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23 November 2015

Tackling wildlife crime focus of INTERPOL meeting

SINGAPORE – INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crime Working Group has gathered in Singapore to review the most pressing threats to the world’s forests and biodiversity.

The five-day (23-27 November) meeting brings together some 120 experts from law enforcement, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in 50 countries to strengthen cooperation amongst the many stakeholders involved in environmental security and discuss practical solutions for the challenges faced.

In addition to developing strategies for preventing and combating wildlife crime including the illegal trade in tiger parts and ivory trafficking, the working group will also review issues related to illegal logging and forest crime.

In this respect, the meeting gathered operational coordinators from different regions who are taking part in INTERPOL-coordinated environmental security actions on the ground – including the recent Operation Amazonas II in Central and South America, and Operation Log in West Africa. The preliminary results of these operations will be released later this week.

The Wildlife Crime Working Group reports to INTERPOL’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee, which met last week in Singapore to identify ways to improve the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and encourage close multisector collaboration in the field of environmental security.

“The illegal harvesting of trees, poaching of animals and trafficking of wildlife steals tens of billions of dollars each year from communities and countries. These in turn threaten the ecosystems we all rely on for safe food, pure water and clean air. Wildlife and forestry crime are global problems that require global solutions,” said Sheldon Jordan, Director General of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate and Chair of INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crime Working Group.

In addition to the development of activities and projects to address wildlife and forestry crime, the working group will examine ways for enhanced cooperation between law enforcement and civil society. To this end, a joint pilot project between INTERPOL and Crime Stoppers International (CSI), which will be launched during meeting, will see CSI create an online form that will allow members of the public to report environmental crimes to both CSI and INTERPOL.

The role of the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) will be highlighted during the meeting. Launched five years ago today, ICCWC is a global alliance of five international organizations – INTERPOL, the CITES Secretariat, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Bank and World Customs Organization (WCO) – which supports law enforcement efforts against wildlife crime.