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03 May 2013

Protecting forests focus of INTERPOL training course

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Enhanced information and intelligence collection, evaluation and sharing were identified as key areas for law enforcement to more effectively combat illegal logging, the illicit trade in timber and other forestry crime across the Asia-Pacific region during an INTERPOL training course.

The week-long ( 29 April – 3 May) course was organized under the auspices of INTERPOL’s LEAF Project (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests), which provides support and capacity building for forestry compliance and security in order to combat illegal logging and deforestation.

Specialist officers from seven countries – China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Philippines – underwent training in a range of skills, and were also updated on the latest methods on combating forestry crimes.  This included a presentation by the Remote Sensing Technology Centre of Japan on the use of satellite imaging to identify unlawful land clearing.

David Higgins, Manager of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme said the training will be ‘fundamental in supporting future law enforcement operations and extending those operations beyond national borders to dismantle the global criminal networks behind this illegal activity.’

“This course is very important as we have been able to meet officers from agencies from other countries so that we can share information and intelligence and to gain experience related to illegal logging,” said Superintendent Puji Sutan, Chief of the Illegal logging unit and Special Crime, Indonesian National Police.

Representatives from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, the United Nations Development Programme, the Centre for International Forestry Research and members of Civil Society Organizations also addressed the course to share their experience of working on illegal forestry issues in the region.

The expertise gained by the participants during the course, hosted by the Indonesian National Police, and supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Humane Society International, will now be shared with other national specialist officers to assist future law enforcement and intelligence-led illegal logging and forestry crime operations.

Similar training courses will be organized by INTERPOL in other forested regions, in addition to operations targeting illegal logging and organized crime exploiting forest areas.