The Nicaragua Canal: An exploration of Nicaragua’s Canal Laws and Their Impact on the Country’s Environment Framework
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Vallejos-Sevilla, Michael Jordan
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Building an inter-oceanic canal has been a dream in Nicaragua for over a century, with several attempts over this span. In 2013, the country passed two laws (Law 800, Law 840) and signed a concession agreement (MCA), collectively known as the Canal Laws, with Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment to construct the Nicaragua Canal Development Project (NCDP). The purpose of this research was to determine how effectively the three Canal Laws uphold the original environmental legal framework in Nicaragua represented by Law 217, General Law on the Environment and Natural Resources. Based on the findings of the study, HKND holds significant influence over the direction of the project including complete discretion of natural resource management and can override any law that contradicts the contents of the agreement which inhibits Nicaragua from enforcing its laws. It is recommended that Nicaragua terminate the agreement based on legal arguments when it has the opportunity in 2019.