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.



The legal framework on environmental crimes

Criminals exploit the lack of international consensus and the divergence of approaches taken by countries. What may constitute a crime in one country, is not in another. This effectively enables criminals to go “forum shopping” and use for example one country to conduct poaching, another to prepare merchandise, and export via a third transit country. According to UNODC, corruption is the most important enabling factor behind illegal wildlife and timber trade. Identifying the optimal legal framework for preventing, combating and prosecuting environmental crimes requires careful consideration.


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