Fight against crime takes center stage at the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards


Environmental protectors and entities from Asia were on Tuesday November 30, 2021 recognized for their work on prevention of environmental crime at the sixth edition of the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards, organized virtually by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“The Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards are significant as they acknowledge the essential role of those contributing to addressing the environmental crises through stopping environmental crime,” said Dechen Tsering, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

Transboundary environmental crime continues to threaten global ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. Apart from its impact on the environment, it is associated to organized criminal networks worldwide, whose activities feed into the global illicit economy and disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable. As a result, it compromises collective efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals. Combating environmental crime requires greater public awareness, strong transnational cooperation and the relentless commitment of enforcement officers and agencies.

In 2021, four nominations were successfully awarded from over 115 submitted from across the region. For their outstanding achievements, recipients were awarded in three categories: innovation, collaboration, and gender leadership and women empowerment. The Awards acknowledge the winners’ contribution to the effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, particularly with regard to illegal wildlife trade.

“Crimes that harm the environment enjoy a high level of impunity as they fall between the cracks of different sectors, such as security, conservation and trade,” said Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative of UNODC. “The winners of this Award have succeeded in filling those gaps and bringing justice thanks to their drive, courage and creativity.”

“These recipients today represent the dedication of the hundreds of men and women who are champions in enforcement because it is through collective commitment and action that we can combat environmental crime. This Recognition goes to all those dedicated to these efforts,” UNEP’s Tsering said.

The 2021 winners of the 6th Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards are: Swayam Mallick, Ajay Kumar Sahoo, Ghanashyam Mahanta and Sanjib Rout, Keonjhar Forest Division, Department of Forest and Environment, Government of Odisha (India).