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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Sudan

Sudan’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 8 outlines the transitional period, and he state agencies committed to performing the following duties:

  • Playing an active role in social welfare and achieving social development by striving to provide healthcare, education, housing and social security, and work on maintaining a clean natural environment and biodiversity in the country and protecting and developing it in a manner that guarantees the future of generations.
  • Featured Legislation

    1954: The Freshwater Fisheries Act was passed. The Act applies to all freshwater rivers and lakes in such parts of Sudan as the Minister of Animal Resources may, from time to time, notify in the Official Gazette (sect. 2). No person shall introduce non-indigenous species without a permit (sect. 4). Other provisions relate to use of gear (sects. 5-7), licenses for boats (sect. 8) fishing licenses (sect. 9), regulation making powers of the Minister (sect. 10) and offenses (sect. 11). (Completed by one Schedule).

    1986: The Wildlife and National Parks Protection Act was signed. This Law consisting of 56 articles and V Annexes aims at (i) protecting wildlife, and conserving national parks and hunting areas; (ii) the best use and development of the wildlife resources; (iii) implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); and (iv) providing specific information on wildlife resources and disseminate them in or out of Sudan, and encourage scientific research relating to wild animals and their habitats.

    1989: The Forests Act was approved. This Act is composed of 6 Chapters. Forest areas declared as “reserved" under the central Forest Act, 1932 and the Provincial Forests Act shall be considered as such under the present Act. This Act creates three types of reserved forest areas: national, regional and individual. The Forests’ National Corporation is to acquire any such rights as necessary in order to establish and manage reserved areas (arts. 5 and 6). Orders declaring reserved areas must also specify roads, waterways etc. open to public traffic, water sources open to public use as well as conditions for use of the above (art. 12). Article 15 lists activities prohibited within reserved areas, whereas article 16 lists activities prohibited outside reserved areas. Chapter III contains general provisions on the protection of forests and forest produce, trees in particular. For example, licenses are required for the cutting, consuming or trading of trees outside reserved areas (art. 18). The Corporation is given the power to levy fees and royalties on forest produce (chap. IV). The remaining provisions deal with offenses and penalties and the power to make regulations.

    1995: The Water Resources Act was promulgated. This Act consisting of 23 articles divided in 6 Chapters aims at reforming the organization of the Nile and Non-Nilotic surface waters as well as the groundwater, hence superseding the Law of 1939 that was limited to the Nile waters only. The Law establishes the National Council for Water Resources (NCWR) with the following main tasks (i) design and rationalize the management and use of water resources to mitigate the effects of natural disasters resulting from drought and floods, to protect these resources from pollution and degradation and to develop them in an integrated and balanced manner with the other natural resources; (ii) develop a long-term national program for the optimal and balanced use of water resources; (iii) propose and review the legislation related to water resources; (iv) supervise the withdrawal of water from the Nile, non-Nile waters and other rivers and groundwater for the purposes of irrigation, drinking, industry, hydro-power generation and sanitation; (v) issue permits to withdraw water from the Nile, or other non-Nile waters, or groundwater; (vi) The allocate specific quantities of surface or underground water; (vii) distribute the available quantity water for fair use; and (viii) organize the drilling of deep surface wells.

    2001: The Environment Protection Act was introduced. This Act consisting of 27 articles aims at (i) protecting the environment, purity, natural equilibrium thereof, and preserving the connected cultural systems; (ii) promoting the sustainable use of the natural resources; (iii) linking between the environment and development issues; (iv) stressing the responsibility of the competent authority for the environment protection; and (v) preventing slackening and shortcoming in performance by the competent authority. The present Act is composed of 5 Chapters. Chapter 1 deals with terms and definitions; abrogation or exclusion; and environmental objectives. Chapter 2 provides for the following matters: establishment of the Environment and Natural Resources Higher Council; assignments and powers of the Council; management and the administrative organization; financial resources; budget; and funds and accounts. Chapter 3 pertains to the following matters: environment protection policies; environmental impact assessment; obligations of the Competent Authority; and reporting. The competent authority in order to protect the environment shall give due regard to the following policies and directives (i) lay down and validate the standards of quality concerned the environment protection; (ii) preserve the various water sources, protect them from pollution and rationalize water usage; (iii) preserve of air, food, soil, and vegetation, and protect them from pollution and deterioration; (iv) preserve animals, and other living organisms, and protect them from risks of extinction by over hunting or attacking of the same; (v) promote the mining and drilling programs, in accordance with sound standards; (vi) preserve the archaeological and tourist sites; (vii) disseminate awareness and environmental culture and education between citizens; and (viii) coordinate and cooperate with national and international bodies and personalities, concerned with the environment and its protection. Chapter 4 refers to offenses and penalties; and the Relevant Court. The Act explicitly prohibits (i) pollution of air; (ii) pollution of water sources; (iii) pollution of food by living organisms, or by the natural or artificial substances; (iv) any form of soil pollution; (v) epidemic pollution; (vi) radiation pollution; (vii) sound pollution; (viii) light pollution; (ix) space pollution; (x) threat of animals and other living organisms; (xi) removal and over felling of trees, and attack on the vegetation; (xii) change of the route of natural water courses; and (xiii) spread genetically amended organisms, without abiding by the safeguards organizing the same. Chapter 5 contains general provisions related to standards and methods for fighting pollution, inspection and application of international agreements.

    2002: The Forests and Renewable Natural Resources Act was ratified. The Act consists of 6 Chapters divided into 61 articles. Chapter I contains preliminary provisions. Chapter II provides for the management of renewable natural resources. Chapter III deals with reserved areas. Chapter IV pertains to the protection of forests and renewable resources outside of reserved areas for public interest. Chapter V refers to the act of Confiscation. Chapter VI contains offenses and penalties. Article 3 contains an extensive list of interpretations. The Corporation shall be the principal force in the country to carry out afforestation, improvement of silvo-pastoralism, development of forestry production, facilitation of grazing, etc. (art. 5). Powers of the Corporation to achieve its objectives are set out in article 6. The Administrative Council shall be established to be in charge of the corporation’s affairs and to act on behalf of it in all authorities stipulated in this Act (sect. 7). Article 9 defines the responsibilities of the Council. The Corporation shall have a Director-General (art. 13), the duties of which are defined in article 14. All Reserved Areas by virtue of the 1989 Forests Act shall remain reserved as if they have been reserved by virtue of this Act taking into consideration all rights thereof in the Reserved Areas before the entry into force of this Act. The Corporation shall prepare maps of Reserved Areas in accordance with article 26. Sections 27 to 30 set out the procedure for the declaration of Reserved Areas including the cancellation of property or any other rights. Reserved Areas may be declared on request of land owners (art. 29) or for the public interest (art. 30). Article 32 concerns the exploitation of the Reserved Areas. Reserved Areas shall be managed according to their classification (i.e. Federal Forest, State Forest, forests established in accordance with article 29, Popular Forest, private forest or Corporate Forest). Article 34 provides for the identification of public roads, paths, water channels and resources in Reserved Areas Declarations, whereas article 36 defines the power of the Director General to close a public route, a water source or a water channel. Article 37 lists acts prohibited in Reserved Areas and article 38 prohibited acts outside the Reserved Areas. Chapter 4 makes provision with respect to protection measures of forests, prevention of fires, control of forest exploitation, forest product processing and operation of sawing mills. Article 46 of Chapter 5 provides for confiscation of cattle entering in a Reserved Areas. A Forest Protection Police shall be established pursuant to article 49.

    2008: The Environmental Protection and Promotion Law in Khartoum State was brought into force. This Law consisting of 32 articles divided in VIII Sections aims at (i) protecting the environment; and (ii) implementing the solid waste management at the State level. Objectives of the Law at the environmental level, as indicated in art.6, are as follows (i) administer, protect and conserve the environment, together with its social and cultural systems, to achieve sustainable development and environmental balance; (ii) promoting the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources; (iii) fight pollution and stop the direct and indirect negative effects deriving from economic, agricultural and industrial activities; (iv) increase environmental awareness in the population; (v) define the methods of waste management and their treatment and reuse; (vi) find solutions to environmental problems in coordination with the authorities and companies in charge of waste management, civil society, NGOs; and (vii) protect water sources from pollution through the disposal of oils, industrial water, wastewater and water used to wash cars. Article 7 establishes an Advisory Board whose General Administration is responsible for (i) issuing permits relating to environmental impact, according to the procedures explained in articles 7 and 8; (ii) preparing an emergency plan to deal with environmental disasters according to the criteria indicated in Article 12. The Law prohibits any activity that can directly or indirectly damage, pollute, or modify the characteristics of the soil. Owners of an installation must keep the Environmental activity log.

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

    • According to officials in the Department of Water Resources, Sudan has witnessed an uptick in crimes related to water resources in the past five years. According to officials, pollution caused by various industries and urban centers are contaminating the Nile River, Sudan’s main water source. Trans-boundary water pollution poses a threat to human health because of its reach and untraceability. In 2003/4 chemicals were discovered in the White Nile that had not originated from Sudan, poisoning fish and waterways. The absence of landfill sites is one of the leading causes of water pollution. Other water-related crimes include illegal connections to treated-water systems, the illegal pumping of water and the destruction of water systems and pipes. These crimes, all of which contravene article 20 of the Environmental Protection Act of 2001, affect safety in general, prompting the government to enforce its environmental legislation and build more capacity for law enforcement personnel. Today, Sudan faces other ecological crises like water scarcity and desertification. Rural Sudanese, particularly, are displaced by changing landscapes and a lack of agricultural production. The demand for water increases, but its availability to the country’s inhabitants continually remains low, opening many opportunities for “water crimes”.

    References and Further Reading


    The Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources: