Illicit financial flows (IFFs), 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 IFFs.
No adequate measures are being undertaken in practical ways to combat IFFs. On the contrary, whereas the global agreement reached in the SDG process clearly covers tax avoidance by multinational companies, efforts seem underway to redefine IFFs to exclude tax avoidance from issues and measures to address IFFs. 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 IFFs.
- Share experiences of how the national and continental level efforts in the Global South to enhance DRM are
being impacted by IFFs 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 of an UN intergovernmental tax commission.
*This side-event is organized under the umbrella of the Civil Society Financing for Development Group, including the Women’s Working Group on FfD.