Global Policy Watch Blog

Options for Strengthening Global Tax Governance

by Wolfgang Obenland

The importance of global cooperation on tax issues is becoming more and more evident. The sums lost amount to hundreds of billions annually. While steps to curb the losses are underway, gaps in global tax governance remain both in the institutional setting and with regard to substantive issues. For example, there is still no body with universal membership that could discuss issues that are of particular importance to countries in the Global South. In order to fill these gaps, either existing institutions need to be further developed, or new ones established, or both. In any case, a new body would have to perform certain functions and meet particular criteria with regard to composition. A new paper formulates options for achieving this. Read more …

Refining the Indicators: Opening the process; open for influence?

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
As the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development concludes, the technical work at/of the UN continues to refine and agree on the global indicators to measure progress. This involves circulating selected indicators for consultation, adopting a lead agency to collect and submit the data and adopting an agreed methodology, as well as fundraising to increase the extent of data coverage and building capacity. At the same time, as this is a work in progress, many Member States have undertaken national initiatives to review the SDGs and incorporate them into national policy and budget processes. Read more…

Event: Corporate Accountability and Influence in the UN

The panel will assess the state of corporate influence in the business and human rights debates, in global health, the agriculture, food and nutrition policy domains. It will discuss possible policies and safeguards such as WHO’s Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors (FENSA) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that have been put in place to protect against conflicts of interest in these respective domains. It will also inform about further debates to regulate the UN’s engagement with private actors such as the discussions in the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR). Read more …

For whose benefit? A different perspective on Tax Inspectors Without Borders

Taxation of multinational corporations is of utmost importance to developing countries, which on average generate around 10% of government revenues from this source. However, there are clear indications that the current international system is not working. One type of tax avoidance alone is currently costing developing countries between $70 billion and $120 billion per year. While often considered highly immoral, such international tax avoidance is often, technically speaking, legal. One of the solutions proposed to developing countries to increase their capacity to collect taxes from MNCs’ activities in their territory is the offer of ‘capacity development’ and ‘technical assistance’ on taxation. One initiative that follows this logic is Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TWIB), launched in 2013 as a pilot project by OECD. A new report by Eurodad looks at the current design of TIWB, as well as three TIWB pilots which have taken place between the UK and Rwanda; the Netherlands and Ghana; and France and Senegal, respectively. Read more …

2016 IMF and World Bank Annual Meeting: The Bretton Woods Institutions stuck in policy dilemmas

This year’s Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank took place against the backdrop of continued sluggish growth in developed and developing countries alike. The impact of the commodity price crash weighs heavily on many developing countries and has caused a significant fall in global trade. While the IMF warns that both private and public debt levels remain dangerously high, that the anticipated deleveraging did not happen, the main response of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) is new lending facilities that create new debts. Read more…

United Nations and business community, out-sourcing or crowding in?

By Barbara Adams
In order to intensify the effort to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN is exploring financial solutions for the Sustainable better align the trillions of dollars of annual private investment with the sustainable development goals and their targets? Can this approach be prioritized with regard to long-term investments made with funds from multiple domestic and international sources? Can it be made to cover the full range of the 2030 Agenda – and might it reach into all countries, including the least developed and small island developing states? Read more…

The Diplomatic (and Economic) Struggle over Microbes

It may sound like an issue for health specialists, but at the UN high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) ministers and heads of state from around the world made clear that it is more than that it appears.

This is the fourth time that the UN General Assembly has addressed health issues. As the representative of Portugal pointed out, this meeting “is proof of global recognition of this problem and how important an issue it is”. Executive Director of South Centre, Martin Khor said that AMR is “as serious as Climate Change and perhaps more immediate”. Read more…

Spotlighting the 2030 Agenda — one-year after

Heads of state and government leaders from around the globe have descended on the United Nations in New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly. Their “general debate” on 20 September will focus on the...

Panel discussion: Corporate accountability and influence in the UN

The international debate surrounding the environmental, social and human rights responsibilities of corporations has been gaining momentum. Growing public criticism of transnational corporations and banks has furthered this debate. A historic decision of the UN Human Rights Council (of 26 June 2014) to establish an intergovernmental working group “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises” is one of the results. For the first time since decades, an intergovernmental body of the UN was established to address the international regulation of corporations. You are invited to a panel discussion on October 4, 2016, at the Church Center in New York, to assess the state of the current debate, discuss the pros and cons and the potential content of a legally binding instrument (or a treaty), and explore links to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and to the agenda and responsibilities of the incoming Secretary-General. Read more …