UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 on the Protection and Development of the Environment

Last updated: 22 July 2022

This law aims to ensure the protection and conservation of the quality and natural balance of the environment as well as to control all forms of pollution and avoid any immediate or long-term harmful effects resulting from economic, agricultural and industrial developments.


It specifies that the Federal Ministry of Environment and Water must approve petroleum operations. The Federal Environmental Agency is the general authority on standards, specifications, principles and regulations for the assessment of environmental impact of projects and establishments applying for permits. Local environmental departments that are responsible for implementing the provisions of this regulation, as well as relevant local environmental legislations in each respective Emirate. 


This regulation requires oil and gas projects to undergo a permitting process and carry out environmental impact assessments. Pollution resulting from exploration, drilling, well-testing and oil and gas production must be duly treated and mitigated. Related measures must ensure the protection of the environment and be in accordance with industry best-practice and in compliance with regional and international conventions.  


Furthermore, the law requires that emissions resulting from fuel combustion and flaring be registered and stay within instituted limits. It also sets environmental monitoring requirements. Article 13 provides for the development of a national system for environmental monitoring and Article 14 requires environmental monitoring networks to inform any violation of established limits and submit periodical reports.


Chapter 4 provides for the protection of the environment from air pollution. Article 48 requires developments to ensure that air emissions are under established limits. Article 53 refers to emission standards for petroleum activities, including exploration, drilling, extraction and production. Operators are required to take all necessary precautions to reduce emissions and to keep a registry of emission`s measurements.


Also, this regulation aims to fulfil UAE obligations under ratified international treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 


Lastly, the law has provisions on liability and compensation for environmental and sets applicable penalties.

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