The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has said it will formalize its consultation process with the nonprofit organization (NPO) sector. At its June Plenary in Australia, FATF agreed to enhance its engagement with NPOs when workingon combating money laundering and terrorist financing by holding an annual discussion with NPOs on specific issues of common interest. It will also organize ad hoc exchanges on technical matters.

A broad coalition of NPOs has over the past year advocated for a more formalized dialogue with the sector. Recently, in May 2015, the Transnational Nonprofit Organization Working Group on FATF sent a letter urging the FATF to develop formal protocols for deliberation and engagement with the nonprofit sector. This request was a follow-up on the commitment made at a March consultation between NPOs and the FATF in Brussels. “The [current] process is ad hoc and limited in its reach to the global NPO sector,” the working group stated.

Subsequently, key grantmaking organizations sent a follow up letter encouraging the FATF to formalzie their consultation methods with NPOs. “Given the vital contribution NPOs make to human security through humanitarian, development, human rights, conflict transformation and good governance work, a formal consultative process with clearly defined “rules of engagement” would benefit all concerned. This is a critical issue for us because we believe that the interests of NPOs, including foundations, should be on an equal footing to the formal arrangements FATF has in place with the private sector,” key networks stated.

According to both letters, these NPOs were willing to suggest detailed plans regarding the process for consultation and engagement. They encouraged the FATF to develop a structure either as part of the private-sector consultative forum or as a separate NPO consultative forum. A formal consultative process with clearly defined “rules of engagement” [that reflect openness, transparency and free exchange of ideas] on various aspects of FATF work would benefit all concerned,” they suggested.

The NPOs welcome FATF’s new commitment, and noted in a press release that clear rules of engagement should be drafted “to ensure meaningful and inclusive participation of NPOs.”