VIENNA: The United Nations’ anti-crime body
today resolved to step up the global fight against wildlife and forest crime in
recognition of the urgent threat it poses and the serious nature of the
criminal networks involved.
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has been pressing for special agencies
tasked with crime fighting to turn their attention and resources to combating
wildlife and forest crime. All too often these crimes are not a priority for
law enforcement agencies and successful prosecutions of the perpetrators are
This week’s meeting of the UN
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna had as
its core theme crimes that impact the environment and held a day-long
discussion on the issue.
Member States expressed concern about the growth of such crimes, especially
trafficking in wildlife and forest products, and the impact this has on wider
issues of health and safety, security, good governance and sustainable
development. It was recognized this is no longer an emerging threat; it is now
one of the world’s largest forms of organised crime, generating tens of
billions of dollars in illicit profits.
a joint statement to the meeting, EIA and WWF said recognition of the serious,
transnational and organised nature of wildlife and forest crime, 12 years on
from the first discussion of these crimes under the UN General Assembly, is a
crucial step forward.
Banks, EIA Senior Campaigner, said: “The severity of these threats can no
longer be ignored and we are glad that the discussion led to the adoption of a
resolution tabled by Peru and the USA specifically addressing wildlife and
has been pressing for action involving the professional law enforcement
community for several years, and this high-level political recognition of the
problem will hopefully lead to more concrete action at the national level.”
States lined up to support the resolution, which recognises wildlife and forest
crime as an increasingly sophisticated form of transnational organised crime
and encourages member states to treat this as serious crime and to adopt the
necessary legislation and penalties for the prevention, investigation and
prosecution of such trafficking.
resolution further encourages establishment of national inter-agency
taskforces, international cooperation, and the use of measures to trace and
seize illicit proceeds of these crimes.
it also extends the mandate of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) to pursue its role within the International Consortium on Combating
Wildlife Crime by working with member states who want to use the Wildlife and
Forest Analytic Crime Toolkit, and requests the UNODC to undertake studies of
the organised crime networks involved in wildlife and forest crime.
increased commitment shown at the meeting comes at a time when poaching of
wildlife and illicit timber trade is surging. To date, the enforcement response
has been inadequate, with seizures rarely leading to prosecutions and
environmental crimes generally having one of the lowest conviction rates.
will monitor the implementation of the resolution agreed, and will continue to
push for the full armoury of anti-crime measures to be applied against the
powerful syndicates behind many wildlife and forest crime.
LONDON: Once again living up to its status as
‘world’s most effective environmental treaty’, the Montreal Protocol has struck
a deal with China to phase-out hydrofluorocarbon (HCFC) production and so
prevent eight billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
With funding of up to US$385m from the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral
Fund, China will eliminate its production of HCFCs, ozone-depleting substances
that are also potent greenhouse gases.
Clare Perry, Senior Campaigner for the London-based Environmental
Investigation Agency (EIA), said: “This is an important step which demonstrates
yet again the significance of the Montreal Protocol in providing effective
climate mitigation through a tried and tested process.”
reached at the most recent meeting of the Multilateral Fund, is a major step in
the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs. The elimination of the production of over
4.3 million metric tonnes of HCFCs will prevent emissions of eight billion
tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to emissions from 1.6
billion cars, one-and-a-half times the global motor vehicle fleet.
chemicals used mainly in air conditioning, refrigeration, foam blowing and
solvents. They are also used as feedstock for other products such as Teflon
feedstock use of HCFCs is not regulated by the Montreal Protocol as it is
deemed that the HCFCs are entirely consumed in the process and not emitted to
the atmosphere. However, the production of HCFC also results in the unwanted
production of HFC-23, a super greenhouse gas 14,800 times more damaging to the
climate than CO2. While destruction of HFC-23 is easily done and
inexpensive, some Chinese plants allow HFC-23 by-product to be vented,
resulting in growing atmospheric concentrations.
According to the
press release issued by the Multilateral Fund, China has agreed to “...make
best efforts to manage HCFC production and associated by-product production in
HCFC plants in accordance with best practices to minimize associated climate
This stops short
of mandating HFC-23 destruction in all plants, but does indicate China’s intent
to follow best practice as currently followed by HCFC producers in developed
countries where HFC-23 is routinely destroyed.
EIA is calling
on China to formally pledge to destroy the HFC-23 from all Chinese HCFC
production facilities, including facilities which produce HCFC for feedstock.
China’s production of HCFCs over the next 17 years is a great win for the
environment,” said Mark W Roberts, EIA’s Senior Policy Advisor. “However, it
will be a hollow victory unless China adopts measures to prevent HFC-23 from
being vented into the atmosphere.”
Chitral Gol National Park with a total area 7,000 acre had only four
watchmen performing duties. Wildlife department had been making consistent
efforts to protect the Markhors– Capra falconeri (endangered species) which had
increased from 195 in 1991 to 1,364 last year. However on February 20, some
unidentified hunters escaped after shooting a Markhor – said to be worth Rs 9.5
million – in the Birmoghlasht Mountains of Chitral. In an attempt to stop
illegal hunting Peshawar High Court directed the chief conservator to send a
summary regarding release of funds used to equip wildlife watchers with arms.