Christian Aid

Christian Aid is a Christian organisation that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. We work globally in over 40 countries for profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality. We are part of a wider movement for social justice. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great, tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes.

This submission sits under the specific request for comments on the “Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels local, national, regional and international.”

Here we focus on resource mobilisation to meet the demands of agreed action plans emerging from the summit. Insufficient financial resources are a major reason for the gaps in implementing the agreed sustainable development commitments and action programmes since the 1992 Rio Summit on Environment and Development. The performance of developed countries in meeting their financial commitments to developing countries has been very disappointing. At the same time domestic resource mobilisation by developed countries has been constrained by the lack of appropriate tax norms and rules, especially at the international level.

Tax plays a crucial role enabling countries to provide basic services, strengthening the accountability between states and citizens. That domestic resource mobilisation is a key element of the self determination of a country is a view shared by the UN,i the EU, ii and the OECD.iii These actors also recognise the role of taxation in promoting good governance, and the importance of non-state actors (civil society, the media and parliaments) in ensuring that revenues are collected and spent equitably and effectively. It is therefore a crucial element of building social and economic development at the national, regional and global level.

Yet revenue mobilisation in many developing countries is very weak. While OECD countries tend to collect 35% of their GDP in revenue, in Latin America the average is 16%,iv in Africa the figure is 15.9%.v Governments need to be equipped to raise revenue effectively through adequately resourced tax authorities and good domestic tax policy, and by having access to information. Transparency is required so that civil society can monitor revenues and how they are spent.

The ability of countries to collect revenue effectively is systematically undermined by the financial secrecy of tax havens and abuse of transfer pricing rules designed by and for OECD countries in close consultation with Multinational Companies.

To read the full submission document click here

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