The Republic of Gabon has adopted the Law n°007/2014 on the protection of the environment in the Republic of Gabon (“Environment Law”). The Environment Law, which repealed the law n°016/93 dated 26 August 1993, was promulgated on 1st August 2014.

Environment Law brings several modifications to the previous regime:

  • Tax incentives should be taken in order to encourage the reduction of pollution in the environment and promote a better use of natural ressources. These measures should be fixed by the Finance Law. However, the Financial Law for 2015 has not been adopted yet and is in debate;
  • Renewable energies are mentioned for the first time in the regulation on environment. State may now to force the use of renewable energies;
  • The scope of protected renewable energies is extended to the “coast”, as a consequence the extraction of materials that might directly or indirectly jeopardize the integrity of beaches, natural areas of the fauna and flora as well as new constructions close to ecologically-sensitive coast areas or the waterfront are now prohibited ; the scope has also be extended to biodiversity;
  • The scope of potential factor of pollution and nuisance is also extended and includes now the biotechnology and electromagnetic field;
  • Environment Law states a liability without fault that cannot be resolved other than by proving that the damage resulted from the fault of the victim or a force majeure. This civil liability concerns person that transport, process, preserve or use hydrocarbons, hazardous substances or materials, to the operators of classified facilities, and to the producers or holders of certain types of waste; and
  • Settlement agreement shall now be accepted in criminal matters.

Physical or legal persons, public or private, that before the entry into force of the Environment Law exercise an activity that could entail damage to the environment or the health, must conform to the Environment Law by 1st August 2015.