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Environmental Crimes workshop 2024

 June 11 @ 09:00 - June 12 @ 17:00 UTC+2


Environmental crime is growing at annual rates of 5% to 7% globally. Countering environmental crime is complex  as it is often perpetrated by criminal organizations operating across borders. It also spans a broad range of activities, such as illegal waste management and shipment, illegal logging and trade in timber, illegal water abstraction, pollution, habitats destruction and wildlife trafficking.

Combatting environmental crime often requires international cooperation, not only to roll up international networks, put also to account for differing legal frameworks, enforcement mechanisms, and priorities among countries. The European Union recently adopted a new directive to improve the effectiveness of criminal law enforcement and help achieve European Green Deal objectives by fighting against the most serious environmental offences.

Detecting, investigating, and prosecuting environmental crime require high-quality documentation and evidence. New technologies and methods to detect and analyze environmental changes can play a key role here. The last years have witnessed transformative developments in Earth Observation, particularly from satellite-based platforms, leading to data streams of increased spatial, spectral, and temporal detail. Earth Observation-based intelligence intelligence provides obvious benefits to environmental crime investigations greatly strengthening monitoring and inspection capacity. However, it also brings particular challenges such as concerns about data privacy, data quality and availability issues, as well as legal constraints related to the admissibility of geospatial-based evidence in court.

European Space Agency and the JRC role

This workshop is a joint initiative of ESA and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission to foster a greater uptake of Earth Observation technology in environmental compliance assurance.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been at the forefront of exploring new capabilities to integrate EO-derived information more systematically into environmental crime investigations. The aim is to improve the identification of illegal activities and ensure the effective incorporation of EO information into intelligence models used by investigative teams, leveraging key technologies and innovative processing techniques. The effort contributes to maintaining Europe’s international leadership in ensuring safety and security for citizens, and fostering enhanced regional and international cooperation on security priorities.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission provides independent evidence and knowledge to ground European policy in science. The European Commission aims to step up the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation. To help achieve this, the JRC researches and supports the use of geospatial intelligence in environmental compliance assurance. The Knowledge Centre on Earth Observation at the JRC is conducting a deep dive assessment on the use of Earth Observation for Compliance Assurance across various EU policy sectors.


The workshop aims to:

  • Identify and review methods enabled by geospatial data sources, and particularly Earth Observation, to support better detection and characterization of environmental crimes and their consequences.
  • Enhance awareness of the latest developments in geospatial and open source intelligence in the context of multidisciplinary evidence collection to assure environmental compliance.
  • Identify gaps in administrative capacity or expertise among enforcement authorities.
  • Collect insights on priority areas to improve the integration of EO capabilities in intelligence workflows and protocols for environmental crime investigations.
  • Aligning with stakeholders’ agenda, highlight the importance of developing crime-countering strategies that are evidence-based and data-driven, addressing both the root causes of crime and its environmental, societal and economic dimensions.
  • Inform the definition of requirements for Earth Observation and other geospatial products and services supporting environmental crime investigations.
  • Outline a way forward to implement new solutions for a wider uptake of EO into investigations of environmental crimes within the ESA-JRC cooperation activities.

Target Audience

This workshop is intended for researchers, governmental and non-governmental organizations, investigative teams, legal bodies, and international agencies that develop or use Earth Observation for environmental compliance assurance, and particularly enforcement activities.
The workshop will be hosted by the ESA at ESRIN, Frascati (Italy), as an in-person meeting, with the possibility to be connected remotely.

Possible participants:

  • International organization
  • National police forces, prosecutors, judges, inspectors and their networks
  • Environmental monitoring or protection agencies and the Earth Observation or Space agencies they work with
  • NGOs
  • Industries and research centers working in the area of the workshop

The workshop will be hosted at the ESA – ESRIN, Frascati (Italy), as an in-person meeting, with the possibility to follow the workshop remotely.

For further information regarding the workshop and how to submit an abstract, please go to the main website




Largo Galileo Galilei, 1
Frascati, RM 00044 Italy
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