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International Update Volume 47, Issue 18

RESTORATION OF INDONESIAN CORAL REEF PUT ON HOLD 

Indonesia

On Mar. 4, the 90-meter-long Caledonian Sky, owned by tour operator Noble Caledonia, ran aground at low tide on a shoal at the Crossover Reef dive site at Raja Ampat. Nearly 205,000 square feet of reef were damaged in the accident. The Indonesian government cannot restore the coral reef until it reaches a settlement with Noble Caledonia. Noble Caledonia has pledged to cooperate with the Indonesian government to reach a fair settlement, but scientists say that compensation should be higher than normal because of the area's high marine biodiversity.

NORWAY SLASHES PAYMENTS TO SAFEGUARD THE AMAZON RAINFOREST

Norway

Norway told visiting Brazilian President Michel Temer that it would slash its payments to help safeguard the Amazon rainforest in 2017 by more than half, to about $35 million, because of a rise in forest destruction. Norway has invested more than $1.1 billion in an Amazon Fund since 2008 to help Brazil protect the forests, which are under threat from logging and their conversion to farmland. Temer said Brazil was working to protect the Amazon, for example by expanding national parks. Brazil's deforestation climbed to 8,000 square kilometres (3,088 square miles) in 2016.

DEVELOPMENT THREATENS BIODIVERSITY IN COLOMBIA

Colombia

The Marginal de la Selva, a $1 billion dollar highway project that would connect Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador without having to enter the Andes mountains, could mean deforestation and industrial development in regions important for indigenous groups, and threaten biodiversity. The unfinished section that would complete the project cuts through a natural corridor between two national parks, which both contain exceptionally high levels of biodiversity.