Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Comments called for on the Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy Released
Bilateral & International Relations
- VP calls for renewed efforts for India to gain permanent membership of UNSC
Defence & Security Issues
- Defence Minister Reviews Functioning Of IMAC And IFC-IOR
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Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Comments called for on the Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy Released
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy, 2019 recently inviting comments and suggestions on the draft policy.
ABOUT THE DRAFT NATIONAL RESOURCE EFFICIENCY POLICY (NERP), 2019
- It was developed with the recommendations from the Indian Resource Efficiency Programme (IREP), launched by the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Indian Resource Panel in 2017.
- The work on Resource Efficiency Strategy was supported by the European Union (EU) funded Resource Efficiency Initiative (EU-REI) in the consortium with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
- NITI Aayog in collaboration with the European Union delegation to India have released the Strategy on Resource Efficiency. The strategy aims to promote resource efficiency in India.
HIGHLIGHTS OF NERP 2019
- NERP 2019 seeks to create a regulatory environment to mainstream resource efficiency across all sectors including both biotic and abiotic
- It will create a ‘National Resource Efficiency Authority (NREA)’ under Environment (Protection) 24 Act, 1986, to provide for the regulatory provisions of this policy.
- An inter-ministerial National Resource Efficiency Board (NREAB) will provide necessary guidance on the aspects critical to the implementation of resource efficiency.
- It also plans to offer tax benefits on recycled materials, green loans to small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) and soft loans to construct waste disposal facilities, apart from setting up Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).
- Manufacturers and service providers would also be required to use more recycled or renewable materials and awareness would be created among consumers to indicate the shift.
- Idea of the national policy is to drive the country towards circular economy through efficient use of available material resources, based on principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.
- The 6R stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign, re-manufacture and refurbish while the very premise of ‘green public procurement’ is to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.
- It also pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfill’ approach in the country, hinting at possibility of imposing ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ for bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.
Principles of NERP 2019
- Reduction in primary resource consumption to ‘sustainable’ levels
- Creation of higher value with less material through resource efficient and circular approaches
- Waste minimization
- Material security, creation of employment opportunities and business models beneficial to the cause of environment protection
WHAT IS RESOURCE EFFICIENCY (RE) AND RESOURCE PRODUCTIVITY?
- Resource efficiency (RE) implies judicious use of earth’s limited resources to achieve maximum benefit while minimizing the adverse impacts on environment.
- It is the ratio between a given benefit or result and the natural resources use required for it.
- While the term ‘resource efficiency’ is predominantly used in business, product or material context; term ‘resource productivity’ is used in context of regional or national economy.
- Resource efficiency reduces waste, drives greater resource productivity, delivers a more competitive economy, addresses emerging resource security/scarcity issues, and helps reduce the environmental impacts associated with both production and consumption.
- Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy are important goals and central principles for achieving sustainable development. Sustainability is a global priority and SDGs commitment and 11th Five year plan also clearly enunciate importance of Resource efficiency (RE).
BENEFITS OF RESOURCE EFFICIENCY
- Resource efficiency brings multiple benefits along the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
- India’s large population, rapid urbanization and expanding industrial production have led to exploitation of available limited natural resources with concerns regarding resource depletion and future availability becoming more pronounced.
- Therefore, enhancing resource efficiency (RE) and promoting the use of secondary raw materials (SRM) is a pertinent strategy to address these challenges and reduce dependence on primary resource.
WHY NATIONAL RESOURCE EFFICIENCY POLICY FOR INDIA?
Current Status of India’s resources
- Resource extraction of 1580 tonnes/acre is much higher than the world average of 450 tonnes/acre
- 3rd largest material demand (in year 2010)
- Low material productivity compared to global average
- 3rd highest CO2 emitter, responsible for 6.9% of global CO2 emissions.
- Highest water withdrawal globally for agriculture.
- 30% of land undergoing degradation.
- High import dependency of many critical raw materials.
- Water is fast becoming scarce while deteriorating air quality has emerged as a major threat to human life.
- There has been massive soil degradation, with 147 million hectares (Mha) of a total of 329 Mha land area hit.
- Import dependency is nearly 100% for the majority of the ‘most critical’ materials -cobalt, copper and lithium that find extensive application in high-end technology industry.
- Over 80% of crude oil that is processed in the economy is imported, alongwith 85% of its coking coal demand. Extraction of non-metallic minerals is crippled with challenges.
- To add to the problems, the country’s recycling rate is just about 20-25% compared with 70% in developing countries in Europe. The situation will only aggravate as India is likely to double its material consumption by 2030.
- In scenario with continuing current dynamics (8% growth in GDP p.a. until 2030, thereafter 5%), total material consumption in 2030 is projected to be 14.2 BT (billion tonnes).
- This means tripling of demand for primary materials compared to 2010, particularly the demand for energy carriers, metals and non-metal minerals.
Need for a comprehensive policy framework
- A resource efficient strategy and promoting use of secondary raw materials will encompass wide variety of technology, process and institutional issues along the various stages of product life cycles.
- A comprehensive resource efficiency policy is needed as individual policy only focuses on certain aspects of the economy and the effect of a single policy might be offset by the effect of another, or there could be burden shifting happening from one resource / sector to another.
- Also many policy instruments generate a co-benefit of resource efficiency besides generating other environmental and social benefits.
Current gaps in resource efficiency agenda
- What is essentially missing currently in India is life cycle thinking towards addressing the resource efficiency
- The life cycle approach refers to reducing dependency on virgin raw material by creating an alternate source of resources through reuse and recycling.
- At every stage along the life cycle, policies of resource use and resource efficiency can be implemented. Programmes and policies already focus on energy efficiency but do not directly address resource efficiency or secondary raw materials.
- India has deployed various policies addressing other environmental and social objectives but at the same time having adverse implications on resource efficiency.
- These include taxes and subsidy (including rationalization of unwarranted benefits in the subsidy reform), financial support for research and development, eco-mark/eco-labelling, industry standards, public procurement, tradable permits and certificates and self-regulation.
- Also many policy interventions have focused on end-of-life stage and that too mostly on recycling, while the other stages of the life cycle have not been given the due importance.
- India has increased its material consumption to six times, from 1.18 billion tonnes (BT) in 1970 to 7 BT in 2015.
Bilateral & International Relations
VP calls for renewed efforts for India to gain permanent membership of UNSC
The Vice President of India has called for renewed efforts by India to gain permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL (UNSC):
- United Nations Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations (UN).
- The council held its first session in 1946.
- It is headquartered at New York, United States.
- It is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
- The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.
- A State which is a Member of the United Nations but not of the Security Council may participate, without a vote, in its discussions when the Council considers that country’s interests are affected.
- The Council is composed of 15 Members.
- Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term year).
- The non‑permanent members are elected on a regional basis for a two‑year term by the General Assembly. It is not possible to be re‑elected immediately after holding a seat in the Security Council.
FUNCTIONS OF UNSC
- To maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations
- To investigate any dispute which might lead to international friction
- To formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments
- To determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken
- To call on Members to apply economic sanctions not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression
- To take military action against an aggressor
- To recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice
HOW ARE THE NON-PERMANENT MEMBERS ELECTED?
- Each year, the UNSC elects five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term.
- In accordance with the General Assembly resolution 1991, the 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows: five for African and Asian States; one for Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.
REFORM PROPOSAL OF SECURITY COUNCIL
- Since 1993, the UN General Assembly has debated Council reform but has not been able to reach agreement yet.
- The main debate revolves around some county asking ‘permanent status’ in UNSC, however, many other countries oppose them.
Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues:
- Categories of membership: It looks at the addition of both permanent members and elected members. Such changes require amendments to the UN Charter.
- The question of the veto held by the five permanent members: It looks closely at this key issue and whether it could (and should) be eliminated or curtailed.
- Regional representation: It examines the arguments for and against supranational organizations, like the EU, as potential candidates for Council membership.
- The size of an enlarged Council and its working methods: It considers the procedures of the Council and the way it conducts its work. Unlike membership changes, these reforms do not require Charter change and the Council itself can implement them.
- The Security Council-General Assembly relationships
NEED FOR REFORM PROPOSAL OF SECURITY COUNCIL
- The United Nations Security Council is the international community’s principal organ for peacekeeping and conflict management and its decisions are binding on all member states.
- However, under the current mechanism, the council do not have the necessary authority and legitimacy to force any country to follow its order.
- Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean regions do not have the representation on the Council according to their current standing demands, and are therefore calling for the Council’s composition to be adapted to the new situation.
- Alongside the call for a geographically balanced distribution of seats, the Charter of the United Nations also expressly states that countries that make considerable contributions to the UN should be members of the Security Council which is not followed currently.
WHY INDIA SHOULD BE GIVEN A PERMANENT SEAT IN THE COUNCIL?
Arguments in favour of:
- India is the largest democracy in the world and one of the largest economies.
- India was among the founding members of United Nations.
- India has stronger economy than Russia, which is a permanent member of Security Council.
- India has been elected seven times as a non permanent member of the UNSC. It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.
- In terms of population, India stands second.
- India is a nuclear weapon state.
- India is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions. Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
- India has one of the best armed forces in the world.
- In space research, India’s ISRO is one of the world’s best.
- There are some other countries that are economically much better than India, and not a part of UNSC.
- India is one of the countries having lowest Human Development Index.
- India is the second most unequal country, with most of the wealth is in the hands of the rich.
WHAT INDIA CAN DO TO GET PERMANENT SEAT AT UNSC?
- Group of 4 countries (G4) i.e. Germany, Japan, Brazil, India are bidding for permanent seats in the UN Security Council.
- The Coffee Club or Uniting for Consensus are Group of countries which opposed to the G4. They favoured the expansion of the non-permanent category of seats with members to be elected on a regional basis. It includes Italy, Spain, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Pakistan.
Defence & Security Issues
Defence Minister Reviews Functioning Of IMAC And IFC-IOR
Defence Minister visited the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) and Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) located at Gurugram ,both under the National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project.
ABOUT NATIONAL MARITIME DOMAIN AWARENESS (NMDA) PROJECT
- The NMDA project was launched in accordance with the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) concept.
- The IMAC monitors the movement of ships passing through the Indian Ocean. The cargo carried by these ships account for 66 per cent of world crude oil, 50 per cent of container traffic and 33 per cent of bulk cargo.
- IMAC collects shipping information, analyse traffic patterns and share the inputs with the user agencies.
- It is also the nodal centre of the various agencies working in the field of maritime security to improve coastal surveillance.
ABOUT INFORMATION FUSION CENTRE – INDIAN OCEAN REGION (IFC-IOR)
- Launched in 2018, it is an initiative started by the Indian Navy.
- The IFC has been established at Gurugram, and is collocated with Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) which is jointly administered by the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
- This is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
- It aims to advance Maritime Safety and Security in the Indian Ocean Region by enhancing maritime domain awareness and coordinating activities.
- Through this Centre, information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, is exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
- IFC-IOR is also works towards coordination of incident response and disaster relief, and in time, also share submarine safety information.