On 19 and 20 March, Italy, The United States and Saudi Arabia co-chaired the first meeting of the ISIL Counter-Financing Work Group (ICFG) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The representatives of 26 countries and international organisations met to analyse the funds flowing toward ISIL, share intelligence sources and coordinate efforts to counter the terrorist organisation’s financial and economic activities. A Plan of Action was adopted at the end of the meeting.
The Work Group’s goals are:
- Prevent ISIL’s use of the international financial system, including the unregulated transfer of remittances;
- Counter ISIL’s extortion and exploitation of economic assets and resources — oil, agricultural products, archaeological and cultural treasures, bank deposits — found in or that pass through Daesh territory or come from the surrounding area;
- Interrupt the flow of funds coming from abroad, including those traceable to external donations, foreign fighters or kidnappings;
- Impede Daesh’s ability to lend financial assistance or material support to terrorist groups located in other parts of the world and affiliated with them.
The Plan of Action adopted by the (ICFG) identifies and establishes concrete measures that the coalition members — and potentially the entire international community — will adopt in an effort to drain the sources of income, capacity to transfer funds and, more in general, the economic stability of Daesh. It envisages the more effective gathering and sharing of information, outlines new counter-measures, identifies better forms of technical assistance, coordinates the implementation of sanctions and, finally, encourages national anti-money laundering and terrorism financing measures to be strengthened by involving the private sector.
The Work Group acts in complete compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions concerning ISIL and other terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and al-Nusra, active in Iraq and Syria.
The establishment of the ICFG falls within the framework of anti-ISIL Coalition efforts to strengthen coordination among member states along a series of strategic lines of action. The Work Group will meet regularly to consult on ISIL counter-finance efforts under way. The next meeting will be held in Saudi Arabia in the first half of May 2015.
The Work Group members, in addition to the Italian, U.S. and Saudi Arabian co-chairs, include the following countries and international organisations:
Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Qatar, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, The United Kingdom, The European Union (through the EEAS) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Italian delegation is co-chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.