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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Comoros

    The legislative basis of the environmental policy in Comoros can be traced back to the Constitution of the Union - specifically, the preamble which declares: “the right to a healthy environment and the duty for all to safeguard this environment.”

    The National Environmental Policy (Politique Nationale de l’Environment, PNE-decree n° 93-214) aims to integrate the environmental dimension into social and economic development policy through the following objectives:

  • supporting the sound management of natural resources and the development of alternative resources
  • safeguarding and protecting biological diversity and the areas of environmental and cultural interest
  • developing or updating knowledge on the environment
  • promoting economically and environmentally viable agriculture
  • promoting forest conservation and reforestation
  • establishing appropriate management of maritime and coastal areas

Featured Legislation

1993: Decree No. 93- 115/PR was passed, leading to the creation of The Directorate-General of Environment (DGE) The DGE has four centralised services and three regional offices (one per Island). It’s mission is to develop and participate in the implementation of government policy on environmental matters; ensure the promotion and coordination of government and non- government activities relating to the environment; and to follow-up on the implementation of obligations made in terms of international conventions relating to the environment.

1994: Law n°94-018 was enacted, regulating all activities concerning the sustainable management and conservation of resources of land, coastal, and marine biological diversity.

1995: Law n°95-007/AF amended Law n°94-018, covering all territorial and marine areas and species as well as the atmosphere, impact assessments, and protected areas. Law n°94-18/AF governs the management of chemicals and hazardous wastes.

  • Article 63 regulates the management of hazardous wastes, in particular wastes resulting from industrial exploitation, agriculture, or craft are under the responsibility of the owner.
  • Article 64 stipulates that on all national territory, including waters under Comorian jurisdiction, import, export, and transfer of hazardous wastes can only be authorized if the conditions of transportation and final disposal are without risks to the environment, whatever the country of destination. Based on Article 64, hazardous wastes include: (i) radioactive waste, (ii) waste from the normal use of ships, and (iii) waste listed in the categories set by the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
  • Article 66 addresses substances or combinations of substances, naturally produced or resulting from industrial production that, when used or released in nature and due to their toxic, radioactive or corrosive characteristics, can be a danger for human health, soil, ground water, fauna, flora, and environment conservation.
  • Article 67 designates harmful chemicals for which import, export, transportation, production, sale, and distribution, are prohibited, even free of charge; and lists harmful chemicals for which import, export, transportation, production, sale, and distribution, even free of charge, are subject to prior authorisation of the Ministry of the Environment, as well as rules concerning their transportation, commercialisation, and packaging.

1995: Decree n°95-124/PR was signed, promulgating the law related to the public health code and social action for the welfare of the population.

  • Article 70 stipulates that the ministries in charge of public health, agriculture, and the environment jointly determine the rules concerning the import, distribution, use, and accreditation of pesticides in conformity with international rules on the use of pesticides to fight pests.
  • Article 71 governs the import of phytosanitary products and is subject to a previous authorisation from the Ministry of Public Health. The samples of imported products must be submitted to a test by the Ministry of Health’s Hygiene, Sanitation, and Disease Vector Control Department.

2000:  Ordinance No. 00-014 amended  Law No. 95- 007/AF, defining the general principles for the protection of the environment and requiring an EIA for all projects which could have an adverse impact on the environment (Article 11).

2001: Decree n°01-052 on environment impact assessments was introduced, providing the rules for requiring and undertaking environmental impact assessments. It also set the modalities for review of impact assessments by the administration and public information.

2006: Decree n°06-220/PR was adopted with the aid of The Ministry of Agriculture and the Research and Technological Exchanges Group (Groupe de recherche et d’échanges technologiques, GRET) with members of the Project to Support the Agriculture Input Sector (Projet d’Appui à la Filière Intrants Agricoles, PAFIA).The objective of the law is to set the rules related to phytosanitary protection in Comoros, monitor imports and exports of phytosanitary products, and monitor the use and distribution of phytochemistry products (including pesticides) to fight against plant pests and diseases. The Decree aims to:

  • Protect the territory against pests that could affect cultivated plants
  • Use methods to combat pests that have a minimal impact on human health and the environment (in particular when pesticides are used)
  • Promote the quality of consumer goods

2016: The National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) was developed, providing a vision for the period up to 2030 which is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in order to meet the aspirations of the Comorian people.

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

  • According to Africa’s Organized Crime Index, Comoros serves as a significant trans-shipment point for heroin and the illegal trade of fauna. These trans-shipment routes are also used for human trafficking, facilitated by corrupt government officials who are involved in these illicit markets. The index also reveals that there is a burgeoning illicit illicit trade in vanilla, which runs in parallel to the legal trade, weakening its capacity to manage its economic regulatory environment, victim and witness support and anti-money laundering capacity. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron. Vanilla, along with ylang-ylang and clove, accounts for 80 percent of Comoros’ exports, employing 45 percent of the archipelago’s workforce – that is, approximately 123,000 people. The illegal trade of vanilla in Comoros may, potentially, disrupt local economies and ecosystems, undermining environmentally sustainable activities and reducing future options for the use of vanilla. The United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are helping to set up vanilla seed fields that will produce 10,000 vanilla vines through the Enhancing adaptive capacity for increased resilience to climate change in the agricultural sector in the Union of the Comoros

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Environment, Dr Hamza Azali: