Following the Money: Illicit Financial Flows and Sustainable Development Goal 16.4

Liz Campbell, Nicholas Lord

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sustainable development and the enhancement of justice and security globally are predicated on the
existence of sufficient and appropriately deployed assets. Mindful of this, and of the misuse of both
public and private wealth, UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.4 (SDG 16.4) seeks to
“...significantly reduce illicit financial … flows.” This chapter critiques how this aim of SDG 16.4 has
been operationalised. We argue that the choice and placement of the term “illicit” is crucial: it can
relate to the finances, the flows, or both, as well as to the people involved, as facilitators or
protagonists, and is expansive enough to encompass criminal, unlawful, and ostensibly legal but
illegitimate or harmful assets, acts, and actors. Moreover, this chapter explores why the movement of
assets is significant, within and between jurisdictions, and how these transfers and transactions
impact on sustainable development and can worsen inequalities. Our attention is on the
conceptualisation, measurement and operationalisation of IFFs in particular and the corresponding
implications for available policy responses in the form of situational interventions as a more plausible
route to understanding and reducing IFFs in the context of promoting SDG16.4.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald Handbook of Crime, Justice and Sustainable Development
EditorsJarrett Blaustein, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Nathan Pino, Rob White
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781787693562
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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