1) Which UN body has imposed the strongest sanctions ever on North Korea in Sept 2017?
- Published on 13 Sep 17
The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, including restricting its oil imports and banning textile exports, to curb the reclusive nation’s nuclear programme.
The move comes in response to the sixth and largest nuclear test by North Korea on September 3.
International community was hitting North Korea’s ability to fund its weapons programme.
The US had originally proposed harsher sanctions, including a total ban on oil imports by North Korea.
But the vote was passed only after Pyongyang allies Russia and China agreed to the reduced measures.
Oil “is the lifeblood” of North Korea’s effort to build and deliver a nuclear weapon.
The resolution reduces almost 30 per cent of oil provided to the North by cutting off over 55 per cent of its gas, diesel, and heavy fuel oil.
Today’s resolution completely bans natural gas and other oil byproducts that could be used as substitutes for the reduced petroleum. This will cut deep.
When these new stronger sanctions are added to those passed last month, over 90 per cent of North Korea’s publicly reported exports are now fully banned.
Moreover, this resolution also puts an end to the regime making money from the 93,000 North Korean citizens it sends overseas to work and heavily tax.
This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional USD 500 million or more in annual revenues.
Beyond the USD 1.3 billion in annual revenues we will cut from North Korea, new maritime authorities will help us stop them from obtaining funds by smuggling coal and other prohibited materials around the world by ship, said the body.
The resolution bans all North Korean textile exports. Textile exports - North Korea’s largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted - earned North Korea an average of USD 760 million in the past three years.
The resolution requires the end of all joint ventures with North Korea.
2) Which UN body confers the Literacy Prize?
- Published on 07 Sep 17
UNESCO has announced the winners of the 2017 International Literacy Prizes, which honours excellence and innovation in the field of global literacy.
The awards will be handed out to five laureates from Canada, Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa on the occasion of International Literacy Day,which falls on September 8.
The prizes are divided into two categories -
- The UNESCOConfucius Prize for Literacy sponsored by China, and
- The King Sejong Literacy Prize sponsored by South Korea.
This year’s Confucius Prize is given to the AdulTICoProgram from Columbia, The Citizens Foundation from Pakistan, and the FunDza project from South Africa.
The King Sejong prize is shared by the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance from Canada and the We Love Reading program from Jordan.
3) United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics have been adopted by which Asian country in Aug 2017?
- Published on 11 Aug 17
The United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics adopted by the Government of India are as below:-
Principle 1. Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation.
To this end, official statistics that meet the test of practical utility are to be compiled and made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honor citizens' entitlement to public information.
Principle 2. To retain trust in official statistics, the statistical agencies need to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data.
Principle 3. To facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, the statistical agencies are to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics.
Principle 4. The statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics.
Principle 5. Data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, be they statistical surveys or administrative records. Statistical agencies are to choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on Respondents.
Principle 6. Individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes.
Principle 7. The laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical systems operate are to be made public.
Principle 8. Coordination among statistical agencies within countries is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.
Principle 9. The use by statistical agencies in each country of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels.
Principle 10. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries
The principles have been serving as guidelines in developing good practices in the statistical system, prior to and after their adoption.
Several strategies and protocols are being developed in the system, from time to time, to ensure professional independence, impartiality, accountability and transparency about methods of collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics, which are enshrined in the principles.
4) By how many votes was the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons at UN adopted?
- Published on 10 Jul 17
More than 120 nations adopted the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons on 7th July at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
The initiative - led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand - was approved by 122 votes, with only the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining.
The nine countries generally recognized as possessing nuclear weapons - the U.S., Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel - were noticeably absent from the negotiations, as were most members of NATO.
Despite being a victim of atomic attacks in 1945, Japan also boycotted the meeting.
Nevertheless, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki informed Friday’s dialogue - and the conversation thereafter.
The agreement is a very clear statement that the international community wants to move to a completely different security paradigm that does not include nuclear weapons.
The treaty is extensive in its demands, prohibiting signatories from developing, testing, manufacturing, possessing, or threatening to use nuclear weapons.
Nations are also prohibited from transferring nuclear weapons to one another.
Having now been approved by the UN, the treaty will be open for signatures on September 20, at which point it will need to be ratified by 50 states before entering into international law.
5) UNSC has passed a resolution against _________ for launching ninth ballistic missile in June 2017.
- Published on 05 Jun 17
a. North Korea
b. South Korea
ANSWER: North Korea
The UN security council has unanimously passed a resolution expanding targeted sanctions against North Korea after the latter launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year.
This is the first such resolution which is agreed upon by the United States and China since the US President Donald Trump took office.
The new resolution has slapped even more sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It has condemned the North Korea’s continued proliferation of its nuclear and ballistic program.
The new sanctions have extended a travel ban and asset freeze on senior officials, core military apparatus as well as the state entities that are directly responsible for North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The list of expanded sanctions also included state officials and banks. This is aimed at further restricting North Korea’s ability to finance its illicit activities.
Sanctions have been applied on entities like Koryo Bank, Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army, and 14 other people, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations.
History of UNSC Sanctions
- The UN Security Council had first imposed sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs in the year 2006.
- The UN’s sanctions against North Korea are in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches.
- North Korea has also launched several more ballistic missiles since then.
- The US has struggled a lot to slow down these programs as the North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear -tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
- The countries like France and Italy has supported the new resolution.
- Veto powered Russia too have backed the measures taken by UN.
6) What is the theme for the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeeper?
- Published on 30 May 17
a. Investing in peace around the world
b. Investing in security across the globe
c. Investing in peace across the globe
d. Investing in security around the world
ANSWER: Investing in peace around the world
International UN Peacekeeper's Day is celebrated world over on 29 May to honour the fallen peacekeepers and to pay tribute to those who served or are still serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
The theme for the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Investing in Peace Around the World”.
In 2016, 117 peacekeepers laid their life in peacekeeping missions which includes two from India. The two fallen peacekeepers from India were Rifleman Brijesh Thapa who served with the United Nations Organization Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Sepoy Ravi Kumar who was deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) this year.
A two minutes silence was observed to pay homage to the fallen peacekeepers.
India is the largest cumulative troop contributor, having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 peacekeeping missions mandated over the past six decades, including 13 of the current 16 missions.
The event saw participation by diplomatic community, officers from ministries, veteran peacekeepers, UN Country Teams, students from prominent universities and Indian Army contingents earmarked for UN deployment which was supported by UN Information Centre in India (UNIC).
To mark the occasion, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) along with United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office organised a joint seminar on “21st Century Roadmap for Conflict Resolution by the United Nations”.
7) Who has been elected as the President of the UN Habitat?
- Published on 09 May 17
d. Sri Lanka
India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat. UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
UN-Habitat promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world. India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after a gap of 10 years.
This is only the third time that India has been elected as the President of UN-Habitat after 2007 and 1988. The UN-Habitat was established in 1978.
The Governing Council of UN-Habitat is an inter-governmental policy making and decision making body that aims to promote integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among countries over the issue of human settlement.
Minister Venkaaih Naidu will chair the 26th Meeting of 58 member Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
The theme of the meeting is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda”
He will also chair the Bureau Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing and Urban Development in Nairobi.
The New Urban Agenda which was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador would focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and sustainable urbanization and integrated human settlements.
UN-Habitat: Know More
- UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements Program is a UN agency responsible for sustainable urban development and human settlements.
- It was established in 1978 and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya.
- It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
- It is also a member of UNDP. UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas:
- Urban Legislation, Land and Governance;
- Urban Planning and Design;
- Urban Economy;
- Urban Basic Services;
- Housing and Slum Upgrading;
- Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation;
- Urban Research and Capacity Development.
8) India will clock ___ percent growth in 2018, according to a UNESCAP report?
- Published on 03 May 17
India is expected to clock 7.1 per cent growth this year before edging up to 7.5 per cent in 2018, according to a UN report.
The report has warned that the country faces heightened risks related to the concentration of bad loans in the public sector banks.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in its annual flagship report 'The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017' indicated that the economic growth for India is projected to be stable before edging up.
This is underpinned by higher private and public consumption and increased infrastructure spending.
Growth in India is forecast at 7.1 per cent this year as re-monetisation restores consumption, and infrastructure spending increases.
Inflation is projected to reach 5.3-5.5 per cent in 2017 and 2018, which is somewhat above the official target of 4.5-5 per cent.
The report, however, noted that a key downside risk for India was heightened financial sector risks related to the concentration of bad loans in public sector banks.
The gross non-performing assets ratio in public sector banks reached almost 12 per cent in 2016, which points to the need for bank recapitalisation.
Noting the impact of demonetisation, the report said the unexpected withdrawal of the two largest denomination currency notes in November 2016 and their subsequent replacement with new currency weighed down economic conditions in late 2016 and early 2017.
The resulting liquidity crunch led to delays in the payment of wages and purchase of inputs in the industrial sector.
While the impact of demonetisation on the economy is expected to be transient, a slower-than-expected recovery would particularly diminish the outlook for cash-intensive sectors and supply chains for agricultural products.
The recent budget called for various measures that seek to mitigate the large temporary adverse shocks on income and wealth, such as expanding a low-cost housing scheme and providing more relief to the agricultural sector and credit support for small enterprises.
Notwithstanding its short-term disruptions, the report said one of the medium-term benefits of demonetisation was to help expand banking sector liquidity.
The country's medium-term economic development will also benefit from recent reforms that are aimed at easing domestic supply bottlenecks, such as the implementation of the goods and services tax, amendment of a bankruptcy law and opening up of the pharmaceuticals, defence and civil aviation sectors.
The rate of India's economic growth moderated to 7.1 per cent in 2016 from 7.6 per cent in 2015, with the manufacturing sector more sluggish in 2016 relative to 2015 owing to weaker domestic demand, rising input costs and subdued bank credit.
Fixed investment continued to contract as stressed corporate balance sheets suppressed firms' appetite for additional spending, the report said.
Overall, the still rapid output growth in 2016 benefited from a modest recovery in agriculture due to an improved monsoon season and robust growth in public administration following public sector salary increases.
Despite the overall fiscal tightening, capital expenditure under the budget for fiscal year 2017/18 is about 25 per cent higher than that in the preceding budget.
Outlook for 2017
- The report highlighted that despite a broadly positive economic outlook for 2017, Asia-Pacific economies are vulnerable to rising global uncertainty and trade protectionism.
- The region's developing economies are projected to grow at 5 per cent and 5.1 per cent in 2017 and 2018 up from 4.9 per cent last year.
- Economic conditions are broadly stable in China and higher value-added sectors are gradually replacing excess capacity sectors as drivers of output and employment, the report said.
- The continued softening of economic growth in China, projected at 6.5 per cent in 2017 against 6.7 per cent in 2016, reflects ongoing deleveraging and restructuring efforts to boost output in the medium term, it said.
- The projected moderate Asia-Pacific economic growth faces risks from rising protectionism and global uncertainty, it added.
- The report estimates that a steeper-than-anticipated increase in these factors could reduce average regional growth in 2017 by up to 1.2 percentage points.
9) India has won entry into which subsidiaries of the UN?
- Published on 24 Apr 17
d. Only a and b
e. Only a and c
ANSWER: Only a and b
India has won elections to two subsidiary bodies of a UN organ focussed on social and economic issues.
India along with 12 other members was elected to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The country garnered the most number of votes in the Asian group, with 49 out of 50 members of ECOSOC voting in its favour.
ECOSOC: Know More
- Abbreviation: ECOSOC/CESNU
- Formation: 1945
- Type: Primary organ
- Legal status: Active
- Head: President of the ECOSOC
- Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava[since 2016]
- Website: www.un.org/en/ecosoc
10) Which noted Indian female singer became the first to collaborate with the UN for women empowerment?
- Published on 03 Feb 17
a. Sunidhi Chauhan
b. Neeti Mohan
c. Alka Yagnik
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Neeti Mohan
Noted singer Neeti Mohan has become the first Indian female singer to collaborate with UN for women empowerment, joining Ashton Kutcher, Nicholas Cage, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd, Gillian Anderson for United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund project titled “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking”.
She has composed Udne De as a tribute to all the women and in support of equality for all as a part of this project.
Over 60 renowned artists and dignitaries from around the world have collaborated with Rukus Avenue to participate in the “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” triple album.
This benefits the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, managed by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).
This is a collective fight by the music community to make a social statement and end human trafficking.
A 60+ track collection of inspiring music, will be officially released at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York City this week.
Neeti had written Udne De during the Nirbhaya incident that happened in 2012.
Some of the other participants appearing on this project include:
- AR Rahman,
- Former President Jimmy Carter and
- Actress Tatyana Ali
- Joss Stone,
- Michael Franti,
- Vanessa Carlton,
- Anoushka Shankar,
- Ellis Hall,
- Daryl Hall & John Oates
The “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” album will benefit the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund.
This is one of the largest unified fronts of artists ever assembled for a charitable music album.About UN Voluntary Trust Fund
- On November 4, 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
- This is to provide humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of human trafficking.
- The aim involves increasing the number of those rescued and supported, and broadening the extent of assistance they receive.
- The Fund was established in accordance with resolution A/RES/64/293 Article 38 of the General Assembly on 12 August 2010.
- This is part of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is designated as the Fund Manager for the Fund.