Legal Framework

The Constitution is the supreme law of S. Tomé and Príncipe. The sections of the Constitution most directly related to environmental and social management include, but are not limited to:

  • Article 47°- Private property. Article 47 guarantees everyone the right to own private property and to transfer it in life and after death; the requisition and expropriation of that property for public purposes can only be carried out on the basis of law.
    The Civil Code, in its Article 1308°, also stipulates that no one may be deprived of their right to property, in whole or in part, except in cases defined by law. Whenever there is expropriation in the public interest, adequate compensation must be paid to the owner(s).
    Article 49 – Housing and environment. Article 49 provides that everyone has the right to housing and a humane environment, also guaranteeing everyone the right and duty to defend these rights. In the spirit of the Constitution, all environmental laws allow citizens to have access to natural resources and use them for sustainable economic and social development, contributing to the acquisition of financial means aimed at fighting poverty, conserving biodiversity and protecting resources. biological.
    Article 43° – Workers' rights. Article 43 guarantees all workers the right to fair remuneration and to work in a healthy and safe environment.
Based on these guidelines comes the basic law of the environment, law Law n.º 10/1999. This law creates the legal/legal framework for environmental management in the Democratic Republic of S. Tomé and Príncipe and is of capital importance because it defines the bases of the environmental policy for sustainable development and establishes the principles that guide the Democratic Republic of S. Tomé and Príncipe, within the framework of the Political Constitution and the Declaration of Rio de Janeiro, on Environment and Development.
It offers an overview of the various mechanisms and instruments needed for sustainable development, such as preliminary impact assessment, limits on polluting activities, strategic plans for development and/or protection of important natural resources in economic or conservation terms, etc. Among the legal instruments, the following stand out:

  • Decree No. 37 / 1999, Environmental Impact Assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment). Article 5 of this law requires an initial assessment of the environment. Annex 1 of the same provides a summary of the type of projects for which an additional environmental assessment is required. The same is applicable for the exploitation of building materials (rock, sand).
  • Decree n.º 35 / 1999, Law on the Extraction of Aggregates. Exploitation of solids, as a building material, requires a license, to be obtained from the Ministry of Defense. This ordinance is specifically oriented towards the exploitation of material from coastal areas and rivers.
  • Decree No. 36/1999, Decree on Waste. Legislation regarding solid waste.
And then other laws were elaborated based on the principles described by the basic law of the environment, such as:
  • Law No. 11/1999, Fauna, Flora and Protected Areas Conservation Law. Fauna, Flora and Law for the Conservation of Protected Areas.
  • Law No. 9/2001, Law on Fisheries and Halieutic Resources. Law on Fisheries and Fishing Resources.
  • Law No. 5/2001, Forest Law.
  • Law n.º 6/2006, Obô National Park Law of São Tomé.
  • Law n.º 6/2007, Law of the Natural Park of Principe.
New challenges
 With the passage of time and the development of society, as well as the emergence of new challenges linked to climate change and the loss of natural heritage, the country has been updating these legal documents to face the new challenges. Some examples can be highlighted such as:
  • Law No. 09/2022, -Fisheries and Aquaculture Law
  • Law No. 9/2020 Approving the Legal Regime for Exploitation and Extraction of Inert Materials.
  • Decree Law No. 01/2016 Approves the Regulation on Hunting.
  • Law No. 7/218- Framework Law for Water Resources
  • Decree Law No. 1/2020 Approves the Regulation Establishing the Special and Transitory Regime for the Acquisition of Energy from Renewable Sources
São Tomé, 26 de Julho de 2023