March 2, 2023 (Bishoftu, Ethiopia): About thirty experts and practitioners from the national institutions of all Member States mandated with the fight against the multiple facets of the financing of terrorism debated from 28 February to 2nd March at a regional forum organized by the IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) on ways and means of strengthening regional cooperation as well as discussed best practices and approaches to tackle the threat.
The IGAD regional Forum on the international legal frameworks and instruments to combat the financing of terrorism was a first of its kind. Its aim was to promote cooperation and stimulate effective coordination on the implementation of the initiatives and commitments relating to the fight against terrorism by the Member States as part of the fulfillment of their international obligations in this area.
Delegates from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda met together to present their countries’ respective efforts in formulating legal frameworks and setting up mechanisms for monitoring, detecting, and dismantling illicit financial flows as potential sources of terrorist financing.
This forum provided a unique opportunity for exchanging substantive knowledge and expertise, while assessing the progress and level of implementation of major international and continental conventions dedicated to the eradication of the financing of terrorism.
The delegates to the forum while providing insights on the efforts of their respective competent national institutions also discussed the urgency on responding to the threat of the financing of terrorism through regionally coordinated and sustained mobilization.
The central concern intensely debated throughout the three days revolved around the effectiveness of the existing legal frameworks and ways and means of strengthening the financial systems of Member States against infiltration by terrorist groups.
The forum was moderated by academic experts and lawyers and succeeded in relevantly raising existing approaches and financial activities involving terrorist groups operating across the IGAD region while highlighting Member States implementation of the international instruments such as United Nations resolutions, international, continental, and regional legal frameworks relating to the fight against the financing of terrorism. Similarly, the strengths and weaknesses of Member States’ financial and regulatory systems was intensely debated by the participants to the forum.
The forum was officially closed by Commander Abebe Muluneh, the Head of Mission of IGAD to Ethiopia and Director of IGAD SSP, who on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, His Excellency Dr Workney Gebeheyu urged IGAD Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism by, inter alia, criminalizing the willful provision or collection of funds for terrorist purposes, and for the set-up of effective mechanisms to freeze funds, financial assets and other related services of individuals involved or associated with terrorism, as well as to prevent those funds from being made available for terrorists.
The forum was conducted with the financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Program.