UNODC Runs Training Series to Deprive Terrorists Funding

Pretoria (South Africa), 26 February 2021


There can be no terrorism without financing! Terrorists need money - whether small or large - to plan, train terrorist recruits and carry out attacks. They need money to sustain terrorist cells as well as to promote their general aims and objectives. A substantial amount of information about terror plots and the perpetrators of acts of terrorism can be obtained from financial investigations. Gaps in knowledge about the identity and whereabouts of terrorists as well as their patterns and habits can be sourced from financial investigations. It is therefore critical to examine the financial elements in all related to terror-investigations.

For states to successfully mitigate the potential for terrorists to raise, store, move and use finances, the relevant authorities should have the required specialized capacity. Limiting the threat of terrorism financing also requires the timely sharing of financial information among the relevant trained authorities. In addition, terrorist financing investigations should be initiated in a proactive fashion, with the aim of preventing the commission of acts of terrorism, and not merely to respond to terrorist activity once it has occurred.

UNODC, in partnership with the Asset Recovery Interagency Network of Southern Africa (ARINSA) organised foundational capacity building training programmes on countering the financing of terrorism in Angola, Botswana, Mauritius and Mozambique, which are all member countries of ARINSA. The four training courses held during the months of November and December 2020, and February 2021, provided financial investigators, criminal justice officials, supervisors and officials from other relevant agencies with an introduction to and awareness of the critical importance of financial investigation in all counter terrorist investigations. The objective of the national training courses was to enhance participants’ capacity to apply basic financial investigation techniques in terrorism cases. This objective is in alignment with the ARINSA mandate, which is to increase the effectiveness of member country’s efforts on an informal and multi-agency basis, to deprive criminals of their illicit profits.

Using a mix of live interactive sessions, case studies and exercises, the training courses helped support these countries’ efforts to comply with the international standards established under various UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) such as Resolutions 1267, 1373 and 1988, UN Conventions and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. In addition, the courses laid the foundation for future UNODC and ARINSA courses to counter the financing of terrorism.

The courses were made possible through funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.