Terrorist Financing


The importance of combating terrorist financing

Terrorists need money and other assets, for weapons but also training, travel and accommodation to plan and execute their attacks and develop as an organisation. Disrupting and preventing these terrorism-related financial flows and transactions is one of the most effective ways to fight terrorism. Not only can it prevent future attacks by disrupting their material support, the footprints of their purchases, withdrawals and other financial transactions can provide valuable information for ongoing investigations.

Countering terrorism financing is therefore an essential part of the global fight against terror threat. As terrorists and terrorist groups continue to raise money with use of various means, countries must make it a priority to understand the risks they face from terrorist financing and develop policy responses to all aspects of it.



Terrorist Financing Operational Reports brochure

FATF’s global efforts on combating terrorist financing

Combatting terrorist financing has been a priority for the FATF since 2001. However, in 2015, the scope and nature of terrorist threats globally intensified considerably, with terrorist attacks in many cities across the world, and the terrorist threat posed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), and by Al-Qaeda and their affiliated terrorist organisations.

Since then, the terrorism threats have continued to evolve, from large terrorist organisations, to returning terrorist fighters and right-wing extremists. Despite its loss of territory, ISIL continues to have access to resources enabling it to carry out or inspire terrorist attacks around the world. Al-Qaeda and affiliate terrorist organisations continue to pose threats. Funds flow cross-border to providing resources for nationally designated organisations, and many jurisdictions continue to suffer from persistent attacks from small cells and radicalised lone actors, drawing inspiration from a range of dangerous ideologies.

The FATF plays a central role in global efforts in combatting terrorist financing, through its role in setting global standards to combat terrorist financing, assisting jurisdictions in implementing financial provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on terrorism, and evaluating countries’ ability to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute the financing of terrorism. Yet many countries have not yet implemented the FATF Standards effectively. They do not understand the nature of TF risks they face, nor have effective means to combat them. 

The FATF Strategy on Combating Terrorist Financing sets out the broad objectives for FATF’s work in this area. Under this strategy, the FATF, in close collaboration with the regional FATF-style regional bodies and other partners such as the UN, the FATF has completed work to support countries around the world in combatting terrorist financing.


Improve and update the understanding of terrorist financing risks, in light of the dynamic way in which the risks are changing in different regions around the world. The understanding of risk is a key part of jurisdictions' counter-terrorist financing regime, as understanding the risks allows countries to allocate resources to detect or disrupt terrorist financing.


Ensure that the FATF Standards provide the framework for countries to be able to identify and disrupt terrorist financing activity. Key recent revisions have included the explicit inclusion of the need to criminalise the financing of travel for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, preparation of or participation in, terrorist acts, or providing or receiving terrorist training.


Ensure countries are appropriately and effectively implementing the FATF Standards, to identify and disrupt terrorist financing activity.
This includes guidance (both public and confidential) to help public and private sectors effectively implement these tools.


Identify and take measures in relation to any countries with strategic deficiencies for terrorist financing. Global safeguards to combat terrorist financing are only as strong as the jurisdiction with the weakest measures, with terrorist financiers able to circumvent weak AML/CFT controls to successfully move assets to finance terrorism through the financial system. A key objective of the FATF is to continually identify jurisdictions with significant weaknesses in their AML/CFT regimes, and to work with them to address those weaknesses.


Promote more effective domestic coordination and international cooperation to combat the financing of terrorism. This includes the FATF working closely with the FATF Regional bodies, and other key partners such as the UN.


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