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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Senegal

Senegal’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 25-1 reads: “The natural resources belong to the people. They are used for the amelioration of the conditions of life. The exploitation and the management of the natural resources is made with transparency and in a fashion to generate economic growth, to promote the wellbeing of the population in general and to be ecologically sustainable. The State and the territorial collectivities have the obligation to see to the preservation of the land patrimony.”

Article 25-2 reads: “Each has the right to a healthy environment. The defense, the preservation and the amelioration of the environment [is] incumbent on the public powers. The public powers have the obligation to preserve, to restore the essential ecological processes, to promote the responsible management of species and of ecosystems, to preserve the diversity and the integrity of the genetic patrimony, to require environmental evaluation of the plans, projects or programs, to promote environmental education and to assure the protection of the populations in the drafting [elaboration] and the implementation of projects and programs of which the social and environmental impacts are significant.”

Featured Legislation

2001: Law No. 2001-01 (on the Environmental Code) was passed. The evolution of the national policy for the protection of environmental resources as well as the increase in international standards and principles subscribed by Senegal, made it necessary to revise and update the Environmental Code, which takes into account in particular: – The implementation of the principles and measures set out in Agenda 21; – The transfer of powers for the management of natural resources and the environment to local communities since 1996; – The adoption of new strategic planning instruments, which are: the National Action Plan for the Environment (PNAE), the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification (PAN/LCD), the Forest Action Plan of Senegal (PAFS), the National Strategy for the Implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Action Program on Biological Diversity, the Action Plan for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the hazardous waste management; – The importance of impact studies as part of the environmental decision-making process; – The conformity of national law with international conventions signed and ratified by Senegal; – Taking into account certain important principles in terms of environmental protection (sustainable development, conservation, sustainable use.

2005: The Senegal Forest Policy (2005-2025) was signed. Faced with the degradation and regression of forest resources caused above all by harmful anthropogenic actions (excessive felling, bush fires, overgrazing and agricultural clearing), but above all with a view to integrating the forest sector into the national planning of a sustainable rural development, the Senegalese State has drawn up the Forest Policy of Senegal 2005-2025 (PFS) which is mainly based on the National Rural Forestry Program (PNFR). The Forest Policy is structured around five strategic axes or main themes. Certain areas or themes (Planning and rational management of natural resources; Development of urban forestry; and Development of private forestry) provide, as part of its operationalization, so-called priority projects.

2007: The Action Plan for the Integrated Management of Water Resources in Senegal was established. The main objective of the Action Plan for the Integrated Management of Water Resources in Senegal (PAGIRE) is to contribute to the implementation of an integrated management of water resources, adapted to the national context, in accordance with the guidelines defined by the Senegalese Government for the reduction of poverty, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and respecting the principles recognized at the international level in terms of sustainable and ecologically rational management of water resources. This document, which presents the various proposals, is structured in three parts: a) the first recalls the situation of water management, the major problems, the challenges and assets in Senegal; b) the second presents the priorities of PAGIRE and its contribution to existing national and regional policies and programs; c) the third defines the PAGIRE implementation strategy with proposals on coordination, financing, and monitoring and evaluation. The PAGIRE includes three major axes which should contribute to the overall strategy. Each axis is accompanied by a set of measures defined according to the major problems identified in the inventory.

2010: Law 2010-22 (Regulating the Biofuels Industry) was approved. The Law aims to develop the biofuels sector, establishing norms and conditions for the production and exploitation of biofuels in the national territory as well as for international co-operation. More broadly, the law aims to contribute to environmental protection and increase the value of forest and agricultural resources. Overall, the law expects to increase access to energy, promoting economic growth and social welfare. The law covers all components of the biofuels sector, from production to processing, storage to transportation and distribution.It grants biofuels the fiscal benefits established under the Great Agricultural Offensive for Food and Abundance Programme. Thus, revenues generated from biofuel activities are exempted from taxation for a period of five years. The purchase of seeds and equipment for the production and export of biofuels are exempted from value added taxes for an indeterminate period of time. According to the new law, biofuels projects are eligible for certifications under the CDM. The ownership over these carbon credits should be negotiated between the State and the ‘promoters’.

2010: The Renewable Energy Law (No. 2010-21) was promulgated. The legislation regulates the renewable energy sector outlining goals, laying the foundation for a feed-in-tariff scheme, and providing tax incentives for development. Specifically, the law establishes the legal framework for the sustainable development of renewable energy. Goals outlined in this legislation include: reducing dependence on fossil fuels, diversifying the energy mix, reducing GHG emissions and facilitating domestic energy production. The law directs the Ministry of Renewable Energies to establish and regulate incentive schemes for renewable development, including: (1) a tax exemption for the purchase of equipment required for renewable generation intended for domestic consumption; and a (2) tax relief scheme for renewable energy technology research.The Law also requires electricity network operators to connect renewable generation facilities to the grid.

2011: The National Strategy for the Management of Protected Areas of Senegal was tabled. Faced with an increasingly alarming degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity, Senegal has drawn up the document of the National Strategy for the Management of Protected Areas of Senegal, the objective of which is the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and economic and social development. from Senegal. This strategy revolves around three (3) strategic areas broken down into vision and objectives, including the development and restoration of protected areas (Strategic Area 1); the contribution of protected areas to national development (Strategic Area 2); and improving governance and strengthening the involvement of different stakeholders in the management of protected areas (Strategic Area 3) .

2016: The Development plan for the octopus (octopus vulgaris) fishery in Senegal was established. The octopus fishery management plan aims to maximize the rent attached to the resource for inclusive and sustainable economic growth in accordance with sectoral and macroeconomic objectives. To achieve this objective, this plan is based on two (2) axes: short-term management measures and medium/long-term management measures.

2019: Law No. 2019-03 (on the Petroleum Code) was ratified. This code, which comprises ten chapters, lays down the rules relating to prospecting, exploration, development, exploitation, transport and storage of hydrocarbons as well as the liquefaction of natural gas throughout the National territory. It defines certain provisions of the tax regime for these activities throughout the national territory. However, the provisions of the Mining Code are not applicable to petroleum operations as defined in this Code. In addition to the objectives, the definitions, the first chapter relating to the general provisions establishes the institutional framework (Ministry in charge of Hydrocarbons, the national oil company), ownership of the resources and the management of the oil revenues, the eligibility to undertake operations oil companies, different types of authorizations to exercise oil operations (prospecting; exploration; temporary exploitation; exclusive exploitation), the exercise of oil operations by the State, participation of the national oil company, liability of holders of hydrocarbon mining title.

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

  • Illegal mining is rife in Senegal, posing serious threats to human security. Massive tax revenue losses and environmental degradation are merely one layer of a complex problem. It is leading to corruption both in government and the media, especially in the south-eastern Kédougou region. Illegal mining has caused severe water pollution in villages such as Tinkoto, Kharakena and Khossanto and in April 2019, high-ranking officials in the Senegalese Department of National Parks shared their harrowing encounters with gold miners in Niokolo-Koba National Park in Kédougou. In June of that year, officers had arrested around 20 people in Kédougou, including Chinese and Ghanaian illegal miners, a local mayor, park officials, and the regional head of mines. What is more, a  journalist was arrested as he received a share of the money to cover up the scandal led by Chinese-led groups of illegal miners. According to locals, the miners first settled in a buffer zone where they mined the gold illegally with the help of a Ghanaian officials who gave them the license of his company, Gold Coast 7. The illegal Chinese miners paid the Ghanaian company to move into the  Niokolo-Koba National Park – a protected zone. over 100 bribes were made in order to mine inside the park, resulting in annual tax revenue  losses of CFA 4 billion (US$6 830 400) for the government. A former interpreter for the Chinese miners went on record, stating that illegal mining could produce 1 kg of gold a week. Given that the street value on the black market for 1 g of gold is around CFA 25 000 (US$42), they could make up to CFA 100 million (US$170 760) a month. The complexity of the corruption is captured through the various networks created, and sustained, by transnational crime: every month park officials facilitating the illegal mining would give money to local leaders, including village elders and mayors of surrounding communities. This money, in turn, was allegedly meant to buy their silence, perpetuating poor governance in the mining sector which negatively affects many local communities in the region.

References and Further Reading


Ministère de l’Environnement et du Développement durable, S.E. Mons. Abdou Karim Sall: