Poverty Current Affairs - 2019

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Global Environment Outlook 2019 Report

The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP)  flagship environmental assessment.  The first publication was in 1997 and was originally requested by the Member States. The Global Environment Outlook Report 2019 is the sixth edition.

Findings of the Report

  • The report notes that a quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage.
  • The report warns that deadly emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy.
  • The report highlights the growing divide between rich and poor as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease elsewhere.
  • The report notes that as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
  • The report expresses concern that the health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.
  • The report notes that poor environmental conditions cause approximately 25% of global disease and mortality and resulted in around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone.
  • Due to lack of access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
  • The report notes that chemicals pumped into the seas causes potentially multi-generational adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of Earth home to 3.2 billion people.
  • The report states that air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
  • The report calls for a root-and-branch detoxifying of human behaviour while insisting that the situation is not unassailable. Food waste for instance, which accounts for 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, could be slashed. The world currently throws away a third of all food produced. In richer nations, 56% goes to waste.

The report makes a strong case for a rapid drawdown in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use to improve air and water quality. The report also notes lack of any international agreement for the environment close to covering what the 2015 Paris accord does for the climate.

15 October: International Day of Rural Women

The International Day of Rural Women is observed annually across the world on 15 October to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women.

Significance of the day: Highlights the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing rural and agricultural development, eradicating rural poverty and improving food security.

2016 Theme:Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. It tries to bring focus on farmers, pastoralists and fishers who are standing on the frontlines of food insecurity due to climate changed due to temperatures rise.

The United Nations also calls for empowering rural women as a pre-requisite for fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) which aims at ending poverty and hunger, achieve food security and empower all women and girls.

Why International Day of Rural Women is celebrated?

  • Rural women, make up over a quarter of the total world population. Majority of them depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihood.
  • In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labour force. They produce, prepare and process much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
  • Thus it is important to recognise the contribution and significant role played by these rural women in food security and poverty elevation.
  • It is also necessary for ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty.

Background: The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. The day was constituted by the UN General Assembly by passing resolution 62/136 in December 2007.