ast week saw the launch of the Nature Crime Alliance, a new, multi sector approach to fighting criminal forms of logging, mining, wildlife trade, land conversion, crimes associated with fishing, and the illegal activities with which they converge.
The Alliance is significant because this is the first time that such a broad approach to this global challenge has been developed on this scale, including because its founding participants include such diverse members as the government of the United States, the government of Norway, the government of Gabon, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, Global Environment Facility, Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, etc.
Nature crime, as described by the Alliance, constitutes one of the largest illicit economies in the world, inflicting devastation and destruction upon people and planet. The group recognizes that these crimes cannot be eradicated without multi sector cooperation and that there is a pressing need for greater coordination and collaboration among the diverse actors fighting nature crime. Its indirect impact is on the order of $2 Trillion a year, but the harm to people and planet is so much more than even that enormous dollar amount.
“Nature crimes threaten our collective security. They undermine the rule of law, fuel corruption, destroy ecosystems, and drive species to the brink of extinction, all the while providing billions of dollars to transnational criminal syndicates that prey upon the world’s most vulnerable populations. We all must stand together to stop the criminals who are threatening the health of our planet – and that is why the United States is proud to support the Nature Crime Alliance.” Jennifer R. Littlejohn, Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, US State Department.
Nature crime includes criminal forms of logging, mining, fishing, wildlife trade, and land conversion. These crimes frequently converge with each other and other forms of international criminal activity. Nature crime is closely linked to terrorism, corruption, modern slavery and other human rights abuses, financial crimes, and other threats to peace and security.
A cynic might ask if the world needs another organization or if this controversy is all a publicity stunt, but we see the Alliance being formed in recognition of the abject failure to have effectively acted in the past, with members including representatives from governments, law enforcement, international organizations, civil society organizations, front line defenders including Indigenous Peoples and local communities, donors, and the private sector. Much more than virtue signaling, your organization can become part of the solution and recognized as a participant in the Alliance.
Participants will work together, through the Alliance, consistent with its Guiding Principles to raise political will, mobilize financial commitment, and strengthen operational capacity to fight nature crime. Through a range of initiatives from solutions focused working groups convening representatives across different sectors, to structured communications channels that enable open dialogue and the sharing of best practices to eliminate ill gotten gains from supply chains, the Alliance is building a new, international, collaborative response to nature crime.
The overarching objective is to halt criminal activities that exploit natural resources worldwide.
That will be accomplished through its mission to raise political will, mobilize financial commitment, and bolster operational capacity to identify, disrupt, and prosecute criminals and syndicates that profit from the destruction of nature.
This is the first time that such a multi sector approach to this global challenge has been implemented on this scale, with the Alliance marking a key moment in the fight against nature crime. We encourage you and your organization to share the determination to end environmental injustice to protect people and repair the planet by joining the Nature Crime Alliance.