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Updated to: 27 June 2011

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

In Guatemala the Environmental Regulation on Assessment, Control and Monitoring (Governmental Agreement No. 431-2007 ECSA) regulates the EIA system. This is the regulation that governs the area and its provisions. It contemplates the procedures to be followed in the processes of evaluation, control and environmental monitoring, which are mandatory for all new and existing activities.
This regulation has an emphasis on EIA, but SEA appears as one of the instruments (art. 12).
This regulation (article 3, title III. Definitions and article 14 of title IV) defines SEA as:
A process of environmental impact assessment that is applied to plans and programs. By its characteristic and nature, this type of process can be applied to plans and programs that are important at national, bi-national, regional, or Central American levels, or by multilateral agreements, in accordance with this regulation.

Administrative system: relevant features

Guatemala is administratively divided in 8 regions with 22 departments, administered by Governors who are appointed by the President. Guatemala City and the other 333 municipalities are governed by mayors and councils elected by general elections. The legislative body is the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala. The Executive branch consists of the President of the Republic of Guatemala, the Vice President of the Republic Guatemala and the ministers.

Relevant international conventions

Guatemala ratified the Convention on Biodiversity in 1995, by Legislative Decree 5-95.

The Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR) in 1990.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

Maximum permissible limits for waste water are set in the “Regulation of Minimum Requirements and Their Limits” and “Regulation of Drainage and Re-use of Wastewater and Disposal of Sludge (Decree No. 236, 2006).
There is no law for waste management. Some municipalities, such as the city of Guatemala, have specific municipal regulations in this matter.
Obligation for the use of urban and rural planning do not exists at national level. However, in January of 2009, the urban planning entered into force for the municipality of the City of Guatemala according to municipal (decree COM 030-2008), which contains technical, legal and administrative rules which promote and guide the integral development of the municipality, which provides growth and transformation of the city conform to municipal plans.

Country specific terms or acronyms

  • MARN = (Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
  • CONAMA = (Comisión Nacional de Medio Ambiente), National Committee for Environment
  • DIGARN = ( Dirección General de Gestión Ambiental y Recursos Naturales), Directorate of Environmental Management and Natural Resources
  • DIGCN = (Dirección General de Coordinación Nacional), Directorate of National Coordination
  • DIGCL = (Dirección General de Cumplimineto Legal), Directorate of Legal Compliance
  • MEM = (Ministerio de Energía y Minería), Ministry of Energy and Mining
  • RECSA = (Reglamento de Evaluación, Control y Seguimiento Ambiental) environmental regulation on assessment, control and monitoring
  • CCAD = (Comisión Centro-Americana de Ambiente y Desarrollo), Centro-Americana Commission on Environment and Development