16 October, 2020
- Prelims Quiz
- The message in Peace Nobel- Multilateralism (EDIT) - (International Relations)
- The road to zero Hunger by 2030 (EDIT) - (Social Issues)
- Should the government regulate TRP (EDIT) - (Ethics)
- Map Locations - (Geography)
Sub Theme: Need for Multilateralism for a better World | UPSC
Context: Tackling global crisis such as COVID-19 needs collaborative approach rather than mere coercion by individual countries. This collaboration is even more important as COVID-19 has affected health and economy without discrimination across the world. But the most affected by COVID have been the poor and vulnerable people across the world. Millions have slept with hungry stomachs during COVID and it is here where the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 awarded to World Food Programme gains significance as it has made continuous effort to eradicate hunger in times of crisis. Thus, there is a need for all countries to leave aside their nationalistic ideologies and aspirations for a while and come together collectively to find a cure to fight this unprecedented global pandemic for the sake of human life. So, this article has emphasised that the world needs multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity.
Need for COVAX Alliance by WHO
- Expectations hardly meet reality. So, one would have expected that countries, particularly those with technological and financial capabilities, would agree to pool their resources together to work on an effective and affordable anti-virus vaccine. Even the United Nations could not work collectively in such a global pandemic affecting millions across the world.
- In such a scenario, World Health Organization (WHO) has put together a COVAX Alliance for the same purpose to find a cure or vaccine against COVID-19.
- COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to COVID. COVAX aims to bring together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
Looming Food Crisis & Need for Multilateralism
- Multilateralism refers to the coordinated diplomatic interaction of three or more states (or other actors) in international politics. “Multilateral” foreign and security policy stands in contrast to bilateral or unilateral action.
- Food Crisis is a reality especially in times of crisis and because of this, Nobel Peace Prize 2020 becomes all the more important for its message to the world - we need multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity. It is also a warning that the novel coronavirus pandemic is reversing the substantial gains made in the fight against poverty.
- The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
- The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation. In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Programme has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts. As the organisation itself has stated, “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”
- Thus, the Article highlights that the Nobel Prize to the WFP will hopefully nudge our collective conscience to come together and relieve this looming humanitarian crisis.
The UN at 75 is still an important Multilateral Institution
- The United Nations is at the centre of multilateral institutions and processes. It is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding.
- UN has become increasingly marginal in mobilising international responses to global challenges and the fault lies with its most powerful member countries as they have stalled any changes in world order created in 1945.
- Despite the fact that UN does not reflect present economic world order, United Nations has kept alive the notion of international solidarity and cooperation.
- UN is now an essential part of the fabric of international relations. its role has become even more important precisely because the salience of global issues has expanded and the need for multilateral approaches in finding solutions has greatly increased.
- India has been a consistent advocate of multilateralism and Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said: “India firmly believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism. As children of Planet Earth we must join hands to address our common challenges and achieve our common goals.”
Globalisation here to Stay
- Given the scale, urgency and seriousness of global threat we faces (such as COVID, Climate Change etc.) and future threats, there is a need for maximum solidarity and responses by all member states of UN.
- International Diplomacy of Pre-COVID World must change from the Old Mantra - concede as little as possible, and extract as much as you can – to the NEW MANTRA - contribute as much as possible within the limitation of resources and demand the minimum in terms of assessed needs.
- Covid has ushered an era of digital economy more quickly than the world had anticipated. Globalisation is driven by technology and as long as technology remains the key driver of economic growth, there is no escape from globalisation.
- Taking care of domestic needs does not leave us unhindered from global catastrophes. For eg: even if India’s carbon emissions become zero, climate change would continue to affect us (increased temperatures, unseasonal rain or drought, harsh cyclones, prolonged winter or summer etc.) if others do not also reduce their emissions.
Recognising certain inter-connections for increased Multilateral Cooperation
- There is a need to understand the inter-connectedness among various challenges. For example, food, energy and water security are inter-linked with strong feedback loops.
- Enhancing food security may lead to diminished water and energy security. It may also have collateral impact on health security.
- Raising crop yields with current agricultural strategies means higher incremental use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.
- India’s unprotected farmers are exposed to serious health risks as a result and often get bankrupted not due to crop failure but debilitating health costs.
- It is in recognition of these inter-connections that the international community agreed on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The SDGs are cross-domain but also cross-national in character, and hence demand greater multilateral cooperation in order to succeed.
WAY FORWARD - Need for a more Democratic World Order Supported by Multilateralism
Thus, there is a need for a more democratic world order since lack of cooperation from even a single state may frustrate success in tackling a global challenge. A fresh pandemic may erupt in any remote corner of the world and spread throughout the globe. Prevention cannot be achieved through coercion, only through cooperation. It is only multilateralism that makes this possible.
UPSC Current Affairs: The road to zero hunger by 2030 – Article |Pg 6
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Rights Issue | Mains: GS Paper II – Social Justice, Issues on Poverty & Hunger
Sub Theme: Achieving Zero Hunger | SDG-2 | UPSC
Context: Food is the essence of life and the bedrock of our cultures and communities. It can be a powerful means to bring people together to grow, nourish and sustain the planet. The exceptional circumstances we have all been living in through 2020 underscores this — not only does COVID-19 pose a threat to food security and agricultural livelihoods, it compounds the threats already faced by 690 million people around the world. This World Food Day, we — the food agencies of the United Nations (UN) — pledge to work together to end hunger, eradicate food insecurity and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2.
What is hunger?
Hunger is an uncomfortable or painful physical sensation caused by insufficient consumption of dietary energy. It becomes chronic when the person does not consume a sufficient amount of calories (dietary energy) on a regular basis to lead a normal, active and healthy life. Today, it is estimated that almost 690 million people are going hungry. For decades, FAO has used the Prevalence of Undernourishment indicator to estimate the extent of hunger in the world, thus “hunger” may also be referred to as undernourishment.
What is food insecurity?
A person is food insecure when they lack regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. This may be due to unavailability of food and/or lack of resources to obtain food. Food insecurity can be experienced at different levels of severity.
How are hunger and food insecurity related?
When someone is severely food insecure, they have run out of food and gone a day or more without eating. In other words, they have most likely experienced hunger.
Severe food insecurity is one extreme of the scale, but even moderate food insecurity is worrisome. For those who are moderately food insecure, access to food is uncertain. They might have to sacrifice other basic needs, just to be able to eat. When they do eat, it might be whatever is most readily available or cheapest, which might not be the most nutritious food. The rise in obesity and other forms of malnutrition is partly a result of this phenomenon. Highly processed foods that are energy-dense, high in saturated fats, sugars and salt are often cheaper and easier to come by than fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating those foods may mean your daily requirement of calories is met, but you are missing essential nutrients to keep your body healthy and functioning well. In addition, the stress of living with uncertain access to food and going periods without food can lead to physiological changes that can contribute to overweight and obesity. Children facing hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition today may have a higher risk of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes later in life. In many countries, undernutrition and obesity coexist and both can be consequences of food insecurity.
Why does Hunger Exist?
Hunger and malnutrition have many causes. The Agenda 2030 points the way to a fair world. Welthungerhilfe is concentrating on its core theme of food and nutrition security.
Natural disasters: Weather extremes have always led to hunger crises. Droughts and floods destroy harvests. With climate change, extreme weather events are increasing. Droughts over many consecutive years weaken the resilience of the population. They are forced to use up their seed supplies or slaughter cattle.
Poverty: Hunger is, above all, a consequence of poverty. Someone who is poor has insufficient money for food but also cannot provide for their own health and cannot invest in education for children. Women are usually particularly disadvantaged. Only site-appropriate agriculture can combat poverty and hunger.
Wars and conflicts: Armed conflicts cause to farmers flee, leaving them unable to cultivate their fields. Frequently they lose all of their possessions. Roads and agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities are destroyed. Due to the limited security, trade also suffers; food becomes scarce and expensive.
UPSC Current Affairs: Should the government regulate TRPs?|Pg 7
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-IV – Ethics
Sub Theme: Media & Entertainment| TRP Scam | UPSC
Context: According to Mumbai Police, three TV Channels, including Republic TV, are being probed on charges of TRP or Television Rating Points manipulation. Param Bir Singh, Mumbai Police Commissioner said that Republic TV, headed by Arnab Goswami and two other TV channels - Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema are under scrutiny for manipulating ratings.
Most of the times we have seen people watching TV and we heard about the TRP of channel or programme like the TRP of a channel is increasing day by day and so on.
What is TRP?
TRP is a Television Rating Point. It is the tool that tells us which channel and the programme are viewed most or it indicates the popularity of a TV channel or a programme. It shows how many times people are watching a channel or a particular programme. TRP enables advertisers and investors to understand the mood of the people. According to the TRP of a TV Channel or programme advertisers decide where to display their advertisements and investors will decide about the investment of the money.
How to calculate or check TRP?
Do you know that TRP is calculated by Indian agencies namely INTAM and DART? INTAM is an Indian Television Audience Measurement. Earlier, DART that is Doordarshan Audience Research TV Ratings was used to calculate these ratings as that time the only channel available was only Doordarshan. Still, DART exists and is an agency that takes the TV viewing pattern of rural people into consideration. They randomly pick people and question them about the various channels and TV programmes and also use electronic methods to get viewership statistics.
The following two electronic methods are there for calculating TRP:
- People meters device is installed in some places or set in selected homes to calculate the TRP. In this way, some thousand viewers are surveyed in the form of justice and sampling. These gadgets record data about the channel or programme watched by the family members or selected people. Through this meter, the information of TV channel or programme for one minute is carried out by the INTAM a monitoring team i.e. Indian Television Audience Measurement. After analysing the information, the team decides what is the TRP of the channel or programme. Or we can say that this data is later analysed by the agency to create a national TRP data of various TV channels and TV programmes
- Second method is known as picture matching where the people meter records a small portion of the picture that is being watched on the TV. This data is collected from a set of homes in the form of pictures and later on is analysed to calculate the TRPs.
What happens when TRP increases or decreases?
The increase or decrease in the TRP of any programme directly affects the income of that TV channel in which the programme is coming. Do you know that any TV channel like Sony, Star Plus, Z Channel, etc. earn money through advertisements? If suppose the TRP of a program or channel is low which means that people are watching it less so, advertisers will give fewer advertisements and pay less. But, if the TRP is high for the programme then more advertisements, advertisers, and money. So, we can say that TRP depends not only on the channel but on the programme as well. For example, if the TRP of a programme says Rising Star is higher than any other programme then the advertiser would like to give advertisements in that programme and also pay more.
What is TRP Rate?
The TRP rate is one on which the TRP of a TV channel is calculated. TRP of any channel or programme depends upon the programme that is displayed. It can be understood that when a film star arrives in a program for the promotion of his movie, the TRP of that programme increases automatically because people like to see that film star more.
So now you might have understood that the TRP is the Television Rating Point, which helps in tracking the popularity and viewers of any program or channel.
UPSC Current Affairs: Despite ban, thousands join Thai protest |Pg 13
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Current event of International Importance
Sub Theme: Anti-Government Protest in Bangkok | UPSC
Context: Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered again in the Thai capital Bangkok on Thursday in mass defiance of the government which had issued a decree banning demonstrations. The protesters cheered and chanted peacefully, eventually dispersing several hours after a new 6pm curfew.
They called for the release of at least 20 activists arrested on Thursday in a sweeping crackdown by police.
Many made a three-finger salute - a symbol of the protest movement.
Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Thailand’s Bangkok defied a ban imposed to end three months of anti-government action that has targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader. Despite police appeals over a loudspeaker to disperse, the group spilled across the Ratchaprasong Intersection in one of Bangkok’s busiest commercial districts. It was the scene of bloodshed in 2010, during more than a decade of violence between supporters and opponents of the Thai establishment.
UPSC Current Affairs: Kyrgyzstan President resigns to end postelection crisis |Pg 13
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Current event of International Importance
Sub Theme: Kyrgyzstan President’s Resigns |UPSC
Context: Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbay Jeenbekov resigned on Thursday, saying he wanted to bring an end to the crisis sparked by disputed parliamentary elections earlier this month and avoid any further bloodshed. Protests erupted after the October 4 election was won by parties loyal to Mr. Jeenbekov, with opponents disputing the results, alleging vote-buying. The vote was later annulled but this did not quell the tensions. During the unrest, protesters met little resistance as they sprang prominent figures from jail, including populist figurehead Sadyr Japarov. Mr. Japarov had been serving jail time for hostage-taking, but was named Prime Minister soon after his release. In a growing power struggle, Mr. Japarov’s supporters gathered once more on Thursday to demand Mr. Jeenbekov’s immediate resignation. The President had on Wednesday finally affirmed Mr. Japarov as Prime Minister, in a move seen as the first step towards calming the crisis. Mr. Jeenbekov had previously pledged to resign after overseeing fresh parliamentary elections in the country. But Mr. Japarov insisted that the President should step down without delay.
UPSC Current Affairs: Yemen’s warring sides begin hard won prisoner exchange |Pg 13
UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Current event of International Importance
Sub Theme: Prisoners Exchange between Yemeni Govt. & Houthi Rebels |UPSC
Context: A hard-won prisoner exchange between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels got under way on Thursday with the departure of the first planeloads of released combatants.
- The warring sides in Yemen’s long conflict are to exchange 1,081 prisoners over two days under a deal struck in Switzerland last month, the largest number since the conflict erupted in 2014.
- One of them was headed for the city of Abha in neighbouring Saudi Arabia with released prisoners of war from a Saudi-led military coalition that supports the Yemeni government, rebel officials said. Those on board included 15 Saudis and four Sudanese.
- Planes are also due to depart from Abha and from the Yemeni government-held city of Seiyun in a complex operation overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), rebel officials said. United Nations Yemen Envoy Martin Griffiths, who attended last month’s talks in Switzerland, hailed the successful start of the operation. “Today’s release operation, led by the ICRC, is another sign that peaceful dialogue can deliver,” the Envoy said.
- The Yemeni government and the Iran-backed rebels resolved to swap some 15,000 detainees as part of a peace deal brokered by the UN in Sweden back in 2018. This week’s planned swap would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.