Why in news? India has increased its grant to Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) new four-year investment cycle, known as GEF-7 from $12 million to $15 million. Global Environment Facility:
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.
The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
Since 1992, the GEF has provided over $17 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $88 billion in financing for more than 4000 projects in 170 countries.
It is an independently operating financial organization.
It provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury, sustainable forest management, food security, sustainable cities.
The GEF also serves as financial mechanism for the following conventions:
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Minamata Convention on Mercury
The GEF also supports implementation of the Protocol in countries with economies in transition.
FACT # 2
United Nations Relief And Works Agency For Palestinian Refugees
Why in news? India has pledged $5 million for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees:
It was created in December 1949.
It is a relief and human development agency which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their descendants, who fled or were expelledfrom their homes during the 1948 Palestine war.
It also supports those who fled or were expelledduring and following the 1967 Six Day war.
Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, health care, and social servicesto the population it supports.
Aid is provided in five areas of operation:
the Gaza Strip
West Bank including East Jerusalem
Aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.
It also provided relief to Jewish and Arab Palestine refugees inside the state of Israel following the 1948 conflict until the Israeli government took over responsibility for Jewish refugees in 1952.
In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.
UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.
Formed in 1950, UNHCR is the main UN refugee agency, which is responsible for aiding other refugees all over the world.
Unlike UNRWA, UNHCR has a specific mandate to aid its refugees to eliminate their refugee status by local integration in current country, resettlement in a third country or repatriation when possible.
UNRWA allows refugee status to be inherited by descendants.
UNRWA is the largest agency of the United Nations, employing over 30,000 staff, 99% of which are locally recruited Palestinians.
UNRWA’s headquarters are divided between the Gaza Strip and Amman.
FACT # 3
Why in news?The Ministry of Shipping’s flagship programme for port-led-prosperity ‘Sagarmala’ has received the ‘Gold Award’ in infrastructure sector in the recently concluded 52nd Skoch Summit 2018 in New Delhi.
The Skoch Awards recognize leadership and excellence in accelerating socio-economic changes.
These awards have become a benchmark of best practices in India in the fields of governance, infrastructure, finance, banking, technology, corporate citizenship, economics and inclusive growth.
‘Sagarmala’ has won the 2018 Skoch award due to its contribution to India’s socio-economic transformation and its role in propelling fast-track growth and infrastructure development.
The Sagarmala Programme also received the ‘Order of Merit’at the Summit.
Sagarmalais the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping for port-led-development of the country through harnessing India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location of India on key international maritime trade route.
The Sagarmala Programme hinges on four pillars, namely;
Coastal Community Development
The programme aims to double the share of domestic waterways (inland & coastal) in the modal mix and generate logistic cost savings of Rs. 35,000-40,000 Cr per annum.
It aims to boost merchandize exports by USD 110 Billion and enable creation of 1 Crore new jobs, including 40 Lac direct jobs, in the next 10 years.
Under Sagarmala programme, more than 576 projects have been identified for implementation over 20 years.
Development would be done across areas of port modernization and new port development, enhancing connectivity of ports, industrialization linked to ports and coastal community development.