Historically, the Dominican economy relied heavily on the export of agricultural products (e.g., sugar, cocoa, and coffee) and mineral products (e.g., bauxite, nickel, gold, and silver), activities that had major impacts on the country’s natural resources and environment. Although the country’s economy has transitioned, over the last three decades, towards a diversified mixture of services (particularly tourism, telecommunications, and finance), manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and trade, many of these activities still make heavy use of natural resources and put significant and not sufficiently mitigated pressures on the environment, biodiversity, and ecosystems. Agriculture (crop irrigation plus livestock ranching) still consumes 82.3% of the water spent in consumptive uses; the predominantly sun-and-beach tourism sector makes use of well-preserved natural ecosystems; while the ensuing population growth and the development of such activities have had significant impacts on environmental quality (e.g., water pollution, solid waste disposal, soil degradation). 

Aiming for a more sustainable socio-economic development path that reduces or prevents the depletion of the country’s natural resources, has lower impacts on the environment, and reduces environmental degradation is crucial.


Key policies and governance approach

Aware of its heavy reliance on the use of natural resources and the environmental costs of this, the Dominican Republic has embraced the concepts of green growth and sustainable development and has taken steps to mainstream them into its major national policies.

For instance, the third strategic axis of the National Development Strategy [1] aims to attain an economic development path that is environmentally sustainable and yet competitive. The fourth strategic axis aims to instil in the country’s society the culture of sustainable production and consumption, the ability to manage risks, natural resources, and environmental protection with equity and efficiency, and to adapt to climate change challenges.

The 2011 Plan for an Economic Development Compatible with Climate Change (Plan DECCC) [2] set strategic guidelines for transitioning the country towards a sustainable, low-carbon development path, taking local needs and international agreements into account.

Instruments to implement these policies have been recently created, including, for instance, the National Programme for Sustainable Production and Consumption [3], the Act and regulations to promote the development of renewable energy sources [4], and others.



Too soon to assess, as of November 2021. 


Goals and Ambitions

The fourth strategic axis of the National Development Strategy 2030 [1] aims to, among other goals, reduce per capita GHG emissions to 2.8 tm/person/yr and increase water use efficiency to 45% by 2030.

The Plan DECC [2] aims to increase per capita GDP from US$5,200 to US$12,500 by 2030, while reducing the country’s GHG emissions by 65% (33 MtCO2e) in relation to the reference scenario (under which, emissions would climb to 50 MtCO2e). The country’s GHG emissions in 2030 would be approximately 18 MtCO2e (or about half the emissions in 2010), while available income would have increased in approximately US$3 billion (US$ 260 per person per year), 100,000 new jobs would have been created, purchase power increased, and the country’s trade balance improved in US$ 2–3 billion per year.


The financial needs for implementing the very ambitious actions envisioned in the Plan DECCC have been estimated at US$ 17 billion over the following 20 years. The country’s government is admittedly unable to afford such investments and will require the active participation of the country’s private sector as well as support from the international community [1], [2].