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What is Counter-Terrorism Financing?

Terrorist Financing involves the solicitation, collection, or provision of funds with the intention that they may be used to support terrorist acts or organisations. Funds may stem from both legal and illicit sources. To be precise, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism says a person commits the crime of financing terrorism "if that person by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully, provides or collects funds with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out" an offence within the scope of the Convention.

So the primary goal of individuals or entities involved in financing terrorism is not necessarily to conceal the sources of the money, but to conceal both the financing and the nature of the financed activity.

What is Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF)?

The term 'Counter-Terrorism Financing' specifically refers to all policies and pieces of legislation that force financial institutions to proactively monitor their clients in order to prevent terrorism financing.

A great example of CTF in action can be seen in the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288) is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional, and international efforts to counter terrorism. Through its adoption by consensus in 2006, all UN Member States agreed to a common strategic and operational approach to fighting terrorism.

The strategy sends a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestations. It also resolves to take practical steps, individually and collectively, to prevent and combat terrorism. These practical steps include a wide array of measures ranging from strengthening state capacity to counter terrorist threats to better coordinating UN System’s counter-terrorism activities.

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is composed of 4 pillars, namely:

  • Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism;
  • Measures to prevent and combat terrorism;
  • Measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard;
  • Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

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