Ministry of Environment Current Affairs - 2020

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Bulletin: Joint meetings of Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions held in Geneva

The joint meetings of three conventions on chemicals and waste namely Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Key Highlights

  • About: The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to Basel Convention (COP 14) was held along with the 9th meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Convention and the 9th meeting of the COP to Stockholm Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019.
  • Theme of 2019 meetings was- “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.
  • India and COP: An Indian delegation of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), and along with other ministries namely Agriculture Ministry, Chemicals and Fertilizer Ministry, and Electronics and Information Technology Ministry (MeitY) participated in the joint meetings and set a tone at COP.
  • In Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, two important issues were mainly discussed and decided i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.
  • India’s Stand: In view of growing consumption of electronic equipment and waste across world, India highlighted that technical guidelines provision in name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure leads to possibility of e-waste dumping from developed world to the developing countries. So, Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by conference of parties (COP).
  • Outcome: On final day of COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all concerns raised by India were incorporated. This thereby opened a window for further negotiations and corrections in draft technical guidelines on e-waste.
  • In Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), COP decided to list “Dicofol” in Annex A (Elimination) without any exemption. The “PFOA”, (Perfluorooctanoic acid) was also listed with some exemptions in Annex A of Stockholm Convention.
  • In Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, two new chemicals named Phorate and HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) were added in list for mandatory Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure in international trade.

Key Facts

The Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share common objective of protecting human health and environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.

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Environment Ministry Releases ‘India – Spearheading Climate Solutions’

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released a publication titled  “India – Spearheading Climate Solutions” on 12 February, 2019. This document mentions India’s key actions taken towards combating and adapting to climate change.

India’s Key Actions Towards Combating and Adapting Climate Change
  • India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) that has eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA) – It is an alliance of 121 countries, most of them sunshine countries (i.e. lying either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). It was founded in 2015 at Paris and was initiated by India. Membership now has been extended to all the members of the United Nations
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC)
  • FAME Scheme – It stands for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-India) Scheme, which was launched in 2015 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP). It aims to create the infrastructure for and promote e-mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) –The scheme was launched in the year 2015 and is solely aimed for Smart Cities
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – The scheme was launched in 2016. It aims for providing access to clean cooking fuel
  • UJALA scheme – It stands for Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for All and was started in 2015. Its aim is to embrace energy efficient LED bulbs
  • Swachh Bharat Mission – It is a nationwide campaign from 2014 to 2019 aiming to clean up India.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) – It was launched in 2015-16 and aims to support robust adaptation techniques to reduce adverse effects of climate change.
Other Initiatives Taken by Government

Apart from the above, Government of India has taken an ambitious goal of generating 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. India will leapfrog from Bharat Stage -IV to Bharat Stage-VI emission norms by April 2020. India’s renewable energy capacity stands at more than 74 GW today including about 25 GW from solar. Further, India submitted its Second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in December 2018 as per the reporting obligations under the convention, which stated that India’s GDP came down by 21% between 2005 & 2014. It also stated that India’s climate-goal for pre-2020 is well on track.

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