More than 65 delegations including 23 Ministers, representatives from 15 international bodies including the United Nations, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and FATF-Style Regional Bodies, as well as representatives from 28 private sector and not-for-profit organisations met in Melbourne, Australia, on 7–8 November 2019 for the ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing. The 2019 Conference built on the important work of the inaugural ‘No Money for Terror’ Ministerial Conference in 2018, hosted by France, and its Paris Agenda.
The 2019 Conference assessed the evolving global and Indo-Pacific threat environment; built understanding of the key terrorism financing risks, trends and methods; and highlighted best practice from across the globe, between regions and across the public and private sector.
Consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) and the global standards set by the FATF, participants agreed to promote international and regional cooperation and improve capacity to combat the financing of terrorism.
In their discussions, participants addressed and reinforced their commitment to the five key themes of the Conference as follows:
- The evolving terrorist threat
- Noted that the evolving and significant threat posed by terrorism is global in nature, and the agility and adaptability of terrorists and terrorist organisations to take advantage of emerging situations and weaknesses in counter-terrorism frameworks.
- Recognised that terrorist organisations rely on funding to sustain their activities and disrupting and preventing financial flows to terrorist is one of the most effective ways to fight terrorism.
- Recognised that despite the territorial defeat of Daesh (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, its capacity, including hundreds of millions of dollars generated over that time, to radicalise, recruit and carry violent acts remains a significant threat.
- Recognised that strategies to counter the evolving terrorist threat need to be holistic and based on mutual cooperation between governments, the private sector and civil society.
- Global responses to kidnap for ransom and terrorism financing
- Noted that the transnational nature of terrorism and its financing requires a strong and coordinated global response supported by the work of multilateral forums such as the United Nations and the FATF, and underpinned by regional and bilateral partnerships.
- Recognised that hostage-taking by terrorists to raise funds is a significant source of income for terrorist groups that supports their recruitment and operational capability, and is an incentive for groups to undertake further kidnappings for increased ransoms.
- Considered international approaches to addressing hostage-taking and underlined the need for information sharing and international cooperation to break the terrorists’ business model.
- Reaffirmed support for international efforts to prevent terrorist and violent extremist exploitation of the Internet, including through the Christchurch Call to Action.
- Agreed to seek further opportunities to provide mutual support to address terrorism financing, including through exchange of information and intelligence, and capability building
- Emerging technologies and terrorism financing risks
- Noted the positive opportunities for developing countries offered by emerging financial technologies, such as financial inclusion and access to markets.
- Noted that the opportunities brought by technology may also appeal to terrorists seeking platforms for propaganda, recruitment and raising funds to support malicious activities.
- Acknowledged the importance of engagement between governments and the private sector to build a shared responsibility to safeguard against abuse by terrorists.
- Recognised the need to identify emerging risks from new technology platforms and implement effective mitigation measures before widespread use by terrorist actors.
- Reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the FATF standards and other international requirements in relation to new technologies and virtual assets.
- Enhancing public-private partnerships to fight terrorism financing
- Recognised the critical role played by the private sector to detect and prevent misuse of financial systems by terrorists.
- Highlighted the opportunities offered by partnerships between government and the private sector to share and harness existing information and resources to develop strategies combating terrorism financing and other financial crimes.
- Preventing the exploitation of not-for-profit organisations for terrorism purposes
- Recognised the important role of not-for-profit organisations in providing activities and services that aim to improve the lives of individuals and societies.
- Noted that terrorist organisations seek the same logistical capabilities as not-for-profit organisations, which makes them potentially vulnerable to abuse by terrorists and terrorist networks.
- Discussed strategies for strengthening not-for-profit sectors against abuse by terrorists, including through conducting regional and national risk assessments, education and outreach.
Participants warmly welcomed the offer of India to host the next No Money for Terror conference in 2020 and to continue this important work combating terrorism financing.