Know : Country wise % of Agricultural Land Area

Country name 2009 2010 2011
Afghanistan 58.1 58.1 58.1
Albania 43.8 43.8 43.8
Algeria 17.4 17.4 17.4
American Samoa 24.5 24.5 24.5
Andorra 42.3 42.8 43.2
Angola 46.8 46.8 46.8
Antigua and Barbuda 20.5 20.5 20.5
Argentina 52.4 53.6 53.9
Armenia 61.3 60.9 60.1
Aruba 11.1 11.1 11.1
Australia 53.2 51.9 53.3
Austria 38.4 38.4 34.8
Azerbaijan 57.6 57.7 57.7
Bahamas, The 1.4 1.5 1.5
Bahrain 11 11 11
Bangladesh 71 71 70.1
Barbados 37.2 32.6 34.9
Belarus 44 43.9 43.7
Belgium 45 44.8 44.2
Belize 6.8 6.9 6.9
Benin 29.3 30.1 30.4
Bermuda 14.8 14.8 14.8
Bhutan 13.5 13.5 13.5
Bolivia 34.1 34.1 34.2
Bosnia and Herzegovina 41.7 42 42.2
Botswana 45.7 45.6 45.6
Brazil 32.3 32.3 32.5
Brunei Darussalam 2.2 2.2 2.2
Bulgaria 46.3 46.5 46.9
Burkina Faso 43 44.1 43
Burundi 83.7 88.4 86.4
Cambodia 31.5 32 32
Cameroon 19.7 20.3 20.3
Canada 7 7 6.9
Cape Verde 18.6 18.6 18.6
Cayman Islands 11.3 11.3 11.3
Central African Republic 8.4 8.2 8.2
Chad 39.2 39.3 39.7
Chile 21.2 21.2 21.2
China 55.4 55.6 55.7
Colombia 38.3 38.3 39.5
Comoros 84.9 83.3 83.3
Congo, Dem. Rep. 11.4 11.4 11.4
Congo, Rep. 30.9 30.9 30.9
Costa Rica 36.2 36.8 36.8
Cote d’Ivoire 64.5 64.5 64.5
Croatia 23.2 23.8 23.7
Cuba 61.7 61.7 61.7
Curacao
Cyprus 13.8 12.3 12.8
Czech Republic 54.9 54.8 54.8
Denmark 62.1 61.9 63.4
Djibouti 73.4 73.4 73.4
Dominica 32.7 34.7 34.7
Dominican Republic 50.6 50.6 50.6
Ecuador 30.3 30.2 29.6
Egypt, Arab Rep. 3.7 3.7 3.7
El Salvador 74.5 73.8 73.9
Equatorial Guinea 10.9 10.8 10.8
Eritrea 75.2 75.2 75.2
Estonia 22 22.4 22.3
Ethiopia 34.5 35 35.7
Faeroe Islands 2.1 2.1 2.1
Fiji 23.4 23.4 23.4
Finland 7.6 7.5 7.5
France 53.4 53.2 53.1
French Polynesia 12.2 12.2 12.4
Gabon 20 20 20
Gambia, The 59.6 60.8 60.8
Georgia 36.4 35.5 35.5
Germany 48.4 47.9 48
Ghana 69.2 69.4 69.9
Greece 63.6 63.2 63.2
Greenland 0.6 0.6 0.6
Grenada 32.4 32.4 32.4
Guam 33.3 33.3 33.3
Guatemala 41 41 41
Guinea 58 58 58
Guinea-Bissau 57.3 58 58
Guyana 8.5 8.5 8.5
Haiti 65.2 64.2 64.2
Honduras 28.6 28.8 28.8
Hong Kong SAR, China
Hungary 63.9 59 59
Iceland 18.2 15.9 15.9
India 60.5 60.5 60.5
Indonesia 29.6 30.1 30.1
Iran, Islamic Rep. 29.8 29.9 30.1
Iraq 18.1 18.9 18.9
Ireland 60.8 66.3 66.1
Isle of Man 76.1 76.1 74.7
Israel 24.1 23.9 24.1
Italy 47.4 48.7 47.4
Jamaica 41.5 41.5 41.5
Japan 12.6 12.6 12.5
Jordan 11.5 11.3 11.3
Kazakhstan 77.2 77.3 77.5
Kenya 48.2 48.2 48.2
Kiribati 42 42 42
Korea, Dem. Rep. 21.2 21.2 21.2
Korea, Rep. 18.5 18.3 18.1
Kosovo
Kuwait 8.5 8.5 8.5
Kyrgyz Republic 55.4 55.3 55.3
Lao PDR 10.2 10.3 10.3
Latvia 29.5 29 29.2
Lebanon 64.8 62.6 62.4
Lesotho 77 76.6 76.2
Liberia 27.1 27.3 27.3
Libya 8.9 8.9 8.9
Liechtenstein 40.6 40.6 40.6
Lithuania 42.9 44.2 44.8
Luxembourg 50.5 50.6 50.6
Macao SAR, China
Macedonia, FYR 40.2 44.4 44.3
Madagascar 71.2 71.2 71.2
Malawi 58.1 59.2 59.2
Malaysia 24 24 24
Maldives 23.3 23.3 23.3
Mali 33.6 33.6 34.1
Malta 29.1 32.2 32.2
Marshall Islands 72.2 72.2 72.2
Mauritania 38.5 38.5 38.5
Mauritius 44.8 44.8 43.8
Mexico 52.9 53 53.1
Micronesia, Fed. Sts. 30.1 30.1 30.1
Moldova 75.2 75 74.8
Monaco
Mongolia 73.2 73.1 73.1
Montenegro 38.2 38.1 38.1
Morocco 67.2 67.2 67.5
Mozambique 62.8 62.8 62.8
Myanmar 19 19.2 19.2
Namibia 47.1 47.1 47.1
Nepal 29.7 29.7 29.7
Netherlands 56.8 56.6 56.2
New Caledonia 13.7 13.7 13.7
New Zealand 43.6 43.3 43.2
Nicaragua 42.8 42.8 42.8
Niger 34.6 34.6 34.6
Nigeria 81.5 83.7 83.7
Northern Mariana Islands 6.5 6.5 6.5
Norway 3.3 3.3 3.3
Oman 5.7 5.7 5.7
Pakistan 34.2 34.2 34.4
Palau 10.9 10.9 10.9
Panama 30.3 30.4 30.5
Papua New Guinea 2.6 2.6 2.6
Paraguay 52.6 52.8 52.8
Peru 16.8 16.8 16.8
Philippines 40.1 40.2 40.6
Poland 53 48 48.6
Portugal 40.8 40.2 39.8
Puerto Rico 21.4 21.4 21.4
Qatar 5.7 5.7 5.7
Romania 59.2 61.5 60.7
Russian Federation 13.2 13.1 13.1
Rwanda 77.4 77.8 77.8
Samoa 12.3 12.4 12.4
San Marino 16.7 16.7 16.7
Sao Tome and Principe 51 50.5 50.7
Saudi Arabia 80.7 80.6 80.6
Senegal 49.4 49.4 49.4
Serbia 57.8 57.7 57.9
Seychelles 6.5 6.5 6.5
Sierra Leone 47.8 48 48
Singapore 1 1.1 1
Sint Maarten (Dutch part)
Slovak Republic 40.1 40.4 40.1
Slovenia 23.2 24 22.8
Solomon Islands 3.3 3.3 3.3
Somalia 70.3 70.3 70.3
South Africa 80 79.9 79.4
South Sudan
Spain 56.1 55.2 55.2
Sri Lanka 40 41.8 41.8
St. Kitts and Nevis 21.2 21.9 23.1
St. Lucia 18 18 18
St. Martin (French part)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 25.6 25.6 25.6
Sudan 57.3 57.3 45.7
Suriname 0.5 0.5 0.5
Swaziland 71 71 71
Sweden 7.5 7.5 7.5
Switzerland 38.1 38.1 38.1
Syrian Arab Republic 75.7 75.7 75.5
Tajikistan 33.9 34.6 34.7
Tanzania 42 42.1 42.1
Thailand 40.9 41.2 41.2
Timor-Leste 25.2 24.5 24.2
Togo 66.6 68 68.4
Tonga 43.1 43.1 43.1
Trinidad and Tobago 10.5 10.5 10.5
Tunisia 63 64.6 64.8
Turkey 50.6 50.7 49.7
Turkmenistan 69.5 69.5 69.5
Turks and Caicos Islands 1.1 1.1 1.1
Tuvalu 60 60 60
Uganda 69.6 70.4 70.4
Ukraine 71.2 71.2 71.3
United Arab Emirates 4.7 4.8 4.8
United Kingdom 71.6 71.2 70.9
United States 45 44.9 45
Uruguay 83.5 82.1 82.2
Uzbekistan 62.6 62.7 62.7
Vanuatu 15.3 15.3 15.3
Venezuela, RB 24.1 24.1 24.1
Vietnam 33.2 34.7 35
Virgin Islands (U.S.) 11.4 11.4 11.4
West Bank and Gaza 49.7 41.3 43.3
Yemen, Rep. 44.4 44.7 44.4
Zambia 31.5 31.9 31.5
Zimbabwe 42.2 42.2 42.2

Courtesy : http://data.worldbank.org

Know : World Trade Organization (WTO)

Brief Overview:

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

The result is assurance. Consumers and producers know that they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services that they use. Producers and exporters know that foreign markets will remain open to them.

The result is also a more prosperous, peaceful and accountable economic world. Virtually all decisions in the WTO are taken by consensus among all member countries and they are ratified by members’ parliaments. Trade friction is channelled into the WTO’s dispute settlement process where the focus is on interpreting agreements and commitments, and how to ensure that countries’ trade policies conform with them. That way, the risk of disputes spilling over into political or military conflict is reduced.

By lowering trade barriers, the WTO’s system also breaks down other barriers between peoples and nations.

At the heart of the system — known as the multilateral trading system — are the WTO’s agreements, negotiated and signed by a large majority of the world’s trading nations, and ratified in their parliaments. These agreements are the legal ground-rules for international commerce. Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing member countries important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits to everybody’s benefit.

The agreements were negotiated and signed by governments. But their purpose is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

The goal is to improve the welfare of the peoples of the 159 member states.

   Members,
   Members, dually represented by the European Union
   Observers
   Non-members

The History : 

The World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. One of the youngest of the international organizations, the WTO is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in the wake of the Second World War. So while the WTO is still young, the multilateral trading system that was originally set up under GATT is well over 50 years old. (click here to read the complete history)

In 2000, new talks started on agriculture and services. These have now been incorporated into a broader agenda launched at the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.

The work programme, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), adds negotiations and other work on non-agricultural tariffs, trade and environment, WTO rules such as anti-dumping and subsidies, investment, competition policy, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, intellectual property, and a range of issues raised by developing countries as difficulties they face in implementing the present WTO agreements.

It does this by:
Administering trade agreements
Acting as a forum for trade negotiations
Settling trade disputes
Reviewing national trade policies
Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes
Cooperating with other international organizations

Organizational Structure

The WTO has about 150 members, accounting for about 95% of world trade. Around 30 others are negotiating membership.

Decisions are made by the entire membership. This is typically by consensus. A majority vote is also possible but it has never been used in the WTO, and was extremely rare under the WTO’s predecessor, GATT. The WTO’s agreements have been ratified in all members’ parliaments.

The WTO’s top level decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference which meets at least once every two years.

Below this is the General Council (normally ambassadors and heads of delegation in Geneva, but sometimes officials sent from members’ capitals) which meets several times a year in the Geneva headquarters. The General Council also meets as the Trade Policy Review Body and the Dispute Settlement Body.

At the next level, the Goods Council, Services Council and Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Council report to the General Council.

Numerous specialized committees, working groups and working parties deal with the individual agreements and other areas such as the environment, development, membership applications and regional trade agreements.

Secretariat

The WTO Secretariat, based in Geneva, has around 600 staff and is headed by a director-general (Roberto Azevêdo). Its annual budget is roughly 160 million Swiss francs. It does not have branch offices outside Geneva. Since decisions are taken by the members themselves, the Secretariat does not have the decision-making role that other inter-Secretariat, Genevanational bureaucracies are given.

The WTO agreements
How can you ensure that trade is as fair as possible, and as free as is practical? By negotiating rules and abiding by them. (Click here to read more about the WTO agreements)

The WTO is ‘rules-based’; its rules are negotiated agreements.

Overview: a navigational guide
Tariffs: more bindings and closer to zero
Agriculture: fairer markets for farmers
Standards and safety
Textiles: back in the mainstream
Services: rules for growth and investment
Intellectual property: protection and enforcement
Anti-dumping, subsidies, safeguards: contingencies, etc
Non-tariff barriers: red tape, etc
Plurilaterals: of minority interest
Trade policy reviews: ensuring transparency

10 benefits of the WTO trading system

From the money in our pockets and the goods and services that we use, to a more peaceful world — the WTO and the trading system offer a range of benefits, some well-known, others not so obvious.

1. The system helps promote peace
2. Disputes are handled constructively
3. Rules make life easier for all
4. Freer trade cuts the costs of living
5. It provides more choice of products and qualities
6. Trade raises incomes
7. Trade stimulates economic growth
8. The basic principles make life more efficient
9. Governments are shielded from lobbying
10. The system encourages good government

10 common misunderstandings about the WTO

Is it a dictatorial tool of the rich and powerful? Does it destroy jobs? Does it ignore the concerns of health, the environment and development?  Emphatically no. Criticisms of the WTO are often based on fundamental misunderstandings of the way the WTO works.

1. WTO dictates?
2. 
Blindly for trade?
3. 
Ignores development?
4. 
Anti-green?
5. 
Anti-health?
6. 
Wrecks jobs?
7. 
Small left out?
8. 
Tool of lobbies?
9. 
Weak forced to join?
10. 
Undemocratic?

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Courtesy and Source : www.wto.org, Wikipedia and Google

Know : PISA 2012 Students Survey Results 65 Countries

Participants

Participant Countries

PISA 2012 is the programme’s 5th survey. It assessed the competencies of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science (with a focus on mathematics) in 65 countries and economies.  (Note : INDIA is not a participant)

Around 510 000 students between the ages of 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months participated in the assessment, representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally.

The students took a paper-based test that lasted 2 hours. (You can take the test ONLINE HERE. )The tests were a mixture of open-ended and multiple-choice questions that were organized in groups based on a passage setting out a real-life situation. A total of about 390 minutes of test items was covered.  Students took different combinations of different tests. They and their school principals also answered questionnaires to provide information about the students’ backgrounds, schools and learning experiences and about the broader school system and learning environment.

The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested students on maths, reading and science. The main focus was on maths. Math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults. It influences their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings.

Shanghai-China, and Singapore were top in maths, with students in Shanghai scoring the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also in the group of top-performing countries.

“With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality and a pressing need to boost growth in many countries, it’s more urgent than ever that young people learn the skills they need to succeed,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría during the launch in Washington D.C. “In a global economy, competitiveness and future job prospects will depend on what people can do with what they know. Young people are the future, so every country must do everything it can to improve its education system and the prospects of future generations.”

The survey reveals several features of the best education systems. Top performers, notably in Asia, place great emphasis on selecting and training teachers, encourage them to work together and prioritize investment in teacher quality, not classroom sizes. They also set clear targets and give teachers autonomy in the classroom to achieve them.

Children whose parents have high expectations perform better: they tend to try harder, have more confidence in their own ability and are more motivated to learn.

Of those 64 countries with trend data in maths up to 2012, 25 improved in maths, 25 showed no change and 14 did worse. Brazil, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey have shown a consistent improvement over this period. Shanghai-China and Singapore improved on their already strong performance in 2009.Italy, Poland and Portugal also increased their share of top performers and reduced their share of low performers. Germany, Mexico and Turkey also managed to improve the performance of their weakest students, many of whom came from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This shows that countries can simultaneously improve equity and raise performance. You can compare your country with other as well previous year’s performances here. (Click this Link) ; The US Specific data here (Click the Link)

Giving every child the chance to succeed is essential, says the OECD. 23% of students in OECD countries, and 32% overall, failed to master the simplest math problems. Without these basic skills, they are most likely to leave school early and face a difficult future. Some countries have succeeded in helping underperformers: Colombia, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Mexico and Poland have put in place systems to identify and support struggling students and schools early, and have seen the PISA scores of this group increase.

Other key findings include:

Gender gap

Boys perform better than girls in maths. They scored higher in 37 out of the 65 countries and economies, while girls outperform boys in 5 countries. The gender gap is relatively small though; in only six countries is it greater than the equivalent of half a year of formal schooling.

The gap is widest among top students, still wide among the weakest students and about the same for average ones. Girls also feel less motivated to learn maths and have less confidence in their abilities than boys.

Between 2000 and 2012, the gender gap in reading performance – favouring girls – widened in 11 countries and economies. Boys and girls perform similarly in science.

Reading

Of the 64 countries and economies with comparable data up to 2012, 32 improved their reading performance, 22 show no change, and 10 deteriorated. Chile, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey improved their reading performance across successive assessments.

Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in reading. Shanghai-China has the largest proportion of top performers – 25.1%. More than 15% of students in Hong Kong-China, Japan and Singapore are top performers in reading, as are more than 10% of students in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Chinese Taipei.

Science

Shanghai-China, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Japan and Finland are the top five performers in science in PISA 2012. Estonia, Korea, Viet Nam, Poland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Germany, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Macao-China, New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Belgium score above the OECD average in science.

Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in science and score at the highest levels. This compares to more than 15% of students in Shanghai-China (27.2%), Singapore (22.7%), Japan (18.2%), Finland (17.1%) and Hong Kong China (16.7%).

Schools and students

High-performing school systems tend to allocate resources more equitably across socio economically advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

Teacher-student relations improved between 2003 and 2012 in all but one country, according to students’ reports. The disciplinary climate also improved during the period, on average across OECD countries and in 27 individual countries and economies.

A better teacher-student relations are strongly associated with greater student engagement with and at school.PISA 2012

The share of immigrant students in OECD countries increased from 9% in 2003 to 12% in 2012. Over this period, the performance disadvantage of immigrant students compared to students without an immigrant background but with similar socio-economic status shrank by 11 score points, equivalent to three months of schooling.

The OECD’s PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do. The findings allow policy makers around the world to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their own countries in comparison with those in other countries, set policy targets against measurable goals achieved by other education systems, and learn from the policies and practices applied elsewhere.

More Detailed Reports can be downloaded from their official website here

blog_pisa_2012

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Source and Courtesy : www.oecd.org