Europa and latin america / Environmental crimes

The Jaguar Network, a working tool for Latin America

17 April 2020
La Red Jaguar

The Jaguar Network is an acronym for the Network of Police Specialised in Environmental Crimes in Latin America and the European Union. The actions and development of activities are specifically directed in the Latin American region, more precisely in the 18 countries that work with the EL PAcCTO programme (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), as well as the 27 states of the European Union.

What is the Jaguar Network?

The bi-regional Latin America – European Union network is considered an efficient and useful instrument for promoting and supporting actions to combat environmental crimes, their related offences and for preserving biodiversity, by adapting to the realities of both regions.

Its vocation is to integrate institutions and operators of renowned prestige working to protect nature and combat environmental crimes with professionals from the police branch, to create interaction to benefit all countries and their institutions.

Aims of the Jaguar Network:

  • To share common spaces related to environmental issues.
  • To facilitate access to information and opportunities to strengthen the persecution of environmental crimes in an integrated way between Latin America and the European Union.
  • To be an instrument of formally designated institutional contact points, which represent institutions of Member States and serve to facilitate police cooperation on this subject.
  • To expand the vision and scope of the fight against environmental crimes through the exchange of experiences, working methods, investigation methods and new criminal methods.
  • Academic, scientific and research dissemination, creating ad hoc temporary mechanisms such as Joint Investigation Teams and Multidisciplinary Specialised Teams.
  • Promotion of homogeneous future national and international legislative improvements in its field of action.

Context of environmental crimes in Latin America

In Latin America, mining, trafficking in protected species and illegal deforestation, which are intrinsically linked, have changed and grown significantly in recent years for security, economic and social reasons.

In the case of crimes related to flora and fauna, they have increased substantially in recent years and have become the third most lucrative illegal business in the world according to Interpol, due to the “great demand” in certain developed and emerging countries, which favour the development of itinerant criminal structures with a great capacity for adapting to emerging demands.

The increase in crimes against flora and fauna is intrinsically linked to the increase in illegal mining and deforestation because some crimes feed others.

Consequently, the fight against environmental crimes not only represents a problem in terms of environment and biodiversity, but also negatively and directly affects the human development of communities, the indigenous populations that live in Latin America, the sustainable economic development of the countries involved, citizens’ safety and climate change over the whole planet.

EL PAcCTO’s work against environmental crimes

EL PAcCTO has supported the organisation of various activities and specific actions to strengthen the fight against environmental crime. One such activity was a multi-country workshop to strengthen the fight against environmental crimes in the Amazon Basin that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May 2018. Representatives of the public prosecutors’ offices and the police from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru were in attendance.

Various activities were added to this, among others an on-site mission in French Guyana to harmonise joint intervention and police procedures in the fight against illegal gold mining in which the countries of the Amazon Basin and France participated, which contributed to planning the joint operations between French Guyana and Brazil.

Also, a meeting for the preparation of the operational days of EUROPOL, SEPNA, SEPRONA, OCLAESP and Latin American countries on environmental crimes was held in Mexico City in May 2019, in order to allow specific operations in the fight against these crimes in 6 Latin American countries

Finally, to extend the work with other countries in the region, a regional seminar on environmental crimes in Latin America was organised in late 2019 in Bogotá, Colombia, in which 12 Latin American countries took part.

In early March 2020, Latin American countries were accompanied in a meeting in Madrid, to prepare joint operations between Latin America and the European Union on environmental crimes in order to define priority investigations, to establish specific calendars and to exchange information on the large cases that will be supported.

Also and in parallel to the activity, a meeting of the European network of police officers specialised in environmental crime, EnviCrimeNet, was held, which was also attended by the official contact points of the Latin American countries of the Jaguar Network that had working groups focused on specific problems, as well as the evolution of the network of European police specialised in environmental crimes (EnviCrime Network).

EL PAcCTO will continue to support and accompany the Latin American region with more actions in the fight against environmental and related crimes.