Category: Blog

In the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: Civil Society plays key role in voluntary national reviews and coherence

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are using United Nation’s processes to hold governments accountable for their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including processes such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, and the Climate Change agenda. The annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the main forum by which CSOs can hold governments and others accountable at the global level. It brings together global, regional, national and thematic reviews. Read more…

Turning the Tide on Sustainable Development — the High-Level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14

President of the General Assembly (PGA) Peter Thomson, announced the 2017 High-Level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14 at the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saying “we must ensure we have a global plan for the successful implementation of SDG 14”. Read more…

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 …

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…

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…