Year 2000 marked the beginning of Institutional Environmental Law in the Dominican Republic, with the enactment of the General Law on Environment and Natural Resources No. 64-00, which creates two institutions responsible for the management and care of environmental heritage nation, on the one hand the Ministry of Environment and Natural resources as the lead agency for the management of the environment, ecosystems and natural resources and on the other hand the Ombudsman for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources, as specialized branch of the Attorney General’s Office, in charge of pursuing environmental crime and obtain the restoration of the legal environment affected.
Following the enactment of Law 64-00, the Executive created by decree No. 1194 of 13 November 2000, the National Environmental Protection Service or Environmental Police attached to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
The enactment of that law attracted the interest of many Dominicans to know about it. At that date, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo was teaching the Masters in Law and International Relations which included a course on International Environmental Law, given by Dr. Jocasta Valenzuela. Knowledge of international environmental problems aroused the interest of a set attorneys participating in the Masters, to contribute their knowledge and efforts to protect the Environment and Natural Resources as a way to fulfill a social commitment that should have every citizen, and after several meetings to discuss how they could contribute to sustainable development, they finally concluded that they should establish a specialized institution in charge of surveillance and monitoring of compliance with national and international environmental legislation and not just to be vigilant, but became a key player in the demands to the authorities of compliance and submission to violators of environmental laws so that from those concerns was born “The Lawyers Institute for Environmental Protection (INSAPROMA)”, whose main objective is the protection of the environment through the defense and struggle for the establishment and implementation of environmental legislation to be consistent with the preservation of life on the planet.
As of July 30, 2001, the Constitutive General Assembly in which the Statutes were approved and a Board of Directors elected for two years composed of Euren Cuevas Medina, President, José Luis Sosa Aquino, Executive Director, Jorge Lizardo Velez was elected is held, Treasurer, Marcos Rodriguez, Secretary, Juan Arias Fuentes, Director of International Relations, Rommel Santos Diaz, Director of Public Relations and José Manuel Ortiz, External Auditor. On October 15 of that year INSAPROMA was incorporated by Decree 1024.
INSAPROMA is constituted by a General Assembly, a Board of seven (7) members, all lawyers (as) Environmentalists and a group of friends who make up the Ecological Club Friends of INSAPROMA of approximately 80 professionals such as; Lawyers, Agronomists, Forestal Engineers, Biologists, Chemists, etc.
The objectives of this institution are to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the Dominican environmental legislation and international conventions, as well as help create environmental awareness among citizens, through lectures, conferences, courses, advertisements and brochure; motorize and participate in reforestation campaigns and finding resources for institutions dedicated to the protection of the Environment and Natural Resources.
In order to concretize these goals since our inception we have organized and implemented a series of activities that step by step bring us closer to fulfilling our duty as committed to the protection of our natural resources institution.
In our fight against environmental aggressors we have sought many allies such as the Jaragua Group, Ecological Foundation and Social Natura Park, World Ecological Group, Tinglar Ecologist Group, Ecological Society of Cibao, the Community Action Program for the Environment (PACMA) and the Felix Adams Experimental University (UNEFA). With all these institutions we have made reciprocal cooperation agreements committing ourselves to bring us mutual support in the work we do.
Internationally, we are members of the commission of Environmental Law International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), the World Organization NGOs (WANGO) Block of Non Government (BONGs) and the Coalition in Support of the International Criminal Court.
Our educational work has been fruitful, our members have participated as speakers in numerous conferences, symposia and international meetings, and at the national level, we have made more tan 100 educational interventions among which are; courses, workshops, seminars and lectures for judges, prosecutors, provincial directors, presidents of neighborhood associations, members of civil society organizations and citizens in general.
Internationally we have represented the Dominican Republic in many countries, raising in each our voices to raise awareness of the environmental situation of our beautiful island and try to seek joint solutions with other agencies seeking similar results to ours. Amongst the countries we visited are: Hungary, United States of America, Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, among others.
INSAPROMA’s experience in participating in the preparation of environmental laws and research reports is quite ample, for example, can be cited:
- Preparation of preliminary draft Law on Forest Resources.
- Collaboration in the National Congress for the incorporation of the environmental component in the Constitution proclaimed on January 26, 2010.
- Currently the National Congress requested a review to incorporate the service of environmental protection in the bill of Biodiversity.
- We are collaborating with the National Congress in drafting a set of laws such as Biodiversity, Biosafety of Biotechnology, water, payment for environmental services, among others.
- Consulting on Democratic Environmental Governance.
- Consulting on land-based activities that impact the Coastal-Marine area.
- Consultancy “Study on the competence of the municipalities and the Ministry of Environment in the 64-00 and 176-07 Laws”.
- Consulting Synergy between the Conventions Climate Change, Biodiversity, Desertification and Drought.
- From 2009 to mid-2011 Lic. Euren Cuevas, President of INSAPROMA, performed consulting for Environmental Excellence Program and Labor for CAFTA-DR, funded by the Agency of the United States of America for International development (USAID); in this consultancy he has made a comprehensive compilation of national environmental legislation, as well as the most relevant case law on the subject; plus manuals prosecution of environmental crimes and prosecution of environmental crimes were developed.
- Consulting for adapting Management of Climate Change Biodiversity made through the Environmental Law Institute in Washington (ELI) through Mr. Nelson Pimentel on behalf of INSAPROMA. This consultancy resulted in the realization of the “National Dialogue on Political and Legal Instruments to Adapt the Management of Biodiversity Climate Change” in the Senate with the collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, USAID, UASD, Grupo Jaragua, IDDI and Academy of Sciences. In this activity they involved more than 70 experts and technicians in the Environment.
Contributing to the decrease in the greenhouse and working to mitigate climate change the INSAPROMA has made considerable reforestation throughout the national territory, especially those after more rigorous studies need tree planting places. All these have made the reforestations in collaboration with the Plan Quisqueya Verde Ministry of Environment.
During these 10 years we have defended against all instances of Dominican justice and against the interests of the most powerful sectors of society, the right of all living beings to enjoy a healthy environment, examples of these are:
- Participation in the constitutional challenge of Law 202-04 on Protected Area.
- Representation of civil society in the case of Rockash (Transboundary waste transport of pollutants)
- Representation of various institutions in the case of Installing storage tanks of highly flammable chemicals in Playa Gringo, Haina.
- Submitting the municipal authorities of the province of Peravia to justice for leasing the Protected area of Baní Dunes.
- Accompaniment to various institutions of the Province of San Cristobal in the demand for environmental damage caused by extraction of aggregates from the Nizao River.
- Pronouncement against the installation of a cement plant in the protected area within the National Park Haitises.
- Submission against municipal counselor Mr. Isidro Antonio Montesino from Santiago de los Caballeros, for violation of the Constitution, Law 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources, Law 202-04 on Protected Areas Act 176-07 on the municipalities and the National District, Decree No. 571-09, by diverting the river bed and building a house on the fringe of 30 meters prohibited by law.
- Deposit of a complaint against the project of the “Playa Ventosa”, because it was located within Cabarete beach limits (Atlantic Ocean).
- Submission in court against Mr. Denies Eduard, of Jamaican origin, captain of the vessel Pafilia, registration No. 9322853 of Jamaica and the Pafilia Vessel, Jamaican registration No. 9322853 , for violation of the Constitution the Republic, Law 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources and Law 202-04 on protected Areas, entering the “Caleta Underwater Park” and damage corals, this park is declared as a protected area.
- Deposit of court indictment against former AZZURRO CLUB formally CABARETE HOTEL, ESTRELLA DEL MAR and Mr. Ian Schembri and Paulo Rondon Rubini for violation of the law 64-00 on Environment and Natural Resources and 305- 68 which establishes a coastal strip of 60 meters wide on coasts, beaches, rivers, lakes and lagoons of the national territory.
- Deposit of court indictment against TROPICAL LAGUNA HOTEL and Mr. Arnaud Ferrel for violation of the law 64-00 on Environment and Natural Resources and the Law 305-68 that establishes a coastal strip of 60 meters wide on coasts, beaches, rivers, lakes and lagoons of the national territory.
- Deposit by with the Attorney for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources a formal complaint against Barrick Gold Mining, in order to investigate the poisoning of more than 300 workers of this mine.
- Application addressed to the Office of Access to Information of the Ministry of Environment, requesting a certificate indicating whether the license issued to the company Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation for its mining operations in the country is valid.
- Visit by Lic. Euren Cuevas Medina to the facilities of the Pueblo Viejo Mine, Barrick Gold, in the Province Monsignor Nouel, north of the country, invited by the Senate, to obtain explanations about their operations. The project promoters were questioned by senators, the press and civil society, also present was Yvonne Arias of the Jaragua Group.
- Presentation to the Attorney General of the Environment of a complaint acting on behalf of the Jaragua Group, because of repeated cutting of forests in the Lake Enriquillo National Park, Isla Cabrita and Scientific Reserve Loma Charco Azul. Also the complaint is based on the measurement and identification of land in the Biosphere Reserve Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo for the purpose of selling.
In celebration of General Assembly in 2011, we made significant changes to our bylaws and elected the Board for 2011-2013.