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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Kyrgyzstan

The Constitution of Kyrgyzstan states that all citizens should act on behalf of our ancestors to live in peace and accord, in harmony with nature, hereby adopting the present Constitution. Article 48 of Kyrgyzstan’s constitution reads:

  • Everyone shall have the right to an environment favorable for life and health
  • Everyone shall have the right to compensation of damage to health or property resulting from actions in the area of nature management
  • Everyone should care for the environment, flora and fauna
  • Featured Legislation

    1991: The  Resolution of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on the procedure for enactment of the Law of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan " On land reform" was passed. The legislation established the procedure for restructuring of non-effective kolkhozes, sovkhozes and other agricultural enterprises before August 1, 1991. The local Soviets of peoples' deputies in the course of the land reform shall allocate the land plots from the special land stock into possession of individuals and agricultural cooperatives.

    1994: The Law of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on Water was introduced, serving as the basic instrument for the regulation of management and conservation of water resources in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. Other legislation of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan shall be adopted in accordance with the present Law (art. 2).

    1995: Law No. 21-I amending Law of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on Water was adopted. This Law amends the basic instrument for the regulation of management and conservation of water resources in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

    1997: Presidential Decree “On foundations of foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Field of Use of Water Resources of Rivers Having their Source of the Territory of Kyrgyzstan and Flowing to the Territory of Neighboring States” was unveiled. This Presidential Decree shall be applicable to Naryn, Chatkal, Talas, Sarydjaz, Aksai and other rivers having their source in Kyrgyzstan. It establishes that the issue of water delivery, regulation of water flow and payment for water use or distribution or profit gained as the result of the use of water resources of the aforesaid rivers shall be subject to international negotiation. The Kyrgyz Republic shall exercise the right to compensation of expenditures on construction, reconstruction and operation of water reservoirs and other waterworks of international importance. Special attention shall be paid to prevention of water pollution.

    2001: Law No. 4 on management of agricultural land was established. This Law establishes that agricultural land shall be exclusive property of the state and of citizens permanently living in rural areas for at least two years. Allotment in ownership and transfer of agricultural land shall be prohibited to: (a) foreign natural and legal persons, and foreign states; (b) stateless persons living on the territory of Kyrgyzstan; and (c) legal persons of Kyrgyzstan and joint-ventures.

    2011: Ministerial Decree No. 165 “The administrative body of CITES in Kyrgyzstan'' was signed. This Ministerial Decree establishes that the State Agency on Environmental Protection and Forest Management shall use for import, export and re-export permits related to animals and plants.

    2011: Ministerial Decree No. 704 was established. This Ministerial Decree validates the National classifier of pesticides and agrochemicals authorized for application in Kyrgyzstan for the period of 2011-2019.

    2011: Ministerial Decree No. 289 was instituted. The legislation ensures the protection of the environment against the negative impact of some chemicals and pesticides.

    2011: Ministerial Decree No. 599 was implemented. The legislation validates Complex arrangements for ensuring environmental security in Kyrgyzstan for the period of 2011-2015.

    2013: Ministerial Decree No. 675 was brought into force. The law validates Provisional Regulation on collection of fees for environmental pollution from foreign cargo-carrying motor vehicles on the territory of Kyrgyzstan.

    2019: Law No. 44 was unveiled. Article 48 of Water Code shall be amended to add the following wording: “The procedure for determining and collecting fees for the use of water bodies and water resources, the establishment of benefits for water users is carried out in accordance with water legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic.” Article 41 of the Law of the Republic of Kyrgystan on Water shall be amended to add the following wording: “Natural resources, i.e. nature reserves, botanical gardens, reserves, natural monuments, dendrological parks and zoological parks located in the state and municipal property, cultural institutions, scientific, educational, healthcare and other institutions and organizations financed from the state budget shall be exempted from payment for the use of water resources. From payment for the use of surface water as a natural resource shall be exempted the following categories of water users: (a) when using water for the purpose of generating electricity, including renewable energy; (b) when using water for irrigation of agricultural production, forestry, green spaces, breeding and fish farming within the established limit;(c) when using water for watering livestock and watering household plot;(d) when using water for drinking and household needs; (e) when abstracting water for drinking needs of the population;(f) sanitary and ecological water releases; (g) when using water for sports and health purposes, recreation and artisanal fishing; (h) when conducting state monitoring of water bodies and other natural resources, as well as geodetic, topographic, hydrographic and prospecting and survey works;(i) during the placement and construction of hydraulic structures for hydropower generation, land reclamation, fishery, water transport and sewage purposes; and (j) while ensuring the needs of the defense and security of the state.”

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

    Kyrgyzstan’s former Prime Minister, Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, has been detained by authorities over allegations of corruption and profiteering relating to gold-mining operations in the Issyk-Kul region, including an environmentally-protected area. The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) has evidence of Abylgaziev signing a decree allowing the Kumtor Gold Company to expand its enterprise in Eastern Kyrgyzstan from 2018-2020. In an attempt to hide the origin of his assets, Abylgaziev “illegally increased” his personal finances in excess of several times his official income, using property and construction investments, as well as dummy corporations. The former Prime Minister’s decision to green-light plans for expansion by the company contravened a pre-existing ban on development in Issyk-Kul, specifically designed to protect the fragile ecosystems. Abylgaziev’s behaviour constitutes an abuse of office – a “manifestation of corruption at the highest echelons of power.” Such decisions would have led to severe environmental consequences for the flora and fauna of the local biosphere, as well as causing significant disruption to the country’s clean-energy sector.

    References and Further Reading


    State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry: