December 24, 2010

International Hazardous Waste Inspection Project Report Highlights Advantages of Cooperation

Filed under: 9th Conference, INECE Secretariat, seaports — inece @ 3:56 pm

A report released today by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN) confirms the benefits of cross-border collaboration in combating the illegal trade in hazardous waste through seaports.

The report details the results of the INECE SESN International Hazardous Waste Inspection Project, a simultaneous inspection exercise involving environmental, customs, and other enforcement authorities from countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Participating countries undertook coordinated environmental inspections at their seaports during June and July 2010 and reported their results.

The Inspection Project results indicate that compliance with international treaty provisions regarding international hazardous waste movement remains a challenge. Substantial domestic and international efforts will be needed to counteract negative social, environmental, and economic impacts that arise from illegal waste trafficking. Of the 74 total targeted inspections conducted during the inspection project, 53% discovered non-compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

The results of the Project also highlight the crucial importance of effective communication channels at the international, regional, and national levels for detection of illegal trade in hazardous waste. During the Project, participants exchanged information using a variety of methods including informal contacts made possible through the SESN.

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December 17, 2010

UNEP Launches New Course on Course on Compliance with Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Filed under: Compliance Training, UN System — inece @ 3:09 pm

UNEP and the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law have launched a new, university-level course on compliance with multilateral environmental agreements. The course syllabus, curriculum content (including sample PowerPoint presentations) with supporting references and materials, and a Manual for lecturers, instructors, and professors is available online at www.unep.org/DEC/Lecturemanual.asp.

This course on Compliance with and Enforcement of MEAs provides students with guidance on the practical aspects of negotiating, implementing, and enforcing environmental law at the international and national levels. As such, the course and its materials are designed to complement existing courses on environmental law and international environmental law.

The primary target audience for the course is law students, as well as students of international relations, environmental management and other disciplines linked to the study of the environment. After completion of the Compliance coursework, the students will have a better understanding of international environmental law in general as well as of the main challenges for effective compliance and enforcement of the MEAs.

The course supports UNEP’s Manual on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreement, available online at http://www.unep.org/dec/onlinemanual/.

For more information, see UNEP’s press release on the launch of the course.

December 16, 2010

Flemish Higher Council for Environmental Enforcement Releases Annual Report

Filed under: Europe, seaports — Tags: , — inece @ 11:01 pm

From De Tijd:

A check conducted by the Flemish environmental inspectorate on 332 waste containers destined for export in 2009 showed that one quarter of all waste transport shipped via Flemish ports contravenes environmental regulations, with as much as 14% of all waste transported totally illegal. “It was not easy to check these containers in the harbours and their destination was often dubious,” says Robert Baert, divisional head of the Flemish environmental inspection unit. Close collaboration with federal services, the public prosecutor’s office and the police is essential for success, said Flemish Environmental Minister Joke Schauvliege (CD&V) during the handover of the preliminary environmental control report.

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December 14, 2010

2nd Seaports Workshop Results in Call to Action on Enforcement Cooperation

Filed under: Asia, INECE Secretariat, seaports — inece @ 9:30 pm

The INECE  Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN) convened its Second Workshop on Combating the Illegal Trade in Hazardous Wastes Through Seaports in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on  29 November 2010.

Participants at the INECE SESN 2nd Workshop on Illegal Trade in Hazardous Wastes Through Seaports

The  INECE SESN  Workshop was attended  by  47 participants from environmental and other enforcement authorities  from  14 countries in the Asia region, as well as from several international organizations.

The full report on the 2nd Workshop on Combating Illegal Trade in Hazardous Wastes Through Seaports: Objectives, Conclusions, and Ways Forward [pdf] is available online. Visit http://www.inece.org/seaport/cambodia/ for more information about the workshop, including the agenda, presentations, and the group photograph.

The objectives of the Second INECE SESN Workshop were:

  • To design action-based enforcement cooperation strategies in the Asia region that build capacity of seaport authorities, creating a deterrence factor for illegal shippers.
  • To share experience on intelligence-led approaches and other methods to target enforcement actions and improve detection efficiency.
  • To strengthen informal cooperation among customs, environmental, ports and other government officials at the national and regional levels.

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December 8, 2010

Google Satellite Platform to Support REDD Efforts

Filed under: biodiversity, Forests, water management — inece @ 7:16 pm

Google has introduced new mapping technology during the UNFCCC Climate Meetings in Cancun, Mexico, that will help monitor forest carbon projects.

Screenshot of Google's Earth Engine Map of Mexico Forest Cover

Google Earth Engine is a new technology platform that puts an unprecedented amount of satellite imagery and data—current and historical—online for the first time. It enables global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the earth’s environment. The platform will enable scientists to use our extensive computing infrastructure—the Google “cloud”—to analyze this imagery…

Google Earth Engine can be used for a wide range of applications—from mapping water resources to ecosystem services to deforestation. It’s part of our broader effort at Google to build a more sustainable future. We’re particularly excited about an initial use of Google Earth Engine to support development of systems to monitor, report and verify (MRV) efforts to stop global deforestation. Excerpted from the Official Google Blog.

Traditional forest monitoring is complex and expensive, requiring access to large amounts of satellite data, lots of hard drives to hold the data, lots of computers to process the data, and lots of time while you wait for various computations to finish. Our prototype demonstrates how Earth Engine makes all of this easier, by moving everything into the cloud. Google supplies data, storage, and computing muscle. As a result, you can visualize forest change in fractions of a second over the web, instead of the minutes or hours that traditional offline systems require for such analysis. From the Official Google Blog.

For more information, see , Google unveils satellite platform to aid forest efforts (Reuters) and Scientists turn to Google for answers (The Independent).

December 6, 2010

New EU Rules on Sale of Illegal Timber Enter into Force

Filed under: biodiversity, Europe, Forests — Tags: — inece @ 9:00 pm

A European Union press release announces that new EU rules on illegal timber have entered into force.

New rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market have come into force across the EU. The legislation will strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging which causes serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss and undermines the efforts of those trying to manage forests responsibly. The Regulation, which was first proposed by the Commission in 2008, was adopted by the EU last month and will apply in all Member States from March 2013.

The new Regulation will ban the sale on the EU market of illegal timber or of products derived from illegally harvested timber.

operators selling timber and timber products for the first time on the EU market -whether they come from the EU or are imported – will need to know where their timber is from. They will have to take steps to make sure that it has been harvested according to the relevant laws of the country of harvest. Traders along the supply chain within the EU will need to keep records of who their timber or timber product was bought from and to whom it was sold.

Member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators who break the rules. Legality is defined by reference to the legislation of the country where the timber was harvested. Timber products from countries that have entered into Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU will be considered to be in compliance with the Regulation. The Regulation will apply to a wide range of timber and timber products, including solid timber products, plywood and board products, furniture, pulp and paper.

December 1, 2010

New Illegal Logging and Environmental Crime Network Launches in Southern Europe

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, Environmental Crime, Europe, Forests, INECE Secretariat — Tags: — inece @ 6:41 pm

Stumps from Illegally Harvested Trees in Hungary

On 24-25 November 2010, the Regional Environment Center (REC) launched a new environmental compliance and enforcement network, Themis, which is dedicated to responding to illegal logging and other environmental crime in South Eastern European countries (SEE) and the Ukraine.

Themis, which will convene under the INECE banner, will be an informal network of national authorities responsible for natural resource management and protection working towards the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law in the SEE.

Illegal logging is frequently associated with organized crime, with breakdowns in institutional controls, and with ineffective institutions. Illegal trade in forest resources can increase tensions across borders and with the international community. The effects of illegal logging are wide ranging and include loss of habitats and biodiversity; the erosion and degradation of river basins and water quality; land degradation; desertification and climate change; social disruption; and economic impacts on tourism, recreation and communities with traditional lifestyles.

During the launching conference in Budapest, eight countries committed to participating in the network, with support from international organizations including Interpol, TRAFFIC, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and INECE.

The Belgian Federal Government, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland are  providing funding for the network.

Additional information about the activities of the Themis network is available online at http://illegallogging.rec.org.

Freeland Foundation Releases Wildlife Enforcement Newsletter

Filed under: Uncategorized — inece @ 5:01 pm

The Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation, an organization working to strengthen the protection of wildlife, combat illegal wildlife trafficking, and reduce consumption of threatened wildlife, released its Fall 2010 Newsletter, focusing on capacity building and awareness raising across Asia.

Articles look at recent events, including a working meeting in Bangkok to identify and stop global wildlife trafficking syndicates; new efforts by Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam to take enforcement actions against wildlife crimes; and other activities.

Access the newsletter on Freeland Foundation’s web site.

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