On 25-26 April 2018, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), participated in an international conference on counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) organized by the Government of France. Entitled “No Money for Terror,” the conference aimed to take stock of current global CFT efforts; support effective implementation of the relevant international standards; and shed light on new terrorism-financing trends and methods.
Held in Paris and hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, the conference was attended by representatives of more than 80 Member States, including Ministers, as well as by heads of numerous international and regional organizations and agencies.
In her intervention, Ms. Coninsx briefed participants on CTED’s main findings with respect to Member States’ criminalization of terrorism financing, based on its 140 assessment visits. The Executive Director noted that a growing number of States were criminalizing terrorism financing as a standalone offence, but that the number of terrorism-financing cases being successfully prosecuted by Member States’ judicial systems remained limited. Attempts to prosecute terrorism financing continued to be undermined by, inter alia, the difficulty of proving knowledge or intent that the funds would be used for terrorism purposes.
The UN team included Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Head of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), representing Secretary-General António Guterres; experts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; and an expert of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
At the conclusion of the conference, a politically binding declaration was adopted. This declaration defines a number of priority action areas, including preventing the misuse of non-profit organizations (NPO) for terrorism-financing purposes, and promoting cooperation between Government and the private sector, involving social media, to prevent terrorists from raising and transferring funds online. The Declaration also calls on Governments to publicize asset-freezing designations made pursuant to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).
On the margins of the conference, Ms. Coninsx met with Mr. Santiago Otamendi, President of the Financial Action Task Force, to discuss cooperation between CTED and FATF, with a special focus on Member States’ implementation of the international CFT standards.