Trees Project Investigates Criminal Activities in Forest and Forest Related SectorsNov 06 2015
TREES, the research project financed by the European Commission for improving the EU Regulation fighting illegal wood trade, has reached the halfway point and is now looking for operators to become involved and participate in order to unmask criminal activities and corruption cases.
In this phase of the project, involving Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Macedonia, TREES Project Partners are collecting data and information about criminal activities and corruption cases in forest and forest related sectors that, according to the European Parliament, create an illicit market for wood, amounting to 20% of the total imports in Europe.
The TREES Project Partners have already carried out a number of investigations and anonymous interviews with enterprises and some law enforcement agencies working in the five countries. These interviews show that illegal activities in European region concern mainly firewood, while some other countries (for example China) are problematic for controlling illegal logging regarding semi-finished wooden products.
The interviews also show that there is no direct relation between the most common corruption indices (e.g., the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index) and the corruption in the forest and market sectors. That is to say there appears to be no correlation between the “Country system” corruption perception in general and the corruption of forest sector in particular.
The initial phase has been forming the basis for the second phase of the research, aimed at tracking a more detailed overview of the forestry sector criminal activities and corruption cases perception.
TREES Project Partners have therefore prepared a survey addressed to operators (private operators and law enforcement agency representatives), enabling them to reach a greater number of entities and consequently to draw stronger conclusions.
The survey may be completed on this page http://goo.gl/forms/AYJVH0Ew7h or in PDF format (by requesting it at the secretariat of the project (RISSC - Valentina Scioneri – firstname.lastname@example.org).
The survey has the purpose of not only understanding the perception of the existence and spread of illicit activities, but also of analyzing both the private operators’ capacity to select legal material and the law enforcement agencies’ preparation and ability to detect crimes.
TREES Project Partners invite the entire forest sector and related productive and trading chains actors to actively participate in the TREES Project survey.
About the Project
The TREES project is a 20 month transnational project aiming at enforcing the EU Timber Regulation implementation as an instrument to fight corruption as facilitator of organized crime activities. The project, funded by the Internal Affairs DG of the European Commission as part of the ISEC Program (Prevention of and Fight against Crime), is developed by Conlegno (EU Monitoring Organization for EU Timber Regulation), PEFC Italy, RiSSC, Research Centre on Security and Crime, Risk Monitor and CNVP, and supported by a range of partners including INTERPOL, PEFC International and several PEFC National members.