United Nations Current Affairs

December 9: International Anti-Corruption Day

The International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) is observed annually across the world on December 9 to raise public awareness of corruption and what people can do to fight it. Observance of the day aims to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively. It also highlights the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. The theme for year 2017 is “United against corruption for development, peace and security”.

This year UNODC and UNDP have developed joint global campaign, focusing on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development. The 2017 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Corruption

Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune from corruption. According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5% of global GDP. In developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times amount of official development assistance.

Background

The International Anti-Corruption Day was instituted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 58/4 of October 31, 2003. It was adopted to raise people’s awareness of corruption and role of United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in combating and preventing it. The UNCAC is the first legally binding, international anti-corruption instrument that provides a chance to mount a global response to corruption.

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5 December: World Soil Day

The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It aims to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

The Theme for year 2017 is ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’. The theme seeks to highlight importance of soil in human livelihoods and increase in degradation of soil resources worldwide due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification and inadequate governance over this essential resource.

Importance of soil

Soil is the upper layer of earth. It is mixture of organic and inorganic matter, in which plants grow. It is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. According to FAO, soil holds three times as much carbon as atmosphere and can help to meet challenges of a changing climate. 95% of our food comes from soil and 33% of global soils are already degraded.

Background

The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) had adopted resolution proposing 5th of December as World Soil Day in 2002 to celebrate importance of soil as critical component of natural system and as vital contributor to human wellbeing. Later in June 2013, the FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, 68th UNGA declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.

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