AML/CFT joins international effort to combat climate crimes through law enforcement at COP28: Hamid AlZaabi

The Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) of the UAE is participating in the international initiative to enforce laws regarding climate crimes at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), its Director-General Hamid AlZaabi said.

This initiative is led by the Ministry of Interior and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Al Zaabi added.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the COP28, he emphasised that the illicit wildlife trade, a global market valued at an estimated $200 billion annually according to the World Bank, poses a significant threat to biodiversity.

He emphasised additional risks to the green transition arising from corruption, fraud, and counterfeit goods, stressing the necessity of remaining vigilant in addressing these issues.

Al Zaabi called for redoubled efforts to confront challenges stemming from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and its associated transformations. These challenges wil
l require robust international cooperation, effective partnerships with the private sector, renewed commitment, adequate resources, and prioritising systems that sustainably and continuously combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Al Zaabi informed that last week witnessed the inaugural ‘Risks 4.0’ forum as part of the Abu Dhabi Financial Week, under the auspices of the Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing.

He added that the addition of such a forum to examine financial crime risks within the context of the 4IR is timely and of significant importance to the international community engaged in combating financial crime.

He highlighted the adoption of the term “Fourth Industrial Revolution” by the World Economic Forum to signify the current era of advanced communication, analytics, automation, and advanced manufacturing technology.

He pointed out that financial crime represents a global scourge costing the global economy around $2.1 trillion, equivalent to or surpas
sing the annual gross domestic product of large economies and G20 nations.

Al Zaabi further highlighted that this alarming figure excludes the vast sums lost to corruption, tax evasion, and cybercrime. He emphasised the extensive harm inflicted by criminal activities, ranging from drug and human trafficking to environmental crimes fueled by climate change. “The critical question we must now confront,” Al Zaabi declared, “is whether the Fourth Industrial Revolution will exacerbate the dangers of financial crime or serve as a force multiplier in the fight against it. The safety of the global financial system hangs in the balance, alongside the health of our economies and the fundamental right of citizens to live free from crime.”

Al Zaabi underscored that collaborative efforts, as exemplified by last week’s ‘Risks’ forum, are key to mitigating the risks of the 4IR and unlocking its immense development and investment potential.

He added that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by three key trans
formations in technology, energy, and the global system, pointing out that these three transformations evidently have a tangible impact on how financial crimes are committed and how they are countered.

He pointed out that the world is witnessing a significant technological shift, with the adoption of new payment systems and the innovation of financial products online, such as “buy now, pay later” services, metaverses, and virtual assets, each contributing to transforming the financial system.

He emphasised that the response to these transformations has been at the required level, as a study conducted by Juniper Research estimates that global spending on software providing tools to prevent financial crimes will exceed $28.7 billion by 2027, compared to $22.1 billion in 2023.

Al Zaabi pointed out that new technologies, while offering valuable tools for law enforcement, also present opportunities for criminals, evidenced by the recent rise in cybercrime against businesses and individuals. He stressed that AI,
VR, and machine learning, despite their dual nature, can be harnessed to our advantage if used strategically.

He pointed out that global efforts have begun to bear fruit, particularly in the realm of cryptocurrencies. According to the ‘Chainalysis’ platform, flows of cryptocurrencies to known illicit entities decreased by 65% between January and July of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

Source: Emirates News Agency