A regional tax network called Southeast Asia Tax Justice Forum was formally created during the Southeast Asia Regional Tax Conference held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 27 to 28.
The Southeast Asia Tax Justice Forum hopes to develop a tax justice regional advocacy agenda, facilitate exchange of information and work together on common tax campaign issues among various organizations in the region.
Aside from the formation of the regional network, the conference tackled studies on key tax justice issues that are considered relevant for the network and its member countries as well as shared campaign initiatives and experiences among participants.
During the conference, which was organized by JSAPMDD together with Action for Economic Reforms (AER) and SOMO in cooperation with Perkumpulan Prakarsa, country studies were presented by representatives from Perkumpuhan Prakarsa (Indonesia), Action from Economic Reforms (Philippines), Justice Initiatives Facilitation Fund (Vietnam), Institut Kajian Dasar (Malaysia), and South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE-Nepal).
The discussions served as the basis for identifying common issues across the region, which included Value Added Tax, taxes on extractive industries and the informal economy, tax havens, governance and gender.
Chona Leah Ramos of the JSAPMDD Secretariat shared the alliance's fiscal and tax justice framework and its campaign initiatives across Asia. She also talked about JSAPMDD's efforts to encourage, catalyze and assist its members to take up the tax component of their ongoing campaigns.
Chona stressed the need to develop consensus around a common framework and platform on fiscal and tax justice that could also contribute to developing regional and sub-regional campaign efforts on tax justice at various appropriate arenas. Specifically for JSAPMDD's campaign efforts, she pointed out that these are aimed at changing tax policies that will result in a more progressive, gender-just and equitable structure.
Members of JSAPMDD who were present in the conference -- Marc Batac of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines), Karina of the Institute for Essential Services Reforms (Indonesia), Rezaul Chowdhury of EquityBD (Bangladesh), Rakesh Mittal of INSAF (India), Keshab Khadka, SAAPE (Nepal), and Maria Lourdes Tabios Nuera of the JSAPMDD Secretariat – also shared their ongoing fiscal and tax justice initiatives in their respective countries.
A statement released by JSAPMDD said the World Bank should not have a role in global climate finance given its track record of aggressively promoting fossil fuel projects and other programs that exacerbate climate change and harm the environment.