G-7 Agrees on New Action Plan to Combat Financing for Terrorists

  • Four practical measures to bolster global cooperation
  • French finance minister Sapin says ‘now is time to act’

The world’s major industrialized nations have agreed on a new set of measures to target channels used to finance terrorism around the world.

The agreement comes after finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven economies held two days of meetings in Sendai, northern Japan.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G7 meet in Sendai.

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Planned new measures include enhancing G-7 information exchange and cooperation, assessing appropriate changes to international standards on counter-terrorist finance, ensuring the best use of financial sanctions and reinforcing the work of the Financial Action Task Force, according to an action plan released at the meeting’s conclusion.

"Now is the time to act to fight the financing of terror," French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters in Sendai. Sapin and U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne have been leading the push for agreement on the new measures.

The agreement backs up a similar strategy by the larger Group of 20 nations and comes after the disappearance of an EgyptAir plane with 66 people on board sparked concern that a deliberate act may have knocked it from the sky. 

Global institutions including the G-7, G-20 and International Monetary Fund are stepping up efforts to clamp down on terrorist financing after deadly attacks in Paris and elsewhere galvanized leaders to act. Financial institutions around the world have been forced to ramp up scrutiny of transactions as regulators increase oversight and prosecute banks for dealing with terror groups or sanctioned nations.

‘Life Blood’

“As finance is the life blood of terrorist groups, the focus on tracking the financial flows and creating the mechanisms for dismantling the financial infrastructure of both Islamic State and their associates is vital," said Rohan Gunaratna, who runs the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Small amounts of cash, often used to support terrorism inside Europe, will also be targeted under the new agreement. Authorities have been targeting groups such as the Islamic State, who analysts say have been smuggling the proceeds of oil sales across borders to fund their terror campaign in Iraq and Syria.

France and the U.K. will work with other G-7 countries to consider how to implement the measures, which may then be considered as part of a wider set of commitments on terrorism at the leaders’ summit on the Japanese island of Ise-Shima next week.

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