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Recommendations to the Zero Draft of the UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation

Recommendations to the Zero Draft of the UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation

Alongside partner organisations, we participated in submitting two documents with recommendations for the upcoming second sessions of the discussion of the terms of reference of the United Nations Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation (UN Tax Convention). 

Inputs were based on a “Zero Draft” version of the text circulated by the Ad Hoc Committee established to draft the terms of reference. These terms will serve as the basis of guidelines from which states will have the mandate to negotiate the upcoming framework convention in the United Nations.

Both submissions -one under the framework of the Initiative for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy, in which GI-ESCR actively participates, and the other under the Civil Society Financing for Development Mechanism- supported the crucial advances made through the work of the Committee to introduce to the negotiations essential debates on issues of taxation with redistributive potential, such as taxation of high net-worth individuals; and to connect the interlinkages between taxation and climate financing for a just transition. 

Additionally, the “Zero Draft” explicitly addresses the need for the upcoming convention to uphold the principle of transparency and calls upon the international community to scale up cooperation between States to achieve sustainable development goals. 

Extraterritorial duties upon States and the recognition of differentiated responsibilities and capabilities within the international tax architecture are all terms provided in the Zero Draft and are pivotal axioms for advancing a progressive agenda.

Even with such an auspicious starting point, the draft still provides space for immersing additional human rights priorities based on the international legal obligations of States into the terms of reference for the negotiations. 

Both of the submissions we endorsed emphasise the need for human rights to be at the core of the discussions and form a binding guiding principle by which to assort the newly obtained resources to be collected through the UN Tax Convention, particularly in light of the duties of international assistance and cooperation among States and through the enhancement of the fight against illicit financial flows and tax evasion. 

Effectively guaranteeing economic, social, and cultural rights demands a sensible increase in the funding of public services and active governmental policy aimed at redressing existing inequalities; therefore, since the UN Tax Convention provides an essential framework from which international obligations among States in terms of monetary transfers will be regulated upon the future, it becomes ever more pivotal to ensure that such text places human rights at the forefront of its priorities.

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