The Rise of Environmental Crime

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

image of The Rise of Environmental Crime

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.



Coordination of efforts

This report illustrates that organized crime is increasingly involved in environmental crimes and threat finance, the latter well recognized recently also by the UNSC in resolution S/RES/2195 (2014). The report also shows that criminals are becoming more advanced shifting from one wildlife species to another, from smuggling ozone depleting CFC and shifting to HCFCs as this market emerge, shift from regular VAT fraud to carbon credit fraud as the carbon credit market emerged, and shift to laundering illegal tropical timber through pulp and paper when customs target round logs or furniture and adopt a variety of ”white collar” criminal methods including use of shell companies, tax havens, internet hacking, dark webs and fraud. Natural resources such as minerals, gold, charcoal and timber are exploited as new means of threat finance instead of drugs, diamonds and ivory. Criminal networks also shift locations geographically at high rates to circumvent limited enforcement efforts.


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