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UNEP released a report titled The Environment Crime Crisis

Jun 25, 2014 18:22 IST

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 24 June 2014 released a report titled The Environment Crime Crisis at the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. The Report is a rapid response assessment by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL.

According to the report, Global environmental crime, worth up to 213 billion US dollars each year, is helping finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups and threatening the security and sustainable development of many nations. This compares to global Overseas Development Assistance of around 135 billion US dollars.

Illegal trade in Flora and Fauna: Highlights

  • The illegal trade in fauna and flora (other than fisheries and timber) has been estimated by different sources to be worth 7 billion dollars to 23 billion dollars annually.
  • For the forest elephant, the population declined by an estimated 62 per cent between 2002 and 2011. Poached African ivory may represent an end-user street value in Asia of 165 million dollars to 188 million dollars of raw ivory, in addition to ivory from Asian sources.
  • 94 per cent of rhino poaching takes place in Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have the largest remaining populations. Here, the involvement of organized syndicates has seen poaching rise from less than 50 in 2007 to over 1000 in 2013. Rhino horn poached last year is valued at around 63 million dollars to 192 million dollars.
  • Even conservative estimates suggest that the illegal trade in great apes is widespread. From 2005 to 2011, a minimum of 643 chimpanzees, 48 bonobos, 98 gorillas and 1019 orangutans are estimated to have been lost from the wild through illegal activities. The real figure is more likely to be around 22000 great apes lost to the wild over that period.

Illegal trade in Timber: Highlights

  • Illegal logging and forest crime has an estimated worth of 30 billion dollars to 100 billion dollars annually, or 10 to 30 per cent of the total global timber trade.
  • An estimated 50 to 90 per cent of the wood in some individual tropical countries is suspected to come from illegal sources or has been logged illegally.
  • The EU and the US annually import approximately 33.5 million tons of tropical wood in all its forms. It is estimated that 62 to 86 per cent of all suspected illegal tropical wood entering the EU and US arrives in the form of paper, pulp or wood chips.
  • One terrorist group operating in East Africa is estimated to make between 38 million dollars and 56 million dollars per year from the illegal trade in charcoal
  • Militia and terrorist groups in and around African nations with on-going conflicts may earn 111 million dollars to 289 million dollars annually from their involvement in, and taxing of, the illegal or unregulated charcoal trade

Recommendations

  • Acknowledge the multiple dimensions of environmental crime and its serious impact on the environment and sustainable development goals, and help support sharing of information.
  • Implement a coordinated UN and national approach to environmental crime by helping to coordinate efforts on environmental legislation and regulations, poverty alleviation and development support.
  • Support UNEP as the global environmental authority to address the serious and rising environmental impacts of environmental crime and to engage the relevant coordination mechanisms of the UN system to support countries and national, regional and international law enforcement agencies with relevant environmental information.
  • Encourage the donor community to recognize environmental crime as a serious threat to sustainable development and revenues, and to support national, regional and global efforts for the implementation and enforcement of targeted measures to curb the illegal trade.
  • Strengthen environmental legislation, compliance and awareness and call upon enforcement agencies and countries to reduce the role of the illicit trade in threat financing to non-state armed groups and terrorism.
  • Identify end-user markets and implement consumer awareness campaigns.
  • Strengthen institutional, legal and regulatory systems to further combat corruption and ensure that the legal trade is monitored and managed effectively.

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