New report by the UN Secretary-General outlines the road ahead for truly global tax cooperation
The game-changing report outlines the options for strengthening the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation and presents three possible roads ahead, all under the auspices of the UN. Eurodad welcomes this truly historic moment in international tax cooperation.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) has today published an advance unedited version of a game-changing report on the options for strengthening international tax cooperation.
The report was mandated by a landmark UN General Assembly resolution on tax, which was adopted by consensus at the end of 2022. It outlines the options for strengthening the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation and presents three possible roads ahead, all under the auspices of the UN.
The three options are:
- A multilateral convention on tax;
- A framework convention on international tax cooperation;
- A framework for international tax cooperation.
While the two first options would entail legally binding commitments for governments, the third option would be voluntary in nature.
In response to the UN Secretary-General’s report, Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said:
“This is a truly historical moment in international tax cooperation as the Secretary-General has now put the option of a UN Framework Convention on Tax firmly on the table. It is time for governments to deliver on their part and show that they are ready to cooperate globally to put an end to tax havens and ensure that tax systems become fair and effective.
“International tax dodging is costing public budgets hundreds of billions of Euros in lost tax income every year, and we need an urgent, ambitious and truly global response to stop this devastating problem. We believe the right instrument for the job is a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation and we call on all governments to support this option.
“The Africa Group at the UN has been spearheading the initiative to establish inclusive and truly global tax cooperation, and has already called for a UN Convention on Tax. We commend their excellent leadership and call on all countries to show the same commitment to global tax cooperation as the Africa Group has done.
“For the last half century, the OECD has been leading the international decision-making on global tax rules and the result is an international tax system that is deeply ineffective, complex and full of loopholes, as well as biased in the interest of richer countries and tax havens. Furthermore, the OECD process has never been global. Developing countries have not been able to participate on an equal footing, and the negotiations have been deeply opaque and closed to the public. We need global tax negotiations to be transparent, fair and lead by a body where all countries participate as equals. The UN is the only place that can deliver that.”
The next step in the process will be the negotiation of a new resolution on international tax cooperation, which will set the framework of an intergovernmental UN process on tax – in line with the resolution that was adopted last year.
The new resolution will be discussed among governments at the UN General Assembly in the last quarter of 2023. Ahead of those negotiations, the UN is organising a one-day high-level dialogue on Financing for Development on 20 September 2023 in New York, where the issue of strengthening international tax cooperation is expected to be a central issue on the agenda.
Notes to editors:
- You can read Eurodad's proposal for what a UN Convention on Tax might look like here.