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Term General Law on the Environment and Natural Resources (Law 64-00)

National regulation enacted on August 18, 2000 which created the Secretary of State of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic. Its objective is to establish standards for the conservation, protection, enhancement and restoration of the environment and natural resources, ensuring their sustainable use. Law 64-00 includes six sections-- or titles-- and a total of 204 articles.1

Title 1, "Of fundamental principles, objectives and basic definitions" consists of four chapters and 26 articles which stipulate the objectives of the law and give definitions of certain terms. Article 17 provides for the creation of the Secretariat of State for Environment and Natural Resources (now renamed the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources after the issuance of the decree 56-10 in 2010); article 19 creates the National Council of Environment and Natural Resources, and article 24 creates the National System for the Management of the Environment and Natural Resources.1

Title 2, "Of tools for the management of the environment and natural resources" includes 11 chapters and 50 articles. In this section important issues are addressed, such as environmental integration with land planning and zoning, and the incorporation of environmental education (formal and non-formal) as a mandatory cross-sectional theme within the country's educational system. The National System of Protected Areas (SINAP, its acronym in Spanish), was also created and the process of environmental assessment, which drafts instruments for the prevention, control and mitigation of potential impacts on the environment and natural resources was established.1

In title 3, "Of the protection and quality of the environment" there are seven chapters and 36 articles, which establish general rules to ensure the country’s environmental quality, as well as specific rules related to water pollution, soil contamination, air and sound pollution. It also establishes regulations for the disposal of hazardous substances and products, residues and waste.1

Title 4, "Of natural resources" contains seven chapters and 48 articles which set out the regulations for the sustainable use of natural resources, regulating the use of soil, water, coastal and marine resources, forests, caves and caverns, among others. Chapter IV declares that the conservation of biological diversity is of high national interest .1

Title 5, "Of administrative and judicial authority, accountability and penalties" contains six chapters and 22 articles, through which the Office of the Attorney for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources is created, which is in charge of handling prosecution and trials for infringement of the law, and establishes general sanctions for damages caused to the environment. It also establishes the concept of environmental crime and assigns criminal penalties for environmental offenses, which will be used by the courts to judge violations of the law in the first degree.1

Finally, title 6, "Of general and final provisions" contains two chapters and 16 articles through which existing laws are amended to include the Secretariat of the Environment, and where the authority conferred by other articles is transferred. The final article of the section (204) clarifies that Law 64-00 abolishes and replaces any other legal provision or parts of any other provision which may oppose it. 1

By way of Law 64-00, many institutions that were part of other ministries or functioned independently became a part of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, such as the National Administration of Parks, the Directorate General of Forestry, and the Dominican Institute of Hydraulic Resources.1

1 Secretaría de Estado de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Ley general de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales 64-00. República Dominicana, 2000.

Topic  Sustainable developmentForest resourcesEnvironmental managementEnvironmental educationProtected areasEnvironmental pollutionLegal and Institutional