United Nations Current Affairs - 2019
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After 12 days of negotiations under the patronage of United Nations (UN) around 180 governments agreed on a new UN accord to regulate the movement and export of plastic waste between their national borders.
- Participants: About 1,400 representatives from almost every country in world met for 12 days of discussions at a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Agreement: Except the United States, about 180 governments, agreed to the deal which essentially updates (or amended) the 1989 Basel Convention on the Control Of Hazardous Wastes, to include plastic waste in a legally-binding framework, in a move to quickly reduce amount of plastic being washed into world’s oceans.
- Legally Binding: The framework for reducing plastic waste signed is legally binding which means that countries will have to monitor and track thousands of types of plastic waste outside their borders.
- Cause of Concern: Some 8 million tonnes (MT) of plastic waste ends up in oceans each year. For far too long the practice of plastic waste dumping or exporting their mixed toxic plastic wastes to developing Asian countries is being followed by developed countries like the US and Canada with claims that it would be recycled in receiving country. But since, much of this contaminated mixed waste cannot be recycled it is instead dumped or burned, or lastly finds its way into the ocean.
- Analysis: As per IPEN umbrella group (The International POPs Elimination Network, a global network of NGOs which seeks to eliminate hazardous and toxic chemicals and persistent organic pollutants) this new amendment to Basel Convention would empower developing countries to refuse plastic waste dumping.
- Other Key Decisions taken: The recent Geneva meeting also undertook to eliminate two toxic chemical groups namely Dicofol (organochlorine pesticide) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (or PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical), and other related compounds. PFOA has wide variety of industrial and domestic applications like non-stick cookware and food processing equipment, and also as paints, carpets and paper.
- Importance: The deal stroked sends a very strong political signal to rest of the world (including private sector, consumer market) that we need to take action.
About Basel convention
- In 1989, the Conference of Plenipotentiaries (CoP) in Basel, Switzerland adopted The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
- It was adopted in response to large public outcry after it was discovered that large deposits of toxic wastes were being imported from abroad into developing world.
- The Basel Convention came into force in 1992.
Tags: Basel • Basel Convention on the Control Of Hazardous Wastes • Dicofol • Geneva • IPEN Umbrella Group
World Tuna Day was observed on 2 May to raise awareness about importance of tuna and to promote more sustainable fishing practices across the world.
- Many coastal countries depend heavily on tuna fish resources for food security and nutrition, economic development, employment, government revenue, livelihoods, culture and recreation.
- At present, about 96 countries worldwide are involved in conservation and management of tuna with annual value of almost US $10 billion.
- Therefore, Tuna Day seeks to stress importance of stable and healthy tuna population. It also aims to create awareness about possible impact of drastically declining tuna stocks and to highlight economic and social benefits of establishing more sustainable fishing practices.
The World Tuna Day was officially proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting resolution 71/124 in December 2016. Its aim was to highlight importance of conservation management and ensure that a system is required in place to prevent tuna stocks from crashing. The first internationally recognized World Tuna Day was observed on 2 May 2017.