Forest crime is a growing problem with links to organized crime and corruption – ranking 1st profitable natural resource crime in 2017. Loopholes in the EUTR and implementation gaps in EU countries have hindered a real change in practice. The EU Forest Crime Initiative, a project financed by the EU Internal Security Fund, started in March 2019, aims to enable effective law enforcement by stimulating networks that are able to detect FC and respond to it. The Project has a specific geographic focus on four exporting countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine) and two importing countries (Belgium and France). The innovation lies in bringing together INTERPOL’s law enforcement expertise with WWF’s practical experience in supporting companies to avoid illegal wood trafficking.
In June 2021, an EU wide conference bringing together stakeholders from law enforcement and civil society will be organized.