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UNODC Conducts Training on Forest Crime Investigation using Anti Corruption and Anti Money Laundering Techniques

Jakarta (Indonesia), 14 August 2014
- UNODC estimates that organised crime groups earn approximately 5-6 billion US dollars a year from illegal logging and wildlife trafficking in Indonesia.

Indonesia is ranked eighth among countries with extensive forest and has the third largest expanse of tropical forest following Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Covering over 70 percent of the country's total land area, Indonesian forests generate income and employment opportunities; they provide a livelihood for millions of people and constitute nearly 10 percent of non-petroleum export revenues. However, deforestation in Indonesia occurs at a high rate. In 2011 alone, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry estimated that 450,000ha were lost to both legal and illegal forest-related activities.

In the context of forest crime, the key issues for Indonesia are illegal logging and encroachment, forest degradation, deforestation for plantation establishment, converting forests for other use and also forest fires. Further, deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia is often associated with corruption and money laundering. Law enforcement agencies such as KPK, the Indonesian police, PPATK and the Attorney General's Office have been making sustained efforts to investigate the link between forest crimes, corruption and money laundering. However, the capacity of law enforcement offices to use techniques of anti-corruption and anti-money laundering approaches is still limited, particularly at provincial and district levels.

With financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, UNODC has been assisting the Government of Indonesia to counter forest crimes and their connection to corruption and money laundering. This assistance has been provided in the form of training that is aimed at strengthening the capacity of law enforcement institutions, namely the police, prosecutors and provincial and district Forestry Services investigators.  The training sessions, titled 'Forest Crime Investigation: Using Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering Approaches', were held over June and July. A total of sixty people participated in the training sessions, which were held in Central Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua.

In questionnaires and discussions, participants acknowledged that corruption and money laundering, in the context of forest crimes, are complex issues that require the strong collaboration of law enforcement agencies to effectively address. In addition, they recognised that the training sessions were useful in developing basic knowledge of anti-corruption and money laundering. Further, the training also identified that gaps in regulations can create loopholes that make corruption possible. Participants also acknowledged the need for a common perception and understanding regarding the judiciary that handles cases of forestry corruption. It is also important to involve and strengthen the communities that surround the forests so that they may assist in detecting forest crimes and suspicious activities.

In a statement made at Jayapura, the Head of Forestry and Conservation in the Papua Province, Yan Ormuseray acknowledged that support from various stakeholders was required to deal with forest crimes. Stakeholders include forestry agencies, law enforcement institutions, prosecutors, the courts, KPK and PPATK, banks, civil society (including NGOs), academics and the general public. Without the synergy of these various parties, it is difficult to make progress towards saving Indonesia's forests from damage and destruction.

UNODC will continue to assist the government of Indonesia in this area and to strengthen the capacity of all associated actors from local to national levels.