Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem, and one which takes many different forms.
Broadly speaking, wildlife crime is the illegal exploitation of the world’s wild flora and fauna, while pollution crime is the trading and disposal of hazardous wastes or resources in contravention of national and international laws.
In addition to these clear and present crimes, new types of environmental crime are emerging, such as carbon trade and water management crime.
Organized criminal networks
Environmental crime is not restricted by borders, and can affect a nation’s economy, security and even its existence.
A significant proportion of both wildlife and pollution crime is carried out by organized criminal networks, drawn by the low risk and high profit nature of these types of crime.
The same routes used to smuggle wildlife across countries and continents are often used to smuggle weapons, drugs and people. Indeed, environmental crime often occurs hand in hand with other offences such as passport fraud, corruption, money laundering and murder.
In today’s global economy there is a need for an international strategy to deal with this type of crime. As the only organization with a mandate to share and process criminal information globally, INTERPOL is uniquely qualified to lead these efforts.
The INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme:
- Leads global and regional operations to dismantle the criminal networks behind environmental crime using intelligence-driven policing;
- Coordinates and develops international law enforcement best practice manuals, guides and other resources;
- Provides environmental law enforcement agencies with access to our services by enhancing their links with INTERPOL National Central Bureaus;
- Works with the Environmental Crime Committee to shape the Programme's strategy and direction.
The INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group, Pollution Crime Working Group and Fisheries Crime Working Group bring together criminal investigators from around the world to share information and initiate targeted projects to tackle specific areas of environmental crime.
For information in all official INTERPOL languages, see our Resources page.
Video - David Higgins
Message from President Robert B. Zoellick of the World Bank Group
INTERPOL General Assembly Resolution, 2010
"There is a vital need for a global response to combating environmental crime and INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting the international enforcement efforts."