Global Policy Watch Blog

World’s largest business association gets direct voice in UN decision making

By Svenja Brunkhorst and Jens Martens.

In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia and was adopted during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on.

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Measuring sustainable development — status update on the global indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was established by the UN Statistical Commission in 2015 to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level, and to support implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 27 Group members met for their 4th meeting in November 2016. Read more…

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development — Outlook for 2017

Since the of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the UN has continued to address global issues such as external debt sustainability and development, promotion of international cooperation to curb and recover illicit financial flows, raising domestic and foreign public and private investment, reaching commitments to official development assistance, critical analysis on proliferation of public-private partnerships for development, domestic resource mobilisation and tax justice, and sectoral financing (education, health, agriculture, etc…). Read more…

Event: Strengthening domestic resource mobilization through international cooperation in tax matters

2016 marks the first year after the adoption of three major international outcome documents including the the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. To implement these decisions, all countries will need to step up the mobilization of domestic resources and increase international cooperation. One of the decisions of the 3rd FfD-Conference was to strengthen the work of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UNTC). At our side-event, we want to learn from experts and discuss where the reform of the work of the UNTC stands more than one year after the adoption of the Addis Ababa outcomes. What is the relationship among the different formats for international cooperation? Has the goal “that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope and should fully take into account the different needs and capacities of all countries, in particular least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and African countries” been achieved? Are there steps still to be taken? At a side-event on December 8 in New York, we want to discuss these questions. Read more …

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…