UAE, UN, INTERPOL and EUROPOL Join Forces to Tackle Environmental Crime and Climate Crisis

UAE Ministry of Interior will take charge of data-driven global preparedness assessment with the support of ESRI. The Ministry will also lead the establishment of the Global Training Hub in close partnership with the UNODC, and in collaboration with the UN Joint Environment Unit and other partners at I2LEC. IINTERPOL-led Joint Operations unit, with the support of UNODC, EUROPOL, and the UAE Ministry of Interior, will target environmental crimes across the world, whereas the United Nations Police will aim to train police experts to help build capacities to address environmental crimes and climate-related threats in the countries where they are deployed.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC), a joint initiative led by the UAE Ministry of Interior in close partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), launched today its roadmap for the years 2023 to 2025 focusing on five major initiatives aimed at tackling environmental crime and the climate crisis at large.

The launch followed a meeting of the I2LEC’s Steering Committee, which discussed the need for global action, including increased training and joint operations to address climate challenges and combat crimes against the environment. The roadmap will guide the actions and areas of work of I2LEC in the years ahead.

The Steering Committee gathered I2LEC partners and representatives from international bodies including UNODC, INTERPOL, the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environmental Unit, EUROPOL, ESRI, UNPOL and the UAE Ministry of the Interior, who unanimously agreed to the importance of international cooperation and coordination in addressing the challenges brought about by climate change, on a global scale.

The 2023- 2025 Roadmap encompasses a number of global initiatives, spearheaded by various members of the Steering Committee. These initiatives include a White Paper on crimes that affect the environment in addition to a global gaps and needs assessment, a UN Climate Incident Observers, a Global Training Hub, and Interpol-led Joint Climate Operations Unit targeting crimes that affect the environment and climate change. Each of these initiatives will be led by an organization member of the I2LEC Steering Committee.

Lt. Col. Dana Humaid, Director General of the International Affairs Bureau of the UAE Ministry of Interior, highlighted the importance of having a roadmap in place to ensure all relevant partners are proactively enhancing the ability of law enforcement agencies to address the challenges brought about by climate change:

“Global challenges require global solutions. This productive Steering Committee meeting has once again highlighted that not only is it critical that law enforcement is prepared for climate change, but that we also have the means and understanding to prevent and prosecute crimes against the environment. At the Ministry, we will be leading the I2LEC global preparedness assessment, allowing us to gain an authoritative understanding of the gaps and needs of global law enforcement in relation to climate change. Following this, we will also be establishing a global training hub in Abu Dhabi, to support law enforcement agencies around the world in this endeavor”, said Lt. Col. Humaid. 

Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC Regional Representative for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region, reiterated UNODC’s support to I2LEC as the co-chair of the initiative.

“On behalf of UNODC at large, I reaffirm our utmost commitment to the technical and strategic support at all levels for the implementation of this joint initiative. To this end, UNODC will embark on a comprehensive research paper on crimes that affect the environment, with the aim of presenting these findings at COP28 under the I2LEC banner. Initiatives and projects adopted within the framework of the I2LEC will tap into the existing data platforms and specialized expertise of our partners members of the initiative towards increased public awareness and strengthening technical capacities of law enforcement addressing crimes that affect the environment and climate. In this context, UNODC pledges to avail the integrated technical capacities of its relevant regional and global instruments and programmatic platforms.”

Steven Kavanagh, Executive Director for Police Services at INTERPOL commented: “Tackling environmental crime has become a key mission of law enforcement agencies. For the past 100 years, INTERPOL has played a leading role in developing international law enforcement operations according to the most prevalent threats. As the stakes of climate change raise, our environmental security strategy must reflect the scale of the threat we all face. We are passionate about this mission, and we are and determined to leverage our expertise in environmental enforcement to deliver a stronger response and global joint operations together with I2LEC partners. “

United Nations Police Adviser Faisal Shahkar added, “A comprehensive response to address the climate crisis is urgently needed. I applaud the launch of this two-year roadmap, which will help strengthen our support to police in host countries that are tackling climate challenges and crimes against the environment. Mainstreaming environmentally responsive policing through critical partnerships such as this contributes towards building a United Nations Police force that is better prepared for a future of rising temperatures, increased food and water insecurity, climate-related crime and conflict. We look forward to contributing to the I2LEC initiative, including through the training and deployment of United Nations Police experts”.

Guilhem Soulie, Esri’s Lead for National Security in Middle East & Africa, highlighted the importance of having access to diverse datasets and enabling their joint management in order to enable I2LEC-relevant analytics to be performed:

“Crimes against climate have second, third order consequences, or ripple effects, that demand proper intelligence workflows to be dealt. This in turns demands full collaboration between a very diverse base of national and international organizations. Esri is humbled in leveraging its technological expertise to such an amazing array of international law enforcement agencies and is committed to providing its technology and expertise, particularly in the creation of the global preparedness assessment and interactive dashboard to massively increase our access to real-time climate intelligence.”

The first Steering Committee meeting took place after several important milestones since the establishment of the initiative, including the I2LEC pledge, which was presented at the 32nd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna where it gained the support of more than 20 countries.

As of today, the UAE Ministry of Interior and the UNODC together with I2LEC’s other partners will join forces towards the implementation of the 2023-2025 Roadmap. This includes several I2LEC-owned events taking place at COP28 in Dubai later this year, with the aim of driving further international awareness and support for the initiative.

I2LEC is a global initiative, aimed at awareness-raising, capacity-building and research concerning crimes that affect the environment and climate change, as well as the response of law enforcement to the changing climate.