Landmark Security Council resolution on countering the financing of terrorism

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Thank you Mr President and may I join others in thanking the briefers for their very informative presentations, and welcome Under-Secretary-General Voronkov, Mr Billingslea and Ms Buku to the Council this morning.

As I said yesterday in this chamber, the United Kingdom welcomes the territorial defeat of Daesh. However, as Daesh transforms from a territorial entity into a covert network, it remains capable of directing or enabling attacks and perpetuating violent extremist ideologies. It is as important as ever that we work together collectively to deny them access to resources, just as we must tackle the phenomenon of far-right extremism and terrorism – an issue which my country has warned about for some years and has been acting against domestically. And we again pay tribute to the victims of the Christchurch attacks.

Across the globe and across a range of groups, we have seen that terrorists can perpetrate horrific attacks with small amounts of money, use new payment technologies and move funds through different channels, including legitimate enterprises.

That is why the United Kingdom supported and co-sponsored the landmark Security Council resolution adopted just now and we thank France for its leadership on this initiative following last year’s conference.

The Security Council remains key to international efforts to counter terrorism, which includes the financing of terrorist acts.

Mr President, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has the essential role in setting global standards in preventing and combatting money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing. To this end, the United Kingdom strongly urges all states to implement the comprehensive international standards embodied in the revised Forty Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering, and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation and its interpretive notes.

I particularly highlight Mr Billingslea’s words on effective information sharing, well beyond financial and banking sectors alone and the vital importance of implementation and prosecution.

In that regard, Ms Buku’s comments on the importance of balancing both financial inclusion and financial integrity, I thought were very well judged.

Mr President, the United Kingdom has taken a number of measures to strengthen efforts to counter the financing of terrorism. An important feature of our system is the strong public/private partnership on terrorist financing matters. We set up the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) in 2015 to create an environment in which the financial sector, government and law enforcement can exchange and analyse information and intelligence to better detect the movement of terrorist funds. Increasing collaboration between government and the private sector is a key part of the UK’S protection.

Allow me to share a case study which illustrates this. The London Bridge attack took place on 23 June 2017. The Financial Intelligence Unit of the national crime agency initiated an immediate response and the case was brought to JMLIT within 12 hours of the attack. A few hours after that briefing, financial institutions were able to provide assistance to identify the payments for van hire and established other spending patterns which allowed further investigative strategies to be identified. This assistance was crucial in allowing investigators to conclude early on that the attack involved only three attackers with no broader network.

A robust legislative framework to give law enforcement powers the tools they need to tackle the threats we face is the cornerstone of any effective terrorist finance regime. This was enhanced in the United Kingdom by the Criminal Finances Act (CFA) which adds to the ability of UK law enforcement to identify, investigate and disrupt terrorist finance activity and to work effectively with private sector partners.

The United Kingdom welcomed the FATF Mutual Evaluation visit of December 2018 and the positive report we received.

Mr. President, as we strengthen our measures to counter terrorism and ensure that terrorist groups cannot exploit vulnerabilities in various sectors, we must also recognise the vital role played by humanitarian actors and the roles they play in meeting urgent needs under some of the most challenging circumstances. The United Kingdom welcomes that we have addressed these issues, for the first time, in a Chapter VII counterterrorism resolution.

The effectiveness of counterterrorism sanctions also depends on their implementation, across the globe. The UK will continue to be an active and global supporter of CT sanctions, as a key tool to combat terrorism from Daesh, Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, within the high legal evidence thresholds set by our courts.

Mr. President, soon after the attacks of September 11, this Council came together to adopt Resolution 1373 and decided that Member States should prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts. Eighteen years later, we have seen a dramatically evolving terrorist landscape against an evolving financial and technologic context. We know that prevention, rehabilitation, whole-of-society approaches are key to ensuring credible and sustainable responses. But while we have adapted our responses, so, too, have terrorist groups.

We therefore commend France for this initiative and thank Council Members for their constructive and proactive engagement throughout this process, demonstrating once again the strength of our collective resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

We have today agreed an excellent resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. We must not sit back and admire it. We now need to see effective implementation by all Member States. CTED must support Member States in identifying how they can strengthen their own response and UNOCT then needs to support Member States in filling the gaps identified. But above all, it requires all of us to stick to our task and to press for continuous improvement. Our task never stops.

Thank you Mr President.

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