Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 17 (e) “Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Development”

Jesse Walter
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 26, 2019


On behalf of the U.S. Government, I would like to extend our thanks to the facilitator for his successful shepherding of the biannual review of the resolution on Financial Inclusion for Sustainable Development. The United States appreciated the opportunity to participate in these important discussions over the past couple of weeks.

We are pleased to join consensus on this resolution and refer you to our remarks delivered on November 21 regarding our position with respect to the 2030 Agenda, climate change, Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and New Urban Agenda. We appreciate that the resolution recognizes that “the dignity of the human person is fundamental.”

In addition, with respect to anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorism financing measures, the United States firmly believes they are an important part of ensuring financial inclusion. Concerns about weak (AML/CFT) controls do impact the risk decisions of financial institutions, making access to services harder for many individuals and institutions to obtain. As such, AML/CFT and financial inclusion are complementary, rather than competing goals. Countries must work to improve their AML/CFT legislation and ensure the effective implementation of the same, and financial institutions must improve AML/CFT controls in order for financial inclusion to improve.

With respect to the term illicit financial flows (IFF), while the United States acknowledges its increasing use within the UN system, we continue to have concerns that this term lacks an agreed-upon international definition, and have a strong preference to use the term “illicit finance” instead. Without an agreed upon definition, the resolution should be clearer about the specific underlying illegal activities that produce or contribute to the generation and movement of illicit finance, such as corruption, fraud, and money laundering, and the need for all Member States to focus more concretely on preventing and combating these crimes at home.

Finally, the United States firmly believes member states must also fulfil their domestic and international obligations to prevent corruption from occurring in the first place. It is much more effective to prevent the underlying crimes that lead to illicit finance, than dedicating the significant time and resources needed to enforce the laws once a corrupt act has been committed.

Thank you, this concludes our statement.