Bangkok learns about environmental crime
Bangkok, Thailand, 20th November 2009—Information boards highlighting the five most prominent crimes committed against the environment are on display at a popular mall in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district, thanks to a collaboration between the Asian Regional Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crime (ARPEC), which includes TRAFFIC, and Bangkok’s Emporium Shopping Complex.
The boards highlight issues ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, illegal trade in ozone depleting substances, dumping and illegal transport of hazardous waste, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing to illegal logging and the associated timber trade.
“This is a golden opportunity to reach the broader public and to teach younger generations about the different crimes that harm the environment, empty the region’s forests, and bring countless species to the brink of extinction”, said Sulma Warne, Programme Officer of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
Environmental crime is one of the most profitable forms of criminal activity world-wide. It is a serious and growing international problem that is having devastating impacts on our environment.
The problem is exacerbated by porous borders that facilitate illegal trade, ineffective laws, weak enforcement, and a common lack of knowledge among the enforcement community and general public about how severe these crimes are. Criminal networks that are often highly organized and well financed take full advantages of these weaknesses. As a result, illicit goods are smuggled with ease across borders drawing high profits for the criminals involved.
The shopping complex display coincides with a meeting of ARPEC partners this week, where member organizations will exchange ideas and experiences on how best to combat environmental crime in the region.
ARPEC partners include the World Customs Organization Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO ROCB), the Interpol Liaison Office (ICPO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), WWF, FREELANDFoundation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the VROM Inspectorate, IMPEL –TFS, TVE/Earth Report, the CITES Secretariat, the Royal Thai Customs, the Royal Thai Police, the Ministry of Industry of Thailand and the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN) of India.