International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Haiti

The Constitution of Haiti recognizes the importance of protecting the environment. Article 253 of the Haitian Constitution states that “Since the environment is the natural framework of the life of the people, any practices that might disturb the ecological balance are strictly forbidden.” Article 258 of the Constitution states: “No one may introduce into the country wastes or residues of any kind from foreign sources.”

The Ministry of the Environment coordinates sustainable development issues. Its mandate is to establish norms to prepare guidelines for environmental impact assessments (EIA); establish standards for garbage dumps, for air, water and soil pollution prevention and abatement; and provide advice or formulate opinions on projects affecting the environment.

Featured Legislation

1986: A law was signed into force to promulgate the regulatory basis for entry of animals and plants into Haiti, specifically states that it is forbidden to import into Haiti any animals, plants, or seeds, of any sort, without written authorization from the National Quarantine Service of the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Natural Development.

1995: The Ministry of Environment was created to oversee the environment and natural resources.

1999: The Haitian government authorized a 15-year Environment Action Plan in 1999: which had the goal of stopping deforestation through the development of alternative fuel sources.

1999: The Haitian government, with the endorsement of the Council of Ministers, published the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP). The NEAP offers guidance on all aspects of environmental management. Its specific objectives are to:

  • Strengthen and rationalize the management of the National System of Protected Areas.
  • Restore the ecological balance of the watersheds through the implementation of exploitation norms and best practices.
  • Improve the quality of life through a better management of urban and rural areas as well as the valorisation and conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
  • Provide a framework to better reach coherence among plans and programs within the environmental sector.

2006: A Decree entitled Management of the Environment was passed, defining national policy on environmental management and sustainable development. The Decree recognized that the quality of the environment directly affects the well-being of each individual and his fundamental right to quality of life. It also recognized that the degradation of the Haitian environment has reached alarming proportions, compromising the country’s sustainable development, and that the State must take appropriate measures to safeguard and protect the environment. The 2006 Law suggests a new system-based management based on the National System of Environmental Management (SNGE). Responsibilities should be shared by the various Ministries including the Ministry of Environment, the Government and civil society through diverse political and participatory mechanisms.

2008: The Ministry of Environment launched The National Environment and Vulnerability Observatory (ONEV) which would coordinate:

  • National capacity-building on environmental management
  • A sustainable development energy programme
  • Public education on the environment and sustainable development
  • Conservation and the sustainable-utilization of biodiversity
  • Management of strategic watersheds
  • Integrated management of coastal and marine zones
  • Environmental sanitization
  • Management of natural disasters
  • Sustainable-development activities support
  • Effective management of mines and quarries

2011: Feed the Future Haiti launched seven Rural Research Centers for Sustainable Development. These centers collect agriculture and weather data, and train over 7,000 farmers in sustainable farming techniques and establish nearly 400 greenhouses that reduce pressure on degraded hillsides and benefit more than 15,000 farmers.

2011: Haiti introduced The Improved Cooking Technology Project (2011–2015), which helped 100,000 households convert from use of charcoal to more efficient cookstoves, reducing charcoal use by more than 120,000 metric tons (MT).

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

  • The Coalition of Environmental Organizations of the Northwest (COANOR), has denounced the indiscriminate cutting of trees and forest fires on the border of Dominican Republic and Haiti. The coalition has asked both nations to declare an environmental emergency to the Northeast Line because wooded areas have been drastically reduced as a result of approximately 50 forest fires have been counted in the region since March 2020. Protected areas such as Cerro de Chaquey have been hit the worst, negatively impacting 19 rural aqueducts and two reservoirs located in the province of Monteristi, as well as in the municipalities of Loma de Cabrera and Partido.  COANOR has called on the environmental and disaster management authorities to establish anti-fire plans to put out the fires and to order the prohibition of cutting of trees. Creole pines have become a coveted commodity in selected regions, as COANOR has expressed concern over unidentified trucks loaded with wood en route to sawmills, which, according officials, no longer have space to store the wood because the accelerated rate of tree felling, processing and exportation into the global supply chain. The indiscriminate felling of Creole pines threaten the ecological balance in the area, violating Haiti’s standards established in various environmental laws. COANOR has also insinuated that governmental officials have been complicit in corruption and impunity practices, opening new vistas of inquiry into state criminality in the country.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment (MDE) – Daniel Michael Brisard, General Director: daniel_brisard@yahoo.com