This Month in Review provides a roundup of the major events in the realm of international law and policy in the month of September. It reviews the defense deal between France and Greece, cryptocurrency in China, Tunisia’s first female Prime Minister, among others.
I. France and Greece sign a defense deal
France and Greece signed a multibillion-euro defence deal on September 27, 2021, to boost defence capabilities. The defence deal includes Athens’ decision to buy three French warships under a strategy of boosting its defence capacities across the Eastern Mediterranean amid recurring tensions with Turkey. President of France Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the defence and security strategic partnership at a joint news conference in Paris. The deal between France and Greece is significant considering the tensions between Greece and Turkey, that have increased in recent years over gas exploration rights across the eastern Mediterranean and waters between both the countries.
II. Tunisia gets its first female Prime Minister
Najla Bouden Romdhane has become the first female prime minister of Tunisia on September 29, 2021. Romdhane was assigned to form a new government in the midst of growing domestic and international discontent regarding president’s power seizure. Romdhane in her capacity will have to inherit political and economic crisis that has gripped Tunisia during the past few years. The crisis has worsened since President Saied took “exceptional measures.” Romdhane takes control of a crumbling Tunisia, still recovering from a debilitating outbreak of Covid-19.
III. China declares all cryptocurrency transactions illegal
The central bank of China has declared all the Cryptocurrency transactions illegal. The global values of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin have massively fluctuated in during 2020-2021 partly due to Chinese regulations that sought to prevent speculation and money laundering. The Chinese notice has banned all related financial activities involving cryptocurrencies such as transactions involving virtual currency derivatives, selling tokens, trading crypto, and illegal fundraising. The crypto crackdown has opened up gates for China to introduce its own digital currency. China’s own digital currency is already in the pipeline. It will allow the central government of China to monitor transactions as per government regulations.
At the first leader-level meeting on energy under the UN General Assembly to have happened in 40 years, India made various clean energy commitments. One of them is to increase renewable energy installed capacity to 450 GW and to implement a National Hydrogen Energy Mission in order to produce 1 MT of annual green hydrogen production, both by 2030. According to R.K. Singh, the nation’s minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, India’s commitments made at this summit align with its aspirations to become a global hub for green hydrogen production and export.
The World Meteorological Organisation recently published a report titled ‘Climate Indicators & Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections’. The report specifically deals with climate change and its impact on UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, defined in 2017. The report consists of a list of seven climate indicators that impact different SDGs – carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, ocean acidification, ocean heat content, sea-ice extent, glacier mass balance and sea-level rise. WMO intends to carry out further research on the intersection between worsening climate conditions and its repercussions on the actualization of the SDGs in 2021.
China’s commerce minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to New Zealand’s trade minister, signifying its intent to be a member of the 11-nation free trade group, or the Comprehensive & Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (‘CPTPP’). According to an official Chinese newspaper, such move has indicated China’s steady rise in terms of global trade, and has left the United States ‘increasingly isolated’. Donald Trump left the group in 2017, after which Joe Biden has not made any efforts to join it again.
VII. Yemeni organization wins Nansen Refugee Award
The Jeel Albena Association for Humanitarian Development (JAHD) has been awarded the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award for the year 2021. It received this award for the support it has provided to thousands of people caught up in the country’s conflict. JAHD has done a lot of humanitarian work, which includes the construction of 18,000 emergency shelters for internally displaced people, helping numerous Yemeni people make a living and thus restoring basic human dignity. Present UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said that JAHD had helped on “all sides of Yemen’s conflict”.
Every year, the UNHCR chooses a person or group helping displaced or stateless people and recognizes their efforts through the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.
VIII. IAEA announces a deal with Iran over surveillance of country’s nuclear facilities
A deal was struck between the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iran with regards to access to surveillance cameras at Iranian nuclear facilities. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the IAEA struck a deal with the deputy of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohammad Eslami during the former’s visit to the country. During their talks, it was agreed upon that new memory cards would be installed in cameras monitoring the nation’s nuclear program.
This development preceded the meeting of IAEA’s governing panel.
IX. 4.1 billion people currently live without any social safety net: UN International Labor Organization (ILO)
ILO Director General Guy Rider has said that more than four billion people lived without any welfare protection that would cushion them from crisis. It was highlighted that the COVID-19 crisis further pushed up government spending by 30%. According to the UN Labor agency, Europe and Asia had the highest rates of social protection coverage (84%). This was followed by the Americas where 64.3% of the population was covered by social welfare. Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East only had 40-44% of their population covered under social welfare. Africa had the lowest coverage by far with only 17% of its population within social safety net.