Statement: Support for the call by African Ministers of Finance for a UN Tax Convention

By Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) in association with Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA) and Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFALC), members of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ)

Over the past several years, Global South countries have repeatedly called for the establishment of an intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the United Nations to fix the international tax system and lead the setting of global tax standards. Last month this call was reiterated by the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

At the conclusion of the fifty-fourth session that was held on 16 and 17 May 2022, in Dakar, the ministers endorsed the resolutions that had been approved by the Committee of Experts. Under the section on ‘Curbing illicit financial flows and recovery of lost assets’ the resolutions included the following:

“The Conference of Ministers: […] Calls upon the United Nations to begin negotiations under its auspices on an international convention on tax matters, with the participation of all States members and relevant stakeholders, aimed at eliminating base erosion, profit shifting, tax evasion, including of capital gains tax, and other tax abuses.”

The endorsement of this resolution by the African ministers of finance, planning and economic development adds to the voices of developing nations that have long called for an intergovernmental tax negotiation process at the UN. For over two decades, the G77 and China have called for ‘Member States to consider the conversion of the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council.’, noting their concern that there is “no global, inclusive norm-setting body for international tax cooperation at the inter-governmental level”. Since then, there have been repeated calls by numerous Global South groups and member states for the same. Most recently, G77 and China reiterated this call at the 2022 FfD Forum with the Africa Group in the UN noting “the urgent need to establish a universal, UN intergovernmental tax body and negotiate a UN Tax Convention to comprehensively address tax havens, tax abuse by multinational corporations and other illicit financial flows through a truly universal, intergovernmental process at the UN, with broad rights holders’ participation.”

In February 2021, the report of the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel) also called for the international community to initiate a process for a UN Tax Convention.

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) have continued to ravage the world’s economies with developing countries disproportionately suffering the negative effects of the phenomenon, especially in the post-Covid-19 era. The State of Tax Justice 2021 showed that countries are losing a total of $483 billion in tax a year to global tax abuse committed by multinational corporations and wealthy individuals. Despite developing nations being disproportionately affected by tax-related IFFs, they have always been left out of rulemaking processes that could offer solutions to address these challenges.

The negotiation of the new global tax rules currently takes place within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Inclusive Framework (IF). Despite its name, the OECD Inclusive Framework is not truly inclusive as over a third of countries are not members of the platform, not all countries have an equal voice in discussions on the reform of the global tax system, and it carries an inherent bias towards the interests of the members of the OECD. At present only half of all African countries are members of the IF and in the most recent Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy, only 24 African countries endorsed it, yet it was lauded as a global deal.

Further to this, in a series of recent letters from a group of UN independent experts and special rapporteurs, they expressed concern that Pillar One will ‘will facilitate aggressive tax optimisation strategies and tax evasion’ and Pillar Two will ‘reduce the ability of low and middle-income countries to mobilise sufficient resources to invest in essential public services and to ensure the realisation of human rights’ reiterating the inadequacy of the OECD IF as global rule-making body.

The inadequacy of OECD to set global standards is further revealed in their decisions in tax transparency over the last decade. This includes decisions on the cross-border exchange of information on financial accounts and on the activities of multinational companies that can reveal patterns of tax abuse by individuals and companies, which have been designed in such a way as to systematically exclude lower-income countries from the benefits.

We, therefore, laud the continued efforts of developing countries, and more recently the African ministers, to call for an international convention on tax matters at the United Nations. And even as developing nations continue with these calls, we urge OECD countries whose stance has traditionally been obstructive towards efforts to truly establish a democratic platform for negotiation.

This resolution, if implemented, would move rulemaking on international tax out of the hands of a few rich countries who have determined international tax rules for decades and to the UN. As such, we, the undersigned, support the call of developing countries, and more recently the African ministers, for an international tax convention and an intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the UN.

A UN tax convention would:

● Promote democratic reforms of the international taxation framework by allowing for genuinely inclusive consultations to ensure that the interests of developing nations are represented.

● Initiate the process of harmonising international tax agreements to eliminate their bias towards developed countries to the detriment of developing countries.

● Foster greater collaboration between governments on tax matters in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. This would also enhance greater coordination and coherence between institutions and ultimately have tax issues administered under one framework.

We, therefore, call upon:

1. Governments from all regions of the Global South to step up South-South cooperation and prioritise their long-standing demand for a universal, intergovernmental tax negotiation process at the UN including articulate express statements of support for the recent call by African ministers for a UN tax convention to build political momentum.

2. Governments from the EU and OECD to recognise that the failures of the current system also defeat their own ability to deliver progressive taxation of income, profits, wealth and capital gains, and to give their support to the start of negotiations on a convention.

3. The Secretary-General of the UN to issue a statement of solidarity with Global South countries and provide steer for a discussion on a UN tax convention at the upcoming 2022 UN General Assembly.

Statement endorsed by:

1.     ActionAid International

2.     ActionAid Nepal

3.     ActionAid Nederland

4.     Actionaid Senegal

5.     ActionAid Sierra Leone

6.     ActionAid Zambia

7.     African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD)

8.     AGAGES MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS GRP (Agir pour Garantir la Gouvernance Économique etSociale)

9.     AJUDECA

10.  Akina Mama wa Afrika

11.  AkoLearn

12.  Albida International LLC

13.  All Nepal Peasants Federation

14.  Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l’environnement

15.  Alliance Sud, Switzerland

16.  Alternative Information & Development Centre

17.  Amnesty International

18.  Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)

19.  Anti-Corruption Commission – Sierra Leone

20.  APIT Portugal

21.  Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)

22.  Asociación Economía Solidaria Riojana

23.  Association For Promotion Sustainable Development

24.  Association of mineworkers and construction union (AMCU)

25.  Attac Austria

26.  ATTAC CADTM Burkina


28.  BIKN

29.  Botswana Centre for Public Integrity

30.  Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association

31.  Bureau de Liaison avec le Parlement BLP/CENCO

32.  CAFAGB(Cellule Associative des Femmes Actives pour la Gouvernance les Droits Humains et le Bien-être)

33.  Campaign for Human Rights and Development International CHRDI

34.  Catedra Abrieta Plan Fenix Fac. Cs. Económicas UBA Argentina

35.  CCFD-TerreSolidaire

36.  Cedetrabajo


38.  Center for Economic and Social Rights

39.  Center for Peace Education and Community Development

40.  Centre de Formation en Mécanismes de Protection des Droits Humains

41.  Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM)

42.  Centro de Teatro do Oprimido de Maputo

43.  Centro Montalvo

44.  Chambre Transversale des jeunes entrepreneurs du Burundi

45.  Changemaker Finland

46.  Christian Aid

47.  Church Action for Tax Justice

48.  Civil Society FfD Group


51.  Coalition for the UN We Need

52.  COLMYG de Teusaquillo

53.  Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

54.  Consumers Association of Penang

55.  Corruption and Rights Watch – CORWA

56.  Corruption Watch


58.  CRASH – Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity

59.  Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity


61.  Diakonia

62.  EATGN

63.  Education Coalition of Zimbabwe

64.  Ekvilib Institute

65.  Elimu Yetu Coalition


67.  Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia

68.  European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)


70.  Federation of Environmental and Ecological Diversity for Agricultural Revampment and Human Rights, The (FEEDAR & HR)


72.  FIAN International

73.  Financial Accountability & Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition

74.  Financial Transparency Coalition

75.  Finnish Development NGOs Fingo

76.  Focus on the Global South

77.  Fundación Constituyente XXI Chile

78.  Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar, A. C. MEXFAM

79.  Fundación SES

80.  Gender and Development Network (GADN)

81.  Generational Citizens In Action

82.  Ghana Integrity Initiative

83.  Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ)

84.  Global Campaign for Education (GCE)

85.  Global Policy Forum

86.  Global Tax Laboratory

87.  GRADE Project, the University of St Andrews

88.  Green Economy Coalition

89.  Green Governance Zimbabwe Zimbabwe


91.  Growthwatch


93.  Halley Movement Coalition

94.  Helping Our People Excel (HOPE)

95.  Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC)

96.  Human Rights Development Initiative


98.  ILDI

99.  Indian Social Action Forum

100.        Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)

101.        INFID

102.        Initiative Citoyenne pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable (ICED)

103.        Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER)

104.        Innovations for Development (I4DEV)

105.        Institute for Economic Justice

106.        Institute of Public Finance

107.        Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (Icefi)

108.        Instituto de Desarrollo de la Economía Asociativa (IDEAC)

109.        Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Inesc)

110.        Instituto Justiça Fiscal (IJF)

111.        Instituto Popular de Capacitación (IPC)

112.        International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

113.        Jana Adhayan Kendra

114.        Jean Marie

115.        Justicia Climática Rep. Dominicana

116.        Kafecos

117.        Kairos Europe WB

118.        Keen and Care Initiative (KCI)

119.        Kopin – Malta

120.        KRuHA

121.        KULU – Women and Development

122.        Kuza Livelihood Improvement Projects

123.        Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE)

124.        LATINDADD – Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social

125.        Lesotho Council of NGOs

126.        Ligue Congolaise de Lutte Contre la Corruption (LICOCO)

127.        Local Governance Network (LOGNet)

128.        Malawi CSO Led Black Economic Empowerment Movement (MaBLEM)

129.        Malawi Economic Justice Network MEJN

130.        Manica Youth Assembly

131.        MARIJÀN

132.        Mines mineral and people

133.        Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

134.        Mzuzu Youth Anti-Corruption Movement

135.        Nadi Ghati Morcha

136.        National Education Coalition

137.        National Society of Conservationists – Friends of the Earth Hungary

138.        National Taxpayers Association

139.        Nawi Collective

140.        Network Movement for Youth and Children’s Welfare (NMYCW)

141.        Netzwerk Steuergerechtigkeit

142.        Norsk Folkehjelp

143.        Norwegian Church Aid

144.        Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment

145.        Observatorio Dominicano de Políticas Públicas

146.        Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social en el Ecuador (OSLADE)

147.        Oxfam

148.        Oxfam IBIS

149.        Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

150.        Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee _ PKRC

151.        PALU

152.        PAPDA

153.        Perkumpulan PRAKARSA

154.        PSlink/Bestfed

155.        Public Services International (PSI)

156.        Public Services Labor Independent Confederation

157.        Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFALC)

158.        Red de Organizaciones de Managua

159.        Red Dot Foundation

160.        Rede de Auditores Fiscais de Língua Portuguesa

161.        ReFocus Consulting

162.        Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary NGO

163.        RENICC – Red Nicaragüense de Comercio Comunitario

164.        Resource Link Foundation

165.        Revenue Mobilisation Africa

166.        Rural Area Development Programme (RADP)

167.        Ruwa Residents & Ratepayers Association Trust

168.        Rwanda Education for All Coalition

169.        Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

170.        Salesian Missions, Inc.


172.        SENTRO

173.        Shule Direct

174.        Sisters of Charity Federation

175.        Social Support Foundation (SSF) Ghana

176.        Social Watch

177.        Society for International Development (SID)

178.        Somaliland Network on Education For All (SOLNEFA)

179.        Southern Africa Mining Workers Movement

180.        Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute

181.        Stop the Bleeding Campaign

182.        Sudanese Coalition for Education for all

183.        Swaziland Network Campaign for Education for All

184.        Tanzania Education Network

185.        Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA)

186.        TAFJANepal

187.        Tax Justice Coalition Ghana

188.        Tax Justice Network

189.        Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA)

190.        Tax Justice Norway

191.        TaxEdAlliance

192.        Taxfordev

193.        Teach For Zimbabwe

194.        Temple of Understanding

195.        The International Union for Land Value Taxation

196.        The PRAKARSA

197.        Third World Network – Asia

198.        Third World Network – Africa

199.        ThisAbilityHub Zimbabwe

200.        TI Bénin

201.        TJNE

202.        Trade Justice Pilipinas

203.        Transparency International – Initiative Madagascar

204.        Transparency International Kenya

205.        Transparency International Zambia

206.        Transparency International Zimbabwe

207.        Transparency Mauritius

208.        TZ Human Rights Network

209.        UGTT

210.        Union des Amis Socioculturels d’Action en Développement (UNASCAD)

211.        Universal Rights Network

212.        VIDC

213.        VIVATInternational

214.        WEDO

215.        Wemos

216.        West Nile Youth Empowerment Centre

217.        WomanHealth Philippines

218.        Women Aspire Network

219.        Women Excel Trust

220.        Women First International Fund

221.        Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development

222.        World Basic Income

223.        World Economy, Ecology and Development – WEED

224.        Youth for Tax Justice Network (YTJN)

225.        Zambia Tax Platform

226.        Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)

227.        Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association

228.        Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

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