United Nations Current Affairs - 2020

Anti-Maritime Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

On December 10, 2019, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar introduced the Anti-Maritime bill in parliament. The bill was introduced in days after the kidnapping of 18 Indians aboard in Nigeria. It aims at ensuring safety and security of India’s maritime trade and the crew members

Key Features

The bill is framed in accordance with the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). It provides punishment of death penalty to those involved in piracy at sea. Section 3 of the bill mentions that persons involved in the act of piracy shall be punished with imprisonment and death penalty.

Need for the bill

Piracy has been growing in the Indian Ocean region since 2008. It is especially more in the Gulf of Aden, which is used by more than 2,000 ships a day. The Gulf has seen several attacks from Somalia. The region is important as it is the busiest trade route between Europe, Asia and East Coast of Africa. These incidents affect the west coast of India as well. This is because, several countries jointly and individually are increasing their security in the Gulf of Aden region to protect their ships. This has forced the pirates to shift their operation eastwards and southwards. This affects India greatly and a strict legislation is required.

UNCLOS

The UNCOS or the Laws of the sea was framed at the third UN Conference that was held between 1973 and 1982. As of 2016, 167 countries including the European Union have joined UNCLOS. There is no direct role played by the UN in implementing the UNCLOS. However, organizations like International Whaling Commission, International Maritime Organization and International Seabed Authority have major role in following and implementing the rules.

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December 11: International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day predominantly refers to the day, the United Nations marks on December 11 every year since 2003. The same day is celebrated in US and Japan as well as National Mountain Day. The US began to mark mountain day even before the UN since 1877. However, in Japan it is being celebrated since 2014 and is a national holiday.

Theme: Mountains matter for youth

Why Mountain Day?

Around 15% of world population live in mountain according to the UN. Today, mountains are under threat due to over exploitation, climate change

Highlights

The day highlights that living is hard for those in the mountains. It focuses predominantly on the youth. It encourages and highlights the opportunities for young people in mountains. The day marks the importance of market access, education, training, public services and employment opportunities for the youth living in mountain region.

Migration-Major Issue

The day also focuses on abandonment of mountains. Today many young people leave hilly terrains for better life and employment. This leads to abandoned agriculture, loss of cultural values and land degradation. International Mountain Day also focuses on solutions to migration problems in the hilly regions.

Background

The idea of International Mountain Day was framed in United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. The idea was introduced in Agenda 21, which is “Managing Fragile Ecosystem: Sustainable Mountain Development”

Sustainable Development Goal

Mountains are the most important ecosystem that needs maximum attention. They provide freshwater for every day life. Conservation of mountains is important for sustainable development and is a part of Goal 15.

The SDG 15 focuses on “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably”

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