Arab Forum on Asset Recovery
The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR) took place in Geneva, from 1st to 3rd November, 2014, for its third meeting, hosted by the Government of Switzerland.
AFAR is an initiative in support of asset recovery efforts by Arab Countries in Transition.
It was established in 2012 and works as a platform bringing together the G7, the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, key global and regional financial centers, as well as countries in the Arab World, to foster international cooperation for the return of stolen assets.
The Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative is closely involved in the organization and running of the Arab Forum, and is supported in its work by a number of international bodies.
Since its inception in 2012, AFAR has addressed the key pressing needs of Arab States in recovering assets, and has served as a forum for practical action and cooperation.
Mobilizing both policy makers and practitioners, it has generated political momentum, raised awareness locally and internationally of effective measures for asset recovery, promoted domestic coordination and facilitated international cooperation on cases. It has also provided training and guidance to increase the capability of law enforcement and other officials.
The first meeting of the Arab Forum (AFAR I) was held in Doha, Qatar in November 2012. The gathering was hosted by the Kingdom of Qatar and co-organized with the United States in its role as 2012 President of the G8. It was attended by over 200 representatives including: Attorneys General, Ministers of Justice, policy makers, judicial officers, prosecutors, investigators, and financial intelligence analysts, as well as other expert practitioners from over 25 countries. AFAR I brought together - for the first time - key individuals, institutions and governments, for an open discussion on the challenges and expectations related to asset recovery in the Arab World.
Following the success of AFAR I, three ‘Special Sessions’ took place from February – September 2013 on different aspects of the asset recovery process: domestic coordination, financial investigations, mutual legal assistance and the role of civil society.
The Arab Forum held its second meeting (AFAR II) in October 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco. The gathering was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and co-organized with the United Kingdom in its role as 2013 President of the G8. It was attended by representatives of 40 countries, territories and international organizations.
AFAR II took stock of the progress that had been made in asset recovery by Arab Countries in Transition, and also set further future objectives for asset recovery work, to be carried out within the framework of the Arab Forum.
The Third Arab Forum 2014 (AFAR III) will follow up on the work of previous gatherings as well as developments made on cases in the past year, and will address the practical steps to further assist the asset recovery process.
The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition
The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition is an international effort launched by the G8 at the Leaders Meeting in Deauville, France in May 2011 to support countries in the Arab World engaged in transitions toward “free, democratic and tolerant societies.”
The Action Plan on Asset Recovery
At Camp David, on the 21 May 2012, the G8 adopted its 'Action Plan on Asset Recovery' within the overall framework of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition. In the plan, the Deauville partnership countries committed to a comprehensive list of actions aimed to promote cooperation, capacity building efforts and technical assistance in support of the efforts of Arab countries in transition in recovering assets diverted by past regimes.
Technical Assistance by StAR
The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) - a joint program of The World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – is a key partner in the Asset Recovery Action Plan and provides support to the Arab Forum. StAR is also actively engaged in assisting Arab countries in transition, in developing strategies, improving interagency coordination, engaging in international cooperation and in facilitating their efforts to recover stolen assets.