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Updated to: 27 June 2011

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

The EIA and SEA systems were included simultaneously in 2006 with the Executive Decree 209. Later in the year 2009, this was repealed with the Executive Decree 123. The EIA is well defined and outlined in the Executive Decree 123, where the steps of classification and presentation of a project that requires environmental approval of the entity are detailed. The SEA is defined as an evaluation process of strategic decision making by the government, such as policies, strategies, plans and programs involving the generation of patterns of activities, whether  economic, social, territorial, consumer, or otherwise, that pose significant environmental effects (Article 2, ED-123).
SEAs and EIAs are directed and supervised by the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), as the state governing body on natural resources and the environment (Article 77, ED-123).

Administrative system: relevant features

Panama is composed of nine provinces with their respective capitals. Each province is divided into municipal districts and these in turn into smaller administrative units known as “corregimientos”.

Panama as a Republic is governed by an Executive Branch, whose head is the president assisted by two vice presidents and thirteen ministers, the Judiciary Branch which is composed of supreme court judges and the Legislative Branch. The president and the seventy-two legislators who make up the general assembly are elected by popular vote every five years.

Relevant international conventions

  • The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of international importance, especially on aquatic bird habitat (RAMSAR), was ratified in Panama on November 26, 1990.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was ratified by Law 2 on January 12, 1995.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

  • FORESTRY LAW. The intention of this Act is to protect, conserve, improve, enhance, educate, research, manage and rationally utilize the forest resources of the Republic.
  • EXECUTIVE DECREE No. 58. Regulates the procedure for the preparing of Environmental Quality Standards and Maximum Permissible Limits.
  • BILL NO. 58. Prohibits the transportation of highly radioactive and radiotoxic materials nationwide and through the economically exclusive zone of the Republic of Panama.
  • PANAMA WATER COMMISION. Report prepared by the Panamanian Task Force for the regional initiative on the Central American Water Tribunal.

Country specific terms or acronyms

  • ADI: Area of Direct Influence.
  • IIA: Indirect Influence Area.
  • ANAM or NEA: National Environmental Authority.
  • ISIC: International Standard Industrial Classification.
  • ED: Executive Decree.
  • DIEORA or DAEM: Department of Assessment and Environmental Management.
  • EsIA or EIS: Environmental Impact Study.
  • SEA: Strategic Environmental Assessment.
  • EIA: Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • RUAS or SEUN: Sectoral Environmental Units Network.
  • UAS or SEU: Sectoral Environmental Units.
  • NPV: Net Present Value.