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Updated to: 27 June 2011Download as PDF
Country contact on SEA
National Environmental Authority (ANAM)
Headquarters Bldg 2010 804 Albrook,
Panama Apartado C-0843-00793 Balboa,
Ancon-Rep. of Panama
Country's planning system
The Panamanian planning system is divided into the following state departments:
- Ministry of Social Development (MIDES), responsible for promoting human development and ensuring social integration,
- Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) responsible for the development and implementation of the state budget, public credit and modernization of the State,
- Ministry of Government and Justice, assigned to the country´s political and administrative system to ensure peace and security, run the state prison system and control the state immigration policy.
History of SEA
The incorporation of SEA in regulation occurred in the context of the publication of ED-209, 2006, which defined its functions and scope. Later in the year 2009, a new executive order was published, ED-123, which repealed the ED-209 and considers, among other changes, a new definition of SEA.
Legal framework for SEA
SEA is mentioned in ED-209, which was later repealed by the ED-123.
Approving authority of enabling law
The president is the one who approved the ED-123.
First national detailed SEA regulation
Article 77 (ED-123) describes the SEA procedure as follows: those responsible for the implementation of plans and programs can elaborate an SEA, from which emerges a final report to be submitted to the ANAM for review, which takes up to a maximum of three months, and a similar procedure applies (as outlined in the ED-123) on the EIS for requesting extensions. Guidelines for the SEA procedure shall be established by an ANAM Administrative Order.
Recent updates and additions to the SEA legislation
ED-123 in 2009 where aspects of SEA are mentioned in Articles 75 to 78.
Sector specific procedures/regulations
No sector specific procedures are defined for SEA.
Guidelines on Strategic Environmental Assessment for Central America published by CCAD-IUCN, 2007.
According to Article 76 (ED-123), the implementation of SEA in plans and programs related to national development aims:
- To introduce an efficient and effective environmental variable in development planning as a way to promote, facilitate, modernize and accelerate sustainable development in the country.
- To enhance the resources of the State and society in general, so as to avoid excessive and systematic repetition of environmental procedures on human actions (projects) which, by their nature, correspond to a predictable pattern of effects and conditions on the environment which can be environmentally regulated through integrated and comprehensive analysis.
- To develop, as a result of the application of SEA to plans, programs and policies, more effective tools and means of compliance, based on environmentally responsible commitments and obligatory application, that will allow a faster and easier systematic way for the environmental licensing procedures of individual human actions subscribed to such plans and programs.
- As a result of the SEA on plans, programs and policies, it will be possible to identify human actions which by their size and nature, linked to the environmental significance or by their location in an environmentally fragile area, would require the development of a more specific and detailed EIA, as well as any other human actions that require this process.
Scope of SEA application
According to Article 75 (ED-123), the following plans, programs and policies, public and private, national or regional, can be subject to a SEA:
- Development of plans, programs and policies of social significance for all sectors, national or regional, promoted by the government and included in the governments national development plan.
- Development of plans, programs and policies of social significance for all sectors, national or regional, promoted by the government with private sector participation, with a medium and long term perspective, within development areas such as energy, urban, industrial, mining, tourism, agribusiness, infrastructure, and others.
- Plans, programs and policies for land use at local, regional or national levels.
Exemptions from SEA application
The review of the Final Report of an SEA is carried out through the procedure outlined in the ED-123 on the EIS for expansion applications (Article 77, ED-123).
SEA tiering with EIA
Article 76c (ED-123) mentions that, as a result of the application of SEA to plans, programs and policies, more effective tools and means of compliance will be developed, based on environmentally responsible commitments and obligatory application, that will allow a faster and easier systematic way for the the environmental licensing procedure of individual human actions subscribed to such plans and programs.
Institutional setting for SEA
Central SEA authority
The ANAM is responsible for receiving and reviewing a final SEA report (Article 77 of ED-123).
Mandate for exemption of SEA obligation
SEA is not mandatory for plans, policies and programs. Exemptions are not specified.
(De)centralisation of SEA mandates
There is no decentralization of the mandates for SEA, however, the ANAM promotes active management by the entities responsible for planning and evaluation of projects, both for sectors and supra-sectors, in terms of governmental plans, programs and policies in order to optimize resources and to streamline the technical procedures of SEA (Section 77, ED-123).
Initiator of the SEA
Those responsible for the implementation of plans and programs are those that can initiate the elaboration of an SEA (Article 77, ED-123).
Screening requirement and authority
Stages or processes for SEA are not specified, however, Article 75 (ED-123), establishes the development of plans, programs and policies, public and private, on a national or regional level, which may be subject to SEA.
Identification of stakeholders
According to Article 77 (ED-123), ANAM promotes active involvement of the entities responsible for planning and evaluation of projects, both sector and Supra-sector in terms of governmental development plans, programs and policies in order to optimize resources and streamline the technical procedure of SEA..
Furthermore, Article 78 (ED-123) establishes that in the case of governmental plans, programs and policies, whether sector or supra-sector, the SEA can be made by professionals in the environmental units of the different governmental institutions, and in the case of SEA for plans, programs and policies from the private sector, they should be prepared by environmental consultants registered on ANAM´s list of consultants that are duly authorized for such tasks.
Setting SEA objectives
Implementing the SEA
Not specified, but Article 75 (ED-123), sets out plans, programs and policies, public and private, at a national or regional level, which may be subject to SEA.
Participation in scoping
Outcome of scoping
Assessment/mitigation of effects
Content of SEA report
According to Article 77 (ED-123), the Final Report of an SEA is delivered to the ANAM for review, within a maximum of three months, applying a similar procedure as outlined in the ED-123 on the EIS for requesting extensions.
Participation in review
The ANAM has a maximum period of three months to review the final report of a SEA (Article 77, ED-123).
Informing and influencing decision-making
SEA and planning decision-making
The approval of the SEA is not obligatory in order to implement the plan. However, Article 77 (ED-123) determines that the ANAM makes recommendations on basis of the analysis of the plan or program, detailing the tools and means that must be met as part of that process and outlining the restrictions and limitations that it considers relevant for those human actions involved in the plan or program and for which it would be necessary to develop more specific environmental assessments.
Recommendations for decision-making
Article 77 (ED-123), determines that the ANAM makes recommendations when the plan or program is been analyzed, detailing the tools and means that must be met as part of the SEA process and pointing out the restrictions and limitations that it considers relevant for human actions related to the plan or program for which it would be necessary to develop specific environmental assessment.
Justification of decision
Annual no. of SEAs
This information is not available on the official website of ANAM.
Central SEA database
ANAM is responsible for providing relevant data, however, the SEA data are not available on its official website nor on the page of the Government of the Republic of Panama.
Staff of the EIA project for Central America, a tool for sustainable development from IUCN and CCAD.
From 2006 onwards, officials have been receiving training through the EIA Project in Central America provided by UICN.
Non-governmental SEA guidance
Guidelines on Strategic Environmental Assessment for Central America (CCAD-UICN, 2007).
Links to laws/regulation
- Official website of Government of the Republic of Panama, available at:
Other relevant links on SEA
- General information on the Panama Republic :
- Contact information on the Government of Panama:
http://www.pa/secciones/gobierno/index.php # Ministries
- EIA project for Central America, a tool for sustainable development from IUCN and CCAD:
- Guidelines on Strategic Environmental Assessment for Central America. (CCAD-UICN, 2007): http://www.ccad.ws:8080/eia/documentos.php?cat=1