Unesco Global Geoparks
News: 88 million-year-old isle and crater to be geoparks.
Source: The Hindu
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. At present, there are 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 38 countries. A webpage of each UNESCO Global Geopark is available, with detailed information on each site.
UNESCO’s work with geoparks began in 2001. In 2004, 17 European and 8 Chinese geoparks came together at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to form the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) where national geological heritage initiatives contribute to and benefit from their membership of a global network of exchange and cooperation.
On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation. This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner.
The Organization supports Member States’ efforts to establish UNESCO Global Geoparks all around the world, in close collaboration with the Global Geoparks Network.
In a first, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi are poised to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.
Lonar crater became a geo-heritage site in 1979. It is relatively young geologically, at just 50,000 years old. A meteorite estimated to weigh two-million-tonnes slammed into the Earth, creating a 1.83-km diameter crater where the lake formed. It is distinguished by a near-perfect, circular ejecta blanket, which refers to earth thrown up during the collision, around it.
Swaminathan Commission Report
News: Govt. gives in to some demands, but farmers adamant.
Source: The Hindu
The Swaminathan Commission was tasked with finding solutions to the problems faced by farmers. The commission submitted five reports between December 2004 and October 2006.
The Swaminathan Commission identified certain causes for farm distress. These are:
o Unfinished agenda in land reform
o Quantity and quality of water
o Technology fatigue
o Access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit
o Opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing
o Adverse meteorological factors aggravate these problems
The commission concluded that farmers needed to have assured access and control over basic resources including land, water, bio-resources, credit and insurance, technology and knowledge management, and markets.
To distribute ceiling-surplus and waste land among farmers: The share of the bottom half of the rural households in the total land ownership was only 3 per cent and the top 10 per cent was as high as 54 per cent. One of the demands of the agitating farmers today is that they should be made the owner of the land they have been tilling for years.
To prevent diversion of prime agricultural land and forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes.
To ensure grazing rights and seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists, and access to common property resources.
To establish a National Land Use Advisory Service: This would have the capacity to link land use decisions with ecological meteorological and marketing factors on a location and season-specific basis.
To set up a mechanism to regulate the sale of agricultural land, based on quantum of land, nature of proposed use and category of buyer
To give farmers a minimum support price at 50 per cent profit above the cost of production classified as C2 by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).