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[Document] The Environment Bill

Le ministre de l’Environnement va présenter un de ses plus important projet de loi au Parlement le 2 avril 2024.

The main object of this Bill is to repeal the Environment Protection Act and replace it with a modern legislative framework with a view to ensuring better environmental protection, management and conservation.

The Bill, inter alia, provides for –
(a)the integration and mainstreaming of environmental sustainability inplanning and development through, amongst others, requirements forthe formulation of a National Policy, Strategy and Action Plan onSustainable Development and a National Circular Economy Policy,Strategy and Action Plan every 5 years, with a view to achievingsustainable development and the transition to a green and circulareconomy;
(b)the establishment of an Observatoire de L’Environnement that will actas an interface with stakeholders, including the public on environmentalparameters, for the purpose of environmental protection, managementand conservation, and evaluation of environmental policies;
(c)the introduction of a mechanism to ensure better management andprotection of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) which willfacilitate the coordination amongst different institutions, as well as theestablishment and updating of an ESA inventory and ESA maps;
(d)the enhancement of transparency of the Preliminary EnvironmentalReport (PER) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)mechanisms, as well as the introduction of the Strategic EnvironmentalAssessment (SEA) framework, so that environmental consideration isintegrated into plans and programmes right from the planning stage,and the cumulative impacts are assessed in a holistic approach takinginto consideration the socio-economic interlinkages to ensureenvironmental protection, management and conservation;
(e)the requirement of a completion certificate prior to operating anundertaking, so as to ensure that projects have been effectivelyimplemented in accordance with its PER, EIA or SEA licence or approval;
(f)the establishment of a National Oil Spill Coordination Committee whichwill ensure a prompt, planned and coordinated response to any currentor potential oil spill;
(g)the introduction of a framework for plastic management to achieve theGovernment’s vision for a plastic-free Mauritius, which would caterfor –
(i)a national strategy and action plan for plastic management andsustainable production and consumption of plastics; and
(ii)the enforcement, research and development and publicawareness aspects; and
(h)the strengthening of the existing enforcement and compliancemechanisms for a more effective and efficient application ofenvironmental laws, and to provide for tougher penalties.

Opportunity is also being taken to address shortcomings observed in theEnvironment Protection Act, in particular to ensure a more effective and robustprotection, management and conservation of the environment.

In addition, consequential amendments are being brought to other enactmentsto provide for matters incidental and connected thereto.

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