South Africa Current Affairs

5 countries elected as non-permanent members of UNSC

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC). They will have two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.

These five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern

  • Two seats for Group of African states and Group of Asia-Pacific states,
  • One for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states
  • Two seats for Western European and other states.

UN Security Council (UNSC)

UNSC is most powerful and one of the six principal organs United Nations. Under UN Charter it has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, including five permanent ones with the power of veto. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, UK and US. 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms each. Its powers include establishment of peacekeeping operations, establishment of international sanctions, and authorization of military action through UNSC resolutions. It is only UN body with authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Functions of UNSC

UNSC is responsible for determining existence of threat against peace and to respond to act of aggression. It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle conflict or dispute between states. In some cases, it resorts to sanctions or even authorise use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. It also recommends to UNGA appointment of UN Secretary General and admission of new members to the UN.

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26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers held in Durban

The 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers was held in Durban, South Africa. The grouping is a bloc of four countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. It was attended by from BASIC countries and Michal Kurtyka of Poland, next president of Conference of Parties (COP-24) under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India was represented by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Key Outcomes of Meeting

BASIC countries decided to preserve integrity of historic 2015 Paris Agreement, including principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and equity. They held that world is at critical stage in combating climate change and response of developed nations to tackle the issue is still not adequate.

They reiterated that developed nations should take lead in terms of mitigation and providing means of implementation to developing countries. They should equally give importance to ambition of developing countries by providing them supported and sustained, predictable and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support. Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan reiterated his appeal for joint efforts to create societal movement in combating climate change through Green Good Deeds.

BASIC

BASIC countries are bloc (geopolitical alliance) of four large newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. It was formed by agreement in November 2009. They are committed to act jointly at Copenhagen climate summit, including possible united walk-out if their common minimum position was not met by the developed nations during climate talks. It is working to define common position on emission reductions and climate aid money and try to convince other countries to sign up to Copenhagen Accord.

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