301 civil society organizations and experts from 99 countries across the globe signed an open letter urging the states that have ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to adopt a Resolution at the 10th UNCAC Conference of States Parties (CoSP 10) taking place next month in Atlanta, United States. The letter calls on the United States delegation, the President of CoSP 10, and the UNCAC State Parties to bolster the implementation of the UNCAC to prevent and combat corruption and the environmental crime it facilitates as a crucial way to protect the environment, tackle the climate crisis and uphold human rights.
Corruption is at the heart of environmental crime, enabling the plundering of nature and the laundering of profits. It enables crimes across complex supply chains that exploit wildlife, forests, fisheries and other natural resources and species. It is often linked to serious criminal networks that rely on corruption at every step of their global supply chain. Because of its significant negative impacts on both people and planet, global action is urgently needed to fight environmental crime and the corruption that drives it.
The letter calls for five main actions to be included in a new Resolution:
- Strengthen and effectively enforce anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws across the environmental sector;
- Strengthen transparency and accountability in the natural resource sector;
- Protection for civil society actors working to expose environmental crime and corruption;
- Promote good governance and anti-corruption measures in the use of funds to protect the climate, environment and biodiversity; and
- Promote greater cooperation with international fora to maximize the impact in tackling environmental crime and corruption.
As the only comprehensive and legally binding anti-corruption instrument, the UNCAC is among the best tools available to prevent and fight the corruption that enables environmental crime and other environmental harms. The upcoming UNCAC Conference of the State Parties is therefore a major opportunity to drive tangible change on this issue.
The open letter is initiated by the UNCAC Coalition’s Working Group on Environmental Crime and Corruption (WG ECC), which is comprised of over 180 civil society organizations from across the globe and is chaired by the Wildlife Justice Commission.