Environmental crime wave needs to be stopped: UNEP

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Rhinos under threat – Credit: CITES

Environmental crime is on the rise and has now become one of the most profitable forms of organized crime, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Wednesday.

Wildlife crime, like elephant and rhino poaching, is estimated to be worth $10-20 billion dollars annually, the agency notes.  Illegal logging, the dumping of industrial waste and illegal fishing are other forms of environmental crime.

A high level meeting organized by UNEP and the International Police (INTERPOL) is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, to assess the impact of crime on security and development.

Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, says the impact of crimes like poaching, transcends national borders.

"We know today and this is part of our partnership, that this is a global phenomenon. It's a global market place, it is a globally active syndicates, criminals who are engaged in this trade, who are causing damage to national economies and communities in the range of tens of billions of dollars. Just in the wildlife- and if you add also the illegal trade and timber, we are talking about tens and tens of billions of dollars that are stolen from communities, from countries, from the national treasury and that finance criminal networks and allow the kind of poaching crisis that we are confronting right now to escalate."  (39″)

Steiner says INTERPOL and UNEP are working together to enhance environmental compliance and enforcement at the national level and across borders.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″


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