Letter: 200+ CSOs and Trade Unions Support UN Draft Resolution for Inclusive Tax Cooperation

GATJ

3 Nov 2023

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GATJ

3 Nov 2023

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More than 200 organisations and trade unions have come together to strongly support and welcome the United Nations General Assembly Draft Resolution on the Promotion of Inclusive and Effective International Tax Cooperation. We express our deep appreciation for the Africa Group’s exceptional leadership in guiding with foresight and determination on this crucial issue, and also extend a resounding call to governments across the globe, urging them to uphold and reinforce this collaborative spirit. Embracing the principles of inclusivity and effectiveness in international tax cooperation is not merely an option; it represents a collective responsibility that transcends borders and ideologies.

Read the full letter and list of signatories below or download them.

 

To the kind attention of:

Ministers of Finance,
Ministers of Foreign Affairs,
Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations in New York United Nations Secretariat, Agencies and Programmes.

Subject: UNGA Second Committee Draft Resolution on Promotion of Inclusive and Effective International Tax Cooperation at the United Nations (A/C.2/77/L.18)

Your Excellencies, Ministers and distinguished representatives of UN Member States,

We, the undersigned civil society organisations and trade unions, strongly support and welcome the United Nations General Assembly Draft Resolution on Promotion of Inclusive and Effective International Tax Cooperation at the UN (A/C.2/78/L.18). We commend the Africa Group for its excellent leadership on this issue, and we find that the draft captures and builds on the spirit of international cooperation that led to the adoption, by consensus, of last year’s landmark Resolution A/RES/77/244 on the same topic. We now call on all governments to maintain and reinforce this spirit by supporting the draft resolution, and work actively to promote its adoption as a matter of highest priority and urgency.

As the negotiations progress in the 2nd Committee of the UN General Assembly, we specifically call on all governments to ensure that the level of ambition and key elements of the resolution are kept intact. In particular, we would like to stress the following elements, which we believe are crucial to maintain:

1.The establishment of a Member State-led, open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee to elaborate a comprehensive UN Tax Convention (paragraph 3).

Such a UN Convention could never entail duplication, because it would be the world’s first truly global agreement on international tax cooperation. Until now, the world has never seen a fully inclusive intergovernmental body where all countries can participate on an equal footing, and this injustice is at the heart of the failure of the international tax system. None of the existing international tax agreements have ever been globally endorsed, and they are all too often biased against the interests and concerns of developing countries. Furthermore, not even OECD countries are currently in agreement as regards the global tax rules and principles. This situation has contributed to large-scale illicit financial flows through international tax loopholes; international tax conflicts; instability and deep inconsistencies between tax laws of different countries. All countries have paid a high price for this failure, but the impacts on developing countries have been particularly hard.
The UN remains the only truly universal body where all countries participate as equals, and the negotiation of a UN Tax Convention entails a unique opportunity to build bridges between governments. We applaud the Africa Group for issuing an invitation to all countries of the world to engage in such a negotiation, and urge all other governments to show a similar spirit of cooperation and support this crucial initiative.

2. Approaching the issue of international tax cooperation as an issue of high priority and urgency – by aiming to finish the UN Tax Convention by June 2025 (paragraph 4).

The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, all-time high public debt service payments and the “cost of living crisis”, the fight to increase domestic resource mobilisation and combat illicit financial flows has never been more vital. In the State of Tax Justice Report 2023, Tax Justice Network has estimated that international tax abuse is costing countries US$480 billion in lost tax income every year. Faced with the challenges of financing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and combatting the global environmental crises, it is clear that the international community must take urgent action to strengthen international tax cooperation and stop the immense bleeding of public resources.

3. Pursuing a comprehensive UN Tax Convention with a holistic scope and sufficient flexibility and resilience to continuously ensure equitable results as the international tax cooperation landscape evolves.

In line with the draft resolution proposed by the Africa Group, we believe that a UN Tax Convention should comprehensively address key issues in urgent need of intergovernmental agreement, including tax-related illicit financial flows and the taxation of income derived from the provision of cross-border services in an increasingly digitalized and globalized economy (paragraph 6(c)). The Convention should also incorporate other key needs and priorities of countries, and in particular developing countries (paragraph 6(a)), such as progressive taxation.
International tax cooperation cannot be built on guidelines and voluntary frameworks. It requires legally binding agreements between governments, and for over a century, governments have been signing such agreements bilaterally. But in order to establish an inclusive, effective, fair and coherent international framework, it is high time to negotiate a global agreement – in the form of a comprehensive UN Convention. Furthermore, in order to ensure long-term sustainability and flexibility, and with an aim to allowing a stepwise approach to building intergovernmental consensus (paragraph 6(b)), we also believe that the Convention must establish a fair, transparent and fully inclusive tax governance framework that allows for the negotiation of additional legally binding agreements (in the form of protocols) in the future.

4. Establishing clear links between international taxation and other key UN agendas (paragraph 6(b)).

In its draft resolution, the Africa Group has highlighted the importance of linking the issue of international taxation to other key areas, including sustainable development, inequality, the environment, gender, health and intergenerational aspects. We find this to be of utmost importance. For far too long, intergovernmental negotiations on tax have been absent from the UN space, and thus disconnected from the broader UN agenda. This, despite the fact that fair and progressive tax systems, supported by an inclusive and effective global governance system, are vital for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, protection of human rights and the global fight against environmental crises.

5. Ensuring the full and effective participation of civil society in the intergovernmental UN tax process to develop a new UN Tax Convention (paragraph 4).

We strongly welcome the emphasis on the importance of civil society participation, which the Africa Group has included in the draft resolution. Fair, effective and transparent tax systems are a central element of democracy, and vital for ensuring economic, social and environmental justice. We, the undersigned civil society organisations and trade unions, have a strong engagement on these issues at the national, regional and global levels, and believe that inclusivity and active participation of observers in global negotiations is vital for ensuring fair, effective, legitimate and democratic global governance on tax. We stand ready to make our contributions and bring in-depth knowledge from all regions of the world about the devastating impacts of the failure of international tax cooperation, including the continued bleeding of public resources in the form of illicit financial flows. We also bring concrete and specific proposals for solutions, including for how a future UN Convention on Tax could be designed.

We remain at your disposal if you would like to receive more information or would like to meet to discuss this issue further.

Yours sincerely,
Civil Society Financing for Development Mechanism (www.csoforffd.org)

  1. Civil Society Financing for Development (FfD) Mechanism – International
  2. Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) – International
  3. 11.11.11 – Belgium
  4. AbibiNsroma Foundation (ANF) – Ghana
  5. ACT Alliance – International
  6. ActionAid International – International
  7. Adamadeya ry – Finland
  8. African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) – Africa
  9. AidWatch Canada – Canada
  10. Akina Mama wa Afrika – Africa
  11. All India Disaster Mitigation Institute – India
  12. ALL INDIA WOMEN HAWKER FEDERATION – India
  13. All Nepal Peasants federation – Nepal
  14. ALLIANCE CONTRE LA PAUVRETE AU MALI/AP-MALI/GCAPMALI – Mali
  15. Alliance Sud – Switzerland
  16. Amnesty International – International
  17. APIT – Portugal
  18. Armenian Constitutional Right – Protective Centre (ACRPC) NGO – Armenia
  19. Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development – Asia
  20. Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia – Argentina
  21. Asociación Mujeres Emprendedoras de Alta Verapaz MEAV – Guatemala
  22. Association de Développement Agricole Educatif et Sanitaire de Manono (ADAES) – Democratic Republic of Congo
  23. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development – India
  24. Association Nigerienne des Scouts de l’Environnement ANSEN – Niger
  25. Attac Austria – Austria
  26. Attac Finland – Finland
  27. Bangladesh Krishok Federation – Bangladesh
  28. Bond UK – United Kingdom
  29. Botswana Council of Churches – Botswana
  30. Bread for the World/ Brot für die Welt – Germany
  31. Bretton Woods Project – United Kingdom
  32. Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación – Brazil
  33. Canadians for Tax Fairness – Canada
  34. Candid Concepts Development – Caribbean
  35. Carbone Guinée – Guinea
  36. Caribbean Policy Development Centre – Caribbean
  37. CCFD-Terre Solidaire – France
  38. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) US/ – International
  39. Centre for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum (CEHRDF) – Asia
  40. Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research (CICTAR) – Australia
  41. Centre Régional Africain pour le Développement Endogène et Communautaire (CRADEC) – Cameroon
  42. Centro de estudios de derecho, justicia y sociedad (Dejusticia) – Colombia
  43. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) – Argentina
  44. Cholistan Development council – Pakistan
  45. Christian Aid – International
  46. Christian Aid Ireland – Ireland
  47. Christian Council Church – Mozambique
  48. CIEDUR RED GENERO Y COMERCIO – South America
  49. Civil Society SDGs Campaign GCAP Zambia – Zambia
  50. Clean Air Action Group – Hungary
  51. Coalition Nationale des Organisations Féministes pour laGénération Egalité du Gabon (CNOFGEG) – Gabon
  52. COAST Foundation – Bangladesh
  53. Collectif Sénégalais des Africaines pour la Promotion de l’Éducation Relative à l’Environnement (COSAPERE) – Senegal
  54. Comisión Nacional de Enlace CNE – Costa Rica
  55. Committee on Fiscal Studies – Kenya
  56. Community service and Development Action COSDA – Somalia
  57. Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC) – Cambodia
  58. Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) – Namibia
  59. CRASH – Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity – Finland
  60. Creatura Think & Do Tank ry – Finland
  61. Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity (CROSOL) – Croatia
  62. Crofter Foundation – Pakistan
  63. DECIDAMOS, Campaña por la Expresion ciudadana – Paraguay
  64. Defensores do planeta – Brazil
  65. Democracy Forum Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – Finland
  66. Desk for Social Development of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (DfSD-ELCRN) – Namibia
  67. DISABILITY PEOPLES FORUM UGANDA – Uganda
  68. Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA – South Africa
  69. Electra Energy – Greece
  70. Enda Colombia – Colombia
  71. Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia – Mexico
  72. European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) – Europe
  73. European Network on Independent Living – Europe
  74. Fair Tax Foundation – United Kingdom
  75. Felm – Finland
  76. Financial Justice Ireland – Ireland
  77. Financial Transparency Coalition – International
  78. Finnish Development NGOs Fingo – Finland
  79. Finnwatch – Finland
  80. Food Sovereignty and Climate justice Network – South Asia
  81. Forum for Women in Democracy – Uganda
  82. Freedom from Debt Coalition – Philippines
  83. Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo – El Salvador
  84. Fundacion SES – Argentina
  85. Fundar Centro de Análisis e Investigación – Mexico
  86. GCAP LAC – Latin America and Caribbean
  87. Genç Düşünce Enstitüsü – Turkey
  88. Gender and Development Network (GADN) – United Kingdom
  89. Gender and Economy Research Center NPGE – Brazil
  90. Gestos (soropositividade, comunicação e gênero) – Brazil
  91. Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) – International
  92. Global Campaign for Education (GCE) – International
  93. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) – International
  94. Global Peace and Development Organization – Liberia
  95. Global Policy Forum – International
  96. Global Redistribution Advocates – International
  97. Global Social Justice International – Switzerland
  98. Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation – International
  99. Greenpeace – International
  100. Groupe de Réflexion et d’Initiative pour l’Avancement de la Grand’Anse (GRIAG) – Haiti
  101. Growthwatch India – India
  102. GRUPO NACIONAL DE PRESUPUESTO PUBLICO – Peru
  103. GT Agenda 2030 (CS working group for the 2030 Agenda) – Brazil
  104. Halley Movement Coalition – Mauritius
  105. HIMALAYA NITI ABHIYAN – India
  106. IMCS Pax Romana – Mexico
  107. Independent Living Institute – Sweden
  108. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) – India
  109. Inesc – Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos – Brazil
  110. Iniciativa por los Derechos Humanos en la Política Fiscal – Latin America
  111. Initiative Citoyenne pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable (ICED) – Burundi
  112. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) – Uganda
  113. INPADE – Latin America
  114. Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ) – South Africa
  115. Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (ICEFI) – Guatemala
  116. Instituto Justiça Fiscal – Brazil
  117. International Association of Charities – International
  118. International Federation of Social Workers – International
  119. International Network of Liberal Women – Netherlands
  120. KASYANO Democratic – Republic of Congo
  121. Kissan Kerkela – Pakistan
  122. Kopin – Malta
  123. KOTHOWAIN (vulnerable peoples dev. org) – Bangladesh
  124. Labour Education Foundation – Pakistan
  125. LATINDADD – Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social – Latin America
  126. Loss & Damage Collaboration – International
  127. Malawi Economic Justice Network MEJN – Malawi
  128. MenaFem Movement for Economic, Development and Ecological Justice – MENA
  129. Mines mineral and people – India
  130. Misère Option Zéro – Togo
  131. Movimiento Tzuk Kim-pop – Guatemala
  132. MyRight – International
  133. Nash Vek Public Foundation – Kyrgyzstan
  134. National Ethical Service – United States of America
  135. NATIONAL HAWKER FEDERATION India
  136. National Society of Conservationists – FoE Hungary – Hungary
  137. NGO Federation of Nepal – Nepal
  138. Nkoko Iju Africa – Kenya
  139. Norwegian Church Aid – Norway
  140. Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment – Norway
  141. Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund – SAIH – Norway
  142. O.C.A.M.E. – Ecuador
  143. Oil Change International – International
  144. Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation – Nigeria
  145. ONG Plus de Sida dans les Familles – Gabon
  146. Oxfam – International
  147. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum – Pakistan
  148. Pakistan Kisan Rabita Committee – Pakistan
  149. Partners In Health – International
  150. Povod institute – Slovenia
  151. PRAKARSA – Indonesia
  152. Progressive Labour Federation – Pakistan
  153. Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK-PUBLIK) – Philippines
  154. Radha Paudel Foundation – Nepal
  155. REACHOUT SALONE – Sierra Leone
  156. Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y El Caribe – Latin America and the Caribbean
  157. Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC) – Mexico
  158. Re-Generation – Canada
  159. Renafes – Senegal
  160. RENICC – Nicaragua
  161. Right to Education Initiative – International
  162. Rural Area Development Programme (RADP) – Nepal/South Asia
  163. Rural Reconstruction Nepal – Nepal
  164. Save the Children – International
  165. SENTRO LABOR – Philippines
  166. Siemenpuu Foundation – Finland
  167. SKOP – The National Platform of Maltese NGDOs – Malta
  168. SocDevJustice – Germany
  169. Society for International Development (SID) – International
  170. Solidarité des Femmes sur le Fleuve Congo – Democratic Republic of Congo
  171. SOLIDARITÉ FÉMININE POUR LA PAIX ET LE DÉVELOPPEMENT INTÉGRAL “SOFEPADI “ – Democratic Republic of Congo
  172. SOMO – Netherlands
  173. South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) – Nepal
  174. Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) – Uganda
  175. Success Capital Organisation – Botswana
  176. Sukaar Welfare Organization – Pakistan
  177. Swera Foundation – Pakistan
  178. Syndicat Chrétien des Travailleurs du Congo SCTC – Democratic Republic of Congo
  179. TAFJA NEPAL – Nepal
  180. Tameer e Nou Women Workers Organisation – Pakistan
  181. Tax and Fiscal Justice Alliance – Nepal
  182. Tax and Fiscal Justice-Asia (TAFJA) – Asia
  183. Tax Justice Europe (TJ-E) – Europe
  184. Tax Justice Italia – Italy
  185. Tax Justice Netherlands – Netherlands
  186. Tax Justice Network – International
  187. Tax Justice Network Africa – Africa
  188. Tax Justice Network Australia – Australia
  189. Tax Justice Norway – Norway
  190. Tax Justice UK – United Kingdom
  191. TaxEd Alliance – International
  192. Taxmenow – Initiative für Steuergerechtigkeit e.V. – Germany / Austria / Switzerland
  193. The Christian Council of Mozambique – Mozambique
  194. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) – International
  195. TRADE JUSTICE PILIPINAS – Philippines
  196. Transparency International Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe
  197. Trend Asia – Indonesia
  198. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee  -United States of America
  199. Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania – Australia
  200. URGENCE CONTRE LA FAIM (UCF) – Chad
  201. Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) – Austria
  202. VWA FANM AYISYÈN (VFA) – Haiti
  203. Wemos – Netherlands
  204. WIDE – Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development – Austria
  205. WomanHealth Philippines – Philippines
  206. Women Empowerment Against Poverty of Nepal (WEAPoN) – Nepal
  207. Women Engage for a Common Future – Germany
  208. Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) – United States of America
  209. World Economy, Ecology & Development – WEED – Germany
  210. Youth For Tax Justice Network – Africa
  211. ZIMBABAWE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES – Zimbabwe
  212. Zimbabwe coalition on debt and development – Zimbabwe

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