NPO Engagement with FATF: strategy meeting luncheon

A targeted strategy meeting of European Civil Society networks was held on 17 February 2016 at Philanthropy House, Brussels to discuss current state of affairs, advocacy priorities and future possibilities for engagement vis-à-vis the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its impact on civic space in Europe and beyond.

One of the (unintended) drivers of the shrinking space of civil society is the international counter-terrorism policymaker FATF and its recommendations. Counter-terrorism is used by some governments as a justification to clamp down on civil society. One of the key FATF policy recommendations, Recommendation 8, singles out the NPO sector as being particularly vulnerable to terrorist abuse despite the fact that there is little to prove the fact.  The FATF Plenary meets mid- February and FATF is likely to hold a face-to-face meeting with NPOs in Brussels in April this year. We are now gaining momentum to influence revision of key FATF policy papers. It is hence timely for European Civil Society organisations to jointly strategise and prepare on this important topic.

ECNL, EFC and the Human Security Collective are working together to increase awareness among European civil society organisations (CSOs) of challenges arising from the FATF Recommendations and their implementation at EU and country levels, and to build a broader European coalition to address these challenges more effectively. Our organisations are also part of a global NPO coalition working on FATF, active since 2012.

The main purpose of the meeting on February 17 was to exchange views and build a stronger EU CSO coalition on future engagement points with FATF ahead of the expected NPO consultation meeting in April 2016.

Main points discussed were:

  • FATF – how it works and its impact: brief intro
  • Requests for formalised dialogue with civil society: where we stand
  • FATF and civil society: advocacy priorities for Europe and beyond