Tuesday, March 20, 2012
WB urges nations to fight illegal logging
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Every two seconds, an area of forest the size of a football field is clear-cut by illegal loggers around the globe. A new World Bank report released Tuesday shows how countries can effectively fight illegal logging through the criminal justice system, punish organized crime, and trace and confiscate illegal logging profits.
The report, Justice for Forests: Improving Criminal Justice Efforts to Combat Illegal Logging, says that to be effective, law enforcement needs to look past low-level criminals and look at where the profits from illegal logging go. By following the money trail, and using tools developed in more than 170 countries to go after =dirty money,‘ criminal justice can pursue criminal organizations engaged in large-scale illegal logging and confiscate ill-gotten gains.
The World Bank estimates that illegal logging in some countries accounts for as much as 90 percent of all logging and generates approximately US$10–15 billion annually in criminal proceeds. Mostly controlled by organized crime, this money is untaxed and is used to pay corrupt government officials at all levels. The new report provides policy and operational recommendations for policy makers and forestry and law enforcement actors to integrate illegal logging into criminal justice strategies, foster international and domestic cooperation among policy makers, law enforcement authorities and other key stakeholders, and make better use of financial intelligence.