Pakistan, on Saturday, called for greater efforts to plug loopholes, which impeded the ability of the international community, to combat illicit financial flows.Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi addressed high-level meeting on International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows at the UN. She added that the illicit financial flows remained a key contributory factor for the economic underperformance of developing countries as well as a major obstacle to poverty eradication. Lodhi pointed out, “Illicit Financial Flows have a catastrophic impact on societies; they stifle opportunities, deny vulnerable people access to infrastructure, and condemn them to a life of inequality and inequity.”She also claimed that despite a large number of institutions and initiatives dealing with illicit financial flows, there still remained significant challenges and gaps in this regard. The ambassador maintained, “These include lack of an agreed definition; difficulties in reliable measurement due to their disguised nature; increasing use of information and communication technologies and crypto-currencies by criminals; inadequate participation of developing countries in multilateral initiatives and their lack of capacity in combating illicit flows.”She added, “Other major hurdles include lack of sufficient political will and familiarity with procedural requirements, secrecy, different evidentiary standards, differences in legal procedures, and delays in responding to mutual legal assistance requests.” Pakistan’s representative further argued that the developing countries were disproportionately affected by capacity constraints and lack of resources to prevent and counter illicit flow of finances.Quoting the UN estimates, Ambassador Lodhi claimed that stemming from criminal proceeds, illicit financial flows amount to round $2.1 trillion every year. This, she continued, was almost equal to the annual financing gap of $2.5 trillion faced by developing countries in investment in core SDG-related sectors.Referring to millions of dollars of Pakistan’s stolen financial resources stashed abroad, Ambassador Lodhi asserted that the country sought international cooperation to add to its intensified domestic efforts. “My government’s firm resolve against corrupt practices calls for a more proactive role by our partners, in line with international legal instruments including the UN Convention Against Corruption,” she concluded.