Illicit Financial Flows: Taking Stock and Setting New Benchmarks
“Considering the raised awareness and global commitment around the issue, it is time to take stock of what has been done and investigate the extent to which we are on the right path. In this event, we explore the implications of the rise of IFF on the development agenda, what actions have been taken, and the most urgent next steps.”
New York, NY, 10017
A High Level Side Event at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Hosted by the Permanent Missions of Nigeria and Norway to the United Nations
In just a decade, the issue of illicit financial flows (IFF) has risen from relative obscurity to become a core development issue. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal 16, target 16.4, focus on significantly reducing illicit financial and arms flows by 2030. The General Assembly has recognized this issue in resolution 72/207 of 20 December 2017, which promotes international cooperation to combat IFFs and to secure return of illicitly acquired assets in order to foster sustainable development.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development sets out the ambition to redouble efforts to substantially reduce illicit financial flows by 2030, with a view to eventually eliminating them, including by combating tax evasion and corruption through strengthened national regulation and increased international cooperation. Considering the raised awareness and global commitment around the issue, it is time to take stock of what has been done and investigate the extent to which we are on the right path.
In this event, we explore the implications of the rise of IFF on the development agenda, what actions have been taken, and the most urgent next steps.
IFF represent severe impediments to development in almost all countries. They facilitate criminal activity, terrorism, corruption, abuse of power and contribute to widening inequalities. While there are a number of agreed best-practice policy options to curtail IFF, the urgency of the issue require that the right options be prioritized as we move forward.
Any action must involve a variety of actors across government, and include the private sector and civil society. The task of curtailing illicit financial flows requires staunch political leadership, steadfast international cooperation and detailed national and regional strategies.
The speakers of this session will reflect the range of solutions needed to combat illicit financial flows, actions taken and their implications on cross-sectoral and international coordinated responses.
The Mbeki-panel, also known as the High Level Panel on the Illicit Financial Flows from Africa defines IFFs as money illegally earned, transferred or used. Although Nigeria and Norway subscribes to this definition, there is an ongoing debate surrounding the methodology for measuring IFF and how to pinpoint a baseline. Further elaboration of its definition will help in prioritizing action and design appropriate responses. It is also important that the international community ultimately agree on a definition that can galvanize joint action and avoid ambiguity in its interpretation. The work to reach this point should however not divert efforts from taking action to curtail the flows now.
This Side-event aims at contributing to the ongoing dialogue within the UN on the promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development.
- Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, U.N. Economic Commission for Africa
- Mr. Raymond Baker, President, Global Financial Integrity
- Prof. Bolaji Owosanoye, Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, Nigeria
- Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD
- Ms. Tove Maria Ryding, Policy and Advocacy Manager, EURODAD
- Dr. Okechukwu Enenamah, Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria
- Mr. Nikolai Astrup, Minister of International Development, Norway