Historic UN Tax Vote – A Tremendous Win for Africa and the Global Fight for Tax Justice

As part of the Civil Society Financing for Development (FfD) Mechanism, SID joins members of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) in celebrating the historic outcome of today’s vote and acknowledge the leadership role of the African Group in promoting the reform process of the global tax system in the United Nations on equal footing.

Link to press release: https://globaltaxjustice.org/news/historic-un-tax-vote-a-tremendous-win-for-africa-and-the-global-fight-for-tax-justice/

São Paulo, 22 November 2023 – In a historic vote at the United Nations today, a majority of UN Member States decided to start the negotiation of a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation through a process where all countries participate as equals. While a group of mainly OECD countries voted against the resolution, it was adopted by a majority of 125 countries.

In reaction, Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), said:

“The Global Alliance for Tax Justice would like to express its strongest support for the majority decision to start the negotiation of a UN Convention on Tax. The Africa Group has once again displayed a determined leadership role by submitting the resolution that was adopted in today’s vote, and overcoming enormous pressure from those who are determined to keep international tax rule making and standard setting in non-inclusive forums outside the UN. GATJ would like to commend the Africa Group for its steadfastness in leading this resolution through different phases of negotiation.   

The wide support the African Group resolution found among the countries of the Global South shows that there is a broad recognition of the UN as the only global forum where they can defend their interests and rights in a transparent process. This is a reflection of the disappointing experience countries of the Global South share in other processes outside UN, in which their global taxing rights are sidelined.  The majoirty of countries in the Global South have come a long way together to get to this stage; they should march together to the finishing line by working as a group for the successful conclusion of the UN mandate and the adoption of a new UN Convention on Tax.

“The outcome of today’s vote firmly brings back issues of international tax cooperation to the UN as the only forum to make it fully inclusive and effective. We thus call on all countries to support and engage in the upcoming UN process to deliver a UN Convention on Tax.”

Chenai Mukumba, Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), and member of the Coordination Commitee of GATJ said:

“We wish to congratulate the African Group for remaining resolute in pushing this through the UN negotiation. It is driven by its commitment to reform the global tax system by forging the unity of developing countries. It is now incumbent on all governments to support the work of the UN in its historic effort to correct the imbalances that currently exist. It is high time that the current tax system, which  remains ineffective, exclusive and accommodating only of the interests of a few is replaced by effective and inclusive international tax cooperation.

Luis Moreno, Representative of Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFALC) and Chair of the Coordination Committee of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), said:

“We welcome historic outcome of today’s vote and acknowledge the leadership role of the African Group in promoting the reform process of the global tax system in the United Nations on equal footing. This will also help promote the restructuring of the entire economic and fiscal structure that basically work in favour of small group of countries benefiting from the current system and keen to maintain this dominance. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean should not waiver in this struggle to get rid of a dysfuctional and obselte international tax system. They should play an active part to facilitate the work of the UN because this is the only way to stop profit shifting and Illicit Financial Flows from the Global South.” 

Jeannie Manipon, Coordinator of the Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA) and member of the Coordination Committee of GATJ said:

TAFJA  has been campaining for a UN Tax Convention by mobilising its constituens. It now joins other members of the Global Alliance in expressing its full support to the upcoming UN negotiation to deliver the world’s first truly global agreement on tax. It is unacceptable that rules and norms established at the beginning of the last century still serve as the basis for international tax system. It continues to enable big corporations and wealthy individuals to hide wealth and shift profits with impunity. This architecture is obsolete beyond repair and should be overhauled from bottom to top. Only a member state-led intergovernmental negation at the UN can pave the way for inclusive and effective international tax cooperation and a UN framework tax convention. The vast majority of Asian countries are at the receiving end of this unfair tax system. Therefore, they should support the work of the UN to pave the way to a new era in international tax governance and ensure fair and equitable distribution of taxing rights”.

About the Global Alliance for Tax Justice 

The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) is a South-led global coalition in the tax justice movement. Together we work for a world where progressive and redistributive tax policies counteract inequalities within and between countries, and generate the public funding needed to ensure essential services and human rights. Created in 2013, GATJ comprises regional tax justice networks in Asia (Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia), Africa (Tax Justice Network Africa), Latin America (Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe), Europe (Tax Justice-Europe) and North America (Canadians for Tax Fairness & FACT Coalition), collectively representing hundreds of organizations.

Media contact: info@globaltaxjustice.org

About CS FfD Mechanism:

The Civil Society Financing for Development Mechanism is a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), advocacy groups, and civil society organizations (CSOs) that collaborates and engages in discussions and initiatives related to financing for development (FfD) space at the UN as the official Civil Society Mechanism. This group plays a vital role in influencing policies, advocating for equitable and sustainable financing practices, and ensuring that the financing strategies and decisions made at international forums are aligned with the needs and priorities of diverse communities worldwide. The group contributes expertise, perspectives, and recommendations to advance inclusive and effective financing mechanisms for development goals, often participating in global dialogues such as those held primarily within the United Nations as the only truly inclusive and democratic space where every nation stands on equal footing.

About the UN General Assembly’s 2nd Committee:

The UN General Assembly’s 2nd Committee is a crucial body within the United Nations system, focusing primarily on economic and financial matters, sustainable development, and global issues related to poverty eradication. Comprising all UN member states, this committee deliberates on policies, resolutions, and initiatives aimed at fostering international economic cooperation, promoting sustainable development goals, and addressing challenges related to global finance, trade, and socio-economic progress. Its discussions and decisions significantly influence the UN’s agenda regarding economic and social development worldwide.

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