The UN Security Council has ordered countries to step up the fight against terror financing by ensuring they have laws to make it a serious crime. Unanimously adopting the French-drafted resolution, it called on nations to "ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses" to prosecute those who collect funds or provide economic resources to terror organisations or terrorists.
The resolution, which can be enforced with sanctions, also urges countries to establish financial intelligence units to strengthen efforts to track terrorism financing and to share information on their investigations.
The binding resolution was drafted under chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which means it can be enforced with sanctions. This is the first standalone measure dedicated specifically to countering the financing of terrorism.
India, which has been pushing for action against countries that support terror in its offensive against Pakistan, welcomed the move but said effective implementation was key.
Syed Akbaruddin, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, called India a "willing partner" in the endeavour but also hit out at Pakistan in a reference to "serial offenders" who are apologists for terrorists.
"Terrorists are going to be ever more creative in finding ways to violate the rulebook. Also, the unfortunate reality is that States who are apologists for terrorists will continue to provide alibis to justify their actions and inaction too, as was done by a serial offender earlier today," Mr Akbaruddin said at the UN, adding that the world body collectively needs to do more and do it much more effectively.
Akbaruddin later tweeted: "New milestone adopted by @UN to Counter Terrorist Financing. Unfortunately, States who are apologists for terrorists will continue to provide alibis to justify their actions & inaction too."
He welcomed the recognition in the UN resolution of the essential role of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which can ratchet pressure on more than 50 countries to pass new legislation on countering terror financing.
Marshall Billingslea, president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which combats money-laundering and terror financing, said less than a fifth of countries were applying laws that prosecute suspected terror financiers as criminals. Billingslea said the resolution would also contribute to halting ransom payments for kidnappings by terror groups, which have become a major source of funding.
"States must not allow hostage-takers or terrorists to benefit from ransom payments," Billingslea told the council. "This is crucial, in particular as kidnapping for ransom has become the major funding source used by the remnants of Daesh around the world," he told the council, referring to the Islamic State group.