Trading in Fauna and Flora
Federal Environmental Agency
Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides
Organic Pollutants
Fish Farms
Oil Pollution

Trading in Fauna and Flora

Federal Law 11/2002 regarding the Regulation and Supervision of International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora was issued in the UAE Official Gazette of October 2002. The law implements the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973), known as CITES, to which the United Arab Emirates is party.

The law incorporates Appendices 1, 2 and 3 of CITES, which provide for different levels of protection afforded to the species of plants and animals covered by CITES. The law contains a number of similar provisions to CITES.

Under the law, the importation of specimens of the species stated in the appendices is prohibited. Moreover, the specimens may not be "passed through, unloaded then reloaded, exported, re-exported or introduced from the sea". The burden of proof of legal possession of any specimen listed in the appendices rests with the individual in possession.

The Management Agency is given a number of responsibilities which include:

  • facilitating the exchange of information between national and international bodies;
  • reviewing applications for permits and certificates and making the appropriate decision;
  • coordinating with appropriate bodies in relation to scientific and managerial matters related to CITES;
  • holding the trading register;
  • preparing a bi-annual statement regarding organizational and managerial steps; and
  • allocating rescue centres following discussion with the Scientific Agency.

The Scientific Agency's duties include providing opinions to the management agency concerning:

  • the exportation of certain specimens;
  • suitable locations for protecting the specimens to be imported;
  • supervising exports and permits;
  • handling seized and confiscated specimens; and
  • protecting specimens.

Permits must be obtained for exporting, importing, re-exporting and introducing from the sea any specimens listed in the appendices. Permits are granted by the Management Agency and the Scientific Agency gives its opinion in this respect. The granting of permits is subject to conditions and procedures outlined in the law. Permits may be revoked or amended at any time by the Management Agency in accordance with stated conditions.

The Management Agency is either the Federal Environmental Agency or the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Scientific Agency for Abu Dhabi is the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency.

The law imposes penalties for offences including importing, exporting and re-exporting species listed in the appendices, or attempting to do so. Other offences relate to not holding the necessary permit or certificate, providing false information to obtain a permit or certificate, and possessing, selling or offering for sale the listed species.

The penalties comprise a fine of up to Dh50,000 or imprisonment of between one month and six months, depending on the offence committed.

The law becomes effective in April 2003 (six months from the date of publication).

Federal Environmental Agency

Cabinet Resolution 14/2002 regarding the Organizational Structure of the Federal Environmental Agency was issued in the UAE Official Gazette of October 2002. The resolution establishes a number of departments and sections within the agency and defines the functions thereof. Specifically, the resolution deals with the following:

  • the objects and duties of the agency;
  • the functions of the chairman, board of directors and general manager;
  • the functions of the Consultants' Office;
  • The Office of International Affairs;
  • The Department of Technical Services (including the Environmental Information and Awareness Section, the Environmental Emergencies and Disasters Section and the Information Classification and Authentication Section);
  • The Department of Environmental Inspection, Supervision and Studies (including the Inspection and Fighting Pollution Section, the Primitive Life and Natural Protected Regions Section and the Central Laboratory);
  • The Department of Continuous Development and Environmental Evaluation (including the Industrial Activity and Environmental Permits Section, the Agricultural Activity and Fighting Desertification Section and the Urban Environment Section); and
  • The Department of Financial and Management Affairs (including the Financial Affairs Section, Management Affairs Section and Public Relations Section);

Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides

Federal Decree 47/2002 regarding the UAE Acceding to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides In International Trade was published in the Official Gazette of August 2002.

Organic Pollutants

Federal Decree 28/2002 regarding the UAE Acceding to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was published in the Official Gazette of June 2002.

Fish Farms

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Resolution 191/2002 to Establish a Working Team to Inspect Fish Farms and Supervise the Remains of Veterinary Medicines and Environmental Pollutants was recently passed.

Oil Pollution

In accordance with Cabinet Resolutions 23/2001 and 122/2002, two more so-called 'flags of convenience' (those of Sao Tome and Principe, and Tonga) have been added to the United Arab Emirate's list denying vessels of these administrations from entering UAE territorial waters unless they are classified by a member of the International Association of Classification Societies.

For further information on this topic please contact Peter Michelmore or Patrick Oufi at Al-Sayegh Richards Butler by telephone (+971 2 631 3010) or by fax (+971 2 631 2155) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).