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Through its Office in Brussels UNICRI assists States in addressing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) as well as asset recovery. This work is carried out with the valuable support of the European Union, and in recognition of the importance of providing specialized case-by-case mentoring for States that have been victims of stolen assets which are the product of corruption and organised crime.

UNICRI’s experts – with more than 25 years of experience in tracing, freezing, seizure, confiscation and recovery of assets – have assisted States in recovering well over USD 400 Million, and have assisted in creating the legal and operational frameworks for dedicated Asset Recovery Offices (including the first of its kind in the MENA Region).

Additionally, UNICRI’s technical expertise is at the forefront in assisting States in developing transparent mechanisms for the management and distribution of liquidated assets – modern asset recovery dictates that States strongly consider the distribution of recovered and liquidated assets to high-priority development needs, such as those within the health and education sectors of many countries.

Inhibiting IFFs and using recovered assets to, for example, buy much-needed school books or to pay teachers, nurses and doctors, or to bolster youth employment demonstrates the power and value of asset recovery. In many cases, if States were successful in recovering only 10% of estimated illicit financial flows, this would cover the cost of school meal programmes for children for multiple years, or to build new clinics, hospitals and schools.

Additionally, such recovered assets would, in nearly every country, easily fund programmes aimed at supporting victims of corruption and organised crime (as well as programmes that help vulnerable groups – such as women and adolescents – in reducing their vulnerability to human trafficking, migrant smuggling or radicalisation).

This work furthers UNICRI’s overall objectives of advancing global understanding of crime-related problems; fostering just and efficient criminal justice systems; supporting respect for international instruments and other standards; and facilitating international law enforcement cooperation and judicial assistance; as well as supporting the European Union’s efforts in these important thematic areas. UNICRI’s expertise in this field also directly promotes the adoption by States of UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.