Illegal Trade in Environmentally Sensitive Goods

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Illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods, such as threatened wildlife, timber, hazardous waste, and ozone-depleting substances, has been a long-standing issue in the international trade and environment agenda.  The nature of such illegal trade makes it difficult to fully understand its extent and impact on the environment.  Developing effective policies to reduce illegal trade requires a clear understanding of what drives this trade and the circumstances under which it thrives.  In this report, evidence-based on customs data and information from licensing schemes is used to document the scale of illegal trade, as well as the economic and environmental impacts of such trade.  National and international policies have an important role to play in regulating  and reducing illegal trade and the report highlights a range of measures that can be taken at both levels.



Executive summary

This publication reviews the evidence on the key drivers of illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods. This includes factors such as differential costs, as well as enabling conditions such as regulatory and enforcement failures. It also provides an overview of the main economic, social and environmental impacts. The report reviews the data collected by customs and licensing schemes for selected environmentally sensitive goods, including wildlife, fish, timber, ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and hazardous waste. It examines the extent to which this information can be used to identify and measure illegal trade.


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