Treasury Notes

 Lookback on a Meeting of Two Leading International Bodies focused on Countering ISIL’s Finances

By: Daniel Glaser
2/17/2016

On February 14 in Paris, France I co-chaired an unprecedented joint session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG)  to collaborate on efforts to disrupt ISIL’s finances.  By bringing together two leading multilateral bodies focused on combatting ISIL financing, this session offered an important opportunity to draw insight from the global community’s leading experts on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).  
 
The CIFG is an integrated part of the broader global coalition to counter ISIL.  The United States, Italy, and Saudi Arabia co-lead the 37-member group.  The group focuses on enhancing international collaboration to disrupt the financial and economic activities of ISIL.  The FATF is the premier standard-setting body on AML/CFT and is made up of 36 members; another 150 countries have endorsed the FATF Recommendations.  FATF has played a key role in AML/CFT measures that limit the ability of terrorist organizations like ISIL to access the international financial system.  Together, the groups represent countries from all of the world’s leading economies – including the United States, countries across the European Union, Russia, China, India, and more.
 
The session focused on two key sets of issues:
 
Information sharing on ISIL’s finances and efforts to target them
 
Participants concluded that ISIL’s primary revenue sources remain the same as those identified in the FATF’s February 2015 Report on the Financing of ISIL.  Specifically, these sources include bank looting, extortion, and the control of oil fields and refineries.  Members noted that we are already seeing meaningful progress on countering ISIL, as demonstrated by signs that ISIL is struggling to pay its fighters in some regions and to provide basic services to local populations.  By sharing information, FATF and CIFG members were able to deepen their understanding of financial links among ISIL branches, and CIFG members agreed to work on an engagement strategy with countries where these ISIL branches operate.
 
Measures to disrupt ISIL’s finances
 
Participants also discussed ways to further disrupt ISIL’s finances.  Recent United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) expand the international sanctions framework to more specifically focus on ISIL facilitators and address terrorist financing challenges more broadly.  In considering these UNSCRs, participants discussed how to enhance implementation of key provisions in the resolutions.  Looking forward, they agreed to better coordinate to improve information sharing and identify institutional gaps.
 
Following this joint session, today, FATF and CIFG together issued a communiqué about issues covered.  In the coming weeks and months, CFIG and FATF will continue to closely coordinate on combating ISIL’s finances and improving global efforts at countering terrorist financing more broadly.
 
For my remarks from February 8 at the Chatham House in London, focused on efforts by Treasury and our partners to counter ISIL’s finances click here.
 
Daniel Glaser is the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing.
Posted in:  ISIL
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