diplomatie. belgium: Belgium supports the fight against corruption related to wildlife and forest crime in Africa
On 12 February, Didier Reynders, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Minister of Defense signed, at Egmont Palace in Brussels, a commitment of two million euros to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The contribution will go into a UNODC fund devoted to the fight against corruption related to crimes against wildlife and forests in Africa. Wildlife is an irreplaceable part of the planet’s natural resources. Fighting environmental crime helps protect ecosystems and biodiversity for both current and future generations.
Responsible natural resources management and sustainable protection of the environment and biodiversity are one of the priorities of Belgium’s foreign policy in Africa. The preservation of endangered species and forest resources is under threat from poaching and the corruption which facilitates it. By promoting the illegal wildlife trade, corruption also undermines the development of local communities. On a broader scale, it threatens regional governance and security by helping to fund criminal networks and armed groups.
Belgium’s contribution will strengthen UNODC’s efforts to help member States of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) to prevent, investigate, prosecute and condemn crimes against protected flora and fauna species. CITES, INTERPOL, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization are also members of ICCWC.