A comprehensive approach to combating the criminal networks behind environmental crime.

Author:Himbert, Christelle

Wildlife crime is a serious and growing international problem which transcends physical, political and ideological borders. The illegal exploitation of the world's wild flora and fauna can affect a nation's economy and security. A significant proportion of wildlife crime is carried out by organized criminal networks, which are drawn by the low risk and high profits. The same routes used to smuggle wildlife across countries and continents are often used by these criminal networks to smuggle weapons, drugs and people.

Effectively tackling the mounting challenges posed by wildlife crime requires a coordinated, transnational, multi-agency approach. As the world's largest international police organization, INTERPOL is ideally and uniquely placed to lead the law enforcement aspect of this global struggle. To this end, INTERPOL, through its Environmental Security Sub-Directorate, forms the law enforcement component of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

With its network of 190 member countries, INTERPOL brings together global expertise on a range of transnational crime issues. Through INTERPOL involvement in ICCWC, the knowledge of this global network enhances the consortium's activities to prevent and combat wildlife crime.

In addition to its secure global police communications system known as 1-24/7 which connects police in all its 190 member countries and allows them to access the Organization's criminal databases, INTERPOL global tools and services can be used for the specific needs of fighting wildlife crimes.

INTERPOL system of notices offers a series of colour-coded alerts that are distributed to law enforcement worldwide to share different types of crime-related information. Most frequently used for wildlife crime purposes are Red Notices (wanted persons alerts) and Purple Notices (information on modus operandi). The first INTERPOL notice issued for an environmental crime was a Purple Notice requested by Norway in 2013 to alert law enforcement worldwide to a vessel suspected of involvement in illegal fishing, while a Red Notice was issued at the request of Nepal for one of its nationals wanted for rhinoceros poaching and trading internationally in their horns.

The INTERPOL Environmental Security Sub-Directorate has also created a complementary system of alerts which member countries can use to share targeted information specifically related to environmental crimes.

When a country is faced with a crisis...

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