Author: Elsa Tsioumani
Posted on: IISD | 28th of November 2017
22 November 2017: A UN Environment report warns that illegal logging and wildlife crime threaten biodiversity and livelihoods in Europe’s Danube-Carpathian region, despite the numerous policies, conventions and organizations that protect the area. The report titled, ‘Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime in the Danube-Carpathian Region,’ builds on the outcome of a legal analysis by UN Environment, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, WWF-Danube Carpathian Programme, the Institute of Biology Bucharest, the Romanian Academy, and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. The analysis focuses on the policy and legal framework in place in the Danube-Carpathian region countries, aiming to address illegal logging, illegal fishing of sturgeon and caviar trade, poaching of large carnivores, and the illegal killing of wild birds.
The study reveals that illegal logging and wildlife crime remain a major threat, with illegal logging and the misuse of permits not adequately addressed in many countries in the mountainous area, which is furthermore known to contain several illegal trafficking routes. The report identifies inadequate implementation and enforcement of national legislation as a main obstacle to combating illegal logging and wildlife crime. In addition, it finds that there are not sufficient current studies available on wildlife crime and its economic impacts, highlighting the importance of increased monitoring and reporting on the state and trends of wildlife and forests.
The analysis concludes that compliance and enforcement of relevant legislation need to be complemented by more inter-agency collaboration, and capacity across institutions, authorities, and local communities. In addition, the report indicates that the 2016 Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking needs an implementation push at EU and national levels.
Local in Central and Eastern Europe, the Danube-Carpathian region stretches over 15 countries. It hosts some of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests, a considerable part of which are protected as UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-World Heritage. The Carpathian forests are home to Europe’s largest remaining populations of brown bears, wolves and lynx, while the Danube river basin sustains Europe’s last remaining viable populations of sturgeons.