The rise of environmental crime: a growing threat to natural resources peace, development and security
The value of the black market industry behind crimes such as ivory smuggling, illegal logging and toxic waste dumping has jumped by 26% since 2014 to between $91bn (£62bn) and $258bn, according to an assessment by the UN and Interpol. Environmental crime is now the world’s fourth largest illicit enterprise after drug smuggling, counterfeiting and human trafficking and has outstripped the illegal trade in small arms. The impact on the natural world has been devastating in some cases. More than a quarter of the world’s elephant population have been killed for their tusks in the last decade alone, according to the joint report from the UN’s environment programme (Unep) and Interpol. Efforts to stem the global crime wave have been thwarted by weak laws, ill-prepared security forces, corruption and chronic underfunding. The report argues that new laws are needed as well as sanctions at national and international levels, the disruption of overseas tax havens, and increased crime-fighting funds.