ABU DHABI, 28th May, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE’s International Initiative of Law Enforcement for Climate (I2LEC) pledge, presented by the UAE’s Ministry of Interior of, gained support from more than 20 countries and civil society organisations from across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and North and South America.
The pledge was conceptualised by the Global Expert Working Group which gathers representatives of the Ministry of Interior, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its partners to provide strategic guidance to I2LEC, a platform coordinating global law enforcement community’s response to climate change.
H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, stated that in line with the vision of the country’s wise leadership, the UAE continues to put forward international initiatives to promote coordination and international action in all fields.
He pointed out that the UAE’s hosting of COP28 constitutes an opportunity to find realistic and practical solutions to the various challenges facing today’s world. Hosting such an event also highlights the role of the UAE in promoting international dialogue, cooperation, and coordination. It requires all state institutions to work together towards the goals and orientations set by the leadership, therefore preserving the UAE’s development levels as well as its advanced position on global competitiveness indicators.
After the I2LEC won wide international support at the meetings of the United Nations committees held in Vienna, Sheikh Saif said in a statement that law enforcement agencies have always worked according to two inseparable tracks: combating criminal threats today and proactively addressing the challenges of tomorrow. He added that there is no greater challenge today than the threat of climate change. “It is indeed a reality that needs to be recognised on a global scale to best manage the rapidly evolving climate change scenarios.”
Sheikh Saif expressed his thanks and appreciation to the international community for the broad support that the initiative received immediately after its announcement and for its adoption during the 32nd session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
He added, “Such a step fosters optimism regarding the success of the joint response to this common challenge. The initiative will continue its journey among the international community to obtain more support, with the aim of gathering as much support as possible. This will be achieved by raising the level of global awareness, strengthening international cooperation and cooperation between institutions, in addition to operational and research capabilities, with the hope that the initiative will serve as a model framework for increasing the flexibility of the law enforcement community’s global response to climate change.”
The UAE Minister of Interior further described the pledge as a unique opportunity to raise the profile of law enforcement agencies’ role in climate change mitigation, ahead of the COP28 that will be hosted in Dubai from 30th November to 12th December 2023.
The side event, organised on the margins of the 32nd session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, was a panel discussion between senior officials of the UAE, UNODC, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI).
The panellists highlighted the importance of giving law enforcement agencies the means to effectively address crimes that affect the environment, including by supporting further research and analysis into the patterns, trends and impacts of such crimes.
They also stressed the importance of involving the international law enforcement community in the climate change dialogue, to better anticipate and mitigate related challenges that may impact law enforcement operations.
Commenting on the unveiling of the I2LEC pledge, Ghada Waly, Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna and Executive Director of UNODC, said, “Organised crime poses a major threat to our environment, with organised criminal groups around the world engaging in wildlife trafficking, This exploitation has a serious impact on our ecosystems and on the lives of millions of people who depend on these natural resources for their livelihoods. It is our hope that the I2LEC pledge announced by the UAE will serve as a call to action for the global law enforcement community to foster greater cooperation in the fight against crimes that affect the environment. UNODC stands ready to support law enforcement agencies in their efforts, by contributing its research capacity as well as the wealth of experience and expertise available under its Global Programmes that focus on crimes that affect the environment and the international legal framework including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the United Nations standards and norms relevant to law enforcement mandates and functions.”
The pledge is currently being circulated by the UAE Ministry of Interior to gather the broadest possible support for I2LEC. Among its main priorities, the initiative aims to increase awareness and knowledge about crimes that affect the environment and their impacts to better inform law enforcement policies, strategies, practices and operations; enhance law enforcement agencies’ capacity as well as interagency and international cooperation to prevent and combat such crimes, and to effectively carry out their mandates and functions in the context of evolving and emerging challenges posed by climate change; and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices by law enforcement agencies.
In addition to I2LEC, the Ministry of Interior has established the Secure Communities Forum (SCF) which, in partnership with the Joint Environmental Unit (JEU) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), has launched one of the world’s first training programmes dedicated to educating frontline first responders and law enforcement officers on the impacts of climate change for routine emergencies and disaster scenarios. Drawing upon international expertise in the law enforcement, climate, public safety and humanitarian fields, it offers a much-needed universal training on the evolving challenges of climate change. Trainees will receive a certificate from the SCF and the UN JEU .
I2LEC was launched in March 2023 during the World Police Summit in Dubai. The initiative weaves into the UAE’s wider commitment to advancing global cooperation on environmental causes. The UAE was the first country in the region to ratify the historic Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 during the COP21. 2023 is the “Year of Sustainability” in the UAE, to foster a global collaboration in seeking innovative solutions to climate-related challenges.
I2LEC will benefit from the long-standing strategic partnership between the UAE and UNODC on supporting global efforts against organised crime, and from UNODC’s vast expertise built through the Global Programme against Crimes that Affect the Environment.