UNEP-INTERPOL Report: Value of Environmental Crime up 26%

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Angolan wildlife rangers warm up before patrol

Eco-crime hits record high at up to $258 billion, outstripping the illegal trade in small arms, as international criminal gangs and militant groups profit from the plunder of Earth’s resources

Nairobi, 4 June 2016 – The value of environmental crime is 26 per cent larger than previous estimates, at $91-258 billion today compared to $70-213 billion in 2014, according to a rapid response report published today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL.

The Rise of Environmental Crime, released on the eve of World Environment Day (WED), finds that weak laws and poorly funded security forces are enabling international criminal networks and armed rebels to profit from a trade that fuels conflicts, devastates ecosystems and is threatening species with extinction.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Interpol and UNEP have joined forces to bring to the attention of the world the sheer scale of environmental crime. The vast sums of money generated from these crimes keep sophisticated international criminal gangs in business, and fuel insecurity around the world.

“The result is not only devastating to the environment and local economies, but to all those who are menaced by these criminal enterprises. The world needs to come together now to take strong national and international action to bring environmental crime to an end.”