Environmental Crimes


International Conference on Environmental Crime: Current and Emerging Threats

UNICRI and UNEP, in partnership with the Italian Ministry for the Environment and the Italian Ministry of Justice, organized an International Conference on Environmental Crime. The Conference took place at the F.A.O. Headquarters in Rome on 29-30 October 2012 with the support of Compagnia di San Paolo.

The Conference sought to address current and emerging threats posed by environmental crime, highlighting its links with organised criminal networks and other crimes of serious nature, with a specific focus on illegal trafficking of e-waste. Moreover, the Conference touched upon existing legal issues which permit these crimes to continue largely without prosecution.

The objective of the Conference was to serve as a platform for competent institutions and experts to discuss how to move forward and address these issues in a more effective and efficient way. The Conference was also guided by the account of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.

The two-day Conference benefited from the active participation of representatives from governmental authorities, environmental and law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, and of prominent scholars in the field. The Conference saw the participation of 130 experts from around the world and international organizations such as UNDESA, UNEP, CITES Secretariat, OSCE, CoE and INTERPOL.

The stakeholders assessed emerging forms of eco-crimes in three thematic roundtables devoted to the discussion of different environmental crime aspects and proposed recommendations which will be included in the final conference documents: Report of the Conference and Action Plan on Combating Environmental Crime.

More details on the Conference including the work plan, points for discussion of the three expert groups and presentations of the experts can be found below.

For any further questions please contact ecocrime.conferenceunicri.it

Conference Documents

Conference Presentations

Thematic Debate

The conference was opened by presentations from renowned experts introducing the main topics related to environmental crime.

Mr. Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Co-ordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) - "Introduction: Sustainable development and environmental crime: perspective from Rio+20"
Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Former UN Under-Secretary General - "Why is crime against the environment out of control"
Mr. Masa Nagai, Acting Deputy Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - "Environmental governance and international environmental law review"
Mr. Stefano Dambruoso, Deputy Head of Cabinet, Ministry for the Environment of Italy - "Recent cases of environmental crime in Italy"

Expert Group I: Environmental crime in the current international legal framework: the way forward

The Expert Group looked at improving international legislation and its implementation. Participants discussed flaws in the current international legal framework in relation to environmental crime at the regional and international level, and developed specific recommendations to promote compliance with and enforcement of international and regional legal framework.

Expert Group II: Environmental crimes: a growing business for organised crime and corruption

The Expert Group looked at the role of organised crime and corruption in different environmental crimes. Participants discussed case studies from different countries and regions to identify trends, patterns and modalities of intervention and prepared specific recommendations on how to improve investigations and prevention, and better exchange information across borders.

Mr. Pedro David, Judge of the National Court of Criminal Cassation of Argentina

Expert Group III: Illicit trafficking of waste: an international emergency

The Expert Group discussed the issue of illicit trafficking in waste (including toxic waste, e-waste, plastic etc.) as an emerging international threat, the increasing role of organised crime groups, its links with other serious crimes, such as counterfeiting, corruption, money laundering, and the role played by the different actors into this crime. Participants presented data and case studies and developed specific recommendations on how to improve data collection and analysis, exchange of information, and international investigations in this field.


The Conference Illicit Trafficking in Waste: a Global Emergency

To increase awareness of the threat of environmental crime, in December 2011 Legambiente, Consorzio Polieco and UNICRI co-organized a conference in Rome entitled Illicit Trafficking in Waste: A Global Emergency, with the participation of the Ministry of the Environment of Italy, parliamentarians, international partners such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and stakeholders involved in countering trafficking in and dumping of toxic waste.

The Conference aimed at providing an overview of the situation and in particular represented an opportunity to make a comparison of current legislative and operational tactics in countering the phenomenon. The ultimate goal was to identify appropriate responses.


Workshop: Recycling or illicit disposal? Waste: an occasion for development, an opportunity for organized crime

Illicit trafficking and disposal of waste, the harm posed to human health and environment, versus sound waste management and recycling as precursors to economic growth, innovation and sustainable development: these are the topics discussed during the workshop Recycling or illicit disposal? Waste: an occasion for development, an opportunity for organized crime? organized by UNICRI in collaboration with Environment Park on 6 September 2012. The seminar focused on various aspects of sound waste management and emphasize its potential for sustainable development and innovation. It has also presented measures to prevent the infiltration of organized crime in waste management.

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