INTERPOL recognises international initiatives to tackle environmental crime

  01 December 2017
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), established in 1998 with the mission of protecting the world's last wild places and endangered species, has been recognised for its efforts on the issues of environmental crime at the inaugural award ceremony of the INTERPOL Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee (ECEC), hosted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Edinburgh.

The award for Outstanding Achievement was awarded to the foundation for its work to elevate and address the most urgent environmental challenges we face. At the forefront of its agenda is the urgency to act on the planetary crisis of accelerated climate change, and unprecedented loss of biodiversity from wildlife crime and illegal deforestation and fishing. Their work with global leaders, and their reach to the broader public makes the foundation a deserving winner of the first award issued by INTERPOL.

A second award, for Best Enforcement Initiative, was picked up by the Pollution Working Group of the ECEC for its 30 ‘Days of Action’ operation, which was the largest-ever global operation targeting the illegal transport and disposal of waste involving police, customs, border, and environmental agencies from 43 countries participating, as well as non-governmental partners such as IMPEL and the UN Environment REN project for chemicals and waste in Asia.

The awards took place on day two of the INTERPOL conference, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, which also played host to the World Forum for Natural Capital. Bringing the conferences together was a global first that saw the world's leading environmental figures, including the Deputy Director of INTERPOL Daoming Zhang, share a platform to create new partnerships and scope out new opportunities for collaboration. 

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA said:

“Scotland is at the forefront of meeting the environmental challenges of the 21st century and has helped create the conditions for the World Forum for Natural Capital and INTERPOL to be hosted simultaneously in Edinburgh. Global partnerships that spark new dialogues and innovative opportunities are valuables tools that will help us to reduce our overuse of resources, coordinate our efforts to eradicate environmental crime and create prosperity for the people of Scotland through environmental innovation."

Justin Winters, Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation added:

“We are honored to have our work recognised by INTERPOL, supported by SEPA, and to explore ways to work together to further our mutual efforts to halt the illegal exploitation of our natural world.  Through strategic collaboration with effective partners, we can start to solve issues like climate change, environmental pollution and crimes against nature. Together we can be more effective, resilient, and ultimately we can pave the way to a brighter future.”

Joe Poux, Chair of INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group, said:

“30 Days of Action was a great success and shows what can be achieved when countries work together to detect, disrupt, and deter pollution crime. The success lies in the establishment of new and evolving partnerships formed through the initiative to tackle the threat from waste crime, a worldwide problem with significant potential to cause lasting environmental harm across countries. 

INTERPOL and the countries  and partners involved should be proud of the results, while the organized criminal groups involved in illicit waste trafficking should be warned that they will be caught.”


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Edwin Lakerveld, Director Intelligence and Investigation Agency on Environmental Crime, The Netherlands  I  Joe Poux, Chair of INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group and Deputy Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, US Department of Justice  I  Justin Winters, Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation  I  Martin Valenti, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Scottish Environment Protection Agency