On November 3, a group of 301 civil society organizations and experts from 99 countries around the globe sent an open letter to UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) State Parties calling for a strong resolution to be adopted at the upcoming Conference of State Parties (CoSP) 10 to prevent and combat environmental crime and corruption.
CoSP 10, the main policymaking body of UNCAC, is being hosted by the U.S. government in Atlanta, GA December 11-15. The open letter was initiated by the UNCAC Coalition’s Working Group on Environmental Crime and Corruption.
“Corruption has a seismic impact on the environment and the climate,” the letter states. “It enables crimes across complex supply chains that exploit wildlife, forests, fisheries and other natural resources and species. It is often linked to serious criminal networks that rely on corruption at every step of their global supply chain. It creates incentives to degrade nature, leading to the conversion and degradation of land and the building of infrastructure in biodiversity rich zones. Corruption is undermining efforts to address climate change at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that human-induced climate change has “resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.”
The letter explains that “as the only legally binding anti-corruption instrument, the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is among the best tools available to prevent and fight the corruption that enables environmental crime and other environmental harms and its significant negative impacts on both people and nature. It then outlines five aspects that a resolution addressing environmental crime and corruption should include.
One of these five aspects calls for whistleblower protections to help “ensure a safe and enabling environment for civil society organizations and other actors working to expose environmental crime and corruption.
National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is among the organizations signed on to the letter. NWC, which has pushed for increased whistleblowing protections to fight climate corruption, has been invited to participate in CoSP 10.
“NWC is proud to sign on to this impactful letter as we prepare to observe CoSP 10,” says NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson. “We have a long legacy of bringing whistleblowers to the forefront of discussions about the fight against environmental crime, and are honored to be joined by so many other important NGO’s.”
NWC Senior Wildlife and Climate Policy Advisor Scott Hajost worked with the UNCAC Civil Society Coalition’s Working Group on Environmental Crime and Corruption on the letter and helped in securing sign-ons from around the world. “It is gratifying to see such diverse civil society come together to promote concrete action under UNCAC to combat corruption related environmental crime and recognizing the role that whistleblowers can and should play,” says Hajost.