Empowering Law Enforcement to Protect Biodiversity, Promote Peace, and Ensure Climate Recovery and Resilience: A Landmark Event at COP28
DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 3, 2023
- In just 9 months since it was launched, the International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC) led by the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates has developed a series of groundbreaking initiatives, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Progress made was presented at COP28 during an inaugural ministerial meeting, the first time senior law enforcement officials played such an active part at a COP.
- I2LEC launched the most recent outcomes of a Global Heat Map showcasing environmental crimes as the world's third most lucrative criminal business after drugs and counterfeit goods, ahead of even human trafficking, highlighting the crucial role of law enforcement in the global fight against climate change.
DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC) and the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior (UAE MOI) hosted a ministerial roundtable, "Empowering Law Enforcement to Protect Biodiversity, Promote Peace, and Ensure Climate Recovery and Resilience." This high-level meeting showcased groundbreaking initiatives and unveiled critical research findings aimed at integrating law enforcement into the global fight against climate change.
Ministers from diverse regions, spanning the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, actively engaged in the event, featuring prominent figures such as H.H. Lieutenant General Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the United Arab Emirates; H.E. Benjamin D. Abalos Jr, Ocean Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Philippines; H.E. Sonia Guajajara, Minister for Indigenous People, Brazil; and H.E. Eve Bazaiba, Minister of Environment from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This assembly effectively bridged the Global North and the Global South.
The event also drew the participation of key figures from international bodies, including senior officials from the UNODC, INTERPOL, and the United Nations Rule of Law and Security Institutions. The discussion highlighted the scale of the challenge and the importance of giving law enforcement agencies the means to effectively address crimes that affect the environment, through engaging in international cooperation, sharing best practice, raising awareness, and incorporating cutting edge technology.
Ministers also agreed to the Abu Dhabi Call to Action, as part of the I2LEC initiative, confirming the need to strengthen international cooperation, capacity building and training, as well as the integration of technology and innovation. The Abu Dhabi Call to Action has already seen the support of multiple stakeholders across the globe and has received an overwhelming number of endorsements from regional organizations and over 65 countries around the world.
Presenting the outcomes of the I2LEC Global Heat Map, H.H. Lieutenant General Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the United Arab Emirates said:
"There is no turning back from the impacts of climate change and as the years go by, the role of law enforcement in safeguarding our natural ecosystem will only grow stronger. We remain committed to supporting law enforcement agencies across the globe, bridging the gap between the Global South and the Global North. The UAE wants to accelerate global cooperation in our shared fight against this global challenge. That's why we will continue to raise the voice of law enforcement at COP29 and the years ahead."
Ms. Ghada Waly, Director General of the UN Office at Vienna and Executive Director of UNODC acknowledged the need to deliver a global law enforcement response to prevent and combat crimes against the environment, adding:
"Today, as the key strategic partner, I am pleased to announce that I2LEC, thanks to the massive efforts deployed by the UAE, is successfully on track to reaching its main objective of providing a platform that brings together the global law enforcement community with other stakeholders from academia, and civil society for knowledge exchange and experience-sharing to prevent and combat crimes that adversely affect the environment and amplify climate change."
Speaking on the two joint operations coordinated by INTERPOL under the I2LEC, H.E. Maj Gen. Ahmed Naser, INTERPOL President highlighted the crucial role of law enforcement fighting environmental crimes including illegal logging and illegal mining, adding:
"Recognizing law enforcement as a reliable force and ally in the battle against climate change is crucial. As we unite to protect biodiversity, promote peace, and ensure climate recovery and resilience, the collective impact of law enforcement has been showcased as a catalyst for positive change. This event is a true milestone that we will build on."
I2LEC was launched in February 2023 on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, where Lieutenant General H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE, and H.E. Ghada Waly, the Executive Director of the UNODC, reached a high-level agreement to launch a global initiative, aimed at awareness-raising, capacity-building and research with respect to crimes that affect the environment and climate change.
I2LEC weaves into the UAE's wider commitment to advance global cooperation on environmental causes. The UAE was the first country in the region to ratify the historic Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 during the COP21. 2023 is the "Year of Sustainability" in the UAE, to foster a global collaboration in seeking innovative solutions to climate-related challenges and hosting COP28.
I2LEC will also benefit from the long-standing strategic partnership between the UAE and UNODC on supporting the global efforts against organized crime as well as from UNODC's vast expertise built through the Global Programme on Crimes that Affect the Environment.
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SOURCE International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC)