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CBRN Proliferation Financing: A Perspective from Southeast Asia - October 2023

 

This groundbreaking report delves into the complexities of proliferation financing, a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of the wider proliferation process. The report is the result of rigorous research, extensive interviews, and data analysis conducted by a dedicated team of experts. It represents a project by UNICRI aimed at enhancing the understanding of risks associated with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapon proliferation financing. The project also strives to raise awareness of and adherence to relevant international norms, ultimately identifying priority actions at national and regional levels to bolster countries' capacities in effectively mitigating proliferation financing risks.

The report is expected to serve as the foundation for subsequent initiatives addressing proliferation financing in Southeast Asia and globally. It is structured into two primary sections:

1. Threat Overview: The first section provides insights into proliferation financing threats in Southeast Asia, with a specific focus on the risk of exposure to proliferation financing. It addresses concerns such as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) procurement schemes, WMDs proliferation networks, and revenue-generating activities designed to evade non-proliferation sanctions programs.

2. Risk Mitigation Measures: The second section outlines proposed measures to mitigate proliferation financing risks.

The report meticulously analyzes Southeast Asia's proliferation financing landscape, considering the region's extensive maritime borders, rapid economic growth, expanding financial markets, and the intricate network of cross-border transactions. These attributes offer opportunities for law enforcement but also vulnerabilities that malicious actors can exploit. The region faces significant security challenges, including the presence of terrorists and related entities capable of carrying out attacks. Moreover, the region serves as a preferred route for various forms of illicit trafficking.

The report further highlights emerging trends, including the exploitation of virtual assets by proliferation financing actors and the rise in revenue-generating cases involving workers from high-level proliferation countries deployed in various jurisdictions worldwide. This underscores the multifaceted nature of proliferation financing, encompassing economic and security concerns with broader social and political dimensions. These threats transcend national borders, necessitating coordinated and robust responses from security actors globally.

One of the objectives of this report is to catalyze discussions among policymakers, financial institutions, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders to devise strategies for countering this pressing concern. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are deemed vital to fortify regional and global frameworks aimed at preventing the misuse of financial systems for proliferation activities.

Disrupting proliferation financing stands as one of UNICRI's foremost programmatic priorities. In addition to offering tailored technical assistance to requesting Member States, the Institute aspires to implement a longer-term engagement plan that envisions the establishment of a UN-led global initiative on disrupting proliferation finance. It's important to note that, until now, assistance in this regard has been fragmented, lacking a comprehensive global program. UNICRI seeks to bridge this gap through the development of a program comprising activities that can be implemented worldwide while addressing critical capacity-building needs.

 

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