Technical meeting of experts on crimes against the environment

Crimes against the environment are illegal acts which directly cause harm to the environment for example illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, illegal mining and dumping of hazardous wastes among others. The ELC organised a technical meeting of experts to discuss the call of IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) Resolution 70 on crimes against the environment in Bonn, Germany from the 12th -13th of July 2018.The target audience was the international organisations that were explicitly mentioned in the resolution; and who are currently involved in various environmental crime activities and initiatives.

Meeting of Experts on Crimes against the Environment, ELC, Bonn, Germany

There were over 20 participants in attendance the majority of them being technical experts in the field of environmental crime and who included lawyers, scientists, researchers, academicians and the international police.

The ELC commenced the meeting by thanking all the participants for being able to take time off their busy schedules to be able to participate in the meeting. This was then followed by a presentation on WILDLEX (www.wildlex.org ) which is an information service on wildlife-related law, operated by IUCN; the purpose of which is to improve access to wildlife-related legislation and case-law with a particular focus on wildlife crimes in Africa and Asia. It is noteworthy that the main objectives of the meeting was to inter alia;

  • Share and learn from each other the different experiences and approaches in response to crimes against the environment that every participating organization is involved in ;

  • Explore various strategies for potential areas of coordination and partnerships in relation to crimes against the environment ;

  • Identify opportunities to continuously enhance global attention in relation to environmental crime ; and

  • Provide a platform to amplify the messages and recommendations (pertaining to environmental crime) of each participating organization at the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress to be held in Marseille, France in 2020.

Each organisation present was allocated time to conduct their presentation and to showcase to the rest of the participants the nature and type of environmental crime work that they are involved in. The presentations were very informative and covered a broad range of various environmental crime activities and initiatives like for example; illegal wildlife trade; illegal logging; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; illegal dumping and trade in hazardous wastes; illegal mining and trade in precious metals and minerals; and illegal, counterfeit and substandard pesticides among others. The following are some of the major international organisations that are involved in environmental crime activities that had their representatives present in the meeting:

Ecologic Institute EU (Germany) TRAFFIC (Belgium) 
Environmental Law Institute (U.S) UN Environment (Kenya)
GIZ (Germany)   UN C.M.S (Germany)
INTERPOL (France) UNICRI (Italy)
OECD (France)   WWF International (Switzerland)

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The climax of the meeting was during the brainstorming session on the last day in which the participants discussed various ways of continuing to work together in addressing crimes against the environment which included inter alia:

  • Setting up of a mailing list that has the contacts of all the organisations that were present for purposes of continuously keeping in touch;

  • Setting up of a specialist group to work within the World Commission on Environmental Law (W.C.E.L) and create a calendar of implementation;

  • Organising similar events that we could engage together;

  • Sharing the publications that relate to environmental crime that were mentioned in the course of the meeting for uploading through ECOLEX; and

  • IUCN to report on the agreed proposals at the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress to be held in Marseille, France in 2020.

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