Guatemala does not have a system of strategic environmental assessment which provides information on the impacts caused by development initiatives, or on the priorities for different uses of land and natural resources. However, the current legal framework (environmental, forest, municipal, development, urban planning, etc.) refers to promoting territorial planning which, amongst other aspects, considers studies of the capacity for land use for prioritisation. Meanwhile, there are sectoral policies referring to consideration of the potential use of land for production and economic activities.
A document drawn up by SEGEPLAN (1) states that “In Guatemala, the current political framework is made up of 43 policies of a sectoral and trans-sectoral nature, of which 23% correspond to policies whose principal purpose is the protection and management of the environment and natural resources. It is noted that the majority of these policies take environmental priorities into account for their implementation; however, only 9% of them have specific objectives related to the environment and natural resources.”
Despite these abundant and wide-ranging regulations, independent analysts and civil society have criticised the State’s approach to non-sustainable use of the land, including the increase in operating permits for large scale open-cast mining operations, the approval of licences for oil operations in protected areas, the approval for construction of large scale hydroelectric plants, the construction of long roads and the development of agrofuels (sugar cane/African palm), which affect the environment contrary to the priorities set out in the principles of the Government Plan and in other policies.
(1) Presidential Office Secretariat for Planning and Programming (2010) Tercer informe de avances en el cumplimiento de los Objetivos de desarrollo del milenio (Third report on progress in compliance with the Millennium development objectives). Guatemala: Serviprensa, available at: http://www.segeplan.gob.gt/downloads/ODM/III%20informe/ODM7.pdf
|Title||a. “Unidad Nacional de Esperanza” (UNE) Government Plan
b. Framework and Current Map of Public Policies in Guatemala
|Organisation||a. Government of the Republic of Guatemala
b. General Planning Secretariat (SEGEPLAN)