The Rise of Environmental Crime

A Growing Threat to Natural Resources, Peace, Development and Security

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The environment provides the very foundation of sustainable development, our health, food security and our economies. Ecosystems provide clean water supply, clean air and secure food and ultimately both physical and mental wellbeing. Natural resources also provide livelihoods, jobs and revenues to governments that can be used for education, health care, development and sustainable business models. The role of the environment is recognized across the internationally agreed seventeen sustainable development goals adopted in 2015. However, the environment as the very foundation of sustainable development, peace and security is now at risk. Environmental crime is vastly expanding and increasingly endangering not only wildlife populations but entire ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and revenue streams to governments. This publication examines these crimes and its effects, and makes recommendations for efforts to be put forward so that peace and sustainable development can prevail.



Addressing root causes of environmental crime

The root causes of environmental crime vary greatly, and subsequently the design, identification and implementation of appropriate responses must be carefully planned. Root causes are primarily the low risks and high profits in a permissive environment as a result of poor governance and widespread corruption, minimal budgets to police, prosecution and courts, inadequate institutional support, political interference and low employee morale, minimal benefits to local communities and rising demand in particular in Asia. For recruitment of low-level perpetrators at the frontlines, also poverty is a main concern. Hence, organized crime have found a virtual free haven to engage.


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