Central African Republic

International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Central African Republic

According to Article 80 of the Constitution of the Central African Republic, the State oversees the protection of the environment, the regimes of domains, lands, forestry, petroleum and mining.

The Institutional framework for natural resource management and environmental governance is comprised of the following ministries:

  • The Ministry of Environment and Ecology
  • The Ministry of Water, Forests, Wildlife and Fishing
  • The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydrology
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • The Ministry of Planning, Economics and International Cooperation

Featured Legislation

1984: The Wildlife Code was enacted, establishing the national territory as comprising two zones of action: zones of hunting and natural history interest, and buffer zones. The former is reserved for conservation and for hunting and nature conservation activities; it includes protected areas and hunting sectors that are conceded to hunting safari operators and represents 40% of the territory. The latter zones are reserved for agro- pastoral and industrial activities.

1993: The Oil Code was brought into force, setting the standards for exploitation and transport, with specific regulations for pipelines. Oil extraction must also be conducted in a manner that mitigates impacts on the environment as much as possible.

2001: The Forest Code was adopted, featuring detailed taxation to be applied to the industrial exploitation of forestry. The code defines the various forest areas status and the listing procedures, overseeing the commercial extraction of natural forest products if the activity is non-destructive.

2004: The Mining Code was approved, establishing extraction authorizations. Chapter 5 deals with environmental protection and sets the following obligations for mining permit holders:

  • Ensure that soil, water, air and energy are safely managed
  • Prevent any hazardous substances spill
  • Protect fauna and flora
  • Prevent any harm to the population’s health
  • Dispose of wastes
  • Treat and prepare non-recyclable wastes with the agreement of relevant administrations

2006: The Water code was introduced to provide for the protection and management of surface and underground water. Specific taxes are set for the domestic use of water obtained through a public distribution system; for the use of waterpower; and for commercial or industrial use. The code also provides for quality and quantity monitoring standards that every distribution service must meet.

2006: The Law on Radioactive Minerals was signed, containing provisions for the extraction, treatment, transport,trade and monitoring of such minerals. The law calls for the creation of a National Radioprotection Agency (ANR) that issues regulations as well as monitors and controls ionizing radiations.

2007: The Environmental code was passed, providing for the protection of waters, air, soil, subsoil and biodiversity. The Code also covers the disposal of wastes, dangerous chemicals, and construction in specific protected areas. An EIA is required for any proposed development project that could potentially affect the environment and authorization to proceed with said projects is granted by the Minister of Environment and Ecology based on the EIA findings. Illegal actions which contravene the code may result in fines that range from USD 200 to USD 100,000 and for imprisonment terms of one month to eight years.

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

  • The impact of illicit flows in the Central African Republic (CAR) is taking a toll on local peoples, according to a 2020 UN Security Council (UNSC) brief. Despite the signing of a peace accord in February 2019: Unconscionable human rights violations; attacks on civilians; and sexual violence have occured as a result of illicit flows in and out of the republic. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reveals that approximately 2.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Armed criminal groups exploit illicit economies and smuggling activities – namely, natural-resource extraction, arms trafficking, human trafficking, illegal logging and poaching activities carried out by local and foreign actors. The UNSC is formulating an expert panel which will research transnational trafficking networks, leading to the creation of a new sanction regime.
  • In 2015: The UNSC sanctioned Badica, one of the most notorious diamond companies in the CAR. An investigation revealed that Badica was supporting armed groups and criminal networks through the illicit exploitation or trade of natural resources such as diamonds, gold, as well as wildlife and wildlife products. The council is urging the CAR to engage in joint bilateral commissions with neighbouring states so that a collaborative analysis of transnational trafficking networks can be conducted, developing a broader picture of regional trafficking dynamics and their implications across conflict situations. For example, a 2019 analysis of cross-border smuggling lays bare the effects of illicit gold and diamond mining in the CAR and on the global supply chain.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development: Mr. Lambert Gnapelet, lambertina12@gmail.com