LYON, France – Nicolas Hulot, France’s top advocate for environmental protection, visited the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters to review international initiatives on combating all forms of environmental crime.
As the French President’s Special Envoy on environmental issues, Mr Hulot met with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and members of the Organization’s Environmental Security unit to underline the links between environmental crime, organized crime and international security.
“Environmental crime, in all its forms, is not limited by national borders and poses serious dangers to global stability. It is a serious international issue which continues to grow, so it is imperative that we implement an international strategy to protect our planet,” said Mr Hulot.
“I therefore welcome INTERPOL’s efforts to turn back environmental crime which harms our wild fauna and flora, natural resources and communities,” said the founder and President of the environmental organizationFondation Nicolas Hulot pour la Nature et l’Homme.
Paraphrasing US President John F. Kennedy, Mr Hulot added: "Do not simply ask yourselves what others, and specifically INTERPOL, are doing to fight environmental crime, but ask yourselves what you can do, at your level, to join the fight against environmental crime. Together, we can do better, and we can do more."
A key objective of Mr Hulot’s activities is to increase awareness of the dangers posed by environmental crimes among all sectors of society, which is also one of the main goals of INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime campaign. Turn Back Crime highlights the dangers of organized and other forms of crime and their impact on everyday life, and helps the public better understand these issues and empower them to make better informed choices in their daily lives.
“Crimes against the environment are serious threats to global security that cannot be viewed in isolation. Tackling the transnational criminal groups involved in environmental crimes requires a coordinated global response fueled by a public dedicated to preserving the world’s natural treasures,” said Secretary General Noble.
“With the strong support of environmental leaders like Mr Hulot and the French authorities, we will continue to develop new and innovative strategies for promoting environmental protection on the global stage,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.
Mr Hulot commended INTERPOL for its wide variety of environmental crime-fighting initiatives, including Project Predator, designed to preserve the world’s remaining wild tiger population; Project Wisdom, which tackles elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the illegal trade in ivory; Project Scale, developed to combat the growing environmental threat of illegal fishing; and Project Leaf, a consortium with the United Nations Environment Programme addressing illegal logging and forest crimes.
“INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit is heartened to engage with an environmentalist and strong advocate of this calibre. Moving forward, we will continue this dialogue with Mr Hulot and the French government to encourage the widest possible use of the tools and services INTERPOL has to offer in the fight against environmental crime,” said David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit.
In this respect Mr Hulot’s visit to INTERPOL also saw the announcement that French authorities would second an expert to the world police body’s Environmental Security unit.
A key topic also discussed during meetings was how INTERPOL can better support French-speaking countries in Africa and Southeast Asia in turning back all forms of environmental crime.