ABOUT CONFERENCE
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HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE “INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL COOPERATION ON COUNTERING TERRORISM AND ITS FINANCING THROUGH ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING AND ORGANIZED CRIME”

Hosted by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Venue – Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Time - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (TBC)

Date – 16-17 May 2019

 

Background 

Terrorism and its financing, as well as illicit drug trafficking and organized crime continue to pose major threats to international peace and security and undermine the regional and international efforts in ensuring stability, economic, social development, and fundamental human rights. Addressing these threats is much more difficult given the complex and constantly evolving nature of terrorist activities.

Countering terrorism and its financing remains a high priority for the international community. In its resolution 1617 (2005) and several subsequent resolutions, the United Nations Security Council strongly urges Member States to implement the Recommendations on Money-Laundering and Terrorist Financing of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Furthermore, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy also encourages States to implement effective frameworks to comply with the comprehensive international standards embodied in the Forty Recommendations of the FATF, recognizing that States may require assistance in implementing them.

Already in its resolution 1373 (2001), the UN Security Council noted with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime. The Council has also referred to the “terror/crime nexus” in several recent resolutions on terrorism, including resolutions 2195 (2014), 2322 (2016), 2331 (2016) and 2368 (2017). In recent years, the UN and other international and regional organizations have focused increasing attention on ways to prevent terrorists from benefiting from the proceeds of organized crime and interacting with criminal groups.

The nexus between illicit drug trafficking and organized crime with financing of terrorism is not a new trend. Addressing the UN General Assembly, on 25 September 2018, the UN Secretary General underscored that terrorism is ever more interlinked with international organized crime and the trafficking of people, drugs, arms and corruption. The use of drug trafficking channels by terrorist groups can contribute to raising terrorist funds as well as enhancing recruitment through criminal channels.  To address the abovementioned global threat the Republic of Tajikistan in cooperation with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is conducting a High-level Conference on “International and Regional Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and its Financing Through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime” on 16-17 May 2019 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

This Conference is the first international event in the framework of the follow-up process to the High-Level Conference on “Countering Terrorism and Prevention of Violent Extremism”, which was an initiative of the Government of Tajikistan, took place with the support of the international community on 3-4 May 2018 in Dushanbe. It is also the first regional initiative inspired by the High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of UN Member States, which was organized by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and chaired by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 28-29 June 2018 in New York to encourage Member States to cooperate closely with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations on organizing regional events on key thematic issues.  

The abovementioned conferences and the sixth review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/72/284) reaffirmed the importance of Countering the Financing of Terrorism, with the latter more specifically reiterating the obligation of Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and to criminalize the willful provision or collection, by any means, directly or indirectly, of funds by their nationals or in their territories, with the intention that the funds be used, or with the knowledge that they are to be used, in order to carry out terrorist acts. It also recognized the need to continue to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism.

The growing risks stemming from new technologies and their use in terrorist financing has also been identified as a priority by the FATF and its global network.

In 2011, Central Asian countries adopted a Joint Plan of Action on the implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia with support of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) within UNOCT and UNRCCA. In the framework of this document countries from the region have made progress on Regional and cross border cooperation to specifically counter the financing of terrorism, enhance border security, and jointly respond to this transnational threat.

The OSCE Secretariat and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have signed a Joint Action Plan for 2018-2019 that reflects their contributions to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and allows for more streamlined technical collaboration in twelve subject areas. Special attention is paid to combating illicit drugs (and preventing the diversion of chemical precursors into illicit trade), tackling drug-related crimes and combating financing of terrorism. Since 2017, The OSCE and UNODC have been delivering a programme of train a trainer courses in Central Asia which have directly led to the detection, investigation and disruption of terrorist groups including foreign terrorist fighters.

The EU conducts regular High Level Political and Security Dialogues with Central Asia. Since 2003, the EU provides assistance through a wide range of security-related programmes in Central Asia. The EU Drugs Strategy for the period of 2013-2020 aims to further strengthen coordination between EU countries and its international partners. In line with the EU-Central Asia Action Plan on Drugs (2014-2020), the EU holds regular experts' dialogues on drugs.

In order to enhance cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism, including the countering of terrorism financing with Central-Asian partners, the EU aims to deploy a CT/Security Expert to its Delegation in Bishkek, with a mandate to cover the entire region.

Recognizing a vital need to combat illicit drug trafficking and organized crime as main sources of financing terrorist organizations the international community should undertake immediate measures and joint interventions using the full range of disruption tools in order to detect, investigate and disrupt these threats.

Organizers of the Conference note that funding sources of terrorism extend also, among others, to trafficking in human beings, cultural property and weapons. The conference will raise these issues as linked to the overall problem of terrorist financing worldwide.

Tajikistan, having understood these global threats, has been making significant efforts to counter terrorism and the illicit drug smuggling for many years, including as reflected in their recent Eurasian Group Mutual Evaluation Report.

In this context, Tajikistan developed its National Strategies on Countering Terrorism and Extremism for the period of 2016-2020 and Illicit Drug Trafficking for the period of 2013-2020, as well as the National Concept on Countering Money-laundering, Financing of Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2018-2025. Furthermore, the Tajik Government is committed to aligning its interventions in this domain with international norms and best practices including rights-based approaches. 

 

Objectives

The purpose of the Conference is to promote and strengthen international and regional cooperation, identify effective practices to combat terrorism financing and facilitate expert discussions on how to respond to evolving methods used by terrorists and terrorist organizations to fund their activities and structures, including through illicit drug trafficking and organized crime. The event will be used as a platform to discuss complex and multidimensional challenges being faced by members of international community and facilitate the exchange of experience, lessons learnt and good practices in these fields.

Moreover, aiming at a strong and long-lasting cooperation between countries, the Conference will highlight the need for renewed efforts for effective multilateral action through operational partnership and suitable joint responses to the challenging and emerging threats of terrorist and its financing through illicit drug trafficking and organized crime.

 

Organizational aspects 

Title of the Conference and its thematic focus 

The overarching theme for the Conference is “Countering Terrorism and its Financing Through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime”. The thematic sessions will reflect the priorities of states and other actors in reducing current or potential risks associated with the crime/terror nexus and will provide the opportunity to consider the practical implementation of relevant aspects.

 The thematic focus will include the following topics: 

  1. Overview of the threat of terrorism and its financing;
  2. Financial intelligence sharing and review of national and regional mechanisms to enhance cooperation;
  3. Terrorism financing risk assessment;
  4. Organized crime and illicit trafficking in drugs as a means of terrorism financing;
  5. Abuse of new technologies and crypto-currencies for terrorism financing;
  6. Human rights and humanitarian law while implementing CFT measures.
  7. Using national and regional AML/CFT risk assessments as a tool to support policy and decision makers to understand the crime/terror nexus;
  8. Establishing and maintaining partnerships with the private financial sector to better understand and disrupt the crime/terror nexus;
  9. Understanding and reducing risks associated with the crime-terror nexus.

 

Organization of Meetings:

The overall organization of the Conference, including, but not limited to, invitations, visa support, preparations for, conduct of the meeting, and possible outcomes if any, will be ensured by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. 

Participants: 

  • Participation will be open to interested Member States of the United Nations, the European Union and participating States of the OSCE in coordination with the Government of Tajikistan and is expected to be at the Ministerial level for a high-level segment, while invited countries will be asked to nominate senior national security and/or counter-terrorism or drug control agencies’ heads for the working session part.
  • Sub-regional organizations will be invited to nominate a head of delegation at senior level.
  • Other relevant United Nations Secretariat entities, specialized Agencies and related organizations, as well as intergovernmental organizations and other entities accredited to the United Nations General Assembly will be invited as defined in coordination with the Government of Tajikistan.
  • Interested Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York will also be invited to have an active participation in the Conference.
  • The participation of civil society and academia representatives, as well as scholars will be encouraged upon invitation from the Government of Tajikistan.

Format: 

  • The Conference will be interactive, with a high-level opening segment followed by plenary and working sessions comprised of presentations and interventions from the floor. The Conference will conclude with remarks from the co-organizers.
  • Simultaneous interpretation will be provided during the conference sessions in English and Russian.

The organization of side-events will be encouraged. Side-event organizers will be responsible for their own logistical arrangements.