The Last Stand of the Gorilla - Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin
Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat
across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for
bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of
habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these
threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk
of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.
Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensifed
exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within
protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by
militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and
coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas,
camps for people displaced by fghting and sometimes even to communities
across the border. These militias are located, motivated, armed and
fnanced directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and
charcoal. A network of intermediaries including multinational companies
or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt offcials, are
involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem
from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation
Strengthen MONUC by expanding its mandate to secure full
control of border crossings, by any means necessary, with regard to the
export of illegally exploited natural resources, that are fnancing the
confict, in full collaboration with and assisting the national customs
authority to intervene and halt trans-national environmental crime, in
close coordination with appropriate national and international bodies.
Enhance support for close coordination and
trans-boundary collaboration among parks in DRC, Burundi, Rwanda,
Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, including coordination with MONUC, the
Lusaka Agreement Task Force and relevant law enforcement agencies.
Mobilize resources for trans-boundary
collaboration and coordination, including all aspects of transnational
environmental crime and investigation from source to end-user outside
the region – including investigations of complicit companies in
recipient countries, especially but not limited to the EU, USA, People’s
Republlic of China and the rest of Asia – in order to monitor the
origin and halt the purchase of illegally exploited and smuggled
minerals and timber from the Congo Basin.
Mobilize funding for judicial training and
cross-boundary training of judicial staff in national and transnational
environmental crime in gorilla range states to assist in bringing
Strengthen long term training programmes
in law enforcement for park rangers and wildlife managers across the
region including those working outside of parks, for example in
community reserves, with particular reference to anti-poaching,
monitoring, scene of crime investigation and intelligence gathering.
Promote the essential role that
local, national and international law enforcement and anti-corruption
plays in ensuring the success of rainforest protection and climate
mitigation efforts under REDD+ and source specifc fnance for these
measures through UNEP, UNODC, LATF and INTERPOL.
Establish a fund for supporting
trans-boundary investigation and collaboration on trans-national
Strengthen the collaboration
of UNEP, UN offce for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Department of Peace
Keeping Operations (DPKO), CITES, World Customs Organization (WCO) and
INTERPOL on trans-national environmental crime – including illegal trade
in valuable natural resources such as minerals, wood products and
wildlife – by, for example, secondment of experienced offcers to help
investigate cases and bring about prosecutions.
Support the need for
strengthened funding for gorilla research and survey data. The report,
compiling some of the most recent data and information from a variety of
sources, clearly highlights the lack of accurate survey data in parts
of the regions within the 10 gorilla range states.