More needs to be done to combat "loopholes and deficiencies" in the world financial system as part of the fight against terrorism, finance ministers from the G20 group of leading economies said Saturday.
In a communique following a meeting in Shanghai, the G20 officials urged the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to "intensify its work on identifying, analyzing and tackling terrorist financing threats, the sources and methods of funding and the use of funds".
The ministers were "resolved to combat decisively terrorist financing" and would intensify efforts to tackle "all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing", they said, pledging to enhance cooperation and information exchange.
French finance minister Michel Sapin -- whose country has been pushing the issue -- told reporters that action was urgent. "Every day lost, every minute lost, are days and minutes that can be used to plot attacks," he said.
The G20 promises -- which did not include precise details -- came after the head of the FATF said some government responses were still inadequate in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and other threats.
Since the Paris terror attacks in November, when 130 people were killed, around 50 countries have responded to a new call by the FATF -- whose current blacklist includes North Korea, Afghanistan and Syria -- for concrete steps to choke terror organisations' funding, the body's executive secretary David Lewis told AFP.
But he said governments' use of the tools at their disposal was "much lower than it should be given the threat we face".
"Only 36 countries have ever convicted someone for terrorism financing and only 40 have used targeted financial sanctions," Lewis noted ahead of the G20 meeting.
Targeting money flows could exploit a key vulnerability of organisations such as the Islamic State jihadist group given their nature and scale, he added.
"They require substantial amounts of money to be able to operate, because they try to provide some of the services of a state," he said.
Source: Agence France Presse World