FAO Current Affairs - 2019

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15 December: International Tea Day

International Tea Day is observed every year on 16 December since 2005. The day is celebrated in tea producing nations such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Malaysia.

About International Tea Day

Objective: To draw global attention of governments and citizens to impact of global tea trade on workers and growers as well as requests for price supports and fair trade.

Background: International Tea Day celebrations and related Global Tea Conferences are jointly organized by trade union movements. The first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi in 2005, with later celebrations being organized in Sri Lanka in 2006 and 2008.

May 21: Now International Tea Day

In October 2015, Indian government moved a proposal at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea expanding the observance of International Tea Day through UN FAO. Thereby, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has now accepted India’s proposal and designated May 21 as International Tea Day. The month of May was selected as it’s the quality tea manufacturing season in most tea producing countries.

UNGA has invited all Members and observers of UN, organisations of UN system, other international/ regional organisations and other relevant stakeholders, including civil society, private sector and academia, to observe International Tea Day in an appropriate manner, so as to ensure rural development and sustainable livelihoods.

Significance: This move could provide much-needed push to create awareness for tea consumption.  Also as per UNGA, the observance of an International Tea Day will not only promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of sustainable production and consumption of tea but will also raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.

What FAO IGG on Tea?

It is a forum for intergovernmental consultation and exchange on trends in tea’s trade/ prices/ production/ consumption, including regular appraisal of global market situation. ICG under FAO auspices, considers changes in national policies and examines their international effects in relation to current and prospective market situation.

December 5: World Soil Day

The World Soil Day was endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2013. It was officially adopted through a resolution at the 68th UN General Assembly. Since then every year, the World Soil Day is marked on December 5 by the United Nations all over the world.

Theme: Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future

SDG

The day is marked focusing on the Sustainable Development Goal 15 which is “Life on Land”. The goal aims at protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, manage forests, reverse land degradation.

Issues

According to the United Nations, Desertification, Land Degradation are the two major issues of soil loss. According to UNCCD, desertification is defined as degradation of dry land eco systems by human activities due to overgrazing, unsustainable farming, clear cutting of land, mining and climate change.

International Union of Soil Sciences

The concept of World Soil Day was first introduced by the IUSS in 2002 to celebrate the importance of soil. The IUSS was founded in 1924. There are more than 86 national and regional members. It acts as a hub of soil scientists and a platform to promote all branches of soil science and its applications.

Significance

The World Soil Day highlights on the problems of population expansion. It aims at reducing soil erosion and maintain soil fertility. The theme of 2019 focuses on challenges in soil management. It encourages organizations, communities and governments to work towards improving soil health

Why was December 5 chosen?

The late king of Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the main proponent of the initiative. Therefore, his birthday December 5 was chosen as World Soil Day.

Soil Conservation

The day also stresses on the importance of Soil Conservation. The FAO recommends Terrace farming, Contour ploughing, windbreaks, crop rotation, Agrostological measures, green manures, no-till farming, earthworms to conserve soil and prevent soil erosion.