Friday, May 11, 2012 - 0 comments

Arab uprising reflects the public mood in authoritiarian regimes but also has lessons to democracies like india


The fall of Ben ali form the high pedestals of power in tunisia following a public uprising marked the beginning of a series of public protests across the middle east north africa region. The historic tahrir square protests brought to an end , the rule of an iron handed dictator. This showed the world, the power of public opinion. Soon the fellow authoritarian rulers faced similar protests and are trying to suppress them.
                The african continent for long had remained under developed despite it being endowed with rich natural resources. The colonial powers like england, france colonised vast areas of africa to exploit the human and natural resources. Following the nd of world war II, the colonia powers withdrew leaving behind a brokn and battered continent divided into dozens of countries by unnatural borders. This resulted in formation of nations with tribes, groups with conflicting interest. This lead to internal conflicts and hence no sense of nationalism existed among the people . this lack of unity was exploited by dictators to build their autocratic regimes. Globalisation brought riches to the elites as the world started extracting resources from africa to fuel its growth. However there was no attempt to develop the regions by the authoritarian rulers. The dictators resorted to grave human right vi0olations to suppress political opposition to them. The 2008 economic crisis and food price inflation further heightened the discontentment among the people . The self immolation of a youth in tunisia owing to torture by state authorities in 2011 sparked off protests against the autocratic regime which soon spread across the region.
                The root cause for these revolts was not merely autocratic regimes because if that was the case revolts were expected in all autocratic regimes.  It was the lack of responsiveness of governments to demand and greivances of people that formed core for discontent. Hence there is a need for all nations across world to introspect on whether they are responding to public needs and demands.
                People of 21st century are more empowered and assertive of their rights than ever before. With advent of technologies like internet, there is a globalisation of ideas. People across the world are now more aware of their rights. Hence there is bound to be increased expectations and demands on governments. Governments need to take measures to improve governance. This includes even democracies. The recent london riots have proved that it is a fallacy to presume public protests won’t occur in democracies. In this context there is a need to analyse the capacity of world’s largest democracy to repsond to needs of its citizens
                India is nation comprising diverse beliefs, ideologies and culture. Its general election is considered among the largest organised man made event in world. India emerged as an independent nation following an independence struggle which largely comprised of peaceful non violent protests , known as satyagraha. Hence public uprising is not alient to India. Everyday it witnesses protests of various scales on diverse issues. It has a multiparty dmeocracy, stable and strong institutions and a vibrant civil society. Any public uprising in a democracy is due to a deficit in governance. There is a need to analyse the reasons for possible discontent among public.
                The discontent among indian public has been rising on various issues. The cocktail of corruption, nepotism and redtapism has made bureaucracy inefficient. Globalisation has widened the rich poor divide. The ineffective redistribution policy is a major area of concern. Despite being the largest democracy, its parliament is only the 13th largest in world with countries like nepal, rwanda boasting of a larger parllament. This shows that people to representative ratio is large, indicating that citizens have lesser opportunities to put across their greivances and demands. The slow progress in devolution of powers despite two decades since the historic 72nd and 73rdamendment has left the public politically disempowered to a large extent.
                The constitution guarantees to its citizens a set of fundamental rights which are available to citizens to exercise anytime. Yet the government resorts to use of archaic draconian laws like sedition act, section 144 to suppress legitimate protest of people .
                Democracy in India is increasingly viewed as right to vote. But in reality , debate and deliberation are as much important as vote. Today, with a growing middle class and more politically aware rural mass, the demand for their voices to be heard during policy making process is on a rise. The government has taken half hearted steps like putting certain bills out for public consulation, public hearings etc. but still a lot is left to be done.
                In context of these problems, what measures need to be taken to make democracies more responsive to peoples demands? It is clear from current trend that peoples  demand s and expectation will continue to increase. The state needs to provide a platform for citizens to put across their demands and interact with state. This requries an effective public greivance redressal emchanisms. Technology tools like facebook, twitter may be put to use to enable two way communication between government and citizen. Measures need to be taken to replace the elite, exclusionist political culture with an inclusive participative political culture. In this context there is a need to strengthen gram sabha and replicate such models in urban areas as well. People should be viewed as stakeholders rather than mere benificiaries of development.
                The strength of parliament needs to be increased to an appropriate extent such that a MP gets adequate opportunity to interact with his/her constituencies and address their demands and greivances. Internal party structures need to be democratised to bring to an end dynastic politics. Democracies need to evolve with time and yield space for public to put across their views.
                International organisations need to focus on human resource development rather than on natural resources. It is only though efficient human resources that one can exploit natural resources effectively.
                People anywhere across the world demand only for a SMART governance ie a government that is Simple Moral Accountable Resposnible and Transparent. If governments are able to deliver there 5 basic aspects of governance, there would be little scope for public discontent and uprisings would become a thing of the past.


Article copied from : http://iasblogz.blogspot.in/2011/09/essay-2-arab-uprising-reflects-public.html
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Environment treaties compilation


ACCOBAMS

  • Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area .
  • ACCOBAMS is a cooperative agreement for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

  • It is an environmental agreement signed in 2002 between all ASEAN nations to reduce haze pollution in Southeast Asia.
  • As of June 2007, eight countries Viz.Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam , Myanmar , Viet Nam , Thailand , Lao PDR , Cambodiahave ratified the agreement.

Aarhus Convention:

  • Aarhus Convention, was signed on June 25, 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus.
  • As of July 2009, it had been signed by 40 (primarily European and Central Asian) countries and the European Community and ratified by 41 countries.

Bali Communiqué

  • On 30 November 2007, the business leaders of 150 global companies published a communiqué at Bali Indonesia to world leaders calling for acomprehensive, legally binding United Nations framework to tackle climate change.
  • It is a comprehensive, legally binding United Nations framework to tackle climate change emission reduction targets to be guided primarily by science those countries that have already industrialised to make the greatest effort world leaders to seize the window of opportunity and agree on a work plan of negotiations to ensure an agreement can come into force after 2012 (when the existing Kyoto Protocol expires)
  • Among others, it established the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC, and this Working Group was mandated by the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009 to continue its work

Basel Convention:

  • The Basel Convention is Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.
  • Its an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs) (except radioactive waste)
  • A waste can eb defined hazardous by exporting/importing/transit country
  • The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992.

Bonn Convention:

  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
  • To conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range was the onjective of this convention.
  • It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
  • The Convention was signed in 1979 in Bonn (hence the name) andentered into force in 1983.

CITES or Washington Convention

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or Washington Convention is an international agreement between governments, drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in1973 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 33,000 species of animals and plants.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or Biodiversity Convention, is an international legally binding treaty that was adopted in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.
  • The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993.

ENMOD

  • The Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD) is an international treaty prohibiting the military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques.
  • It opened for signature on 18 May 1977 in Geneva and entered into force on October 5, 1978.

Kyoto Protocol

  • The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • It is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
  • The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitment for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons).
  • It was initially adopted for use on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and entered into force on 16 February 2005.
  • As of February 2009 183 parties (nations) have ratified the protocol.
  • Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries agreed to reduce their collective green house gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% from the level in 1990.
  • National limitations range from the reduction of 8% for the European Union and others to 7% for the United States, 6% for Japan, and 0% for Russia.
  • The treaty permitted the emission increases of 8% for Australia and 10% for Iceland.
  • Kyoto includes defined "flexible mechanisms" such asEmissions Trading,
    Clean Development Mechanism
    Joint Implementation
Montreal Protocol:
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.
  • It is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion.
  • The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989 followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989.
  • Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing).
  • It is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.
  • Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation with Kofi Annan quoted as saying that "perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol"

Multi effect protocol:

·         The 1999 Multi-effect ("Gothenburg") Protocol is a multi-pollutant protocol designed to reduce acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone by setting emissions ceilings for sulphur dioxidenitrogen oxidesvolatile organic compounds and ammonia to be met by 2010.
·         The Protocol is part of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The Convention is an international agreement to protect human health and the natural environment from air pollution by control and reduction of air pollution, including long-range transboundary air pollution.
·         The geographic scope of the Protocol includes Europe, North America and countries of Eastern Europe, Caucus and Central Asia

Talloires declaration

The Talloires Declaration is a declaration for sustainability, created for and by presidents of institutions of higher learningJean MayerTufts University president, convened a conference of 22 universities in 1990 in TalloiresFrance. This document is a declaration that institutions of higher learning will be world leaders in developing, creating, supporting and maintaining sustainability.

Sydney Declaration:

  • The Sydney APEC Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development was adopted at APEC Australia 2007 on 8 September 2007.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programsthat incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
  • It was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and entered into force in December 1996.
  • It is the first and only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • The Convention is based on the principles of participation, partnership and decentralization - the backbone of Good Governance and Sustainable Development.
  • It now has 193 country Parties to the Convention, making it truly global in reach.
  • To help publicise the Convention, 2006 had been declared "International Year of Deserts and Desertification".

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992.
  • The treaty is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
  • It entered into force on March 21, 1994.
  • Its stated objective is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
  • One of its first achievements was to establish a national greenhouse gas inventory, as a count of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals.
  • Accounts must be regularly submitted by signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • The UNFCCC is also the name of the United Nations Secretariat charged with supporting the operation of the Convention, with offices in Haus Carstanjen, Bonn, Germany.
  • Since 2006 the head of the secretariat has been Yvo de Boer.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

  • The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a multilateral environmental agreement.
  • It was agreed upon at the Vienna Conference of 1985 and entered into force in 1988.
  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer.
  • However, it does not include legally binding reduction goals for the use of CFCs (Choloro-Fluoro Carbons) the main chemical agents causing ozone depletion which are laid out in the accompanying Montreal Protocol.

Wadden sea agreement

·         Agreement on the Conservation of Seals in the Wadden Sea is an agreement betweenWadden Sea countries, aimed at protection of seals and concluded in the aegis of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in 1990.
·        The Agreement was concluded between the NetherlandsGermany and Denmark

CANCUN climate agreement at a glance

·          EMISSION CUTS
·         o The pledges made by rich countries at copenhagen have been put into UN
·         documentation
·         o Devlpng countries agreed to explore ways to cut emissions
·          CLIMATE AID
·         o Green fund to be created for transfer of funds from devlpd to devlpng
·         nations
·         o The supervisory panel for fund to have more reps of poor countries
·         o 100 bn $ by 2020 and 30 bn $ by 2012
·          FORESTS
·         o Formal backing to REDD+
·         o But no details on how and what form the scheme will take
·          KYOTO
·         o Decision deferred to durban 2011
·         o No decision yet on what rôle KP will play in future legal document
·          TECH TRANSFER
·         o supported the idea
·         o Tech exec commtt and a climate technlgy center and network to be set up

CBD 10 nagoya meet

nagoya protocol deals with access and benefit sharing which is targeted at tackling bio piracy while aichi target madates countries to bring atleast 17% of and 10% of water bodies under protected area by 2020 and ensure mankind lives in harmony with nature by 2050
1)      Reduce to atleast half, and where ever possible to zero, the rate of loss of biodiversity 2) Govt to restore atleast 15% of Degraded land 3) Bring Natural Capital into National Accounting system

BALTIC MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMISSION

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (also known as HELCOM or Helsinki Commission) is an international organization governing the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (Helsinki Convention). HELCOM works on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea.

BARCELONA CONVENTION

The 1976 Barcelona Convention for Protection against Pollution in the Mediterranean Seais a regional convention to prevent and abate pollution from ships, aircraft and land based sources in the Mediterranean Sea. This includes, but is not limited to, dumping, run-off and discharges.

BON AGREEMENT

The Bonn Agreement is a European environmental agreement.
Following several oil spills in 1969, the coastal nations of the North Sea formed the Bonn Agreement to ensure mutual cooperation in the avoidance and combatting of environmental pollution.
The agreement was revised in 1983 to include the European Union

CEBU DECALRATION ON EAST ASIAN ENERGY SECURITY-2007

The Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed by 16 nations after a three hour meeting of delegates at the East Asia Summit[1] in Cebu on January 15, 2007. The countries have agreed topromote energy security and find energy alternatives toconventional fuels.
The Declaration lists a series of goals aimed at providing "reliable, adequate and affordable" energy supplies [2]. It was signed by the 10 ASEAN members (IndonesiaMalaysiaPhilippinesSingapore,ThailandBruneiVietnamLaosBurma and Cambodia), as well as ChinaJapanNew Zealand,IndiaSouth Korea and Australia.
This was followed by the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energyand the Environment[3] at the Third EAS.

IOSEA-2001

The Indian Ocean South - East Asia Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding is an intergovernmental agreement that aims to protect, conserve, replenish and recover marine turtles and their habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian region, working in partnership with other relevant actors and organizations.

International tropical timber agreement

The obje ctives of the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006 (hereinafter
referred to as "this Agreement") are to promote the expansion and diversification of
international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests and to promote the sustainable management of tropical timber producing forests

NITROGEN OXIDE PROTOCOL-1991

Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or Their Transboundary Fluxes, to provide forthe control or reduction of nitrogen oxides and their transboundary fluxes.

Ramsar convention

The Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands,[1] i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognising the fundamental ecologicalfunctions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.

Montreux record

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List. In India Kaladeo and Loktak


Scenarios of Globalization


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ELECTORAL REFORMS: CONDUCT AND BETTER MANAGEMENT OF ELECTIONS


source: Law ministry
1.  Compulsory voting should be strictly complemented with “Negative Voting/‘None of the above’ option in the EVM or make voting as Fundamental Duty under article 51A.
2.       Common electoral roll.
3.       Increase security deposit before every election.

4.       Simultaneous election for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly.

5.       No person should be allowed to contest more than one seat.

6.       Minimum educational qualifications and age limit to contest elections.

7.       Election petition against defeated candidates also.

8.       Ban on exit polls, opinion poll, pre-poll.

9.       Ceiling of expenditure for election to council constituencies also.

10.   Door to Door canvas by groups should be banned before 48 hours of election.

11.   Minimum percentage of Votes to be prescribed to declare a winner.

12.   Independent candidates may be given an option to join a political party. If so required, choice should be exercised within 6 months.

13.   Incentive based approach to encourage citizen participation.

14.   Provision for recall of the elected representatives.

15.   There should be a provision for paper backup for the EVM’s in the form of physical print out of every vote for the voters as an acknowledgement that their vote has been recorded properly.

16.   Candidates wrongly disclosing the assets and liabilities should be barred from contesting elections for a period of five years.

17.   Elections should be conducted on the same day and not in phased manner.

18.   Voting rights to undertrial prisoners.

19.   Voting rights to be given to army personnel’s.

20.   Increase of disqualification period to 10 years for non-filing of election expenses in the stipulated time.