Organized Crime In Wildlife, Gold And Timber, Worth Over One Billion USD
Organized crime and the illegal trade in natural resources continues to increasingly fuel the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) , according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners.
The Government of DRC, supported by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – the largest UN peacekeeping mission with 20,000 uniformed personnel — is confronting not only a political insurgency but an increasing number of illegal operations conducted by militarized criminal groups with transnational links involved in large-scale smuggling and laundering of natural resources.
Every year gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory, valued between US$ 0.7-1.3 billion annually, are exploited and smuggled illegally out of the conflict zone and surrounding areas in eastern DRC.
There is evidence that revenues from such operations finance at least 25 armed groups that continue to destabilize the peace and security of eastern DRC.