October 28, 2011

Report from the Exchange of Nigerian Inspectors to Antwerp and Bremen Ports

Inspector Exchange Participants

From 10-14 October 2011, Nigerian officers visited their colleagues in Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. This exchange was facilitated by INECE in collaboration with the involved authorities in Antwerp, Bremen, and Nigeria.

The objective of the event was to learn mutually about the procedures and practice regarding the inspection of international waste shipments in the ports. Such inspections are important to detect and prevent those shipments that are illegal.

Through a mixture of presentations, discussions and practical demonstrations and exercises, the involved officers got acquainted with several essential approaches and the challenges they present.

Important recurring issues were the following:

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October 26, 2011

European Commission proposes legislation to bolster security in the carbon spot market

Filed under: climate, Europe — inece @ 9:01 pm

After completing an extensive review, the European Commission has proposed legislation to bring transactions for the immediate delivery of carbon allowances (spot trading) under the same stringent regulatory scheme for financial markets that already applies to other EU allowance  transactions, the vast majority of which consist of derivatives (futures, forwards, and options).

Citing repeated market abuses associated with the spot market for EU allowances (EUAs) and weak oversight mechanisms, the Commission seeks to enhance the overall transparency and integrity of the carbon market which is at the core of the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS).  Classifying allowances as financial instruments would place them within the scope of the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and Regulation (MiFIR).  In addition, proposals for a new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and a Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse Directive (CSMAD) specifically address insider trading and market manipulation issues. The combined MiFID/MAD regime would exempt individual ETS compliance buyers and certain other non-financial entities.

The Commission weighed the impacts of classifying emission allowances as financial instruments with the idea of creating a tailor-made regulatory system, taking into account the unique attributes that characterize allowances.  After engaging in a dialogue with industry leaders, Member States, carbon traders, and other stakeholders, the Commission concluded that the regulatory framework governing the secondary market for securities was closely aligned with those of the spot market for EUAs.  In addition, the fact that the lion’s share of carbon transactions automatically fell under the purview of EU financial regulation because of the high proportion of derivatives traded meant that considerable effort would be expended in administering a parallel system. Finally, the use of two systems might lead to conflicting and inconsistent regulation of transactions.  The inclusion of all EU allowance trading covered under the new regulatory regime is expected to provide the high level of integrity and stability that the ETS will require as reliable engine of economic growth.

October 14, 2011

Nigerian Port Inspectors Exchange with Colleagues in Antwerp and Bremen

Filed under: Africa, Europe, seaports — Tags: , , — inece @ 6:25 pm

Port of Antwerp by Serge Van Cauwenbergh

Together with Belgian and German authorities, INECE currently is co-facilitating a 4 day exchange of Nigerian inspectors to the ports of Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. Due to its central location, the port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe, in terms of total freight shipped, and the port of Bremen is the fourth largest.

The objective of this event is to learn mutually about the procedures and practices with regard to illegal export and import of waste commodities. Important aspects covered during the exchange will be issues like discrimination between waste and reusable materials, effective collaboration between involved authorities, and return of illegal shipments to country of origin.

Sharing the practical experiences, know-how and challenges, and exchanging the relevant information, are important steps to become more effective in the international fight against illegal waste shipments and dumping.

June 20, 2011

European Commission asks 12 Member States to implement EU rules

Filed under: 9th Conference, Environmental Crime, Europe — inece @ 6:48 pm

The European Commission has given 13 Member States two months to transpose EU rules laying down criminal penalties against sea pollution and other environmental offences. Directive 2008/99/EC on criminal law measures to protect the environment should have been introduced in national law by 26 December 2010. However, 10 countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia) have so far failed to do so.

Meanwhile, eight states (Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia) have failed to comply with separate rules on pollution from ships. This Directive (2009/123/EC) was due to be implemented by 16 November 2010. Should the Member States concerned fail to notify the Commission of implementation measures within two months, it may refer the cases to the EU’s Court of Justice.

Directive 2008/99/EC on protecting the environment through criminal law aims to ensure that criminal law measures are available in all Member States to react to serious breaches of EU rules on environmental protection. The Directive includes a list of breaches which have to be considered a criminal offence in all Member States, such as the illegal shipment of waste or the trade in endangered species.

Directive 2009/123/EC (amending Directive 2005/35/EC) on ship-source pollution is part of a set of EU rules to reinforce maritime safety and help prevent pollution from ships. It requires Member States to consider serious and illicit discharges of polluting substances from ships as a criminal offence.

Both directives require Member States to ensure that the criminal offences are punishable with “effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.”

Failure by Member States to implement the directives makes it impossible to have common minimum criminal law rules for serious breaches of EU legislation on the protection of the environment and against ship-source pollution. Such EU wide rules are essential to prevent loopholes which could otherwise be exploited by perpetrators of environmental crimes.

Today’s ‘reasoned opinions’ are the second stage in the three-step infringement process.

For more information:

From the EUROPA press release

February 2, 2011

WSJ: European Emissions Markets to Reopen Gradually

Filed under: climate, Environmental Crime, Europe — inece @ 6:59 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports:

European markets for permits to emit carbon dioxide will start reopening in the next week after a shutdown following the dramatic cybertheft of permits valued at tens of millions of euros two weeks ago, EU officials said Tuesday.

The theft, by a ring of hackers who phoned in a bomb threat to the Czech carbon exchange and stole permits during the ensuing confusion, was the latest in a series of security breaches in the market, which has turnover of $100 billion a year. Permits valued at about €28 million ($38 million) were stolen in three European countries, EU officials said. …

Interpol, Europol and national police in several countries say they are continuing to recover stolen permits, but questions remain about the security of the registries where transaction records are kept for each of the 30 national markets.

Markets in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the U.K. are expected to be first to restart trading, but it remains unclear how much longer other registries will remain closed. Traders expressed concerns over the further market disruption caused by Germany’s canceling of its Tuesday spot auction because some security issues hadn’t yet been resolved.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, says the markets can only reopen once it has certified their security systems. But delays in writing and testing the software have extended the time frame, and some countries might not be ready to restart trading for several months, EU officials said.

 

 

February 1, 2011

British Court to Hear Electronic Waste Case

Filed under: Europe, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 9:53 pm

Eleven defendants will stand trial in what is the biggest investigation ever into the illegal export of electrical waste from the UK to developing countries, the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange reports.

Another online publication, letsrecycle.com, reported that:

Environment Agency’s counsel also provided more detail on its allegations, explaining that they relate to 11 containers of hazardous WEEE being exported to Nigeria, containing a total of 158 tonnes of material.He added that the majority of the material in question was CRT TVs, but fridges and some smaller material such as irons and kettles were also present in the containers.

The Agency has said with reference to the case: “The law is clear that broken electricals, including everyday items such as mobiles, smart phones, laptops and TVs, cannot be sent overseas for disposal. As well as precious metals such as gold, copper and aluminium, electrical waste can contain hazardous substances including mercury and lead that are harmful to people and the environment.”

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 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.

November 15, 2010

Joint WCO/UNEP Operation Nets Large Haul of Ozone Depleting Substances

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Chemicals & Waste, climate, Environmental Crime, Europe, seaports, UN System — Tags: — inece @ 9:27 pm

Click the logos above for the Project Sky-hole Patching Information Brochure (pdf)

A joint global Customs enforcement operation initiated by the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and code-named “Sky-hole Patching II” led to the confiscation of more than 7,500 cylinders of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and other ozone depleting substances.

Totalling over 108 tonnes of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and 668 pieces of equipment containing ODS, each of these man-made chemicals is linked to the rapid depletion of the ozone layer and all have been either banned or subject to strict controls under the terms of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.

“This global operation by Customs in partnership with the WCO and UNEP which hauled in spectacular quantities of illegal ODS clearly demonstrates the success of this tripartite alliance against this dangerous trade and the organized criminal gangs who profit from it,” said Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO. “We cannot allow goods that threaten the health and safety of world citizens, which contribute to global warming and inevitably to negative climate change, and which damage the environment – perhaps more far-reaching than what is estimated – to circulate the globe without taking serious action,” Mikuriya added. “I can only commend all those who took part in this project and urge Customs and their partners to continue their enforcement efforts to secure our borders from all forms of illegal and illicit trade,” concluded the Secretary General.

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