Since OFSI last blogged on this subject, we have substantially increased the scope and ambition of our international engagement. OFSI is now just over 3 years old. In this time, we have built up a wealth of experience and we want to share it where we can with the competent authorities of our partners and allies around the globe. OFSI’s International Engagement branch is leading this initiative to help promote robust financial sanctions implementation on the world stage, not only through the bilateral and multilateral meetings/events you might expect but also now through technical assistance to other governments.
Why is our international engagement so valuable?
Sanctions work best not just when introduced but when implemented multilaterally. Through our engagement with other countries, OFSI helps to consolidate the effect of the UK’s foreign policy and security aims as well as better protect the integrity of the financial system. This is more important than ever as the UK prepares to implement sanctions legislation post-Brexit. We were delighted that FATF recognised the UK’s work on counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism, through our high MER rating earlier this year. Together these provide a platform for OFSI to help demonstrate internationally that the UK is a leading sanctions power delivering world-class implementation.
So how do we do this?
Over the last financial year, we engaged with over 40 international partners, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Not only are we busy discussing common priorities bilaterally, but our voice is also heard through multilateral groupings such as the UN - where we are strengthening our relationship through the UK Mission - G7+, EU, FATF and private sector conferences. Through these efforts, the subject matter we engage with covers a wide range of key issues from counter-proliferation and counter-terrorist financing to humanitarian matters or support for the maritime industry, to name a few.
Additionally, the past year has seen OFSI take on a new international technical assistance role delivering financial sanctions capacity building presentations and workshops to other governments bilaterally and multilaterally, for example through the creation of a UK-Overseas Territories Financial Sanctions Forum in March. Via this work we are sharing our experiences to help others establish and/or develop their own competent authorities.
In the coming years, we want to build on the foundations we are laying around the world, developing deeper relationships with our partners and allies and convening technical assistance events regionally, including as far afield as Africa and Asia. We are also working with OFSI’s domestic engagement colleagues to identify a wider range of media platforms and products to raise awareness and understanding of financial sanctions so as to make the fullest contribution to the UK’s foreign policy and national security goals.