I was reading the FATF recommendation and its title was


I understand every thing other than "proliferation" in above sentence. In my dictionary it means growing rapidly or multiplying rapidly, but this meaning don't make sense in here I think! So what's the correct definition?!

  • 2
    Is the title in all caps?
    – Lambie
    Oct 3, 2018 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


It is actually a finance term: "Proliferation financing"

Defined by FATF (p.29, under Option 1):

Proliferation financing refers to:
the act of providing funds or financial services which are used, in whole or in part, for the manufacture, acquisition, possession, development, export, transhipment, brokering, transport, transfer, stockpiling or use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery and related materials (including both technologies and dual-use goods used for non-legitimate purposes), in contravention of national laws or, where applicable, international obligations.

If I put that simply:
Using money for extremely deadly weapons.

  • 4
    To be clear: This is a specific use of proliferation. Otherwise you have to define what is being proliferated, e.g. "The wanton proliferation of drugs and violence in our community"
    – Andrew
    Oct 3, 2018 at 16:18
  • 1
    Yes, it is a technical term, but surely there is still something wrong with the OP's quoted sentence: shouldn't the word 'proliferation' be followed by 'financing'?
    – JeremyC
    Oct 3, 2018 at 21:30
  • 1
    @JeremyC: The second part of the title is (decapitalised) "the financing of terrorism & proliferation", which can be decomposed to "the financing of terrorism & the financing of proliferation" - i.e., terrorism financing and proliferation financing. "Financing", in this particular case, refers to both the terrorism and the proliferation parts of the sentence.
    – Vikki
    Oct 3, 2018 at 21:54
  • Only if you are writing for people to whom 'proliferation' is a very well known technical term. Otherwise you will confuse your readers.
    – JeremyC
    Oct 3, 2018 at 21:55
  • 2
    To my knowledge the first official use of 'proliferation' in this sense was the 'NPT' in 1965 and for a while it was only about nuclear. It has since been extended to the other 'weapons of mass destruction' = chemical and biological. Oct 3, 2018 at 22:30

The literal definition of proliferation is (from ODO):

Rapid increase in the number or amount of something.

If the thing whose number or amount is not specified explicitly, it must be inferred from the context. In the realm of politics and international relations, it's usually used to refer to nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

For instance, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is often just called the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- the reference to nuclear weapons is understood. And in your example, it's talking about financing the increased production of weapons that would be used by terrorists.

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