International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Suriname

Suriname’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 6 reads: The social objectives of the State shall aim at:

  • The identification of the potentialities for development of the own natural environment and the enlarging of the capacities to ever more expand those potentialities;
  • Creating and improving the conditions necessary for the protection of nature and for the preservation of the ecological balance.
  • Featured Legislation

    1954: The Nature Conservation Act was passed. This Act provides for nature conservation in Suriname. For the purpose of the protection of natural resources present in Suriname, the President, after having consulted with the State Council, may declare parts of the State domain as nature reserve under section 1. In order to be declared as a nature reserve the area shall be such that it requires protection from public authorities for reasons of natural beauty or because there is a presence of fauna, flora or geological objects of particular scientific or cultural importance (sect. 2). In general the management of the nature reserves is entrusted to the Chief National Forestry Management who shall be counseled by the Nature Conservation Commission (sect. 3). The Chief may, on advice of the Commission, close completely or in part a nature reserve under section 4. Section 4 also prohibits fishing and hunting without a permission of the Chief and various other activities. Section 6 and 7 provide for certain exemptions from the prohibition to undertake activities. A special permission for scientific or educational purposes may be granted by the Chief under section 6, whereas section 7 grants powers to the Chief to approve certain commercial activities in parts of reserves that are not closed under section 4, in particular fisheries, grazing and keeping of livestock. Penal provisions are included (14 sections).

    1954: The Game Act was signed. This Law provides with respect to hunting for protected animal species (which excludes animals indicated as “hunting animals", “captive animals" and “harmful" animals"). “Animals" for the purposes of this Law include, amongst others, turtles and birds and all animals to be indicated as such by State Decree. A State Decree shall also specify the other categories of animals that may be subject to hunting at certain conditions. The Nature Conservation Commission shall be consulted on these matters. Hunting for and trade in protected animals shall be prohibited. The Law sets out rules for rules and restrictions for hunting for the other categories of animals. A license. State Decree shall specify allowed/prohibited hunting methods and the hunting season/close season. Hunting licenses for residents shall be issued by the District Commissioner and licenses for persons residing outside Suriname shall be issued by the Director of the Ministry responsible for forest management or the Director of forest management. Hunting may be carried out on state domains that are not declared to be nature reserves under the Nature Conservation Act and on private lands. It shall be prohibited to import animals illegally caught in the country of origin and to carry out international trade in endangered wild animals contrary to international agreements to which Suriname is a party. Release into the wild of imported animals requires a special license. The Act also concerns measures of enforcement and defines offenses.

    1961: The Fish Stock Protection Law was approved. The Act provides for the protection of fish stocks in Suriname. It shall be prohibited to fish inside Suriname without a license issued by the Director of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The Act shall apply to all waters of Suriname excluding the territorial sea and the EEZ. Fees are specified for specific licenses including a license to fish in estuaries. The Minister may lay down rules concerning the protection of the fish stocks regarding number and type of fishing rods and/or hand lines and, specifically for each fish species, the numbers which during an open season established for such fish species may be captured or killed. It shall also be prohibited to sell undersized fish, to destroy, disrupt, take away, buy, deliver, transport, sell, fish eggs or nests, and to trade in fish during a close season established for such fish.

    1992: The Forest Management Act was introduced. An Act to provide for the management and conservation of forest resources, and to regulate forest exploitation and the primary forest processing industry, in order to increase the economic, social and ecological functions of forests as natural resources and to enhance a responsible development of the forestry industry (preamble).

    2013: The National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) was created. The National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) is a national action plan of the Republic of Suriname for the period 2012-2016. The main objective of the action plan is conservation of biodiversity.

    2020: The Plant Protection Act was promulgated. The Act contains rules for the prevention of spreading of diseases and pests affecting plants. It consists of 47 articles divided into 16 Chapters: General provisions (I); Plant Protection and Quality Inspection Service of the Ministry (II); Inspectors (III); Phytosanitary Fund (IV); Importation and Transit (V); Inspection in case of Importation and Transit (VI): Seizure, Condemnation and Destruction (VII); Prevention of Spreading and eradication of diseases (VIII); Phytosanitary Certification of Importation and re-exportation (IX); Facilities, Areas and Places of Production (X); Packaging, Labeling and Sealing of Packages (XI); Storage and Conditions of Transportation (XII); Charges and Tariffs (XIII); Enforcement and Control (XIV); Objections and Appeal (XV); Penal Provisions.

    2020: The Environmental Framework Act was enacted This Act is about the protection and sustainable management of the environment in Suriname and the implementation and carrying into effect of obligations deriving from the membership of Suriname to international agreements, notably the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the Paris Agreement and the Stockholm and Rotterdam (Conventions on POPs and PIC respectively). Another important matter is the investigation, prosecution and trial of offenses defined in this Act as environmental offenses. The Act is composed of 77 articles divided into 11 Chapters: General provisions (I); The National Environment Authority (II); Duty of Care (III); Environmental Strategy (IV); Activities and Environmental Consequences (V); Control of Pollution – Environmental Pollution and Standards (VI); Waste and Hazardous Substances (VII); Legal Protection Mechanisms (VIII); Environmental offenses and Sanctions (IX); Provisions on Enforcement and further provisions (X); Transitional and Final Provisions (XI).

    ​​2006: The National Forest Policy was instituted. The main objective of the present Forest Policy is enhancing the contribution of the forests to the national economy and the welfare of the current and future generations, taking into account the preservation of biodiversity. Three goals of equal weight are contained in the main objective, namely: 1) Economic goal: Forests will be used efficiently and in a sustainable manner in order to enhance the contribution of the sector to the national economy, including foreign currency, government income, and employment. For this purpose the potential offered by the diversity of products and services of the forest will be utilized as much as possible; 2) Socio-cultural goal: Raising the minimum subsistence level of the population in general, and in particular of those people who live in and around the forests and who are directly dependent on the forests for their livelihoods, such as the indigenous and maroon communities. An important aspect of this is to participate, on the basis of full information, in activities in and around their surroundings and to share in the benefits and proceeds thereof. The cultural values and traditions of the populations will be respected in the planning and implementation of these activities; 3) Environmental goal: Forests with a special protective function or water storage and supply function will be conserved and managed for that purpose. In order to maintain viable populations of plants and animals found in Suriname, the network of representative protected areas for the diverse forest types will be expanded and managed for that purpose. Production forests will be managed and utilized in such a way that the negative effect on the environment will be minimized.In order to reach the main objective the following three themes shall be pursued: 1) Land use planning, land use rights; 2) Contributing to economy by increasing income from timber, non-timber forest products and 3) Environmental functions of the forest and distributing them equitably and environmental protection.

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

    • Suriname is home to many illegal activities such as logging, mining and trafficking or poaching of protected wildlife. In the past couple of decades, Trophy photos of jaguars hunted in Suriname have circulated various websites in the former Dutch colony, attracting potential buyers within the country’s local Chinese community. Vanessa Kadosoe, a jaguar researcher with the Institute for Neotropical Wildlife and Environmental Studies (NeoWild), has been documenting the illegal wildlife trade of the select species of jaguars on Facebook, bringing international attention to jaguar poaching.  Kadosoe has also explored the “digitalization” of the illegal trade via messaging application WhatsApp, and its Chinese equivalent, WeChat, monitoring the rise of jaguar poaching in Suriname. In particular, Kadosoe reveals that the poaching of the country’s jaguars provides a lesson in how a wildlife trafficking network can emerge opportunistically when interests collide – in this case, natural resource extraction and Chinese investment. Suriname is integrated into the Asian black markets that have long prized medicinal products made from big cats, especially from tigers, which have grown scarce. Kadosoe explains that the trade began with miners, loggers and hunters who discovered  jaguars deep in the Amazon forest, or experienced poachers who head out to the field to kill a jaguar. After the animal is killed, it is sold to local Chinese merchants who set up around the mining camps. The buyers broker the animal to processors in Suriname’s capital, Paramaribo, who  boil it down to a type of paste that is later smuggled out of the country, eventually reaching Asia. There is a big relationship between mining and jaguar hunting, as miners know the dead animals can be sold to the Chinese merchants or roving buyers near the mining camps. The price is often agreed upon in grams of gold, Kadosoe said.

    References and Further Reading


    Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment: