Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 May 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Annual Meeting of African Development Bank

 

ahmedabad

The 52nd Annual Meetings of the African Development bank are being held in​​ Gandhinagar. This is the first time that the Annual Meetings of AfDB are being held in India. These Meetings are the Bank’s largest annual event and serve to raise the profile of the institution on the global stage.

  • In addition to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, these Meetings will bring together about 3000 delegates and participants, and will feature a number of official, knowledge, and side events. The Governors of the Bank are from the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries (including India).
  • The Annual Meetings provide a unique forum for representatives of government, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia and the media – from Africa and beyond – to debate key issues on Africa’s development, and to discuss the Bank’s performance in delivering on its mandate.
  • Reflecting the significance of agriculture in Africa and in the Bank’s development work, the 2017 Annual Meetings will be held on the theme: “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.”

 

What you need to know about AfDB?

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.

  • The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.
  • The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
  • Governing: The AfDB is controlled by a Board of Executive Directors, made up of representatives of its member countries.
  • Voting: The voting power on the Board is split according to the size of each member’s share, currently 60%-40% between African (or “regional”) countries and “non-regional” member countries (“donors”). The largest African Development Bank shareholder is Nigeria with nearly 9% of the vote.
  • Representation: All member countries of the AfDB are represented on the AfDB Board of Executive Directors. Member governments are officially represented at the AfDB by their Minister of Finance, Planning or Cooperation who sits on the AfDB Board of Governors. The AfDB Governors meet once a year to take major decisions about the institution’s leadership, strategic directions and governing bodies.
  • Unit of account: The African Development Bank is using a Unit of Account which is registered as XUA as ISO 4217 standard currency code. It is not exchanged directly by individuals, it is used for accounting between state members.

 

India and AfDB:

India joined the African Development Fund in 1982, and became a member of the Bank in 1983. India is a non-regional member of the Bank. India and Africa share a great relationship, and have great degree of commonalities in terms of a shared history, and current challenges.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

After 84 years, cobra lily blooms again

 

The incredibly rare Arisaema translucens, more commonly remembered as the cobra lily, was recently rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after 84 years. It was last collected in 1932.

cobra lily

What you need to know about cobra lily?

  • Barely a few hundred cobra lily plants are left in the wild and they can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
  • This is probably the only member of the Arisaema family to have a translucent spathe.
  • The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it.

Threats:

Likely to have been quite common once, cobra lilies have vanished in the past decades along with the disappearance of the shola tree patches in which they were found. Prized for their beauty around the world, cobra lilies are at even greater risk of extinction from the commercial trade in exotic plants.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Smallest nation joins solar alliance

 

The world’s smallest republic, the tiny island nation of Nauru — has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework pact initiated by the Indian and French Governments at the climate change summit held at Paris in 2015.

nauru

  • Five more nations, from Africa, — Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti — have committed to sign the pact during the ongoing meeting of the African Development bank in India.

What you need to know about Nauru?

Formerly known as Pleasant Island, Nauru is an island country in Micronesia in the Central Pacific. With 10,084 residents in a 21-square-kilometre area, Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and third smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco.

Know about ISA:

India launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference in Paris. The alliance brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise.

  • The main aims of ISA include reducing financial risk across a larger global market, encouraging cooperation on technology, building capacity, and increasing energy access.
  • All the countries, located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, have been invited to join the Alliance.
  • The new body will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon. The Union Government of India has announced that it will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

AFSPA gets six-month extension in Manipur

 

The Manipur Cabinet has decided to extend the Disturbed Areas Act for another period of six months to facilitate the imposition of the AFSPA except in seven Assembly segments in Imphal. The government had lifted the AFSPA from these segments on August 12, 2004.

 

Armed-force-in-Manipur

What you need to know?

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the Governor of Manipur declares the entire state of Manipur, excluding the Imphal Municipal Area, as “Disturbed Area”.

 

What is AFSPA?

AFSPA, enacted in 1958, gives powers to the army and state and central police forces to shoot to kill, search houses and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents in areas declared as “disturbed” by the home ministry.

  • The Act provides army personnel with safeguards against malicious, vindictive and frivolous prosecution.
  • Security forces can “arrest without warrant” a person, who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence” even on “reasonable suspicion”.

 

What are ‘disturbed’ areas?

The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.”

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

NASA tribute: New species named after Abdul Kalam:

  • NASA scientists have named an organism discovered by them after APJ Abdul Kalam. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discovered the bacteria on the filters of the International Space Station and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late Indian President, who was a renowned aerospace scientist.
  • Even as it orbits the earth some 400 kilometres above, the ISS is home to many types of bacteria and fungi which co-inhabit the station with the astronauts who live and work on the station.

International Day for Biodiversity:

  • The International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) 2017 was celebrated all over the country on May 22, by different States and various organisations.
  • The International Day for Biological Diversity was first established in 1993, when the 29th of December was selected to serve as the day to educate the world of the importance of Biodiversity. This was later changed to the 22 of May in 2000. Too many winter holidays were interfering with countries holding meaningful celebrations.
  • 2017 Theme: “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism”.

India is no. 2 stainless steel producer in the world:

India has emerged as the second largest stainless steel producer in the world after China. India toppled Japan in the year 2016 according to the figures disclosed by International Stainless Steel Forum at a conference held in Tokyo, Japan, recently.

A women-only tour package unveiled:

  • In what is being touted as the first of its kind by a State-run tourism corporation in the country, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) has decided to offer a ‘women’s special’ tour package.
  • The package, a three-day, two-night tour of Mysuru and Kodagu, promises to be a unique experience for women travellers.