Zanzibar (Tanzania)

Profile General | EIA profile | SEA profile
See also Webpages (8) | Projects (2) | Library (0)
Zanzibar (Tanzania)

EIA profile

Updated to: 16 June 2014

Download as PDF

Country contact

EIA is the responsibility of Zanzibar's Department of Environment (DoE):

The First Vice President's Office
Department of Environment
P.O. Box 2808

History of ESIA

EIA was first mentioned in Zanzibar's legal documents in 1992, as part of the National Environmental Policy. More detailed provisions followed in the Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Act No.2 (1996). The same Act stipulated that detailed procedural regulations were to be issued within six months after the law came into force. In reality, however, this process took six years: in 2002 the Environment Impact Assessment (Procedures) Regulations came into force.

The most recent addition to EIA legislation in Zanzibar is the new Zanzibar Environmental Policy (2013), which states that the government will ensure incorporation of environmental assessment into procedures for designing and implementing development programs, plans, policies and projects. Implementation strategies mentioned in the Policy are:

  • promotion of the application of EIA and SEA;
  • strengthening of public awareness on the application of environmental assessment tools;
  • enhancement of monitoring programmes and assessment for the state of the environment.

The main difference between this environmental policy and the 1992 policy is that not only EIA, but also SEA is mentioned.

ESIA procedure

to the top

Overview ESIA procedure

The EIA procedure in Zanzibar is visualized above. DoE takes a screening decision based on an Initial Environmental Report (IER) prepared by the proponent, and requests further information if necessary. The proponent is responsible for scoping, preparing Terms of Reference for the EIA, and preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS, or EIA report) while facilitating public participation in the process. DoE reviews the EIS - and arranges public participation in the review process - and takes a decision on permitting (requesting more information if necessary), including approval or disapproval of the EIS. In case of disapproval, the proponent has the right to appeal. In case of approval, an EIS certificate is granted and the proponent can start implementing the project. DoE is responsible for monitoring and auditing during implementation, until decommissioning by the proponent.


Screening process

Screening is required. DoE is the screening authority.

The Environmental Management Act includes a list of activities for which EIA is not required unless DoE decides otherwise (Schedule 1), including for example domestic activities, small-scale businesses, small-scale rainfed agriculture, air charter services, and basic infrastructure maintenance. The Act also includes a list of activities for which EIA is in all cases obligatory (Schedule 2), including activities such as the development of major residential areas, operation of a power generation plant, oil refinery, water supply or waste disposal system, development of a port, development of a large hotel, etcetera. Such activities may directly proceed to the scoping stage of the EIA procedure.

For all other activities than those on the two lists, the Act stipulates that a starting document needs to be prepared by the proponent, after which the institution responsible for the environment (DoE) shall determine to either:

  • approve the activity via a Letter of Approval and issue an EIA certificate without further examinations (if necessary with conditions);
  • request more information on the basis of which an EIA certificate can be issued;
  • refuse the project via a Letter of Refusal including reasons for non-permission; or
  • require an Environmental Impact Statement (i.e. an EIA report that results from an EIA procedure), as stated in a letter titled Results of Screening.

The latter is necessary when it appeared during this screening process that the activity has a significant impact on the environment. This is the case if it would, by itself or cumulatively with other activities:

  • use major amounts of living/nonliving resources;
  • result in large quantities of and/or hazardous types of waste;
  • modify the environment on a large scale, especially in the coastal area;
  • influence population shifts in major ways;
  • affect environmentally sensitive areas; or
  • have other specific characteristics as described in the Act. 

Sensitive areas

The 'Schedule 2' list, which indicates activities that require EIA, includes activities aiming at the development of 'environmentally sensitive areas, including forests, mangroves, small islets and water catchments'. It also includes activities aiming at the gazetting of existing protected areas.

Contents of the starting document

According to the Environmental Management Act, the starting document for screening, provided by the proponent of the activity, should state:

  • the nature of the activity;
  • activities (incl. production process) to be undertaken;
  • proposed location (incl. size, current uses, etc.);
  • quantities of inputs required (incl. water and chemicals);
  • number of people to be employed;
  • expected products and by-products;
  • expected waste products (incl. quantity and proposed treatment/disposal methods)
  • any other matters as may be prescribed.

As part of the SMOLE programme, Environmental Screening Process Forms have been drafted to support the screening process. Their use is not mandatory.

Timeline Screening

The document Procedures for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar indicates timeframes for various stages of the EIA procedure. Its legal status is however unclear. According to these Procedures, DoE should undertake a screening based on the starting document within ten days after the proponent's notification to DoE of the plan to undertake EIA. A screening statement should be produced within another ten days after screening.


Scoping process

The  Environmental Management Act (1996) states that the EIA scoping procedure shall be prescribed in regulations under the Act. Such regulations are indeed provided in the EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002. This document indicates that scoping shall be done in order to identify significant issues related to the proposed activity, and that the scoping procedure entails the following, to be executed by the proponent:

  • determination of scope and significant issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIA report;
  • identification of non-significant issues, including summaries for discussion;
  • allocation of assignments for preparation of the EIA report among proponent and cooperating agencies;
  • indication of other environmental assessments that are related to but not part of the scope of the current EIA report;
  • indication of relationship between timing of environmental analyses and the proponent's tentative planning.

Legal documents do not discuss publication, review, approval and public participation of the scoping document.

DoE is responsible for scoping, but should invite the proponent to participate. Consultants can be asked to assist, at the expense of the proponent.

Contents of the scoping document

The scoping document should indicate at least the following, according to the Environmental Management Act:

  • specific issues of those identified in the scoping process that should be emphasized in the EIA report;
  • persons to be consulted during the EIA procedure;
  • methodologies to be used for data collection and analysis.

The Act indicates that the institution responsible for the environment (DoE) shall determine the scope of the EIA report in agreement with the proponent of the activity.

Timeline scoping

The Procedures for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar indicate that DoE should undertake scoping and produce a scoping report between ten and twenty (working) days after the screening statement. A Terms of Reference for the EIA report should be produced by DoE in the same timeframe.


Assessment process

The EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002 and the Procedures for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar describe the EIA procedure in detail. The following stages are described:

  1. The Terms of Reference (one of the products of the scoping procedure), prepared by DoE, is submitted to the project proponent within ten days after finalization of the scoping procedure;
  2. The proponent submits to DoE a number of curriculum vitae of those who are proposed to form the team of experts for the EIA report, within ten days after receiving the Terms of Reference;
  3. DoE informs the proponent with five or ten days after receiving the curriculum vitae (different regulations mention different timeframes) of the approval or disapproval of the proposed team of experts;
  4. After approval of the team of experts, the proponent should submit an Environmental Impact Statement (or EIA report) to DoE within two to six months.

In any case, the EIA report shall be prepared 'early enough so that it can serve practically as an important contribution to the decision making process and will not be used to rationalize or justify decisions already made'.

Contents of the EIA report

An EIA report should include the following elements. 

  • description of the proposed activity;
  • description of the environment that could be affected;
  • description of real and practical alternatives;
  • assessment of likely/potential environmental impacts of the activity and alternatives (including direct, indirect, cumulative, short- and long-term effects);
  • assessment of measures to mitigate adverse environmental impacts and enhance environmental benefits of the activity and alternatives;
  • explanation of methodology and data interpretation;
  • citation of available data and documents, and indication of knowledge gaps;
  • citation of affected persons and contacted communities;
  • summary of the above information in Kiswahili (the language most widely understood by inhabitants of Zanzibar); and
  • any other relevant information as may be prescribed.

The EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002 contain further requirements for the EIA report:

  • it should be analytic and specific in the project location;
  • highly significant impacts should be explained in detail, less significant impacts should be briefly mentioned;
  • it should be concise and no longer than absolutely necessary - depending on potential environmental problems and project size;
  • it should indicate to what extent the selected project option is or is not the best among alternatives and how it corresponds with other environmental laws and policies;
  • alternatives and mitigation options discussed in the report should include those to be considered by the ultimate decision-maker;
  • it should serve as an assessment of environmental impacts leading to approval or disapproval of the project.
Accreditation of consultants

An EIS shall be undertaken by experts whose names and qualifications are approved by the institution responsible for the environment.


Review process

The institution responsible for the environment (DoE) is responsible for reviewing the submitted EIA report.

The Environmental Management Act indicates that the following should be taken into consideration in reviewing:

  • the balance between short- and long-term positive and negative environmental effects;
  • the nature of the activity and how it could meet environmental standards;
  • possible mitigation alternatives or other remedial measures;
  • possible enhancement alternatives or other beneficial measures; and
  • comments received on the EIA report.

After the review process, the EIA report is graded by means of a percentage that indicates its quality. The Criteria for Evaluating Adequacy of EIA Reports provide guidelines for ascribing these scores. A percentage between 80 and 100, for example, indicates that the report is 'excellent', with 'no task left incomplete', while a percentage between 60 and 70 indicates 'satisfactory despite omissions and inadequacies'. If overall performance is below 60%, revision of the EIA report is required.

If DoE deems it necessary for its review, it may request for additional information from the proponent (in the form of documents, plans, site visits, etc.). The proponent is obliged to deliver the requested information in the specified timeframe, and risks disapproval of its application for an EIA certificate if it refuses to do so.

Review expertise

DoE is responsible for review of the EIA report. Use of external expertise is not mentioned in any of the legal documents.

Timeline Review

The Environmental Management Act stipulates that the review of the EIA report should be conducted within thirty days after the comments period (see under 'Public Participation') has ended. The Procedures for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar indicate the following timeframes:

  • Twenty days for review of the EIA report by DoE after its submission;
  • Five days for a request by DoE for additional information (if necessary);
  • Twenty days for submission of this additional information by the proponent after DoE's request.

Decision making

to the top

Integration of ESIA into decision-making

When the review of the EIA report is finalized, DoE makes a decision based on the report. Three decisions are possible:

  • approval of the activity and issuance of an EIA certificate, if necessary with conditions;
  • request for more information, including reasons and indication of a timeframe;
  • disapproval of the activity and refusal of an EIA certificate, including recommendation to the licensing institution that the activity shall not be allowed to proceed.

This decision is strongly based on the results of the EIA procedure. The Environmental Management Act indicates the following as criteria for disapproval of the activity:

  • the activity is likely to result in significant adverse environmental impacts; and
  • there are no alternatives which can mitigate or remedy these impacts.

EIA approval and environmental approval result in an EIA certificate, which is necessary for the proponent to receive a permit or licence for its activity. The  Environmental Management Act indicates that:

No licensing institution shall issue a licence, permit, certificate, or other form of approval for an activity which is likely to have a significant impact on the environment unless an EIA certificate has been issued for the activity.

Decision justification

The legal documents do not contain requirements for justification of the decision based on the EIA.

Timeline decision-making

According to the Procedures for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar, DoE should take its decision for approval or disapproval of the activity within fourteen (working) days after receiving the final EIA report.

Follow up

to the top

Compliance monitoring

The Environmental Management Act requires that the EIA certificate imposes conditions to ensure that implementation of the activity complies with the Act. DoE is obliged to carry out periodic audits of each activity to monitor fulfilments of these conditions and can make use of external expertise to fulfil this monitoring obligation. The proponent of the activity is required to submit any records or reports requested by DoE for purposes of compliance monitoring.

Non-compliance penalties

If monitoring shows non-compliance with the conditions in the EIA certificate, the Environmental Management Act stipulates that the certificate holder shall:

  • take all reasonable measures to mitigate these effects;
  • report such measures to DoE; and
  • pay a fine imposed by DoE for non-compliance.

If additional monitoring (after a reasonable period of time following the initial monitoring) reveals continued non-compliance, DoE shall impose an additional fine, revoke the EIA certificate, and report this to the relevant licensing institution.

An additional measure to prevent non-compliance is the use of environmental performance bonds, as described in the EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002 and in the Environmental Management Act. Any party undertaking an activity under an EIA certificate is obliged to deposit a 'performance bond' equal to 10% of the total project investment in the account of (at that time) the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Cooperatives. This serves as a guarantee that the proponent will carry out the project with due regard to the environment, since it is only refunded to the depositor when compliance with environmental conditions is shown. DoE can decide to confiscate the total or a part of the performance bond when it finds that the proponent's activities violate the provisions of the Environmental Management Act or the conditions of a certificate/license/permit issued under the Act.

Stakeholder engagement

to the top

Public participation requirements for ESIA process stages

According to the Environmental Management Act, public participation is only required for review of the (draft) EIA report. The EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002 however indicate that:

In appropriate circumstances the [Environmental Impact] statements may follow preliminary hearings designed to gather information for use in the statements.

Public participation via public hearings before preparation of the draft EIA report is therefore recommended, but not mandatory.

The institution responsible for the environment (DoE) shall ensure that consultation is facilitated after receiving the EIA report. DoE needs to do the following:

circulate the EIA report to relevant government bodies for written comments;
notify the public of the time and place for reviewing the report and submitting written comments; and
solicit the written comments of the people who will be affected by the project.

Only written comments can be used by the public to express their opinions on the EIA report. These are to be solicited by DoE.

Public comments should be taken into account as review criteria for the EIA report - hence they are used in approval of the report. Otherwise there are no requirements for justification of approval of the EIA report or the project itself based on public comments.

The legal documents do not mention any costs for the public associated with participation in the EIA procedure.

Timeline for public comments

The Environmental Management Act indicates that public comments on the EIA report can be submitted during a period which should be between twenty and thirty days, starting on the moment that all relevant persons have been notified.

Access to information

Only the EIA report needs to be made available to the public. 

The EIA report needs to be shared with the public 'by any appropriate means'. According to the Procedures for Conducting EIA and Environmental Audit in Zanzibar, DoE should do this within ten days after submission of the report. The EIA Guidelines and Procedures (draft version, 2009) however mention a timeframe of five days.


to the top

Possibilities for appeal

Only the project proponent and the relevant licensing institution can appeal a decision on project approval. If the party:


  • disagrees with DoE's disapproval of the activity; or
  • considers the conditions included in the EIA certificate awarded by DoE unfeasible to such an extent that they are equivalent to disapproval of the activity.

If a party wants to make use of this option, the following steps should be followed:

  1. the party who wishes to appeal a decision notifies DoE within seven (working) days after receipt of the decision;
  2. DoE refers the matter to the Minister for decision within fourteen working days after submission, including all information compiled during the application process and DoE's recommendation;
  3. The Minister decides whether to approve or disapprove the proposed activity, and may choose to invite public comments and/or take into consideration other national policies as part of this decision-making process;
  4. The Minister states reasons for approving or disapproving the activity and shows that the recommendation and information provided by DoE has been used in this decision.

If the appealing party is dissatisfied with the Minister's decision, further appeal to the Committee of the Revolutionary Council on Environment is possible. This Committee is the highest decision-making body on environmental matters in Zanzibar, and its decision is final.

Legal framework

to the top

Framework/Enabling law

Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Act No.2 (1996). 

Zanzibar Environmental Policy (2013)

National detailed regulation for ESIA

Environment Impact Assessment (Procedures) Regulations, 2002 


DoE's publication Environmental Impact Assessment - Guidelines and procedures with several Annexes (draft version, 2009) contains very detailed guidelines on screening (methods, report contents), scoping (methods, report contents, ToR requirements), reporting (style and format), review (team, type of information, criteria), monitoring (methods, parameters, results presentation), and other relevant topics.

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA

Sector-specific guidelines for four sectors (agriculture, hotel development, aquaculture, and urban development) are available in the Annexes of the EIA Guidelines and Procedures (draft version, 2009).

Scope of ESIA application

The Environmental Management Act of 1996 states that:

No person shall undertake any activity which is likely to have a significant impact on the environment without an EIA certificate issued under this Act. No licensing institution shall issue a licence, permit, certificate, or other form of approval for an activity which is likely to have a significant impact on the environment unless an EIA certificate has been issued for the activity.

This considers any development activity, undertaken by any person or institution - including governmental parties.

Institutional setting

to the top

Central ESIA authority

The central EIA authority in Zanzibar is the Department of Environment (DoE). Its responsibility is to manage and regulate EIA requirements and procedures in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Management Act.

Other key (governmental) parties involved in ESIA, and their roles

Other relevant parties and their involvement in the EIA procedure in Zanzibar are described in a study conducted in 2010:

  • Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (especially involved in foreign investment projects);
  • Zanzibar Commission for Tourism (especially involved in local entrepreneur projects);
  • Institute of Marine Sciences (assisting DoE with scientific studies);
  • Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (depending on DoE for advice on e.g. UNESCO sites pollution prevention);
  • Local Government Authority (assisting DoE in public hearing phases and in signalling problems in communities);
  • Department of Forestry (assisting with reports for relevant projects)
  • Department of Land and Registration (ibid);
  • Department of Fishery and Marine Products (ibid);
  • Department of Roads and Construction (proponent for EIA);
  • Zanzibar Municipal Council (depends on DoE for advice on specific projects);
  • Zanzibar Water Authority (ibid).

The landscape of EIA actors in Zanzibar however changes frequently, as do the (names of) relevant government departments.

(De)centralisation of ESIA mandates

EIA mandates are centralized: all decisions are taken by DoE.

Payment system

The proponent needs to pay for the costs of preparing an EIA report, as well as for the EIA review, including any costs involved when DoE hires external consultants for this review. This is stated in the Environmental Management Act and the EIA (Procedures) Regulations 2002.

ESIA practice

to the top

Annual no. of ESIAs

The document A Study Report on EIA Needs Assessment for the Department of Environment, Zanzibar (2006) indicates that EIA is only slowly gaining momentum in Zanzibar. It found that between 1989 (DoE's establishment) and 2006 about 27 EIAs have been conducted in Zanzibar and that for less than half of all large hotels (with EIA obligation) EIA was undertaken.

Another study on EIA effectiveness in Zanzibar reports the following figures:

  • 1996-2002: in total 10 EIAs undertaken (but consecutive environmental measures have a voluntary instead of mandatory character);
  • 1996-2009: in total 35 EIAs undertaken (all for hotels - and many more large hotels have been built in this time period).

Relevant links

Some relevant documents on EIA in Zanzibar are the following: