International Current Affairs 2017

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Fact Box: Global Innovation Index 2017

In the Global Innovation Index 2017, co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), India has moved up 6 places to reach 60th place among 130 countries emerging as the top-ranked economy in Central and South Asia.

This is the 10th edition of the Global Innovation Index 2017 (GII).

Salient Highlights

Top 10 most Innovative countries: Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Germany and Ireland. Switzerland leads the rankings for the 7th consecutive year.

The index is dominated by high-income economies which took 24 of the top 25 spots except for China which is ranked at 22nd spot.

Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka has managed to bag 90th spot and Nepal stood at 109th place. Pakistan has been ranked as 113th followed by Bangladesh at 114.

BRICS countries: Brazil (69), Russia (45), China (22), South Africa (57).

India  

India has made improvements in the rankings after five continuous years of decline in the ranking. The report has observed that India’s rise in innovation has benefitted its neighbouring countries.

The index has highlighted the continuous improvement of India in terms of investment, tertiary education, quality of its publications and universities, ICT service exports etc.

Task Force on Innovation

To assess India’s position on the innovation front, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries had set up a task force on innovation. The task force comprising of government officials and experts from private organisations & academia, has recently come up with its report that detailed specific measures to improve India’s ranking in GII.

GII

GII surveys are conducted every year which analyses 130 economies and aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation. The index makes use of a dozen parameters ranging from patent filings to education spending and offers the decision makers a high-level look at the innovative activity which are drivers of economic and social growth. GII, over the last few years has established itself as a leading reference on innovation.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is the global body for promotion and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

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UN General Assembly Approves Creation of New UN Office of Counter Terrorism

The United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

Salient Highlights

With the creation of new UN office of counter terrorism, UN will transfer the relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) into the new body.

The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) currently under the DPA will be transferred to the new office together with existing staff and associated budgetary resources.

The new UN Office of counter-terrorism would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General. The new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

Functions

The new office will have the following five main functions:

  • To provide leadership on the counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to it across the United Nations system.
  • To enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities for ensuring balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • To strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to the Member States.
  • To improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  • To ensure that priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system.

India’s Views

India has welcomed the creation a UN office on counter-terrorism. It expects that the “much- awaited” step will help in aligning UN with the changing needs and international reality in the fight against terrorism.

India has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have a separate office for counter-terrorism as the presence of as many as 31 entities within the United Nations dealing with some aspect of countering terrorism lacked coherence and coordination in dealing with terrorism.

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UN Report: India is Top Remittance Receiving Country

According to the ‘One Family at a Time’ study conducted by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Indians working across the world had sent home USD 62.7 billion in 2016 making India the top remittance-receiving country surpassing China.

Salient Highlights

Around 200 million migrants across the world have sent more than USD 445 million in 2016 as remittances to their families.

Top Remittance Receiving Countries: India (USD 62.7 billion), China (USD 61 billion), the Philippines (USD 30 billion) and Pakistan (USD 20 billion).

Around 80% of the remittances across the world are received by 23 countries such as India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan.

Top Remittance Sending Countries:  US, Saudi Arabia and Russia. These countries account for almost half of annual flow of remittances.

The study is the first ever study conducted that analysed a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007-2016.

In the period between 2007 and 2016, India has surpassed China to become the world’s largest receiver of remittances. In 2007, India was at the second spot behind China.

Asia remains the main remittance-receiving region with 55% of the global flows.

The amount of money sent to the families in developing countries have increased by 51% over the past decade. This increase in remittances is expected to lift millions out of poverty and in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

The report expects that in the year 2017, one of out of every seven people will be involved in either sending or receiving more than USD 450 billion in remittances.

The amount of money sent back home by the migrants’ averages less than 1% of their host’s GDP. In total, these individual remittances account for more than the total foreign direct investment to almost every low-and-middle-income country.

The report has also made recommendations for improving public policies to reduce costs and create opportunities for migrants and their families to use their money more productively.

IFAD

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was set up in 1977 as the 13th specialised agency of the United Nations. India is a founder member of IFAD and a key contributor among the member countries.

IFAD works towards removing poverty and hunger in rural areas all over the world, especially in developing countries. Its goal is to empower poor rural men and women in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security. IFAD is managed by the two main governing bodies i.e. the Governing Council and the Executive Board. The Governing Council is the highest decision-making body of IFAD.

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