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International Update Volume 47, Issue 11

BRAZIL COURT SUSPENDS HYDROELECTRIC DAM LICENSE ON ENVIRONMENTAL GROUNDS

Brazil

A federal court in Brazil suspended the operating license of Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the grounds that the government has not completed basic sanitation work in the city of Altamira before filling the dam’s reservoir. This is not the first time the Belo Monte project has been stalled for legal issues. In January 2016 a federal judge in Altamira suspended the dam’s license for failure to build a safety net for local communities, especially the indigenous communities that were to be affected by the dam.

MALAYSIA CLAIMS EU RESOLUTION COULD HARM PALM OIL EXPORTS

Malaysia

Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a non-binding resolution for a single Certified Sustainable Palm Oil scheme. The resolution calls for greater vetting of palm and other vegetable oils to ensure that these oils are produced without causing deforestation. The vote comes in reaction to environmental groups, which have campaigned to raise attention to the harmful impacts that unsustainable palm oil can have on the environment and on climate mitigation efforts.

SOUTH AFRICAN COURT OVERTURNS BAN ON DOMESTIC TRADE IN RHINO HORNS

South Africa

Last week, a constitutional court in South Africa rejected the government’s appeal to retain a ban on domestic trade in rhino horns. Domestic trade is once again legal, though international trade remains illegal under CITES. Commercial rhino breeders have welcomed the decision, saying proceeds from legal trade can help pay for anti-poaching efforts. Conservationists argue otherwise, saying a legal domestic trade will increase illegal poaching and will be used as a cover for smuggling horns to the international market.