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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in news?

  • India is hosting the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Noida, UP
  • India has taken over COP presidency from China for two years i.e. till 2021
  • An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected
  • The key outcomes of COP 14 will facilitate in delivering convergence and synergies among the existing programmes in the field of agriculture, forestry, land, water management and poverty alleviation, which will cater the need to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


  • Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes desert, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife
  • Major causes:
    • Deforestation
    • Soil pollution
    • Change in geo-hydrology e.g. concretization and encroachment of wetlands
    • Climate change
    • Overgrazing


  • One of the three major conventions established after Rio Earth summit 1992
  • Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management
  • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found
  • India is a party to UNCCD – which has 197 total members



Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology; Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights

Why in News?

  • ISRO successfully conducted the de-orbiting maneuver for Chandrayaan – 2 mission’s landing module, containing the lander and rover
  • The lander is supposed to land on 7th September 2019 on the Lunar Surface

Chandrayaan 2:

  • Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission conducted by ISRO, that aims to study the Moon through landing on Moon’s south polar region
  • It aims to expand upon findings of India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan 1, which detected water on lunar surface
  • Chandrayaan 2 is an improvement over Chandrayaan 1 as while the latter only had an orbiter, the former comprises of 3 components – an Orbiter, a Lander(Vikram) and a Rover(Pragyan)
  • If successful, India will be the first country to land and study the lunar south pole
  • The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it. In addition, South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System
  • The mission was launched by the indigenously developed GSLV MK3 on 22nd july 2019

Prelims Specific

  • Project REPLAN (REducing PLAstic in Nature) by KVIC, under its commitment to Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. In this project, the waste plastic is collected, cleaned, chopped, beaten and treated for softness. After that, it is mixed with the paper raw material i.e. cotton rag pulp in a ratio of 80 % (pulp) and 20% (plastic waste). The institute has sold over six lakh handmade plastic mixed carry bags since September 2018
  • Index of Eight Core Industries released. The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 131.9 in July, 2019, which was 2.1 per cent higher as compared to the index of July, 2018. The eight core industries include Refinery Products, Electricity, Steel, Coal, Crude oil, Natural Gas, Cement and Fertilizers in descending order of weightage