Criminal networks must not profit from wildlife and forest crimes: UNODC

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Countries are being urged to recognize the illegal trade in wildlife and forest products as a serious form of organized crime.

The call comes from the heads of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

They say figures show the devastating impact these crimes are having on the planet's biodiversity. For example, the illegal trade in wood-based products in East Asia and the Pacific is worth $17 billion.

Yury Fedotov is UNODC Executive Director.

"We need measures that can decrease demand and address problems in the areas of legislation, law enforcement, judicial systems and data gathering and analysis. Countries also need to share their experiences and best practices in the detection and prosecution of illicit trafficking. Work must also be undertaken to track the financial resources, the proceeds of this crime. We must not allow the criminal networks to profit from wildlife and forest crimes." (31 secs)

The UNODC chief was speaking on Tuesday during the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice taking place this week in Vienna.

He says there is also a need for better data collection and analysis as unfortunately crimes are likely to increase.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'25"

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