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The Environmental Crime programme awards grants to investigative journalists working on various issues related to environmental crime. There is a pressing need to put environmental crime in the spotlight of international attention, and this is where investigative journalism can make a difference. The grant money is intended to support investigative journalists by covering costs related to an investigation (travel, document retrieval, interviews etc.).

Two grants were first awarded 2015 resulting to increased awareness on specific environmental crime issues through several stories posted in international media.

Bram Ebus wrote about illegal gold mining in Colombia, highlighting its devastating effects on the environment and local people. Parts of the rainforest were controlled by armed groups aiming to dominate the illegal gold trade worth 2.4 billion dollars. The consequences were devastating. Not only were waters polluted with mercury causing serious health problems for local residents, the same people were extorted by the armed groups and lacked realistic alternatives to mining to maintain their livelihoods. His story was published by Newsweek and Vice (Spanish).

David Njagi wrote about politicians granting companies permits to cut down trees in the protected areas of Mount Kenya National Park while simultaneously restricting the local population access to the forest. Not only was cutting down trees disturbing wildlife, it contributed to climate change and reduced the ability of the forest to replenish freshwater stocks supporting the livelihoods of local people. Efforts by civil society to shed light on the illegal activities were shut down by politicians accusing civil society groups of illegal activities, a common tactic used by Kenyan politicians to suppress criticisms coming from civil society. His story was published by Thomson Reuters Foundation and Mongabay.

Applications for two new grants for investigations focusing on illegal fisheries and illegal logging.are now available. Information is available here.

Tags: Environmentall crime crime illegal logging illegal fishing environmental crime

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