New York

17 December 2015

Secretary-General's remarks to Security Council meeting of Finance Ministers on Countering the Financing of Terrorism [as delivered]

Mr. President, let me begin by thanking the Government of the United States for its leadership in convening this historic first-ever Security Council meeting of Finance Ministers.

I salute your decision to focus on countering the financing of terrorism. 

As Da’esh and other terrorist groups disseminate their hateful propaganda and ratchet up murderous attacks, we must join forces to prevent them from acquiring and deploying resources to do further harm.

We know the challenge before us.

Terrorists take advantage of weaknesses in financial and regulatory regimes to raise funds.

They circumvent formal channels to avoid detection, and exploit new technologies and tools to transfer resources.

They have forged destructive and very profitable links with drug and criminal syndicates – among others.

And they abuse charitable causes to trick individuals to contribute.

They are agile and have been far too successful in attaining resources for their heinous acts.

Through the years, we have made progress in identifying and limiting various methods of terrorist financing, in many cases developing measures to prevent the flow of funds to terrorists.

Numerous Security Council resolutions clearly express the international community’s determination to tackle terrorist financing.  

More and more Member States continue to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

More and more countries have adopted legislation to criminalize terrorist financing and build and strengthen regulatory systems to counter funding flows to terrorists.

The focus and guidance of the Financial Action Task Force has expanded to include the spectrum of methods to fund terrorism.

Still, more needs to be done.

Terrorists continue to adapt their tactics and diversify their funding sources.

Today, Da’esh runs a multi-million dollar economy in territories under its control.

Da’esh terrorists raise money through the oil trade, extortion, undetected cash couriers, kidnapping for ransom, trafficking of humans and arms and racketeering.

They loot and sell precious cultural property, shamelessly profiting from the destruction of humanity’s common heritage.

Social media outreach is exploited by Da’esh, not just for radicalization and recruiting, but also for fundraising.

Other terrorist organizations around the world -- from Boko Haram to Al-Shabaab to the Taliban -- are following suit.

They increasingly employ elusive tricks to raise and transfer funds, covering their tracks and leaving little evidence for Governments and the private sector to identify tainted resources or to follow the funding trail.

Just as terrorist groups are innovating and diversifying, the international community must stay ahead of the curve to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Doing so will not be easy.

Many States have yet to establish the necessary legal regimes, institutions and expertise to identify and freeze terrorist financing and assets.

Implementation of key Security Council resolutions on this subject remains weak in many parts of the world. 

The private sector and civil society are often left outside the circle of consensus-building and trust, thus becoming a potential weak link.

In some cases, the misinterpretation and misapplication of international standards have resulted in violations of due process, undermining confidence and damaging the partnerships with key communities needed to effectively address the problem.

Today’s Security Council resolution will help intensify our efforts, identify new vulnerabilities, and advance stronger and more efficient regulatory regimes, with due regard for human rights.

I would suggest at least five further areas of focus. 

First, we should increase international cooperation and share information and expertise, especially in stopping the illegal transfer and trade of cultural artefacts. Where States lack the knowledge and resources to strengthen their systems, the international community should offer effective capacity building.

Second, we will expand UN programming on countering the financing of terrorism, which currently includes the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force’s Working Group on this subject.  That body coordinates the activities of several entities in this area, such as CTED, UNODC and the 1267 Monitoring Team. The UN Counter-Terrorism Centre will also now focus on programming in countering the financing of terrorism.

Third, we should work more closely with the private and charitable sectors to identify suspected transactions and invest in credible and manageable regulatory systems to block terrorist funds. 

Fourth, I intend to lead, as requested by the Council, strategic-level discussions within the UN on the gravity of the threat including on the sources of financing of these groups and report back to you within 45 days on our conclusions.

Fifth, and critically, as we fight terrorists, let us also take special measures to ensure that we do not harm migrants or refugees, and their communities of origin.

Last year, developing countries received over $400 billion in remittances from migrants living abroad.  That is more than three times total global official development assistance. 
Remittances sent home by migrant workers are a lifeline.  The average Somali family, for example, receives 60 per cent of its income from abroad.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes commitments to make the transfer of remittances faster, cheaper, and safer, while fully recognizing measures to combat the financing of terrorism.
Let us work to ensure that measures to stop illicit financial flows do not undermine the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
I once again welcome today’s resolution and this unprecedented demonstration of global commitment. 

I urge the Council to complement its effort today with concrete action to ensure that today’s historic meeting shuts down funding channels for terrorist groups, prevents attacks, and builds a safer more secure world for all.

Thank you, Mr. President.