As part of the Global Days of Action for Tax Justice for Women’s Rights, APMDD and TAFJA held an online forum on 24 March 2022 to listen to women’s voices for tax justice and explore how mining and illicit financial flows impact on women’s rights and resilience in the face of an alarming climate crisis.
APMDD coordinator, Lidy Nacpil, called mining, climate, and illicit financial flows a ”triple whammy on women”. She said most of the countries of the South have extractivist economies as a legacy of the colonial past.
“The continuous extraction affects local communities where mines operate with pollution and extraction of resources during the course of mining… But certain types of extraction affect even far away communities. That is in the impact on climate, especially the continues extraction, production and consumption of fossil fuels which is responsible for 75 percent of global greenhouse emissions that has triggered and is escalating global warming and climate change.”
She emphasized that fighting for tax justice in extractives is not an easy fix. “Extraction has to be done in ways that economies will benefit but the environment is not destroyed. We need to stop the current tax incentives given to mining companies which encourage them. We need to punish, penalize, drive away these foreign mining companies, who do not only abuse countries’ environments, but their own workers,” she said.
“The climate crisis tells us we cannot take too long to take action. Policy changes are urgent. We need to work hard and fast,” Nacpil said, stressing the importance of women “who won’t stop at nothing to protect their children” in the fight.
Hoang Phuong Thao of Action Aid Vietnam noted the need to “unpack the reality of how inequality has increased significantly through the multiple crises that we have gone though in the past few years, and especially the crises of climate change and COVID — and the reality that governments are trading off citizen’s rights for the benefit and profit of corporates.”
“In the race to the bottom, ASEAN countries are trying to reduce corporate income tax to attract investments, with the hope that the trickle-down effect will turn into employment. But in fact our people — especially our women, our women workers — are suffering from loss of lands and livelihoods because of waters rising, suffering being pushed out of the labor market, becoming informal workers, becoming workers that have no protection,” she said.
Perspectives of women in mining-affected communities and gendered impacts of extractivist activities were discussed by Fara Diva Gamalo of the Freedom from Debt Coalition-Philippines and Srishty Anand of Oxfam-India. Gamolo spoke of a community in Leyte province where hundreds of rice fields have been destroyed by Chinese mining company, extracting black sand and shipping it out to China, since 2010. “Not only livelihoods have been destroyed, but also fresh water sources are depleting because of the mining,” she said.
Illicit financial flows in the extractives sector and impacts on women was discussed by Meliana Lumbantorua, a program manager of Published What You Pay Indonesia. “For Indonesia, tax is a dominant revenue source, but mining corporations have been using loopholes in tax laws for tax avoidance,” she said.
“The current crises have been especially hard on women. We have to push those ‘status quo-ists’, the financial profiteers and profit shifters, those who listen only to the rich, and those fossilized defenders of fossil fuels, to move towards cleaner, greener, more sustainable alternatives and system change,” said Vidya Dinker of the India Social Action Forum.
“We honor women who continue to lead the fight against mining and many fights for tax and gender justice, for climate justice. Women who, despite being marginalised from decision making in all spheres of life, including on financial matters, demand transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in financial systems, and are also in the frontlines of crafting transformative economic visions beyond extractivist economies,” Jeannie Manipon, APMDD Development Finance program manager, said at the conclusion of the forum.
See video of the forum here