Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs and Minister of Defense Didier Reynders signed this morning in the Egmont Palace in Brussels a commitment for an amount of two million euros to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This commitment will benefit a fund dedicated to the fight against corruption linked to crimes against wildlife and forests in Africa. Wildlife is an irreplaceable part of our planet’s natural resources. Fighting environmental corruption supports ecosystems and biodiversity for the current generation, but also for those of tomorrow.
The responsible management of natural resources and the sustainable protection of the environment and of biodiversity are one of the priorities of Belgium’s foreign policy in Africa. The preservation of endangered species and of forest resources is threatened by poaching and the corruption which facilitates it. By promoting illegal trade, corruption also weighs on the development of local communities. More broadly, it threatens the governance and the security of the regions by enabling the funding of criminal networks and armed groups.
Belgium’s contribution will reinforce UNODC’s efforts to help the Member States under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) prevent, investigate, pursue and condemn crimes against protected species of wild flora and fauna. CITES, INTERPOL, the World Bank and the World Customs Organization are all members of the ICCWC.
After the official signing ceremony, Minister Reynders kicked off a strategic discussion between experts of the UNDOC, of Foreign Affairs and of other stakeholders.