Posted on 23 May 2023
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are eroding the rule of law, governance and state institutions in the Western Balkans. IFFs hamper the region’s economic development, as they deprive the licit economy of resources needed for sustainable development, investment in infrastructure, health, schools, social assistance and public security.
There appears to be a limited understanding and awareness of IFFs across the region among stakeholders, including government officials, civil society and the private sector. There is little data available on IFFs across the Western Balkans and government information on the topic is difficult to access. Mutual evaluation reports by the Financial Action Task Force and the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (FATF/MONEYVAL) give a good overview of key vulnerabilities in each country in the region. However, they are technical, lengthy and not regularly updated.
With the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime is coordinating the project ‘Combatting Illicit Financial Flows in the Western Balkans’. One of the flagship components of the project is the design of an online tool to raise awareness on IFFs; offer information on issues highlighted in the FATF/MONEYVAL mutual evaluation reports; track the implementation and effectiveness of government measures; highlight the role that civil society can play to counter IFFs, and provide actionable policy recommendations.
To discuss the initiative’s methodology and create a user-friendly tool with relevant information, we are conducting online consultative meetings with different groups of stakeholders. On 24 May 2023, we will have a consultative meeting with stakeholders from the academic community. If you are a scholar interested in IFFs or a researcher working on this topic, this is an opportunity to share your insight and experience.