Norway allots €15m to combat illegal deforestation

File photo.

Norway has pledged 145 million kroner (€15.2m) towards an international partnership to combat illegal deforestation and help reach Paris climate accord goals.

Climate and environment minister Ola Elvestuen said deforestation is a lucrative business for criminals who cut down invaluable tropical forests, adding "their activities have detrimental consequences for sustainable development in rainforest nations and the global climate".

He said: "Halting and reversing land degradation and tropical deforestation could provide up to 30% of the climate change solution."

Mr Elvestuen told the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum that the partnership includes Interpol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and a UN-supported centre combating illegal deforestation.

The three institutions will work together to share expertise, networks and efforts to jointly support countries in Latin America and south-east Asia.

The Oslo forum focuses on the role forests play in achieving the Paris accord goals to keep global temperatures below 1.5C.

Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock said: "Environmental crime has surged in recent years, generating billions in illicit profits for criminals, who are also involved in corruption, money laundering and other forms of trafficking.

"Protecting the environment's precious resources is our collective responsibility toward future generations."

The conference said organised criminals make up to 152 billion dollars (€129bn) a year on illegally cutting down tropical forests.

Key rainforest countries have estimated illegal logging rates at 50% to 85%.

The event comes ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in September in San Francisco and the United Nations Climate Change conference in December in Poland.

- Digital Desk

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