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Updated to: 25 February 2015Download as PDF
Country contact on EIA
Contact details for the country contact on EIA.
Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA)
B.P 7436 Kacyiru
History of EIA
Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.
In 2000, the national strategy 'Vision 2020' that aims to transform Rwanda from a low-income to a middle-income country was launched. It called for a well regulated environmental management.The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, adopted in June 2003, ensures the protection and sustainable management of environment and encourages rational use of natural resources. With the Organic Law (No. 04/2005) EIA was introduced into legislation. It requires that projects, programmes and policies that may affect the environment shall be subjected to environmental impact assessment before obtaining authorisation for implementation. In 2006, Guidelines and Procedures for EIA were established to unify the legal requirements with the practical conduct of EIA. The basic requirements for EIA as described in the Organic Law of 2005 (Article 65-70) were then further elaborated through a Ministerial Order No 003/2008, which describes the procedural process for EIA and the Ministerial Order No 004/2008 which defines the types of activities that are subject to EIA.
Year of introduction of EIA legislation
NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base
Legal framework for EIA
Year of introduction of enabling law
Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued
The Organic Law (2005) establishes basic requirements of EIA. In its Article 67 it is promulgated that projects shall be subjected to environmental impact assessment, before obtaining authorisation for its implementation.
Approving authority of enabling law
Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.
The president has approved the Organic Law.
Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA
Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.
In 2008, several ministerial orders were issued by that relate to EIA:
- N° 003/2008: Ministerial Order relating to the requirements and procedure for environmental impact assessment (it further elaborates on the basic requirement for EIA as they had been outlined in the organic law)
- N° 004/2008: Ministerial Order establishing the list of works, activities and projects that have to undertake an environment impact assessment
- N° 005/2008: Ministerial Order establishing modalities of inspecting companies or activities that pollute the environment
The Organic Law sets the legal basis for these orders.
Approving authority of first national detailed regulation for EIA
The authority that approved the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.
The Ministerial orders were approved by the cabinet.
Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation
Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re
No updates have been made.
Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.
Following the enabling law for EIA, the Organic Law (2005), REMA developed General Guidelines and various Sector Guidelines that set the requirements and procedures for EIA studies. These Guidelines are not legally binding but contribute to the practical implementation of EIA.
General Guidelines and procedure for EIA were issued in 2006 by REMA. In 2009, REMA also published Guidelines for Environmental Audit.
Sector-specific guidelines for EIA studies have been developed or are being drafted on the following sectors:
- EIA Guidelines Housing constructions
- EIA Guidelines Roads constructions
- EIA Guidelines Hydropower construction and wastes management
- EIA Guidelines Wetlands management (2010)
- EIA Guidelines Water resources management (2010)
- EIA Guidelines Waste management (2010)
- EIA Draft Guidelines Tanneries (2012)
- EIA Draft Guidelines Agro-processing industries (2012)
- EIA Draft Guidelines Mining activities (2012)
- EIA Draft Guidelines Oil and petrol stations (2012)
- EIA Draft Guidelines Slaughterhouses (2012)
Objective of EIA
The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.
The EIA guidelines mention a broad range of objectives of EIA. Sustainable use of the environment is mentioned as the principal goal of the EIA process. EIA is seen as a tool for sustainable development and poverty reduction in Rwanda, which addresses responsible and equitable use of the environment resources and fostering the commitment for environmental protection. It also ensures that projects take necessary prevention, mitigation and monitoring steps to safeguard them from the high costs of environmental remediation if environmental damage occurs.
From a social standpoint, EIA is meant to incorporate interests of public and private stakeholders, residents and communities in the planning and approval process of projects. This ensures that development policies, plan and activities take into consideration the voice of even most marginalized members of society. Finally, the EIA process is intended to achieve benchmarks and embrace commitment to international environmental conventions agreed upon.
The EIA guidelines further mention a specific immediate aim and a long-term aim:
- Immediate Aim: To inform the process of decision-making by identifying potentially significant environmental effects and risks of development proposals.
- Long-Term Aim: To promote sustainable development by ensuring that development projects do not undermine critical resources and ecological functions or the well-being, lifestyle and livelihood of communities and people who depend on them.
Scope of EIA application
Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)
The EIA guidelines specify that public as well as private projects should be submitted to EIA.
Exemptions from EIA application
Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).
Projects related to national security are exempted from EIA. Such exemptions are now made by RDB.
Institutional setting for EIA
Central EIA authority
Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?
The Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) is the central authority responsible for implementing EIA. The Government of Rwanda established the REMA under Organic Law No.04/2005 of 08/04/2005 Article 64, to coordinate and oversee all aspects of environmental management for sustainable development. REMA is a government organization with distinct legal status and financial and administrative autonomy. It is charged with the administration of many environmental objectives in Rwanda – not just EIA. One of REMA’s principal functions is to oversee the conduct of EIA and take a decision on proposed development projects to be undertaken. The REMA operates under the Ministry of Natural Resources (MINIRENA), which supervises the REMA. It is governed by a board of directors comprising of 7 people that are appointed by the Prime Minister on advice from the Minister responsible for the environnement.
In 2008, however, REMA transfered some of its responsibilities concerning the management of the EIA process to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) while respecting the legal provisions. This was done to facilitate the procedures for establishing businesses, as RDB's work includes the promotion of economic development and investment by the private sector. RDB is undertaking screening, guides developers on assessment procedures, conducts public hearings, reviews EIA reports based on the Terms of Reference (ToR) and takes decisions on approval or disapproval of proposed projects. REMA remains responsible for monitoring implementation of environmental protection measures recommended by EIA studies and the conduct of Environmental Audits.
Remark: As the country profile is mainly based on legal provisions, REMA remains generally mentioned as the responsible authority for the EIA procedures throughout the profile.
Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles
Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.
EIA experts are professionals registered with REMA to undertake impact studies. They help the developer to carry out EIA, design mitigation measures, prepare EIA report, design environmental management and monitoring plans.
Lead agencies such as government ministries or departments have the responsibility for management and protection of environmental resources, public health and socio-economic development. Lead agencies have the responsibility to take part in EIA of projects under their sectors. They provide valuable technical information to EIA experts during EIA studies and are involved in the review process.
The environmental assessment report is reviewed by a Technical Committee. Depending on the nature, location and impact level of the proposed project, the members are selected from the REMA, lead agencies, academic institutions, recognized experts.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MINIRENA) supervises REMA. This ministry is responsible for developing policies, strategies and programs; developing laws and regulations; and mobilizing resources for the economic development of the natural resources sector.
Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation
Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).
Exemptions are made by RDB.
(De)centralisation of EIA mandates
Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen
The Decentralization and Environmental Management Project (DEMP) has been implemented by the Rwanda Government. Among other issues, it aimed to empower districts and to integrate environmental issues into the district development process. Environmental officers at local government level assist in inspecting and monitoring environmental compliance during project implementation.
Overview EIA procedure
Characterizes the overall EIA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the EIA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the EIA procedure? How are they linked to each other? Are there different levels of assessment di
The General Guidelines distinguish the following phases of the EIA process in Rwanda:
- Project Brief Submission and Registration
- Scoping and consideration of alternatives
- Baseline data collection and analysis of initial state
- Impact prediction and analysis of alternatives
- Preparation of EIA Report
- Public hearing
- EIA review
- Environmental Monitoring
Page 38/39 of the EIA Guidelines show flowcharts of the whole EIA process and thus indicate how these individual steps are linked to each other.
The following documents are essential outputs of the whole EIA process: Project Brief used for screening, Scoping report with ToR, EIA Report, Public hearing report, Environmental Management Plan, Report of review, Record of Decision, Implementation and Operation Order (IOO), EIA Certificate of Authorization, Monitoring Reports, Compliance Reports.
Regarding the timing of the EIA process, by law, EIA must be conducted before a developer implements a project
Screening requirement and authority
Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?
Formal screening is required for Rwanda. REMA takes the decision on the level of impact and thus the EIA procedure needed for the project.
Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested
When the Authority receives the Project Brief, it reviews it seeking input from appropriate Lead Agencies and other relevant stakeholders. Based on information in the Project Brief and established project screening criteria, REMA determines whether or not an EIA is required and the developer is accordingly notified.The screening list is provided in the Appendix of the Ministerial Order 04/2008. It gives a list of works, activities and projects that have to undertake an EIA. The screening process is used to categorize the activities into three impact levels. Projects with impact level 1 do not require any further environmental analysis. They are however subjected to a period of public review during which stakeholders may submit written views to the Authority. The ones with level 2 do not require a full EIA but necessitate further level of assessment and the ones with impact level 3 require a full EIA. For some of the listed activities, project criteria are named that determine if specific project are subject to it or not. When it is necessary and evident that the project might have a negative impact on the environment, the REMA has the power to request the project’s owner to conduct an environmental impact assessment even if it does not fall under the screening criteria mentioned in the Ministerial Order.
Provision for sensitive areas
Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)
The ministerial order n°005/16.01 of 15/07/2010 provides a list of plains which are prohibited for construction. Whenever scientific studies reveal the need for other plains that do not fall under this list to be protected from construction, the minister in charge of environment may prohibit construction on those plains.
The ministerial order determines the length of land on shores of lakes and rivers that fall under public property. Such public land shall be a protected area and authorities are not allowed to issue this land as a private property.
Contents of the starting document
Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.
The first step of the EIA process is a developer submitting an application for EIA of a proposed project to REMA in form of a Project Brief. REMA registers the Project Brief as the developer’s formal application for an EIA. The purpose of a Project Brief is to provide sufficient information on the project for the screening process. The general EIA guidelines determine that at a minimum, a Project Brief submitted to the Authority shall contain the following information:
- Name, title and address of developer.
- Name, purpose, objectives and nature of project, including attributes such as size of project, design, activities that shall be undertaken during and after the establishment of the project, products and inputs, sources of inputs, etc.
- Description of the proposed project site and its surroundings and alternative sites, if any,where the project is to be located.
- Description of how the proposed project and its location conform to existing laws, regulations and policies governing such a project and the use of the site/area proposed for its location.
- Any likely environmental impacts that may arise due to implementing various phases/stages of the project and proposed mitigation measures thereto.
- Description of any other alternatives, which are being considered (e.g. siting, technology, construction and operation procedures, sources of raw materials, handling of wastes etc., decommissioning/closure and site restoration).
- Any other information that may be useful in determining the level of EIA required.
Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.
According to the flow chart provided in the EIA General Guidelines, the screening process shall take 10 working days, starting from the EIA application.
Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?
The formulation of the Terms of Reference is a required step of the EIA process as mentioned in the Ministerial Order No. 003/2008.
Describes who carries main responsibility to undertake scoping and what the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties during the process are. Specifically, is there independent formulation and/or review of the scoping document, approval of the scoping document? Are any methods prescribed, e.g. participation, checklists. What guidance is provided?
According to the General Guidelines, scoping is the first step of the environmental impact study phase and requires the input of relevant Lead Agencies, stakeholders and the developer to determine what should be included in the study and the alternatives to be considered. An important step of the scoping procedure involves the formulation of the Terms of Reference (ToR). Any relevant comments raised by the public after review of Project Briefs of IL-3 and IL-2 projects will also be incorporated in the ToR. The Ministerial Order No. 003/2008 implies that REMA shall submit the ToR to the developer, but that the developer may also prepare the ToR provided they are approved by the authority before conducting the study. At the end of the scoping exercise, the scoping report produced is submitted to REMA for review. When ToR have been approved by REMA, they are sent to the developer as authorisation to commence the environment impact assessment study.
Contents of the scoping document
Explains if there are there specific requirements for the content of the scoping document, and if so, what these are.
Scoping includes the formulation of the Terms of References (ToR). According to the General EIA Guidelines, these shall include:
- Issues to be assessed during the impact study, as identified during scoping,
- Sufficient description of the specific work tasks for the EIA Experts,
- Stakeholders to be consulted,
- Description of the experts required for the impact study.
After determining the ToR, a scoping report is produced and reviewed.
Number of (working) days for the decision on approval of the scoping document by the competent authority.
The Ministerial Order 03/2008 specifies that within 30 calendar days after the starting document has been received and after its analysis (screening phase), the REMA shall submit the Terms of Reference to the project developer for the environmental impact study.
Assessment and reporting
Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.
The Ministerial order 03/2008 specifies that the proponent shall select the experts for conducting the EIA study from a list of experts that is published by the Ministry in charge of the environment. REMA ensures that the experts chosen by the developer to undertake the study have appropriate specializations for doing so. The General EIA Guidelines specify the environmental assessment process leading to the EIA report. During the investigation phase of the EIA process, the initial state of the environment is firstly analysed, using scientific data, photographs of the area, or any other geophysical recordings. Furthermore, potential socio-environmental impacts are identified and analysed. This includes environmental, social and economic impacts. Also, mitigation measures are identified, viable alternatives are considered and a schedule and details for a monitoring system is developed. Thereafter, EIA experts produce an Environmental Impact Report which includes an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and submits it to the developer. The developer reviews the report and can, if found to be necessary, attach a supplementary addendum with additional information to the report.
Thereafter, the developer submits the report to the REMA.
Contents of the EIA report
Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.
The EIA experts shall compile the results from the assessment study in an Environmental Impact Report. This document should provide the Authority with sufficient information to
objectively appraise and either approve or disapprove of a proposed project.
The Article 68 of the Organic Law (2005) defines the aspect that the EIA shall indicate in general. Appendix 3 of the General EIA Guidelines provides more detailed information about the requirements for the EIA report content. It mentions that the following issues should be included in the report:
- Executive summary of the EIA report
- Objectives of the project, including ideas, intentions and particular objectives.
- Description of the proposal and its alternatives.
- Discussion on the proposal and its relation to relevant policies, laws and programmes (sectoral and regional).
- Description of present (baseline) environmental state (analysis of initial state).
- Impact assessment. In this section, the spatial and temporal scope of the impacts and characteristics of different impacts (whether positive or negative, direct or indirect, their intensity, extent and significance) should be presented for the project and also for all alternatives considered.
- Evaluation and comparison of alternatives and selection of one that is environmentally suitable.
- Impact management and environmental monitoring plan (EMP).
- Annex where tables, drawings, maps, documents and information used as reference should be presented.
Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review
The Organic Law (2005) determines that the REMA or any other person given a written authorisation by the Authority shall examine and approve the EIA. According to the Ministerial Order 003/2008 the REMA shall analyse the EIA report to verify its conformity to the Terms of Reference. The REMA will also check the document for completeness before passing them on to lead agencies and stakeholders for review. Copies are forwarded to relevant lead agencies, local governments and general public for them to provide comments that would be useful for making a final decision about approval of the proposed project.
Within REMA, EIA documents are reviewed by two committees, namely; a Technical Committee and an Executive Committee. EIA documents submitted to REMA are first reviewed by a Technical Committee. The Technical Committee appointed by the Director General of REMA reviews technical aspectsaspects of the EIA report, Public Hearing Report and if applicable, the Environmental Impact Report Addendum.
The EIA documents are then also reviewed by the Executive Committee, which makes the final decision on acceptability of a proposed project. The review by Executive Committee shall emphasize implications of identified impacts, their mitigation
measures and input from public hearings. Regarding the impacts, the review will mainly focus on the consideration and choice of alternatives, while for mitigation measures, the decision would be based on their effectiveness.
Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?
The review procedure of the EIA report involves external parties. The REMA passes copies of the EIA report to relevant lead agencies, local governments and the general public and gives them the possibility to comment on the report. Furthermore, in the two committees conducting in the review process, external parties can be involved. For the Technical Committee, members can be selected from lead agencies, academic institutions, recognized experts. The selection of members depends on the nature, location and impact level of the proposed project. Also, one member of the Executive Committee is a representative of a relevant lead agency.
Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.
According to the Ministerial order 03/2008, Article 8, the REMA shall accept the EIA report or request for additional information from the developer within 20 working days. These timeline of 20 days may be extended by REMA. If a public hearing is held an additional 30 days can be required from the date of the public hearing notification.
Integration of EIA into decision-making
Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.
When the review of EIA documents is completed, the Executive Committee shall decide to either approve the project with or without conditions, or reject it. The public hearing report and environmental impact report are used for taking this decision, which is expressed in a Record of Decision document. If the project is approved through a Record of Decision, two permitting documents are issued: an Implementation and Operations Order (IOO) and an EIA Certificate of Authorization.
The Director in charge of EIA within the REMA will issue an Implementation and Operations Order (IOO) to the developer. This legal order specifies compliance terms and conditions to be met during project implementation and operation. These conditions are based on information from the EIA Report and Public Hearing Report and shall indicate requirements for implementation, impact mitigation and environmental monitoring. An EIA Certificate of Authorization granting permission to begin development shall not be issued until a developer agrees to these conditions.
The REMA will issue the EIA Certificate of Authorization for the developer which authorizes the proponent to implement the project.
Besides the EIA Certificate building permit and an investment certificate are also required before the project can be implemented.
Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.
The General Guidelines state that the Executive Committee takes the decision on the EIA report approval. The Committee also makes the final decision on acceptability of a proposed project through formulating the Record of Decision. The IOO and the EIA Certificate of Authorization are issued by REMA, however, the decisions to do so depend on the project approval decisions taken by the Executive Committee.
Mentions if the decision (on EIA approval and/or environmental approval) is linked to certain documents (e.g. environmental management plan, permit conditions) in order to facilitate the management of environmental risks during project implementation. Also describes if commitments of the proponent are incorporated into legally binding instruments.
An EIA Certificate of Authorization is only issued if the proponent accepts the terms and conditions of the IOO regarding the project implementation and operation. Also, the certificate allows the implementation of the project only in accordance with mitigation measures in the EIA Report and any additional conditions that the REMA might consider necessary.
Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).
A Record of Decision shall be prepared by the Executive Committee and issued to the developer. The Ministerial Order No. 003/2008 promulgates that the decision is communicated to the developer in writing and it specifies that this letter shall include a decision justification in relation to EIE.
Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?
No legal provisions are made for the publication of the record of the decision.
Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).
According to the EIA General Guidelines, a time span of 30 working days is allocated to the decision-making process and another 15 working days for the formulation of the Record of Decision document.
Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement
Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p
According to Rwanda’s General Guidelines, monitoring should be done during both construction and operation phase of the project. According to the EIA guidelines, a project shall be considered non-compliant if
• Higher than regulatory levels of impact in at least one parameter have occurred,
• Appropriate mitigation measures as agreed in the implementation terms and conditions
are not implemented,
• Monitoring records are not kept and reported to REMA,
• Directions of the Authority to mitigate environment impacts are overlooked,
• No EIA Certificate of Authorization from REMA was obtained,
• Designated environmental inspectors are denied access to project premises.
The monitoring system that is required is a dual level process. It is executed by both the proponent and REMA.
The proponent must undertake self-monitoring, self record-keeping and self-reporting. The proponent must measure specific environmental indicators determined by the national standards in effect, sectoral regulations, and any other relevant legislation. The information the proponent gathers through self-monitoring must be forwarded to REMA on an annual basis.
According to the General Guidelines, the proponent and REMA must jointly implement and monitor environmental performance in accordance with the impact mitigation plan described in the EIA Report. Monitoring must follow a plan that specifies a schedule for inspecting and reporting performance and compliance data. The monitoring plan must specify responsibilities and identify key performance indicators, the impacts to be monitored, and threshold levels above which the impacts are significant. Both REMA and the relevant Lead Agencies must review the monitoring reports on an ongoing basis and provide advice to the project proponent concerning measures necessary to abate any ongoing impacts.
The General Guidelines state that the REMA shall also undertake parallel monitoring to the developer, but on an impromptu basis.
In cases where REMA needs to verify the accuracy of information that facility owners (proponents) provide in monitoring reports, REMA’s inspectors must undertake on site measurements to collect data. After comparing data obtained through the site visit with the proponent’s own data, REMA must draft a monitoring report (known as the Compliance Report) indicating whether the proponent’s data is consistent and if the proponent is in compliance.
If the two sets of data are found to be inconsistent, REMA will repeat its monitoring of those indicators found to be inconsistent. If the repeat on site measurements confirm that the proponent is not in compliance, REMA will take steps to ensure that the proponent takes corrective action and must oversee the proponent’s ongoing self-monitoring program. Environmental officers at local government level assist in inspecting and monitoring environmental compliance during project implementation.
Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?
The regulation does not give specific provisions about the monitoring by external parties.
Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)
The General Guidelines promulgate that notwithstanding any licence, permit or approval granted under any law or government agency, projects found to be non-compliant shall be charged with an offence, can be penalised, can have its EIA Certificate of Authorization withdrawn or can be temporarily or permanently closed.
Are there any requirements to monitor if the impacts in reality are as they were predicted in the EIA, with the purpose of evaluating the EIA itself and improving future EIA practice?
The General Guidelines provide requirements for EIA evaluation monitoring activities. They state that monitoring is done not just to ensure that approval conditions are complied with but also to observe whether the predictions made in the EIA reports are correct or not. The Guidelines specify that where impacts exceed levels predicted in the environmental impact study, corrective action should be taken. Monitoring also enables REMA to review validity of predictions and conditions of implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).
Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?
Article 69 of the Organic Law (No. 04/2005 of 08/04/2005) indicates that environment impact assessment shall be carried out at the expense of the developer. Upon project approval, a developer is required to pay an administrative fee to the environmental fund (FONERWA) to be determined as a percentage of the estimated cost of the investment.
Public participation requirements for EIA process stages
Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.
The Organic Law requires that the public must be informed and consulted on a proposed development. Also, Article 9 of Ministerial Order No. 003/2008 states that stakeholders must be given the opportunity to comment on the environmental impact report and express their views concerning the impact of the proposed project. According to the General EIA Guidelines, there are three major stages at which public involvement occurs in the EIA process: (1) before commencing an EIA study, (2) as part of a public consultation phase that occurs during the study, and (3) after completion of the EIA report.
- After receiving a Project Brief, REMA determines in collaboration with a lead agency whether a public hearing is necessary.
- During the EIA study the public is further consulted by EIA experts. This is particulary done during the Scoping process and any other crucial stages considered necessary by the Authority.
- After the EIA report has been submitted, it is published by REMA and copies are made for relevant stakeholders. As part of the review process of the EIA report, a public hearing and post-public hearing consultations can be held, if deemed necessary by REMA.
Public participation arrangements
Relevant information regarding the arrangements for public participation are provided here (e.g. who is responsible for it, who is consulted, does the legislation mention consultation or participation, for which project should consultations be held, are public hearings held etc.)
The General Guidelines recognize several ways for public participation. They mention that it depends on circumstances of each EIA which of the following methods are considered appropriate:
- Public review of Environmental Impact Report,
- Informal group meetings with local community groups and leaders,
- Public displays or bulletin boards posted in communities,
- Public notification and calls for written comments on proposed project/activities,
- Participation in scoping processes,
- Survey of a groups or individuals who are representative of the various interests being affected by a proposal,
- Consultation with focus groups to identify issues specific to certain stakeholders,
- Comment and review of the EIA,
- Distribution of relevant documents to the interested members of the public.
Under the provisions of the Ministerial Order, REMA generally is responsible for managing the public hearing process and providing publicity for the hearing. Where a lead agency is the developer, the REMA will organize the public hearings. For private projects, they are organized by the private developers. During a public hearing, the developer will be given time to deliver a presentation to stakeholders, describing the project, perceived impacts and proposed mitigation measures.
For completeness, the developer may also discuss findings of the impact assessment study. If a public hearing is held during scoping, the developer should be available to describe the project, potential impacts and proposed mitigation measures to stakeholders. Developers may adopt their legal counsels or EIA experts as either principal or secondary speakers during presentation at public hearings. On completion of this process, REMA compiles a public hearing report.
More detailed guidelines for public hearings are provided in Chapter 6 of the General guidelines.
Public participation guidance
Has any guidance on participation been provided?
The Chapter 6 of the General Guidelines for EIA specify the procedures for public hearings.
Access to information
Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?
The EIA report is made available to the public and also the Policy Brief in case the REMA decides that a public hearing shall be held at that stage already.
How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.
Both the Ministerial Order and the General Guidelines specify requirements for public notice, and the requirements for publicizing project proposals are similar, but not in precise agreement. The Ministerial Order, which was issued later, requires publishing the project proponent’s name and address as well as the project details using at least one of the following means to provide notice of the day, time and venue for the public hearing:
(i) Publishing a notice twice in any local newspapers;
(ii) Running four (4) radio announcements;
(iii) Putting up posters at the site of the proposed development.
Timeline for public comments
The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.
Not specified in legislation
Costs for public
Are there any specified costs public parties will incur if they partake in EIA?(e.g. costs for the receiving report, costs of losing an appeal, etc. Costs associated with travel to meetings or such are not included here)
The Ministerial Order 003/2008 promulgates that the REMA shall cover all the costs that result from a public hearing.
What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?
Different ways for public participation are chosen for different projects. In general, the public has the possibility to provide oral comments in case public hearings are held. The General EIA Guidelines further mention that after the EIA report has been published the public shall forward written or oral comments to the REMA, which then can decide to consider them for their review process.
Public comments in decision-making
Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?
The comments of the public are considered in different stages of the EIA process. The EIA Guidelines determine how REMA shall react to public comments on the EIA report during the review process. They stipulate that once REMA is satisfied with particular concerns of the public,it shall require the developer to carry out a more in-depth study of specific aspects of contention in order to take into account all the necessary measures to address the issues raised by the public. They also specifically mention that where a lead agency or government ministry / department is the developer, the same process and requirements have to be held. REMA will then present the written requirements concerning necessary steps to address issues of mitigation and compliance to the ministry/department which undertakes the development project.
Furthermore, the EIA General Guidelines promulgate that REMA shall consider public views when deciding whether or not to approve a proposed project. The Public Hearing Report further shall be considered for the formulation of the IOO conditions.
Possibilities for appeal
What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?
Ministerial Order 03/2008 state that in case a project is not approved, a developer may appeal against the decision of the Authority to the Ministry in charge of environment. This has to be done within 30 working days from the date of the decision notification.
The appeal file shall contain the following:
a) A duly signed petition;
b) Copy of the record of decision;
c) Any other document deemed relevant.
Where necessary, the Ministry may use an independent expert to analyze the developer’s appeal, however the costs involved are incurred by the developer. The Ministry shall communicate its decision in writing to the developer after analyzing his/her appeal.
According to the General EIA Guidelines, if REMA rejects a proposed project after reviewing an environment impact report, the developer can abandon the project, improve and resubmit a revised EIA report or appeal to the Minister for environment as follows:
- The developer shall appeal in writing, stating all facts and grounds of the appeal.
- All relevant documents or their copies, which are certified by a Commissioner of Oaths as true documents, must accompany the appeal.
- The Minister shall, after considering all relevant facts and supporting documents, uphold the original decision outright, with modification or reverse the decision.
- If the developer successfully appeals against the Authority’s decision, the Authority is obliged to issue a revised Record of Decision to the developer.
Decisions that can be appealed
Which EIA decisions can be appealed?
The Record of Decision which indicates the EIA approval as well as the project approval decision can be appealed.
Who can appeal
Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?
The proponent can make an appeal.
Annual no. of EIAs
Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.
In 2011, 113 projects with high impacts were subjects to EIA.
Central EIA database
Is there a central database or library where information on EIAs is kept (i.e. where all EIAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?
REMA maintains a registry of all projects that have been approved and those being appraised under the EIA requirements.
Accreditation of consultants
Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?
The Ministerial order 03/2008 specifies that the proponent shall select the experts for conducting the EIA study from a list of experts that is published by the Ministry in charge of the environment. The project proponent has, however, the possibility to propose an expert for conducting the EIA whose name is not on the published list to the REMA. The REMA will then decide if the proposal is granted.
Professional bodies relevant to EIA practice in the country, such as EIA Associations, Environmental Expert Associations, etc are listed here.
Secretariat for Environmental Assessment in Central Africa (SEEAC)
P.O BOX: 30465 Yaounde, CAMEROON
Office 1: (237) 22 20 39 89
Office 2: (237) 22 01 57 41
Fax: (237) 22 20 39 89
Association pour la Promotion des Etudes d’Impacts Environnementaux au Rwanda (APEIER)
Ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events) are mentioned here.
Rwanda is part of the Central African Capacity Development programme undertaken by the NCEA.
Rwanda participates in the UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI). From 2005 onwards various capacity building activities, trainings and workshops were held as part of this programme of which some were directly related to environmental assessment.
Links to laws/regulation
Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.
- Organic Law (2005) (English text page 24-45)
- General guidelines and procedure for EIA (2006)
- Ministerial orders containing detailed regulations on EIA (2008)
Other relevant links on EIA
Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.
Sector-specific EIA guidelines:
- Guidelines for EIA for waste management (2009)
- Guidelines for EIA for water resources management (2009)
- Guidelines for EIA for wetland management (2009)