INTERPOL Meeting Highlights Environmental Crimes

Experts participating in the Security and Environmental Crime conference issued a 15-point call for action to raise awareness and encourage greater involvement by the global community.

About 250 experts from law enforcement, government, international organizations, and NGOs took part in a Nov. 9-10 Security and Environmental Crime conference organized in Nimes, France, by INTERPOL, with the experts issuing a 15-point call for action to raise awareness and encourage greater involvement by the global community. Environmental crimes generate illegal profits estimated between $70 billion and $213 billion annually, according to the international law enforcement organization, and they include the trafficking of toxic waste, illegal fishing and logging, and trafficking in protected species.

The call to action includes measures based on five strategic priorities:

  • ­Strengthen environmental crimes prevention
  • ­Coordinate efforts to fight against criminal networks
  • ­Intensify prosecutions for these types of crimes
  • ­Improve remedies for damage caused by them
  • ­Monitor the impact of measures taken against environmental crimes

The conference was followed by a meeting of INTERPOL's Pollution Crime Working Group, which elected a new board with representatives from Angola, Cameroon, Indonesia, The Netherlands (vice chair), South Africa, and the United States (chair). Under the board's leadership, key future activities in line with INTERPOL's strategic goals were identified as raising awareness, enhancing the exchange of information, capacity development, and operations.

In addition, the 2nd INTERPOL–UNEP International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference will be held Nov. 16-17 in Singapore to discuss the most pressing challenges, review steps taken since the first conference in 2013, and develop a joint action plan for the coming years. This conference precedes the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris and where governments will try to reach a new, universal climate change agreement.

On Nov. 13, prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris that were unfolding later in the day, President Obama spoke by phone French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Paris climate conference. Both men stressed their personal commitment to reach "an ambitious and durable climate change agreement as well as their determination to work together to do so," according to a White House news release.