Dubai (UNA/WAM) - Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the UAE, delivered a keynote speech at the Ministerial Forum held under his chairmanship on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which he hosted. The UAE, in which he discussed the role of law enforcement forces in protecting biodiversity and ensuring climate recovery, organized by the Ministry of Interior.
At the beginning of the speech, Sheikh Saif expressed his thanks and appreciation to those present in this first forum of its kind, and to the participants in the meetings of the Framework Convention to discuss the challenges facing the world as a result of climate change, and to discuss issues related to the environment and the criminal challenges arising from them, based on a deep awareness of the responsibilities that fall upon them. Everyone appreciated the positive and active contributions of the attendees in discussing the challenges from the perspective of officials and law enforcement personnel, to ensure a better and more sustainable future for humanity.
He said: “As you know, based on the UAE’s commitment to confronting climate change, we established a partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, represented by Her Excellency Dr. Ghada Waly, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the Office, which resulted in the launch of the “International Climate Initiative to Enforce... The “I2LEC” law, regarding climate change for law enforcement institutions, is part of ongoing efforts and successive projects and initiatives that will continue during the period 2023-2025 and beyond.”
He added: “The launch of the “Abu Dhabi Call to Action” came with the aim of strengthening and expanding the role of law enforcement agencies in combating environmental and climate-related crimes. After three months of negotiations, it received wide welcome and support, which was demonstrated by the support of five regional police organizations and fifty law enforcement agencies around the world. the world".
He continued: “When establishing the partnership, it was important for us to have a clear representation of countries from different continents, to reflect viewpoints, and work to find vital results based on realistic information and data.”
He added: “Over the course of nine months, work teams from various international organizations made exceptional efforts, and their close cooperation resulted in clear outcomes for seven major initiatives, in partnership with international and regional organizations, police and research. This achievement is not only a testimony to our joint commitment to confronting the repercussions of the changes.” “It is also evidence of our ability to achieve positive change when we work together in the spirit of effective partnership.”
Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan indicated that Dr. Ghada Wali will review the research paper, which was prepared with the partner, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and is related to crimes that affect the environment, and the role of law enforcement agencies in alleviating their severity. This paper will serve as a Reference to the initiative’s decision during the 2024 meeting of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna.
He explained that work took place with the partner in the private sector, the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), on two important tracks: the first: the “Global Preparedness Assessment Model,” which shows the extent of readiness of countries and societies to confront environmental crimes and their effects through questionnaires and data collection, in order to draw a road map. To build capacity systematically, and the second: creating the “Heat Map of Environmental Crimes,” which displays for the first time the effects of environmental crimes on climate change on its global scale.
Sheikh Saif shared with the audience some disturbing preliminary findings, the first of which is the presence of clear evidence that environmental crimes are linked to various crimes, such as money laundering, human trafficking, and drug trafficking, and the second is the proceeds of environmental crimes, which constitute a source of funding for perpetrators of organized crimes, terrorists, and rebel groups, with significant influence. This negatively affects the development and progress of societies. His Highness pointed out that an example of this is what estimates indicate that illicit trade in a small region in Africa alone generates between (8.75) million and (16) million dollars per month for criminal organizations.
Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “As for the third result, it is that the crime of human trafficking linked to climate change due to the displacement of communities; During the past period, it was the most common in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Fourthly, specialized training programs were held in cooperation with partners within the global capacity building project, and more than forty countries around the world benefited from it. Fifthly, it was revealed The map shows that the thousand rivers in different parts of the world, which are responsible for about 80% annually of plastic pollution in the Earth’s seas, reveal a painful reality, and a reverse and tragic story about the negative environmental impact of the production of industrially developed countries and their waste, and its role in increasing the weight of environmental pressure on people’s shoulders. Poor consuming countries, as shown by the hotspots on the heat map around regions in Southeast Asia and East Africa.”
He expressed his regret that the blame is always directed towards the countries affected by pollution and not the countries that produce it, as is the case with many crimes, including environmental ones, where the Global North benefits...at the expense of the Global South.
He revealed that, within the framework of the field operations that were included in “I2LEC,” two field operations were carried out in Nigeria, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, noting that the President of “Interpol” will present, in his speech at the forum, the results of the joint operations that were carried out, and the start of work with the United Nations Police in The months preceding the system for preparing and qualifying United Nations police officers working in conflict areas.
He added: “As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him, made clear that global cooperation is one of the basic requirements for combating climate change, I am pleased to say that the United Arab Emirates is launching today the “Global Alliance to Reduce Fire Emissions,” Which includes eight specialized global civil defense organizations, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions resulting from fires by 80% globally by 2050.”
Lt. General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan renewed the call to strengthen joint action, international cooperation and partnership in “I2LEC”, to confront all the repercussions of climate change on societies and future generations, for the sake of a better, safer and more sustainable future for our societies and our planet, wishing His Highness success and success for all efforts seeking towards A better world for current and future generations.
A continuing international effort
Speaking at the forum were Dr. Ghada Waly, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, His Excellency Benjamin Abalos Jr., Secretary of the Interior and Local Government of the Philippines, Sonia Guajajara, Minister of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, and Eva Bzabia, Vice President of the Council of Ministers of the Interior and Local Government of the Philippines. Ministers and the Minister of Environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Major General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, President of the International Criminal Police Organization “Interpol”, and His Excellency Alexander Zuev, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions at the United Nations.
The speakers discussed ways to enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies in confronting environmental crimes, and the pioneering international initiatives presented by countries, most notably the International Climate Initiative for Law Enforcement Institutions (I2LEC), which received the support of countries around the world in international meetings and forums.
The speakers reviewed international efforts in pursuing human trafficking smugglers and gangs, and the experiences of a number of countries, including the Philippines and East Asian countries, in confronting environmental crimes, their climate impacts such as desertification and drought, and the role of law enforcement agencies in confronting them.