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General Assembly – High-level Meeting on International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Return

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the High-level Meeting fo the General Assembly on International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Return —

Mr. President,


Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of the European Union

Mr. President,

the subject of today’s debate is of paramount importance for the successful implementation of both the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

As highlighted in previous interventions, illicit financial flows, although difficult to estimate in terms of precise value, certainly have a grave impact on social and economic development on a global scale. Notwithstanding the progress so far achieved, they still seriously hinder the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in developing countries and with particular regard to the most vulnerable sectors of our societies.

This is recognized also in the outcome document of the recent ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development, that Italy had the honor to co-facilitate, and which contains a strong appeal to increase the efforts against illicit financial flows in an effective, coherent and cohesive manner. It is foreseeable that adequate attention will be devoted to the issue also in the context of the High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development scheduled for next September.

Italy fully supports the strengthening of international cooperation in tackling illicit financial flows and promoting asset recovery and return. We are at the forefront of all the international conventions, institutions, fora and initiatives that are most directly committed to this fight: from the UN Conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime to the Financial Action Task Force; from the Global Forum on Asset Recovery to the OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Cooperation in Tax Matters and its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project.

In this context, Italy is actively engaged, both at the national and international level, to promote actions to fight corruption, organized crime and money laundering as well as to create a new global framework for asset recovery.

On the basis of our national experience and know how, Italy is also committed to supporting international partners through specific capacity building and technical support initiatives on asset recovery, particularly in the framework of UNODC programmes. The “Plan de Apoyo” in Central America is an example of this successful engagement.

Let me also mention, in this context, the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed in Rome between the Italian “Guardia di Finanza” and the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, dedicated to the training of law enforcement officials of developing countries.

As clearly illustrated in this morning the fight against illicit financial flows, the recovery and return of stolen asset, , are among the specific targets of SDG 16.and this year’s High Level Political Forum, under the auspices of ECOSOC, will offer a unique opportunity to discuss the state of implementation of this key goal of the 2030 Agenda.

Italy will have the honor to host, from May 27 to May 29, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, the preparatory Conference for the above-mentioned review of SDG 16. This Conference will be organized in partnership with DESA and the International Development Law Organization.

A specific session will be devoted to “combat corruption, illicit flows and organized crime”. Several Ministers of Justice from all regions of the world have already confirmed their attendance and we look forward to this opportunity as a way to keep the momentum towards the strengthening of the international dialogue and cooperation in the fight against illicit financial flows.

I thank you.