Dominican Republic

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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Dominican Republic

    The 2010 Constitution of the Dominican Republic states that natural resources are the nation’s heritage and that their rational use must be authorised by the state.

    The Constitution also recognises collective and individual use rights and interests, which are exercised under the conditions and limitations established in the law. It protects:

  • The conservation of the ecological balance of the fauna and fora
  • The protection of the environment
  • The preservation of cultural, historical, urban, artistic, architectural and archaeological heritage

Featured Legislation

1985: Decree No. 2.697 was unveiled. This Decree establishes that all deliveries of sugar and molasses intended for local consumption must be carried out rigorously, taking into account the corresponding participation percentages in exports to the preferential market of the United States made during the previous year.

1999: Decree Nº 505 was tabled. This Decree approves the Regulation for the regulation of imports of agricultural items of the technical rectification to the list XXIII of the Dominican Republic before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

2000: The Environmental and Natural Resources Law No. 64-00 (the Environmental Law) was enacted, establishing basic principles of environmental protection, management and use of natural resources, and the civil and criminal liabilities and penalties. Law 64-00 also requires the preparation of environmental studies to determine the impact that the project will have on the environment. The Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources is in charge of developing the policies regarding the environment, ecosystems and natural resources. It is the only institution capable of issuing environmental permits and imposing administrative penalties for infringements of the law (article 15, law 64-00).

2001: Decree No. 696 was instituted. This Organic Agriculture Regulation, which consists of 47 articles and 9 annexes, regulates the production, transformation, packaging, labeling, storage, transport, marketing, export and import of products that carry or are going to carry indications regarding the organic farming: a) transformed and non-transformed vegetable agricultural products; b) processed and non-transformed livestock products; c) processed and non-transformed hydrobiological products; and d) products intended for human and animal nutrition, essentially composed of one or more ingredients of vegetable and/or animal origin

2004: The Protected Areas and Biodiversity Law No. 202-04 was passed, regulating protected areas in the Dominican Republic.

2007: Law 176-07 was approved, guiding municipal councils on the collection, treatment, transportation and disposal of non-hazardous solid waste within the municipality.

2007: The Environmental Law and the Renewable Energy Law 57-07 was drafted to establish significant incentives and tax exemptions for investment projects that aim to protect and improve the environment, such as renewable energy projects, environmentally friendly technologies or recycling projects.

2008: Decree No. 601-08 was promulgated with the aim of articulating and joining forces from the different institutions that make up the country’s development sectors to combat the global problem of climate change.

2009: Executive Order 571-09 was signed to create new protected areas. Protected areas consist of plots of land or sea especially dedicated to the protection and preservation of significant elements of biodiversity and natural or cultural importance. The Order contemplates six categories of protected areas whose objectives and uses corresponds to the categories established by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These six categories are as follows:

  • The protection of certain characteristics such as scientific reserves (category I)
  • National parks (category II)
  • Natural monuments (category III)
  • Wildlife refuges (category IV)
  • Natural reserves (category V)
  • Protected landscapes (categoryVI)

2017: Resolution No. 012/2017 was issued, prohibiting the importation and production of refrigeration, air conditioning and conditioning equipment using hydrochlorofluorocarbon as a refrigerant gas or any other ozone-depleting substance.

2017: Administrative Resolution No. 0009-17 was passed, requiring an environmental evaluation for all development projects. The Resolution also requires compliance with the environmental management programmes for all projects.

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

  • The Coalition of Environmental Organizations of the Northwest (COANOR) has denounced the indiscriminate tree felling and forest fires on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. An environmental emergency has been declared, as more than 50 forest fires have been recorded in the country since March 2020. COANOR, with the assistance of the environmental and disaster management authorities, is developing an anti-fire plan to put out the fires and to order the prohibition of cutting of trees – particularly, Creole pines. The forest fires have consumed dozens of wooded hectares, causing irreversible ecological damage in select regions. In a recent report, COANOR expressed concern over the illicit markets and the dozens of trucks loaded with wood en route to local sawmills, contributing to the global supply chain of coveted lumber. Allegations of corruption, impunity practices and government apathy have been levelled against national authorities, forcing COANOR to propose a suspension on tree cutting, at least for the three months.

References and Further Reading


The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources: