Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2018

India wins six elections in UNECOSOC bodies

India has won six elections to United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) bodies, five of them unanimously. In these polls, India won places on executive boards of four UN bodies, three commissions and committee.

NGO Committee

India faced an election within the Asia-Pacific group only for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Committee. India polled highest number of votes, receiving 46 votes, followed by Pakistan with 43, China received 39. The NGO committee of UN is considered influential because it scrutinises NGOs applying for consultative status with UNECOSOC and can recommend or block them. India will serve four-year term on panel starting January 2019.

Executive Boards

India won elections to Executive Boards of UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). India will serve three-year terms from January 2019 on those executive boards.

Executive Board of UN-Women

India was also elected separately on this executive board for three-year term starting January 2019. UN-Women work for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Commissions

India was elected on UN Commission on Population and Development and it will have term till September 2021. India was also elected on the UN Commission for Social Development and shall have four-year term starting immediately. It was also elected UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and will serve three-year term starting January 2019.

UN Commission on Population and Development: It assist UNECOSOC by arranging for studies and advising it on population issues and trends, integrating population and development strategies and population and related development policies and programmes.

Commission for Social Development: Its purpose is advice UNECOSOC on social policies of general character and in particular on all matters in social field not covered by specialised inter-governmental agencies.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: It acts as principal policymaking body of UN in field of crime prevention and criminal justice. Its mandate includes improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems.

UNECOSOC

The Economic and Social Council is UN’s central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.’ It is one of six main UN organs which were established by UN Charter. EcoSoc is principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues as well as for implementation of internationally agreed development goals. It supervises subsidiary and expert bodies in the economic, social and environmental fields.

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Environment ministry releases draft National Clean Air Programme

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released draft of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) proposing multiple strategies to reduce air pollution. It aims to tackle increasing air pollution problem across country in comprehensive manner. The goal of NCAP is to meet prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in country in a stipulated time frame. However it does not mention of any specific target and time frame. Under NCAP, the MoEFCC plans to take host of measures to bring down air pollution.

Objectives of the NCAP

  • Augment and evolve effective and proficient ambient air quality monitoring network across country to ensure comprehensive and reliable database.
  • To have efficient data dissemination and public outreach mechanism for timely measures for prevention and mitigation of air pollution.
  • To have feasible management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.

Measures to be taken by MoEFCC under NCAP

Under proposed NCAP, the MoEFCC will augment air quality monitoring network, identification of alternative technology for real-time monitoring, set up of 10 city super network, indoor air pollution monitoring and management and air pollution health impact studies. Other measures under it also includes air quality forecasting system, issuance of notification on dust management, three-tier mechanism for review, assessment and inspection for implementation and national emission inventory.

Comment

Earlier Union Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that MoEFCC hopes to bring down air pollution in around 100 non-attainment cities by 35% in three years and 50% in five years. Non-attainment cities are those considered to have air quality worse than National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). However, NCAP released by MoECC has no reference to the target it internally conceived and publicly announced.

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