Interpol Hosts the 13th Forum against Environmental Crime in Asia
Bangkok, 27 November 2012 –The 13th Asia Regional Partners Forum for Combating Environmental Crime, also known as ARPEC, opened today at the Royal Thai Police (RTP) headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. In the seven years since its inception, this is the first time that the meeting is hosted by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), with support from RTP.
“ARPEC was established in 2005 as a result of the need to address the issue of illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances like CFCs, in the Asia-Pacific region by involving Customs and other enforcement officers. UNEP OzonAction is pleased to see that today, enforcement institutions like Interpol and the Royal Thai Police have now taken a leadership role in tackling environmental crimes as whole,” said Mr. Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Coordinator of UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP).
ARPEC is a platform for discussion, partnership-building, networking and identification of innovative responses for addressing environmental crime, such as the illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances, electronic waste, trafficking of wildlife, and illegal logging among other forms of environmental crimes.
“We are delighted that partners have agreed to rotate the hosting of the meeting since 2011, althoughUNEP continue to offer a back-stopping service to the Forum,” Mr. Bagai added.
For this meeting, the Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) of UNEP ROAP assisted in the design of the meeting and identification of speakers to ensure an informative meeting which examined issues relevant to ongoing UNEP initiatives. The recently launched Regional Enforcement Network for Chemicals and Waste Project (Project REN) to address illegal trade in chemicals and waste was presented by UNEP to the forum.
The theme of the 13th meeting is “Investigation and Prosecution of Transnational Environmental Crimes”. Discussions on international cooperation and policy, intelligence gathering and sharing through information technology, criminal justice and other emerging threats are the core in the two-day agenda of the forum.
Police Lieutenant General Ekkarat Meeprecha, Assistant Commissioner General of RTP, said in his Keynote Speech, “The ASEAN region alone, a biodiversity rich region, has been recognized as point of origin, transit and destination of environmental crime… RTP recognizes the importance of regional cooperation and pledges to strengthen close cooperation with all agencies to fight against environmental crime. In the era that the world is driven by unseen communication forces, a nation cannot work alone to deal with crimes, but needs the regional and international joint effort to help each other to collect necessary evidence, to locate environment criminals and to arrest and bring them to justice.”
As a result of previous ARPEC meetings, several important initiatives have flourished; among them are: the Project Sky Hole Patching led by China Customs and Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) Asia-Pacific, Project PATROL (Partnership against Transnational-crime through Regional Organized Law-enforcement) led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the ARPEC Awareness event in November 2009.
The next ARPEC meeting is scheduled in May 2013, with FREELAND Foundation being the host.
For more information, please contact:
Atul Bagai, Senior Regional Network Coordinator, OzonAction Branch, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. Tel: +6622881662, Fax: +6622883041; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org