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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s constitution contains various provisions to protect the environment. Article 50 reads: “Citizens shall be obliged to protect the environment”.

Article 54 states: “An owner, at his discretion, shall possess, use and dispose of his property. The use of any property must not be harmful to the ecological environment nor shall it infringe on the rights and legally protected interests of citizens, juridical entities and the state.”

Finally, according to Article 100, the joint conducting of the local bodies of authority shall include:

  • direction of the municipal economy
  • protection of the environment
  • Ensurance of the registration of civil status acts
  • Featured Legislation

    1992: Law No.754 – XII (on nature protection) was approved. The law establishes legal, economic and organizational fundamentals for the preservation of conditions of the natural environment and rational use of natural resources. It aims at ensuring a balanced harmonic development of relations between humankind and nature, protection of ecosystems, natural complexes and separate objects, to guarantee rights of citizens to enjoy a favorable environment. Protective measures from pollution, loss, damage, depletion, destruction and non-rational usage of natural resources shall be applicable to land, subsoil, water resources, wild flora and wild fauna, atmospheric air. Protected natural territories and objects include state reserves, national, historical-natural and memorial parks, wildlife sanctuaries and forest reserves, nature monuments, botanic and zoological gardens, dendro-parks, as well as endangered and protected wild fauna and wild flora species, included in the international Red Book and Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Special protection measures shall be applicable also to resorts and recreational zones, formation zones of surface and underground waters (river valleys, mudflow evacuation cones, foothills), deposits of rare and valuable metals, maritime belts and water-protection zones (areas) of water objects, protection (buffer) zones of protected natural territories, fishery zones, restricted belts of forests and other zones in the order, defined by the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan and international treaties. Through decisions of local government other categories of protected natural territories and objects can be envisaged. The present Law establishes the right to a favorable living natural environment and responsibilities on its preservation, sets forth normative regulation of the quality of natural environment and management of natural resources, introduces state ecological audit and ecological control and focuses on environmental disasters. The purposes of nature protection shall be as follows: (a) creation of favorable conditions for public health, preservation of ecological balance, rational non-depleting nature use in the interests of effective and sustainable socio-economic development of the Republic; (b) preservation of rare species and genetic pool of the living nature; (c) preservation of the diversity of ecosystems, landscapes and unique natural objects; (d) maintenance of ecological security; and (e) preservation of cultural heritage, related to natural objects. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the land, subsoil, water resources, wild fauna and wild flora, and other natural resources constitute national wealth, and are subject to rational usage and are protected by the state. Conditions, the order of extending, usage and protection of natural resources are determined by the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In the Republic of Uzbekistan, there exists general and special use of natural resources. General use of natural resources is performed by citizens free of charge for the meeting of vital needs without allocation of natural resources to single users and without issuance of special permits. The procedure of special use of natural resources provides enterprises, institutions, organizations and citizens with the possession, use or lease of natural resources based on special permits for payment and with the purpose of performance of industrial and other activities. This Law consists of XI Chapters divided into 53 Articles. Chapter I lays down general provisions. Chapter II establishes competence of state bodies in the field of environmental protection. Chapter III establishes rights and duties of citizens in the field of nature protection. Chapter IV regards regulation of nature management. Chapter V regulates management of natural resources. Chapter VI regards environmental audit. Chapter VII regards environmental control. Chapter VIII establishes economic measures for nature protection. Chapter IX regards emergency situations and natural disasters. Chapter X establishes ecological requirements for economic and other activities. Chapter XI establishes liability for the infringement of environmental legislation and establishes the procedure for dispute settlement.

    1997: Law No. 543-I (on protection and usage of vegetation) was passed. The law regulates the relations in the field of protection and usage of vegetation, growing in natural conditions, as well as wild plants, contained in cultural conditions for their reproduction and preservation of the genetic pool. The Act consists of 28 Articles. Article 1 regards legislation on protection and usage of vegetation. Article 2 determines primary goals of the legislation on protection and usage of vegetation. Article 3 concerns ownership of vegetation. Article 4 regards administration of government in the field of protection and usage of vegetation. Article 5 deals with vegetation objects. Article 6 deals with use of vegetation objects. Article 7 specifies types of use of the vegetation objects. Article 8 classifies terms of use of vegetation objects. Article 9 establishes standards of use of vegetation objects. Article 10 establishes rights and responsibilities of the users of vegetation objects. Article 11 regards limitation, suspension and prohibition of use of vegetation objects. Article 12 regards procurement of wild fodder products for needs of animal breeding industries and grazing of cattle. Article 13 regards use of vegetation objects for the needs of hunting. Article 14 regards procurement (harvesting) of wild-growing vegetative medicinal and technical raw materials, wild nutritional plants. Article 15 regards cutting of arboreal and shrub plantations. Article 16 concerns use of vegetation objects for scientific purposes. Article 17 concerns use of vegetation objects for cultural, educational, recreational and aesthetic purposes. Article 18 concerns use of vegetation objects for nature protection purposes. Article 19 deals with the termination of the right of use of vegetation objects. Article 20 regards regulation of prevalence and number of certain species of wild plants. Article 21 regards movement and hybridization of wild plants. Article 22 regards botanic collections. Article 23 regards protection and reproduction of objects of vegetation. Article 24 regards protection of the natural growing environment of vegetation objects. Article 25 regards monitoring of vegetation objects. Article 26 regards state registration and state cadastre of vegetation objects. Article 27 establishes control over safety and usage of vegetation objects. Article 28 establishes liability for the infringement of the legislation on the protection and usage of vegetation.

    2000: Law No. 120-II (on radiation safety) was promulgated. The Act consists of 5 sections that contain 28 articles. The present Law aims to regulate the relationship associated with securing of radiation safety such as protection of the environment from deleterious effects of ionizing radiation. Underlying principle of securing radiation safety is the principle of substantiation – prohibition of all categories of activity relating to the use of ionizing radiation sources if profit derived from their use does not exceed the risk of possible harm caused to society by an additional radiation source. Citizens have the right of access to complete and objective information on radiation status of the environment, items of use and consumption, measures of securing of radiation safety. State regulation in the sphere of securing of radiation safety includes: 1) state supervision and control over observation of radiation safety requirements; 2) certification for radiation pollution of agricultural produce, food, feedstuff, drinking and manufacturing water, construction materials and articles made of them. Assessment of the radiation safety situation includes the index characteristic of environmental radioactive contamination. When storing or burying (disposing) radioactive waste, their isolation from the environment must be ensured.

    2002: Law No. 362-II (on waste) was enacted. The purpose of the law is the regulation of the relations in the sphere of waste management. The main targets of the Act are the prevention of negative impact of waste on human life, human health, environment, reduction of waste formation and ensuring rational use thereof in economic activity. The activity of legal persons in the sphere of waste management must ensure safety for human life and death, and also the environment (art. 17). Rates of waste formation shall be elaborated and validated by legal persons by agreement with the authorized state institutions in the sphere of waste management (art. 18). Waste that is subject to purchase and sale, import-export operations, and also hazardous waste subject to transportation shall be submitted for ecological certification of waste for compliance with sanitary regulations and standards, ecological standards set for waste management according to which the owners of waste ecological certificate shall be issued (art. 19). Transportation of hazardous waste shall be carried out by special transport means in the presence of ecological certificate and authorization issued in conformity with the modalities established by the legislation currently in force. Transport organizations shall be held responsible for safe transportation of hazardous waste (art. 20). The Law consists of 30 Articles.

    2004: The Law on Protected Natural Territories was ratified. The purpose of the law is regulation of relations in the field of organization, protection and use of protected natural territories. The main tasks of the Law are conservation of typical, unique, valuable objects and complexes, genetic fund of plants and animals, prevention of negative influence of human activity to nature, studying the natural processes, monitoring of natural environment, improvement of ecological awareness and education (art. 2). Protected natural territories are sites of land and (or) water area (aquatoriums) of priority ecological, scientific, cultural, aesthetic, recreational and sanitary-treatment significance, which have been completely or partially, permanently or temporarily withdrawn from economic exploitation. Protected natural territories constitute the unified ecological system designed for ensuring biological and landscape diversity as well as maintaining ecological balance (art. 4). Protected natural territories depending on their target purpose and regime shall be classified into the following categories: 1) state reserves; 2) complex (landscape) sanctuaries; 3) natural parks; 4) state natural monuments; 5) territories for conservation, reproduction and restoration of separate natural objects and complexes; 6) protected landscapes; 7) territories for management of separate natural resources (art. 5). The protected natural territories are generally accessible for citizens, except for the cases established by the present law. For the purpose of protection of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, environment of their growth and habitat, the access of citizens to the separate parts of protected natural territories can be limited or forbidden by state bodies, legal and physical persons under whose authority these territories locate (art. 8). The activity of legal and physical persons on reserved land sites, which threatens conservation or designated for protection of natural objects and complexes should be limited or prohibited. Granting for ownership and use of these land sites or for rent to legal and physical persons is allowed only if there is a positive conclusion made by state environmental audit (art. 12). The natural parks are protected natural territories designated for conservation and use in nature protection, recreational, scientific and cultural purposes of the natural objects and complexes, which have special ecological, cultural and aesthetic value (art. 23). For the purpose of steady economic and social development of territories the state biosphere reserves can be created – that is protected natural territories designated for conservation of a biological diversity, rational use of natural objects and complexes. The state biosphere reserves can be included in the international network biosphere reserves and participate in global monitoring of the natural environment (art. 44).

    2016: Law No. ZRU-408 “On protection and management of wild fauna” was introduced. The scope of this law shall be to regulate relations in the field of protection and management of wild fauna. If the international agreement of the Republic of Uzbekistan establishes other rules than those stipulated by the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the protection and management of wild fauna, the rules of the international treaty are applied. Wild fauna shall be a national resource, subject to rational management and protected by the state. Wild fauna species that live in a state of natural freedom, as well as released to their natural environment, shall be considered state property. Wild fauna species kept (or) grown in semi-captive conditions, artificial environments or in captivity, can be property of a legal or natural person. Wild fauna species shall be considered: (a) wild animals; (b) products of vital activity of wild animals; and (c) zoological collections. The main directions of state policy in the field of protection and use of wildlife shall be: (a) development and implementation of state programs, as well as other measures in the field of protection and use of wildlife; (b) state regulation in the field of protection and use of wildlife; (c) implementation of state control in the field of protection and use of wildlife; (d) development of research activities in the field of protection and use of wildlife; and (e) development of international cooperation in the field of protection and use of wildlife. Measures for the protection of wildlife shall be performed by: (a) establishment of rules, regulations and standards in the field of protection and use of wildlife; (b) establishment of restrictions and prohibitions on the use of wildlife species; (c) suspension, termination, cancellation of the right of special use of wildlife species; (d) prevention of unauthorized use and other violations of the established procedure for the management of wildlife; (e) protection of habitats, breeding sites and migratory routes for wild animals; (f) introduction of rare and endangered species of wild animals into the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan; (g) prevention of the death of wild animals in the conduct of economic and other activities, operation of vehicles; (h) formation and development of protected natural areas; (i) breeding of rare and endangered species of wild animals in captivity; (j) assistance to wild animals in the case of diseases, the threat of their death in natural disasters and other causes; (k) performance of state accounting of fauna species and accounting of volumes of their use; (l) maintenance of the state register of fauna species and monitoring of the animal kingdom; (m) control in the field of protection and use of wildlife; (n) regulation of import into the Republic of Uzbekistan and export of wild fauna species from the Republic of Uzbekistan; (o) organization and conduct of scientific research in the field of conservation and use of wild fauna species; (p) performance of state environmental audit in the field of protection and use of wildlife; and (q) performance of biotechnical and other measures on protection and rational use of fauna. This Law consists of VI Sections subdivided into 53 Articles. Section I lays down general provisions. Section II deals with regulation in the sphere of protection and management of wild fauna species. Section III regards protection of wildlife. Section IV establishes requirements for the protection and management of wildlife. Section V classifies the types of management of wildlife. Section VI lays down the final provisions.

    2019: Law No. ZRU-539 “On use of renewable energy sources" was signed. The scope of this law shall be regulation of the relations in the field of the use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources shall be intended for solar, wind, earth’s (geothermal) heat, natural water flow, biomass, which are naturally restored in the environment. Use of renewable energy sources shall be intended activities related to research and development, experimental design, survey, implementation, design, construction, installation and maintenance works, as well as energy generation from renewable energy sources, its transportation, storage, trade and consumption. The main directions of the state policy in the field of renewable energy sources shall be as follows: (a) determination of priority directions and implementation of measures in the field of renewable energy sources use; (b) development and implementation of state and other programs in the field of renewable energy sources; (c) strengthening energy security of the country, diversification of the fuel and energy balance in terms of electricity, heat and biogas production using renewable energy sources; (d) stimulation of introduction of innovative technologies, scientific and technical developments in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency, expansion and localization of production of renewable energy plants; (e) improvement of organizational and legal mechanisms for the involvement of business entities in the creation of generating capacities on the basis of proven technologies for the use of renewable energy sources; (f) state support and stimulation of energy producers from renewable energy sources, as well as producers of renewable energy installations; and (g) development of international cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources use.

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

    • In an effort to prevent environmental crime in the Republic of Uzbekistan and improve and reorganize public administration in the field of ecology and nature protection, the State Committee for Nature Protection was reorganized into the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection by the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. President Mirziyoyev’s goals include the organization of state-level management, coordination and interdepartmental relations on ecology, environmental protection, and the rational use of natural resources. One of the pillars of this rollout is the need for citizens to form environmental education. The President suggests that environmental education is integral to protecting houses, streets, neighborhoods, villages and cities from pollution as well as maintaining its beautification, landscaping, preservation and efficient use of natural habitats, and protection of nature. Environmental education ensures the integration of nature and society into national action plans, helping young people use nature consciously, instilling in them a love for nature. With the anthropogenic impact of humans on nature increasing dramatically, President Mirziyoyev aims to the tackle the following environmental crimes during his presidential term: the filling of water bodies with polyethylene waste; the burning of forests under the influence of man; the pollution of the soil with various pipettes; and the release of toxic gasses into the atmosphere by enterprises. Non-compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation, Mirziyoyev suggests, is the result of gaps in environmental education According to M.N. Kopylov, the concept of environmental crimes is based on two groups. The first group includes the danger of anthropogenic impact on the environment, its interference with the conditions of human existence as a biological species. The second group is the origin and application of criminal liability established by law.

    References and Further Reading

    Contacts

    Chairman, State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, H.E. Mr. Alisher Maksudov: a.maksudov@eco.gov.uz/info@uznature.uz