Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Value of environmental crimes dwarfs global international aid

Posted by: Kevin Heath / 3 hours ago

The scale of the problem of environmental crime was revealed today with the publication of a joint report from the United Nationals and Interpol. Globally environmental crimes have a value of up to US$213 billion a year – compare that to a combined global total of US$135 billion a year spent on overseas aid and the scale of the problem becomes very real.

The Environmental Crime Crisis: a rapid response assessment was released on the opening day of the first ever United Nations Environment Assembly currently being held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The report looked into the full range of environmental crime from elephant poaching to illegal logging, mining and toxic waste dumping. The estimated value of the trade is put at between US$70 billion and US$213 billion. The scale of the profits put governments at risk from terrorism and organised crime and it also puts at risk the environment and the sustainability of entire economies.

The report highlight one terrorist group in East Africa that makes between US$38 million and US$56 million a year just from charcoal produced from illegal logging. Across Africa terrorists and local rebel militia are thought to be making between US$111 million and US$289 million a year just from charcoal – either producing it illegally or ‘taxing’ producers.

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