The final meeting of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) took place in mid-July. Ahead of the meeting, ASAP sent the OWG co-chairs, Mr. Csaba Kõrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary, and Mr. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, a letter calling for global cooperation for financial transparency to be a priority in the OWG’s Zero Draft for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
ASAP’s letter was informed by a survey of over 28 experts, which aimed to identify policy reforms that would do the most to reduce illicit financial flows if included in the SDG framework. One of the background assumptions of the study is that if the framework does not make states responsible for taking specific actions to combat illicit financial flows, it will fall short of its potential impact. The study uses the Delphi method for identifying expert and stakeholder consensus around the desirability and likelihood of various policy reforms being included in the SDGs.
Although the initial version of the OWG’s Zero Draft included a target for global cooperation to reduce international tax evasion and avoidance, the target was cut in a revision of the draft. This is concerning because one of the clearest results of the study is that there is overwhelming expert support for policies that would increase financial transparency at both the domestic and global levels in order to curb tax avoidance and evasion, such as
- disclosure of the ultimate beneficial owners of companies and of the controlling parties of trusts and foundations;
- public country-by-country reporting of profits and other tax-relevant information by multinational corporations;
- automatic exchange of tax-relevant financial information by national tax authorities worldwide; and
- public reporting on funds paid to governments for the extraction of natural resources such as oil, gas, metals and minerals, and on the use of those funds.
ASAP calls on the OWG to strengthen its Zero Draft incorporating a target for international cooperation for transparency to curb tax abuse. To read ASAP’s letter to the OWG co-chairs, click here.
The final results of ASAP’s study will be published later this summer. ASAP will continue to campaign for the inclusion of policy reforms that would curb illicit financial flows in the negotiation of the new framework.