Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs)

The importance of the reduction of illicit financial flows (IFFs) as a priority area to build peaceful societies around the world has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.4. calls for “[b]y 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial flows and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime”. Progress towards SDG target 16.4 is measured by indicator 16.4.1. “Total value of inward and outward IFFs in current United States dollars”.
As custodian agencies of SDG Indicator 16.4.1, UNODC and UNCTAD developed jointly a statistical measurement framework and methodologies to estimate illicit financial flows (IFFs). Since 2017 the two co-custodians Agencies have taken a series of coordinated actions that led to the development of a Conceptual framework for the Statistical Measurement of Illicit Financial Flows and the development of methodological guidelines to measure IFFs from selected illegal market activities.
In parallel, UNODC leads technical assistance projects to test methodological guidelines and measure illicit financial flows in selected countries of Latin America and Asia-Pacific, and conducts regional studies on illicit financial flows dedicated to specific illegal activities.
Regional studies include:

Methodological development

Key activities and achievements:

Technical assistance projects

Asia-Pacific Project
Project duration: July 2020 - December 2022
Project partners: UNODC, UNCTAD, ESCAP
Pilot countries: Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
Project funding: UNDESA

Latin-America project
Project duration: July 2017 - December 2020
Project partners: UNODC, UNCTAD, UNODC-INEGI CoE
Pilot countries: Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador
Project funding: UNDESA

Studies and reports

Conceptual framework for the Statistical Measurement of Illicit Financial Flows - English, Spanish, Russian
Supply and value chains and illicit financial flows from the trade in ivory and rhinoceros horns
- English