In Ecuador, as of June 23, 2023.

The LIFE SATEC Project, funded by the European Commission, promotes networking between units specialized in environmental crime in Europe and Latin America, combining the knowledge and experience of professionals from the EnviCrimeNet networks (European Network for Environmental Crime) and Jaguar Network (Network of Police Specialized in Environmental Crimes of Latin America and the European Union).

Since the EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats), introduced the fight against environmental crime as a political priority against organized crime, police units specialized in this type of crime have strengthened their capacities through different actions: The design of actions Training courses adapted to the increasingly sophisticated characteristics of environmental crime, as well as the management of operational actions between different countries of the EU and outside of it, especially with Latin America, have been a constant in recent years.

In a context, such as the one presented where environmental crimes converge with other types of organized crime (drugs, illegal immigration, etc.) and with an increasing propensity to use more disadvantaged communities for the perpetration of crimes, it is necessary to strengthen the role of specialized bodies to form an investigation and intervention model that considers not only environmental but also social aspects with significant involvement of other criminal specialties.

The reinforcement of these capacities must be constant and global, hence the networks that bring together these specialties in Latin America and Europe, the Jaguar Network and EnviCrimeNet, have come to establish a line of work that includes the formulation of joint strategies that It has become evident in the celebration of the General Assembly of the Jaguar Network in 2023 in the Galapagos Islands.

These strategies respond to the major objectives that have been set, such as:

  • The institutional positioning of specialized networks in the field of environmental crime at the national level of the different member countries and at the international level in the global context, where environmental priorities must be prioritized from the perspective of criminal investigation to prevent, detect, and punish environmental crimes.
  • Continuous training to adopt common procedures in criminal investigation.
  • The integration of other disciplines and knowledge in the prevention and detection of crime.
  • The incorporation of innovation as a constant to respond to increasingly sophisticated environmental crimes.
  • The configuration of permanent work structures, in the form of technical or executive secretariats, that support the cooperation activities of the networks.

During the Assembly, different experiences have been exposed in relation to the operations and investigations of environmental crime, where weaknesses have also been identified, especially related to the advancement of the regulations, and which require a search for successful references. and, especially, of political awareness about the importance of legislating from the perspective of criminal investigation.

In the interventions by the attending specialists, the important threats to biodiversity posed by criminal activities linked to the trafficking of species, felling of trees, mining activities, hydrocarbons have been highlighted.

But successful experiences have also been addressed that have an impact on the most vulnerable territories and that are based on multidisciplinary collaboration. Thus, the cooperation on the part of the NGOs present (IFAW and WWF) with large marketplaces for the detection of crimes linked to the trafficking of species was highlighted; self-assessment actions that allow knowing the level of political awareness about environmental crime in the countries, developed by UNODC; the identification of Specialized Groups in Environmental Matters in each country that allow strengthening cooperation with Interpol; the combination of technological innovations and participatory procedures to combat illegal wildlife trafficking in Ecuador; Programmatic models that revert to international cooperation and specialized training such as the TIFIES plan of the Ministry of Ecological Transition of Spain; Institutional strengthening pilot projects such as LIFE SATEC itself;

Each of the countries represented also showed their main problems as well as successes in their police interventions or structural and legislative changes that have an impact on a greater interception of environmental crimes, but also addressing prevention from an educational and social perspective.

As preparatory actions for this Assembly, the representatives of the EnviCrimeNet Network (represented by SEPRONA, coordinator of the LIFE SATEC Project) and the Jaguar Network have established work meetings with Ibero-American institutions, such as the pro tempore Secretariat held by Ecuador for the celebration of the Ibero-American Summit in the year 2024, and the Inter-American Development Bank. This has allowed the exploration of instruments that can reinforce the work of these networks with a high impact on the preservation of the natural wealth of highly vulnerable territories and those threatened by all kinds of criminal activities.

The units specialized in environmental crimes present at the Jaguar Network General Assembly represented the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Panama, Portugal, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay.