The project

The project to create a European Network against Environmental Crime aims to improve the implementation and application of the Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law.

The project will create the European Network against Environmental Crime (ENEC) with the aim of strengthening the work of the partners of BirdLife Europe in the fight against environmental crime, facilitating the exchange of information and the experience of legal and other practitioners in working to prevent or prosecute this type of crime.

Partners

SEO/BirdLife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) are partners in this project. SEO/BirdLife is the Co-ordinating organisation of the project and the RSPB Co-beneficiary Partner. Both are non-profit organizations tackling domestic and international conservation issues through BirdLife Europe, the European coalition of like-minded conservation organisations. BirdLife Europe, Hellenic Ornithological Society and the Czech Society for Ornithology participate as Associate Partners of this project.

The project partners’ work is focussed on those species and habitats that are in the greatest danger, tackling the causes of decline, including wildlife crime and habitat loss. Every year, the organisations receive hundred of reports of environmental offences such as shooting and destruction of birds of prey, poisoning and the use of poisoned baits, egg collecting incidents, illegal taking, possession or sale of wild birds and habitat destruction. Both partner organizations are actively engaged in the criminal justice system to defend the conservation of biodiversity, especially wild birds. Both SEO/BirdLife and the RSPB invest significant financial, human and reputational resources in fighting environmental crime.

Funding and implementation period

The ENEC is funded by the European Commission throught the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union.

The total budget of the project is 318.416,99 € and the implementation period runs from April 1, 2014 to May 1, 2016

Actions

To achieve the objetives of the project the following activities will be carried out:

1) Carry out a study to assess the degree of implementation of Directive 2008/99/CE in the EU Member States (MS)’ national legislation and practice, comparing the criminal law provisions of the 28 EU MS where the partners of BirdLife Europe carry out their activity, thus providing a detailed picture of the degree of implementation of this aspect of Community law in the EU. This information will be used to identify possible gaps in the protection of the environment through criminal law and inform the need for future measures to be adopted by the European Commission, Member States and/or the members of the ENEC.

2) Bring together legal and other practitioners who work in the fight against environmental crime. A first project meeting will launch the ENEC partnership with the attendance of lawyers, policy and investigations experts who work on behalf of the partners of BirdLife Europe. During the meeting the results of the study on Directive 2008/99 will be presented, establishing a series of conclusions and future courses of action on criminal law at EU level and in the different MS.

3) Strengthen the application of criminal law in the fight against wildlife crime in the EU. The project includes three concrete lines of action through ENEC: illegal bird killing and capture, poisoning and habitat destruction. The joint action of ENEC members will allow efforts to be combined, supporting action in EU countries with fewer resources, and sharing knowledge and experience in the fight against these crimes. With this in mind, three workshops will be held which will make recommendations for strengthening the application of criminal law in MS.

4) Integrate with the activities of other networks and international institutions involved in the protection of the environment. ENEC will establish coordination and communication channels with other networks that work on the application and implementation of Community environmental law, as well as the Secretariats of the international nature conservation conventions.

Expected results

The following results are expected from this project:

1) A new coordination mechanism for European partners of BirdLife International to tackle environmental crime.

2) A model network in the fight against environmental crime that can be extended to other types of organization or other areas of non-compliance with the law.

3) Identification of gaps in the implementation and application of European environmental criminal law and, where necessary, proposals for harmonization of associated legislation in EU MS.

4) A publication which describes the degree of application of Directive 2008/99/EC.