Remarks by Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes Activation of the Environmental Assessment System in El Salvador

Embajadora Manes durante activación del Sistema de Evaluación Ambiental en El Salvador

** This English translation is provided as a courtesy. The original text was prepared and delivered in Spanish; only the original Spanish text should be considered authoritative. **

 It is a pleasure to join you this morning at this demonstration of the “Environmental Permit Monitoring System” launched by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador (MARN).  This platform allows the users to know, in great detail, the requirements, procedures and response times of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for all the constructions projects in the country.

With this system and the other measures led by MARN, the efficiency of granting construction permits will be substantially improved as well as guarantee the protection of the environment and its natural resources. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) through the Regulatory Improvement Organization (RMO) proposed to MARN eight reforms which would shorten their bureaucratic process. Six of these proposed reforms were linked directly to the EIA processes and are now implemented thanks to this new system; making this the first Ministry of the country to successfully shorten processes in order to facilitate investment and improve the business climate in El Salvador.

I am especially grateful for the leadership of MARN for creating a new environmental culture in El Salvador. This platform is a clear sign that it is possible to streamline processes and procedures without sacrificing the Ministry’s priority to protect the environment.

The Government of El Salvador has worked very hard in order to have clear and predictable regulations which ensure that trade and environmental policies are mutually supportive and contribute to sustainable development. A clear example is the excellent work on this system between the public and private sector — MARN and the Salvadoran Chamber of Construction — who are working together to improve the economic competitiveness of this country through the simplification of procedures. Teamwork between the private and public sectors is not only possible, but essential to move the country forward, because it is only through this dialogue that an agreement can be reached that favors both parties.

The Environmental Impact Assessment is a key tool to identify the environmental conditions that business activities must meet. However, it is important for companies to understand what is expected of them while at the same time giving them confidence that standards are applied fairly to foster a level playing field and fair competition. All of these are important factors for the commercial development and attraction of foreign investment. I hope that this platform can serve as an example to streamline and systematize even more processes.

Thank you very much.