90% of Tropical Deforestation Must Be Linked to Organized Crime Trade

The illegal timber market is supposedly worth over $30 billion yearly, the UN argues

According to a new report made public by the United Nations Environment Programme, as much of 50-90% of the deforestations taking place in countries belonging to the Amazon basin must be linked to illegal activities.

This organization states that the illegal logging industry is worth roughly $30 billion (€23.29 billion) yearly, and that the amounts of timber put on the market by such activities account for 15-30% of the overall trade.

It is not difficult to guess that, as a result of this organized crime trade, most of the efforts intended to combat climate change and its related issued are rendered futile, and that preserving wildlife and eradicating poverty in the countries affected by these activities are pretty much out of the question.

Commenting on the findings of this report, Achim Steiner, presently working as the UN's Under-Secretary General, made a case of how, “Funding to better manage forests represents an enormous opportunity to not only address climate change but to reduce rates of deforestation, improve water supplies, cut soil erosion and generate decent green jobs in natural resource management.”

However, “Illegal logging can however undermine this effort, robbing countries and communities of a sustainable future, if the unlawful activities are more profitable than the lawful ones under REDD+.”

To make matters even worse, several reports put together by the Interpol indicate that, more often than one would suspect, the illegal timber market leads to acts of violence committed against indigenous people, and that sometimes the run-ins result in the death of various individuals.

The United Nations Environment Programme wished to emphasize the fact that these criminal activities can only be put an end to if several countries worldwide agree to launch international campaigns.

“The threat posed to the environment by transnational organized crime requires a strong, effective and innovative international law enforcement response to protect these natural resources and combat the corruption and violence tied to this type of crime, which can also affect a country's stability and security,” commented on this situation the Secretary General of the Interpol.

Apparently, illegal timber marketers rely on falsified logging permits and bribes in order to go about their business. As well as this, they sometimes hack into government websites and thus obtain or change electronic permits.

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