United Nations Environmental Programme & RHIPTO, The Rise of Environmental Crime—A Growing Threat to Natural Resources, Peace, Development and Security: A UNEP-INTERPOL Rapid Response Assessment (Christian Nelleman et al. eds., 2016)

This report provides a comprehensive overview of environmental crimes. In the absence of a universal definition, the report describes that the phrase “environmental crimes” is “often understood as a collective term to describe illegal activities harming the environment and aimed at benefitting individuals or groups or companies from the exploitation of, damage to, trade or theft of natural resources, including serious crimes and transnational organized crime.” Environmental crimes explored in the report include illegal wildlife trade, forestry crimes, waste and pollution, white collar environmental crimes, and “threat finance” (using wealth generated illegally from natural resources to support non-state armed groups and terrorism). In addition to highlighting the key natural, economic and political impacts of environmental crimes, the authors note that these crimes are different from others as they are “aggravated through their additional cost and impact on the environment and cost to future generations.” The report also discusses addressing root causes of environmental crimes and offers case studies of restoration. It concludes with recommendations, calling on the international community to recognize environmental crimes as a serious threat to peace and sustainable development and to “strengthen the environmental rule of law.”