International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Lithuania

Article 53 of Lithuania’s Constitution reads: “The State and each person must protect the environment from harmful influences.” Article 54, in a related vein, reveals that “The State shall take care of the protection of the natural environment, wildlife and plants, individual objects of nature and areas of particular value and shall supervise a sustainable use of natural resources, their restoration and increase.The destruction of land and the underground, the pollution of water and air, radioactive impact on the environment as well as depletion of wildlife and plants shall be prohibited by law.”

The first National Environmental Protection Programme (NEPP) was drawn up in 1992. It addressed the major environmental problems in priority order. The Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) of 21 January l992 lays down the basic principles of environmental protection. Its main objective is to achieve an ecologically sound and healthy environment on which human activities have little negative impact and which can maintain Lithuania’s typical landscape as well as its diversity of biological systems.

Featured Legislation

1994: The EU PHARE programme helped Lithuania to develop its National Environmental Strategy (NES). The Parliament approved the NES in September 1996 and the Ministry of the Environment appointed a task force and, with the assistance of consultants from Ireland.

1994: The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) was founded to integrate environmental protection more efficiently into the general decision-making process, and to underline the importance of pollution prevention.

1994:The Forestry Law was signed, establishing rights and duties of all forest managers, owners and users of the Republic of Lithuania to utilize, reproduce, grow and protect forests, strike a balance between the interests of forest owners and society, and establish the main principles of forest management.

1995: The following priorities for environmental policy and management were identified in the NEPP:

  • Waste-water treatment and reduction of discharge
  • Air pollution reduction
  • Hazardous waste management
  • Domestic and other non-hazardous waste management
  • Protection from physical pollution
  • Optimization of land use and forest structure
  • Prevention of further natural landscape degradation
  • Protection of ecologically sensitive and natural areas
  • Rehabilitation of abandoned quarries•Rational use of natural resources

1996: The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (which was amended in 2008) was passed, regulating the process of environmental impact assessment of the proposed economic activity and relationships between participants in this process. This Law also has the objective of harmonising regulation of the process of environmental impact assessment of the proposed economic activity with the EU legal acts.

1996: Government Resolution No. 91 was adopted, providing for procedures of stopping, boarding and inspection of foreign vessels in the territorial sea and Economic Zone of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea by State Environmental Inspectors in accordance with provisions of the Law on Environmental Protection, other laws and regulations on the protection of fishing and fish resources.

1998: Amendments of the Law on Plant Protection were made, establishing activity of all individual and corporate bodies of the Republic of Lithuania with respect to plant protection from diseases, pests and weeds as well as, chemical and biological plant protection products and procedure of growth regulator materials registration, production, import, trade, storage, use and state supervision.

2002: Resolution No.IX-1130 of the Republic of Lithuania was brought into force, presenting the revised National Energy Strategy. The strategy defines the main targets set by the State and directions for their implementation in modernising the country’s energy sector, adjusting it to the growing State demand and the most recent international requirements relating to efficiency, reliability, environmental and management improvement.

2015: The Law on Waste Management was presented, establishing basic requirements for the prevention and management of waste with a view to preventing its adverse impact on public health and the environment; the conditions under which a substance or item may be regarded as not being waste; the state regulation of waste management; the basic principles of the organization and planning of waste management schemes; and requirements for waste holders and waste managers to dispose of waste legally.

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

  • “Poverty crime” is on the rise in Lithuania: iIllegal logging and illegal fishing, for example, are often caused by poor living conditions. A recent report reveals that said crimes are committed just for the sole purpose of satisfying personal needs, but also on behalf of criminal groups who exploit poor people, forcing them into illegal activities. In fact, authorities in Lithuania suggest that illegal logging has been a staple for many generations, linking the practice to historical traditions. Lithuania is witnessing a burgeoning illegal fishing operation, attracting many members of coastal communities  where employment opportunities are few. Lithuania became party of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in December 2001. In March 2003 : The convention entered into force; however, criminal groups continue to monopolize the import, export, and re-export trade in wild animals.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Minister of Environment: Simonas Gentvilasl,