CTED participated in a two-day high-level conference on “International and Regional Co-operation on Countering Terrorism and Its Financing through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime”, held in Dushanbe on 16 and 17 May 2019.
The conference was organized by the Government of Tajikistan, in close cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The conference was attended by Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Head of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT); by high-ranking officials from more than 50 States; and by representatives of international and organizations and the expert community.
Organized to build on the related discussions held in the same forum in 2018, it was part of a series of regional conferences to be held in 2019 and 2020 in follow-up to the UN High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States convened by the United Nations Secretary-General in June 2018.
Opening the conference, H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, expressed his full support for Security Council resolution 2462 (2019) on “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: preventing and combating the financing of terrorism”, which was adopted on 28 March 2019.
“Combating the financing of terrorism is among the effective ways to counteract this phenomenon”, said Mr. Rahmon.
During the plenary session, moderated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, Mr. Wexiong Chen, CTED Deputy Executive Director, recalled that addressing the connections between organized crime and terrorism had long been on the agenda of the Security Council. He also briefed participants on CTED’s efforts to assist Member States in that regard.
“We must promote comprehensive responses to this issue, which are based on solid legal and institutional frameworks, as well as on the active and coordinated involvement of all relevant stakeholders”, Mr. Chen said.
CTED was also among the keynote speakers during a thematic session on international efforts to disrupt illicit financial flows that are linked to terrorism and transnational organized crime, and briefed participants on the main outcomes of the related work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and CTED, including the joint special meeting on regional specificities of the nexus, held on 26 April 2019 in New York.
“Effective strategies to disrupt the linkages between terrorism and organized crime require a proper understanding and assessment of the risks and the adoption of a risk-based approach”, underlined Ms. Svetlana Martynova, CTED Legal Officer.
The conference culminated in the adoption of the Dushanbe Declaration, which renewed the commitment of the participating Member States to prevent and counter the financing of terrorism through organized crime, including illicit drug trafficking, and recognized that acts of international terrorism depended on financial support.
The Declaration also highlighted the need for Member States to fully implement the relevant Security Council resolutions and to cooperate with UNOCT, CTED and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to identify and receive coordinated and integrated assistance.
“The Dushanbe Declaration will serve as a key blueprint to target our efforts on specific deliverables that would help countries of the region make a difference in the struggle against terrorism and its financing”, Mr. Voronkov said.
The Under-Secretary-General also launched the “Counter-Terrorism Dushanbe Process on Countering Terrorism and its Financing in Central Asia”, which will serve to institutionalize dialogue among States of Central Asia and support implementation of the Dushanbe Declaration.
During the conference, CTED participated in a side event, organized by the UN Country Team in Tajikistan, on “Preventing Illicit Financial Flows from Drugs and Crime for Regional Peace, Security and Sustainable Development”.
The side event was moderated by Mr. Sherkhon Salimzoda, Director of the Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and also featured Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Ms, Natalia Gherman, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Asia, and the Head of the UNODC Programme Office in Kyrgyzstan.
CTED provided an overview of the international framework for countering the financing of terrorism through proceeds of transnational organized crime, highlighting established instances of the nexus between terrorism (and its financing) and specific crimes, including trafficking in drugs, arms trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and petty crimes.
Noting the need to further strengthen the financial investigative capacities of Member States, CTED recalled that practitioners should be trained to carry out financial investigations to deprive transnational organized criminal and terrorist groups of the resources used to pursue their criminal activities. That would involve the identification of illicit financial flows, the application of provisional measures, and the confiscation of proceeds of crime.
On the margins of the Conference, the CTED Deputy Executive Director took part in the meetings of the UN delegation with the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan.
CTED also held bilateral meetings with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the delegation of Uzbekistan, the Head of the Department of Cooperation with International Organizations of Tajikistan, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in Tajikistan, and the Executive Secretary of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG).