1. IPCC REPORT FORECASTS SEVERE WEATHER IN THE FUTURE
News: The Indian Ocean is warming at a higher rate than other oceans, said the latest report by the Inter – governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with scientists warning that India will witness increased heatwaves and flooding, which will be the irreversible effects of climate change.
The current overall global warming trends are likely to lead to an increase in annual mean precipitation over India, with more severe rain expected over southern India in the coming decades.
The authors of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”, said the warming of the ocean would lead to a rise in sea levels, leading to frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-level areas.
With a 7,517-km coastline, India would face significant threats from the rising seas.
Across the port cities of Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat and Visakhapatnam, 28.6 million people would be exposed to coastal flooding if sea levels rise by 50 cm.
Monsoon extremes are likely to increase over India and South Asia, while the frequency of short intense rainy days are expected to rise.
Models also indicate a lengthening of the monsoon over India by the end of the 21st century, with the South Asian monsoon precipitation projected to increase.
The planet was irrevocably headed towards warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times in the next two decades.
Keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels by the turn of century and endeavouring to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius was at the heart of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Unless extremely deep emission cuts are undertaken by all countries immediately, these goals are unlikely to be met.
The report recommended that countries strive to achieve net zero emissions — no additional greenhouse gases are emitted — by 2050.
About Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations mandated to provide objective scientific information relevant to understanding human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.
The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and was later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.
Membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN.
The IPCC does not carry out original research, nor does it monitor climate or related phenomena itself; rather, it conducts a systematic review of published literature, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources, from which it produces comprehensive “Assessment Reports”.
Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis to writing and reviewing reports, which are then reviewed by governments; the review process is considered transparent and rigorous, involving multiple rounds of critique and commentary from different stakeholders.
The IPCC is an internationally accepted authority on climate change, and its work is widely agreed upon by leading climate scientists and by the consensus of participating governments.
The IPCC has adopted and published “Principles Governing IPCC Work”, which states that the IPCC will assess:
the risk of human-induced climate change,
its potential impacts, and
possible options for prevention.
2. UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
News: The UNSC adopted a ‘Presidential [India’s] Statement’ which reaffirmed that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes the legal framework for maritime activities.
About United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS):
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union are parties.
The Convention resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
UNCLOS replaced the four treaties of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
While the Secretary-General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the United Nations Secretariat has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention.
A UN specialized agency, the International Maritime Organization, does play a role, however, as well as other bodies such as the International Whaling Commission and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was established by the Convention itself.
The convention introduced a number of provisions. The most significant issues covered were setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes.
The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline.
The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters. A vessel in the high seas assumes jurisdiction under the internal laws of its flag State.
Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters.
“Innocent passage” is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state.
Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent”, and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag.
Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of their security.
The convention set the definition of “Archipelagic States” in Part IV, which also defines how the state can draw its territorial borders.
A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another. All waters inside this baseline are designated “Archipelagic Waters”.
The state has sovereignty over these waters (like internal waters), but subject to existing rights including traditional fishing rights of immediately adjacent states.
Foreign vessels have right of innocent passage through archipelagic waters (like territorial waters).
Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone.
Here a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas (customs, taxation, immigration, and pollution) if the infringement started or is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters.
This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.
Exclusive economic zones (EEZs):
These extend 200 nmi (370 km; 230 mi) from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources.
In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf. The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.
The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) deep.
Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.
The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater.
A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nmi (650 km; 400 mi) from the baseline; nor may it exceed 100 nmi (190 km; 120 mi) beyond the 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) isobath (the line connecting the depth of 2 500 m).
Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.
The area outside these areas is referred to as the “high seas” or simply “the Area”.
Aside from its provisions defining ocean boundaries, the convention establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority and the common heritage of mankind principle.
Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.
3. PANCHAYATS (EXTENSION TO SCHEDULED AREAS) ACT, 1996
News: The tribal outfits in Rajasthan have demanded inclusion of over 165 village panchayats of seven districts in the scheduled areas under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) to facilitate the control of local communities over minor minerals and minor forest produce as well as development activities in the region. It will also ensure statutory protection of the tribal population.
About The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996:
The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India.
Scheduled Areas are areas identified by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Scheduled Areas are found in ten states of India which have predominant population of tribal communities.
The Scheduled Areas, were not covered by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution as provided in the Part IX of the Constitution.
PESA was enacted on 24 December 1996 to extend the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution to Scheduled Areas, with certain exceptions and modifications.
PESA sought to enable the Panchayats at appropriate levels and Gram Sabhas to implement a system of self-governance with respect to a number of issues such as customary resources, minor forest produce, minor minerals, minor water bodies, selection of beneficiaries, sanction of projects, and control over local institutions.
PESA is an Act to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats and the Scheduled Areas.
PESA was viewed as a positive development for tribal communities in Scheduled Areas who had earlier suffered tremendously from engagement with modern development processes and from the operation of both colonial laws and statutes made in independent India. The loss of access to forest, land, and other community resources had increased their vulnerability. Rampant land acquisition and displacement due to development projects had led to large scale distress in tribal communities living in Scheduled Areas.
PESA was seen as a panacea for many of these vulnerabilities and sought to introduce a new paradigm of development where the tribal communities in such Scheduled Areas were to decide by themselves the pace and priorities of their development.
About International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.
This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
It was first pronounced by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 1982.
4. NATIONAL MISSION ON EDIBLE OIL AND OIL PALM
News: The Centre will spend ₹11,000 crore on a new mission to ensure self-sufficiency in edible oil production at a time when India’s dependence on expensive imports has driven retail oil prices to new highs.
India is one of the major oilseeds grower and importer of edible oils. India’s vegetable oil economy is world’s fourth largest after USA, China & Brazil.
The oilseed accounts for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product and 10% value of all agricultural commodities. This sector has recorded annual growth rate of area, production and yield @ 2.44%, 5.47% and 2.96% respectively during last decade (1999-2009).
The diverse agro-ecological conditions in the country are favourable for growing 9 annual oilseed crops, which include 7 edible oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed & mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower and niger) and two non-edible oilseeds (castor and linseed).
Oilseeds cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 27 million hectares mainly on marginal lands, of which 72% is confined to rainfed farming.
During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further. With per capita consumption of vegetable oils at the rate of 16 kg/year/person for a projected population of 1276 million, the total vegetable oils demand is likely to touch 20.4 million tonnes by 2017.
A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.
It is, therefore, necessary to exploit domestic resources to maximize production to ensure edible oil security for the country. Oil Palm is comparatively a new crop in India and is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop.
With quality planting materials, irrigation and proper management, there is potential of achieving 20-30 MT Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) per ha after attaining the age of 5 years.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to intensify efforts for area expansion under oil palm to enhance palm oil production in the country.
Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs), like sal, mahua, simarouba, kokum, olive, karanja, jatropha, neem, jojoba, cheura, wild apricot, walnut, tung etc. are cultivated/grown in the country under different agro-climatic conditions in a scattered form in forest and non-forest areas as well as in waste land /deserts/hilly areas. These TBOs are also good source of vegetable oil and therefore need to be supported for cultivation.
About National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm:
It is expected to incentivise production of palm oil to reduce dependence on imports and help farmers cash in on the huge market.
Aims and Objectives of the scheme:
Achieve self-reliance in edible oil.
Harness domestic edible oil prices that are dictated by expensive palm oil imports.
To raise the domestic production of palm oil by three times to 11 lakh MT by 2025-26.
The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
Under the scheme, oil palm farmers will be provided financial assistance and will get remuneration under a price and viability formula.