Non-legal actors play an increasingly significant role in combating environmental crime through a variety of advocacy and enforcement activities. The two main non-legal actors are networks and NGOs. This report identifies some significant networks and NGOs currently active in the field and highlights the particular skills and capacities of non-legal actors in the enforcement of environmental law and advocacy on environmental crime issues.
While the behaviour of networks and NGOs is highly diverse, the examples highlight their unique ability to improve cooperation between different types of actors (national authorities, international organizations and civil society) at multiple levels (national, EU and international). The creation of environmental crime networks has fostered intense contact between professionals and practitioners on the operational level, which has been effective in breaking down some of the existing barriers that inhibit inter-agency cooperation, and improved enforcement at different governmental levels. NGOs have been integral in investigating environmental crimes and in presenting information to law enforcement authorities to bring about prosecution in specific cases. NGOs have also become active as facilitators in training operations concerning transnational environmental crime, particularly wildlife crime.
It becomes clear that the active engagement of networks and NGOs is contributing to the development of new cooperative enforcement and security structures that are cross-sectoral and multi-level orientated.