Environmental crimes generate an estimated USD 23 billion annually in the region- over one quarter of the nearly USD 90 billion earned per year in East Asia and the Pacific by transnational organized crime. Criminal syndicates operating the illegal trade in timber, wildlife and hazardous substances are engaged in sophisticated forms of crime that are as serious as the international illicit trades in people, drugs, fake goods and fraudulent medicines.
The illegal harvesting and trafficking of timber alone is worth approximately USD 17 billion dollars per year, flourishing in the cracks of the legitimate timber trade, and is fuelled by corruption, fraud, lax regulation and poor enforcement.
UNODC works with legal systems and law enforcement agencies of Member States to:
- Strengthen policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks;
- Enhance knowledge and skills to investigate and prosecute related criminal activities;
- Increase awareness regarding the nature and scale of environmental crimes; and
- Enhance cooperation on a bilateral and regional level.