The INTERPOL Environmental Security Programme and the TREES Project – Timber Regulation Enforcement to protect European wood sector from criminal infiltration – organised a two day international meeting on forestry crime. The meeting took place at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France on 22 and 23 June.
The central aim of the two-day meeting was to encourage law enforcement representatives from across Europe and other major timber importing regions to exchange information, with a particular focus on recent activities targeting illegal logging and corruption in the timber sector. These issues were then tabled for discussion with the INTERPOL Forestry Crime sub Working Group, organized during the meeting.
The meeting brought together a total of 74 participants from varied backgrounds, including prosecutors, investigators, customs and forest police officers, and traceability/supply chain experts, in addition to EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) Monitoring Organizations and Competent Authorities from 15 EU member states. Representatives from the European Commission, INTERPOL, and CITES also attended, along with participants from a range of relevant NGOs and law enforcement representatives from several key source and transit countries.
Amongst the points covered in the meeting were the following issues:
• A presentation of the TREES Project and INTERPOL’s Project LEAF
• Corruption in the forestry sector, and the need for joint investigations between anti-corruption units and forestry officers
• Due Diligence Systems: Anti-corruption risk assessment and mitigation mechanisms
• Country Focus: Forestry Crime and countermeasures in the Balkans
• Country presentations from Romania, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Thailand
• Timber tracking technologies for investigation and prosecution
• INTERPOL and the Forestry Crime sub Working Group
• Information sharing between State and non-State actors: strategies and guidelines
• Updates on ongoing activities and the elaboration of a working plan for future activities