AMMAN, Jordan – INTERPOL has officially launched its National Environmental Security Task Force (NEST) initiative at the 21st INTERPOL Asian Regional Conference before 150 officials from 40 countries.
The initiative aims to establish a common platform and approach worldwide for national compliance and enforcement responses, so as to enhance both national and international efforts on ensuring current and future environmental security.
In this respect, the initiative will see INTERPOL call upon its 190 member countries to structure and equip themselves with the necessary tools in a multi-agency manner by working towards the establishment of NESTs involving law enforcement, customs, environmental agencies, prosecutors and other specialist agencies.
“The role of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in the NEST is vital for international outreach as NCBs provide a global and mandated enforcement communications channel through INTERPOL’s I-24/7 system, as well as access to an international network of 190 member countries,” said David Higgins, Manager of the INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme.
Mr Higgins concluded by saying that the threat to environmental security represented a genuine threat to National Security, undermining political, economic and community stability, since “the environment, biodiversity and natural resources are the very things we all need to survive, and criminals are depleting it, exploiting it and destroying it. We must ensure our environmental security now and into the future.”
Following the launch of INTERPOL’s NEST initiative, the Chinese delegation attending the conference announced it was inviting the Manager of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme to China in October to take part in the country’s first National Environmental Security Seminar, the first crucial developmental step to the eventual formation of a NEST.
The guide on forming and sustaining a National Environmental Security Task Force was made possible mainly with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) and the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK DEFRA).