2 February 2020

Philanthropy Advocacy raises awareness around the new money laundering and terrorism financing policy

The Philanthropy Advocacy (DAFNE and EFC) team organised in early 2020 a series of training’s and information sessions on how philanthropy can engage around money laundering and terrorism financing policies.

One of the sessions was held during PEXforum2020, a conference hosted by DAFNE and AEF in Madrid, Spain on 23 – 24 January 2020. Philanthropy Advocacy together with the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) and WINGS dedicated a session to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and how CSOs can get involved if money laundering and terrorism financing policy are affecting their operating space.

FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objective of the organisation is to set the standards, and promote the implementation of, legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

FATF has developed a series of recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, which are not only followed by the national governments of the European Union but are also implemented by the European Union in its own supranational legislation to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Even though the FATF is not a legislator per se, it is a powerful global framework setter and conducts regular detailed country evaluations based on compliance with its recommendations, with non-compliance often having a negative impact on the country in question. However, in the process of evaluating a country, CSOs are given an opportunity to engage when the evaluator’s team in order to provide information and feedback on the situation in the country.

The aim of the session was to raise awareness of the worrying trends and increased restrictions facing CSOs/philanthropy globally, especially due to the tightening of AML/CFT policies, which also cover CSOs. Participants attending the session were able to exchange with the people behind the FATF country evaluations; on the way the meetings are conducted and how philanthropy and CSOs can prepare for onsite visits. The session was particularly helpful for participants from those countries which are in the middle of the FATF evaluation process, which is the case for Germany and The Netherlands in 2020.

Participants were also provided with further information on European and global initiatives regarding FATF, including the Global NPO Coalition on FATF, which has been set up to ensure that civil society is effectively engaged with in the debate on anti-money-laundering and combating terrorism financing.

As money-laundering and countering terrorism financing is one of the major issues currently affecting the CSO operating environment globally, Philanthropy Advocacy aims to raise awareness among the wider audience. Therefore, Hanna Surmatz, spoke about FATF during a webinar Spotlight On: Enabling Environment experiences from the WINGS networks hosted by WINGS. The webinar was organised to showcase the experiences of engagement regarding the enabling environment for civil society, as seen in the WINGS publication Impact Case Studies: Promoting an enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society, featuring case studies from different countries that bring to the spotlight various experiences that often remain behind the scenes.

During the webinar Hanna introduced the Global NPO Coalition on FATF, which advocates on behalf of 130 philanthropic and civil society organisations to engage with FATF. From 2015 to 2017 the coalition led a project to help analyse the impact of FATF policy on the NPO sector and developed concrete proposals alongside an advocacy strategy to improve the situation. Hanna also presented on the advocacy achievements of the Global NPO Coalition, that saw FATF issue an ad hoc revision to the text of recommendation No 8, that improved the situation for NPOs and also saw CSOs get into a formalised dialogue with FATF and gain 4 seats on FATF Private Sector Consultative Forum, one of which is reserved for philanthropy.


Image courtesy of the FATF Platform