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Updated to: 27 June 2011

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

The environmental management law establishes the EIA process prior to the execution of projects, activities or works. Procedures and responsibilities of the competent environmental authorities are set in the legislation of environmental management. For several years the Ministry of Environment has been implementing the EIA system.

The SEA system is not laid down in the legislation. Elaboration of SEA is sporadic.

Administrative system: relevant features

Ecuador is a democratic republic with three independent branches: Legislative, Executive and Judicial. From July, 2008 there is a new constitution. Presidential elections are held every four years. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected by absolute majority, through a system of two round. Legislators are elected through a system of national and provincial lists.

Ecuador is divided into 4 regions with a total of 22 provinces. A province is divided in several cantons (sometimes municipalities), a canton can be divided in rural parishes.

In the provinces there is a Governor, representative of the President of the Republic, which coordinates and controls the national Government policies. There is also the Provincial Council, which consists of an elected Prefect (the Prefect can be elected by mayors, councilors representing the cantons or directly); and elected representatives from among those who preside over rural parish boards. The Provincial Council is responsible for representing the province. The provincial government plays a role in the environmental licensing process.

At the local level, the country is divided into cantons/municipalities and rural parishes. Each canton has its cantonal council (or municipality), which consists of a mayor and councilors elected by popular vote. Each rural parish has a parochial board comprised of elected members. The cantons/municipalities in the big cities play a role in the environmental licensing process.

Relevant international conventions

Ecuador ratified the Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR) in 1991.

Ecuador also ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993. And ratified the Protocol of the CBD in 2003

Environmental Standards: relevant features

  • Consolidated text of the environmental law book IV: “environmental quality”. It sets in its annexes the permissible limits of effluent emissions into water, air, and soil pollution and noise quality standards.
  • Law on prevention and control of pollution (Law No. 374);
  • Non-hazardous and hazardous solid wastes are normed in book IV “environmental quality”.

Country specific terms or acronyms

MAE = Ministry of Environment of Ecuador, (Ministerio de Ambiente Ecuador)
MRNNR = Ministry of Non Renewable Natural Resources (Ministerio de Recursos Naturales No Renovables) 
SNAP = National System of Protected Areas (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas)
AAAR = Responsable Environmental Authority of Application (Autoridad Ambiental de Aplicación Responsable)
AAAC = Cooperant Environmental Authority of Application (Autoridad Ambiental de Aplicación Cooperante)
SUMA = Unique System of Environmental Management (Sistema Único de Manejo Ambiental)
CONELEC = Consejo  Nacional de Electrificación
FA = Environmental Sheet (Ficha Ambiental)
TDR = Terms of Reference (Términos de Referencia)