Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


COP10 Side event: "Enhancing International Cooperation to Prevent and Combat Environmental Crime" 

  13 October 2020

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to address this side event on tackling environmental crime.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is every reason to keep the issue of environmental crime high on the international agenda.

The illegal exploitation of natural resources contributes to biodiversity loss, impoverishes communities and threatens human health.

The 2020 World Wildlife Crime Report shows that the illicit wildlife trade is a global, lucrative business, with no country left untouched.

Organized criminal groups are drawing major profits from the poaching, trafficking and illegal sale of environmental resources. This includes wildlife, but also forest and fisheries crime, waste trafficking, illegal mining and timber trafficking.

By sabotaging our planet, livelihoods, security and development, environmental crime and other forms of organized crime threaten our chances of a sustainable recovery.

Global challenges require global responses. Countries need adequate and consistent legislation, which addresses environmental crime under the scope of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its international cooperation framework.

Closing gaps in legislation across regions prevents traffickers from simply shifting their activities to countries with weaker protections in place.

I would like to express our thanks to France for its support for UNODC’s work to combat environmental crime as a form of organized criminal activity, including through the development of a series of legislative guides on these issues.

To curb environmental crime and bring perpetrators to justice, a holistic approach across the criminal justice chain is needed, from frontline officers to investigators, prosecutors and the judiciary.

UNODC, as guardian of the Convention, provides technical assistance and capacity building to improve knowledge of environmental crimes and raise awareness of their impact; support information sharing for cross-border investigations; and improve coordination among national, regional and international stakeholders.

Through its Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime, UNODC has assisted more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America last year.

We have expanded the programme to include other environmental crimes, such as minerals and waste trafficking, in response to increasing technical assistance requests from Member States.

I would like to thank our donors and partners for supporting this work.

Je remercie aussi chaleureusement la France pour l’organisation de l’événement d’aujourd’hui.

I wish you all a successful event.