UNEP and INTERPOL Join Forces Against Environmental Crimes
April 10, 2012  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  No Comment

As reported in the article by the Environment News Service, the first International Chiefs of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Summit was held in Lyon, France, March 27th-29th, 2012. The three day forum, co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL, gathered over 230 representatives from 70 countries. The representative were leaders in the fields of biodiversity, sustainability, environment, and law enforcement. The purpose of the conference was to create a strong link between the environmental experts and law enforcement in order to discuss the creation of an international compliance and enforcement strategy on environmental issues.

The summit recognized the strong connection between environmental crimes and global, organized crimes. Namely, the issue is that the exact same routes though which wildlife is smuggled are the routes through which gun smuggling and human trafficking occur. The summit delegates all agreed that greater communication on the international level is required in order to raise awareness about the linkage between environmental and organized crimes. The delegates also agreed to set up an interim advisory board that would serve as a clearing house on all joint actions regarding environmental security. INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program, a three year old program that seeks to combat criminal organizations that commit environmental crimes, will be the temporary clearing house.

The delegates all agreed that the current state of international affairs is such that there is no established infrastructure for dealing with environmental crimes. Summit panels discussed if UNEP and Interpol are appropriate entities to serve as clearinghouses of information and international efforts, how to best incorporate criminal enforcement obligations into environmental treaties, and how to bring about sufficient development at the national level in order for developing countries to be able to combat global environmental crime.

The conversations and agreements from the summit will inform the upcoming World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability , which will be held June 17th-20th of this year, just before Rio+20.

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About the Author :

Marija Bingulac is a doctoral student in public policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. She received her BA in political science from University of Massachusetts Boston in 2009, graduating with Excellence in Political Science Award as well as with the Feinstein Award for distinguished work in public policy and social justice classes. Following graduation, she worked in Belgrade, Serbia with the NGO Church World Service on hunger and poverty research projects. Her research agenda centers on Roma inclusion in Serbia, politics of poverty, gender, race and ethnicity.

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