Environment and Climate
Crimes that affect the environment and climate, including wildlife and forest crime, crimes in the fisheries sector, illegal mining, and trafficking in precious metals and waste, represent one of the major threats to peace, security, and sustainable development of West and Central Africa.
Besides implicitly eroding environmental integrity and contributing to a significant loss in biodiversity, these crimes rob local communities of their livelihoods and negatively impact social and economic development, potentially compromise public health by facilitating the spread of zoonotic diseases, and undermine the capacity of authorities to defend national interest since they are often interlinked with corruption and economic crimes.
Furthermore, criminal groups use the same routes, facilitators, and techniques to traffic natural resources as they do for other illicit commodities, and they exploit gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems. The enormous profits generated by the crimes that affect the environment are used to finance other criminal activities, and in some cases the proceeds finance conflict and contribute to instability.
UNODC helps Member States in West and Central Africa to strengthen policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks; enhance knowledge and skills to investigate and prosecute related criminal activities; increase awareness regarding the nature and scale of wildlife, forest and natural resources crimes; and enhance cooperation on bilateral and regional levels. The GPCAEC has further developed and piloted tools and manuals jointly with national authorities, creating sustainability by fostering a strong sense of national ownership through its work.
The GPCAEC addresses crimes that affect the environment and climate using a crime scene to court approach, supporting Member States to more effectively prevent, identify, investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate wildlife crime. The GPCAEC provides assistance along the entire criminal justice chain, in addition to supporting countries to strengthen their preventive response to these crimes.