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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Kuwait

The Kuwaiti Constitution stipulates in Article 26: "The State protects and improves the environment in which people live and the ecological environment. It prevents and controls pollution and other public hazards.”

The Constitution also includes many provisions that pertain to the crime of misusing natural resources. For example, Article (9) Paragraph (2) says: "The State ensures the rational use of water and natural resources and protects rare animals and plants. Appropriation or damaging of natural resources by any organization or individual using whatever means is prohibited."

Featured Legislation

1980: Law No. 46 (On The Conservation of Fish Resources) was created. This presents a framework for various basic fisheries matters. Fishing rights and exploitation of marine resources (art. 1); Foreign fishing (art. 2); Nationality of vessels (art. 3); Licences and use of gear (arts. 4-7); Delegation to the Competent Minister and consultation (arts. 7-9); Enforcement measures (arts. 10 and 11); Offences and penalties (arts. 12 and 13); and Implementation and further regulation (arts. 14 and 15).

1983: Decree No. 11 was introduced to prohibit fishing within 3 miles from the coasts of Kuwait. Any violation of this provision shall be subject to penalties provided for in Law No. 46 of 1980.

1995: Ministerial Resolution No.95 (on banning the circulation of hazardous pesticides) was inaugurated. This Resolution consists of 5 articles aimed at protecting public health and environment by banning a number of pesticides listed in the Annexes to the Law. Their registration and circulation in the State of Kuwait is either prohibited or permitted only under the knowledge and supervision of the official authorities. Responsible body for registration and customs release of the listed substances is the Health Licensing Department of the Ministry of Health.

2009: Law No. 21 (Implementing Regulation of Pesticides Act) was passed. The legislation consists of 60 articles, and attributes the responsibility to implement the Pesticides Act in Kuwait to the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources. Article 8 of this Regulation prohibits the registration of agricultural pesticides of high-risk/high toxicity unless it is proved the lack of other alternatives of low toxicity.

2009: Law No.19 (Promoting the Agricultural Quarantine Act of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) was instituted. The legislation consists of 34 articles aimed at approving the Agricultural quarantine Act of the GCC in Kuwait. The text approved in Kuwait does not change the original text approved by the Supreme Council.

2014: the Environmental Protection Law (No. 42) was adopted.This Law aims at: protecting and maintaining the natural balance of the environment and its resources; combating the pollution and its damages, at both short and long term; banning any party whatsoever, whether a company or institution or consultation office from carrying out any work in this field without prior consent of the EPA; obliging all firm owners in the country to implement all the engineering and environmental requirements set by the EPA; and planning programs for economic and agricultural projects.

2014: Law No.11 (An amendment of annex 3 of the Law No.12 of 1964 on preventing pollution by oil in navigation water) was brought into force. This Law consisted of 2 articles aimed at updating and defining more accurate marine areas within the line of closure of the Gulf of Kuwait, which is considered internal water.

2015: Law No. 99 was established to amend some provisions of the Environmental Protection Law No.42 of 2014. Specifically, this law amends some provisions of the Environmental Protection Law, in particular:

  • The Minister activity is held in coordination with the Council of Ministers
  • It stiffens controls on import and export of equipment and appliances containing controlled substances included in Montreal Protocol
  • It includes water protection and prohibits well drilling without a previous permit
  • It prohibits fishery activities in Kuwait Bay

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

  • In 2017: President Ashraf Ghani declared that Section 838 of the Criminal Act will be used to prosecute those found guilty of committing pollution-related crimes; offenders could face up to 16 and 20 years in prison.
  • Environmental degradation in Afghanistan is a direct result of socioeconomic inequities and it is driving transnational environmental crime and human insecurity. Subsistence farmers displaced by desertification and climate change have begun to grow poppies to support the thriving drug trade. Referred to as the “village of widows”, Qala-e-Biwaha is home to women who have lost their husbands to the opium trade, many of whom have disappeared trying to smuggle opium into Iran.
  • The Health Effects Institute’s State of Global Air project reveals that air pollution was attributable to 51,600 deaths in Afghanistan in 2016 : That is approximately 406 deaths per 100,000. Air pollution in the country is among the worst in the world.

References and Further Reading


Deputy Director General for Technical Affairs Environment Public Authority, Dr. Abdullah Al-Zaidan: a.alzaidan@epa.org.kw