The importance for charities and charity monitoring agencies to engage with policymakers around preventing terrorism financing and money laundering was debated at the annual conference of the International Association of National Charity Monitoring Agencies (ICFO) on 16th June 2017 in Berlin. The EFC was invited as an external expert to present the revised Financial Action Task Force policy Recommendation 8 on the non-profit sector and how its national implementation is monitored via national evaluations. The full-day meeting brought together leaders of institutions that provide independent monitoring and certification of charities, e.g. from Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the Ukraine and the United States. Representatives from China and India presented some challenges and opportunities in their respective countries.

Governments have to take a risk-based approach and identify proportionate and targeted measures to address potential risks of abuse of the non-profit sector. Participants were informed about the FATF country evaluation process and how they could engage around this. In addition, the conference looked at the overall changing space for civil society. Civil society was identified by Rupert Strachwitz of Maecenata Foundation as not passing in fashion – it clearly is there for the long term, though its space is challenged by several governments. Civil society fulfils important functions in societies such as service provision, self help and community building, as well as advocacy and watchdog services. The division of labour between the different sectors: State/Market and civil society may need rethinking since the boundaries and roles are less clear cut.  

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