Agenda 21  

The comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken at global, national and local levels. It was the outcome of the UN Convention on Environment and Development. The number 21 refers to the agenda for the 21st century. The local agenda 21 was the to be implemented at the local body level.

Convention on biological diversity: CBD

It is a legally binding convention for conservation of biodiversity. It also allows for sustainable use of resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits obtained out of genetic research.

The Cartegena protocol on biosafety
was to implement the CBD. It recognized the importance of protecting human health and environment from the adverse effects of biotechnology products. It has rules to ensure safe handling, transfer and use of living modified organisms arising out of biotechnology. Nagoya protocol on Fair and equitable sharing of benefits out of genetic research too was implemented to ensure achievement of one objective o CBD.

The Aichi biodiversity targets [2011-2020] were proposed to reduce the damage to biodiversity at all levels and to contribute to benefit of all life on Earth. The Strategic goals where to address underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society; Reduce direct pressure on biodiversity and promote sustainable use; To safeguard all ecosystems; Enhance benefits to all from biodiversity.

Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol

The Vienna convention was created for protection of ozone layer from depletion. However it wasn't a legally binding treaty with targets and so the Montreal protocol was framed. This protocol wanted to phase out all ozone depleting substances like chloro-flouro carbons etc from production and use.Countries were given financial incentives to chalk out and implement strategies to move towards newer eco-friendly technologies.

Globally important agriculture heritage systems

Food and agriculture organization of the UN recognizes GIAHS as regions having globally significant biodiversity and remarkable land use where a community has adapted its production processes of agriculture to suit the ecology of the regions. India has two such regions in Odissa and Kerela. In kerela the farmers are using a technique perfected over 150 years to grow rice and other crops in sea water.

UN Convention to Combat desertification

Signed in 1994 as a legally binding procedure for sustainable land use. The participation of local communities is encouraged here due to the bottom up approach. Desertification here means land degradation in dryland areas and not expansion of deserts. The aim of the convention is to combat desertification and in turn help in achieving Millenium development goals, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

Initial material on Ramsar convention can be read here -->Ramsar Convention.

It is an inter government treaty on conservation of wetlands. The main pillars of the convention are land use planning for proper  and sustainable use of wetlands, designate suitable sites on the Ramsar list and coordinate internationally for shared wetlands systems. India has 26 sites in the list [2012] and is actively involved in their conservation. Any threatened site is put under Montreaux record where a team is setup for advise on its conservation. India joined this convention in 1981.

Kyoto Protocol

It places binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce emissions of Green house gases.

UNFCCC signatories come every year to organize a Conference of Parties, where they discuss strategies to combat climate change.

Annex I are developed nations which have binding targets.

Annex II are the subgroups in the developed nations that have to support developing countries by providing funds.

Annex A are the GHG like Carbon dioxide, CFC, Sulfur hexafluoride, Nitrous oxide, Perfluorocarbons.

Target given to developed countries was to reduce emissions to 5% below 1990's levels by 2008-2012. However US and Canada did not accept this as they wanted even developing nations to bear emission cuts.

Q.With reference to ‘Global Climate Change Alliance’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. It is an initiative of the European Union.
2. It provides technical and financial support to targeted developing countries to integrate climate change into their development policies and budgets.
3. It is coordinated by World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
Select the correct answer using the code given below: (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. 1 and 2 only

  2. 3 only

  3. 2 and 3 only

  4. 1, 2 and 3

Ans . A

  1. EuropeAid (DG for International Cooperation and Development) drives and oversees the overall implementation of the GCCA

Q.Consider the following statements:
1. Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants is a unique initiative of G20 group of countries.
2. The CCAC focuses on methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 only

  3. Both 1 and 2

  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . B

  1. CCAC was formed in 2012 by UNEP and Ghana, Bangladesh etc. countries.

  2. They focus on Short Lived Climate Pollutants such as methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons.

Q.BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes’ is managed by the (UPSC CSAT 2015)

  • Asian Development Bank

  • International Monetary Fund

  • United Nations Environment Programme

  • World Bank

Ans . D

  1. The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) is a multilateral fund, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank.

Q.Consider the following countries:
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States of America
Which of the above are the members of the ‘Arctic Council ‘? (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • 1, 2 and 3

  • 2, 3 and 4

  • 1, 4 and 5

  • 1, 3 and 5

Ans . D

  1. The Arctic Council consists of the eight Arctic States: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. So, Japan and UK not members.

  2. India got observer status in 2013.

Q.With reference to ‘Global Environment Facility’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • It serves as financial mechanism for ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’.

  • It undertakes scientific research on environmental issues at global level

  • It is an agency under OECD to facilitate the transfer of technology and funds to underdeveloped countries with specific aim to protect their environment.

  • Both (a) and (b)

Ans . A

  1. It is a program under World Bank

Q.If a wetland of international importance is brought under the ‘Montreux Record’, what does it imply? (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference.

  • The country in which the wetland is located should enact a law to prohibit any human activity within five kilo meters from the edge of the wetland

  • The survival of the wetland depends on the cultural practices and traditions of certain communities living in its vicinity and therefore the cultural diversity therein should not be destroyed

  • It is given the status of ‘World Heritage Site’

Ans . A

  1. Ramsar sites=> Montreux record is the record of Ramsar siets where Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference.

Q. With reference to a conservation organization called Wetlands International’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.
It works at the field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and use the practical experience to advocate for better policies.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.(UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • 1 only

  • 2 only

  • Both 1 and 2

  • Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . B

  1. This organization is in partnership but not formed by Ramsar convention. The organization was formed in 1954 and Ramsar convention was signed in 1971.

  2. it provides advice to governments.

Q.Consider the following international agreements:
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
The World Heritage Convention
Which of the above has / have a bearing on the biodiversity? (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • 1 and 2 only

  • 3 only,

  • 1 and 3 only

  • 1, 2. and 3

Ans .

  1. Article 6 of the treaty on Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources has this clause “pursuing fair agricultural policies that promote… use of agricultural biological diversity

  2. UNCCD collaborates closely with Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  3. There are five conventions in biodiversity and natural heritage - and World Heritage Convention (1972)

Q.Consider the following statements regarding ‘Earth Hour’
It is an initiative of UNEP and UNESCO.
It is a movement in which the participants switch off the lights for one hour on a certain day every year.
It is a movement to raise the awareness about the climate change and the need to save the planet.
Which of the statements given above is / are correct (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • 1 and 3 only

  • 2 only

  • 2 and 3 only.

  • 1, 2 and 3

Ans . C

  1. It’s a symbolic global initiative by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Q.Every year, a month long ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/ tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/tribes? (UPSC CSAT 2014)

  • Bhutia and Lepcha

  • Gond and Korku

  • lrula and Toda

  • Sahariya and Agariya

Ans . B

Chapter Review

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