Open Skies Treaty

  • The Treaty on Open Skies establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its signatories
  • The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 35 party states.
  • This treaty is not related to civil-aviation open skies agreements.

  • It is one of the most wide-ranging international arms control efforts to date to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities.

 

16. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT)

  • The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
  • It is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.
  • It calls for ban on all groups regardless of country of operation, cut off access to funds and safe havens, Prosecution of all groups including cross border groups. Amending domestic laws to make cross-border terror an extraditable offence.
  • It also addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in South Asia.

 

17. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

  • Unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the Convention entered into force in 1951.
  • 52 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty, most recently Mauritius in 2019.
  • It defines genocide in legal terms as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
  • Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
  • India ratified the treaty in 1959.

 

18. Oslo Accords

  • The Oslo Accords are a pair of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the Oslo I Accord signed in Washington, D.C., in 1993; and the Oslo II Accord, signed in Taba, Egypt, in 1995.
  • The Oslo Accords marked the start of the Oslo process, a peace process aimed at achieving a peace treaty based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
  • The Oslo Accords created a Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and acknowledged the PLO as Israel's partner in permanent-status negotiations about remaining questions.

  • The most important questions relate to the borders of Israel and Palestine, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, Israel's military presence in and control over remaining territories after Israel's recognition of Palestinian autonomy, and the Palestinian right of return.
  • The Oslo Accords, however, did not create a Palestinian state.

 

19. Christchurch Call to Action

  • The Christchurch Call to Action Summit (also called the Christchurch Call), was a political summit initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that took place on 15 May 2019 in Paris, France, two months after the Christchurch mosque shootings of 15 March 2019.
  • Co-chaired by PM Jacinda Ardern and President Emmanuel Macron of France, the summit aimed to "bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism".
  • World leaders and technology companies pledged to "eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online"; Seventeen countries originally signed the non-binding agreement with another 31 countries following suit on 24 September the same year.
  • The pledge consists of three sections or commitments: one for governments, one for online service providers, and one for the ways in which the two can work together.

 

Notable Not for Profit Organizations

1. World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
  • The Annual Meeting is held in Davos, Switzerland.

Reports published by WEF

  • Global Competitiveness Report 
  • Global Enabling trade Report 
  • Global Gender Gap Index
  • Human Capital Index 
  • Inclusive Development Index
  • Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report
  • It is a membership-based organization, and membership is made up of the world's largest corporations.
  • The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and India and holds two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Beside meetings, the organization provides a platform for leaders from all stakeholder groups from around the world – business, government and civil society – to collaborate on multiple projects and initiatives
  • It also produces a series of reports and engages its members in sector-specific initiatives
  • The theme of WEF 2019 is “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”
  • It established the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco to develop policy frameworks and advance collaborations that accelerate the benefits of science and technology
Coronavirus and Green recovery
  • In April 2020, the WEF published an article that postulates that the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to the destruction of nature. The number of emerging diseases is rising and this rise is linked to Deforestation and Species loss.
  • The forum proposed a plan for a Green recovery. The plan includes advancing Circular economy. Among the mentioned methods, there is Green building, Sustainable transport, Organic farming, Urban open space, Renewable energy and Electric vehicles

India Economic Summit

  • World Economic Forum's 33rd edition (2019) of the India Economic Summit was organised in New Delhi, jointly organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and industry body CII.
  • The theme of the summit is 'Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World'.

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

It was officially launched in Jan 2017 at World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos with an initial investment of $460 million from the Germany, Japan and Norway including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is a Global alliance of governments, intergovernmental institutions like WHO, health specialists, and philanthropists to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccine to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics.

It will provide a permanent, sustainable model for epidemic vaccine development through sharing of risk and benefits of vaccine development.

 

2. Observer Research Foundation (ORF)

  •  It is an independent think tank based in India. The foundation has three centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. ORF provides potentially viable inputs for policy and decision-makers in the Indian Government and to the political and business communities of India.
  • ORF started out with an objective of dealing with internal issues of the economy in the wake of the 1990s reforms. However, today its mandate extends to security and strategy, governance, environment, energy and resources, economy and growth.

Raisina Dialogue

  • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community
  • Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.
  • The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectorial discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.
  • The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs

 

3. International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement 

  • The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
  • The movement consists of several distinct organizations that are legally independent from each other, but are united within the movement through common basic principles, objectives, symbols, statutes and governing organisations.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The 1965, International Conference in Vienna adopted seven basic principles which should be shared by all parts of the Movement, and they were added to the official statutes of the Movement in 1986.

 

4. Transparency International

  • Transparency International is a German non-governmental organization founded in 1993. Based in Berlin, its non-profit purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • Its most notable publications include the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International has the legal status of a German registered voluntary association and serves as an umbrella organization.
  • TI is a member of UNESCO Consultative Status, United Nations Global Compact and shares the goals of peace, justice, strong institutions and partnerships of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG).
  • India has been ranked at the 80th position among 180 countries and territories in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) prepared by Transparency International.
  • Denmark and New Zealand have cornered the top spot, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland in the top ten.

 

5. OXFAM

  • Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International.
  • It is a major non-profit group with an extensive collection of operations.
  • In November 2000, Oxfam adopted the rights-based approach as the framework for all the work of the Confederation and its partners. Oxfam recognizes the universality and indivisibility of human rights.
  • Oxfam works on trade justice, fair trade, education, debt and aid, livelihoods, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, conflict (campaigning for an international arms trade treaty) and natural disasters, democracy and human rights, and climate change.
  •  Oxfam recently released a report titled ‘Time to Care: Unpaid and Underpaid Care Work and the Global Inequality Crisis’.
    • The report focuses on the alleviation of global poverty.
    • It also states that economic inequality is out of control and has created a great divide in the world.
  • Key Points Related to India
  • India’s richest 1% holds more than four-times the wealth held by the bottom 70% of the country’s population.
  • The combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24,42,200 crore.

 

6. Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontiers)

  • Reporters Without Borders (French: Reporters sans frontières (RSF)) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization that safeguards the right to freedom of information
  • Its advocacy is founded on the belief that everyone requires access to the news and information, inspired by Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights that recognizes the right to receive and share information regardless of frontiers, along with other international rights charters
  • RSF has consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organisation of the Francophone
  • Headquarters-Paris, France.
  • RSF works on the ground in defence of individual journalists at risk and also at the highest levels of government and international forums to defend the right to freedom of expression and information.

 

7. Human Rights Watch (HRW)

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights
  • The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants, and political prisoners.
  • Human Rights Watch in 1997 shared in the Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and it played a leading role in the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions.
  • Human Rights Watch publishes reports on many different topics and compiles an annual World Report presenting an overview of the worldwide state of human rights.

 

8. Amnesty International

  • Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization with its headquarters in the United Kingdom focused on human rights
  • Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer on 28 May 1961.
  • It works to mobilize public opinion to generate pressure on governments where abuse takes place.
  • Amnesty considers capital punishment to be "the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights”. The organization was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its "defence of human dignity against torture, and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.

 

9. Médecins Sans Frontières

  • Médecins Sans Frontières sometimes rendered in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation (NGO) of French origin best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.
  • In 2019, the group was active in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators.
  • MSF has general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its members' continued efforts to provide medical care in acute crises, as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters.
  • The Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines was created in late 1999, providing MSF with a new voice with which to bring awareness to the lack of effective treatments and vaccines available in developing countries.

 

10. International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

  • It is a global civil society coalition working to promote adherence to and full implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  • The campaign helped bring about this treaty. ICAN was launched in 2007 and counts 541 partner organizations in 103 countries as of 2019.
  • The campaign received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.