Important International Organisations-Part 7

MEKONG GANGA COOPERATION ·        An initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam

·        cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.

·        Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.

ASHGABAT AGREEMENT ·        Create multi modal international transport transit corridor   facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf

·        Objective of this agreement is to enhance connectivity within Eurasian region and synchronize it with other transport corridors within that region including the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

·        Members:   Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Oman

·        India formally joined in February 2018.

INTERNATIONAL NORTH SOUTH TRANSPORT CORRIDOR ·        7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route

  • This corridor connects India Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via the Islamic Republic of Iran and then is connected to St. Petersburg and North Europe via the Russian Federation.

·        Moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe

·        Route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road

·        Objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali

·        Dry runs of two routes were conducted in 2014, the first was Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas and the second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran and Bandar Anzali.

·        This will also synchronize with the Ashgabat agreement

NEW DEVELOPMENT BANK (NDB) ·        Formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at  6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014. (In the Fortaleza Declaration, the leaders stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development, thus contributing to collective commitments for achieving the goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.)

  • The first regional office of the NDB is in Johannesburg, South Africa. The second regional office was established in 2019 in São Paulo, Brazil, followed by Moscow, Russia.

·        Has an initial subscribed capital of US$50 billion and an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion

  • All members of UN could be members of the NDB; however, the share of the BRICS nations can never be less than 55% of voting power.
  • Support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments
  • Headquartered –Shanghai, China.
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) ·        Regional development bank established on 19 December 1966

·        ADB now has 68 members i.e.  49 members from the Asian and Pacific Region, 19 members from Other Regions.

·        The bank admits member countries from Asian region and non-regional developed countries.

·        The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries

  • Eighty percent of ADB’s lending is concentrated public sector lending in five operational areas.
  • India is a founding member and the 4th largest shareholder.
  • ADB is developing New Delhi as a regional hub for its operations in South Asia

·        As of 31 December 2018, Japan and the United States each holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.571%. China holds 6.429%, India holds 6.317%, and Australia holds 5.773%

·        ADB is an official United Nations Observer.

ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT BANK (AIIB) ·        Multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.

·        The bank currently has 103 members as well as 21 prospective members from around the world

  • By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia and beyond, it will better connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.

·        The bank was proposed by China in 2013

·        The starting capital of the bank was US$100 billion, equivalent to 23 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank

  • China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders of AIIB with voting shares are 26.06%, 7.5% and 5.92% respectively. 
  • US & Japan are not its members.
  • Membership in the AIIB is open to all members of the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank and is divided into regional and non-regional members.
  • Unlike other MDBs (multilateral development bank), the AIIB allows for non-sovereign entities to apply for AIIB membership, assuming their home country is a member.
  • The recipients of AIIB financing may include member countries (or agencies and entities or enterprises in member territories), as well as international or regional agencies concerned with the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Members representing approximately 79 % of the global population and 65 %of global GDP.

·        Permanent Observer status in the deliberations of both the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, the two development-focused principal organs of the global body.

WORLD GOLD COUNCIL ·        market development organization for the gold industry

·        works across all parts of the industry, from gold mining to investment, and their aim is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold

  • Headquartered in London, UK

·        They have also launched various products such as SPDR GLD and gold accumulation plans in India and China

ASIA-PACIFIC RURAL AND AGRICULTURAL CREDIT ASSOCIATION (APRACA) ·        aims to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of rural finance and access to sustainable financial services for small farmers in its member countries.

·        APRACA has members in over 23 countries, and it acts to promote the exchange of information and expertise on rural finance between them.

·        provides rural finance-related training, consultancy, and research publications to assist them.

·        established to provide financial services to small farmers and rural people in general.

WORLD TRAVEL AND TOURISM COUNCIL ·        forum for the travel and tourism industry, made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the industry

·        only forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the industry worldwide.

  • Headquarters – London
WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION (WCO) ·        Intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium

·        maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.

·        The Harmonized System, or simply ‘HS’, is a six-digit identification code developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

·        Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) is a programme under the aegis of the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate Global Trade.  It is a voluntary programme and aims to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of goods.

·        The Organization has divided the world into 6 regions to make the rules across borders of these regions easier.

·        Members: 183

·        India is a member of the organization.

HAGUE CONVENTION ·        Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (or Hague Adoption Convention)

·        an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking

·        formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries

·        On 6 June 2003, India deposited its instrument of ratification to the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption

  • In India, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is the nodal agency designated to deal with the provisions of this convention.
BUDAPEST CONVENTION ·        sole legally binding multilateral treaty that coordinates cybercrime investigations between nation-states and criminalises certain cybercrime conduct

·        led by Council of Europe, which is distinct from EU

·        serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties to this treaty.

  • India, Russia and China are not members to this convention.
  • It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime.
  • It is supplemented by a Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism committed through computer systems.
  • It deals particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security.
  • India has not signed the treaty since it was drafted without its participation.
WARSAW CONVENTION
  • Convention for the Unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air, commonly known as the Warsaw Convention, is an international convention which regulates liability for international carriage of persons, luggage, or goods performed by aircraft for reward.
  • Warsaw Convention defines “international carriage” and the convention’s scope of applicability.
  • Sets rules for documents of carriage
  • Sets rules for the air carrier’s liability and limitations thereof
  • Sets rules for legal jurisdiction
  • Mandates carriers to issue passenger tickets;
  • Requires carriers to issue baggage checks for checked luggage;
  • Creates a limitation period of two years within which a claim must be brought.
MONTREAL CONVENTION o   A multilateral treaty adopted by member states of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

o   It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention’s regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters.

o   It unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that had developed haphazardly since 1929.

o   MC99 is designed to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world.

·        First major revision of the provisions related to the death, injury of air passengers, or loss or damage to cargo or baggage since the pact agreed at the Warsaw Convention in 1929.

·        India became 91st country to have ratified Montreal Convention 1999.

VIENNA CONVENTION ON CONSULAR RELATIONS o   international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.

o   It codifies many consular practices that originated from state custom and various bilateral agreements between states

o   Treaty has been ratified by 180 states

o   India has signed and ratified it

TIR CONVENTION o   Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention

o   International transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

o   facilitate the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention

o   As of December 2020, there are 77 parties to the Convention, including 76 states and the European Union.

o   India became the 71st country to ratify the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention in 2017

o   The ratification is a part of India’s multi-modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks through better connectivity.

·        India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) 

CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE
  • Unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the Convention entered into force in 1951.

·        defines genocide in legal terms as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

  • Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
  • As of July 2019, 152 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty, most recently Mauritius on 8 July 2019.
  • India ratified the treaty in 1959.
BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS
  • an international financial institution owned by central banks that “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks”
  • The BIS hosts the Secretariat of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and with it has played a central role in establishing the Basel Capital Accords (now commonly referred to as Basel I) of 1988, Basel II framework in 2004 and more recently Basel III framework in 2010.
  • BIS denominates its reserve in IMF special drawing rights.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is a member of BIS

D10 CLUB

  • UK proposed “D10” club of democratic partners including
    • G7 countries – UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada
    • 3 more plus Australia, South Korea and India
  • Create supply chain for 5G equipment and technologies to avoid relying on China/ Huawei- for data security and data privacy.

INDO-PACIFIC ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK

  • The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, launched by United States and being joined by 12 other countries including India, is Washington’s answer to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) and its successor agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TTP (CPTPP), as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • The IPEF is part of the U.S.’s more than a decade old “Pivot to Asia” programme, re-imagining the Indo-Pacific as a geographic construct including America.
  • The four pillars that the IPEF framework rests on are
    • ‘Connected Economy’, setting standards on digital trade, cross-border data flows and data localisation;
    • ‘Resilient Economy’, with supply chain commitments and guarding against price spikes;
    • ‘Clean Economy’, with commitments on clean energy, decarbonisation, and infrastructure to cut emissions; and
    • ‘Fair Economy’, in terms of enforcing regimes that cut down on money laundering and corruption, and ensure fair taxation.

GLOBAL SECURITY INITIATIVE

  • A new Global Security Initiative put forward by Chinese President will look to counter the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy and the Quad – the India, U.S., Australia, Japan grouping.
  • Envisaged to uphold the principle of “indivisible security”.

·                    The principle of “indivisible security” means that no country can strengthen its own security at the expense of others.

  • GSI calls for a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable” security and building an Asian security model of mutual respect, openness and integration”.
  • Under GSI, Beijing will take steps to bring India and other nations in South Asia under an overarching Asian security architecture of its own as the US increases its influence in this region with the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, of which India is a member) and AUKUS (a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US) under the Indo-Pacific Strategic Framework.

The initiative is based on the central tenet of “six imperatives”.

  • Adherence to a common, united, cooperative and sustainable vision of security.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.
  • Adherence to the purposes and principles of the Constitution of the United Nations.
  • The importance of the legitimate security concerns of all countries.
  • The peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue.
  • The maintenance of traditional and non-traditional security.

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION REVIEW FORUM (IMRF)

·        The First International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) is being held under the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA.

·        The goal: to review the progress made at the local, national, regional and global levels in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

  •             The Indian delegation is led by V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs.
  • The quadrennial International Migration Review Forum was hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly. It consisted of four interactive multi-stakeholder round tables, a policy dialogue, and a plenary.

·        Act as a platform to discuss the progress on implementation of all aspects of the GCM and its intersection with the UN SDGs.

·        IMRF provides an opportunity for the international community to identify the challenges faced by migrants.

·        It will also recognize the contributions made by migrants to society.

·        IMRF will be held every four years, with the 2022 edition being the first one.

·        Each edition of the IMRF will result in the adoption of the Progress Declaration.

·        IMRF will be chaired by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

  • IMRF consists of four interactive round tables, policy dialogue, and a plenary. A Progress Declaration will be adopted at the end of IMRF.

GLOBAL COMPACT FOR SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR MIGRATION

·        Adopted in Marrakesh in 2018, the GCM was borne out of the understanding that no one government can effectively govern migration alone. This goes for unlocking the potential of global mobility, as well as protecting people from harm.

·        Through the Global Compact, States created a blueprint for comprehensive, rights-based migration policy and established 23 objectives covering all facets of migration.

·        While the Global Compact’s guiding principles, aims and actions are not legally binding, they are founded on recognized commitments and values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and international law.

·        The GCM is the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement on migration in all its aspects.

MACOLIN CONVENTION

·        Recently, the 12th meeting of Interpol’s Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

·        At the event, the members deliberated on various mechanisms such as the establishment of national platforms, as outlined in the Macolin Convention.

  • The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, known as the Macolin Convention, is a multilateral treaty aimed at checking match-fixing. 
  • The convention was concluded in Macolin/Magglingen, Switzerland, on 18 September 2014.
  • It came into force on September 1, 2019, and has been signed by 32 countries and ratified by seven.
  • It is a legal instrument and the only rule of international law on the manipulation of sports competitions. 
  • It requests public authorities to cooperate with sports organisations, betting operators and competition organisers to prevent, detect and sanction the manipulation of sports competitions. 
  • It has been ratified by Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova, Switzerland and Ukraine. 
  • It has been signed by 30 other European States, as well as by Australia and Morocco.

·        A major focus of the convention is to prevent and punish illegal sports betting operations and to prevent conflicts of interest in legal sports betting operators and sports organisations.

UNESCO ANTI-DOPING CONVENTION

·        In the background, Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport was agreed to by the Government of India in March, 2003, which was the political document through which Governments signalled their intention to formally recognize and implement the World Anti-Doping Code brought out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). 

·        This was the first step towards the preparation of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.

·        India is a signatory to the International Convention Against Doping in Sport, also known as the “UNESCO Anti-Doping Convention”, which was ratified by India on 07 November 2007.

·        The purpose of the Convention is to promote the prevention of and the fight against doping in sports, with a view to its elimination.

·        The National Anti-Doping Agency, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Youth Affairs, is responsible for adopting, implementing and enforcing anti-doping programmes in India.

·        In the Asia-Oceania region, there are a total of 55 member countries (40 in Asia and 15 in Oceania), who are signatories to the Convention.

2022 RESILIENT DEMOCRACIES STATEMENT

·        India, along with G7 countries and four invited countries, signed the ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement’ in which they committed to “guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors” and “protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline”.

·        The Leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union, affirm our commitment to strengthening the resilience of our democracies.

·        And that they are prepared to defend these principles and are resolved to:

o   Protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline and ensuring a free and independent media landscape through our work with relevant international initiatives.

o   Ensuring an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure internet.

o   Increasing the cyber resilience of digital infrastructure, including by improving and sharing awareness of cyber threats and expanding cyber response cooperation.

o   Countering hybrid threats, in particular information manipulation and interference, including disinformation.

o   Cooperating to counter information manipulation, promote accurate information, and advocate for our shared democratic values worldwide.

o   Promoting affordable access to diverse sources of reliable and trustworthy information and data, online and offline, including through a multi-stakeholder approach, and by strengthening digital skills and digital literacy.

o   Enhancing transparency about the actions of online platforms to combat violent, extremist and inciting content online.

·        Commit to:

o   Guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors, speaking out against threats to civic space, and respecting freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

o   Building resilience against malign foreign interference and acts of transnational repression that seek to undermine trust in government, society and media, reduce civic space and silence critical voices.

·        Advancing programmes for the protection of human rights defenders and all those exposing corruptions.

COUNTRIES OF PARTICULAR CONCERN, OR CPCS

·        Countries of particular concern, or CPCs, are defined under the International Religious Freedom Act, 1998 (IRFA) as countries where the government either engages in or tolerates “particularly severe violations of religious freedom”, which means “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of the internationally recognised right to freedom of religion”. This can include:

o   torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, 

o   prolonged detention without charges,

o   causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons, or

o   other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.

o   The 2022 edition of the report has recommended that a total of 15 countries be designated as CPCs, including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Vietnam and Syria.

·        Besides this, 12 countries have been recommended to be added to the State Department’s Special Watch List (SWL), including Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Nicaragua and Uzbekistan.

ASIAN AND PACIFIC COUNCIL

·        The seventh ministerial conference of the Asian and Pacific Council concluded its three-day deliberations in Seoul to-day emphasising the peaceful and non-military nature of the nine-member organisation and seeking to dispel any doubts from the minds of the people that it was militarily motivated.

  • Members – Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, South Vietnam, and Taiwan.
  • It is a regional organization in the Far East and in the western part of the Pacific Ocean.

·        Reflecting the general desire of the majority of the member-countries — particularly in view of the fast changes that are coming about in the Asian and Pacific region — to erase suspicions that the ASPAC was some kind of a military alliance

·        It was not a political or military arrangement directed against other nations. Nor was it an exclusive organisation.

·        The communique declared that ASPAC was open to non-member countries within the region who were ready to make a constructive contribution to its objectives and purposes.

·        It restated its purposes, namely, that the ASPAC was an organisation for regional co-operation pursuing peace and progress in the Asian and Pacific region.

·        It would devote its efforts to promote co-operation in economic technical, social, cultural, and other fields.

PARTNERS IN THE BLUE PACIFIC

·        Amid China’s aggressive push to increase its Pacific sphere of influence, the US and its allies Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom have launched a new initiative called ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations.

·        The PBP is a five-nation “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, economic ties in the region.

·        It speaks of enhancing “prosperity, resilience, and security” in the Pacific through closer cooperation.

·        It simply means that through the PBP, these counties — together and individually — will direct more resources here to counter China’s aggressive outreach.

·        The initiative members have also declared that they will “elevate Pacific regionalism”, and forge stronger ties with the Pacific Islands Forum.

·        The forum remains open to cooperating with additional partners, adding that “at every stage, we will be led and guided by the Pacific Islands.

·        The areas where PBP aims to enhance cooperation include “climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education”.

PARTNERSHIP FOR GLOBAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT

·        Recently, U.S. President along with his G7 allies unveiled the ambitious Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), announcing the collective mobilisation of $600 billion by 2027 to deliver “game-changing” and “transparent” infrastructure projects to developing and middle-income countries.

·        The PGII is being seen as the G7’s counter to China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build connectivity, infrastructure, and trade projects in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

About PGII

·        The U.S., along with G7 partners the U.K., Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, and the European Union (EU), had in 2021 announced the launch of the Build Back Better World (B3W) with the aim of narrowing the $40 trillion infrastructure gap in the developing world.

·        PGII is therefore, a relaunch of B3W plan.

·        The PGII as a “values-driven, high-impact, and transparent infrastructure partnership to meet the enormous infrastructure needs of low and middle-income countries and support the United States’ and its allies’ economic and national security interests”. 

·        All PGII projects will be driven by “four priority pillars that will define the second half of the 21st century”.

o   First, the G7 grouping aims to tackle the climate crisis and ensure global energy security through clean energy supply chains.

o   Second, the projects will focus on bolstering digital information and communications technology (ICT) networks facilitating technologies such as 5G and 6G internet connectivity and cybersecurity.

o   Third, the projects aim to advance gender equality and equity

o   Fourthly, to build and upgrade global health infrastructure.


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