DOHA, Qatar – Senior police representatives from agencies worldwide attending INTERPOL’s 79th General Assembly have unanimously backed a resolution encouraging greater global policing efforts against environmental crime through INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme.
The resolution called upon the national law enforcement authorities of INTERPOL’s 188 member countries to recognize that ‘environmental crime is not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks which engage in other crime types, including murder, corruption, fraud and theft’. It noted that there is a vital need for a global response and that INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting national and international enforcement against environmental crime, which encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to illegal transborder movements of hazardous waste, and the illicit exploitation of natural resources.
Addressing the 650 delegates from 141 countries at INTERPOL’s General Assembly, CITES Secretary General John Scanlon (pictured) said of the resolution: “The endangered fauna and flora of the world cannot be safeguarded without you, without the police. The resolution sends a very strong message to those who seek to rob countries of their natural resources that the global law enforcement community recognizes that it must work together, led by INTERPOL, to bring environmental criminals to justice.”
Describing environmental crime as ‘global theft’, the manager of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme, David Higgins, who brought the resolution before the General Assembly, said: “Today’s vote clearly shows how seriously the police community of the world takes environmental crime and we look forward to the ongoing support of our member countries in this area. We will continue to work closely with CITES and other international organizations to help protect the environment and biodiversity of the world.”
The Environmental Crime Programme works to provide assistance and support in the effective enforcement of national and international environmental laws and treaties. It does this by working alongside the 188 INTERPOL member countries and their Environmental Crime Committee.
The recent success of INTERPOL’s Operation RAMP (September-October), a global operation targeting the illegal trade and possession of reptiles and amphibians, highlighted the effectiveness and willingness of the global law enforcement community to work together against environmental crime.