KATHMANDU, Jan 21: The 23rd Asian Regional Conference of Interpol concluded Friday, launching a new project to identify and dismantle organized crime networks behind wildlife trafficking between Africa and Asia.
The three-day conference, which concluded by adopting a five-point Kathmandu Declaration, launched the project that aims to provide a strengthened law enforcement response in the source, transit and destination countries, particularly those linked to the illicit trade in ivory, rhinoceros horn and Asian big cat products.
“These include the Anti-Corruption and Financial crime unit, the Digital Forensics Lab for the extraction of data from seized equipment, the Firearms program for weapons tracing and ballistics analysis and the Fugitive Investigations unit to assist countries locate and arrest wanted environmental criminals,” said a media release issued by Interpol Secretariat on Friday.
It is estimated that the environmental crime alone is worth up to USD 258 billion. The project to be led by Interpol's Environmental Security Program draws on the expertise of other specialized units as the environmental crime is linked to other criminal activities including corruption, money and firearms trafficking.
“Protecting the world's wildlife heritage is our collective responsibility, as global citizens and as international law enforcement,” the release quoted Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock as saying.
The launch of the project comes in the wake of a recent Interpol-UN Environment report showing that 80 percent of countries consider environmental crime a national priority, with the majority saying new and more sophisticated criminal activities increasingly threaten peace and security.
Among other things, the project will provide increased analytical support for activities both in the field and for online investigations.
Altogether 53 countries including three observers took part in the Conference that adopted Kathmandu Declaration. The Declaration has pledged to chart out strategies for controlling various transnational crimes including terrorism, human trafficking, and sexual violence.
Addressing the closing ceremony of the Interpol Conference, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi said Nepal stands ready to cooperate with other countries in controlling transnational crimes. He expressed confidence that the Interpol would be able to help curb the ever-growing number of transnational crimes.
Also speaking on the occasion, Nepal Police Chief Upendra Kanta Aryal argued that various translational crimes such as terrorism, organized crime, cyber crime, financial crime, and social crime can be curbed greatly if law enforcement agencies of all countries are able to share intelligence information real time.