LYON, France ‒ National leaders of environmental, biodiversity and natural resources agencies, and departments with law enforcement responsibility, have gathered for the first time to design a global compliance and enforcement strategy to address environmental security.
Hosted by INTERPOL and co-organized with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the three-day (27-29 March) International Chiefs of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement summit focused on key environmental crime issues such as fisheries, forestry, pollution and wildlife crime, as well as violence, money laundering and tax evasion, all of which exact untold costs on the environment and citizens.
The summit brought together some 230 delegates from 70 countries and focused on recommendations to bridge gaps in investigative assistance and operational support, information management, capacity building standards, and effective networks underpinning effective and intelligence-led enforcement practices.
UNEP’s Acting Deputy Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, Masa Nagai, said: “While countries around the world and the international community have made important progress in establishing national and international environmental policies, institutions and laws in the past decades, the implementation of environmental compliance with agreed institutional goals and enforcement of environmental laws remain inadequate.
“The World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability to be held in Rio de Janeiro this June, convened by UNEP and other partners including INTERPOL, in conjunction with UN Conference on Sustainable Development, will provide a platform to identify a way forward to strengthen the entire chain of environmental enforcement,” added Mr Nagai, who outlined how the issues addressed at the joint INTERPOL-UNEP summit would feed into the World Congress.
Bernd Rossbach, INTERPOL’s Acting Executive Director of Police Services, said that there was increasing evidence that environmental crime was connected to other forms of serious and organized crime.
“INTERPOL has helped to ensure that environment crime has become more mainstream and recognized for what it is, a form of serious, organized and often transnational crime. INTERPOL has advocated the need for intelligence-led enforcement. This is a response we are familiar with in tackling other forms of crime, but when it comes to the environment, the need for crime prevention is imperative,” said Mr Rossbach.
Among several key initiatives launched at the summit to shape collective responses to some of the most pertinent environmental challenges facing the planet and its people, delegates agreed to form a temporary advisory board to steer an international collective effort on environmental security via INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme.