International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Eswatini (fmr. "Swaziland")

    The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act (2005) features provisions for the protection of land, minerals, water and the environment. Section 210 reads:

  • “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution or any other law, land, minerals and water are national resources”.
  • “In the interests of the present and future generations, the State shall protect and make rational use of its land, mineral and water resources as well as its fauna and flora, and shall take appropriate measures to conserve and improve the environment”.

Featured Legislation

1951: The Natural Resources Act (No. 71) was adopted, providing for the establishment of the Natural Resources Board. The Board is responsible for:

  • Exercising supervision over natural resources
  • Promoting the conservation and improvement of natural resources
  • Advising the Minister of Agriculture on the proper conservation, use and improvement of natural resources

1951: The ​​Private Forests Act (No. 3) was introduced to provide for the better regulation and protection of private forests in Swaziland. The Act draws a distinction between major and minor offences. Major offences are established in article 3 when a person without the authority of the owner of his agent in or on a private forest:

  • Cuts, destroys or removes any tree, timber, other forest produce, or boundary mark or fence
  • Lights, rekindles, or adds fuel to any fire

1992: The Swaziland Environment Authority Act (No. 15) was passed, providing for the establishment of the Swaziland Environment Authority, whose functions include:

  • The establishment of standards and guidelines relating to all forms of environmental pollution
  • Assisting the Minister responsible for environmental protection in formulating policies relating to environmental matters
  • Developing economic measures in order to encourage environmentally sound and sustainable activities
  • Coordinating the activities of all bodies engaged in environmental issues

2000: The Environmental Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations (L.N. No. 31) were approved to set out procedures for the proper preparation of environmental audit reports for existing and proposed projects that may result in the issuing of an environmental compliance certificate.

2002: Environmental Management Act. The objectives of this Act are to establish a framework for environmental protection and the integrated management of natural resources on a sustainable basis; to transform the Swaziland Environment Authority into a body corporate, to establish the Swaziland Environment Fund; and to provide for various other matters to environment protection.

2003: National Energy Policy. The National Energy Policy 2003 (NEP 2003) vision is ensuring that the development goals of the country are met through the sustainable supply and use of energy for the benefit of all the citizens of the country. The key objectives of the Policy are: (1) Ensuring access to energy for all; (2) Enhancing employment creation; (3) Ensuring security of energy supply; (4) Stimulating economic growth and development; and (5) Ensuring environmental and health sustainability.

2003: The Water Act (No. 7) was passed with the aim of managing and conserving water resources and groundwater. The legislation also oversees the establishment of institutions such as the Water User Associations and Irrigation Districts, which are responsible for the control of pollution, and various other matters relating to water.

2011: The Mines and Minerals Act (No. 4) was signed, providing for the management and administration of minerals, mineral oils and incidental matters. This Act, among other things, recognizes the Minerals Management Board as established by section 214 of the Constitution and provides rules relative to exploration and exploitation of minerals in Swaziland.

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

  • INTERPOL is supporting Eswatini in a campaign to tackle organized crime – in particular, wildlife and forestry crime (stock theft). A recent report reveals that these crime networks are utilizing the same trafficking routes used to move drugs, firearms, stolen cars or counterfeit products and pharmaceuticals into surrounding countries Mozambique and South Africa. Wildlife and forestry crime brings about violence, insecurity and economic loss across the country’s regions. INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Eswatini has embarked on a mission to maintain national and regional security, empowering its lead agency to conduct investigations beyond national borders when its law enforcement agencies need to work with police forces in other countries and continents. The NCB sits at the heart of the Royal Eswatini Police at the police headquarters, providing globally-sourced intelligence about regional wildlife crime trends.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs: Mr. John Hlophe,