UNEP Global Environmental Alert: Environmental Crime
UNEP’s Global Environmental Alert Service (GEAS) has published a new bulletin for January, 2013, focusing on the harmful effects of transnational environmental crime. Environmental crime refers to violations of national or international laws that are intended to protect or sustain the global environment. UNEP’s recent bulletin spotlights this harmful, but often overlooked phenomenon, elevating the issue and subjecting it to a summary analysis.
Environmental crime covers a broad range of activities, including illegal logging, fishing, trade in wildlife, trade in controlled chemicals, and disposal of hazardous waste. These activities are generally driven by the potential for enormous profits, and have attracted the attention of organized crime syndicates. Because the conventions that define environmental criminal activity are dispersed, norms and rules governing accountability for such actions are fragmented and often inconsistent. The bulletin notes a variety of instances of cooperation between international organizations to harmonize standards and coordinate anti-criminal activities, but suggests that international cooperation should be strengthened in the future.
UNEP’s Global Environmental Alert Service is a tool for communicating early warning on a variety of emerging environmental issues within the UNEP’s thematic focus areas. It aims to draw upon products of the scientific community and elevate important problems to the attention of policy-makers and the public. You can subscribe to the GEAS on UNEP’s website, here. An archive of previous alerts can be found here.