The National Assembly recently passed two laws relating to the environment.The Organic Law for the Provision of Drinking Water and Sanitation Services was published in Official Gazette 5,568 of December 31 2001. The objectives of the law are to:

  • regulate the provision of public services for drinking water and sanitation;
  • establish a system for the supervision, control and evaluation of such services; and
  • foster their development for the benefit of public health, the preservation of water resources and the protection of the environment.

The law creates the National Drinking Water and Sanitation Superintendency to regulate and control the services covered by the law. Its provisions apply to suppliers of drinking water and sanitation services, whether public, private or mixed, as well as to all users of these services throughout the country.

Shortly after, on January 2 2002 the Law Approving the Cartagena Protocol on Biotechnology Safety was published in Official Gazette 37,355. The law focuses on the movement across borders of any live organisms that have been modified through biotechnology.

The rapid expansion of modern biotechnology, and growing public concern over its potentially adverse effects on biological diversity and human health, are acknowledged, as is the fact that biotechnology must be developed and used within the proper safety parameters for the environment and human health.

For further information on this topic please contact Maria Isabel Ponce or Angela C Antakly Heredia at Benson, Perez Matos, Antakly & Watts by telephone (+58 212 265 3801) or by fax (+58 212 265 9252) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).