The Environmental Crime Crisis

wildlife or forest products also provides a safe haven or venue to conceal ex pat finance to extremist groups.

the countries. The IUU fishing off Senegal constitute a loss of about USD 300 million in 2012, which is 2 per cent of GDP. 13

In the past decade, CITES, INTERPOL, UNODC (UNOffice for Drugs and Crime), and UNEP (UN Environment Programme) have warned against the rise of organized transnational envir­ onmental crime. More sophisticated ways to conduct illegal extraction of resources along with more advanced laundering methods of both illegally extracted resources and the proceeds from the illegal trade have been observed, 9 Furthermore, organ- ized crime involved in drugs, trafficking, violence, murder and corruption undermine human- and state security. Criminal actors from other criminal sectors are attracted to environ- mental crime because of a combination of high profits and low probability of getting caught and convicted. This applies espe- cially with respect to transnational activities, where enforce- ment has been virtually non-existent until now. 10 Great concern has been expressed concerning illegal fishery off the coast of West Africa and its impact on local fishermen. The illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing off West Africa, comprising between one third and half the catch, is worth USD 1.3 billion per year. 11 Illegal fish- eries have been previously discussed for Somalia, with links to piracy. 12 Such fisheries involve major loss of revenues to

Of even greater concern is the impact of illegal logging on carbon emissions and loss of revenues. Tropical deforestation accounts for 10–15% of global emissions, and nearly 50–90% of the logging is illegal in major tropical countries 14 – with direct threats to emission reductions schemes and programmes such as REDD, REDD+ and UN REDD. The substantial rise and extent of transnational organized environmental crime also endangers human- and state secu- rity by facilitating and spreading collusive corruption. Loss of revenues for the economic development of many countries impacting upon food security, damage to the environment and the ecosystems vital for the services they provide for the local population, is highly damaging to developing countries, as the largest share of the proceeds leave the countries or go to tax havens or foreign nationals. Scale of environmental crime The economic impact of loss of resources and revenues from envir­ onmental crime is substantial – especially on illegal logging and fisheries – and probably just as large as or well exceed global ODA (Official Development Assistance) of around USD 135 billion.


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