Current Affairs – June 2012 Science & Technology Affairs
- Rio+20 the U N Conference on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012. The conference marked the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro (Since the conference marked 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), it was named Rio+20). The UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang was appointed the UN Secretary-General for the Rio+20 Conference.
- The two-day conference was held with an objective to renew political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. Heads of 172 States and Government have attended the conference. The themes for Rio+20 Conference were- “Green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication” and “Institutional framework for sustainable development”. Eight core issues were discussed by the representatives in the summit which comprises- decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. The various stake holders of Rio+20 conference, agreed on seven specific committments.
- The committments made by the global stake holders in the summit include-1).Planting 100 million trees by 2017. 2) Greening 10000 square km of desert 3) Saving 1 Megawatt-hour of electricity per day 4) Empowering 5000 women entrepreneurs in green economy businesses in Africa5) Establishing a Masters programme on sustainable development practice6) Developing an Environmental Purchasing Policy 7) Waste Minimization & Management strategy 8) Recycling 800000 tons per year of PVC by 2020.The summit provided global leaders with a chance to develop a collective framework to meet their poverty eradication goals while not letting the environment get destructed. The summit, which came after the failure of number of conferences such as Kyoto Summit, Copenhagen Summit, widely focused on the need of sustainable development and green economy by addressing environmental degradation and building a bridge to the future. The United Nations Environment Programme released its food security report, ” Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Basis of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems” during Rio+20 conference. The report noted that food security must be at the top of the priority list of country’s policy if the world has to provide food to its seven billion population.
- Indian nanotechnology scientist, Rao Papineni and his colleagues invented a cancer treatment system in which a nano-particle carries the payload of anti-cancer drug and releases it only in the cancerous cell, thus protecting healthy cells around. The newly invented system got patented in the USA on 19 June 2012.The title of the patent is ‘High Capacity Non-Viral Vectors.’ Papineni is presently the chief scientist and senior principal investigator in medical applications of nanotechnology at Carestream Health, Inc USA.
- China on 16 June fired its longest and heaviest rocket, successfully sending its first woman astronaut Liu Yang along with two male colleagues into space to conduct the maiden manned docking of its space lab being built to rival Russia’s Mir International Space Station. In a launch, Shenzhou-9 (Divine Craft) space ship carrying the three astronauts blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu province. About ten minutes later it reached its intended orbit bringing cheers all around. This is the longest and heaviest rocket China used so far. Shenzhou-9 will dock with Tiangong-1 module currently orbiting about 343 km above the earth. This is the fourth time China conducted a manned mission into space. It is regarded as prelude to China’s plans to send a manned mission to Moon in the next few years. Liu Yang, an airforce pilot got the honour to become China’s first woman astronaut and world’s 57th space woman. China conducted the first manned mission in 2003 followed it up in 2005 and 2008.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on 19 June 2012 released its latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species. The report showed that of the 63837 species assessed, 19817 are threatened with extinction, including 41 per cent of amphibians, 33 per cent of reef building corals, 25 per cent of mammals, 13 per cent of birds, and 30 per cent of conifers. From India the IUCN listed 132 species of plants and animals as Critically Endangered, the most threatened category. With as many as 60 different species assessed as Critically Endangered and 141 species as Endangered, plants appeared to be the most threatened life form. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Founded in 1948, today it is the largest professional global conservation network of the world. As of now the organization has more than 1200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations. The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. Headquartered in Gland near Geneva in Switzerland.
- The Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s and Germany’s Merck on 6 June announced a deal todevelop cheap versions of biotech cancer drugs, a move that would give Dr Reddy’s the edge in expensive and highly regulated markets.
- The world community observed the World Environment Day on 5 June 2012. The World Environment Day is observed every year on 5 June to raise public awareness on the issues related to global environment. Theme for the World Environment Day 2012 is: “Green Economy: Does it include you?” Brazil is the host for World Environment Day 2012. World Environment Day 2012 is the 40th edition of the global. The UN General Assembly started observing the day in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.