– As Prepared –

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

16 May 2019

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Once again, I would like to thank the States for their participation; the panelists and moderators who have guided the debates and civil society for its contributions.

Today’s event leaves us with valuable contributions for the next report of the Secretary General on the implementation of Resolutions 72/207 and 73/222 on Illicit Financial Flows and Assets Return.

In this debate we agreed on the importance to reinforce national and international efforts to fight illicit financial flows and renew our collective will to strengthen the policies on assets return.

Furthermore, in the panels we were able to know the cases of Guatemala, Nigeria, Norway and United States.

I would like to highlight some aspects that were addressed and the actions that can contribute to our goals.

  1. Illicit financial flows are a threat to fulfill the goals of the Agenda 2030 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and, therefore, we must strengthen international tax cooperation. In this sense, several delegations have expressed their concern about the lack of a specific intergovernmental forum to deal with these issues.
  2. We need sound policies for financial transparency to stop illicit financial flows that include both banking secrecy and the systems that allow creating fictional companies.
  3. Tax evasion and avoidance cause serious harm on the tax health of developing economies. We need a strong political will to stop this source of illicit financial flows.
  4. The main problems faced by the States in assets return are related to the administrative and legal costs and barriers involved in these processes.
  5. We must maintain these types of spaces and debates to give the States the opportunity to know and share their experiences on how to deal with illicit financial flows and assets return.

I trust that the summary of this High Level Meeting, which will be created by my Office, can contribute to the preparation process of the SDG summit and the High Level Dialogues on Financing for Development that will take place in September.

With these debates, we conclude our Prosperity Week. I thank the cooperation of UNCTAD, FAO, UNODC, DESA and other entities of the system for their collaborations in the three events that were held.

Once again, I thank you all for your presence and I urge you to continue to reflect collectively on these essential issues so no country and no one is left behind in sustainable development.

Thank you.