On 25 June 2021, the Permanent Mission of France, the Permanent Mission of India, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the 1267 Monitoring Team, held a side event about countering the financing of terrorism in the post COVID-19 landscape.
The virtual high level side event, held during the second United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week, was attended by more than 172 participants and panelists intervened from France, India, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the private sector.
In their interventions, co-organizing States and UN Principals reemphasized the priority placed by the international community, including within the One UN, on preventing terrorists from accessing and using funds to carry out terrorist acts as well as to sustain terrorist networks, promote ideology and ensure recruitment campaigns.
The event focused on the terrorist financing threats and trends within the post-COVID-19 landscape, with a particular focus on the misuse of digital space for terrorist financing purposes. The potential risks associated with virtual assets and new financial instruments and the call to taking steps to ensure that providers of such assets are subject to anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations are enshrined in the landmark CFT UNSC resolution 2462 (2019).
It was recognized that the pandemic enhanced opportunities for terrorist groups particularly to raise funds through online sources. The pandemic also impacted on the implementation of CFT legislation and responses, particularly with regard to the adoption of regulatory framework to address the vulnerabilities of the virtual assets for terrorist financing purposes.
Similarly, the United Nations has been impacted in its CFT related assistance to Member States, which required adjustments in its delivery tools and interactions.
The side event provided an opportunity to hear about some Member States’ responses to incorporate new policy and standards towards enhanced due diligence, know-your-customers’ (KYC) requirements and monitoring of virtual assets service providers. One specific terrorist financing case involving the misuse of virtual assets was also discussed. Speakers underscored that the digital space was a quickly evolving area and that terrorist groups acquired highly-specialized expertise in using all opportunities offered to raise and transfer funds through virtual assets platforms and well as to obfuscate the traceability of these transactions through complex blockchain mechanisms. Close partnerships with private sector entities to help financial investigators navigate in this complex environment was recommended, together with tailored-made technical assistance delivery. The United Nations entities coordinating within the UN CT Global Compact stands ready to assist Member States in addressing these challenges.
During her closing remarks, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of CTED said “Today’s interventions have highlighted the importance of ensuring effective and responsible use of new technologies and developing advanced monitoring and investigating methods, as well as solid expertise in preventing, detecting and suppressing abuse of the digital space for terrorism-financing purposes.”
Watch the event here.
The full remarks of Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx is available here.
The concept note and agenda for the virtual side event is available here.
For more information about the additional events organized and co-organized by CTED during the 2021 United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week, please click here.