The Office of Environmental Legal Services provides legal services to all other NIMOS Offices as required and assists in the formulation of national environmental legislation and regulations and standards. The Office also reviews all international conventions with regard to their pertinence to Suriname. The Office provides legal counsel with respect to the ratification of international conventions, and the implications for national legislative measures. Specifically, the Office carries out the following tasks:
1. Formulation of national environmental legislation
The Office will take the lead in the formulation of modern environmental legislation for Suriname. Environmental Management has to be provided by a legal basis. Currently, the draft for a Presidential Decree has been prepared which will establish both the Environmental Council and the National Institute for Environment and Development (NIMOS).
In addition, the Consultants have prepared draft statutes and bylaws for NIMOS in which the tasks and responsibilities of NIMOS are clearly defined. Of particular importance are the financial and technical autonomy of the NIMOS and transparent, public procedures for assignment of senior staff of the Institute.
2. Review of new national legislation
The Office will review any proposal for new legislation, and amendments to existing legislation and regulations in areas other than the environment as to their potential impact on the environment in general and on specific environmental issues. The Office will recommend to the legislator amendments to such proposals, if required, and together with NIMOS Director General will circulate them among the Council’s members. The Office will then give publicity to NIMOS’ position by notifying the news media and by publication in the newsletter and the annual report.
3. International conventions
The Office will review, together with managerial staff of NIMOS, all international environmental conventions, as to their relevance to Suriname and their possible implications to natural resources management, and will advise the Director General as to the position NIMOS should adopt.
The Office will review, together with the managerial staff of NIMOS, any international convention in areas other than the environment, before ratification by Suriname as to its potential impact on the environment in Suriname and advise the Director General as to the position NIMOS should adopt.
The Office will join efforts of groups of countries that appear to be affected by international conventions in the same way as Suriname.
In the case of ratification, the Office will analyze the convention’s implications for national legislation and prepare a proposals for legislative adjustments required.
The Office will organize workshops and publish articles and other materials to disseminate the essentials of new conventions to governmental and non governmental parties concerned.
The Office will monitor the implementation of national measures required by ratified conventions and report on it in the NIMOS annual report.
The Office will represent Suriname at the national, regional, and international level in matters concerning environmental legislation. The Office will recommend and support Suriname’s membership of organizations appropriate to Suriname, such as the International Tropical Timber Organization, given its importance in the “Green Certification” program.
4. Legal services to NIMOS offices, line ministries, and the public
The Office will develop the legal basis for the establishment of NIMOS. It will further prepare contracts with NIMOS consultants and contracts with suppliers of goods to NIMOS.
The Office will provide day to day legal advise to other NIMOS offices. This includes but is not limited to:
The Office will take an active role to support the Forest Service in the development of a “Green Certification” program for Suriname forest products.
The Office will promote education of the public as to its environmental rights and duties. The Office will publish a pamphlet on environmental law in general and on issues that may be of concern to the public such as urban environmental nuisances (air pollution, noise, odors, garbage collection, sewage). The pamphlet will include a list of existing legal tools and the ministerial bodies in charge of enforcing them.
The Office will also prepare and update a list of lawyers specialized in environmental litigation, and NGOs with experience in legal aspects of environmental issues, and will annually submit it for incorporation into NIMOS’ annual report.