Outcomes of MENAFATF 23rd Plenary meeting To Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, Doha – State of Qatar
MENAFATF 23rd Plenary Meeting to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing was concluded on Thursday,
The Plenary Meeting was held in Doha,State of Qatar, for three consecutive days starting April 26, 2016 and was chaired by the State of Qatar represented by H.E Sheikh Fahad bin Faisal AlThani, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Qatar, Chairman of the National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee and President of MENAFATF.
The Plenary Meeting was attended by a large number of AML/CFT experts fromseventeen Arab States (Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, United Arab Emirates,Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Tunisia, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Iraq,Sultanate of Oman, State of Palestine, State of Qatar, State of Kuwait,Republic of Lebanon, State of Libya, Arab Republic of Egypt, Kingdom of Morocco and Islamic Republic of Mauritania).
The Plenary Meeting was also attended byrepresentatives of several countries and bodies that have observer status(Republic of France, United Kingdom, United States, International Monetary Fund,World Bank, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), United Nations (UN), Egmont Group, Arab Monetary Fundand Eurasian Group).
During the three days preceding the Plenary Meeting, from Saturday until Monday, MENAFATF held the MEWG and TATWG meetings, the FIUs Forum and the NRA Committee meeting as wellas other meetings.
H.E Qatari Minister of Finance, Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, opened the Plenary Meeting with a speech inwhich he welcomed the attendees and participants, highlighted Qatar’s commitment to support MENAFATF and international efforts made to combat moneylaundering and terrorist financing and called for promoting the principles ofintegrity and transparency. He added that Qatar is in the process ofestablishing a specialized training center to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. This center will play a major role in raising awareness and improving the level of operation of all stakeholders locally, regionallyand internationally.
H.E. FATF President, Mr.Je-Yoon Shin, referred in his speech to the basic components of FATF strategyto combat terrorist financing, calling for their constant reinforcement andstressing on the need to implement FATF standards. He also affirmed that the mutualevaluation is an opportunity to benefit from the experiences of the countries under evaluation.
In his speech, H.E. Dr. Abdul Rahman AlHamidy, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund,praised the leading and distinguished role of MENAFATF as well as its concreteefforts and achievements in combating and raising awareness about money laundering and terrorist financing. He also praised the progress made by the Arab countries to comply with the relevant international recommendations and resolutions.He stressed on the Arab Monetary Fund’s aspiration to cooperate with MENAFATF, the Arab countries or any of the observers in order to raise awareness aboutthese issues by organizing training sessions and workshops that contribute inqualifying and building Arab cadres and expertise in this field.
H.E. Sheikh Fahad bin Faisal Al Thani, President of MENAFATF, welcomed the attendees and participants,highlighted the importance of MENAFATF role in combating money laundering andterrorist financing and stressed on the current and future challenges faced bythe countries of the region, especially the growing phenomenon of terrorism andterrorist financing. He called for solidarity and unification of efforts inorder to meet those challenges and protect the region from the dangers thatthreaten the security and stability of the societies and the financial andeconomic systems.
Over a period of three days,the plenary meeting discussed important topics related to MENAFATF work andvarious activities and took a number of decisions in this regard.
Strengthening MENAFATF Efforts to combat Terrorist Financing
The Plenary Meeting reviewedthe proposals of MENAFATF presidency on strengthening efforts to combatterrorist financing by benefiting to a greater extent from Member States’capabilities and experiences, exchanging expertise, supporting Member States’capacities, strengthening cooperation between MENAFATF and other parties,increasing its level of contribution in programs that enhance member states’capacities and capabilities to face such threats, paying optimal attention tothe issue of terrorist financing in the current phase of MENFATF work anddeveloping appropriate mechanisms that enable MENFATF to respond thereto.
In this regard, the topics discussedat the meeting are, identifying the needs of the Member States to combatterrorist financing, coordinating the provision of technical assistance andtraining, and reinforcing the Member States’ compliance with CFT requirementsnamely FATF Recommendations 5 & 6. Typologies topics also should focus onprojects that help identify and understand terrorist financing risks, trendsand methods as well as strengthen available national mechanisms that guaranteeeffective national and international cooperation between local authorities andcounterparts.
Forming an Operational Experts Forum on TF (OFTF)
Within the framework of thepresidency proposals, the plenary meeting approved the establishment of a forumfor operational CFT experts with the purpose of highlighting the role of law enforcement agencies, security services and financial information units. The forum specifically targets experts in combating terrorism and terroristfinancing, based on the accumulated expertise and experiences of those actors andthe information available to them on the most important terrorist entities andorganizations, which will help provide projects with appropriate informationthat eventually strengthen MENAFATF ability to combat terrorist financing. The forum will discuss the operational issues, monitor the latest developments inthis regard and study relevant topics on an ongoing basis as well as makerecommendations and proposals to the plenary meeting. The forum will hold itsfirst meeting in November 2016.
Administrative andorganizational issues
The plenary meeting discussedand adopted 2015 annual report and some working papers on plans, funds andother administrative and organizational aspects.
The plenary meeting concludedwith the observers’ comments who praised MENAFATF efforts to protect the regionfrom ML/TF risks and expressed their readiness to cooperate in this regard.
The 24th plenary meeting willbe held in Doha, State of Qatar in November 2016.