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International Update Volume 45, Issue 16

SRI LANKA UNDERTAKES COMPREHENSIVE MANGROVE PROTECTION

Sri Lanka

In partnership with ocean-focused nongovernmental organizations, the Sri Lankan government announced that it will grant full protection to all of the country's mangrove forests, making it the first country to implement such comprehensive conservation practices for the coastal ecosystems. The program will protect nearly 9,000 hectares of forests and restore 3,800 hectares that have been destroyed. It will also provide job training and microloans to women in communities near the protected areas, as well as funding for rangers to enforce the laws.

NORWEGIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES PENSION FUND'S COAL DIVESTMENT

Norway

On June 5, 2015, Norway's legislative body formally approved a plan for the nation's sovereign wealth fund to divest from coal investments, following an announcement from the fund in February. The move will affect 122 companies and sell up to $10 billion worth of investments in coal-related industries. Political compromise led to the approval, with Conservative party politicians focusing on the economic risk of coal-related investments with global climate change agreements in the works.

BOLIVIAN NATIONAL PARKS OPEN TO OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION

Bolivia

The Bolivian government ratified a new law permitting oil and gas exploration and extraction in protected areas. The government claims the law will bring needed economic development to the areas, and that requirements to use the latest technology and protect "fragile ecosystems" will prevent environmental harm. Environmental organizations have criticized the law, saying it undermines the park service's ability to review environmental impact assessments and will allow oil companies to demand that park boundaries be reconfigured if commercially recoverable resources are discovered.