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Environmental crime hurts Kenya, global economy: UN

25 June 2014, 18:43

Nairobi - Global environmental crime is worth up to 213 billion U.S. dollars each year, a UN spokesman said Tuesday, citing a newly released UN study.

"A new report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and INTERPOL warns that global environment crime, which is worth up to 213 billion U.S. dollars each year, is helping to finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups," said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at a daily briefing.

"By some estimates, the total amount generated from global environment crime significantly exceeds the global Overseas Development Assistance of around 135 billion U.S. dollars each year," Dujarric said.

These crimes include logging, poaching, trafficking of a wide range of animals, illegal fisheries, illegal mining and dumping of toxic waste.

"Such illegal trade in natural resources is also threatening the security and sustainable development of many nations," Dujarric noted.

The UN spokesman cited the study as saying that militia and terrorist groups in and around African nations with on-going conflicts may earn up to 289 million U.S. dollars annually from their involvement in the illegal or unregulated charcoal trade.

Groups that benefit from the illegal trade in wildlife and timber products are also estimated to earn up to 12.2 million U.S. dollars each year from elephant ivory in the Central Africa sub- region, driving a significant reduction in elephant populations across Africa.

"The report calls for further strengthened action against the organized criminal networks profiting from the trade," said Dujarric.

The study, titled "The Environmental Crime Crisis," was released on Tuesday during the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya where action to tackle environmental crime is high on the agenda for hundreds of environment ministers, law enforcement officers, the judiciary and senior UN officials.

- Xinhua

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