Explanation of Position on a Second Committee Resolution on Combating Illicit Financial Flows

Jenni Kennedy
U.S. Adviser to the Second Committee
New York, New York
November 22, 2022


The United States appreciated the opportunity to participate in these important discussions over the past weeks and is pleased to join consensus on this resolution. The United States strongly supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and particularly its emphasis on issues such as transparency, rule of law, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth — all issues that are relevant to this resolution. However, some of the language in this resolution undermines our ability to work constructively to address these challenges.

The international framework for asset recovery is primarily outlined in the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This important treaty prescribes the measures States parties must adopt and implement to successfully detect, restrain, and confiscate the proceeds of crime. Unfortunately, this resolution mischaracterizes and misinterprets many of these obligations. The United States therefore reiterates that nothing in this resolution changes or nullifies the existing asset recovery treaty obligations; obligations that the United States takes very seriously.

Additionally, the United States expresses its concern the resolution places an overemphasis on asset return to the detriment of other integral parts of the asset recovery process. Countries are only successful in the asset recovery when they have the sufficient political will and capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption crimes domestically. Member States should focus their time and attention on supporting and encouraging all Members to pursue their own asset recovery cases domestically.

The UNCAC Conference of States Parties (COSP) serves as the UN’s lead body promoting anti-corruption and related anti-crime policy and is the appropriate venue for relevant experts to consider issues addressing the recovery and return of the proceeds of these crimes. This resolution undermines the UNCAC COSP’s role in leading discussion at the global level. Calls for a new report by the UNGA Secretary General are inappropriate. We reiterate longstanding concerns that language in this resolution undermines our ability to work together constructively to address money laundering, corruption, and other related crimes.

Finally, we regret that one Member State could not accept long-standing precedent language welcoming the Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR) and its Communique. The Global Forum for Asset Recover Principles adopted at the Forum recognized that transparency and accountability are essential in the asset return process. We will continue to work with all willing partners to reaffirm the important role that GFAR Principles can play in the asset return process.

Thank you.