Daily Current Affairs – Oct 31, 2023
GS- III >> Environment >> Biodiversity
About Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary (in Kerla):
- The sanctuary forms the watershed area of Cheenkannipuzha and Urittipuzha, which are the tributaries of an important river of Kannur district, the Valapattanam River.
- The Valapattanam River originates from the Brahmagiri Hills of Western Ghats in Karnataka.
- Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve lies to the east of Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The presence of Malabar Slender Loris with other five primate species is one of the main highlights of the sanctuary.
- The unique geographical and climatical conditions of the sanctuary help in sustaining a wide variety of butterflies too. Well-known for its butterflies and butterfly migration, Aralam is also called as the ‘Land of Butterflies’.
- Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is listed as one of the ‘Important Bird Area (IBA)’ by Bird-Life International in 2003. The sanctuary is home for One Red data book species Nilgiri Wood- Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, 12 restricted range species, and 18 species of birds under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
GS- III >> Economy >> WTO
Context: With the World Trade Organsation’s (WTO) ministerial conference just four months away, India has pressed for early start of formal talks on getting the dispute settlement system at the world body functioning again.
The US, whose actions led to the whole dispute settlement system becoming non-functional, has now started engaging on the issue of Dispute Settlement Body’s reforms in informal ways.
About Dispute Resolution Body:
- The General Council convenes as the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to deal with disputes between WTO members.
- Such disputes may arise with respect to any agreement contained in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round that is subject to the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU).
- The DSB has authority to:
- establish dispute settlement panels.
- refer matters to arbitration, adopt panel, Appellate Body and arbitration reports.
- maintain surveillance over the implementation of recommendations and rulings contained in such reports, and
- authorize suspension of concessions in the event of non-compliance with those recommendations and rulings.
- Judges’ Appointment Halt: In 2017, the United States halted the reappointment process for judges, leading to a decline in the number of judges in the WTO Appellate Body. By December 2019, it fell below the minimum required of three judges.
- Criticism of WTO Bias: The U.S. criticizes the WTO, accusing it of bias and unfairness, contributing to the disruption in the judges’ appointment process.
- Inefficiency in Rulings: Since its establishment in 1995, the WTO Appellate Body handled over 600 cases, but rulings were issued in only about 350. It has been criticized for inefficiency, including failure to meet the 90-day deadline for rulings.
- Uncertainty in Dispute Settlement: The inability of the Appellate Body to review new applications creates uncertainty in the WTO’s dispute settlement process.
- Compelled Implementation of Panel Rulings: Countries may be forced to implement panel rulings even if they believe errors have occurred, as the Appellate Body is non-functional.
- Refusal to Comply with Panel Orders: Countries may reject panel orders due to the absence of an appeal avenue, risking arbitration initiated by the opposing party.
- Impact on India: India, facing a growing number of disputes, especially on agricultural products, is adversely affected by the non-functionality of the Appellate Body.
- Global Trade Protectionism Risk: The overall weakening of the WTO framework could undo efforts to prevent protectionism in global trade over two decades.