Eurodad reaction to the report of the UN FACTI High Level Panel
The UN FACTI report must be a starting gun for international action to stop illicit financial flows, what is needed now is for our governments to get to work.
Today, the United Nations High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel) launched its long-awaited final report.
Commenting on the report, Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:
"This report must be a starting gun for international action to stop illicit financial flows. In their recommendations, the high-level members of the panel have made three things very clear. Firstly, illicit financial flows are a devastating global problem that is causing countries around the world to lose billions of dollars every year. Secondly, the international tax system has failed to stop international tax dodging and ensure fairness. And thirdly, it is perfectly possible to fix this.
"We welcome the fact that the report outlines the links between illicit financial flows, tax injustice and inequalities, including gender inequalities. The report also stresses how vital it is to address illicit financial flows to combat the Covid-19 crisis. What we need now is for our governments to get to work.
"As the report highlights, it is high time for governments to negotiate a global tax convention under the United Nations, where all countries can participate on an equal footing. Just like we have global UN agreements to address the global climate crisis, it is clear that we need a similar tool to address the crisis in the international tax system. For years, developing countries have been calling for an intergovernmental UN tax negotiation to be initiated at the UN, but until now, OECD countries have been blocking this proposal in an attempt to keep decision-making in forums where they have more control over the decision-making. These kinds of political power games really have to stop.
"A new UN Tax Convention that addresses international tax dodging is vital to ensure that multinational corporations and wealthy individuals pay their share of tax. This is an essential step on the road towards addressing escalating inequalities and finding the public resources we need to address the Covid-19 crisis, the climate crisis and achieve the sustainable development goals. As a first next step, we call on the UN Member States to set up an intergovernmental tax process to kickstart the negotiation of a global UN tax convention."
The report also stresses the importance of transparency as a key tool to fight international tax dodging.
Tove Maria Ryding added:
"As we have seen in numerous international tax scandals, including most recently the OpenLux investigation, the era of tax havens is far from over.
"We strongly agree with the FACTI panel’s recommendation to let citizens see where multinational corporations do business and what they pay in tax in each country where they operate. At the EU level, the FACTI report comes at a crucial time, since EU ministers will be discussing exactly this issue later today.
"Furthermore, the high-level members of the panel have stressed the importance of public transparency to put an end to secret shell companies and other secrecy structures. We couldn’t agree more and call on governments to build on the positive experiences of public ownership registers to make this a global standard.
"Illicit financial flows are a problem we simply cannot afford to ignore. With today’s report, there really are no excuses left for government inaction."