Antigua and Barbuda

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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Antigua and Barbuda

While there is no constitutional right to a safe and healthy environment, there are numerous acts used to protect Antigua and Barbuda’s natural resources. The Environment Division in the Ministry of Health and the Environment has created the nation’s most comprehensive piece of environmental legislation, The Environmental Protection and Management Act.

One of the most important policy documents is the Sustainable Island Resource Zoning Management Plan, which was approved by Cabinet in 2012. The policy serves as a framework for the use of spatial geographic information systems (GIS) and the regulation of land and marine resources.

Featured Legislation

1941: The Forestry Act was passed in order to prevent deforestation and encourage reforestation.

1957: The Beach Protection Act came into effect to regulate and issue permits activities such as sand mining.

1984: The National Parks Act was created to protect areas of significant environmental importance.

2002: The Environmental Protection Levy Act was passed. There shall be charged an environmental protection levy on the goods set out in the Schedule which are imported into Antigua and Barbuda or manufactured there. The rate shall be the one specified in the Schedule. Levies collected shall be paid either into the Consolidated Fund or be paid to the National Solid Waste Management Authority established by the National Solid Waste Management Authority Act, 1995. The funds available shall be used to cover costs of protecting the environment and the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

2002: The Environmental Protection Levy Act was passed with the main objective of financing the cost of protecting, preserving the environment.

2006: The Fisheries Act was enacted to protect Antigua and Barbuda waters of the exclusive economic zone; the fishery zone; the territorial sea; archipelagic waters; and internal waters.

2011: National Energy Policy of Antigua and Barbuda.This Policy is a national policy with a cross-sectoral approach. The strategic objectives of this Policy are (I) energy cost reduction, (ii) diversification and efficient use of energy sources, (iii) electricity reliability improvement, (iv) environmental protection, and (v) clean energy focused businesses. The priority areas of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda are energy conservation, protection of environment, generation of electricity using renewable energy sources, promotion of clean technologies, energy efficiency, and emission reduction. A Sustainable Energy Plan will be developed to meet the energy needs of the present generation by 2030 while safeguarding the environment and enabling future generations to meet their own energy needs, with a specific focus on energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy development, education and awareness. An Energy Unit will be established within the Prime Minister’s office to be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of this policy and the development and implementation of the Sustainable Energy Plan.

2012: The Plant Protection Act was approved to govern the transportation, removal and trafficking of terrestrial flora.

National Strategic Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020 was tabled. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is a document with a multi-sectoral approach aimed to safeguard natural resources and ecosystems while still allowing for their efficient and sustainable utilization as a driver of economic growth and development. The NBSAP seeks to establish a strong and effective management system for specific species, vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas. The overall objective of the NBSAP is to ensure the biological diversity of Antigua and Barbuda is sustainably and equitably used, protected and conserved so that it contributes positively to the social and economic development of the country. In achieving this objective, the strategy seeks to ensure the realization of the following goals: (a) a national system, including protected areas, for the management and conservation of biodiversity is established; (b) the strengthening of the capacity of government natural resources management institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations; (c) ecological legislation providing adequate protection of biological diversity is improved or developed where necessary, enacted and enforced; (d) public awareness of environmental issues, ecological education and public participation in decision-making is strengthened. The outline of the strategy covers the full scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

2015: The Environmental Protection and Management Act was enacted in an attempt to serve as a framework for the nation’s sustainable environmental protection and management, consolidating one legal regime charged with monitoring the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

2015: The Environmental Protection and Management Act was approved. This Act provides with respect to the protection and management of the environment and natural resources (including forest and water resources) and wildlife in Antigua and Barbuda and also concerns, climate change issues, the establishment of protected areas and access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits of such resources. The main objective of this Act is to ensure the establishment of an integrated environmental management system in which environment is managed in a sustainable manner. The Act consists of 114 sections divided into 15 Parts. It is completed by 15 Schedules.

2017:The External Trade (Shopping Plastic Bags Prohibition) Order was introduced to prohibit importation, distribution and sale of shopping plastic bags.

2019: The Environmental Protection and Management Act was amended to include extensive governance over the following areas:

  • Pollution control Environmental management and monitoring
  • Natural resources management
  • International trade in wild fauna and flora
  • Access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits
  • Compliance with MEAs
  • Compliance and enforcement

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

  • In 2020, The central government of Antigua and Barbuda held a virtual meeting with Latin American and Caribbean states. The meeting reviewed the landmark Escazú Agreement of 2018: Which guarantees public participation in environmental decisions and access to justice for environmental activists. The nation’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has been accused of violating basic human rights enshrined by the Escazú Agreement by greenlighting the transformation of Barbuda’s 62 square miles into luxury hotels without consultation with local communities. According to the Barbuda Act of 2007: “No land in Barbuda can be sold”. However, the PM has decided to roll out development plans which aim to  turn the land into a haven for sprawling estates for billionaires and private real estate ventures, threatening the nation’s delicate ecology. The nation’s Codrington Lagoon National Park features a wetland which is protected under the Ramsar Convention, but the government has repealed the communal land protections enshrined in the Barbuda Land Act in the name of development projects. One such project is called Peace, Love and Happiness and will cover 650 acres of the National Park by way of 500 homes, golf courses and a marina. PM Browne has threatened self-proclaimed economic terrorists and environmental activists with the full extent of the law if they decide to oppose said projects. In September, 2020: Activists protested against the Peace, Love and Happiness development project and were arrested and charged with trespassing. According to the Global Coral Reef Alliance, an NGO situated in Antigua and Barbuda, the PM’s approved development project will lead to the deterioration of water quality in Barbuda’s major fish nursery ground, impacting land essential for farming, animal breeding and pasture, and protected species.

References and Further Reading


Department of the Environment, Antigua and Barbuda: or