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Paper: General Studies 2

Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Why in News?

UNHRC has urged India to end the lockdown in Kashmir and restore basic communication services. It has also asked India to respect civil rights in relation to people excluded from NRC


  • It was created by UNGA on 15 March 2006 by adopting resolution 60/251 to promote human rights globally, replacing the former UN Commission on Human Rights
  • It is an intergovernmental body under the aegis of the UN, having 47 member states which are periodically elected by the UNGA
  • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms
  • Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.
  • The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN
  • The Council’s Universal Periodic Review has been shining a light on human rights abuses worldwide since it began in 2008, and has commenced the third round of fully reviewing the human rights records of all 193 UN member States in 2017
  • The HRC’s independent human rights experts(“Special Procedures”) serve as the eyes and ears of the Council by monitoring human rights in countries pushing for improved conditions.


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
  • India has raised its commitment under “bonn challenge” to restore degraded land by 2030 from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares


  • 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

Bonn Challenge:

  • The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030
  • It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit
  • India joined the voluntary Bonn challenge in COP 2015, with targets to bring into restoration 13 million hectare of land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectare land by 2030

Food Fortification

Paper: General Studies 3, General Studies 2

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life; Issues related to Hunger

Why in news?

  • A recent survey, conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with AIIMS and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) highlighted that around 23.7% of Indians are consuming inadequately iodized salt
  • Tamil Nadu ranks lowest in the coverage of Iodized salt, despite being the 3rd largest producer state of salt

Iodine deficiency:

  • Various major health issues caused by Iodine deficiency are:
    • Goitre
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Cretinism
    • Abortion
    • Still-births
    • Mental retardation
    • Psychomotor defects

Food Fortification:

  • Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing
  • The deficiency of micronutrients or micronutrient malnutrition, also known as “hidden hunger”, is a serious health risk. Those who are economically disadvantaged do not have access to safe and nutritious food. Others either do not consume a balanced diet or lack of variety in the diet because of which they do not get adequate micronutrients.
  • One of the strategies to address this problem is fortification of food. This method complements other ways to improve nutrition such as such as diversification of diet and supplementation of food

Benefits of food fortification:

  • Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
  • Fortification is a safe method of improving nutrition among people. The addition of micronutrients to food does not pose a health risk to people. The quantity added is so small and so well regulated as per prescribed standards that likelihood of an overdose of nutrients is unlikely
  • It does not require any changes in food habits and patterns of people. It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people
  • It does not alter the characteristics of the food—the taste, the feel, the look.
  • It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time

Nutrition International:

  • Nutrition International is a not-for-profit organization working around the world to create effective and sustainable solutions for hidden hunger.