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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Madagascar

Madagascar’s Constitution recognizes human rights, including the rights to non-discrimination (art. 6), to life (art. 8), to freedom of opinion and expression (art. 10), to information (art. 11), to freedom of association and democratic opposition (art. 14), to health (art. 19), to education (art. 23), to participation in cultural life (art. 26) and to property (art. 34). Of note, its preamble emphasizes “the exceptional importance of the wealth of the fauna, of the flora and of the mining resources of high specificities with which nature has provided Madagascar”, highlighting the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations.

Featured Legislation

1930: A Decree on reorganizing the forestry regime in Madagascar was introduced. This decree covers the forestry regime of Madagascar and its dependencies. It is made up of 74 articles divided into 8 titles, namely: General (I); Regime of State and Colony State Forests (II); Forests of individuals (III); Protection forests and reforestation reserves (IV); User rights of indigenous communities (V); Bushy land not classified as forest (VI); Repression of infringements (VII); General provisions (VIII).

1986: Ordinance No. 86-013 was adopted. This ordinance, aims to protect the health of national plants and plant products by preventing and combating harmful organisms; the dissemination of modern techniques of phytosanitary protection; support for exports of plants and plant products.

1990: The Environmental Charter was adopted (and amended in 2015). The Charter states, among other things, that everyone has the fundamental right to live in a healthy and balanced environment (art. 6), and is entitled to access to environmental information and to participation in decision-making with environmental effects (arts. 7, 14).

1995: A Memorandum of understanding between the Republic of Madagascar and the international society of tunidos s.a. “Intertuna" was created, outlining the conduct of commercial tuna fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Madagascar.

1997: Law No. 97-041 (relating to the protection against the dangers of ionizing radiation and the management of radioactive waste in Madagascar) was implemented. This law governs all activities falling within the framework of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Madagascar in order to guarantee the protection of people and the environment as well as the safety of the sources associated with it. As such, the law also applies to other activities involving exposure to ionizing radiation from non-radioactive sources.

2002: Decree No. 2002-11274 was signed, laying down the general principles of radioactive waste management.

2004: Decree No. 2004-167 (known as MECIE, for Mise en Compatibilité des Investissements avec l’Environnement) was passed. Under the Decree, proponents of a project must show how it will meet environmental standards. The law requires impact assessments for listed types of projects and for any other activities that could cause a negative impact on the environment.

2004: The National Biosafety Policy and Structure in Madagascar was unveiled. Aware of the importance of the conservation of biological diversity, Madagascar developed this National Biosafety Policy in 2004, which aims to provide a clear vision of the objectives pursued by the Country in terms of Biotechnological risk prevention. The development of this policy was based on a broadly participatory approach involving the various ministerial departments and all the players concerned, including consumer protection associations, farmers’ representatives, academics and researchers, operators, individuals, ecologists, environmentalists, cultural communities, journalists, NGOs and individuals.

2012: The National Strategy of the Clean Development Mechanism in Madagascar was implemented. This national strategy document for the Clean Development Mechanism (SN CDM) aims to promote the realization of investments that would contribute to the sustainable development of Madagascar with additional benefits from the sale of greenhouse gas emission reductions offered by the Kyoto Protocol. It is integrated into the Environmental Policy and takes into account the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), as established in the Initial National Communication.

2012: Decree No. 2011-627 was brought into force, defining a national policy for the use of dispersants in the maritime waters of Madagascar.

2013: ​​Order No. 15 898-2013-MSANP was established, approving the establishment of the National Policy for the Rational Management of Pesticides in Madagascar.

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

  • Madagascar boasts some of the world’s most rare and iconic species. Its expansive ecosystems are under threat, however. In 2018, Madagascar  had the highest rate of deforestation of any tropical country.  Deforestation, illegal hunting and the international pet trade has pushed many species of plant and animal life to the brink of extinction.The nation’s new president, Andry Rajoelina, is poised to play a crucial role on the saving forest habitats – like the  western spiny thickets – and species – like the  Panther chameleon – from going extinct. Rajoelina has outlined urgent actions which must be taken to conserve Madagascar’s biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature. The first is tackling corruption and environmental crime – both of which facilitate  the trafficking of the country’s precious hardwoods to China and the Middle East. Moreover, a recent report reveals that pet traders have tapped into the lucrative wildlife trade, catching and selling endangered animals. Corruption has also fuelled the destruction of protected areas for  illegal mining activities. Rajoelina has proposed the use of  spatial monitoring and reporting tools for protected areas and local and national law enforcement. New technologies, like remote sensing and the use of rapid DNA barcoding, can put a dent in environmental crime. Rajoelina  has also issued a very ambitious and detailed reforestation plan which aims to reforest 40,000 hectares per year with 500 – 100 seedlings per hectare. The use of drones and other technologies will aid in this campaign, requiring the use of strategic environmental assessments in infrastructure developments to maximise benefits from large investments, while avoiding unnecessary environmental and social costs.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests, Valérie Benjamin Ramahavalisoa: