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April 22: Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It was first celebrated in 1970, and since then it is celebrated in more than 193 countries by over a billion people every year. Earth Day celebrations are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy. Environmental and climate literacy was chosen as it is important for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies across the globe as well as to accelerate green technologies and jobs.

Earth Day

Every year Earth Day is being observed on the 22nd April to build support for environmental protection around the world. It aims to encourage people to carry out activities that will benefit the Earth, such as recycling more, using solar power or plant trees.

Earth Day celebrations are a way to remind humans of environmental deterioration caused by them and advise them to turn off the electronic devices that are not in use or taking public transport to reduce the emission levels. It recognises that Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also aims to raise awareness that humans have a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.

The concept of observing Earth Day was formally proposed by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference on Environment in 1969. Later in 1971, a proclamation was signed to observe international Earth Day annually on the Vernal Equinox by UN Secretary-General U Thant.

On Earth Day 2016, historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed. The agreement is legally binding on signatory countries to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

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India, Australia sign six agreements

India and Australia have singed six agreements in various fields such as terrorism, sports, health, environment, aviation sector to boost bilateral cooperation.

These agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull after delegation level talks.

Signed MoUs are
  • MoU on Cooperation in Sports.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Environment, Climate and Wildlife.
  • MoU for Promotion and Development of Cooperation in Civil Aviation Security
  • MoU on Cooperation in Combatting International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime.
  • Implementation arrangement between ISRO and Geoscience Australia on Cooperation in Earth Observation and Satellite Navigation.
Highlights of delegation level talks
  • Both countries sought to provide a boost to trade and security ties including counterterrorism cooperation.
  • Trade deal: Both countries could not conclude negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which they have been negotiating.
  • Uranium Supply: Australia held that ready to supply uranium to India as soon as possible. Both countries had signed civil nuclear cooperation in 2013 but actual supply has not yet commenced due to absence of any commercial contract.
  • NSG membership: Australia will spport for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also for Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, the two export control regimes.
  • Maritime security: Both countries agreed share common interests in ensuring maritime security and the safety of sea lines of communication.
  • They also recognised importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.
  • Defence: Both countries agreed to remain strongly committed to the breadth of their defence ties and recalled the Special Forces Bilateral Exercise conducted in October 2016.
  • They agreed that the bilateral maritime exercise first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015 will be repeated off Western Australia in the first half of 2018. They took decision for first bilateral Army-to-Army exercise to take place in 2018.
  • They also agreed to look forward to the inaugural secretaries’ defence and foreign affairs dialogue in the ‘2+2’ format as a new mechanism to build on the deep strategic partnership.

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Union Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to support Belmont Forum Secretariat

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France.

The MoU will be signed for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of 40,000 Euros. The Cabinet also approved continued financial support to Belmont Forum Secretariat beyond 2017.

About Belmont Forum

  • Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It was established in 2009.
  • It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources.
  • It provides an opportunity to identify study and deliver international environmental research priorities through trans­national research collaboration between natural and social scientists.
  • Members: India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and US etc. India is represented by the Union Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) since 2012.
  • Belmon Secretariat: It is hosted by one of the Belmont forum member on rotational basis. ANR, France is hosting the Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017.
  • Expenditure for hosting the Secretariat is borne by Belmont Forum member countries in kind or cash contribution.
Comment

The signing of the MoU will help to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Belmont Forum and also help in smooth coordination of the activities of it.  Indian scientific community will ultimately benefit from this agreement as India already is participating in four Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) of the Forum.

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