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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Algeria

Environmental legislation in Algeria is based on Article no. 68 of the country’s constitution which states that “Citizens shall have the right to a healthy environment” and “The law shall determine the obligations of natural and legal persons pertaining to the protection of the environment.”

Featured Legislation

1983: Algeria passed Law No. 83-03, the country’s first law dealing with environmental issues. Specifically, the law sets out the implementation of a national environmental protection policy, preventing and controlling all forms of pollution and improving the quality of life.

1987: The phytosanitary protection Act was created. The Act sets out, in five titles, the general principles of plant protection, intended to ensure: control of production, imports, exports and transit of plants; organization of plant pest control; control of the use of plant protection products (pesticides). Some of the definitions are partly reproduced from the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Insecticides or from the International Plant Protection Convention (plants; harmful organisms; quarantines; pesticides or plant protection products; registration). It is provided for the establishment of a Plant Protection Authority responsible for plant pest control, and a Commission on Plant Protection Products for Agricultural Use, which would advise the Minister whether to grant or refuse registration of pesticides. Regulations under this Act will establish specialized bodies and define their terms of reference. Activities to control harmful organisms include: defining the conditions for compulsory declaration of pests; declaring the infestation of zones or regions of the country by harmful organisms; ordering or prohibiting the use of certain plant protection products; destroying, disinfecting or disinfecting plants.

2012: The path of agricultural and rural renewal policy was instituted. This sectoral document is an account of the progress made in Algeria since the intervention in the agricultural sector in 2009, when the policy of agricultural and rural renewal. This action aimed at making agriculture, at national level, the real engine of growth and contributing to a significant improvement in the food security of the country. It proposes the intensification of production in the agricultural branches of food, through the adoption of a strategy to promote the integrated development of all rural regions. The Strategy is centered on three points: 1) rural renewal, 2) renovation of agriculture, and 3) promotion of a program to strengthen human capacity, technical assistance and motivational aspects. The private sector will play a role, while the State maintains an organizational and control role, as well as monitoring the various forms of subsidies to the agricultural sector.

2016: Algeria amended its Constitution and included environmental protection tasks which have been entrusted to the National People's Assembly in the area of legislation.

Environmental crimes in Algeria are defined and prosecutable in different legal branches – both in the Penal Code or Maritime Law or the Penal Code and the Waste Management Act, for example.

2016: Amendments, offenders of environmental crimes have faced severe criminal fines. Today, offenders can pay between 5,000 and 10,000 dinars for pollution crime; sand looting; and ecological damage. Article 66 of Law No. 01-19 on the management, control and removal of wastes states carries a term of imprisonment of 50 to 80 years and a fine of between one million and five million dinars for offenders importing or exporting hazardous waste.

Algeria uses a typology of environmental crimes which includes “crimes” and “misdemeanors and irregularities.” Pollution crimes are further broken down into “positive pollution offences”, which refer to the pollution of the sea, water, air (Article 100 of Law No. 03/10) and the illegal transport and disposal of waste (Article 64/56 of Law No. 19/19) and “negative pollution offences”, which refer to the inability of actors to perform their duties as required by environmental legislation. Examples include  Article 56 of Law No. 19/19, which penalizes persons engaged in industrial activity that refuse to use the waste collection system to its full extent or Article 12 of Law No. 03/ 02 of 17/12/2003: which prohibits the disposal of industrial and agricultural wastes on or near beaches. Other notable pieces of legislation include Article 10 of Decree No. 2001 on Port Exploitation; Article 90 of Law 02/02 on the protection of the coast; and Article 100 of Act No. 03/ 10 on the protection of surface underground waters.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Algeria’s terrestrial and marine coastal ecosystems are threatened by overexploitation and the country’s expansion of towns and villages, industry and infrastructure. Algeria’s 2015: Project entitled “Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity in Algeria’s Coastal Regions” aims to contribute to the implementation of the National Strategy for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and the National Biodiversity Strategy. Such strategies are a response to the emission of pollutants from the oil industry, as well as other industrial effluents. Algeria’s biodiversity is also under threat: at the peak of the twenty-first century, 15 species of mammals and 8 species of birds were on the brink of extinction. Endangered or extinct species include the Barbary hyena, Barbary leopard, Barbary macaque, and Mediterranean monk seal.

References and Further Reading


Algerian Ministry of the Environment:  Ms. Saida Laouar, Deputy Director of Climate Change Adaptation Ministry of Environment,