New Technologies Must Not Stifle Financial Inclusion, Cautions Expert, Citing $1.7 Billion ‘Unbanked’ People in Terrorism-Prone Regions
The Security Council called upon Member States today to step up efforts to combat and criminalize the financing of terrorists and their activities, adopting a resolution on the issue before holding a day-long open debate that placed the spotlight on international cooperation, capacity-building and respect for international law.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2462 (2019) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council reaffirmed its resolution 1373 (2001) — adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States — which requires all States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and to refrain from providing support to those involved in them.
By other terms of the resolution, all States shall — in a manner consistent with their obligations under international law — ensure that their laws and regulations make it possible to prosecute and penalize, as serious criminal offences, the provision or collection of funds, resources and services intended to be used for the benefit of terrorist organizations or individual terrorists.
It demands that Member States ensure that their counter-terrorism measures are in compliance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international refugee law. The resolution also calls upon Member States to conduct financial investigations into terrorism-related cases and to more effectively investigate and prosecute cases of terrorist financing, applying criminal sanctions as appropriate.
Briefing the Council, Marshall Billingslea, President of the Financial Action Task Force — an inter-governmental body that sets standards for combating money‑laundering and terrorist financing, said all States must understand the ways in which they may be vulnerable to terrorist financing. With risks extending beyond the banking and financial sectors, States must identify all potentially vulnerable sectors, he added. More broadly, Mr. Billingslea, who is also Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the United States Department of the Treasury, said Member States must also address fundamental issues that create environments conducive to terrorism and terrorist financing, such as corruption, weak governance and lack of respect for the rule of law.
Mercy Buku, a Kenyan expert in anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, noted that new technologies, such as mobile money-transfer services can help lift people out of poverty, urging Member States not to stifle financial inclusion when implementing measures to combat terrorist financing. About 1.7 billion “unbanked” people today have no access to safe, reliable and convenient financial services, she said, noting that most of them are in Africa and South-East Asia — the regions most affected by terrorism. With mobile money‑transfer services being the single most effective contribution to global financial inclusion efforts, Governments must put regulations in place to facilitate it while ensuring that new technologies do not finance terrorism, she emphasized.
Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, noted that today’s resolution consolidates past Council texts while focusing on new types of terrorist financing. “It is only through a comprehensive and multidimensional approach that national and international financial systems and institutions can be properly safeguarded from terrorist abuse,” he said. He called upon Member States to make national experts available to United Nations programmes on countering terrorist financing, alongside significant financial support to build capacity.
Nearly 70 speakers took the floor in the ensuing debate, many emphasizing the need for Member States to fully implement Council resolutions and foster international and regional cooperation and coordination. They also expressed support for partnership with the private sector and strongly advocated respect for international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international refugee law, with the United Nations playing a capacity-building role.
France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, warning against the belief that the fight against terrorism ended with the territorial defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). The international community must tackle evil at the root and isolate terrorists by drying up their sources of financing, he emphasized, pointing out that terrorists have learned how to exploit new technologies and transform their resources. While the challenge is great, “our determination must be equally great”, he stressed.
Indonesia’s Vice‑Minister for Foreign Affairs declared: “There is a clear indication that terrorist financing is shifting towards high-tech cyberactivities, including sophisticated online transactions.” Underlining the need to close gaps in the implementation of international instruments, he said the fight against terrorist financing must take place within a framework of strengthened international cooperation. “We have no other options.”
Australia’s representative said recent events in New Zealand are a painful reminder that the international community’s protective systems must continue to be flexible while evolving to address ever-changing threats. Like criminals, terrorists constantly adapt how and where they move their funds to circumvent safeguards that countries have put in place, she said, emphasizing that partnerships at all levels are critical to responding effectively to evolving threats.
The observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed concern over the increased impact of counter-terrorism measures on impartial humanitarian action. “We understand the legitimate concerns of States and their need to take measures necessary to ensure security,” he said, while adding: “But, certain measures, most notably counter-terrorism legislation and sanctions, can criminalize and restrict humanitarian action.”
Israel’s representative said the Middle East has witnessed the destabilizing and destructive role of terror financing. “Hamas uses and abuses charitable organizations and humanitarian aid to fund its terror,” she noted, adding that it would take an entire day to outline how Iran uses sophisticated methods and evades sanctions to finance terrorism.
The representative of the United States stressed that the financing of groups like Hizbullah must be disrupted. That group uses an increasingly sophisticated array of tools and methods to finance activities that cannot be tackled in isolation, he said, adding that everyone must recognize Hizbullah and others for what they are — a global threat to security.
Iran’s representative said the fact that Da’esh and Al-Nusra Front in Syria are receiving funds demonstrates that existing standards are not working. Unless the countries that fail to implement those standards are held accountable, they will be emboldened to continue financing terrorists, he warned. “Indeed, counter‑terrorism activities are effective only when double standards and selective approaches are avoided an all States cooperate fully and responsibly,” he noted.
Turkey’s representative said the international community must “follow the money if we are to effectively prevent and combat terrorism”. Many terrorist organizations employ conventional transaction methods, including the hawala remittance system, while organizations like the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization benefit from illegal monetary activities under the guise of legal entities, he said. Consistency should be the guiding principle for an effective anti-terrorism-financing system, he emphasized.
Equatorial Guinea’s representative expressed concern over the growth of terrorist groups in Central Africa, including Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), pointing out that the region is also vulnerable to money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. With the spectrum of terrorist financing now including abuse of non‑profit organizations and the illicit exploitation of natural resources, among other sources, it is important to coordinate international efforts with those at the regional and national levels, he said.
South Africa’s Minister for Defence and Military Veterans said that, as a State on a continent affected by terrorism, her country recognizes the importance of curbing methods of financing that sustain terrorist organizations and the horrific violence they commit, including against peacekeepers. “We know full well that, unchecked, this threat has the potential to derail our collective efforts to bring about peace, security and sustainable development on the continent.”
India’s representative said that, while many Council resolutions call for regular reporting on the implementation of sanctions, a cursory look at publicly available information reveals that implementation reports have not been updated for more than a decade. No effective action has been taken on reported instances of non-compliance with sanctions measures, he added, emphasizing that the Council must do a better job of overseeing implementation of its resolutions. Terrorists will be ever more creative in finding ways to violate the rulebook and States that support them will continue to justify their inaction, as was done by a serial offender earlier today, he pointed out.
The Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines described money as the lifeblood of terrorism, saying that terrorist financing in his country involves a complex web of illicit flows, money-laundering, transnational organized crime and occasional remittances from overseas Filipinos. Noting the symbiotic relationship between terrorism and the illegal drug trade, he said that his country is determined to protect the law-abiding from the lawless. “It won’t be pretty, but we will get them,” he added.
Also delivering statements today were speakers representing the United Kingdom, Poland, Kuwait, Germany, Russian Federation, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, China, Tajikistan, Romania, Estonia, Georgia, Slovenia, Syria, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Japan, Colombia, Lebanon, Egypt, Switzerland, Singapore, Liechtenstein, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Venezuela (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Qatar, Portugal, Canada, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Iraq, Lithuania, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Brazil, Bahrain, Ukraine, Netherlands, Ecuador, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Others speaking today were the Head of the European Union Delegation also spoke, as did the Permanent Observers for the Holy See and the African Union, and the Special Representative of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
The meeting began at 9:40 a.m. and ended at 5:11 p.m.
VLADIMIR VORONKOV, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, spoke via video-teleconference from Rome, saying that the adoption of resolution 2462 (2019) comes at a critical time. While the Council has previously adopted several resolutions concerning the financing of terrorism, today’s text consolidates the various requirements into a single draft. It also expands the focus to key emerging issues, including innovative terrorist financing typologies, he noted. Welcoming the role that the resolution assigns to his Office in identifying ways to suppress terrorist financing and helping to develop national capacities to implement key priorities, he set out priorities in the field for countering the financing of terrorism.
The Office, he continued, must expand its focus to include the sharing of intelligence, sectoral risk assessments and public-private partnerships to ensure that financial regulation is responsive, targeted, proportional and effective. Taking a cue from today’s resolution, he said the Office must also look at countering the financing of terrorism in a comprehensive manner, giving equal importance to system-wide raising of awareness, inter-agency coordination, judicial reviews and ongoing commitment of human and technological resources. Human rights and humanitarian law should be upheld and protected, he said, adding: “It is only through a comprehensive and multidimensional approach that national and international financial systems and institutions can be properly safeguarded from terrorist abuse.”
He went on to emphasize the need for the Office to work more closely with the Financial Action Task Force and Task Force-style regional bodies on capacity‑building assistance, as well as its commitment to working with all partners, particularly the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), to coordinate capacity-building for interested Member States. The Office will use its inter-agency coordination platforms to extend the alignment of assistance and needs with such other key bodies as the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). He called upon Member States to make national experts available to United Nations programmes on countering the financing of terrorism, thereby giving beneficiary countries an opportunity to learn good practices. Significant financial support is also necessary to increase the capacity of Member States to prevent and detect terrorism financing, he said.
MARSHALL BILLINGSLEA, President of the Financial Action Task Force, said that, while terrorist groups use funding to conduct terrorist acts, they also need it to maintain and grow their organizations. Combating all these aspects of terrorist financing remains a top priority for the Task Force, he said, welcoming the resolution’s recognition of its central role in setting global standards for combating money‑laundering, as well as the financing of terrorism and proliferation. More specifically, the Task Force is prioritizing efforts to: address the illicit financing risks associated with virtual currencies; strengthen international efforts to combat the financing of terrorism; and enhance its efforts to counter financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He welcomed the resolution’s highlighting of the Task Force’s progress on the first priority. He emphasized the critical need for all States to understand where they may be vulnerable to terrorist financing and to use that understanding to mitigate those risks.
Meanwhile, terrorist financing risks extend beyond the banking or financial sector, he cautioned, stressing that States must therefore identify all potentially vulnerable sectors. More broadly, States must address fundamental contextual issues that create environments conducive to terrorism and terrorist financing, he said, warning that corruption, weak or ineffective governance and lack of respect for the rule of law can lead to regional instability and render economies vulnerable to terrorist financing. To combat that threat, Member States must also bolster inter-agency coordination and sharing of information, he said. Indeed, they must ensure that all relevant agencies communicate and cooperate effectively with each other, he added, also underlining the importance of working closely with the private sector. New developments in public-private partnerships can add significant benefits in terms of better and faster access to information, he noted.
MERCY BUKU, expert in anti-money‑laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, spoke via video-teleconference from Nairobi, underscoring the role of financial services in addressing poverty, inequality and migration while helping States to achieve their development goals. Citing several studies which demonstrate that access to bank accounts and money-transfer services have a measurable impact on poverty, she said that about 1.7 billion people are “unbanked” today, without access to safe, reliable and convenient financial services. Virtually all of them are in developing economies in Africa and South‑East Asia, she added, pointing out that those regions are also the most affected by terrorism.
Calling attention to the expansion of mobile-based financial services, she said that mobile money-transfer services represent the single most effective contribution to global financial inclusion initiatives. In 2018, there were more than 866 million mobile money-transfer accounts, with daily transactions totalling $1.3 billion, she said, cautioning, however, that every good thing bears an element of risk. Mobile money-transfer services and other digital forms of payment are attractive to criminals due to their speed and convenience, she said, underlining the critical need for Governments to put regulations in place that facilitate financial inclusion while ensuring that new technologies are not used to finance terrorism. Whereas much has been done to put relevant controls in place, much remains to be done, she said, adding that the need to balance financial inclusion with financial integrity cannot be overemphasized. Hopefully, today’s meeting will encourage Member States to put measures in place to combat the financing of terrorism without stifling financial inclusion, she said.
JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, and Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, paying tribute to forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria that have fought Da’esh and taken back territory conquered in 2014. Nevertheless, the greatest error is to believe that the fight against terrorism has been defeated once territorial claims have been annihilated, he warned. Noting that Governments are primarily responsible for ensuring the security of their citizens and must always anticipate changing threats and adapt their responses accordingly, the international community must tackle evil at the root and isolate terrorists by drying up their sources of financing, he said, noting the latter’s great capacity to adapt. Indeed, terrorists have learned how to exploit new technologies and transform their resources, he said, emphasizing that, while the challenge is great, “our determination must be equally great”. That objective led the Government of France to organize the “No Money for Terror” Conference in Paris in April 2018, and to promote the adoption of an ambitious agenda to combat the financing of terrorism.
Overall, the adoption of the resolution 2462 (2019) is a strong political act, he said, adding that, while not an end in and of itself, it is the beginning of the implementation period. Given the continuing threat of terrorism, the international community must build the biggest partnership possible, bringing many parties together in response to the challenge. He appealed to Member States to commit themselves to implementing all aspects of the resolution and to help countries requiring assistance in the fight. He went on to launch an appeal to the United Nations, specifically the Office of Counter-Terrorism and CTED, to develop their capacities to combat terrorist financing. They have the full support of France because their help is needed now more than ever, he said, appealing also to the private sector’s assistance. He concluded by welcoming the resolution’s balance between the objectives of the fight against terrorism financing and the need for humanitarian actors to carry out their missions without impediment.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMMAD FACHIR, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, emphasized the need to close the implementation gap affecting international instruments on preventing and combating the financing of terrorism. “There is a clear indication that terrorist financing is shifting towards high-tech cyberactivities, including sophisticated online transactions,” he said, stressing that the fight against terrorism financing must take place within a strengthened international cooperation and coordination framework. “We have no other options,” he said, calling for enhanced exchanges of information and best practices. Technical assistance and adequate resources for capacity-building are essential, he added. Noting that Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and Thailand are working to analyse the threat, vulnerability and impact of terrorism financing in the Asia‑Pacific region, he said that, at the domestic level, Indonesia is strengthening coordination among relevant agencies, including with the private sector. He stressed the need to not “only trace terrorist money, but also prevent the creation of terror money”.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said it is as important as ever to work together to deny resources, not only to Da’esh, but also to far-right extremists. Terrorists across the world can carry out horrific attacks using small amounts of money, he noted, strongly urging all States to implement comprehensive international standards on combating money‑laundering and terrorist financing. Emphasizing the importance of sharing information, implementation, prosecution, as well as balancing financial inclusion and financial integrity, he called attention to measures undertaken by the United Kingdom, including strong public-private partnerships which, for example, made it possible to quickly identify the perpetrators of the 3 June 2017 attack on London Bridge. A whole-of-society approach to combating terrorism is key, he said, emphasizing, however, that, while today’s resolution is an excellent step, it must be effectively implemented by all Member States.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said that early responses to the first symptoms of radicalization in society is the key to preventing extremist and terrorist threats. Since timely detection is vital, countries must ensure that policymakers, financial intelligence units and law enforcement authorities have effective mechanisms of cooperation in place. However, tracing suspicious transactions by terrorist groups remains a challenge, she said, noting that responses to changing terrorism financing tactics and new threats will be better tailored when competent authorities and the private sector undertake greater cooperation and sharing of information. Recalling that her country introduced new national provisions to facilitate more effective application of asset-freezing mechanisms in 2018, she said that Security Council resolutions and Financial Action Task Force standards constitute a tangible universal framework.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) emphasized the importance of decisive action by the United Nations through the adoption of relevant resolutions and the creation of binding legal rules as international terms of reference. Moreover, they should oblige Member States to take measures aimed at preventing and combating the financing of terrorism, while refraining from direct or tacit support of entities that support terrorist acts. Noting that the threat of terrorism persists despite anti-terrorism successes, he said resolution 2462 (2019) reflects the will of Member States to pave the way towards the defeat of the heinous scourge affecting millions of people. Calling for regional and international cooperation, he also emphasized the value of coordination among United Nations agencies, Member States and regional organizations through capacity-building and the sharing of information. At the same time, he welcomed efforts by the Financial Action Task Force to develop risk indicators related to the financing of terrorism. Kuwait, for its part, adopted an anti-money‑laundering law that obliges financial institutions to report suspicious transactions and implement controls, he said.
JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany) said the fight against terrorism cannot succeed without effectively cutting the financial bloodline that keeps the terrorist threat alive. Noting that the fight is not only a matter of military force, police work and prevention, he emphasized the need to find the marks left by terrorists and trace their steps to their homes. “The money trail helps us to do so,” he said, noting that the resolution just adopted addresses such loopholes as use of the hawala system, cash couriers and prepaid phones for criminal purposes. The European Union has taken some measures, he said, citing the establishment of two sanctions regimes — one against terrorist groups in general and the other against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaida. The bloc also constantly reviews and improves its own anti-money-laundering and anti‑terrorist-financing regimes, he said. Responding to concerns expressed by humanitarian organizations, he stressed that today’s resolution does not erect barriers against humanitarian assistance by restricting aid workers’ access to funds in conflict regions.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that groups such as ISIL and Al-Qaida have clearly demonstrated that the level of terrorist activity is directly linked to financial capabilities. Identifying the channels of terrorist financing involves careful assessment of risk, he said, calling upon all States to actively get involved in the work of the Financial Action Task Force. Noting that it has become fashionable within the United Nations to talk about preventing terrorism through “soft power”, he emphasized that it cannot replace the role of criminal justice, explaining that not every criminal can be rehabilitated. Anyone involved in terrorism, including its financiers, must be brought to justice, he stressed, adding that ignoring that commitment contravenes several Council resolutions, including the one adopted today. He went on to emphasize that the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons is a serious crime that must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said that today’s resolution brings together a raft of international anti-terrorist conventions in a transparent manner that also bridges gaps created by the rapid development of electronic financing methods. He went on to express concern over the growing use of human smuggling, sexual exploitation and wildlife trafficking for terrorist purposes, noting that the latter generates considerable proceeds for such groups as Boko Haram. States must develop the legal foundations to criminalize the financing of terrorism and to establish effective financial intelligence services, he said, noting the efforts of the Task Force in that regard. He also underlined that no measures should impede the work of humanitarian organizations, recalling that the fundamental principles of their neutrality and impartiality were set out 70 years ago through the Geneva Conventions.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea) expressed concern over the growth of terrorist groups in Central Africa, including Boko Haram and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as well as the potential transit of foreign terrorist fighters. Central Africa is also vulnerable to money‑laundering and terrorist financing, he said, calling attention to measures taken by States in the region to address that problem. With the spectrum of terrorist financing now including the abuse of non‑profit organizations and the illicit exploitation of natural resources, among other sources, it is important to coordinate international efforts with those at the regional and national levels, he said, emphasizing that terrorism can only be defeated through a sustained and comprehensive focus that also takes international law into account.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) welcomed resolution 2462 (2019) as an additional tool to counter terrorism-financing activities, saying that his country’s Government is pleased to be a co-sponsor. Domestically, the Dominican Republic is working on a plan of action to combat terrorism financing and has adopted an anti-money-laundering law, he said. He went on to emphasize the importance of internal efforts by States to attain the standards set forth in the text, which is imperative for its effectiveness. At the same time, he called upon Member States to recognize the work of non-governmental organizations and to intensify efforts to ensure that measures implemented to suppress the financing of terrorism will not have a negative effect on their work.
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire) said that, despite remarkable progress, the world is still under a threat that is constantly adapting and thus creating new challenges. Noting that terrorist groups continue to access resources to carry out their destabilizing activities, he said the international community must address the root causes of this problem, dry up all sources of terrorism financing and collectively look at normative frameworks. The United Nations has a major role to play in promoting international cooperation in that regard, he added. Countries must stand together to promote multilayered cooperation and share information and best practices, paying particular attention to customs services and monitoring at borders, he said, stressing that States must also strengthen legal frameworks by criminalizing the financing of terrorism and integrating United Nations sanctions.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said that, by dealing with sources of terrorism financing, the adoption of resolution 2462 (2019) gives fresh political life to the struggle against terrorists. He welcomed aspects of the text that deal with financial institutions and abuse of legitimate businesses and organizations, and reiterated the concern expressed in the resolution over the link between terrorists and organized crime, calling upon the international community to take a closer look at the nexus of that phenomenon. At the same time, the resolution’s call for strengthening inter-institutional cooperation is very relevant, he said, stressing the need for international support for strengthening national capacities. In that regard, he underlined the role of CTED. He went on to underline that, in fighting terrorism financing, States must consider the impact of their actions on humanitarian assistance.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) noted that today’s resolution obliges Member States to criminalize terrorist financing even in the absence of a terrorist act, adding that Member States must implement it in a manner consistent with their obligations under international law. They must also coordinate risk‑mitigation efforts and ensure that humanitarian assistance goes to those in need without benefitting terrorists responsible for their plight. The financing of groups such as Hizbullah, with its long history of destabilizing activities, must be disrupted, he emphasized, saying the group is using an increasingly sophisticated array of tools and methods to finance activities that cannot be tackled in isolation. He said everyone must recognize Hizbullah and others for what they are — a global threat to security.
MA ZHAOXU (China), describing terrorism as “the common enemy of mankind”, said that eliminating terrorist financing requires deeper international cooperation, as well as effective implementation of United Nations resolutions and Financial Action Task Force standards. States must abide strictly by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, maximize the role of the Organization, and put integrated policies in place while promoting sustainable development, he said. Technical assistance and capacity-building should be strengthened, he added, calling for special attention to regulating the Internet in order to prevent its use by terrorists for financing purposes, he added.
NOSIVIWE NOLUTHANDO MAPISA-NQAKULA, Minister for Defence and Military Veterans of South Africa said that, as a State on a continent affected by terrorism, her country recognizes the importance of curbing methods of financing that sustain terrorist organizations and the horrific violence they commit, including against peacekeepers. “We know full well that, unchecked, this threat has the potential to derail our collective efforts to bring about peace, security and sustainable development on the continent,” she added. Noting that the African Union has developed a wide-ranging policy framework, legal instruments and programmes to deal with the terrorism threat, she said that, South Africa, for its own part, remains engaged in the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the Financial Action Task Force Global Standards on Countering the Financing of Terrorism. She also emphasized the importance of sharing information, as well as promoting private-public partnerships and technical assistance.
SIRODJIDDIN MUHRIDDIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, said that his Government approved the national action plan for 2018 to 2025 to counter money-laundering and financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Following Financial Action Task Force guidelines on national risk assessments, the Government also conducted a similar assessment between April 2015 and September 2017. According to the assessment, the methods of money‑laundering have become more sophisticated and the volume of terrorist financing has increased. Tajikistan shares a long border with Afghanistan, and its security largely depends on the situation in the neighbouring country, where terrorist groups including Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) are intensifying activities. Tajikistan has taken measures to implement Council resolution 2178 (2014), including the adoption of the national strategy 2016‑2020 to counter extremism and terrorism. His country will host a high-level conference on 16 and 17 May, focusing international and regional cooperation on countering terrorism and its financing through illicit drug trafficking and organized crime.
TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR., Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said money is the lifeblood of terrorism. In the Philippines, the financing of terrorism is a complex web of illicit flows, money‑laundering, transnational organized crime, especially the drug trade, and the occasional remittance sent by overseas Filipinos. The Government is tightening its legal and regulatory framework, focusing on remittances, as they remain a crucial driver of the economy. Remittance agencies have been used as a channel for terrorist financing. With remittances accounting for 9.8 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), restricting their flow has “touched off a cultural nerve of resistance”, he said. Noting also the symbiotic relationship between terrorism and the illegal drug trade, he said that terrorists, equipped with money, have been able to gather a motley assortment of well-armed extremists, criminals, mercenaries and foreign terrorist fighters. The Government is focused on protecting the law-abiding from the lawless. The President has made an iron, unwavering and total commitment, he said, also adding: “It won’t be pretty, but we will get them.”
TEODOR-VIOREL MELEŞCANU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, said that, despite increased efforts by the international community, responses have not been adapted to match the evolving working methods of terrorist organizations, which have shown that they can secure financial resources and carry out attacks with low-level financing that still have a significant impact in terms of lives. For its part, Romania has undertaken national measures to protect its citizens in a manner that is in line with its international obligations and human rights law. In addition, it criminalized the financing of terrorism in 2002 and supports the development of programmes aimed at protecting the financial system against illegal use. His Government also continues its cooperation with the European Union to deepen its approach to combating terrorism and seeks to improve and update its information on sources and methods used by terrorist groups.
JÜRI LUIK, Minister for Defence of Estonia, said that the fight against terrorism financing starts at the national level. “Only States themselves can ensure that their national counter-terrorism and anti-money-laundering legislation has been successfully established and enforced,” he added. Effective counter‑terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives. International cooperation, exchange of information and development of data interoperability are key. Focusing on the implementation of counter-terrorism financing legislation in Estonia, the Government joined the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism (1999). It also supports all United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Council of Europe and European Union initiatives to combat terrorism. Terrorism financing is a dynamic and continuously evolving threat that requires vigilance and constant attention. In February, the Parliament passed the new International Sanctions Act which will further support its entrepreneurs’ compliance with the 2018 counter-terrorism strategy.
LASHA DARSALIA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, associating himself with the European Union, said that the potential threats in his country are not exclusive and are similar to the most visible trends evolving in the world. Georgia’s concerns are related to persons connected with international terrorism in various forms, he added, underscoring that the Government regularly accesses and identifies the major challenges and takes specific steps to deal with them. The country’s occupied territories continue to represent a major challenge for the Government in its efforts to combat terrorism. “There is a danger that the occupied territories could be used for illegal activities such as trafficking and trade in arms and components of weapons of mass destruction, which can be used for terrorist purposes that threaten security in the entire region,” he said. In the absence of an international presence in Georgia’s occupied territories, it has become virtually impossible to conduct any type of verification activities on the ground. In recent years, Georgia has amended its criminal legislation in relation to terrorism financing and adjusted its legislative framework for application of targeted financial sanctions.
SIMONA LESKOVAR, State Secretary and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said new technologies create new ways for terrorists to collect and disperse funds for their activities. Every Member State must adopt and implement legislation to combat the financing of terrorism in partnership with the private sector. Summarizing the measures taken by her country in recent years, she highlighted the strong emphasis on education, with the Ministry of Financing organizing training courses for the banking sector, insurance companies, brokerages and foreign exchange offices. Slovenia also devotes special attention to the Western Balkans where the connection between terrorism and organized crime is well-established, she added.
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said that recent events in New Zealand are a painful reminder that the international community’s protective systems must continue to be flexible and evolve to address ever-changing threats. Like criminals, terrorists constantly adapt how and where they move their funds to circumvent safeguards that countries have put in place. The evolution of financial payment systems provides even more alternatives for terrorists and their supporters to finance their attacks. Partnerships at all levels are critical to respond effectively to evolving threats, she said. Increasingly, direct engagement between the public and private sector is augmenting the intelligence and risk picture. In hosting the second “No Money for Terror” conference in November, Australia reinforces its commitment to starving terrorists of the funds needed to carry out their senseless attacks.
AMMAR ALARSAN (Syria) said the fight against terrorism depends on the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, stressing the text adopted today focuses exclusively on preventing terrorist financing by groups designated by the 15-nation organ as terrorist organizations. He categorically rejected a politicized assessment presented by the Financial Action Task Force, stressing that his Government implemented action plans recommended by the Task Force in addressing any shortcomings in countering money‑laundering and terrorist financing at the technical level. He then invited Task Force members to visit his country to see full implementation. Expressing concern that some Governments are funding armed groups designated by the Council, he said that such actions contribute to fuelling extremism and terrorism. The United Nations has sufficient instruments to tackle terrorism, but lacks a mechanism to hold those Governments accountable. Among those countries is Qatar, which violated publicly Security Council resolutions by providing $1 billion in cash to terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq in the form of ransom to release foreign abductees. Qatar has become a United Nations partner in counter-terrorism because it donated a few million dollars to the Organization, he said, questioning the neutrality of the United Nations.
OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said that innocent civilians continue to be attacked by terrorists, whose cruelty triggers a wave of international insecurity. Terrorism represents a major threat to all States alike. For Guatemala, the links between transnational crime and terrorism is of particular concern. He welcomed the coordinated efforts of the Office of Counter-Terrorism and urged an alignment of that Office with UNODC. He called on the Security Council and the international community to monitor and curb the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons. He also urged for the full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), which urges States to avoid providing any type of support to non-State actors seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. “Our position is that no one can hide behind an ideology” to commit acts of sheer contempt of humanity, he added.
PAUL TEHOE, Minister for Defence of Ireland, said the financing of terrorism is a complex and evolving phenomenon. Money‑launderers exploit complicated financial structures to mask their funding sources and avoid punitive sanctions regimes. Given the borderless nature of the threat, multilateral engagement and collaboration are critical to effectively counter the financing of global terrorism. The United Nations has a central role to play in leading the coordinated and inclusive response of Member States to the financing of terrorism, he said, calling for a concerted effort to increase the visibility of the Organization’s counter-terrorism activities. As a candidate for the 2021‑2022 term of the Council, Ireland believes the organ has a central role in preventing and countering the financing of terrorism. Welcoming resolution 2462 (2019), he said the adopted text represents another important step in that evolving fight.
MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that the financing of terrorism can be carried out with the most sophisticated modalities, through the misuse of modern technologies. Therefore, detecting and countering such conducts has become a complex task, which requires the utmost commitment of national and international authorities. Even minor and “low‑budget” crimes can leave financial traces that can be usefully exploited to comprehend a terrorist environment better. The analysis and recommendations of Financial Action Task Force are of critical importance. Italy is doing its part, at the national and international levels, to counter terrorism financing by actively implementing United Nations measures and recommendations. Italy’s Counter-Terrorism Prosecution Office works in accordance with a comprehensive protocol that includes pre-investigative and systematic exchange of information with the financial intelligence units. She also underscored the balance between security actions and the protection of fundamental rights and dignity of all persons.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said her country has been victimized by terrorism sponsored by external stakeholders. This only reinforced its will to fight against terrorism. Pakistan has adopted a multifaceted national counter-terrorism strategy, a 20-point plan, including prevention and countering of terrorist financing. As a result of various measures, terrorist incidents are at a record low in the country, she stressed. Her country is largely a cash-based economy, which makes it difficult to implement Task Force recommendations. However, attention has been paid to non-profit organizations to ensure that no funds in their hands are at risk of being diverted to terrorists. This led to a seven-fold increase in arrests. Foreign occupation of sovereign territory, such as Jammu and Kashmir and Palestinian land, is “State terrorism”, she said, warning also against Islamophobia fanned by extremist groups.
ROBERT MARDINI of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), expressed concern over the increased impact that counter-terrorism measures have on impartial humanitarian action. “We understand the legitimate concerns of States and their need to take measures necessary to ensure security,” he said, also adding: “But certain measures, most notably counter-terrorism legislation and sanctions, can criminalize and restrict humanitarian action.” At stake is the ability to cross front lines to deliver humanitarian assistance for communities living in areas controlled by armed groups. Counter-terrorism measures can negatively impact the ability to visit persons being detained on “the other side”, to recover dead bodies and facilitate the exchange of detainees. The international community must strike the right balance between the legitimate concerns of States and the importance of impartial humanitarian action. “The next step is to ‘walk the talk’,” he said, encouraging States to engage with humanitarian organizations to find concrete solutions.
YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) said his country will be hosting several major sporting events in the coming years and will take every measure to counter any potential terrorist threat. Domestically, Japan is cooperating with the private sector and establishing a public-private dialogue with banks and firms dealing with financial activities. Japan has also set up guidelines and rules and regulations which the banking sector is obligated to follow. Globally, in partnership with the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force, Japan has introduced a registration system to link any individual with any account used in the exchange of crypto‑assets. It is crucial to further strengthen the sharing of information among States to keep up with the evolving technology and the expansion of areas in the which terrorists operate, he stressed.
GUILLERMO FERNANDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia) said that the resolution adopted today is crucial and useful. His Government is taking measures to strengthen domestic mechanisms to tackle the financing of terrorism. The fight against it must target not only terrorist groups, but also their money. To overcome these challenges, his country has taken measures to increase human and technical capacity of police and judicial architecture and update its legislation. Colombia has been assessed by the IMF Financial Action Task Force four times, which attested to the country’s compliance. Organized crime poisons institutions, distorts the function of the economy and deters investments. It is an enemy of law and entrepreneurship.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon) said “terrorism has become the defining security challenge of today”, stressing that “it is a global disease that requires global remedies”. One key factor is to counter financing of terrorists. Lebanon contributed to military success in defeating ISIL and disrupting financing networks. Lebanon has acceded to the 1999 Convention on suppressing terrorist financing. Outlining numerous measures taken by her Government, including capacity-building, she stressed the importance of international cooperation as the transnational threat cannot be defeated by a single State.
MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt) said combating the financing of terrorism requires a fight against all terrorist organizations without any distinctions. “The same ideology unites all these terrorist organizations no matter what they may be called,” he said. To combat their financing, it is necessary to firmly and seriously tackle terrorism organizations that use non-governmental organizations and charity and relief organizations as a façade to collect funds. Terrorist groups are increasingly making use of cryptocurrency, he said, calling on UNODC to redouble their efforts to provide assistance to countries to strengthen their capacity to combat the financing of terrorism through these new technologies. At the national level, Egypt has ratified most international and regional conventions on this subject. It has also created a unit to combat the financing of terrorism and money‑laundering and has established mechanisms to implement Council resolutions and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. His nation is taking preventive measures, by warning the public of the dangers of cryptocurrencies, distributing a list of widely used cryptocurrency websites and producing a guide to help banks evaluate the risks of money-laundering. The Council must hold accountable those countries that do not implement its resolutions on financing of terrorism, he added.
JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union Delegation, said it is important to improve transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, as criminals are known to exploit opaque structures to hide their sources of funding. The bloc has strengthened the anti-money-laundering directive, criminalized terrorism financing and developed a new asset-freezing regime against Al-Qaida and ISIL. It is in the process of adopting legislation to ensure the access of law enforcement authorities to bank account information in specific cases of serious crime, as well as enhanced cooperation between law enforcement and financial intelligence units. In Europe, terrorist attacks by small cells and actors have been carried out with very little funding. This is why there is a need to bridge the intelligence gap and improve the use of financial information in counter-terrorism investigations. The bloc therefore supports efforts accelerating the timely exchange of financial intelligence as reflected in the resolution adopted today.
JÜRG LAUBER (Switzerland), emphasizing the need for serious commitment on the part of all States in that the fight against terrorist financing, said that the strength of multilateral organizations is in the system of mutual evaluation based on common, precise and transparent assessment and monitoring methodologies. “In this respect, we need to be careful not to duplicate these evaluations, but make them complementary, share their results and ensure follow-up,” he added. He noted that, although the laws against terrorism and terrorist financing are vital, they do not address the root causes behind terrorism, such as poverty, weak governance, corruption and inequality. “That is why efforts to combat terrorism must be upstream and focus on preventing violent extremism and radicalization conducive to terrorism,” he said. Switzerland calls on the international community to ensure that counter-terrorism measures are as targeted as possible and in accordance with international law, he said, expressing regret that today’s resolution is not more explicit about those aspects.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) stressed that there must be good governance. Given the cross-sectoral nature of terrorism financing, Singapore adopted a whole‑of‑government approach to put in place a strong legal, institutional, policy and supervisory framework. In February, Singapore’s Parliament passed the Precious Stones and Precious Metals Act to curb money‑laundering and terrorism financing risks from those sectors. “National efforts cannot be driven by Government alone,” he added. Governments must engage the industry and private sector to be aware of the practical challenges on the ground. This builds a deeper sense of trust and shared ownership. Singapore’s Anti-Money‑Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Industry Partnership brings together Government and private sector stakeholders to identify, assess and mitigate emerging money‑laundering risks. “Given the global nature of the terrorist link, the international community is only as strong as its weakest link,” he said. Singapore maintains close working relationships with various enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Financial Action Task Force has also been contributing to the fight against terrorism and terrorism financing.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said that, while many Council resolutions call for regular reporting on the implementation of sanctions, a cursory look at the publicly available information reveals that the implementation reports have not been updated for more than a decade. Now is the time to reiterate the need to address this shortcoming. Pointing out that no effective action has been taken on reported instances of non-compliance with sanctions measures, he said the Council must do a better job at overseeing implementation of its resolutions going forward. He called for greater cooperation between the Financial Action Task Force and the various relevant United Nations entities, including the Office of Counter‑Terrorism. He went on to state that terrorists will be ever more creative in finding ways to violate the rulebook and States that support them will continue to justify their inaction, as was done by a serial offender earlier today.
GEORG HELMUT ERNST SPARBER (Liechtenstein) expressed concern over the growing link among terrorism, human trafficking and modern slavery, explaining that both human trafficking and other slavery-related crimes are increasingly employed as a terrorist tactic and as a fundraising instrument for terrorist groups. His Government launched, together with Australia and the United Nations University, a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking to directly address the appeal by the Security Council for States and the financial sector to collaborate in the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking. Actors from retail banks, hedge funds, global regulators, institutional investors, survivors, United Nations and anti-slavery movements are brought together in this initiative to elaborate actionable measures.
MONA JUUL (Norway), speaking also on behalf of the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden), noted that networks such as ISIL and Al-Qaida continue to rely on external funding. To identify and stop illicit financial flows to terrorist organizations and criminal networks, the international community must disrupt the link between organized crime and terrorism, she said. “To reach this end, we believe in combining measures targeted at proceeds of crime and measures targeting financial flows to terrorists.” International cooperation is crucial, she said, stressing that all countries must implement the relevant Security Council resolutions and use regional instruments and other legal mechanisms to exchange information, provide mutual legal assistance and form joint investigation teams. When evidence of value to another country is uncovered, it should be speedily shared, she stressed. Financial intelligence units must have the capacity to analyse information, recognize and uncover trends and share information across borders, she said, adding that it is also important to improve partnerships with civil society and the private sector.
EMMANUEL ROUX, Special Representative of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to the United Nations, said that the resolution adopted today refers to tools and know-how made available by his organization to Member States, including databases. Tracing the financing mechanism of criminal organizations is a pillar of INTERPOL’s work. Upon request, Member States will have direct access to the organization’s databases, including one that lists lost or stolen travel documents. INTERPOL also issues special notices for sanctions regimes, helping those entities to implement travel bans and asset seizures.
SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that any act of terrorism is an egregious violation of international law. Such acts jeopardize territorial integrity and the stability of States and undermine legitimately elected Governments. There is a need to address the root causes of terrorism. Lessons of the past show that terrorism is fuelled in environments which lack opportunity and where poverty runs rampant. Colonial occupation and violations of sovereignty are also elements that drive terrorism and violent extremism. States must refrain from organizing or instigating terrorist acts in other nations. They must also prevent the financing of such acts and refrain from encouraging activities within their borders that could be used against other States. He reiterated the obligation of the international community to criminalize the funding of terrorism, underscoring the links between transnational crimes and financing of terrorism.
In his national capacity, he said his country is a victim of terrorism and flagrant violations of Security Council resolutions. In 2018, there was even an assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro. Terrorist acts against Venezuela are planned, instigated and financed with resources stolen from this land. Terrorist acts against Venezuela are backed by other countries, he continued, urging the Council to insist that its resolutions are implemented “to the letter”.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) stressed the importance of concerted efforts as part of international and regional arrangements to tackle the sources of terrorist financing, including online gambling and human trafficking. Her Government supported a study by CTED on the link between terrorism and human trafficking. Qatar is part of the international coalition against ISIL in support of the Syrian people. Her Government has joined international instruments, including the 1999 Convention, and has stepped up bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Indeed, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations, the first of its kind in her region. Her Government has contributed $75 million to the Office of Counter Terrorism to support its mandate over the next five years. Qatar enacted various counter-terrorism related laws, which serve as a model to follow.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said that, regrettably, the scourge of terrorism has become almost commonplace in today’s world, causing constant fear and indiscriminate harm, often to the most vulnerable members of the human family. It must therefore be condemned and fought in all forms and manifestations, with all those who abet violence or shelter members of terrorist groups held accountable before a court of law. To that end, all relevant Council resolutions, as well as recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, must be carefully implemented to “follow the money” and prevent profits of money‑laundering, human trafficking and the sale of weapons from being used for terrorist purposes. He stressed the importance of breaking the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime by disrupting cybercapabilities. Further noting that legitimate humanitarian activities by charitable organizations, including faith-based ones, help prevent terrorism, the Council must therefore ensure that counter-terrorism measures do not limit or inhibit non-governmental organizations in that domain, including emergency relief to refugees and medical services.
NUNO VAULTIER MATHIAS (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, underscored the steps taken today to bolster international action through the adoption of today’s resolution. Portugal has in place a robust and effective system to combat terrorism financing. It cooperates productively in investigative work, and has adopted all international legal instruments on countering terrorism. Terrorism is a serious and complex threat that deserves international cooperation and solidarity. To end terrorism and its financing, all countries must work together in an environment of bolstered collaboration.
NOA FURMAN (Israel) said it is essential to cut off the financial lifeline for terror and shut down its financiers. Her region has witnessed the destabilizing and destructive role of terror financing. “Hamas uses and abuses charitable organizations and humanitarian aid to fund its terror,” she added. When it comes to Iran’s regime, “it would take an entire day” to outline how the number one State sponsor of terrorism uses sophisticated methods and evades sanctions regimes to finance terrorism. Israel is taking active and proactive steps to combat the unrelenting terror threats it faces and the flow of funding that sustains them. In 2016, Israel enacted an innovative and comprehensive new anti-terrorism law that adopts a holistic approach to fighting terrorism using legal tools. A new law criminalizes the circles of influence that provide material and other support to terrorists and terrorist acts. She noted that, according to the Financial Action Task Force, Israel has the highest ratings in the areas of combating terror financing and the effective use of financial intelligence. The global community must work to address the threat of countries and entities that have the ability to collect funds and provide them to terrorist organizations and to abuse charitable organizations. The smuggling of funds, goods and valuables through border crossings must also be addressed.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, said that white supremacy and Islamophobia are grave threats to international peace and security. Terror and extreme violence cannot be handled in the same way that conventional threats have been handled in the past. “That is, solely through traditional military means,” she added, emphasizing the need to take a holistic approach that involves education and engagement with civil society. “We can all agree that any work in this regard must understand and address the causes of terrorism, and properly acknowledge the importance of protecting human rights,” she added. Applying a human rights lens to anti-terror strategies will ultimately make the different between a quick win and an enduring one. Through forums like the Council, and the United Nations more broadly, the international community must work on innovative and comprehensive strategies that will lead to the elimination of all types of violent extremism. Terrorists and terrorist organizations, and those who support them, are adaptable and opportunistic. They exploit weaknesses and loopholes in the legal and regulatory regimes while making full use of new trends and technologies to support their operations, she warned.
MOHAMMED ATLASSI (Morocco) said that terrorists are constantly updating their methods of securing funding. ISIL has recruited foreign terrorist fighters into Syria from more than 100 countries. They exploit banks and conduct illicit sales of cultural goods and natural resources such as oil. They kidnap peoples to obtain ransom. To hold back financing of terrorism, cooperation at the national, subregional, regional and international levels is key. Security Council resolutions and the establishment of sanctions regimes have had an undeniable positive impact in cutting the sources of terrorist financing. But much remains to be done, including capacity-building, he said, urging CTED to conduct country visits to identify gaps. For its part, Morocco has produced a national report on the actions undertaken, he said, welcoming today’s adoption of a new resolution aimed at closing loopholes.
KANAT TUMYSH (Kazakhstan) stressed the importance of effective implementation, including innovative measures to identify, track and take action against unregulated money‑transfer services and financial flows. Efforts should include capacity-building, including teaching prosecutors how to win money-laundering cases. Charities, underground banking entities and registered money service businesses should be examined and there should be close interaction between financial intelligence units and law enforcement agencies, with measures to curb crowd-funding, cryptocurrency and gaming platforms widely used as camouflage. All Member States must enact legislation to make the financing of terrorism a crime and to fully comply with the United Nations sanctions regime.
ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba) said her country has been a victim of State-sponsored terrorism for decades. She condemned the harmful and illegal practice of financing, supporting and promoting acts that aim to topple the Governments of other States. She said the people of Venezuela are being held hostage in an unconventional war, while other countries take its electric and other resources hostage for political gain. The international community cannot sit idly while other States meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. This undermines the central authority of the United Nations. Cuba reiterated its commitment to continue to cooperate with the United Nations to combat terrorism. For its part, Cuba investigates and analyses reports of dubious transactions and has signed various cooperation agreements in the asset recovery network.
MOHAMED SUHAIMI AHMAD TAJUDDIN (Malaysia) described the escalating financing of terrorism in his country, which is due to the decentralization of Da’esh and foreign terrorist fighters. Noting that the primary source of such funding in Malaysia comes from legitimate financial flows — including income, savings, social security withdrawals, family support and public donations — he said the physical movement of cash to and from conflict zones often takes advantage of Malaysia’s porous borders. Foreign fighters based overseas also exploit that vulnerability to re‑enter the country illegally and undetected. In addition, he said, remittance operators and hawala have also been reported as preferred channels to move funds abroad. Despite those trends, Malaysia’s authorities have been containing the risks posed by terrorism and terrorism financing through a comprehensive regulatory framework, targeted preventive measures, focused enforcement action, public-private partnerships and both domestic and international cooperation.
DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam), underlining the importance of implementing the legal framework for countering terrorism financing as laid out in various Council resolutions, said the newly adopted text serves as a crucial gap filler and a timely response to remaining challenges. Viet Nam has gradually harmonized its own normative framework with those resolutions, including by criminalizing all acts of terrorism and its financing with serious penalties and enacting specific laws on anti-terrorism and anti-money‑laundering. Calling for consolidated action at all levels and through all channels, he noted that Viet Nam became a member of the Asia-Pacific Group on money‑laundering and implemented a national plan of action on money‑laundering prevention and control, and terrorism financing. Governments should also maintain effective collaboration with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, he stressed.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said his Government enacted the Money‑Laundering Prevention Act and Anti-terrorism Act respectively in 2002 and 2009, also establishing a Cabinet-level task force to strengthen the investigation and to coordinate activities on countering extremism, terrorism and terrorist financing. A counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit has been established within police authorities to deal with any form of cybercrime and transnational crime, such as counterfeiting currency, drug trafficking and smuggling of fire arms. In addition, a high-powered working group has been formed to coordinate efforts of intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
MOHAMMED HUSSEIN BAHR ALULOOM (Iraq) said that, despite military victory against ISIL by his country’s forces, with the support of the international coalition, more comprehensive measures must be taken. The new resolution adopted today represents such practical steps to prevent terrorism. Iraq is sparing no efforts in that regard. It is working with the Office of Counter-Terrorism and has launched important projects, including on countering terrorist financing. The Government is considering the appointment of a special adviser on these projects and adopted a national counter-terrorism strategy. His Government created a blacklist of institutions managed by ISIL and shared it with 70 countries in the coalition. It signed several memorandums of understanding with intelligence units and established a Cabinet-level committee to freeze funds and assets for designated individuals and entities.
AUDRA PLEPYTĖ (Lithuania) said the terrorism financing threat in her country is assessed as low, with only one financing-related conviction recorded. However, no State is immune from terrorist activity, and as a member of the European Union and NATO, Lithuania remains vigilant. She emphasized the potential for using cryptocurrency for terrorist financing, stating that although Bitcoin and other digital assets have not been used to fund recent terrorist attacks, there have been worrying attempts to use them to finance online terrorist infrastructure. Terrorists must be deterred from raising funds through social media and crowd‑funding networks, she said, adding that that is an excellent area for partnership with the private sector.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey) said the international community must “follow money if we are to effectively prevent and combat terrorism”. However, the nexus between financial and terrorist activities is becoming more complex and sophisticated with the emergence of new technologies and tools including cryptocurrencies. Noting that many terrorist organizations — including Da’esh, the PKK and its Syrian branch PYD/YPG — use conventional transaction methods, including the hawala remittance system, he said that organizations like the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, on the other hand, benefit from illegal monetary activities under the guise of legal entities. He cited Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), as well as the freezing of assets as effective in depriving individuals and entities of their financial capabilities and preventing them from using and abusing legal financial systems. Consistency should be the guiding principle for an effective anti-terrorism-financing system, he emphasized.
FATIMA MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer of the African Union, urged United Nations Member States to effectively deny terrorist groups any source of funding, including payment of ransom, as well as any form of military, logistical or political support. There is a need to understand that terrorists continue to adapt their methods to meet their needs. For instance, they use legitimate private and non-profit sectors to channel funding. The Union has played a critical role in raising international awareness about the danger posed by the payment of ransom to terrorist groups, first in 2009. Strengthening finance intelligence units remains a major component of the Union’s strategies to defeat terrorism. The establishment of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti‑Money‑Laundering Group reflects such efforts.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) stressed that terrorism has no religion, race or nationality. It occurs everywhere, as witnessed two weeks ago when 50 Muslims were viciously murdered and another 50 were wounded during Friday prayers in New Zealand. “Fighting terrorism requires a multipronged strategy,” she stressed, citing the need for efforts to stem the hatred that fuels the spread of extremist ideologies to individuals or to groups like Al-Qaida or Da’esh. In addition, it requires action to dismantle terrorist networks and support systems, whether online or offline, that allow terrorists to organize, as well as constant vigilance and monitoring of financial networks. Member States must tackle the abuse of financial institutions and non-profit organizations for terrorism financing purposes, she said, calling for strengthened legal frameworks and the resourcing of financial intelligence units with equipment, funds and training. It is also crucial to monitor financial transactions and charitable activities and non-profit actors, raise domestic awareness and implement laws to freeze terrorists’ funds in accordance with Council resolution 1373 (2001), she said.
MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia) reaffirmed his country’s commitment to tackling all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing, calling for effective implementation of legal instruments, including the 1999 Convention. Slovakia, the current Chair-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), organized a counter-terrorism conference earlier this week, he recalled, noting that the event brought together more than 300 high-level participants, including those from the participating 57 States and their partners, United Nations entities and other organizations.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) said that, among other measures, Brazil adopted legislation two weeks ago to facilitate the immediate implementation of Council resolutions concerning sanctions against those affiliated with terrorist organizations. Coupled with previous measures, it brought Brazil’s regulatory framework in line with Financial Action Task Force standards. He added that it is common sense that any action on counter-terrorism must abide by international law, and that, while financing enables terrorist acts, the root causes of terrorism must be addressed. Speech or any action inconsistent with respect for diversity, such as associating terrorism with specific cultures, religions or ethnic groups, must be addressed, he said.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain), calling for greater efforts to tackle the root causes behind the spreading of terrorist ideology, emphasized the need for specific initiatives to track the financing of terrorism. Iran continues to support terrorism in the Middle East, he added. Outlining his country’s wide‑ranging expertise in counter-terrorism, he stressed its willingness to share its experiences with friendly countries. “We need to end all sources of financing for these terrorist groups,” he said, citing national laws designed for that purpose, as well as regional efforts, ranging from the implementation of sanctions, to a joint action plan to dry up terrorist financing, to convening workshops on countering terrorism and extremism, while bolstering private sector engagement.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, said that terrorist financing now includes such legitimate sources as non-profit groups, adding that terrorism relies on innovations in financial products, technologies and services. Among necessary responses, States must build up their capacity to track the activities and financing of terrorists, address their use of social media platforms and ensure effective international cooperation and mutual assistance in law enforcement, he said. Expressing regret that some States refuse to comply with their obligations to suppress terrorism, he recalled the blatant aggression launched against Ukraine in 2014, pointing out that reports by United Nations agencies reveal an influx of military assets from the Russian Federation into Ukrainian territory. In Crimea, meanwhile, the occupation authorities levy false accusations of terrorist activity — including allegations of Islamic extremism against ethnic Crimean Tatars — in contravention of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, he said, underlining the need to tackle not only individuals and organizations, but also States that sponsor terrorism.
LISE GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands) cautioned that Member States wavering in their commitments under international law would only play into the hands of terrorists. “We have to ensure, through fair risk assessment, that non‑governmental organizations can continue to operate in a free space,” she said, calling on the Council to take that into consideration when it reviews implementation of today’s resolution in a year’s time. She encouraged the United Nations and Member States to join forces with the private sector and emphasized the importance of coordination among the Organization, Financial Action Task Force, Global Counterterrorism Forum, Egmont Group and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to “stay ahead of the curve”.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) said that combating the financing of terrorism requires genuine political will among all States, as well as efficient international standards. The fact that Da’esh and Al-Nusra Front in Syria are receiving funds demonstrates that the existing standards are not working, he noted. Unless the countries that fail to implement those standards are held accountable, they will be emboldened to continue financing terrorists, he emphasized, declaring: “Indeed, counter-terrorism activities are effective only when double standards and selective approaches are avoided and all States cooperate fully and responsibly.” Ironically, those that designate State sponsors of terrorism are the same ones who create terrorist groups and provide safe haven for them, he added. Describing foreign invasion and occupation as the main factors in fostering conditions suitable to terrorism, he warned that, left unchecked, terrorists and occupiers will evolve into a coalition, as seen in Syria, where Israel is supporting terrorists in different ways.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said the prevention of terrorism is equally important as combating it. Citing the need to address such important elements as financing, corruption, religious and ethnic intolerance, and widening income gaps between and within nations, he said Ecuador has taken various preventive measures, including expressly criminalizing terrorism and its financing, as well as money‑laundering. The activities of organized criminal networks also continue to harm countless people, he stressed, noting those groups’ impacts on his country. Spotlighting the links between terrorism financing and corruption, he said the latter also jeopardizes the development of countries and populations around the globe.
ADELA RAZ (Afghanistan) described her country’s counter-terrorism approach as a comprehensive one conducted both on and off the battlefield. As a prime victim of terrorism, Afghanistan confronts those both foreign and domestic terrorist groups militarily, as well as through strengthened national laws. National efforts are under way to disrupt the link between terrorism and organized crime, including through Afghanistan’s long-standing fight against the production of narcotics, she said, citing the ties linking the drug producers to the Taliban and affiliated groups. In 2018 alone, some 3,000 counter-narcotics operations were conducted, she recalled, noting that thousands of individuals, including foreign nationals, were apprehended and prosecuted. Additional measures include improving security at national airports and border crossings to detect, deter and prevent trafficking. Citing the notable decrease in drug production as a result of those efforts, she went on to outline Afghanistan’s contribution to various regional counter-terrorism efforts and its potential imposition of sanctions on wealthy sponsors providing financial contributions to the Taliban.
JOSEPH MASILA (Kenya) said his country, like others, has suffered the horrors of terrorism, stemming from the regional threat posed by Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaida affiliate. Kenya’s response includes enhancing domestic capabilities and embracing deeper international cooperation. Citing examples of how Al-Shabaab continued to seize territory and tap into humanitarian aid in Somalia by extorting “taxes” as part of financing their activities, he said the United Nations must find a way to systematically deal with this paradoxical situation. For its part, Kenya has enacted various laws to stem money laundering and operates the Financial Reporting Centre, which coordinates with law enforcement to prevent and combat related crimes. Yet, international cooperation is key in this fight, he said, adding that the full implementation of the newly adopted resolution will reinforce existing measures to curb the financing of terrorism.
SAMI BOUGACHA (Tunisia) said ISIL/Da’esh and other terrorist groups continue to evolve their financing strategies, now relying on donations, blackmail, technological innovations and the proceeds of transnational organized crime. During the Arria formula meeting held on 31 January, Tunisia emphasized the need to pay more attention to the financing of terrorism and called for enhanced support to States in building that capacity. However, such efforts should not distract from the need to tackle terrorism’s root causes through preventive measures. Outlining the work of Tunisia’s National Counterterrorism Committee — including its freezing of the assets of groups with links to terrorism — he said several charities were identified and put on national transparency lists. Meanwhile, Tunisia attaches great importance to international counter-terrorism and supports the work of CTED.
ABDALLAH YAHYA A. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia), recalling recent terrorist attacks, said the crime in New Zealand demonstrates that terrorism can be funded with small and large amounts of money. Terrorism does not belong to any religion or nationality, but comes instead from hatred and the denial of others. Having suffered from terrorism, Saudi Arabia has fought against Da’esh, Hizbullah and other such groups, joined all relevant conventions and participated in activities to combat the new wave of Internet recruitment by terrorist groups. Other efforts include combating the spread of extremism, including by partnering with countries. Going forward, a sanctions committee targeting these and other terrorist groups should take action to combat their financing activities. Noting that the occupation of the territory paves the way to terrorism, he said this issue must be addressed.
JASSIM SAYAR A. J. AL-MAAWDA (Qatar) took the floor a second time, saying Syria’s representative had accused his Government of financing terrorism. Meanwhile, the regime in Damascus has made conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, has used chemical weapons against Syria’s civilians and is the main reason for the spread of ISIL and other terrorist groups in the country. The representative of Syria also falsely accused Qatar of violating Security Council resolutions when, in fact, Doha’s efforts to fight terrorism are clear for all to see. Despite Syria’s failed accusations, Qatar will continue to fight terrorism that threatens the region and the world.
GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, responded to his counterpart from Ukraine, who talked about the “old, tall tale” of Russian aggression. Recalling the 19 April 2017 decision in the case of Ukraine against the Russian Federation, he noted that the International Court of Justice found that the claims were not plausible. He also regretted to point out that Ukraine’s representative was using the Security Council as a platform for propaganda.
Mr. ALARSAN (Syria), also taking the floor a second time in response to the statement delivered by Qatar’s delegate, said he will continue to respect the Council’s working methods and rules of procedure despite the latter’s refusal to do the same. Describing Qatar’s ruling family as an example of a perpetrator of both money‑laundering and terrorist financing, he said the country once paid millions of dollars to Al-Nusra Front as a ransom aimed at ensuring the release of an American journalist, in contravention of Council resolutions. Doha also paid more than $100 billion to topple the Government of Syria President Bashar al‑Assad, he stressed, asking why the representative of Qatar “is so sensitive” about such facts. “Every dollar spent by Qatar for the United Nations to combat terrorism is money‑laundering itself,” he stressed.