Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


High-level Side Event on Countering the Financing of Terrorism in the Post-COVID Landscape 

  25 June 2021


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you at this event highlighting the elevated risks of terrorism financing in a post-pandemic world, and what we can do to address them.

Illicit financial networks are a lifeline for terrorism. The horrors perpetrated by terrorists will continue as long as such networks find ways to bankroll them.

Countering the financing of terrorism remains a priority on the international agenda, and rightly so.

In 2019, the Security Council underscored the need to tackle key sources of finance for terrorism, including organized crime, the misuse of the non-profit sector, and virtual assets.

As COVID-related restrictions are gradually eased, it is crucial to take stock of the impact that the crisis has had on the financing of terrorism, and on our efforts to put an end to it.  

Evidence suggests that terrorists worked to circumvent travel restrictions by using virtual currencies and digital services to raise and move funds in the digital space, aided by inconsistent regulation of new payment methods.

In parallel, social distancing measures have disrupted access to secure anti-money laundering intelligence systems, impairing capacities to pursue terrorist financing cases.

At the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, we are delivering assistance to Member States to respond directly to these new challenges, as part of our integrated mandates tackling organized crime, drugs, corruption, and terrorism.

We are also striving to empower authorities around the world in leveraging new technologies to collect, analyse, and share financial data and intelligence, as well as electronic evidence, while observing privacy safeguards.

As we work together to adapt to post-COVID realities, UNODC stands ready to support international efforts to protect payment and remittance flows, and keep funds out of terrorist hands.

Thank you.