UNDP Welcomes Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) Initiative

July 8, 2024
FAST Initiative
Photo: Envato / Stevano Vicigor

New York —The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is pleased to announce the integration of the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) initiative into its Sustainable Finance Hub, working in collaboration with the Business and Human Rights Initiative. This transition, following five successful years at the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), positions FAST for further expansion and increased country-level impact in the fight against modern slavery. 

Dominique Hasler, Liechtenstein's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sports noted: “We are embarking on a new journey with Liechtenstein’s flagship project for the SDGs – the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) Initiative – and beginning a new partnership with our friends from UNDP. I am convinced that we will continue to make significant progress in our common endeavor.  It is my hope that others will join us in support of the next phase of FAST, to eradicate slavery and trafficking by 2030 – once and for all.” 

"After five years of growth, this transition will contribute to strengthening the implementation of FAST's work on the ground, in alignment with the SDGs," said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. "By moving to UNDP's Sustainable Finance Hub, we aim to galvanise private sector power to end modern slavery, affecting an estimated 50 million people and generating over US$236 billion in illicit earnings. We commend UNU-CPR for their impressive work and look forward to enhancing that impact with FAST's partners."

FAST has emerged as a leading resource for advocates shaping conversations about the critical role finance can play in combating modern slavery. The initiative provides rigorous analysis, evidence-based approaches, and tailored tools and training. UNDP's extensive in-country networks, expertise, and profile offer significant opportunities for further expansion as the modern slavery challenge worsens. 

Key achievements of FAST include: 

  • Providing free courses completed by over 55,000 anti-money laundering professionals. 
  • Serving as a knowledge partner to investor coalitions with a combined US$27 trillion in assets under management. 
  • Facilitating access to finance for nearly 4,500 survivors through the Survivor Inclusion Initiative
  • Reaching nearly 130,000 financial industry professionals worldwide.  

David Passarelli, Director of UNU-CPR, added: "FAST's reach and networks have grown impressively since 2019. By leveraging UNDP's global network of in-country offices and talent pool, the initiative can target a larger and more diverse group of people. UNDP's expertise and enthusiasm for this work will accelerate engagement with the financial sector and survivors as the FAST initiative enters a new, third phase." 

The integration of FAST into UNDP's Sustainable Finance Hub will accelerate engagement with the financial sector and survivors. FAST will benefit from UNDP's extensive financial, business, and sustainable development expertise; access to investors; and South-South exchanges on sustainable finance practices. 

Partners critical to FAST’s success over the past five years remain committed to the initiative’s mission.  

The transition of FAST to UNDP will be formally announced on July 8 at an event during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The event, titled "Mobilizing the Financial Sector Against Slavery and Trafficking:  Next Phase of the Implementation," will focus on crucial aspects of the financial sector's role, including compliance with anti-slavery laws, human rights due diligence, survivor engagement in risk management, effective remedies for survivors, and innovative prevention strategies such as financial inclusion for survivors. This comprehensive approach underscores the financial sector's critical role in combating modern slavery and human trafficking. 

Media Contact:

Jeanne Finestone, jeanne.finestone@undp.org, cel +27607338102

About UNDP: 

As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP’s work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience. Learn more at undp.org  or follow @UNDP  

About UNDP SFH: 

The UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub brings together UNDP’s financial expertise to harness public and private capital for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- supporting governments, investors and businesses in reaching climate, social impact and sustainability targets. Its work drives systemic change towards a sustainable financial architecture that benefits people and the planet. Find out more about its integrated services that ensure all finance is sustainable, at sdgfinance.undp.org or follow @UNDP_SDGFinance 

About UNDP Business and Human Rights (B+HR) Initiative: 

Through the Global Business and Human (B+HR) Initiative, UNDP assists governments, businesses, civil society organizations, trade unions, National Human Rights Institutions, human rights defenders, media, and others in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Learn more at www.undp.org/rolhr/business-and-human-rights and follow @BizHRAsia_UNDP.