UNGA Current Affairs - 2019

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20 June: World Refugee Day observed

The World Refugee Day is observed across the world on 20 June every year. The theme for World Refugee Day 2019 was: Step with Refugees – Take a Step on World Refugee Day.

About World Refugee Day

Objective: The day is overserved annually to celebrate stories and contributions of refugees.

Background: On 4 December 2000, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in resolution 55/76 proclaimed to celebrate 20 June as World Refugee Day, starting from 2001. In this resolution, UNGA noted that 2001 marked 50th anniversary of 1951 Convention relating to Status of Refugees. It is observed to commemorate the day to honor all refugees, raise awareness and solicit support.

Observance: Individuals and community groups are encouraged to mark the World Refugee day by attending local World Refugee Day event, watching and sharing World Refugee Day videos and also by raising awareness for refugees on social media.

UNHCR Study on Refugees

As per the latest annual study released by United Nation’s office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCS) nearly 70.8 million men, women and children were forcibly displaced at the end of 2018. This is highest number of displaced individuals in organization’s 70-year history.

The study cited that violence, wars and persecution is the reason behind driving record numbers of people from their homes worldwide.

Almost 66% of those who are uprooted from their homes are internally displaced persons who have not left their homelands. Nearly 80% of these refugees live in countries neighbouring their country of origin.

Study states that on an average, 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds as a result of conflict/persecution and refugees are among the world’s most vulnerable people.

Who is a Refugee?

As per United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention– A refugee is a person who fled his/her home and country owing to a well-founded fear of persecution either because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or due to political opinion.

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17 June: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCDD) is being observed globally on 17 June 2019. According to United Nation (UN), Desertification means degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas and that Desertification does not refer to expansion of existing deserts.

Key Highlights

Background: WDCDD was proclaimed on 30 January 1995 by United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) resolution A/RES/49/115, after the day when United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was drafted. In 2019, UNCCD also celebrates 25 years of progress made by countries on sustainable land management.

Theme for year 2019 is- Let’s Grow the Future Together, which reflects on 25 years of progress and envisioning next 25 years.

Objective: The day is observed every year to promote public awareness about presence of desertification and drought, highlighting methods of preventing desertification and also about international efforts to combat desertification.

Concern: As per United Nation (UN), world is losing 24 billion tons of fertile soil ever year and  National Domestic Product (NDP) in developing countries is reduced by up to 8 % annually due to dryland degradation.

Siginificance: WDCDD is a unique occasion that serves as a reminder global community that desertification can be effectively tackled and that solutions are possible with tools such as strengthening community participation and cooperation at all levels.

India’s efforts towards Combating Desertification

Various initiatives by government for tackling desertification issue includes- Per Drop More Crops (for proper water management), Soil Health Card Scheme and Neem Coated Urea for farmers that will help increase the area of cultivated land.

In last 5 years forest cover in India has increased and the government is committed towards improving it further as well for working towards betterment of farmer and environment protection.

India seeks to set an example in combating desertification and also shows readiness to cooperate with world in this direction.

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