UNGA Current Affairs - 2020

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21 May: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development observed

On 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was celebrated. The year 2019 has been declared ‘International Year of Indigenous Languages’ by UN General Assembly, so as to bring awareness to importance of linguistic diversity.

Key Highlights

Background: In 2001, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted ‘Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity’ as a result of the destruction of the Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001. Then in December 2002, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in its resolution 57/249, declared 21 May to be World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Objective: To deepen our understanding of values of cultural diversity and to advance four goals of UNESCO ‘Convention on Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions’, adopted in 2005-

  • To support sustainable systems and development of cultural governance.
  • To achieve balanced flow of cultural goods and services (G&S) and increase mobility of cultural professionals and artists.
  • To integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks.
  • To promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Importance of Cultural Diversity

  • About Three-quarters (77%) of world’s major conflicts have cultural dimension. Thus bridging gap between cultures is necessary and urgent for peace, development and stability.
  • Cultural diversity is not only a driving force of development with respect to economic growth, but it also act as means of leading more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, and spiritual life.
  • Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and achievement of global sustainable development.

UAE and World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

  • UAE celebrated the day highlighting its efforts in promoting tolerance and cultural diversity.
  • The 2019 event coincided with the country’s declaration of 2019 as the ‘Year for Tolerance’.
  • The UAE has cultural relations with many countries and is also an active member of UNESCO.

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20 May: World Bee Day celebrated

The World Bee Day is celebrated every year on May 20. It marks the birthday anniversary of beekeeping pioneer Anton Janša. The theme for World Bee Day 2019 was “Save the Bees”.

About World Bee Day

  • Background: 20 May was designated as World Bee Day by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by unanimously passing a resolution proposed by Slovenia in December 2017. The resolution called for adoption of specific conservation measures and highlighted importance of preservation of bees and their significance for humanity.
  • Objective: To raise awareness about importance of bees and pollinators, threats faced by them, their contribution to sustainable development and to acknowledge their role in ecosystem.
  • Reason: The day 20 May coincides with birth anniversary of Anton Janaa, an 18th century beekeeping pioneer. He pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native country Slovenia and praised bees for their ability to work so hard even while needing so little attention.
  • Value of bees: Bees and other Pollinators like bats, butterflies, and hummingbirds allow many plants (including food crops) to reproduce. About 33% of world’s food production depends on bees thus they are vital for preservation of biodiversity, ecological balance in nature and helpful in reducing pollution.
  • Apart from contributing directly to global food security, they are also key to conserving biodiversity, which is a cornerstone of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). They guard and even act as an indicator for emerging environmental risks and signal health of local ecosystems, thus act as our allies against climate change.
  • Threat: Bees and other Pollinators are increasingly under threat from human activities. Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices (agricultural practice of growing a single crop without rotation) may reduce available nutrients and poses greatest threats to bee colonies.

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