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India pushes African right to permanent UNSC seat; UK, India experts explore smart tech solution for Indian farmers– Current Affairs

India is stressing on Africa's right to permanent membership in the UNSC to break the decades-long blockade of the reform process by a small group of countries.

Apr 25, 2019 16:51 IST
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Story 1- India pushes African right to permanent membership in UNSC

India recently stressed upon Africa's right to representation among the ranks of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. The move aims to bring in a sense of urgency to the long-stalled reform process of the UNSC.

While speaking at a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace on April 24, 2019, Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry Sanjay Rana said, “We must take action so that Africa is given a central and leading role in an internationally formed new order especially in a reformed and expanded Security Council and so that the Council reflects the world of today and not of 1945.”

Significance

India is stressing on Africa's right to permanent membership in the UNSC to break the decades-long blockade of the reform process by a small group of countries.

The group led by Italy and which includes Pakistan will be made to directly confront African nations, who have demanded two permanent seats on a reformed Council and point to the historic injustices done to the continent.

Key Highlights

The 55 African nations, who are the single largest group at the UN making up more than a quarter of its membership, do not have a permanent member on the Council.

Yet of the 13 UN peacekeeping operations mandated by the Council and overseen by it, seven are in Africa.

When the UN was set up at the end World War II, the permanent seats were allocated to the nations on the winning side, which included the US, Soviet Union (now held by Russia), Britain, France and China.

Breaking the blockade would allow India's claim to a permanent seat on a reformed Council to also move forward.

The high-level meeting was convened by Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa formally to commemorate the First International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace on April 24, 2019.

Background

India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan for long, emphasising that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.

France, which assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of March, reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN body. The nation also reiterated its support for Germany and Japan as permanent members of an expanded UNSC.

In fact, both France and Germany together stressed on the need to have reforms, adding that the UNSC will lose its legitimacy if reforms are not brought on soon.

India's bid for permanent membership of UNSC is now backed by four of the five permanent members, namely France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Story 2- UK, India experts explore smart tech solution for Indian farmers

According to experts from India and the United Kingdom, harnessing smartphone technology could help Indian farmers make better business decisions and tackle the sustainable cooling challenges being faced by the country.

The potential of smart technology was highlighted in a new report, which was launched on April 24, 2019 by the University of Birmingham, which is working along with the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and MP Ensystems to uncover the cooling needs of farmers in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The Report: Key Findings

The findings of the report titled 'Promoting Clean and Energy Efficient Cold-Chains in India' suggest that using mobile apps and data analysis to manage harvesting and logistics could help reduce the amount of food wasted between farm gate and supermarket shelf, while boosting farmers' incomes and reducing the environmental impact of much-needed food cooling.

The findings are a part of a four-point "roadmap" developed by the experts, which includes promoting new business models that involve communities taking charge of their own cooling needs and establishing ‘living labs’ in rural communities where new technology can be tested among many other things.

The researchers propose a radical new approach to cooling provision with recommendations combined with the government of India action to address needs from the first to last mile of the cold-chain as well as those of the broader rural community.

According to them, we must build capacity while demonstrating the efficiency of new technology that people will be able to use and afford easily.

As per the experts, the increased penetration of mobile-based apps and technologies in rural areas increases the potential for an information-based system to help make informed marketing decisions and boost farmers' incomes.

Key Agricultural Problems in India

One of the key problems in India’s agricultural sector is that about 50 per cent of the food is lost post-harvest because of lack of cold chain.

The new report highlights that only 4 per cent of produce that would benefit from a cold-chain actually does so, compared with around 70 per cent in a country like the UK.

The report suggested effective refrigeration as a solution to preserve food and medicine. It underpins industries and economic growth, while air conditioning is key to sustainable urbanisation and human productivity and makes much of the world bearable or even safe to live in.

As per experts, cold-chains enhance economic wealth, cash flow and security for farmers and improve food quality, safety and value to the customer, but they must be achieved with minimum environmental impact.

Background

The report was launched at the two-day Clean Cooling Congress, which opened in London on Wednesday, hosted by University of Birmingham with the World Bank Group and the UK Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Mission Innovation.

The report’s findings note that with population and income growing, urbanisation continuing and climate change causing rising temperatures, the world will need to provide far more cooling.

Between now and 2050, it is estimated that 19 pieces of cooling equipment such as room-size AC units, refrigerators and industrial size chillers will be deployed every second.

Despite this massive increase in cooling provision, access to cooling for all people that need it will still not be a reality and the poorest in many hot countries will feel the impact.