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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Togo

Togo’s constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 41reads: “Every person has the right to a healthy environment. The State sees to the protection of the environment”.

Article 84, on the other hand, states “the protection and the promotion of the environment and the conservation of the natural resources.”

Featured Legislation

1998: The National Environmental Policy was passed. This policy aims at defining specific actions to protect the environment in Togo and ensure a sustainable growth to the country in the medium to long term. Climate change is identified as one of the cross-sectoral concerns to take into account when developing sectoral strategies, alongside desertification, biodiversity and scarcity of water resources. Point states that the Government will make arrangements to ensure the contribution of Togo in efforts to combat and prevent climate change; “it will promote the development of actions and behaviors that promote climate improvement and the reduction of greenhouse gasses for the implementation of the climate change convention, the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol on Climate Change".

1999: The National Environmental Action Plan was ratified. This Action Plan aims at improving the national capacity of environmental management and natural resources for the promotion of a sustainable development of the country through four specific objectives: 1) develop, adopt, implement and promote a national environmental policy, 2) develop relevant tools, projects and programs for the strategic management of the environment and natural resources, aimed at improving the quality and living environment of the population, 3) promote an environmental ethic by raising people’s awareness, especially grassroots communities, about environmental problems, and 4) master the mechanisms for mobilizing national and international resources for the financing of investment projects and programs. The Plan stipulates that Togo will encourage the development of actions and behaviors that promote the improvement of the national and global climate, the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the protection of the ozone layer.

2003: The Strategy for the conservation of elephant populations in Togo was introduced. The Strategy for the conservation of elephant populations in Togo (May 2003) has the overall objective of reducing the level of vulnerability of elephants in Togo. Specifically, it aims to improve scientific information on elephants (Objective 1); better involvement of populations in management (Objective 2); a reduction in human-elephant conflicts (Objective 3); reduced poaching (Goal 4); capacity building (Objective 5). The implementation of the strategy for the conservation of elephants is based on the principles of partnership and participation.

2008: Law 2008-005- (Framework Law on the Environment) was enacted. This law establishes the general legal framework for environmental management in Togo. It aims to: – preserve and sustainably manage the environment; – to guarantee, for all citizens, an ecologically healthy and balanced living environment; – create the conditions for rational and sustainable management of natural resources for present and future generations; – establish the fundamental principles intended to manage and preserve the environment against all forms of degradation in order to develop natural resources, to fight against all kinds of pollution and nuisances; – sustainably improve the living conditions of populations while respecting the balance with the surrounding environment.

2011: The National Forest Policy was brought into force. It is within the framework of dealing with the strong degradation of natural resources due to the absence of rational management of the natural environment that Togo has established this Forest Policy, based on an integrated, participatory and sustainable approach to forest resources. and wildlife. The Policy is planned over a period of 25 years, from 2011 to 2035. It displays a global vision of the management of forests and production systems according to an approach that preserves the balance of ecosystems and respects the ecological, social and economics of forests.

2011: The National Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) was promulgated. This document sets Togo’s strategy and implementation actions towards biodiversity conservation over the period 2011-2020. It seeks to ensure that the national biodiversity is able to cope with climate change. It further aims to minimize climate change impacts on all ecosystems.

2018: The Law on the promotion of electricity generation from renewable sources was approved. This law aims at enabling the country to enjoy 50 % of renewable sources in its mix of electricity supply by 2030, in line with its electrification strategy spanning the period 2018 to 2030 (Horizon:2030). The law puts in place a legal framework to attract investors in the production and commercialisation areas. Solar and hydro sources are prioritized, while micro generation by citizens is also encouraged.

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

  • In 2020,  Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) special agents assigned to the Regional Security Office (RSO) at the U.S. Embassy in Lomé were invited to a conference on regional and international trainings and professional exchange opportunities for combating the illegal wildlife trade.  The conference led to a professional exchange program managed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, who arranged short-term visits to the United States for current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields. Officials from Togo met American counterparts and attended professional meetings that reflect their interests and support U.S. foreign policy goals. The lessons learned from this effort are currently being used to encourage community policing in Togo, with a specific focus on environmental crimes.Personnel from Togo also learned about the intersections between environmental crime and human trafficking detection, cultivating collaboration and capacity building to fight cross-border crime and defense of human rights in Togo. Efforts to combat transnational organized crime associated with the trafficking of wildlife is a top priority for Togo, as  non-governmental organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, World Wildlife Fund, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have recorded an increase in animal smuggling.

References and Further Reading


Ministre de l’Environnement et des Ressources Forestières: