Global challenges, such as crimes that affect the environment, require global responses. Offences are often transnational in nature and serious enough to qualify as transnational organized crime in line with UNTOC. Tackling these crimes requires extensive cooperation at all levels. Strong and effective responses to crimes that affect the environment require comprehensive and coordinated efforts across and between all the actors in the criminal justice chain. Authorities need to ensure that those tasked with prevention, those who draft and implement legislation, those who plan and carry out seizures, and those who investigate offences or prosecute offenders all work together towards achieving a common objective.
International cooperation to tackle crimes that affect the environment is increasing and countries are seeing the results from sharing information. Notwithstanding this progress, further cooperation is required to have an impact. Law enforcement authorities are often still reluctant to use official channels for real time cross-border cooperation.
UNODC supports States to improve international cooperation and cross-border investigations, and calls on them to make greater efforts to consider crimes that affect the environment as a serious crime – this will enable them to harness the tools available under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Environment Team, through the Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment, provides support to Member States in the coordination of regional and international cooperation efforts and dialogue initiatives, both formal and informal, with the objective of more effectively combating crimes that affect the environment. This technical assistance is provided by delivering workshops on information and intelligence sharing, cross border cooperation on legal matters, and by supporting the establishment of regional and international networks of practitioners. Recent efforts by UNODC to promote cooperation include: support to Wildlife Enforcement Networks (SudWEN and HAWEN); co-organization of Wildlife Inter-Regional Enforcement Network (WIRE) meetings; co-organization of a series of regional customs operations (Operation Mekong Dragon); fostering the African Wildlife Forensics Network and the East Africa Association of Prosecutors.