UN reaches global consensus on the road ahead towards a Tax Convention


This week, the first round of negotiations was concluded at the UN Headquarters in New York.

After an historic breakthrough at the UN General Assembly in November 2023, the UN has now started the negotiation of the terms of reference for a new Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation. This week, the first round of negotiations was concluded at the UN Headquarters in New York. Despite the fact that 48 governments – mainly from OECD countries – voted no to the decision in November 2023, all governments now came together this week and found consensus on the road ahead.

Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said:

“This week was an historic moment. It was not only the very first round of truly inclusive and transparent UN-led tax negotiations, where all countries were finally participating on an equal footing, it was also the moment when governments found a global consensus on how to move forward. Last year, a number of OECD countries voted against even having a UN Tax Convention, and therefore it was no small challenge to get agreement on how the negotiations should be conducted. Now we have a roadmap for this year’s negotiations of terms of reference for a new UN Tax Convention, and that bodes well for the chances of finding truly global solutions in the fight against international tax dodging. As a next step, we expect governments to start getting into the discussion about what the terms of reference should look like.

“International tax dodging is costing countries hundreds of billions of dollars in lost tax income every year, and while developing countries are impacted particularly hard, it is a problem that is damaging to all countries. A UN Convention on Tax is a central tool to fix the loopholes in the global tax system and stop the bleeding of financial resources, which are urgently needed to fund education, healthcare and environmental protection.

The Africa Group at the United Nations has shown great leadership and spearheaded the work towards a UN Convention on Tax. So far, a number of OECD countries have been highly reluctant, and at times even obstructive in the negotiations, and last year 48 countries voted against the Africa Group’s proposal to have a UN Tax Convention. But that did not stop an overwhelming majority of 125 countries voting yes to starting the UN tax negotiation. This week, all countries came back together and found global agreement on how to move the negotiation forward. We still have a long road ahead of us, and we call on all governments to show ambition and willingness to develop a UN Tax Convention that provides fair and effective solutions to the international tax problems.”

Another unique feature of this week’s negotiations was the level of transparency, with negotiations being livestreamed and civil society, media and other observers being able to be present in the room.

Tove Maria Ryding added: “While transparent negotiations are not uncommon within the UN system, it is a true revolution when it comes to tax. Until now, negotiations about global tax rules have taken place in secrecy behind closed doors at the OECD, and the public has been left in the dark as governments decided on global tax rules, which, for example, determine how multinational corporations are taxed. The global tax rules impact us all, and it is vital that the negotiations remain transparent and inclusive.”


Media contact: Julia Ravenscroft, Communications Manager, Eurodad: [email protected] / +44 7958 184 695.