Argentina Current Affairs

India opposes Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade

119 of 164 members of World Trade Organisation (WTO) have backed Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade at 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade is non-binding declaration that sought women’s economic empowerment by speedily removing barriers to their participation in trade. ‎India voted against declaration.

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade

The declaration provides framework for members of trade body to adopt “gender-responsive” trade policies. Under it, ‎WTO will further identify of barriers that limit women’s participation in trade, financial inclusion as well as access to trade financing. It also calls for enhancement of women entrepreneurs’ participation in public procurement markets, and the inclusion of women-led businesses, in particular MSMEs, in value chains.

The declaration will also lead to inclusion of ‘gender equality’ in services trade negotiations agenda under Domestic Regulation discipline (one of major areas of services negotiations under GATS). Moreover, actions outlined in Declaration will provide more and better paid jobs for women.

India opposition

India held that it strongly supports gender equality and is very much in favour of promoting gender issues but it cannot concur with view that gender is trade-related issue. ‎WTO is purely trade-related body and not a forum to discuss gender, so gender-related discussions should take place at appropriate fora.

It also held that developed countries have high standard in gender-related policies as compared to developing or least developed countries (LDC). ‎Hence the proposition to link gender and trade agreed then developed nations will curb exports from developing world using ‘gender’ issues as non-trade barrier.

Moreover, it will also indirectly restrict developing countries from incentivising their women citizens as part of measures to address developmental challenges. It will be used same as ‘Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)’ measures which is being used by developed nations against LDCs and developing countries. It will also set precedent to bring in other non-trade issues such as environment and labour standards into the WTO’s ambit.

Background

The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) was held from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‎The Ministerial Conference is ighest decision-making body of the WTO and meets at least once every two years. The MC11 ended with number of small ministerial decisions, including Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies, Work Programme on e-commerce, TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints, Work Programme on Small Economies etc. and creation of working party on accession for South Sudan

Overall, the meeting ended in stalemate, with countries divided along industrial and developing lines. For India it was partial success. India’s push to ensure consensus around a ‘permanent solution’ to the public stockholding of food for food security purposes was thwarted by the US.

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Scientists discover world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina

Scientists have discovered polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus), the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina.

The newly discovered amphibian sports a muted palette of greens, reds and yellows under normal light, but in the dark gives off a bright blue and green glow.

What have Scientists discovered?
  • Scientists found that the polka dot tree frog uses fluorescent molecules totally unlike those found in other animals. Scientists expect to find red fluorescence in these frogs from a pigment called
  • In some insects, proteins bound to biliverdin emit a faint red fluorescence. However, in the polka dot tree frog, biliverdin turned out to be a red herring.
  • In ultraviolet flashlight (or black light), polka dot tree frogs gave off an intense greenish-blue glow instead of a faint red. Three molecules hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 were responsible for green fluorescence.
  • These molecules contain a ring structure and a chain of hydrocarbons, and are unique among the known fluorescent molecules in animals. 
What is Fluorescence?
  • Fluorescence is the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths. It is rare in terrestrial animals.
  • Many ocean creatures exhibit fluorescence, including corals, fish, sharks and one species of sea turtle. But, until now, it was unheard of in amphibians.
  • On land, fluorescence was previously known in only parrots and some species of scorpions. But it is still unclear why animals have this ability.
  • Scientists believe that Fluorescence may be shown by animals for the purpose communication, camouflage and mate attraction.

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