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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Dominica

    While the Constitution of Dominica does not contain provisions for the protection of the environment, Section 6 covers conservation, stating that the law in question makes provision for the taking of possession or acquisition of any property:

    iv. for so long only as may be necessary for the purposes of any examination, investigation or, in the case of land, for the purposes of the carrying out thereon of work of soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources or work relating to agricultural development or improvement (being work relating to such development or improvement that the owner or occupier of the land has been required, and has without reasonable excuse refused or failed, to carry out)

    The various agencies responsible for the management (and protection) of the country’s natural resources include:
  • The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Physical Planning and Fisheries
  • The Physical Planning Division
  • The Environmental Coordinating Unit
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • The Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health

Featured Legislation

1976: The Forestry and Wildlife Act was introduced to guide forestry planning and tackle land degradation.

1990: The Beach Control Act was created to protect beach sand, addressing the removal of sand and stones from the beach.

1997: The Environmental Health Services Act was instituted to govern environmental health and control pollution.

1997: The Pesticide Control Act was approved, controlling the importation and use of pesticides likely to end up in coastal waters.

2000: The Protection of Geographical Indications Act was passed, governing the use of natural resources originating in a territory, region or locality in Dominica.

2001: The Fisheries (Marine Reserve) Regulations were promulgated, regulating unauthorized aquatic activities in Dominica’s marine reserves.

2002: The Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation (Divestiture and Restructuring) Act was tabled. The object of this Act is to wind up the Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation as soon as possible and to divestiture the business, assets and liabilities of the Corporation in an orderly manner. For this purpose the Minister responsible for Agriculture shall appoint a Manager under section 5 who shall be assisted by a Liquidation Committee established under section 4. Powers of the Corporation shall be vested in the Manger who shall act as company liquidator. Another company, to be called the Banana Holding Company Limited shall be established by the Manager under section 9. That company shall hold property and other assets vested in the Manager, hold a financial participation in another specified company and generally take such actions as necessary to develop the banana industry in Dominica. Before designation of officers of the company the Manager shall act as trustee (sect. 12). A Creditor’s Steering Group shall be constituted by the Minister under section 13. The Manager shall promote the establishment of foundations which shall act as commercial interface on behalf of banana growers, facilitate procurement of inputs, supplies and services required by banana growers and provide support for all aspects of agricultural and other small business development.

2003: The National Parks and Protected Areas Regulations were signed, implementing rules to protect parks and Eco-tourist sites

To combat land degradation, the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project was created to mitigate land degradation by maintaining the ecological integrity, stability and productivity of their terrestrial resources by focusing on integrating SLM into national development policies, plans and regulatory frameworks; developing institutional and individual capacities for SLM; developing capacities for knowledge management in support of SLM, including a computerized Land Resources Information System; and investment planning and resource mobilisation for implementation of SLM interventions.

2013: The Dominica National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was unveiled. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are the principal instruments for implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity at the national level with a multi-sectoral approach aimed to safeguard natural resources and ecosystems. Goals and objectives of NBSAPs: article 6 of the Convention on General Measures for Conservation and Sustainable Use states that each Contracting Party shall: develop national strategies, plans or programs for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; integrate, where appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral plans, programs and policies. The Convention requires countries not only to prepare a national biodiversity strategy but that they also ensure that this strategy is integrated in the mainstream planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity (pag. 18). The program takes cognizance of Dominica’s rich biodiversity and encourages conservation through agriculture, tourism and culture. The strategy here is to use organic farming techniques, integrated pest management (IPM) programs and soil conservation strategies to ensure food security and biodiversity conservation (pag. 25). Table 8: Action Plan for BD Objective 2 (pag. 36).

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

  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria in 2017: Dominica is slowly rebuilding. The two Atlantic hurricanes wreaked havoc across the nation, prompting the A UN-wide Crisis Management Unit to send waste management and debris removal experts into the affected areas, opening up roads, collecting garbage, and restoring the water and power networks. The UN placed priority on women farmers, providing the resources necessary to rebuild rural communities. UN Women provided seeds, labour and equipment to bring their farms back into production as soon as possible. The scientific community has concluded that the unnatural effects of human-caused climate change is intensifying hurricanes, making these natural disasters stronger and more destructive. The latest research shows the trend is likely to continue as long as climate change continues unabated. With the next international climate conference in Glasgow in December 2021: The international community must act with urgency and ambition. Environmental NGOs are asking for bolder emissions reduction targets to ensure we don’t surpass 1.5 C warming; more plan to meet those targets; and stronger legal accountability to ensure governments follow through on their commitments.

References and Further Reading


​​Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment: