Today, on the sidelines of the 2019 Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, the delegation of Turkmenistan leaded by Batyr Bazarov, Minister of Finance and Economy, had a meeting with David Lewis, Executive Secretary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the development of a system for Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
Let us recall that in 2018, the Financial Monitoring Service under the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan was established, which coordinates activity on combating of money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Financial Monitoring Service is a subdivision of administrative-type financial intelligence, an independent legal entity, a state body implementing state policy related to AML/CFT. Also, the Service monitors transactions with money or other property in order to identify and combat the financing of terrorism. The Service works closely with law enforcement, supervisory, financial and non-financial agencies, which allows in timely manner to identify and remove AML/CFT risks.
It is largely facilitated by the Interdepartmental AML/CFT Commission established in February 2011, which includes representatives of law enforcement and supervisory authorities of the country. This Commission has been given a wide range of powers to coordinate and carry out activity on combating terrorist financing. The head of the Financial Monitoring Service is the head of the Interdepartmental Commission.
In December 2010, Turkmenistan joined the Eurasian Group (EAG) on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, and, in June 2011, Turkmenistan became a full member of the EAG group transformed into an international organization. The EAG is an FATF-style regional body and an Associate Member of the FATF.
In 2017-2018, with the assistance of the World Bank, a National risk assessment to identify the weak sides of the AML/CFT system was conducted in the country, and a draft Report to develop in further an action plan was prepared.
The Action Plan will contain a list of activities that will be aimed at strengthening and enhancing the effectiveness of the national AML/CFT system of Turkmenistan, as well as at improving the quality of both inter-agency and international cooperation.
Turkmenistan is currently in the process of joining the Egmont Group. In this context, during the meeting with the FATF Executive Secretary, measures of assistance in this matter were discussed.
As David Lewis noted, the participation of Turkmenistan in the Egmont Group will help strengthen the effectiveness of the national AML/CFT system and the whole joint work on countering the financing of terrorism. As noted, no state can function effectively unless it makes no efforts to combat corruption and the financing of terrorism, which are a global problem.
According to Lewis, if the measures recommended by the FATF are implemented effectively, national economies would be protected and their competitiveness would increase, and the countries – as a country safe for doing business – would be in a better position to attract foreign direct investment.
In addition, today, Bazarov met with Mathilde Mesnard, Deputy Director of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD. The sides discussed the process of integration of Turkmenistan into the world economy, which is also facilitated by the transition from January 1, 2019 of all enterprises and organizations of Turkmenistan to the system of international financial reporting standards.
In this regard, support of the private sector through preferential taxation, expanding volume of credit, opening preferential credit lines for entrepreneurs and creation of favorable conditions for doing business are of great importance.
According to Matilda Mesnard, the OECD is ready to assist in the development of the financial sector of Turkmenistan, which will allow developing financial markets in the country more actively.
In addition, Turkmen delegation had a meeting with Anthony Cox, Deputy Director of the Environment Directorate of the OECD.
Today, these issues are a priority in the global agenda within the framework of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Water issues are of particular importance for Turkmenistan.
A significant reduction in water resources is forecasted by 2050. At the same time, according to scientists, the need for water will increase, while the water sources are to be reduced. From this point of view, measures taken by Turkmenistan to minimize the effects of climate change were considered.
Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in his speech at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly said: “Development of states, their economy and social sphere as well as the level of well-being and quality of life of the people directly depends on access to water resources and their effective use.”
By steadfastly adhering to those positions, Turkmenistan has always declared that water and energy issues in the region should be resolved on the basis of generally accepted rules of international law, of the consideration of the interests of each country and of active participation of international organizations and primarily of the United Nations.
The Deputy Director of the Environment Directorate of the OECD, praised the water diplomacy of Turkmenistan, which opens opportunities for systemic dialogue on creation and restoration of water sources, their reasonable and rational consumption, as well as the country’s efforts on the Aral problems, noting these areas as promising for future cooperation.