As Environmental Crime Surges, UN Report Calls for Urgent Action

July 2, 2014

A recent report from the UN and Interpol titled “The Environmental Crime Crisis,” estimates that illegal environmental crime, from illegal logging to elephant poaching, generates up to $213 billion a year, with the majority of profits going to international crime syndicates and terrorist organizations.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said, “The illegal trade in natural resources is depriving developing economies of billions of dollars in lost revenue and lost development opportunities, while benefiting a relatively small criminal fraternity.”

The report underscores the importance of the work being done by Goldman Prize winners like Silas Siakor (2006), who is fighting for stricter logging regulations in Liberia and around the world; Fatima Jibrell (2002), who is working to provide sustainable economic alternatives to the illicit charcoal trade in Somalia; and Raoul du Toit (2011), who has dedicated his life to protecting Southern Africa’s last remaining rhino populations from poachers.

The report calls for more robust environmental laws and enforcement, calling on nations to “better coordinate their efforts to crack down on environmental crimes, strengthen law enforcement and judicial systems and increase funding for conservation programs to protect endangered animals.”