Objectives (Article 1, Decree 216 of 2003)
The fundamental objectives of the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development are to contribute to and promote sustainable development through the formulation and adoption of policies, plans, programs, projects and regulations related to the environment, renewable natural resources, use of the soil, land use planning, potable water, basic and environmental sanitation, territorial and urban development, and housing.
- To formulate ecosystem conservation and restoration policies and regulations for the sustainable use, management and protection of the country''s biological diversity and other natural resources, guaranteeing the provision of environmental goods and services in order to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of the benefits to be derived from their use and exploitation.
- To guide the adoption of sustainability criteria applicable to the management of the productive and institutional sectors, promoting the incorporation of environmental management systems, technological restructuring and changes in consumption patterns.
- To guide and coordinate the policy and planning processes of the National Environmental System through the development of coordination, information and financial mechanisms, for the purpose of strengthening the management of the sector.
- To promote and facilitate the sustainable development of the National Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation System and the decentralized, equitable, participatory, efficient and productive management of the companies that provide the corresponding public services, through the formulation of policies, regulations, financing mechanisms and incentives.
- To promote the sustainable development of the territory based on the relationships among the population, built-up spaces and the regional environments, through the formulation of land use planning and management policies and regulations.
- To reduce the country''s housing deficit and enhance the quality of housing in alliance with members of the public, private and social sectors, through the formulation of policies and regulations.
- To design, implement or improve strategies that promote the flow of information, communications and teamwork among the different levels of the organization and within each office, in order to facilitate effective decision-making.
- To establish or improve the mechanisms for the timely and effective receipt, processing and resolution of user requests.
- To manage the Ministry''s resources in an efficient and transparent manner, with emphasis on enhancing the welfare, skills, and personal and professional development of the agency''s human talent, in order to strengthen their commitment to its work.
- To implement and maintain a quality management system, establishing monitoring and evaluation processes that promote its development and guarantee its permanence and continuous improvement over time.
- To construct and consolidate a corporate culture that embraces the Quality Management System as an instrument that enables the Ministry to be more effective and efficient.
Functions Defined in Law 99 of 1993 and Decree 216 of 2003.
Article 5, Law 99 of 1993,
- Formulate the national policy in relation to the environment and renewable natural resources, and establish the environmental rules and criteria governing environment planning for the use of the country''s land and adjacent seas, in order to ensure the sustainable use of the environment and renewable natural resources.
- Regulate the general conditions for cleaning up the environment and for the use, management, exploitation, conservation, restoration and recovery of natural resources, for the purpose of preventing, repressing, eliminating or mitigating the impact of activities that pollute, damage, or destroy the environment or the natural heritage.
- With the advice of the National Planning Department, prepare the plans, programs and projects related to the environment, renewable natural resources and environmental land use planning that should be incorporated in the National Development Plan and National Investment Plan projects that the Government submits to the consideration of the Congress.
- Direct and coordinate the planning process and harmonious execution of environment-related activities performed by the entities that make up the National Environmental System (SINA).
- Establish the environmental criteria that should be incorporated in the formulation of the sector policies and planning processes of the other Ministries and agencies, following consultations with them.
- Formulate the national population policy, promote and coordinate demographic growth control programs, and monitor and evaluate national demographic statistics, with the Ministry of Health
- With the Ministry of Economic Development, formulate the national policy on human settlements and urban expansion; with the Ministry of Agriculture, formulate colonization policies; and with the Ministry of Foreign Trade, formulate the foreign trade policies that affect the environment and renewable natural resources.
- Evaluate the economic scope and effects of environmental factors, their incorporation in the market value of goods and services, and their impact on the development of the national economy and its foreign sector and on the cost of medium and large infrastructure projects. In addition, determine the economic costs of damage to and conservation of the environment and renewable natural resources, and conduct economic and fiscal research, analyses and studies related to the budget and financial resources of the environmental management sector, and associated taxes, rates, contributions, fees, fines and incentives.
- Beginning in January 1995, together with the Ministry of National Education, adopt the teaching and curriculum plans and programs that will be implemented at the different levels of national education in relation to the environment and renewable natural resources, and promote informal dissemination and education programs, and regulate the provision of environmental services.
- Determine the minimum environmental standards and general environmental regulations that should govern urban centers, human settlements, mining, industrial and transportation activities, and, in general, all services or activities that might directly or indirectly cause environmental damage.
- Issue general regulations for controlling and reducing geospheric, water, landscape, noise and atmospheric pollution throughout the national territory.
- Issue and update the environmental elements of national zoning and land use regulations, and establish general guidelines for the regulation and management of hydrographic basins and other special management areas (Partially regulated by National Decree 1729 of 2002).
- Define the programs and projects that the Nation, alone or in association with other public entities, should undertake to clean up the environment or implement for the management, use, conservation, recovery or protection of the environment and renewable natural resources.
- Define and regulate the administrative instruments and mechanisms necessary for preventing and controlling the factors that cause environmental damage, and determine the environmental evaluation, monitoring and management criteria applicable to economic activities.
- Evaluate environmental studies, and issue, deny or suspend the corresponding environmental licenses in the cases indicated in Title VIII of this Law.
- Exercise selective discretion, when merited by the circumstances, in matters assigned to the Regional Autonomous Corporations related to the current or future evaluation and preventive control of environmental damage that might be caused by development activities or projects and the exploration, exploitation, transport, extraction and use of renewable and non-renewable natural resources, and order the suspension of the work or activities when appropriate.
- Hire others to prepare ecological and environmental research and monitoring studies and to evaluate environmental impact assessments, when necessary for the performance of its functions.
- Reserve, set the boundaries of and remove areas included within the National Natural Park System and national forest reserves, and regulate their use and operation; (Underlined text declared UNENFORCEABLE by the Constitutional Court in Decision C-649 of 1997).
- Administer the areas that make up the National Natural Park System, and oversee the protection of the natural heritage and biotic diversity of the Nation and the conservation of especially important ecosystems.
- Coordinate, promote and guide research on the environment and renewable natural resources, establish the Environmental Information System, and organize the inventory of the nation''s biodiversity and genetic resources; promote research on alternative models of sustainable development; implement the policies of the Technical and Administrative Office of the Council of the National Science, Environment and Habitat Program.
- Regulate, in accordance with the law, the attainment, use, management, research, importation, exportation and distribution of and trade in species and genetic stock of wild fauna and flora; regulate the importation and exportation of and trade in said genetic material; establish the relevant control and oversight mechanisms and procedures; and establish the provisions necessary for collecting the fees or royalties that accrue in favor of the nation for the use of genetic material.
- Participate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in formulating the international environmental policy and in defining the instruments and procedures for cooperating in the protection of ecosystems in border zones; promote relations with other countries in environmental affairs and multilateral cooperation for the protection of natural resources; and represent the National Government in the implementation of international treaties and conventions on the environment and renewable natural resources (See National Decree 1667 of 2002).
- Adopt the measures necessary to ensure the protection of wild flora and fauna species and to defend species near extinction or in danger of becoming extinct; and issue the certificates referred to in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- Regulate the conservation, preservation, use and management of the environment and renewable natural resources in marine and coastal areas; coordinate the activities of the entities charged with the investigation, protection and management of the marine environment and its living resources, and the coasts and beaches; and regulate the conservation and management of marshes, swamps, lakes, lagoons and other continental aquatic ecosystems (See National Decree 1667 of 2002).
- Establish the maximum permissible limits on the emission, discharge, transportation or deposit of substances, products, compounds or any other material that could affect the environment or renewable natural resources; and prohibit, restrict or regulate the manufacture, distribution, use, disposition or discharge of substances that cause environmental damage. The maximum limits are to be established on the basis of technical studies, without prejudice to the precautionary principle.
- Issue environmental regulations for the distribution and use of chemical or biological substances used in agricultural activities.
- Acquire for the National Park System, or in the cases expressly defined by this Law, private property and public property of public law entities; initiate proceedings before the competent authority for the expropriation of property for public use and social interest reasons, as defined by the law, and impose the appropriate easements.
- Maintain the registration of non-profit entities created for the purpose of protecting, or collaborating in the protection of, the environment and renewable natural resources.
- Establish the minimum rates to be charged for the use and exploitation of the renewable natural resources referred to in the National Renewable Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Code, Decree-Law 2811 of 1974, this Law and the laws that modify or add to them.
- Determine the calculation factors referred to in Article19 of the National Renewable Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Code, Decree-Law 2811 of 1974, which are to be used as the basis for establishing the amounts and ranges of the fees created by the law.
- Resolve disagreements that arise among the entities that belong to the National Environmental System in the exercise of its functions, and establish criteria or adopt decisions to be applied to conflicts that arise between them in relation to the application of regulations or policies related to the use, management and exploitation of renewable natural resources or the environment.
- Establish mechanisms for coordinating with the private sector in order to ensure that its activities comply with the Government''s environmental goals. Determine the cases in which agreements should be entered into for the execution of compliance plans with public or private entities in order to adjust technologies and mitigate or eliminate pollution factors, and establish rules for the fulfillment of commitments derived from said agreements. Promote the formulation of industrial restructuring plans tied to the implementation of environmentally clean technologies and the performance of waste decontamination, recycling and reuse activities.
- In coordination with competent and related entities, promote programs for the substitution of non-renewable natural resources and the development of non-polluting and non-degrading energy generation technologies.
- Together with the tourism authorities, define regulations and tourism programs that can be developed in reserve or special management areas; and determine the protected natural areas or properties that might have a tourism use, the rules to be applied to the corresponding agreements and concessions, and the uses that are compatible with such properties.
- Evaluate, monitor and control ecological risk factors and the risk factors that could affect the occurrence of natural disasters, and coordinate with other authorities the actions necessary to prevent emergencies or the extension of their effects.
- Approve the bylaws and bylaw amendments of the Regional Autonomous Corporations, and exercise due inspection and oversight authority over said entities.
- Administer the National Environmental Fund (FONAM) and the Environmental Fund of the Amazon.
- Ensure that the studies, exploration and research of our renewable natural resources conducted by citizens and foreigners respect the national sovereignty and the rights of the Colombian nation over its genetic resources.
- Issue regulations to prevent the manufacture, importation, possession and use of chemical, biological and nuclear arms, as well as the introduction into the national territory of nuclear and toxic waste or subproducts of the same.
- Establish, as a priority, the environmental policies for the Colombian Amazon Region and the Chocó Biogeographic Region, in accordance with the nation''s interest in the preservation of these ecosystems.
- In coordination with the Ministry of Government, promote the execution of environmental disaster prevention programs and projects, in coordination with the entities of the National Environmental System and the National Disaster Prevention and Response System created by Law 46 of 1988 and regulated through Decree-Law 919 of 1989.
- Establish the global quotas and species in relation to the exploitation of natural forests and the attainment of wild flora and fauna specimens, taking account of the supply and renewal capacity of said resources, to serve as the basis on which the Regional Autonomous Corporations will grant the corresponding exploitation permits, concessions and authorizations.
- Technically establish the methodologies for valuing the economic costs of damage to and conservation of the environment and renewable natural resources.
- Conduct economic research and studies leading to the identification of environmental management investment priorities as a basis for directing the sector''s public expenditures.
- Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, and based on the best scientific evidence and statistical information available, determine the fishing species and volumes that can be taken in the continental waters and adjacent seas, on the basis of which the National Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (INPA) will issue the corresponding exploitation permits.
Article 2, Decree 216 of 2003,
- Formulate, direct and coordinate the policies, regulations, plans and programs related to comprehensive housing matters, regional development, potable water and basic sanitation, the environment, use of the soil and land use planning.
- Determine the mechanisms and instruments for guiding national, regional and local land use planning processes.
- Ensure that land use planning processes are based on sustainability criteria and that they cover special management areas, forest reserves and other protected areas.
- Prepare studies and establish population-related determining factors and technical guidelines that are to be incorporated in planning, land use, and territorial development processes.
- Formulate the national policies on urban renewal, housing quality, the establishment and equipping of public spaces, and the environmental sustainability of urban transportation.
- Issue general regulations for the implementation of the housing decentralization process.
- Regulate the administrative instruments for the monitoring of the public and private entities responsible for housing production.
- In coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, guide and direct international negotiations and international cooperation processes related to housing, potable water, basic sanitation, the environment and territorial development.
- Identify and regulate, when appropriate, the amount of subsidies granted by the Nation for housing, potable water and basic sanitation, and establish the criteria for their allocation.
- Promote the efficient management of drinking water and basic sanitation service providers.
The other functions assigned by the law. "In this regard, account should be taken of the provisions of Article 38 of Law 1152 of 2007, published in Official Journal No. 46,700 of July 25, 2007, "By which the Rural Development Act is issued, the Colombian Institute of Rural Development (INCODER) is reformed, and other provisions are issued".