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, FrenchRussianSpanish
Supply and value chains and illicit financial flows from the trade in ivory and rhinoceros horns
- English

All events

1 September 2021 - Kick-off meeting of pilot activities for measuring illicit financial flows in Egypt  Venue: online meeting
16-17 June 2021 Regional Kick-off Workshop of pilot activities for measuring illicit financial flows (IFFs) in Africa Venue: online meeting
26 May 2021 Kick-off meeting of pilot activities for measuring illicit financial flows in Asia-Pacific countries Venue: online meeting
25 March 2021 Measuring Illicit Financial Flows from illegal markets - Presentation of results from pilot studies in four countries of Latin America Venue: online meeting

16 October 2020 -10th UNTOC-COP Side Event - Illicit Financial Flows from Illegal Activities: first estimates from Latin America. 

Presentations (pdf):

22 September 2020 Asia-Pacific Stats Cafe series: Estimating the size of illicit financial flows: Strengthening national capacity to monitor SDG target 16.4 Venue: online webinar
6-7 November 2019 - Second Regional Technical Meeting on the Measurement of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) Venue: Mexico City, Mexico
16-17 July 2019 Task Force meeting on statistical methodologies for measuring illicit financial flows Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
20-22 November 2018 - First Regional Technical Meeting on the Measurement of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) Venue: Mexico City, Mexico
20-22 June 2018 - Second Expert Meeting on Statistical Methodologies for Measuring Illicit Financial Flows Venue: Geneva, Switzerland
12-14 December 2017 - UNODC-UNCTAD Expert Consultation on the SDG Indicator on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) Venue: Vienna, Austria