Distinguished Members of today’s Panel,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to be opening this important event for which I thank the representatives of Turkey and  Benin. I also thank UNDP, UN DESA, UN ECA, the South- South Cooperation Unit and the government of South Africa for contributing to this opportune event which gathers experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss the issues of Illicit Financial Flows from LDCs, which is of great relevance for LDCs and thus needs to receive adequate attention at this conference. As you know the aim of these special events is to contribute to the concrete deliverables of this Conference.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
We are encouraged by the increasing awareness and attention that the subject matter of illicit financial out-flows from LDCs is receiving today. The fight against corruption, including the transfer of illicit funds, the return of such funds and stronger cooperation to eliminate money laundering has to be a top priority of the international community.  To date, no specific international regulatory mechanism exists for monitoring and curbing the transfer of illicit funds and the laws of individual nations seem not sufficient to combat this growing problem. 
 
This special event gives us a unique opportunity to take stock of feasible, workable solutions, and contribute to creating a truly global instrument to address the menace of illicit transfer of funds especially in the LDCs who are most likely to suffer greatly from this problem. It is very important from my point of view that this event will also discuss the linkages between the illicit capital and the financing for development agenda.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Illicit financial flows including its attendant problems of money laundering and tax evasion and the difficulties of identifying the sources of these funds are becoming very critical issues in most LDCs. Money laundering, which is the process by which the origins of funds from illegal enterprises are concealed through a variety of methods including offshore havens and legitimate businesses has a negative economic impact on most businesses and government entities. In addition, money laundering is a common element in many fraud, corruption and terrorist financing cases. Despite the improvement of international laws and regulations against anti- money laundering processes, many LDCs are still confronted with the difficulties of evolving practical measures to address this problem, given their underdeveloped financial markets and lack of capacity to enforce regulations.
 
The need to combat corruption at all levels is underlined at various international meetings, including the Monterrey Consensus and will also feature in the Istanbul Programme of Action. However, recent reports including the report of the Eminent persons for this Conferencepoint out that corrupt practices seriously inhibit effective resource mobilization and allocation, absorbing resources meant for vital economic and sustainable development that are aimed at reducing poverty. It is estimated that the illegal funds held abroad could wipe out external debt, plug the fiscal and trade deficits.
 
The draft PoA contains a concrete call for implementing measures to curtail illicit financial flows at all levels, enhancing disclosure practices and promoting transparency in financial information. It also calls for implementing additional measures to prevent the transfer abroad of stolen assets and to assist in the recovery and return of such assets, in particular to their countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption;
 
In an effort to reverse that trend, international organizations have put several measures in place to fight corrupt practices. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has intensified its work against money laundering and is also expediting its offshore financial centre assessment programme. It has increased technical assistance to Member States.
 
In addition, research by the watchdog Global Financial Integrity indicates that political instability, rising income inequality, and pervasive corruption are some of the structural and governance issues that could be driving illicit capital from many developing countries. In this regard, the GFI recommended that increasing transparency in the global financial system was critical to reducing illicit financial outflows.
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is argued that economic growth will be much higher in most LDCs if Governments brought back illegal funds from abroad and stamped out corruption in government
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I see a full programme ahead of us, with a very respectable panel to elaborate on the issue of illicit financial flows from LDCs and I challenge you to explore the various factors that continue to induce illicit financial flows, the social and economic costs to LDCs and especially to identify practical deterrents which LDCs could readily embrace in their development programmes.
 
I thank you and wish you success in your deliberations.