New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG)
Why in news?
- The recently-concluded Bonn climate conference in Germany highlighted the critical need to review and reform the climate finance architecture.
The New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) for Climate Financing
- To address the funding gap, the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement introduced the concept of a New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) for climate financing by 2025.
- The NCQG aims to set a reference point that considers the needs and priorities of developing nations, making it the most important climate goal.
Challenges with Current Climate Finance Commitments
- Despite the commitment of developed countries to provide $100 billion per year to developing nations until 2020, the actual funding fell short.
- In 2020, developed countries provided $83.3 billion, but reports suggest that these figures may be inflated due to dishonest and shady reporting practices.
- While the funds for climate finance have increased, they often come in the form of loans and equity, burdening developing countries with a debilitating debt crisis.
- A significant portion of climate finance is inaccessible to the countries most in need, leading to delays in accessing funds and increased debt burdens.
Perspectives of Developed on NCQG
- Developed countries argue that the NCQG should be viewed as a collective goal for both developed and developing nations.
- However, this approach may impose additional responsibilities on developing countries that may not have the financial means to meet mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development targets simultaneously.
- Developed countries emphasize the importance of mobilizing private-sector investments and loans for climate finance.
The Role of the Global Stocktake
- The Global Stocktake, scheduled to take place at COP28, will play a crucial role in charting the pathway for long-term climate action.
- It will assess progress towards meeting the NCQG and provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of climate finance measures.
The Significance of Agreeing on the NCQG
- The year 2023 holds great significance as countries strive to agree upon the NCQG before 2024.
- The transition to a low-carbon economy requires substantial investments, estimated to be around $4 trillion to $6 trillion annually.
- Some argue for setting separate targets within the NCQG for areas such as mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage.
- To achieve an equitable and people-led transition, there is a need to scale up concessional financing, halt the creation of new debt, and ensure that the NCQG becomes a continuous process rather than a mere goal.
GS PAPER – II
NATO plus five
Why in news?
- The U.S. Senate’s India Caucus Co-Chairs are set to introduce legislation that aims to grant India a “NATO plus five” defence status. This move follows a recommendation from a U.S. House of Representatives committee on China to include India in the existing arrangement between the U.S., NATO partners, and five other countries.
What is NATO Plus?
- NATO Plus is a collaborative effort between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and five countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea.
- The primary objective of this partnership is to enhance global defense cooperation.
- If India were to become a member of NATO Plus, it could enjoy several advantages:
- Intelligence Sharing and Collaboration
- Access to Cutting-Edge Military Technology
- Access to state-of-the-art military technology without significant delays.
- Enable India to strengthen its defense infrastructure and capabilities, keeping pace with the advancements in the global defense landscape.
- Strengthening India’s Defense Partnership with the United States
India’s Rejection of the Proposed Framework
- India’s External Affairs Minister has already rejected the proposed framework for India’s inclusion in the “NATO plus five” arrangement.
- He stated that the template being suggested does not apply to India, and the USA administration understands this perspective.
- The efforts to upgrade India’s defense status through the proposed legislation reflect a shared aspiration to transcend the existing labels of “oldest democracy” and “biggest democracy” in the India-U.S. relationship. The aim is to forge a comprehensive partnership between the two nations, moving beyond symbolic titles and towards a robust and multifaceted alliance. This signifies a mutual commitment to deepening cooperation and fostering a full-fledged partnership based on shared values and strategic interests.
GS PAPER – II &III
The Gender Gap Report 2023
Why in news?
- The Gender Gap Report 2023, recently released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), offers a detailed assessment of India’s standing in terms of gender parity. This comprehensive analysis delves into India’s ranking, progress, and persistent challenges across various dimensions, shedding light on the country’s journey towards achieving gender equality.
- India has made significant strides in narrowing the gender gap compared to the previous year’s report, Climbing eight places to secure the 127th rank.
Progress in Gender Parity:
- India’s progress is marked by a noteworthy improvement of 1.4 percentage points since the last report, showcasing a partial recovery towards its parity level in 2020.
- India has closed 64.3% of the overall gender gap, indicating substantial advancement, but also highlighting the need for further efforts to achieve complete gender equality.
Economic Participation and Opportunity:
- Despite progress in certain areas, India’s performance in economic participation and opportunity remains a concern, with only 36.7% parity achieved.
- The report acknowledges an increase in parity regarding wages and income, indicating positive developments. However, the share of women in senior positions and technical roles has experienced a slight decline since the last edition, presenting an ongoing challenge.
- A significant milestone has been reached as India attains parity in enrolment across all levels of education.
- This accomplishment showcases the nation’s commitment to providing equal educational opportunities for all genders.
- India records a 25.3% parity in political empowerment, denoting progress in this area.
- Among the 117 countries with available data since 2017, India, along with Bolivia and France, stands out for achieving women’s representation of over 40% in local governance, highlighting significant strides in political participation.
Sex Ratio at Birth:
- India’s sex ratio at birth witnesses a notable improvement of 1.9 percentage points, driving the overall parity increase.
- While India’s sex ratio at birth stands at 92.7%, it falls slightly short compared to top-scoring countries that register a 94.4% gender parity at birth.
Comparison with Peer Countries
- In the South Asian region, India faces a comparative ranking challenge, with countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka surpassing its gender parity achievements.
- While Pakistan (Rank 142) lags behind, China (Rank 107) and Bhutan (Rank 103) exhibit comparatively higher gender parity.
- Iceland, on the other hand, maintains its position as the most gender-equal country for the 14th consecutive year, closing over 90% of its gender gap.
- The Southern Asian region records a gender parity level of 63.4%, the second-lowest among eight regions.
- India’s progress in gender parity, as outlined in the Gender Gap Report 2023, showcases commendable advancements in education and certain aspects of economic participation. However, challenges persist in achieving parity in senior positions and technical roles. The report underscores the necessity for sustained efforts to close the gender gap and foster greater gender equality in India. By addressing these challenges, India can forge a path towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all genders.
Why in news?
- Archaeologists from Mexico’s anthropology institute (INAH) have made a remarkable discovery in the jungles of southern Mexico—an unknown ancient Maya city that likely served as a significant center over a millennium ago. Named Ocomtun, this recently unearthed site showcases remarkable architectural structures and provides insights into the region’s history and civilization.
Description of Ocomtun
- Ocomtun features large pyramid-like buildings, stone columns, three plazas with impressive structures, and a layout organized in almost-concentric circles.
- The INAH institute believes that Ocomtun was a crucial center for the central lowland region of the Yucatan Peninsula between 250 and 1000 AD.
Location and Discovery
- Ocomtun is situated within the expansive Balamku ecological reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula.
- The city remained undiscovered until recently due to its location within a largely unexplored stretch of jungle, which is larger than Luxembourg.
- The discovery was made using aerial laser mapping (LiDAR) technology during a search conducted between March and June.
- The Maya civilization, renowned for its advanced mathematical calendars, flourished in southeastern Mexico and parts of Central America.
- The Maya civilization, known for its temples and glyphs, had a sophisticated writing system and excelled in various fields.
- Maya script was the most advanced writing system in pre-Columbian Americas.
- The civilization was renowned for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
- The Archaic period (before 2000 BC) witnessed early agricultural advancements and the formation of villages.
- During the Preclassic period (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD), complex societies emerged, and staple crops like maize, beans, squashes, and chili peppers were cultivated.
- By 500 BC, Maya cities began to flourish, featuring impressive monumental architecture, such as grand temples adorned with intricate stucco facades.
- Hieroglyphic writing became prevalent in the Maya region around the 3rd century BC.
- The decline of the Maya civilization occurred centuries prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors, who eventually toppled the last stronghold in the late 17th century.
Features of Ocomtun:
- Core Area: The city’s core area, situated on elevated terrain surrounded by extensive wetlands, showcases several pyramid-like structures reaching heights of up to 15 meters.
- Ball Court: Ocomtun also includes a ball court, a common feature in pre-Hispanic Maya sites. The ball game played there held significant religious importance, involving the passing of a rubber ball representing the sun through a stone hoop without using hands.
- Central Altars: Archaeologists discovered central altars in an area closer to the La Riguena river. These altars may have been utilized for community rituals, although further research is required to better understand the cultures that thrived in the region.
- Period of Decline: Based on the materials found in the buildings, the site likely experienced a decline around 800 to 1000 AD. The decline of Maya societies in the region during the 10th century may have been influenced by ideological and population shifts, reflecting significant changes in the civilization.
- This archaeological find provides valuable insights into the ancient Maya civilization and sheds light on their architectural prowess, religious practices, and societal transitions. Continued research at Ocomtun promises to uncover further details about the civilization that once thrived there.