Session on Illicit financial flows at the Illicit Trade Forum

07 September 2022
15:00 - 17:45 hrs. Room XVII
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Following the inclusion of illicit trade as the only new area of work in the outcome document of UNCTAD15, the Bridgetown Covenant, UNCTAD will host the second iteration of the Illicit Trade Forum on 6-7 September 2022. The event is organised in collaboration with the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT).

The event is structured as four main sessions, with interactive panel discussions addressing key issues: illicit trade in times of crisis; mitigating illicit trade through maritime transport; trade in falsified medicines; and illicit financial flows related to trade, tax, and criminal activities. The meeting will enable the sharing of best practices, case studies and policy approaches, and will involve a wide range of stakeholders, including member States and representatives from international governmental and nongovernmental organisations, academia and the private sector.

Session on Illicit financial flows related to trade, tax, and criminal activities:

For the SDG indicator framework, illicit financial flows (IFFs) are defined as financial flows that are illicit in origin, transfer or use, that reflect an exchange of value and that cross country borders. The definition comes from the Conceptual framework for the statistical measurement of illicit financial flows, developed by UNCTAD and UNODC in consultation with a global Task Force and approved in March 2022 by the UN Statistical Commission. IFFs cover a wide range of different activities, including flows related to drug markets, terrorist financing, trade misinvoicing, aggressive tax avoidance etc. They drain resources and limit countries’ capacity to recover from the pandemic and achieve the 2030 Agenda. In June 2021, UNCTAD published Methodological guidelines to measure tax and commercial IFFs for pilot testing, following deliberations with the global Task Force. The methods will be refined based on feedback from pilots which took place in 2022 in Africa and Asia, and from 2023 any country can join the efforts of a global UN Development Account project to measure and curb IFFs applying methods and tools tested by pilot countries.

This session will invite representatives from stakeholders involved in African pilot countries to share their experience on the measurement of IFFs related to trade. The session mainly targets representatives from customs and revenue authorities, central banks, financial intelligence units, anti-corruption agencies, criminal justice bodies and national statistics offices.

Opening remarks will be given by Ms. Anu Peltola (UNCTAD). This will be followed by brief introductions to the measurement of IFFs by Mr. Gamal Ibrahim (ECA), Ms. Diana Camerini (UNODC) and Mr. Bojan Nastav (UNCTAD), covering also future plans. Then, panellists will present regional or countries’ experience in measuring IFFs by Ms. Kathy Nicolaou (ECA), Ms. Anastasia Maga (ESCAP), Mr. Joseph Tembo (Zambia) and Ms. Lauraine Habib (Egypt).


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