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International Update Volume 44, Issue 34

ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY TURNS TO U.N. FOR PROTECTION AGAINST FRACKING

Australia

An Aboriginal community in southwest Queensland, Australia, has filed an appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. The Mithaka people claim the state government violated international law by failing to consult the group before removing protective status for certain rivers in order to open the region to shale oil exploration. The group fears hydraulic fracturing will threaten rights to their traditional culture, which is closely associated with the area's waterways.

INIDIA REVAMPS ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION, PROMOTES INDUSTRIAL GROWTH

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government is reportedly reforming environmental regulations and removing regulatory requirements for industry in order to spur economic growth. A committee tasked with rewriting India's environmental laws released a report last week that recommended removing a layer of government inspection, instead relying on self-reporting and monitoring by industry. The changes are a stark contrast to the previous government's environmental policies that curtailed industrial growth in some regions.

CHINA TO LIMIT CHEMICAL USE IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION

China

China continues to make commitments to wide-scale environmental protection as the Ministry of Agriculture announced plans to limit the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Reductions would begin in the coming years with the intent of a nation-wide cap on growth of use by 2020. China produces more rice and wheat than any other country and is also the largest consumer of pesticides in the world. Ministry officials said the country plans to maintain self-sufficiency in production of those crops despite the planned decreases in pesticide and fertilizer application.