Ministry of the Environment - Amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment System Regulation

On December 15, 2023, the General Comptroller's Office approved Decree No. 30 of August 22, 2023, from the Ministry of the Environment, which approves amendments to Decree No. 40 of 2012, from the Ministry of the Environment, establishing the regulations for the Environmental Impact Assessment System.

The purpose of said amendment is to "incorporate the variable of climate change in the assessment of projects or activities subject to environmental evaluation, as well as in the review of the Environmental Qualification Resolutions (RCA). Additionally, it aims to ensure effective community participation, reducing information gaps and promoting timely, open, and inclusive participation in the environmental assessment procedure. Indeed, it seeks to align the Environmental Impact Assessment System Regulation (RSEIA) with Law No. 21.455, the Climate Change Framework Law, regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation, and in accordance with the Escazú Agreement, concerning participation and access to information.

Some of the modifications to the RSEIA include:

  1. It incorporates into the definitions the concepts of "Participatory Monitoring" and "Citizen Observation."
  2. In relation to the assessment to determine if the project or activity generates a significant adverse effect on renewable natural resources, it incorporates as a new consideration the impacts generated by the loss of climate resilience of ecosystems.
  3. It establishes that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Environmental Qualification Declaration (DIA) must consider the adverse effects of climate change on various components of the environment, especially ecosystems, human health, and well-being. It should also address actions, measures, or processes aimed at adaptation and resilience to them.
  4. It modifies the minimum content of EIAs and DIAs, among other things:
  • The EIA summary must be self-sufficient and written in simple, direct language easily understood by the public, clearly indicating environmental impacts and aligning with the matters specified in the following points.
  • The project or activity name must clearly reflect the type of project intended for execution in simple, direct language easily understood by the public.
  • In the location, it adds that the climate risk condition of the area must be indicated.
  • In the description of construction, operation, and closure phases, concerning emissions, it establishes that these include greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Regarding the EIA baseline, it incorporates that the description, characterization, and analysis of environmental elements should include adverse effects of climate change and their projections, considering the most unfavorable scenario.
  • Adds the description of participatory monitoring incorporated by the project or activity for monitoring its development phases, specifying the location and timing, as well as compliance indicators.
  1. It includes a duty for relevant State administration bodies to provide informed information on whether the project or activity relates to climate change management instruments for the defined area of influence.
  2. Regarding climate change management instruments, it establishes the duty to review whether the project or activity design, and its voluntary measures and commitments, are compatible with the objectives, goals, and measures established in these instruments.
  3. Modifica la norma sobre revisión de la RCA, estableciendo que una DIA o EIA podrá ser revisada por el Servicio, excepcionalmente, de oficio o a petición del titular, del directamente afectado o de la SMA. Esto procederá cuando, ejecutándose el proyecto, las variables evaluadas y contempladas en el plan de seguimiento o monitoreo, de cualquier clase, sobre las cuales fueron establecidas las condiciones, medidas, exigencias, acciones de control o compromisos ambientales voluntarios, hayan variado sustantivamente en relación a lo proyectado, no se hayan verificado o verificándose algún impacto calificado como no significativo se haya vuelto significativo, todo ello con el objeto de adoptar las medidas necesarias para corregir dichas situaciones. Dicha revisión también procederá cuando la variación sustantiva se verifique con ocasión del cambio climático. Asimismo, incorpora que, cuando el procedimiento se inicie a petición del titular o del directamente afectado, en cualquiera de los supuestos que habilitan su procedencia, se deberán observar los requisitos formales del inicio del procedimiento a solicitud de parte, conforme al artículo 30 de la Ley N°19.880.
  1. To ensure the rights encompassed by citizen participation, it grants the Service the authority to instruct or adopt necessary management and coordination measures within the framework of citizen participation, in accordance with the principles, rights, and provisions established in the Escazú Agreement.
  2. Concerning citizen participation in EIAs and DIAs, it includes as the holder's duty the installation of one or more informative signs at the project or activity site, in visible locations for the community and in a size and format facilitating readability. Additionally, it attributes the responsibility to the holder to ensure that the informative signs are maintained throughout the project or activity evaluation.
  3. Regarding the appropriateness of the contingency prevention plan and emergency plan, it establishes that if potential environmental or project-related risk situations are deduced from the project or activity description or the characteristics of its location, the holder must propose a contingency prevention plan and an emergency plan, considering the adverse effects of climate change and especially its impact on increasing vulnerability and exposure of ecosystems and human communities.

Should you require additional information on this matter, please contact Javier Naranjo (, Martín Esser ( or María Paz Valenzuela (

[1] Supreme Decree No. 30 Approving Amendment to Supreme Decree No. 40, 2012, of the Ministry of the Environment, Establishing the Regulation of the Environmental Impact Assessment System, dated August 22, 2023. Considering 10.

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