It was today announced that the UN will launch a new panel designed specifically to target IFFs.

Date: 28 January, 2020  | Organisation: Christian Aid  | Theme: 
  • Private finance

Citizens for Financial Justice partner Christian Aid responds to the UN’s announcement of a new panel to tackle IFFs. 

The UN has announced a new panel designed specifically to target and eliminate illicit financial flows (IFFs) – that is, illegal or abusive movements of money or capital from one country to another.

The announcement comes in the aftermath of the Luanda Leaks scandal and effectively serves as notice of the UN’s recommitment to tackle the issue of illicit finance.

The panel will officially launch in March and is expected to meet four times per year.

Given that, according to Christian Aid’s Trapped in Illicit Finance report, public revenue losses from IFFs in developing countries alone amount to around $416bn, there is an urgency felt by the general public, academics and experts as well as other interested organisations to address this issue.

Accordingly, the panel’s co-chairs will engage MS, PS, CSOs, academics and other stakeholders to determine and implement the most effective strategy, with final recommendations being announced in January 2021.

This is certainly exciting news. However, as always, there is a danger that the panel will fail in its ambitions.

From the get-go, the panel needs to work with a definition of IFFs that captures all harmful and abusive financial practices. It should also consider the impacts of IFFs on women and girls especially, so that financing also contributes towards gender equality and tackles all inequalities.

This will mean modifying the existing working definition, which includes only flows of money universally accepted as illegal – and therefore omits money lost through loopholes and other borderline cases.  

To find out more about IFFs, see Christian Aid’s Trapped in Illicit Finance report.