Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests) is a consortium forests and climate initiative on combating illegal logging and organised forest crime.

The project is led by the INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) centre in Norway (UNEP GRID-Arendal), with financial support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

INTERPOL recognises that if forest protection mechanisms are to be implemented effectively, it is first necessary to reduce illegal logging and corruption in the forest sector through improved law enforcement efforts.

An international, coordinated response is essential in order to combat the organised transnational nature of the criminal groups involved. Otherwise, halting illegal logging in one country will merely result in an increase in another as the demand for illegally logged wood products remains.

Project LEAF takes a coordinated approach to training and collaboration with national law enforcements agencies to ensure officers have the necessary skills and capacities. Furthermore, international intelligence gathering, sharing and analysis will guide and inform targeted international and regional operations against forestry-related crimes.

The Project’s specific objectives include:

  • Providing an overview and review of extent, primary geographic locations, routes, causes and structure of networks involved in illegal logging, corruption, fraud, laundering and smuggling of wood products
  • Supporting countries in improved enforcement efforts;
  • Providing training and operational support
  • Providing insights into the way organized criminals organize their activities
  • Developing best practices for combating REDD-related and forest-related corruption.