INTERPOL News release ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire – the illegal trade of timber and forest products in West Africa was the focus of a regional law enforcement meeting hosted by INTERPOL’s Project Leaf (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests).
The Regional law enforcement meeting on illegal trade of West African rosewood (held between 24 -28 May 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) brought together law enforcement representatives from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo.
During the four day meeting, conducted under the framework of INTERPOL’s Operation Log, law enforcement officers reviewed available criminal intelligence data that had been collected and analysed by INTERPOL to identify suspects, trade routes, and modus operandi used to illegally trade West African rosewood. The meeting identified areas for further investigation, as well as providing guidelines and support to law enforcement officials to combat future illicit timber trade.
Many of the participating countries had also submitted proposals for consideration at CoP17 (to be held in South Africa in September-October) to list African Rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) on CITES Appendix II. A law enforcement official from the CITES Secretariat attended to meeting to provide advice on the relevant procedures.
INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau will continue to work with each country to support information exchange and encourage multiagency collaboration, particularly between forestry law enforcement agencies and their INTERPOL National Central Bureaus.
Funding for the law enforcement meeting was provided by the United States Department of State and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).