Ecuador

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EIA profile

Updated to: 27 June 2011

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

Ministry of Environment
Secretary of Environmental Quality and Department of  Planning
Address: Calle Madrid and Andalucia ex Conservatoria de música detrás de la Universidad  Politécnica Salesiana
Quito
Tel: (593) – 2 - 3987 600
www.ambiente.gob.ec

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.

Major milestones:

  • 1994: Decree 1804 establishes EIA as an evaluation instrument before the execution of projects, activities or works;
  • 1996: Creation of the Ministry of Environment;
  • 1999: Environmental Law;
  • 2002: Consolidated text of the environmental legislation of EIA procedures of the Ministry of Environment.

 

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

1999

Legal framework for EIA

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Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets a framework for EIA.

Environmental Law
 

Year of introduction of enabling law

Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued

Environmental Law

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

National Congress

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.

Consolidated text of environmental management of the Ministry of the Environment (Texto Únificado de la legislación secundaria de manejo ambiental; TULSMA), published in official register No. 725 year 2002 Decree No. 3399.

  • Book I establishes the environmental authority
  • Book VI of environmental quality, title I describes the system of environmental management (Sistema Únificado de Manejo Ambiental; SUMA) that regulates the process of environmental impact assessment at national level.

The “Rules of implementation of social participation mechanisms” from 2008 (Decree Presidential No. 1014, Articles 9-22) establish social participation as a tool for knowledge, integration and the citizen initiative to strengthen the implementation of the process of environmental impact studies and reduce the margins of risk and environmental impact. 

The Ministerial Agreements No. 112 and 212 of 2008 establish citizen participation in the environmental licensing process approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

2002

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

2004

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA

Any existing sectoral procedural or content regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.

Energy and Mining sector:

  • Mining Law of 2009 (Articles 78-91)
  • Environmental regulation of mining activities of 2009
  • Environmental regulation oil and gas activities of 2001
  • Environmental regulation for electrical activities

Agriculture sector:

  • Ministerial agreement on environmental poultry farm of 2009

Infrastructure sector:

  • Ministerial agreement on technical standards for environmental prevention and control of pollution for the infrastructure sector, of 2007

http://www.mineriaecuador.com/

Guidelines

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.

Ministry of the Environment, Directorate of Environmental Quality through their Unit of Prevention of Pollution

  • Instructions for environmental impact assessment
  • Procedure for environmental licensing

National Council of Electrical (CONELEC):

  • Manual for environmental assessment procedures for electric energy sector activities

(http://www.ambiente.gob.ec/userfiles/6162/file/Subsistema%20EIA_MAE_Manual%20para%20usuarios.pdf) www.conelec.gov.ec

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

The EIA is a legal instrument to prevent or minimize environmental damage caused by public and/or private investments.

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)

EIA applies prior to the projects, activities or works that may cause significant adverse environmental impacts. Public, private and mixed investment projects are subject to the EIA.

Ley de Gestión Ambiental (codificación 2004-019)

Institutional setting for EIA

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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 Ministry of Environment is the national environmental authority.

The Ministry of Environment may accredited other state agencies as Delegated Environmental Authorities (Autoridades Ambientales de Aplicación Responsable, AAAR) according to the unique system of environmental management (SUMA). The functions of the Delegated Environmental Authorities are regulated by a Ministerial Agreement.They can approve, reject or ask for modifications of the EIA, and approve or reject environmental licenses.

The Ministry of Environment manages a register and publishes on its website a list of bodies accredited to the SUMA.

Texto Unificado, libro VI de Calidad Ambiental Titulo 1. http://www.ambiente.gob.ec/contenido.php?cd=1528 list of Delegated Environmental Authorities (AAAR)

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.

The National Electrification Council (CONELEC) is the Delegated Environmental Authority (AAAR) for the activities of the electricity sector (Ministerial Decision of 2005).

The Ministry of Natural Non Renewable Resources (MRNNR) is the ministry that regulates, promotes and develops policy for the mining and oil sector. The Ministry of Natural Non Renewable Resources coordinates with the Ministry of Environment in environmental matters.Environmental licenses for mining and oil and gas activities are awarded by the Ministry of the Environment. In 2009 the National Government issued the resolution (No. 1630) "Art, 1.- . transfer to the Ministry of the Environment, all competencies, authority, functions, and delegations related to environmental issues from the Department of Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum; the National Department of Mining and Environmental Protection (DINAPAM) and the National Department of Environmental Protection of Hydrocarbons (DINAPAH)".

Resolution no. 1630 of 2009

(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 provincial governments (that are accredited through the SUMA) have the authority to assess and approve studies of environmental impact assessments, environmental sheets, environmental management plans and environmental licenses.

Local municipalities of major cities such as Quito and Guayaquil are also accredited to the SUMA and function as Delegated Environmental Authorities.

EIA procedure

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Screening

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?

Environmental sheets and draft ToR are revised by the Delegated Environmental Authority (Autoridad Ambiental de Aplicación Responsable, AAAR); the Ministry of Environment or another State Agency accredited to the SUMA. The authorities request additional information, approve or reject the sheets or draft ToR. 

Screening process

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

The proponent submits an application to the competent environmental authority in order to start the process of environmental licensing of the proposed activity. The proponent prepares a draft environmental sheet or in the case of possible significant negative environmental impacts the proponent directly prepares draft terms of reference. The competent environmental authority (the Ministry of the Environment or AAAR) reviews the draft.

Texto únificado, libro IV de la calidad ambiental art. 15

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

The classification takes into account whether the proposed activity or work affects national protected areas. All activities, projects or works in the state protected areas, protective forests and forest heritage areas are subject to the preparation of environmental impact assessment, and must be processed by the Ministry of Environment. Protected areas are legalized and managed through the National System of Protected Areas (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, SNAP).

Procedures for the Galapagos Islands are subject to the special law for the Galapagos Island region. The law dictates that "… all actions proposed for its implementation or execution in such jurisdiction shall be subject to environmental impact assessment process ".

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 minimum content of the starting document is:

  • Data of the proponent
  • A brief description of the project, activity or work
  • Location (important to note whether located within and/or influencing a protected area, protective forest, or forest heritage area)
  • Significance of environmental impacts (physical, biotic, landscape, cultural, social and economic)
  • Waste generation
  • Legislation
  • Level of social acceptability
  • Location in indigenous territories
  • Archaeological sites

The document has attached: the certification of land use granted by the municipality where the project located; as well as: identity document, legal document of the legal representative; and payment to the Banco Nacional de Fomento.

Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.

11-20 day

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

Development of the scope of the EIA is required. The scope should cover all phases of the lifecycle of an activity or proposed project. The scope includes mechanisms to involve the criteria and observations of the actors in the area of influence.

For mining activities the Ministry of Environment established technical rules of the content, features, and minimum conditions of the terms of reference for the elaboration of environmental impact studies.

Texto Únificado, Libro VI titulo 1 Ministerial Agreement no. 011 of 2010

Scoping process

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?

In the case the project, activity or work might generate negative environmental impacts, the proponent develops terms of reference for an environmental impact assessment. The terms of reference determine scope, focus, and the methods to be applied in carrying out the environmental impact assessment. The ToR are elaborated on the base of the characteristics of the activity or proposed project including the criteria obtained through citizen participation. The environmental authority reviews, and if necessary modifies, the draft terms of reference. After this the environmental authority approves of rejects the ToR.

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.

Terms of reference document.

The content must include the following information:

  • Baseline data
  • Project with its location and description
  • Analysis of alternatives
  • Identification and evaluation of environmental impacts (physical, biotic, socio-cultural, economic and public health) for the phases of construction, operation and closure
  • Legal and institutional analysis
  • Description of the environmental management plan
  • Environmental monitoring plan
  • Description of technical equipment
  • Public participation mechanisms
Timeline scoping

Number of (working) days for the decision on approval of the scoping document by the competent authority.

21-30 days

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

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 proponent develops the EIA with a multidisciplinary team. In the baseline and evaluation the following issues are taken into account: physical, biological, landscape, cultural, social, economic and archaeological issues. The environmental management plan must be developed to minimize, mitigate and compensate for significant environmental impacts. The contingency plan is included. It is important to develop mechanisms to involve civil society in the area of influence.

The proponent submits a draft environmental impact assessment to the competent environmental authority and makes it available to the public. After this the process enters into the public participation process. The proponent organizes the public participation in coordination with the environmental authority.

General Environmental Law

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.

An environmental impact study must contain at least the following:

  • Executive summary;
  • Base line study;
  • Description of legal framework and institutionalization;
  • Identification and evaluation of environmental impacts;
  • Description of project, activity or work;
  • Analysis of alternatives;
  • Assessment of risks;
  • Environmental management plan;
  • System of monitoring /tracking environmental;
  • List of professionals who participated in the drafting.

Texto Únificado Libro VI Título I

Review

Review process

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

If only an environmental sheet is required, the Delegated Environmental Authority (AAAR) reviews the environmental sheet. And if the environmental sheet is approved the environmental license will be issued.
 
Where an environmental impact assessment is required, the proponent presents the environmental impact assessment before the AAAR. The AAAR reviews the environmental impact assessment and reviews the compliance with the public participation. The AAAR reviews in coordination with the Environmental Authority for Coordination (Autoridad Ambiental de Aplicación de Coordinación, AAAC).  AAAC are the governmental authorities which are involved in the EIA process but are not accredited to take decisions.

In the process of reviewing the public may observe and comment on the draft of the environmental impact assessment.

Review expertise

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?

In the process of reviewing the Environmental Authorities for Coordination (Autoridades Ambientales de Aplicación de Coordinación, AAAC) plays a role as advisor.

For projects, activities and works in state protected areas, forest heritage areas and protective forest the Department of Environmental Quality of the Ministry of Environment reviews and coordinates the assessment of environmental impacts with the Directorate of Biodiversity and Forestry Division of the Ministry of Environment. 

Decision-making

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.

The environmental license is a requirement prior to the execution of the project, activity or work involving environmental risk.

Competent authority

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 Ministry of Environment, which is the National Environmental Authority and the Delegated Environmental Authority (AAAR) are the authorities to take the decision on the approval or rejection of environmental licenses.

In the case of activities, projects or works proposed by an AAAR the Ministry of Environment is the competent authority. In the event that the Ministry of Environment is the proponent of an activity, work or subject to environmental license the National Council for Sustainable Development determines the authority.

Decision justification

Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).

The competent environmental authority specifies the technical and legal considerations underlying the decision.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

The ministerial resolution of environmental license approval is published.

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

11-20 days

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

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

The development of a follow-up plan to ensure compliance of the management plan and to provide information to analyze its effectiveness is mandatory. The competent environmental authority reviews the plan.

External monitoring

Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?

The monitoring plan should include internal and external control.

Non-compliance penalties

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)

Suspension or cancellation of license.

EIA evaluation

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 proponent prepares an environmental monitoring plan. The plan may involve several mechanisms:

  • Internal monitoring
  • External environmental control
  • Community surveillance
  • Environmental auditor
Payment system

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)?

Payments for issuing of environmental licenses to the competent environmental authority is regulated by the regulation of the Ministry of the Environment (TULAS, book IX on “the rights or rates for the services provided by the Ministry of Environment and the use and exploitation of domestic goods that are under his charge and protection”).

Payments are made to the bank account of the Ministry of Environment of the Banco Nacional de Fomento.

 

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

The minimum and mandatory citizen participation moments organized by the proponent (in coordination with the AAAR) are:

  • during the elaboration of the terms of reference and prior to its submission to the competent environmental authority (AAAR) for their review and approval;
  • prior to the presentation of the environmental impact study to the competent environmental authority (based in the draft EIA).

The Delegated Environmental Authority (AAAR) shall take into account the implementation mechanisms for citizen participation to be executed by the proponent.
 

Libro VI articulo 20

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?

Public access to information on the EIA is regulated by the general Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information (2004).

Information dissemination

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.

The announcement for social participation mechanisms, and the announcement regarding the completion of the draft environmental impact assessment, will be published in several media with broad dissemination at local and national levels.

The draft must be available in the places where the public can consult them and on a website.

Information provided to the community must be appropriate according to the following criteria: easy to understand (in native tongue if applicable); and provide complete and accurate information.

Reglamento de Aplicación de Mecanismos de Participación Social publicado el Registro Oficial no. 332 of 2008 y Ministerial Agreement no. 112 of 2008

Timeline for public comments

The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.

31-60 days

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)

not specified

Public comments

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?

The public may make comments and/or provide feedback to the draft terms of reference and the draft of the environmental impact assessment. Comments may be in written form or digital (e-mail).

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

Appeal is possible according to administrative procedures, filed with the District Court of the Administrative Court or the Constitutional Court.

Texto Únificado, libro VI http://www.aida-americas.org/es/node/1298

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

The decision to approve or reject the environmental impact assessment and resolution of environmental license may be appealed.

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

  • The proponent may appeal against the decision of the AAAR via administrative procedure or with the District Court.
  • Citizens or groups with concerns may appeal to the organization that is higher in hierarchy to the AAAR that took the decision on the environmental licensing. In addition there is the possibility to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
  • Civil organizations and legal personsality (verify)
  • The National Auditor may, at any time, audit implementation of procedures and approval of studies and environmental impact assessments by determining the validity and effectiveness thereof, in accordance with the Law and its special regulations. The National Auditor must also verify compliance of efficiency, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the plans of prevention, control and mitigation of negative impacts of projects, works or activities. It may also hire natural persons or private entities to perform auditing of environmental impact studies. (Environmental Law Art. No. 25)
     

Environmental Law

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.

Some 150 to 200 environmental licenses are listed and published on the website of Ministry of Environment.

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?

There is a national register of sheets and environmental licenses administrated by the Ministry of Environment and published on its website. The environmental licenses issued by the AAAR are registered by the Accreditation Unit of the National Directorate of Environmental Pollution Prevention.

Practice reviews

Any EIA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.

2001 Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline 

2006 Complementary Dreging of Amaluza Reservoir

Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

The Ministry of Environment has a central register of authorized entities that are accredited to conduct environmental studies.

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

The “Registro Oficial” is the official publication media of the State. It publishes all laws, decrees, agreements, resolutions and other normative acts issued by the agencies and entities of the State.

Judicial magazine; www.derechoecuador.com

The structure and administration of the State can be seen on; www.estade.org

The World Law Guide, Legislation Ecuador; http://www.lexadin.nl/wlg/legis/nofr/oeur/lxweecu.htm

Other relevant links on EIA

Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.

Environmental Law Center of Ecuador (Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental) www.ceda.org.ec,

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Observatorio Socio Ambiental)  www.flacso.org.ec