“Picture man-made environmental destruction in Latin America. Massive hydroelectric projects, unfettered agricultural expansion and major mining and oil projects probably come to mind. But so too, experts say, should organized crime, which has drawn increasing blame in recent years for severe and widespread environmental damage in Latin America and the rest of the developing world—and is proving extremely difficult to curb.”

Livia Wagner, Senior Researcher and Private Sector Expert of the Global Initiative, contributed with her research and insghts from the Global Initiative to a centre piece on criminal organisations and their impact on environmental damage for the magazine EcoAméricas.

The author of Criminal organizations become key driver of environmental damage, Steven Ambrus, finds that transnational criminal groups such as traditional mafia groups and drug cartels increasingly diversify their activities into the environmental sector. Illegal logging, illegal gold mining and wildlife trafficking are accompanied by deforestation, dumping of chemicals. Together, these activities have long-term impacts on the environment.

National law enforcement agencies often have little financial resources and expertise to combat these criminal groups effectively – a great concern. The Global Initiative’s Livia Wagner argues that the private sector is a crucial partner in the fight against, for instance, illicit gold mining:

“This is not only the responsibility of the government, but that of private sector gold companies who are not doing enough to ensure that illicit products from organized crime [don’t enter] their supply chain after being laundered.”

Access the full article here: EcoAmericas Centrepiece – Criminal organizations become key driver of environmental damage (August 2016)

This article was originally published as centre piece by EcoAméricas.

Winner of the SIPAward for Best Newsletter – Public Sector/Government, EcoAméricas continues to provide something all too rare in coverage of Latin America—objective and reliable environmental reporting. Our readers, who comprise an international audience of academic institutions, businesses, NGOs, and government agencies, receive not only superior content, but also detailed contact information with each article, giving them direct access to our sources.

EcoAméricas has remained scrupulously independent since its inception in 1998, relying solely on subscriptions. We accept no paid advertising or grants, and we’re not affiliated with any government, industry or nonprofit organizations. Our correspondents, meanwhile, are experienced in providing thorough, firsthand reporting on Latin America.