On 24 and 25 October 2022, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) held an awareness raising workshop on emerging trends and threats related to proliferation financing for Filipino authorities, followed by consultations with national stakeholders, in Manila.
The workshop aimed to enhance participants’ awareness of proliferation financing risks, especially those stemming from sophisticated evasion techniques, involving cyber-attacks and virtual assets. It also sought to boost their understanding of priority measures to be undertaken to address such vulnerabilities, and to improve compliance with international standards.
Altogether 30 experts from different agencies took part in the event. These included the Anti-Money Laundering Council; the Strategic Trade and Management Office; the Central Bank of the Philippines; the Department of Justice; the National Bureau of Investigation; the Philippine National Police; the Bureau of Fire Protection; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center; and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.
The two-day workshop comprised of both a plenary session with presentations from UNICRI, the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Strategic Trade and Management Office and focus group discussions to further deep dive into some pressing issues. While UNICRI’s intervention focused on global and regional trends (including through the analysis of case studies) related to the threat of proliferation financing stemming from both state and non-state actors, national authorities dwelled on the legal framework as well as on their current roles and mandates vis-à-vis counter proliferation financing (CPF) measures. The focus group meetings discussed the importance of conducting a dedicated proliferation financing risk assessment and priority needs in capacity-building, among other issues.
The event was organized and delivered within the framework of the project “Strengthening capacities to identify and mitigate CBRN proliferation financing risks in Southeast Asia”, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Captain Irvin Hibaler, CBRN Operations and Coordinating Officer at the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center (ATC-PMC), facilitated the organization of the event.
The participants expressed appreciation for the structure and topics of the workshop and welcomed UNICRI’s support in a thematic area that is particularly technical, complex, and sensitive. Authorities requested further assistance, especially in conducting the risk assessment and developing training curricula tailored to the different roles of key stakeholders involved in countering and detecting proliferation financing.
“Strengthening capacities to identify and mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) proliferation financing risks in Southeast Asia” - intends to improve understanding of CBRN proliferation financing risks and to enhance awareness of and compliance with international standards and sanctions. The project stems from UNICRI’s overarching programme on “Strengthening capacities to identify, assess and mitigate CBRN proliferation financing risks and to investigate proliferation financing-related activities”. As such, this initiative will serve as a foundation for a longer term engagement, to be implemented in different regions, which foresees: the development of a proliferation financing risk assessment methodology; the delivery of trainings on the detection, investigation and prosecution of PF activities; and the establishment of inter-agency coordination mechanisms between the governments and private sector.