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An international seminar held on “Understanding FATF standards for non-profit sector”

On 18th of December, an international seminar on “Understanding FATF standards for non-profit sector” co-organized by Financial Monitoring Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan (FMS) and Open Government Platform of Azerbaijan was held under the aegis of International Centre (ICNL) for Not-for-Profit Law and Empowering Civil Society Organizations for Transparency (ECSOFT) – project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The seminar was attended by more than 40 representatives from the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the State Security Service, the AntiCorruption General Directorate with the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Council on State Support to NGOs and representatives of several NGOs, as well as local and international experts.

Alimammad Nuriyev, head of the Open Government Platform made an opening speech at the seminar and emphasized its crucial role in enhancing knowledge and skills for more effective implementation of measures considered in FATF Recommendations. It was noted that the international seminar will play an important role in enhancing knowledge and skills for more effective implementation of the FATF recommendations.

In his speech, Rovshan Najaf, the Chairman of the Executive Board in FMS highlighted the risks of abusing of NGOs by criminals in the sphere of financing terrorism and measures could be taken by NGOs in this direction. Emphasizing the role of civil society in ensuring sustainable development, increasing transparency and combating corruption, R. Najaf announced that the government has taken systematic measures to meet FATF standards, adopted legislative acts and strengthened monitoring measures within the controlling authorities.

Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Azerbaijan, Mr. Jaydev Singh touched upon the important role of civil society organizations in economic development and the provision of essential social services.

Furthermore, the Vice President of ICNL, Natalia Bourjaily emphasized in her presentation that the vast majority of NGOs in Azerbaijan receive funding from the UN, EU or USAID, that have very strict regulations related to financing terrorism or money laundering and stressed that the government should focus on NGOs within that risk group.

At the event, Sabina Salmanova, Chief department for Registration and Notary System of the Ministry of Justice and Azer Abbasov, head of Legal Department at FMS spoke respectively about obligations of NGOs in AML, and obligations of civil society organizations against terrorism financing.

Further, international experts – Vanja Skoric and Ben Evans underlined the importance of the non-profit sector, provided information on FATF and MONEYVAL, and presented FATF standards and procedures. Meanwhile, topics on FATF Recommendations (especially Rec. 1, 8, 24, 25), immediate Outcome 10, risk assessment methodologies for non-profit sector, evaluation and follow up cycle – what are countries expected to do and how, and stakeholder engagement throughout the cycle were covered. Later, the participants had a discussion on V round evaluation of MONEYVAL and key steps and opportunities for stakeholder engagement.