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European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime (EFFACE)

European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime (EFFACE)

The interdisciplinary research project "European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime" (EFFACE) assessed the impacts of environmental crime as well as effective and feasible policy options for combatting it, with a focus on the EU. The project was funded under the 7th Research Framework Programme of the EU (FP7). Ecologic coordinated the work of 11 European universities and think tanks involved in the project.

The killing of elephants for their tusks, the export of harmful waste in contravention of existing regulations, the deliberate discharge of noxious substances from vessels into water bodies or large scale industrial spill accidents can all be considered environmental crimes.  Environmental crime damages the environment and often also has a negative impact on people living in affected areas. Environmental crime is sometimes linked to organised crime or corruption. However, due to its in official nature, environmental crime and its impact are difficult to detect, quantify and counteract.

There are different approaches to combating environmental crime, such as tracking and restricting the movement of certain goods across borders or penalising certain activities. At the EU level, the 2008 Environmental Crime Directive, and the 2005 Ship-Source Pollution Directive are important legal acts. The new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty have created new instruments and opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of EU measures against environmental crime through harmonisation and better co-ordination among Member States.

However, effectively combatting environmental crimes requires accurate and reliable information on what is going on. EFFACE helped to address existing gaps in knowledge. EFFACE had the following main elements:

On this basis, EFFACE developed options and policy recommendations for the EU to fight environmental crimes. EFFACE engaged in a dialogue with stakeholders and disseminated its results through various channels, including a series of workshops and the publication of several policy briefs. An advisory board consisting of practitioners and academic experts working on environmental crime provided input to EFFACE and ensured its results are of practical relevance and a pertinent contribution to existing research.

The core findings of EFFACE are summarised in the final synthesis report, addressed at decision-makers.

Stay up-to-date and follow EFFACE on Twitter.

A project flyer [pdf, 500 kB, English] is available.

European Commission, Directorate-General Research & Innovation (DG Research & Innovation)
University of Catania (UniCT), Italy
University of Oslo (UiO), Norway
Chatham House (Chatham House), United Kingdom
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom
Maastricht University (UM), Netherlands
December 2012 to March 2016
Project ID
environmental crime, criminology, organised crime, Lisbon Treaty, criminal law, pollution, illegal wildlife trade, waste exports, industrial spill accidents, fisheries, corruption, CITES, illegal logging, Europe, global