The Use of Natural Resources in Nicaragua

The Use of Natural Resources in Nicaragua

A premise that we must be clear about is that natural resources are limited, and that is a lesson that we are learning today because of bad historical practices by our society.

In order to live in a clean and healthy environment, and make moderate use of the resources of our planet (and specifically of Nicaragua), the Political Constitution of Nicaragua recognizes in Article 59 that Nicaraguans have the right to live in a healthy environment and the obligation of its preservation and conservation. The third paragraph of that article reads as follows: “We must protect and restore the integrity of ecosystems, with special concern for biological diversity and all natural processes that sustain life”; Thanks to that public policy, Nicaragua signed and is part of our legislation the Universal Declaration of the Common Good of the Earth and Humanity.

It is based on this that in Nicaragua we have the Law No. 127 General Law of Environment and Natural Resources in Nicaragua, adopted on March 27, 1996 and published in the Gazette No. 105 of June 6, 1996. This Law seeks to establish standards for the conservation, protection, enhancement and restoration of the environment and natural resources that make it up, ensuring rational and sustainable use, according to what is stated in the Constitution.

Regulator

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) function as regulator of the environmental policy of the country. MARENA is the responsible for the implementation of this Law and shall monitor the implementation of the provisions.

In turn, the Institution for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources was created, as a specialized branch of the Attorney General’s Office. This institution will represent and defend the interests of the state and society in this area.

Moreover, as a forum for analysis, discussion and coordination of environmental policies it has been created the National Environment Commission. The same shall operate as a coordinating body between the State and civil society to ensure the harmonious action of all sectors, as well as consultative and advisory body of the Executive in relation to policy, strategy, design and implementation of environmental programs. It shall consist of representatives of various institutions and agencies.

Natural Resources

The Natural resources are of two kinds, being renewable or non-renewable, based on their nature. Examples of non-renewable are minerals, hydrocarbons, and others whose purpose is the exploitation thereof. While there are renewable such as wood, plants, animals, among others.

Due to the domain of the State, it may assign its exploration and exploitation through concession system in the form and conditions set forth in the specific laws and regulations.

For exploration and exploitation of non-renewable natural resources and to respect the restrictive measures to protect mineral resources and subsoil in general, the competent authority shall necessarily:

•    Ensure the rational use of raw materials and the rational exploitation of the deposits.
•    Require the treatment and safe disposal of waste materials.
•    Promote the efficient use of energy.
•    Prevent the alteration, direct or indirect, of the elements of ecosystems, especially deposits of cuttings and slag from the mines.
•    Ensure the protection of protected areas and fragile ecosystems and restoring degraded environments that look for harvesting activities of non-renewable resources.

Among other things, this law in its Art. 105, prohibits dealers exploration and mining and hydrocarbons, dumping soil, rivers, lakes, ponds and any other course or water source of toxic or hazardous waste without proper treatment, that harms human health and the environment.

The Article 106 clarifies that are not subject to exploration and exploitation, the renewable and non-renewable natural resources that are in legally protected areas.

Legal Incentives

Our legislation is generous in granting a number of attractive long-term legal incentives for those who invest in our natural resources. The incentives will depend on the resource that in which investment is pursued, having to comply with the provisions of the special law of each case.

Incentives are from tax nature, exempting the payment of a number of taxes and levies, both tax and customs. Among the areas to be highlighted are the following: mining, oil, renewable energy, fisheries, forestry, among many others.

ALVARO MOLINA
CENTRAL LAW

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