27 June 2014 - During the first United Nations Environment Assembly, concluded today in Nairobi, UNODC highlighted a clear link between wildlife crime and transnational organized crime, and set out how its Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime will play a key role in the fight against this scourge.
Aldo Lale-Demoz, UNODC Deputy Executive Director, reminded participants that law enforcement alone, essential as it is, will not deliver lasting results in combating wildlife crime, unless complemented by effective demand reduction activities, including education, as well as community-based sustainable development. While explaining benefits of the UNODC Global Programme on this topic, he stressed "the importance of sustainable livelihoods schemes for communities in source countries, because we know that they are highly vulnerable to illicit markets and organized crime. This is so, precisely because of their poverty and lack of economic opportunities".
The development of the Global Programme comes amid increasing recognition that responding to the threat posed to wildlife and forests is no longer purely a conservation issue. With a growing understanding that organized crime is a key factor driving the unprecedented growth of this cruel and illicit trade, the need to tackle it from this angle is ever more urgent. In this regard, and drawing on UNODC's ability to assist with law enforcement and criminal justice concerns, the Global Programme will support a number of areas such as building legislation to address this crime, strengthening investigative, prosecutorial and judicial capacities, and combating related issues of money-laundering and corruption. It will also support Member States in their efforts to introduce livelihoods to affected communities.
Mr Lale-Demoz, concluding his speech at the Assembly, called all Member States for their urgent participation: "Action involves focusing on the needs and capacities of vulnerable communities. Good results are contingent on forging effective partnerships on the back of each stakeholder's expertise, and on making the best use of science, evidence and best practices available."
The United Nations Environment Assembly is the highest-level body ever convened on the environment. It enjoys universal membership of all 193 UN Member States, as well as other stakeholder groups and met for its first-ever session at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-27 June, 2014.
Video message by UNODC's Executive Director: