Environment and Governance
It is the responsibility of the government to define the environmental policies which distinguish a country and provide benefits to its citizens. Governments must also watch over the proper utilization of natural resources and assure the availability and quality of ecosystem services. In the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources tirelessly works to achieve these goals, and is accompanied by a multitude of institutions whose main focus is the conservation of Dominican ecosystems, natural resources, and the environment.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (link in Spanish) is the governmental body charged with developing, executing, and fiscalizing national policies on the environment and natural resources, as well as promoting and fostering activities relevant to their preservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable use. It was created in the year 2000.
Institutionally, its mission is to collaboratively articulate and incorporate environmental viewpoints in society’s actions and decisions in order to contribute to sustainable development in an effective, efficient, and transparent manner.
It is the responsibility of the Ministry, according to the Ley General de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales No. 64-00 (link in Spanish), to regulate the management of the environment along with its ecosystems and natural resources in order to contribute to sustainable development.
Its functions are:
- To elaborate, execute, and fiscalize national policies concerning the environment and the country’s natural resources.
- To administer the natural resources controlled by the State that have been assigned to it.
- To ensure the preservation, protection, and sustainable use of the environment and natural resources.
- To seek ongoing improvement in the management, administration, and regulations concerning the contamination of soils, air, and water for the conservation and improvement of environmental quality.
- To ensure that the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources is carried out without causing irreparable damage to the environment and human health.
- To control and assure the conservation, use, and study of coastal and marine ecosystems and their resources; wetlands.
- To promote and guarantee the conservation and sustainable use of forestry resources and watch over the application of governmental forestry policies and norms governing forest use.
- To develop norms, revise existing ones, and supervise the efficient application of legislation in order to guarantee the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and to improve the quality of the environment.
- To guide, promote, and stimulate preservative, restorative, conservative, and sustainable environmental policies in private institutions along with community and non-governmental organizations. Also, to assure the protection of natural resources, tailoring their activities to the expected policies, objectives, and goals for the environment and natural resources.
- To foster the integration of civil society and community organizations in plans, programs, and projects destined for the preservation and improvement of the environment.
- To prepare and guarantee the correct application of the norms for the conservation, preservation, and management of protected areas and wildlife.
- To collaborate with the Ministry of Education on the creation of plans and educational programs focusing on the environment and natural resources for various academic levels; as well as the promotion of outreach and informal education programs.
- To establish mechanisms which guarantee that the private sector adjusts its activities to upcoming policies and sectoral goals.
- To study and evaluate the economic cost of the degradation of the environment and natural resources with the goal of their inclusion in operating costs and consideration in the national accounts.
- To establish the National System of Environmental Information and Natural Resources; to carry out, organize, and update the inventory of the biodiversity of national genetic resources, as well as to design and execute a national strategy on the conservation of biodiversity.
- To control and prevent environmental contamination from issuing sources, establish environmental norms and general regulations on the environment applicable to human settlements, mining operations, transportation and tourism industries, and in general, any service or activity which could cause, whether directly or indirectly, environmental harm.
- To drive the inclusion of environmental dimensions and sustainable natural resource usage doctrines in the National Planning System.
- To evaluate, follow-up on, and supervise factors of environmental risk and factors that can have an impact on the occurrence of natural disasters and implement, whether directly or in coordination with other pertinent institutions, actions geared toward emergency prevention and mitigation.
- To propose to the Executive national positions for international environmental negotiations and for national participation in international conferences and conventions; to propose the subscription and ratification thereof; to be the focal point of negotiations, and to represent the country in international environmental forums and bodies, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Environmental Law, Sectoral Laws, and General Legal Framework
As a way to unite these efforts and many others, the Secretary of State for Environment and Natural Resources (now the Ministry) was created in the year 2000 through Law No. 64-00. The Secretary’s purpose was to establish norms for the conservation, protection, improvement, and restoration of the environment and natural resources of the Dominican Republic, and to assure their sustainable development. Through this law, several state bodies focusing on the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources were transferred to the Secretary. In addition to these, the Secretary is affiliated with the National Zoo, the National Botanical Garden, the National Aquarium, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Institute of Water Resources.
The principal regulations which govern the conduct of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, separated by subject areas, are as follows:
- The Constitution of the Dominican Republic (link in Spanish)
- Law No.1-12 concerning the 2030 National Development Strategy of the Dominican Republic (link in Spanish)
- Law No. 64-00, concerning Environment and Natural Resources
- Law No.167-07, Dominican Municipal Regulations
- Law No. 42-01, General Health Law
- Law No.79-03, which added two paragraphs to Article 19 of the Dominican Republic’s Mining Law, No. 146-71
- Law No.50-10, which created the National Geological Survey
- Law No.66-07, which declared the Dominican Republic as an Island Nation
- Decree No. 278/13, which established the National Policy on Climate Change
- Law 186-67, concerning the Territorial Maritime Limits of the Dominican Republic
- Law 305-68 which regulates the use of a zone 60 meters wide on coastlines, beaches, rivers, lakes, and lagoons
- Law 573-77 which established a contiguous zone in territorial waters, creating an exclusive economic zone and defined the continental shelf
Environmental Administration Regulations
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Law No. 114-99, which modified the Articles 49, 15, 106, 109, 153, and 161 of Law No. 241 from 1967 on vehicular transportation
- Law No. 120-99, which prohibits any person or legal entity from disposing of solid waste and waste of any kind on streets, sidewalks, curbs, parks, highways, pathways, streams, rivers, and seas
- Law No. 287-04 on Prevention, Suppression, and Limitation of damaging and bothersome noises which produce sound pollution
- Law No. 147-02 on Risk Management
- Decree 789-04, which created the National Program of cleaner production
- Environmental standards on the Quality of Subterranean Waters and Discharges to the Subsoil.
- Environmental standards on radioactive waste management.
- Environmental standards for the management of marinas and other facilities which offer services for recreational vessels.
- Environmental standards for the management of non-hazardous solid waste
- Standards for the comprehensive management of infectious waste
- Regulations for the environmental management of porcine farms
- Regulations which established procedures for the registry and certification of environmental service providers
- Resolution No. 09-2006, which enacted environmental regulations for packaging warehouse facilities and expenses for liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
- Resolution No. 11-2003, which approved and issued standards for the management of radioactive waste
- Resolution No. 12-2003, which approved and issued standards for the environmental management of municipal solid waste
- Resolution No. 18-2007, which approved regulations for the control, surveillance, environmental inspection, and application of administrative sanctions as well as created a manual for surveillance and inspection and listed illicit administrators
- Resolution No. 001-2001, which established procedures for the recovery of multi-material recyclables with commercial value
- Resolution No. 13-14, which repealed Resolution No. 09-2013, dated November 29th, 2013, and issued the compendium of regulations and procedures for environmental authorities in the Dominican Republic
Regulations on Protected Areas and Biodiversity
- Sectoral Law No. 202-04 on Protected Areas
- Sectoral Law No. 313-15 on Biodiversity
- Law No. 219-15 on Biotechnology Security
- Decree No. 571/2009, which created Scientific Reserves, Ecological Parks, and other protected spaces
- Decree 847-09, which approved the program of territorial tourist laws of the municipality of Cabarete
- Resolution No. 02-2015, dated January 28th, 2015, which issued regulations for the co-management of protected areas in the Dominican Republic
- Law No. 456, which established the Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden
- Law No. 95, which prohibits the exploitation of tortoiseshells in their raw or natural state
- Law No. 313-14, which created the Northern Marine Sanctuary
- Decree No. 40-15, dated March 5th, 2015, which designated the Cucurucho de Baní in the Peravia province as the “Don Rafael Herrera” Category III Natural Monument
Regulations of Soils and Waters
- Law No. 123, which prohibits the extraction of components of the earth’s crust, such as: sand, gravel, and rocks
- Mining Law No. 146 of the Dominican Republic of June 4th, 1971
- Decree No. 112-95, which declared the effective protection of national beaches and their surrounding reefs to be of high national interest
- Decree No. 296-99, which prohibits the extraction of granular materials from the Haina, Isabela, Higüero, and Ozama Rivers
- Decree No. 260-14, which declared the rehabilitation, sanitation, preservation, and sustainable use of the high, medium, and low basins of the Ozama and Isabela Rivers to be of high national priority and formed a commission for these purposes
- Decree No. 408-14, which modified paragraph 1 of articles 3 and 6 of Decree No. 260-14, which created the Presidential Commission for the rehabilitation, sanitation, preservation, and sustainable use of the basins of the Ozama and Isabela Rivers
- Decree No. 87-15, which prohibited the development of intensive agricultural and livestock-related activities on soils whose slope measures over 60 degrees in the high basin of the Ozama River
- Decree No. 530-09, which declared the channeling, adaptation, and removal of sediments in the following at-risk districts to be of national emergency: Alto Yaque del Norte, Bajo Yaque del Norte, Bajo Yuna, Yuna-Camú, Ozama, Nizao, Valle de Azua, Valle de San Juan, Lake Enriquillo, Yaque del Sur, and Distrito del Este
Renewable Energy Regulations
- Law No. 57-07, which incentivized renewable energies and created special regulations
- Regulation for the application of incentives for renewable energy and special regulations
Regulations for Forestry Resources
- Technical standards for forest management regulations
- Resolution No. 11-2007, which approved special forest regulations
- Law No. 158-01, Law for the Promotion of Touristic Development
- Law No. 184-02, which introduced modifications to Law No. 158-01, to include new tourism areas
- Law No. 151-04, which created the Ecotourism Development Council in the San José de Ocoa Province
- Law No. 156-06, which created the Ecotourism Development Council in the Elias Piña Province
- Law No. 163-05, which declared San Juan Province as an Ecotourism Province
Other institutions which work with the environment
The difficult work entrusted to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is supported by countless institutions which provide essential contributions to the conservation of our natural resources. Some of these institutions appear in the following list:
Academia de Ciencias
Autoridad Nacional para Asuntos Marítimos (ANAMAR)
Beach Up RD
Centro de Desarrollo Agropecuario y Forestal (CEDAF)
Centro de Investigación de Biología Marina (CIBIMA)
Centro para la Conservación y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahía de Samaná y su Entorno (CEBSE)
Consejo Dominicano de Pesca y Acuicultura (CODOPESCA)
Consejo Nacional de Cambio Climático y el Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio (CNCCMDL)
Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano (CAD)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Fondo Integrado Pronaturaleza (PRONATURA)
Fondo Nacional para el Medio Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales (Fondo MARENA)
Fundación de Estudios Costeros y Marinos (FUNDEMAR)
Fundación Ecológica Punta Cana
Fundación Loma Quita Espuela
Fundación Moscoso Puello
Fundación Mundo Ecológico
Fundación Ozama RD Verde
Fundación Sur Futuro
Instituto de Derecho Ambiental de la República Dominicana (IDARD)
Instituto Tecnológico (INTEC)
Instituto de Abogados para la Protección del Medio Ambiente (INSAPROMA)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA RD)
Procuraduría General para la Defensa del Medio Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales
Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD RD)
Red Nacional de Apoyo Empresarial a la Protección Ambiental (ECORED)
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
International Agreements in which the Dominican Republic Participates
In addition to implementing its national agenda, the Dominican Republic has joined international collaborative efforts for the conservation of the environment and natural resources through its adoption of a number of protocols and its accession to regional and international conventions. These activities have engendered strong ties with the international community. Some of the most important agreements follow:
- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
- The Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which implements protections regarding the transfer, manipulation, and secure use of living modified organisms
- Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW Protocol)
- Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region
- The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity
- The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention)
- The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling
- UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
- Adoption of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature conventions for the organization of the National System of Protected Areas