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Current International Update

International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.

Volume 48, Issue 15

SWITZERLAND TO VOTE ON PESTICIDE BAN

Country: Switzerland

Swiss citizens will get the chance to vote on a complete ban on the use of synthetic pesticides. More than 100,000 Swiss signed the call for a ban that would apply to all farmers, industries and imported foods. If the vote is passed, Switzerland would become only the second country after Bhutan to implement a full ban. Just a few weeks ago, the EU agreed to a near-total ban on the use of neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION TAKES ACTION ON AIR POLLUTION

Country: France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom

Last week, in a series of moves related to air quality, the European Commission proposed measures to help member states combat air pollution. The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the EU Court of Justice for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. In addition, it referred Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

STUDY FINDS HUMAN IMPACT ON WORLD'S PROTECTED AREAS "SHOCKING"

One-third of the world's protected lands are being degraded by human activities and are not fit for their purpose, according to a new study in the journal Science. Global efforts to care for natural heritage by creating protected zones have, in general, been a huge conservation success story. Since the Convention on Biological Diversity was ratified in 1992, the areas under protection have doubled in size and now amount to almost 15% of the lands and 8% of the oceans. But researchers now say that roads, mines, and cities are spilling into these protected areas without restriction.