Features Friday, July 18, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| July 7, 2014| 06:10 pm IST The United Nations Environment Programme convened its first Environmental Assembly in June, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. The assembly saw the release of ‘The Environment Crime Crisis’- a report on environmental crime. According to a Livemint report, environmental crime amounts to $213 billion globally. The news report highlights the nexus between environmental crime and terrorist and militia groups, that is, how the money from environmental crimes is used to finance the activities of these groups. The UN report makes a reference to Al-Qaeda’s involvement in environmental crimes in India, believed to be carried out by tribal militia and Bangladeshi separatists. It says that poaching is rampant in Kaziranga (Assam) and almost two dozen militant organizations are active in the region. Illegal timber trade is also believed to be financing the Al-Qaeda and Haqqani. Environmental crimes include poaching, killing and illegally trading in wildlife, both flora and fauna. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species prohibits the trade of 830 species and restricts trade of 33,000 species. In India, the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) provides protection to 1800 species. The news report suggests that it is not only wild animals like tiger and rhinoceros that are killed for their skin but also mammals and reptiles like pangolins, lizards, tortoises and turtles. Trade is also carried out in birds and sharks. The groups engaging in these crimes could be part of regional syndicates, says the report.

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