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On 7 March 2021, the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted by consensus the Kyoto Declaration on Advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: Towards the achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, calling upon the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) to adopt the appropriate policy and operational measures for the follow-up to the declaration and to identify innovative ways to make use of information on progress made in the implementation of the declaration. The Commission approved the Kyoto Declaration during its thirtieth session in May 2021 and recommended its endorsement through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the General Assembly. Operative paragraph 87 of the Kyoto declaration refers to the commitment of Member States to adopt effective measures to prevent and combat crimes that affect the environment, such as illicit trafficking in wildlife, including, inter alia, flora and fauna as protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in timber and timber products, in hazardous wastes and other wastes and in precious metals, stones and other minerals, as well as, inter alia, poaching.
During the thirtieth session in May 2021, the CCPCJ approved the resolution, entitled “Preventing and combating crimes that affect the environment”, which has meanwhile been adopted by the Third Committee of the General Assembly. The resolution welcomed the Kyoto Declaration, reaffirmed the central role of the CCPCJ as the main policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, and reiterated the call made in the Kyoto Declaration to adopt the appropriate policy and operational measures for the follow-up to the Declaration. Operative paragraph 15 of the resolution called upon the CCPCJ to hold, during the intersessional period, expert discussions on preventing and combating crimes that affect the environment with a view to discussing concrete ways to improve strategies and responses to effectively prevent and combat these crimes and to strengthen international cooperation at the operational level on this matter.
When discussing the prevention of crimes that affect the environment, participants may wish to discuss elements such as the root causes of crimes that affect the environment; the importance of, and good practices in, raising awareness and reducing the demand ; as well as the need to enhance the integrity of legal supply chains; and address linkages with other forms of crime.
When addressing efforts to combat crimes that affect the environment, participants may wish to, among others, discuss the different modus operandi of criminals involved in crimes that affect the environment, and share national, regional, and international good practices in detecting, investigating and prosecuting crimes that affect the environment. In addition, participants may wish to share good practices and challenges in addressing corruption and economic crimes, particularly the illicit financial flows derived from crimes that affect the environment and the confiscation of the proceeds of crimes, as well as other considerations, including related to victim and witness protection or compensation for damage caused.
When discussing international cooperation to address crimes that affect the environment, participants may wish to discuss how the international community can make the best use of existing international instruments and strengthen regional, and international cooperation among Member States, including through cooperation networks. In addition, the meeting may wish to discuss efforts to strengthen and expand technical assistance and capacity building, to enhance inter-agency cooperation and coordination.