Period: 2020 – 2021
Terms of Reference
Project description and aims
There is still a lack of awareness of the impact of wildlife crime to ecosystems and protected species. The way to calculate this damage in order to become a useful and reliable instrument during prosecution and during court cases is a topic that needs to be further explored. There are already some good examples. For instance, in Finland the prosecutor is obliged to work with a ‘pricelist’ that calculates damage to ecosystems and protected species. This varies from smaller infringements to wildlife crime where heavy endangered species are involved.
During several conferences and workshops related to wildlife trafficking and wildlife crime the need to make the damage to ecosystems and protected species visible during court procedures is emphasized. This is important because it contributes to awareness raising to prosecutors and judges who are often not specialized. A good, objective and a comparable system to make the damage visible will increase the support to use a ‘pricelist’ during prosecution and court procedures.
Several aspects must be considered. First of all, the ecological aspect of the infringement. Is recovery possible or are the effects of the crime irreversible? What is the amount of time needed to restore? Is the state of conservation at stake? Therefore, biological knowledge and knowledge about how ecosystems and protected species are functioning are necessary. Second, is it necessary to validate/calculate the ecological damage within the existing economic system. Here we need creative thinkers with knowledge about functioning of our economic systems. Third, we need knowledge of legal procedures, administrative law and criminal law. How is it possible to implement the calculation of damage within investigation, prosecution and court procedures? Questions are whether to use the knowledge about the damage as part of the verdict (penal law) or as cost need for restoration of the damage (administrative or civil law) or simultaneously.
We must keep in mind and think about communication strategies in a later stage of this project because making the public aware of the damage to nature, expressed in Euros, also contributes to raising awareness and, therefore, the prevention of wildlife crime.
- Overview of different approaches towards the calculation of damage to ecosystems and protected species as part of prosecution and court cases.
- Recommendation to find a unified approach/process to calculate damage to ecosystems and protected species.
- Develop a unified approach and process to calculate damage to ecosystems and protected species and the use during prosecution and court procedures.
- Develop the necessary tools (e.g. pricelist, database, etc.) to calculate the damage to ecosystems and protected species.
- Training/instruction sessions on the process and the use of the tools to calculate the damage to ecosystems and protected species.
- Implementation of the tools to calculate the damage to ecosystems and protected species and the use during prosecution and court cases.
Lead country and contact
- Bird directive, 2009/147/EC.
- Habitats directive, 92/43/EEC.