U.N. Calls for Integrated Drought Plan
Counter GlobalFood Security
As farmers from Africa, India to Term Average constitutes drought. Even U.S struggle with insufficient rainfall, U.S is experiencing exceptional drought the U.N. has sought consolidated ef- this year.
As farmers from Africa, India to Term Average constitutes drought. Even U.S struggle with insufficient rainfall, U.S is experiencing exceptional drought the U.N. has sought consolidated ef- this year. The severity and reach of forts to combat climate change threat the drought also has impact on global and counter its effects on global food food prices. The drought gripping the
security. U.S. is having a major impact on U.S The south-west monsoon season soybean and corn harvests which is that began in early June in India brought having a ripple effect on global food deficient rainfall in half of the 624 dis- markets underlining the vulnerability of tricts through the end of July. From the inter-connected world to a natural June through August — the first half hazard that is expected to increase in of the monsoon season, total average future.
seasonal rainfall was just 81 per cent After reviewing such situations of the Long Term Average, while in the world over, World Meteorological the north-west region of the country; Organisation (VVMO) Secretary–General cumulative rainfall was 65 per cent of the Michel Jarraud recently warned that long-term average. In India, monsoon climate change is projected to increase rainfall less than 90 per cent of Long- the frequency, intensity, and duration of
droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energyHence, the WMO and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), along with other U.N. agencies, are intensifying efforts to establish a coordinated and proactive strategy for managing drought risk filling existing policy vacuum in countries around the world. United Nations has proposed to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and develop integrated risk-based national drought policies.
A high-level meeting on National Drought Policy has been scheduled in March next year in Geneva, Switzerland.Iran approves Chabahar Port Investment : Ahmadinejad regime gave its consent to Indian investment in Chabahar port, which would provide India an alternative access to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. The proposed agreement will allow India to invest up to $100 million in the project. The origins of this connectivity project lie in another trilateral understanding, signed in 2003 among India, Iran and Afghanistan. The agreement covered building a road link from Chabahar to the Afghanistan border by Iran, from where India would construct a 135-mile road on the Afghanistan side between Zaranj and Delaram, which is located on the main Kandahar-Herat highway.
India was recently put on the US’s list of countries exempted from Iran sanctions despite having had strong commercial links with Tehran. One of the key criterion for this was that India showed a declining trend in its oil imports. Also, India was keen that Afghanistan to be roped into the Chabahar agreement and a trilateral document be considered for finalization, as Afghanistan would be the ultimate beneficiary of such an arrangement but Kabul has been cold to the suggestion so far. The dilemma for India is that Chabahar serves its strategic interests. Delhi has been pushing for it with Iran for close to a decade. In fact, while India has ‘finished constructing the ZaranjDelaram road despite attacks from terror groups, the connecting link to Chabahar is also ready from the Iranian side. The development of the port is the only aspect of the arrangement that has not taken off, and Tehran has now suggested a fresh MoU to faciliate Indian investments. To get this far, the Iranian government had to undertake a major domestic exercise to designate Chabahar as a sort of a special economic zone to qualify it for receiving foreign direct investment under its own laws.
China To Train 300 Indian Teachers In Mandarin : China will train 300 Indian teachers in Mandarin Chinese under a first-of-itskind initiative to lay the groundwork for than 100 Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools to introduce courses of the language. The Chinese government has offered to cover the expenses, including flight tickets, living costs and tuition, for the 300 Indian teachers to undergo six months of training in top Chinese universities, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the cBSE and the Chinese government. The MoU proposes exchanges of academic staff, teachers and students. Under the agreement, China will also help India develop its Mandarin Chinese language curriculum and provide educational materials. A recent survey conducted to gauge the level of interest found that than 500 schools were interested in offering Chinese classes. If Indian school students are provided opportunities to learn Mandarin their understanding and appreciation of China and its culture will grow enormously.
India has recently committed an additional Rs 1,645 crore on three ongoing projects-local projects, schools and dam- in the war-torn country, each of which has a visible impact on the lives of the Afghan people.
On July 10, the Ministry of External Affairs piloted a proposal to grant $100 million, to be spent over three years, as assistance for community-based small development projects whose reach would extend to 34 provinces. The program’s focus is on local ownership and management of projects in agriculture, health, education, rural development,
vocational training, sanitation and drinking water. In the current phase, India has committed $20 million for such people-centric projects at 19 locations, mainly in the vulnerable border areas.
The MEA is also considering a proposal to raise the number of special scholarships for Afghans to 1,000 per year from the present 675.
The scholarship scheme, which was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Afghanistan in 2005, will run from the next financial year until 2020-21 at a total cost of Rs 495 crore. The scheme is being tweaked to provide a larger residential allowance, and to ensure that women are included in the list of beneficiaries.
The scholarship scheme pays for the tuition and residential costs for Afghans who are pursuing undergraduate and post graduate studies.
This month the government has cleared a proposal to spend an extra Rs 600 crore to rebuild the Salma Dam Power project, built in 1976 on the Hari Rod river, in Herat province, the cost of which has gone up from Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,400 crore.
Upon completion this year, the Salma Dam will help generate 52 MW of power and also help in the irrigation of 40,000 hectares of farmland.