Tbilisi Principles: Ways to Maintain Financial Integrity while Mobilizing Humanitarian Aid

News | Open Governance and Anti-Corruption | Article 11 November 2022

Millions of people have been trying to mobilize humanitarian aid after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The role of civil society was incremental in this process. The war also impacted the Eastern Partnership countries. Emerging crises and civil society’s relief efforts demonstrated that similar solidarity actions might be hindered due to regulations avoiding different risks. These regulations imply those laws and rules aim to ensure transparency of financial systems and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and other forms of illicit financing. Therefore it is of great importance to find a proper balance, which is not easy to achieve. However, existing challenges and new developments showed that in times of crisis that balance may shift, and temporary tolerance to more risk is acceptable in order to facilitate vital humanitarian action. At the same time, if this balance must shift, it is best that it shifts quickly, and in a planned and deliberate way.


The mentioned issues are covered by the so-called “Tbilisi Principles”, which address various sectors and suggest recommendations based on their work and competencies. In particular, the document includes suggestions for public sector/government, private sector/financial institutions, donors, and civil society representatives, as well as the Financial Action Task Force and European Union.


So-called “Tbilisi Principles” were elaborated during the regional event held in Tbilisi, from 7th to 9th June 2022 by the EU Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) Global Facility. The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) was the local partner of the event. The main topic of discussion was the consequences of the Ukraine invasion on the AML/CFT regime for NPOs in the Eastern Partnership countries.


The hybrid event was attended by 60 representatives of civil society from the Eastern Partnership and EU, representatives of the European Delegation, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), and The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), moreover, Bank Association of Europe and other private sector representatives.


Tbilisi Principles were drafted by civil society organizations from across the Eastern Partnership region with the facilitation and participation of international organizations and experts.  



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