UNODC Brazil, U.S. Embassy, and Ibama hold ceremony to celebrate partnership and donation of equipment used to combat forestry crimes

Brasilia, March 4, 2023– Representatives from UNODC, the United States Embassy in Brazil, and the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) met at the Institute's headquarters, in Brasilia, to celebrate the partnership between the institutions and the donation of strategic equipment for Ibama's work in combating illegal deforestation and timber trafficking in the Amazon.

With the support of the U.S. government, UNODC donated 44 computers used in Operation Remote Control, which employs high-resolution satellite images to monitor and identify crimes against flora.

The initiative integrates the various joint activities between UNODC’s Unit for the Prevention of Environmental Crime and Ibama carried out in 2023 and the more than 30 actions planned for 2024, which include training on timber identification, activities aimed at improving communication during operations and the protection of agents in the field, as well as testing tools and technologies that can contribute to tackling environmental crimes.

During the ceremony, UNODC Brazil Representative Elena Abbati, congratulated Ibama for its efforts to reduce deforestation in the Amazon in 2023 and expressed gratitude to the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for their commitment to the Brazilian institutions and trust in UNODC’s work. The director also reiterated the Office's engagement in providing technical and technological support to its partner institutions. "UNODC recognizes that combating environmental crimes is extremely complex, due to logistical difficulties, the shortage of officials necessary to cover a country of continental dimensions, and the growing involvement of organized crime", she explained.

The latest UNODC World Drug Report has, for the first time, a chapter dedicated to the Amazon region, highlighting that changes in the way organized criminal groups are operating, with involvement in more than one type of crime (drug trafficking, illegal mining, illegal deforestation, human trafficking, arms flows, etc.), and the new challenges this dynamic brings, especially in the Amazon region and on the borders.

Ibama’s President, Rodrigo Agostinho, highlighted several results achieved by the agency's inspection activities, strengthened by the donation of the equipment, and thanked UNODC and the United States Government for the partnership. “We have an environmental heritage in Brazil that needs to be preserved, and we actually need help. This cooperation, both with the U.S., with its different cooperation agencies, and UNODC itself, is a very important partnership for us, and we hope that we will be able to further expand this effort”, he stated.

The U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, highlighted the partnership between the U.S. government and Brazilian agencies, motivated by the mutual determination to improve citizen security in both countries. “And a key element to this [mission] is the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations, which threaten democratic societies, devastate natural resources, weaken the rule of law, and destroy lives,” she said.

Partnerships and means of implementation

The donation of computers was made possible by UNODC Brazil’s CRIMFLO project – Strengthening the Criminal Justice System Response to Forestry Crimes, implemented with the support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

In addition to CRIMFLO, the partnership between UNODC, the U.S. government, and Ibama is also crucial to the implementation of the ECOS project – Regional Cooperation to Address Environmental Crimes, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

UNODC also implements other projects that address the convergence of criminal practices and the presence of organized crime in the Amazon basin: the Global Maritime Crime Programme’s (GMCP) Project for Partnerships for Riverine Operations and Atlantic Port Protection, aimed at illicit trafficking along waterways in the Amazon and in ports from Brazil’s northwest region; PRIS-COOP, which promotes the use of innovative and interagency practices to improve the management of the prison system; and Tapajós, focused on human trafficking in the gold mining sector in the Tapajós river basin, in Pará.

To find out more about UNODC's work on crimes that affect the environment, click here, and for UNODC publications on the subject, click here.




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