14 December 2017 marked the 326th meeting of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, which was also the last meeting of H.E. Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, in his capacity as Chair of the Committee. The plenary had a packed agenda, covering numerous themes, including terrorism financing, and a future vision for the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
Mr. Santiago Otamendi, President of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), briefed the Committee on the work of FATF and cooperation between the United Nations and FATF (read CTED’s interview with President Otamendi here). Mr. Max Braun of the Luxembourg Financial Intelligence Unit and Ms. Dawn Peebles of SITE Intelligence Group also provided presentations on challenges faced in the regulation of transactions and prevention of the misuse of new social media technologies for purposes of the financing of terrorism. Mr. Braun focused on the issue of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulation of virtual currency exchange platforms, emphasizing the importance of tracing and monitoring transactions to find links to identify terrorists and terrorist networks. Ms. Peebles highlighted the misuse of social media, bitcoin, and familiar third-party transaction platforms to fund the purchase of weapons, equipment, supplies, and resources including human services.
In presenting proposed recommendations to the Committee regarding the role of financial institutions, CTED encouraged Member States to assess the terrorist risks of their financial sector, in line with FATF standards, and to apply anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations to those respective products and services of their financial sector. CTED experts also suggested that Members “develop or strengthen the partnership between public and private sector entities for the sharing of financial intelligence aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and identifying and dismantling terrorist networks.”
Executive Director of CTED, Assistant Secretary-General Ms. Michèle Coninsx, briefed the Committee on the future work of CTED as the Security Council was currently discussing the mandate renewal of CTED. Ms. Coninsx spoke about strengthening CTED’s assessments and methodologies, as assessments are the heart of CTED’s activity, and reinforced CTED’s aim of improving through “dynamism, flexibility, speed, creativity, and innovation.”
“It takes networks to beat criminal and terrorist networks,” she said. “Every effort should be made to enforce comprehensive approaches to counter terrorism.”
Remarks by the FATF President are available here.