The Environmental Crime Crisis

Role of wood and illegal wildlife trade for threat finance The illegal charcoal trade alone involves a direct loss of revenues of USD 1.9 billion to African countries annually. And this revenue often funds criminal networks. Furthermore, with current urbanization trends, households are switching from woodfuel to the affordable and readily accessible charcoal. This, in turn, without any regulation at all, represents a major threat of further evolution of organized crime involved in the illicit charcoal business. The favourable charcoal market conditions and the absence of regulation of the trade in practice constitute an open invitation for non-state armed groups to take control of the trade, which is enabling them with a substantial purchasing power.

interviews as part of the trainings conducted under UNODC and INTERPOL (ca. 39 APU commanders or staff members interviewed informally from Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique during training sessions 2011–2013). The prices are typically in the range of USD 150–400 per kg. These prices are far lower than quoted in the end-market in Asia, such as around USD 750 per kg of raw ivory in China. 153 There are examples of frontline poachers being paid USD 70 per kg. Quoted ranges are from USD 70–550 with a median of USD 150–400 per kg raw ivory.

Overall, militias across the continent create incomes through the trafficking and particularly control of the road network, ports, strategic trade points and border crossings with anything from common commodities to high-value products, of which common goods like charcoal remain of particular importance for incomes to both high and low levels militias.

Prices on ivory are based on both cited reports and reports from rangers and Anti-poaching Units gathered informally during

Taxation system in eastern DR Congo conflict zone Part of CNDP incomes from local resources

US dollars, 2008

50 kg sack of cement traded

30 kg bag of charcoal on sale in local markets 50 kg bag of coltan exported Mud or straw house, per year Iron roof house, per year

Car passing check point

Small business owner, per year Small truck passing check point

Big truck passing check point







Source: UN Security council, S/2008/773.

Figure 14: Militias, as here from DRC, put considerable emphasis upon controlling entrance roads to cities and the rod network, as well as ports, in order to tax any good passing. Here, charcoal, being the primary energy supply to cities and thus abundant in large volumes, automatically becomes a significant source of income to militias.


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