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The Hindu Editorial

3-November-2023

1. Biosphere reserves are evolving as pockets of hope.

Topic: GS3 – environmental conservation.

What are biosphere reserves?

  • Biosphere reserves are areas of land and coastal environments where people and nature live together in a balanced relationship.
  • They are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable development, and research.
  • There are currently 748 biosphere reserves across 134 countries.

World Biosphere Reserve Day:

  • Celebrated on November 3 each year to raise awareness of the importance of biosphere reserves and promote their conservation and sustainable use.

Why are biosphere reserves important?

  • Biosphere reserves are vital for the future of our planet.
  • They are home to a wide variety of ecosystems and provide habitat for countless unique and endangered plants and animals species.
  • They also play a vital role in the protection of biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.
  • In recent years, biosphere reserves have become crucial in our fight against climate change.

Examples of biosphere reserves

  • Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve, Sao Tome and Principe in Africa
  • Sundarban Biosphere Reserve in India
  • Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in India

Conservation efforts at the local level

  • Local communities in biosphere reserves are working together to manage natural resources sustainably and protect biodiversity.
  • For example, in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, local communities are working together to manage mangrove forests.
  • In the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, local communities, including women, are contributing towards conservation efforts by forming self-help groups.

Threats to biosphere reserves

  • Biosphere reserves are threatened by deforestation, invasive species, and land use changes such as mining.
  • With increasing urbanization and constant growth of the world population, exploitation by humans is ever increasing.

10th South and Central Asian Biosphere Reserve Network Meeting (SACAM)

  • The 10th SACAM was held in Chennai, India,from November 1-3.
  • The theme of the meeting was “Ridge to Reef.”
  • The meeting provided a platform for exchanging knowledge and fostering collaborations in the realm of sustainable environmental practices in the South and Central Asia Region.

Conclusion

  • Biosphere reserves are oases of hope in a troubled world.
  • They are essential for the protection of our planet’s biodiversity and for our fight against climate change.
  • We must all do our part to conserve biosphere reserves and to promote their sustainable use.

Question: Critically examine the role of biosphere reserves in sustainable development and climate change mitigation. Discuss the challenges faced by biosphere reserves in India and suggest measures to overcome them.

2. Is the United Nations toothless in ending wars?

Topic: GS2 – International relations.

Context:

  • The ongoing conflicts between Israel and Hamas, as well as Russia and Ukraine, have raised questions about the United Nations’ ability to bring about peace.
  • Rakesh Sood and Vivek Katju discuss the issue in a conversation moderated by Kallol Bhattacherjee.

More details on the article:

  • The UN has become ineffective in resolving conflicts due to the changing equations of power and the inability of major powers to agree on meaningful action.
  • The UN’s frozen membership of decision-making bodies, such as the UNSC, has made it impossible for the organization to undertake any meaningful action.
  • The end of the Cold War saw the demise of the Soviet Union and chaos, leading to a gradual decline in the UN’s ability to undertake any kind of meaningful roles in resolving conflicts.
  • The UN’s inability to provide a solution to the ongoing conflicts has led to questions about the end of the liberal international order that was started with the League of Nations.
  • Vivek Katju argues that multipolarity without multilateralism only leads to an exercise of force and chaos.
  • India’s interests in the West Asian region have grown, and it has strong ties with both sides of the conflict.
  • Netanyahu’s divisive leadership, controversial judicial reforms, and extreme right-wing coalition have made it difficult for Israel to control the violence in the conflict.
  • There is little sympathy for the Palestinian cause within the Gulf Arab states and Egypt – and the UN agencies seem to be ineffective to resolve the Israel Palestine problem.

3. Persistent inflation alongside moderate growth remains a challenge.

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy.

Context:

  • The article discusses the recent signs of economic softening in India.
  • It highlights data from various sources, including the Index of Eight Core Industries for September and the S&P Global India Manufacturing PMI for October.
  • These indicators point to a notable slowdown in the country’s economic growth and momentum.

Key Infrastructure Industries

  • Output growth eased to a four-month low of 8.1% in September,from 12.5% in August.
  • Growth flagged across all but one of the eight sectors,with only fertilizers registering a quickening in growth.
  • Sequentially,production contracted across all the eight sectors, with the overall index declining 4.8%.
  • Coal offered the silver lining,with year-on-year growth easing only slightly to 16.1% and sequential contraction of just 1.5%.

Manufacturing

  • S&P Global India Manufacturing PMI signalled sectoral growth slid to an eight-month low in October.
  • New orders rose at the slowest pace in a year,with even international sales losing vigour.
  • Job creation in manufacturing was at the slowest level since April,with less than 4% of companies surveyed adding staff.
  • Input cost inflation accelerated,but factory gate inflation was considerably slower.
  • Business confidence ebbing to a five-month low,with panellists citing rising inflation expectations as the key factor expected to dent demand and production growth over the next 12 months.

Overall

  • India’s economic momentum is softening,with key infrastructure industries and manufacturing showing signs of weakness.
  • Policymakers have their task cut out to surmount the twin challenges of slowing growth and persistent inflation.

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