International Treaties

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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Latvia

Environmental protection was incorporated into the constitution in 1991. Article 115 reads: the State shall protect the right of everyone to live in a benevolent environment by providing information about environmental conditions and by promoting the preservation and improvement of the environment.”

In 1995: the Latvian National Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) was adopted and was intended to guarantee the consistent further development of Latvian environmental policy. It lists ten priority areas for environmental policy action. These include, waste disposal, transport and agriculture, drinking water quality and the generally more efficient use of natural resources

Featured Legislation

1981: The law on protection of the atmosphere was signed, providing a comprehensive revision of the legal bases and differentiated tax provisions to encourage the use of more environmentally-friendly energies.

1991: A regulation on the Use of Land and the Organisation of Land Use was passed, determining principles for land use and land survey in Latvia. Its purpose is to protect the rights of land users and regulate the basic regulations for land use.

1994: The Law of the Plant Protection was adopted to provide for the establishment of a State Plant Protection Station which is responsible, inter alia, for forming a registration of Plant Protection Products, confirming the regulations of plant quarantine, issuing phytosanitary export certificates, advertising the required plant protection measures, inspecting plants and plant production areas.

1995: Regulations on Registration of Plant Protection Products in the Republic of Latvia were introduced. These Regulations concern the registration of plant protection products and consist of the following separate Parts: The Register of Plant Protection Products in the Republic of Latvia (Annex I); Requirements for the Dossier to be Submitted for the Authorization of Plant Protection Products (Annex II); Requirements for Labels and Leaflets of Plant Protection Products in Latvia (Annex III); The Registration Certificate (Annex IV).

1995: The Fishery Law was established to regulate the catching, utilization, research, conservation, enhancement and monitoring of fish resources in inland waters, territorial marine waters and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Latvia.

2000: Amendments were made to the Fishery Law, ensuring that foreign fishing in the international waters in which the Latvian Republic was allocated quota or in waters of foreign states with which Latvia has concluded fishery agreements shall be regulated by the respective international agreements of Latvian Republic.

2000: The Law on Hunting was drafted to provide basic provisions on hunting management in the Republic of Latvia. Hunting shall be considered action the purpose of which is to chase, capture and kill game.

2006: The Environmental Protection Law was created. The purpose of this Law is to ensure the preservation and recovery of the quality of the environment, as well as the sustainable utilisation of natural resources. Provisions of this Law shall also be applicable to continental shelf and exclusive economic area of the Republic of Latvia. The State environmental policy shall adopt the following principles: (a) polluter pays principle; (b) precautionary principle; (c) prevention principle; and (d) environmental impact assessment principle.

2007: The Law on Participation of the Republic of Latvia in the Flexible Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol was instituted, determining principles for Latvia’s participation in the Flexible Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Its purpose is to promote the prevention of climate change, adaptation to the consequences caused by climate change and to facilitate the fulfilment of the commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions assigned to the Republic of Latvia in the Kyoto Protocol by using the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol.

2010: The Waste Management Law was proposed to prescribe the procedures for waste management in Latvia. Its purpose is to protect the environment, human life and health by preventing the generation of waste, ensuring separate collection and regeneration of waste generated in the territory of Latvia, as well as by facilitating efficient use of natural resources and by reducing the amount of waste to be disposed of.

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

  • According to officials, staff from Latvia’s State Forests (LVM) are recording increasing amounts of trash people have secretly dumped in forests. This seems to be a growing problem for LVM; in 2020: five locations outside of the city of Daugavpils contained countless bags of trash – some of which are the property of various vendors and merchants that couldn’t sell all of their inventory. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against one company that was suspected of illegally dumping construction waste. Other commonly found trash includes household waste, car tires and furniture, though instances of furniture being found have decreased. Local community members are also mounting concerns about the presence of biological waste such as garden flowers and piles of raked leaves, which can change the composition of soil. LVM has concluded that those responsible for dumping do it according to a cost/benefit analysis – that is, many companies who have waste disposal contracts still dump trash in the forest to save money. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) is amending regulations so that each resident could take used tires to landfills once a year for free, with hopes this will eliminate illegal dumping. Much more work is needed with the help of the Ministry of Economics on solutions for construction sites and the waste they generate. LVM is also leveraging technology in the fight against environmental crime. A new mobile app, Environmental SOS, was launched to empower citizens to alert the authorities about possible environmental violations. Environment SOS was created in 2016 to exemplify the principles of environmental justice, promoting citizen involvement in dealing with environmental issues.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Māris Klismets: