Organised, environmental crime constitute crime that is linked to illegal logging, fisheries, mining, illegal disposal of and sale in toxic waste, and poaching and trade in endangered species of flora and fauna. It is estimated that the economical consequences of this form of crime exceeds the world’s combined official development assistance of 120 million USD.
Illegal logging represents one of the greatest threats to forest conservation worldwide. Currently, 15-30 % of the volume of wood traded globally has been obtained illegally. Illegal logging has great impact on national economies, forest biological diversity, as well as the global climate and it is estimated that deforestation, largely of tropical rain forests, is responsible for an estimated 17% of all human-made CO2 emissions. This is more than that from ships, aviation and land transport combined.
GRID-Arendal is working together with the United Nations Office on Dugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) on the project Organised Forest Crime (ORGFORC). The main activities of the project is strengthening law enforcement on the ground and developing information material including manuals and reports for various audiences.
In recent years, at least 25,000 elephants have been illegally killed annually in Africa. Rapid economic development and changes in consumption patterns in Asia have increased the demand for ivory, particularly in China and Thailand. Other products from endangered species, including rhino horn, are also in demand in Asia, particularly in Viet Nam. The scale of the poaching and illegal trade, has reached such levels that it is endangering elephant populations, particularly in West- and Central Africa.
GRID-Arendal, in collaboration with CITES, TRAFFIC, IUCN and the Great Apes Foundation (GRASP) have worked together in producing two reports launched at the CITES 16th conference of the Parties in March 2013 that highlighted the problem of illegal trade in endangered species.