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The Sydney Communique

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Against the backdrop of recent terrorism violence in Egypt, Lebanon and France, on 16-18 November 2015 in Sydney, Australia, the Australian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) AUSTRAC and Indonesian FIU Pusat Pelaporan Dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan Indonesian (PPATK) cohosted the first Southeast Asian Regional Summit to counter terrorism financing. The Summit was opened by Australia's Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on CounterTerrorism, The Honourable Michael Keenan MP, and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security affairs, His Excellency General (Ret) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who together commended the work of FIUs and their partners throughout the region.

The Summit brought together officials and international experts from multilateral organisations and 19 countries, including from outside the region. For the first time in official regional discussions on terrorism financing, representatives from the private sector, academia and independent think tanks also attended the summit to cross-pollinate thinking on new ways to combat this transnational threat.

Based on the outcomes of two days intense discussion and knowledge-sharing, the Summit participants:

Recognise the evolving terrorism financing challenges facing the region, due to the rise of ISIL and foreign terrorist fighters travelling to and returning from the Middle East, regional terror groups affiliating with ISIL, and the spread of youth radicalisation and lone actor and coordinated plots and attacks.

Acknowledge these evolving risks call for fresh ideas and new collaborative approaches, to harness regional capabilities, enhance expertise and support the counter terrorism financing efforts of other regional and international bodies, including the Financial Action Task Force and Egmont Group of FIUs.

Reaffirm commitment to strengthen legal, regulatory and operational frameworks to detect, disrupt and prosecute terrorist financiers including those financing foreign terrorist fighters.

Resolve to improve information sharing across borders, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolutions including 2178 (2014) and the November 2015 G20 Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism. All available networks need to be maximised to foster greater information sharing such as FATF, the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, Egmont, G20, the new Asset Recovery Interagency Network Asia-Pacific (ARIN-AP) and its related regional networks around the world.

Commit to closer multilateral cooperation and overcoming inhibitors to genuine governmentindustry-academic partnerships across the region to protect financial systems and regional security from terrorism and its financiers, including through robust customer due diligence, transaction monitoring and reporting and other strategic preventive measures.

Agree to promote stronger collaboration and innovation in countering terrorism financing through establishing:

  • A project group incorporating Australia, Indonesia and other regional countries to produce the first regional terrorism financing risk assessment. The assessment will develop an enhanced understanding of the drivers behind terrorism financing including ideology and the growing terrorist use of social media for funding as it affects the region. It will help to identify, target and disrupt terrorism's centre of gravity and show where preventive measures can be strengthened. The risk assessment will also guide the Summit's other outcomes towards areas of highest risk and priority
  • A taskforce to develop a regional framework for improved financial intelligence sharing and analysis on terrorism financing that expands upon established bilateral arrangements. The aim is to share information faster regionally, maximise intelligence value and provide earlier warning to detect networks and prevent plots manifesting as attacks. The framework's building blocks will be developed by:
    • A working group to develop a mechanism for regional financial intelligence analyst exchanges among ASEAN and close partner FIUs including Australia, to increase the momentum to build skills and share information and expertise
    • A community of experts to define common standards and identify goals to find ways to capitalise on the data, intelligence, technology and expertise that government and industry can share on terrorism financing. The community will comprise regional government agencies, academia and the private sectors
    • Uniting the expertise and knowledge of regional governments, the private sector and academia to develop educational tools on terrorism financing risks for the communities we serve
    • An AUSTRAC-PPATK coordinated regional forum will be conducted in Indonesia to workshop outcomes from the above initiatives, explore further opportunities for collaborative work and report progress to the 2016 Summit

Determine that to help sustain stronger regional collaboration, the Summit will be an ongoing annual event, with Indonesia to host the next Summit in August 2016.

AUSTRAC and PPATK will jointly produce an intelligence report based on the summit's findings and in-depth discussions. The report will be shared with the international network of FIUs and their investigative partners, to support the global effort to combat terrorism financing.

AUSTRAC and PPATK will also work with regional neighbours to produce a snapshot of current counter-terrorism financing efforts, for gauging progress and changes between the Sydney 2015 summit and the next summit in Indonesia in 2016.

Last modified: 22/02/2016 15:22