APR 23 2018

Tackling Illicit Financial Flows: Time to drop false solutions and embrace real change




Illicit financial flows (IFF), with legalized tax avoidance as its major component, is the fundamental constraint to be addressed to ensure the fiscal space that is necessary to advance the 2030 Agenda. Major public scandals brought to light by the many recent leaks, the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, exposed how many wealthy individuals and multinational companies are involved in illicit flows, and how a number of countries, including some major economies, are providing systemically institutionalized facilitation of IFF.

No adequate measures are being undertaken in practical ways to combat IFF. On the contrary, whereas the global agreement reached in the SDG process clearly covers tax avoidance by multinational companies, efforts seem underway to redefine IFF to exclude tax avoidance from issues and measures to address IFF.

Also on the point of tax cooperation, international agreements have not been followed up on. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is unequivocal in its “stress 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”. Despite this, there is still no consensus on establishing an intergovernmental tax commission under the auspices of the United Nations.



This side-event aims to:

  • Explore policy measures which will narrow the implicit and explicit differences in definition and measurement of IFFs which undermine efforts to curtail IFF;
  • Share experiences of how the national and continental level efforts in the Global South to enhance DRM are being impacted by IFF and discuss the main obstacles to progress, with emphasis on the role of secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens;
  • Problematize recent international initiatives and the dominance of certain institutions, and map out concrete pathways for the establishment UN inter-governmental tax commission.


  • Mr. Sameh Elkhishin​,​ First Secretary​, Permanent Mission of Egypt (chair of the G77) to the UN​
  • Arvinn Gadgil, Senior advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway 
  • Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila​, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN​
  • Representative from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) (TBC)

Respondent: Towfiqul Islam Khan, Research fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh

Moderator: Hannah Brejnholt Tranberg, ActionAid Denmark

This side-event is organized under the umbrella of the Civil Society Financing for Development Group, including the Women’s Working Group on FfD, and facilitated by the following organizations:


Other events



A 3-day virtual event that will take place from 28-30 September


Convened by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) under the theme ‘Tax Justice Amid Multiple Crises'
plugins premium WordPress