The Four Networks, IMPEL, EUFJE, ENPE and EnviCrimeNet, have today released a statement following the successful 4 Networks Conference, held in Rome last week.

This conference builds on the success of the last 4 Networks online event – Together in the fight against environmental crime in 2021 as well as the two previous conferences held in person in Oxford in 2017 and Utrecht in 2016.

Environmental crime is the fourth largest criminal activity in the world and we note, at a global level, the progressive worsening of the situation, as recorded in reports from many institutions. The practitioners who work daily in the fight against environmental crime have, over the years, made major efforts to implement the Environmental Crime Directive in force, Directive 2008/99/EC, but there have been too many obstacles to its practical implementaJon which have prevented criminal environmental law from being effective. This has in turn led to the work by the EU Commission on the new Environmental Crime Directive (hereafer “ECD”).

The networks welcome the proposal prepared by the Commission to replace the ECD and highlight the importance of the framework it brings, which will benefit the work of legislators, permit writers, inspectors, police and customs authorities, prosecutors, and judges. The cooperation and feedback between all elements of the environmental compliance chain strengthens our strategies, plans, programs, procedures, and acJons. Most of all it increases the probability of successful cases in practice, in the context of environmental crime, together with administrative and civil contraventions.

Other new iniatives from the European Commission to address climate change, and environmental degradation such as the European Green Deal will be immensely important for the well-being and health of citizens and future generations.

In all situations the rule of law needs to be upheld, and conditions established to ensure the proper enforcement of environmental law by practitioners, on a daily basis. This is for us now, more than ever, a crucial challenge.

In this conference the networks aimed to improve their collaboration and the alignment of their enforcement activities. It is essential that those involved in enforcement have good meaningful contacts whereby they can strengthen their networks, exchange experience and best practices, discuss case law and align their enforcement activities.

Addressing the main drivers behind the rise of environmental crime – high profit, low detection rates and low risk of punishment/sanctions/reparaJon costs, with a consequently high chance of not receiving a sanction or requirement to repair the damage caused is key.

We must increase the probability of detecting and successfully prosecuting illicit actions.

To be more successful we need to focus on prevention rather than just reaction, and thus legislation, regulation and resources must promote, ensure and support the actions of the relevant authorities to this end.

The Four Networks selected 5 key topics as crucial to overcoming these obstacles:

1.We need new techniques to prevent and detect environmental offenses.

2.We need administrative and criminal law enforcement to complement each other.

3. We need to make environmental crime unprofitable.

4.We need to assess, remediate and compensate for the damage incurred.

5.We need to measure enforcement results.

Read the statement in the following link:



This activity is included in the LIFE+ SATEC Project with the aim of bringing experiences and synergies from different actors in the fight against environmental crime and of consolidating alliances to share information, to study advances in the same matters, to validate conclusions and to disseminate results.