Sustainable Development Current Affairs

Government, FAO launches agriculture project in 5 states with $33.5 million GEF grant

Union government (Agriculture and Environment ministries) along with UN body Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched agriculture project that seeks to bring transformative change in farm sector through conservation of biodiversity and forest landscapes. It will be implemented in five states viz. Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

Key Facts

The project is being funded with US $33.5 million grant from Global Environment Facility (GEF). It aims to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management. It strives to bring harmony between conservation and development efforts of the country.

Background

Agriculture along with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India, with 82% of country’s farmers being small and marginal. Existing unsustainable agricultural practices have resulted in depletion of water tables, biodiversity and habitat loss for wild species and land and soil degradation which have contributed to the environmental crisis in India. To overcome it, there is need for alternative paradigm to current extractive methods of agricultural production systems. Scientific research is need of time to focus on achieving greener landscapes along with efficient and effective resource use. Moreover, any effort to increase farmers income and food production must be within the framework of sustainable management of natural resources to avoid environmental degradation.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

It is specialised agency of UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC). It was established on 16 October 1945 and its headquarters are in Rome, It has 194 member states, along with European Union (member organization).

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

It is multilateral financial mechanism that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities. It was established on the eve of 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. It is based in Washington DC, United States. It addresses six designated focal areas: biodiversity, climate change, international waters, ozone depletion, land degradation and Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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NITI Aayog launches 5 Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Himalayan Region

NITI Aayog has released five Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) recognizing uniqueness of Himalayas and challenges for sustainable development. These reports list challenges in all defined five thematic areas and discuss significance, challenges, ongoing actions and future roadmap.

Background

These reports were prepared by five working groups which were set up by NITI Aayog in June 2017 to prepare roadmap for actions in five thematic areas that are quite significant for the Himalayas. These areas were Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security, Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region, Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation, Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas and Data and Information for Informed Decision Making. These working groups were constituted after NITI Aayog recognised that Himalayan mountains require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting.

Key Features of five Thematic reports

Inventory and Revival of springs in Himalayas for Water Security: Nearly 30% of springs, crucial to water security of people in Himalayas are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge. There is need for spring mapping and revival by using eight steps protocol that must be taken up across Himalayan States in phased manner. It calls for setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.

Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region: Himalayan Tourism is growing annually at 6.8% and has created huge challenge related to solid waste, water, traffic, loss of bio-cultural diversity etc. Projected arrival of tourists will be more than double by 2025. Urgent actions are needed to address issues of waste management and water crisis. The concept of carrying capacity must be applied to all major tourist destinations. Besides tourism sector standards must be implemented and monitored. Performance based incentives must be approved for states. Himalayan Authority must be launched for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region. “Himalaya Calling: An Awareness to Action Campaign” must be launched as people’s movement.

Transformative approach to shifting cultivation: Thousands of households in north eastern states, continue to practice shifting cultivation i.e. slash and burn (Jhum cultivation) which needs to be addressed in view of ecological, food and nutritional security. There is urgent need for assessment of nature and extent of shifting cultivation area. Moreover there is need for improved policy coherence, strengthened tenurial security and improved access to related programs for transform shifting cultivation. National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States must be set up.

Strengthening Skill and Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas: The Himalayan states face severe challenge of unskilled workforce and migration of youths. There is urgent need to strengthen skill and entrepreneurship workforce in Himalayan region with required focus on identified priority sectors where mountains have advantage, along with investment in trainers, assessors and setting up training centers with industry partnership. There is need to set up demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centers in Himalayan States along with consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology.

Data/Information for Informed Decision Making: Himalayan states face challenges related to data availability, data authenticity, compatibility, data quality, validation, user charges. It needs to be addressed for informed decision making at different levels of governance. Central Data Management Agency for Himalayas must be set up to provide data with high fidelity scenario. It will help in addressing data sharing, access, authenticity and comparability issues. It should be linked with Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP). Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database must be set up at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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