By David Njagi
The team is expected to work with member countries in the fight against illegal ivory trafficking and environmental crime, with direct command from the environmental security unit located at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.
Among the tasks lined up through regional INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs), is to increase information exchange, support intelligence analysis and assist national and regional investigations, with a particular focus on wildlife crime, says the latest press release.
According to the document, the team will work with countries and partner organizations to further the activities of INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom, which combats elephant and rhinoceros poaching and illegal trade in ivory through the financial support of the Wildcat Foundation.
This includes capacity building initiatives and creating a regional network for environmental protection, says the press release.
“This initiative will enable INTERPOL, through its Project Wisdom, to provide continuous investigative and analytical support to East African member countries concerning significant transnational wildlife trafficking cases, and to assist with planning operations targeting the organized criminal networks behind these crimes,” says David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit.
INTERPOL announced the establishment of the environmental crime team during an event hosted by the Australian High Commission in Kenya. Australia is a key partner with INTERPOL in activities to prevent and combat wildlife crime throughout Africa.
“The global fight against illegal trafficking has just been given a significant boost. The new INTERPOL team in Nairobi will mean better intelligence gathering and sharing among the law enforcement community, which is key to shutting down the poachers and smugglers,” said Australian High Commissioner Geoff Tooth.
Following the announcement, on 7th October INTERPOL, with the support of the UK National Crime Agency and UK High Commission, is hosting an information exchange and analysis workshop in Nairobi to enhance partnerships and information sharing between law enforcement and the private sector.