This Agency was created by the National Environment Management Act (NEMA) which provides the legal framework for the operations of the Agency. The NEA mandate is to ensure an environmentally sustainable economic and social development in The Gambia. The mandate involves largely coordination, advice and consultation, overseeing compliance and providing technical services. Under the NEMA, 1994, NEA is empowered to take direct implementation action in matters dealing with environmental impact assessment, establishing environmental quality and monitoring standards, and controlling the importation and use of pesticides and hazardous chemicals. In the area of environmental quality (mainly pollution control), the NEA has the mandate to enforce compliance with national standards and has the legal authority to seek redress whenever there is non-compliance under the guidance of the Polluter Pays Principle.
The NEA operational activities are organized into two networks such as the Technical Services Network, Intersectoral Network and a Finance Department. These institutional structures coordinate participating institutions and the Working Groups to which the institutions belong.
The Working Groups follow a programmatic approach, but their membership is broad-based constituted by members drawn from institutions with different but complementary mandates in the programme areas being dealt with within the respective working groups.