Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Coordination Organisation

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES

Environmental crimes can be defined as illegal actions with negative, harming impact on the
Environment. They include: poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, smuggling and use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) which cause environmental pollution, illicit trade in and disposal of hazardous waste, illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing and illegal logging and the associated trade in stolen timber. Environmental crimes by their very nature are trans-boundary   and   involve   cross-border   criminal   syndicates.   It   is   vastly   expanding   and increasingly endangering wildlife populations, the entire ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and affecting revenue streams to Governments.

Criminal networks and organized criminal groups are becoming increasingly interested in such illicit   transnational   activities.  This   phenomena   fuels   corruption, money-laundering and undermines   the   rule   of   law.   The   enforcement   of   environmental   laws   and   regulations   is   an important ingredient in protecting the environment and reducing environmental harm.

TRENDS

The Southern African region is greatly affected by crime on wildlife fauna and flora. The rhino and elephant populations have been dramatically reduced and the marine system is exploited through illegal fishing. The poaching of Rhino and Elephant and the illegal logging has escalated in recent years and is being driven by the demand posed by the Asian market.

SARPCCO INITIATIVES

The enforcement of environmental laws and regulations is an important ingredient in protecting the environment and reducing environmental harm. This is why environmental crime is one of the priority crime areas for SARPCCO. Member States are encouraged to adhere to the most influential of the many international conservation agreements that have been signed, major among them, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Given the fact that environmental crime is transnational by nature, SARPCCO has put in place regional interventions with the support of international organisations such as INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), among others, in countering environmental crime.
Thabsile Nxumalo (RSO)
Environmental Crimes Desk
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