EOCN holds a Countering the financing of proliferation summit

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The Executive Office for Control and Non-proliferation (EOCN) holds “countering the financing of proliferation” summit, prepared in cooperation with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). The event was attended by a group of experts and specialists in addition to delegations from the GCC countries, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Serbia and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The forum was also joined by representatives from the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa (MENAFATF), government sector institutions from federal and local regulatory authorities, private sector institutions, and more than 3,700 participants through video communication technology.  The summit highlighted the importance of building a strong and well-established system to combat financial crimes, particularly terrorist financing crimes and arms proliferation through raising competencies and qualifying capabilities of all competent authorities, whether investigative or regulatory agencies or financial information units to identify and detect the ways and methods of financing proliferation and evading sanctions and assessing their risks.  

His Excellency Talal Al Teneiji, Director of the EOCN, said in his speech opening the summit:

"One of the priorities that the UAE focuses on is the system of combating financial crimes, especially related to terrorist financing crimes and the spread of arms. Therefore, the UAE institutions, including the Executive Office for Control and non-proliferation, are keen to promote cooperation and coordination in the implementation of annual plans to ensure the sustainability of the rehabilitation and upgrading of the capabilities and efficiency of the employees of competent authorities, whether investigative or supervisory bodies or Financial Information Unit. This, however, will enable such entities to work side by side as an impenetrable fence to protect the financial system from exploitation in the passage of any funds or assets for the purposes of carrying out illegal acts that may harm the national economy and threaten the security and safety of society".

He added: "the fight against crimes of financing the spread of arms has recently received great international attention in order to preserve international security and peace, and in order to achieve this, our countries, as we know, must implement the measures contained in the UN Security Council resolutions, especially those related to Resolution 2231 and Resolution 1718. This also includes the international standards issued by the FATF, especially those related to the seventh recommendation and the eleventh direct result, which established firm rules, commencing from the establishment of mechanisms for the application of targeted financial sanctions with the aim of freezing funds and assets of persons and entities contained in the UN lists without delay, enhancing information sharing at the national and international levels to combat all types of financial crimes, including the financing of arms proliferation, and ending with due diligence procedures and identification of clients by the private sector and the development of internal controls and electronic systems necessary to monitor operations and ensure that they are not linked to illegal acts".

Al Teneiji explained that during the past years, the UAE has taken pioneering steps in updating the legislative and operational frameworks necessary to ensure compliance with international requirements in the field of combating the financing of the proliferation of arms and the application of targeted financial sanctions, including the issuance of Law No. 43 of 2021 on goods subject to  non-proliferation ban, the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 74 of 2020 on the terrorism lists system and the application of Security Council resolutions related to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and its financing, stopping the spread of arms and its financing, and related resolutions. This is besides the development of guidelines for  government and private sectors to detect the financing of arms proliferation and evasion of sanctions, framing the roles of concerned national authorities in controlling import and export, especially of dual-use goods, in addition to the efforts of security agencies to investigate proliferation financing issues and punish perpetrators, and enhancing the role of the concerned regulatory authorities in following up financial and non-financial institutions and ensuring their compliance with national legislations and the requirements of Security Council resolutions. This is done through the immediate freezing of funds and assets belonging to persons and entities included in the domestic terrorism list and the United Nations consolidated sanctions list, and the reporting of any suspicious operations that may be related to the financing of arms proliferation or evasion of sanctions.

The director of the EOCN Office stressed that national cooperation and the sharing of financial information is an essential pillar to combat all financial crimes. Al Teneiji also added that the partnership between the public sector and the private sector and the holding of periodic meetings are fruitful in enhancing the effectiveness of systems to deprive the financiers of the spread of arms from benefiting from funds and assets to support illegal activities related to the support and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

During the sessions of the summit, experts and specialists discussed the stages of financing the spread of arms, including the collection, transfer and use of funds to support weapons of mass destruction programs, the role of the private sector in compliance with Security Council resolutions and international standards issued in the field of combating the financing of the spread of arms, customer identification procedures and the development of internal controls necessary to detect suspicious operations and evade sanctions, and methods of effective communication between the government and the private sector in order to ensure the compliance of financial institutions, businesses and designated non-financial professions to reduce such risks.

In this regard, the UAE reviewed its experience in the application of targeted financial sanctions and control over dual-use materials.