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.

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