The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) held a three-day expert-level meeting to spotlight pressing issues – including emerging threats and trends – related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) proliferation financing in Southeast Asia.
The event, which took place in Turin, Italy from 14 to 16 March 2023, is one the main outputs of the project “Strengthening capacities to identify and mitigate CBRN proliferation financing in Southeast Asia” that UNICRI is implementing in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Philippines. It is being supported by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The event brought together 24 experts from the three countries of the project’s implementation, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Relevant international organizations (the Group of Experts supporting the 1540 Committee) and think tanks (the Royal United Services Institute and King’s College) also joined the meeting.
The workshop consisted of technical presentations from UNICRI and experts on proliferation financing-related threats and trends; analysis of case studies; scenario-based exercises; and discussions on current capacity-building needs.
The event contributed to improving understanding of the issue and to enhancing awareness of the measures that need to be adopted to mitigate the related threats. The regional format was particularly instrumental in creating an environment of mutual exchange of experiences, good practices and lessons learned among all participating experts.
The comprehensive workshop programme looked at the threat posed by proliferation finance from myriad perspectives. The first day sought to provide an up-to-date overview of emerging trends and risks as well as of evasion techniques adopted by malicious actors, with a particular focus on cyberattacks and virtual assets. The second day focused mostly on assessing challenges facing Member States in Southeast Asia in addressing PF threats. The last day provided an opportunity to showcase lessons learned and good practices, including the importance of conducting a dedicated risk assessment on proliferation financing, and to identify priority actions to mitigate current vulnerabilities.
As a next step, UNICRI will publish a report on risks stemming from proliferation financing in Southeast Asia. The content of the report will reflect the main findings of UNICRI’s national workshops and consultations with authorities in Cambodia, Lao PDR and the Philippines, as well as the results of discussions from the expert-level meeting.
“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.
The initiative is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland