€2mn EC funding to boost Interpol’s fight against wildlife crime

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 
Lyon: The European Commission (EC) is to contribute nearly two million euros to INTERPOL in support of its efforts to combat wildlife crime and protect the world’s natural resources from the illegal international trade in wild flora and fauna, including illegally harvested timber.

Over the next three years, the EC funding worth EUR 1.73 million will support the world police body’s Project Combat Wildlife Crime under the umbrella of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) which also includes the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank (WB), and the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

Founded in November 2010, the ICCWC is a collaborative effort to provide coordinated support to national wildlife law enforcement agencies and sub-regional and regional networks to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and promote better governance for the management of natural resources in developing countries.

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said "Few people witness environmental crime, but its effects are global, with developing countries often suffering most of all. Increase in wildlife trafficking is of particular concern, with illegal trade in ivory and rhinoceros horns at their highest levels in a decade, and other endangered species like tiger or some tropical timber also impacted. It's a major cause of biodiversity loss, and this funding will help enforcement and international cooperation to address this worrying phenomenon. It should also build trust with our partners, and show we are serious about fighting biodiversity loss around the globe."

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble commended the EC’ s decision to provide  funding for  the project, which he said recognized the worldwide impact of environmental and wildlife crime and the role of INTERPOL’s global network in addressing it.

“This support from the European Commission will significantly assist INTERPOL and its partners under the ICCWC to more effectively tackle the theft of natural resources from some of the poorest countries in the world and target the criminals who are making millions in this illicit trade,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“Results can only be achieved through cooperation, and INTERPOL will continue its work in providing a global law enforcement response to this problem which affects every region of the world, ” added the INTERPOL Chief.

Project Combat Wildlife Crime is aimed at ensuring long-term capacity building, improved international information and intelligence exchange, and the coordination of enforcement efforts through the support of government authorities in the wildlife and forestry administration from source, transit and consumer countries.  At a broader level, it will also contribute to better governance and the fight against corruption.

Key activities include the analysis of capacity needs supported by the provision of technical and financial assistance to countries where gaps are identified; development and hosting of capacity building programmes including training materials, courses and workshops; and the deployment of Incident Response Teams to undertake targeted enforcement actions in conjunction with developing countries.
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