INTERPOL's 2014 Environmental Crime Working Group Meetings Enhance Collaboration
Designing a joint international strategy to tackle environmental crime is the focus of a series of environmental crime working group meetings being held at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon.
The 25th Wildlife Crime Working Group meeting, the 19th Pollution Crime Working Group meeting and the 3rd Fisheries Crime Working Group meeting were held between November 25 and 27, along with parallel meetings of INTERPOL’s Green Customs Initiative and Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee (ECEC) Advisory Board.
Some 200 senior law enforcement officials from 60 INTERPOL member countries around the world and representatives from international organisations have set out the best strategies to deal with environmental crime in all its forms, and to ensure that governments and law enforcement officials recognise and raise awareness of the dangers created by this type of crime.
According to David Jordan, chair of the ECEC Advisory Board and executive director of operations for the UK Environment Agency, “The challenges we face are many, therefore by working together we can create a strong network of allies for disrupting the criminal networks behind environmental crime. I have been very impressed with the enthusiasm shown across so many countries and I am optimistic that we can make a real difference together.”
National law enforcement agencies face a number of challenges in tackling environmental crimes due to the increasingly organised and sophisticated criminal syndicates involved.
“Maintaining and enhancing our commitment towards member countries and environmental security requires a multi-disciplinary response, bringing together conservation management, legislators and enforcement officials. Meetings such as these allow us to present a united message to the world that the global law enforcement community is engaged in a collective effort to protect our natural resources,” said David Higgins, head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Unit.
Enhancing cooperation is necessary in order to detect the trends and impacts of crimes against the environment. The importance of addressing other crimes that are often perpetrated by the same criminal networks, such as the trafficking of human beings, corruption, money laundering and drug smuggling, was also highlighted.
The Themis Network was represented by delegates from Kosovo*