UNGA Current Affairs - 2020

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.

13 June: International Albinism Awareness Day observed

International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) is observed every year throughout the world on 13 June, with the aim of raising public awareness on albinism and to prevent attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. Theme for IAAD 2019 was- Still Standing Strong. It calls upon people around the globe to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with all albinism patients.

About Albinism

It is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited disorder present at birth. It is a congenital disorder characterized by partial or complete absence of pigment melanin in skin, hair, and eyes. In almost all types of albinism, both parents (who are carrier) even if they do not have albinism themselves must carry gene for it to be passed on. The albinism condition is found in both sexes regardless of ethnicity and in all countries worldwide.

There is no cure for absence of melanin that is predominantly central to albinism.

The lack of melanin in skin makes albinos more prone to sunburn and also skin cancers. It is also associated with eye related problems such as photophobia, amblyopia (lazy eye), nystagmus, etc.

Due to lack of melanin in skin as well as eyes of persons with albinism, they often have permanent visual impairment which mostly leads to disabilities. They also face discrimination due to their skin colour and thus are often subjected to multiple and intersecting discrimination on grounds of both disability and colour.

Background

A Canadian NGO named Under the Same Sun (UTSS), on an international level joined Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari-Bari, late Ambassador of Mission of Somalia to United Nations (UN), in his effort to pass a resolution for promoting and protecting rights of persons with albinism. Such a resolution came about when on June 13 2013 United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted 1st ever resolution on albinism.

Thereafter, on 26 June 2014 UNHRC in its resolution 26/10 recommended 13 June to be proclaimed as International Albinism Awareness Day by United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA). Later, UNGA adopted resolution 69/170 on 18 December 2014 and proclaimed 13 June with effect from 2015 to be observed as International Albinism Awareness Day.

Why this date?

The 13 June date was chosen is reminiscent of UN’s first ever resolution which was passed on 13 June year before.