World Atlas of Illicit Flows
A new report warns that the illegal exploitation and taxation of gold, oil and other natural resources is overtaking traditional sources of threat finance, such as kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, which fund terrorist and militant groups.
The World Atlas of Illicit Flows, compiled by INTERPOL, RHIPTO – a Norwegian UN-collaborating centre – and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, provides the first consolidated global overview of their significance in conflicts worldwide.
Of the USD31.5 billion in illicit flows generated annually in conflict areas, 96% goes to organized criminal groups, with this money helping fuel violent conflict.
Based on public reports and criminal intelligence, the World Atlas identifies more than 1,000 routes used for smuggling and other illicit flows.
The illicit exploitation of natural/environmental resources, such as gold, minerals, diamonds, timber, oil, charcoal and wildlife, is the single-largest overall category of threat finance to conflicts today, estimated at 38% share of illicit flows to armed groups in conflict. When incomes from these natural resources are combined with their illicit taxation and extortion (26%) by the same non-state armed groups, the figure becomes as high as 64%.