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After years of impasse, UN tax discussions are moving at high speed. At the end of 2022, the General Assembly passed a motion by unanimous consensus which established the basis for intergovernmental discussions on an international tax cooperation framework, and mandated the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to write a report on the options. The central option of the three identified is the negotiation of a UN framework convention on tax, which was debated at the General Assembly on 20 September. It is widely expected that a motion to commence formal negotiations between countries will shortly be tabled.
This event provides a moment to reflect on the Secretary-General’s report, and on the General Assembly debate, and to evaluate the next steps and the prospects for progress. While some OECD member countries have reversed their positions and returned to opposition, it is clear that the OECD’s own process will not deliver significant reductions in corporate tax abuse, even for members. To move towards international tax rule-setting that is effective – allowing each country the sovereignty to determine direct taxes on incomes, profits and wealth, and inclusive of all countries, requires the creation of an international framework for tax cooperation under UN auspices.
We’ll be joined by high-level speakers who will share their expertise and insights on the UN process; on the positions of key countries and groupings, including the G77, United States and European Union; and on the immediate prospects and likely timetable for progress.
Watch the session recording here.
Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)NavidHanif_UN
Mr. Navid Hanif is the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He is also the UN sous Sherpa to the G20 finance and main tracks.
He joined UNDESA in 2001. He was Senior Policy Adviser in the Division for Sustainable Development and member of the team for the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002. He served as the Chief of Policy Coordination Branch and later Director in the office for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) support and the Director for Financing for Sustainable Development Office. He was the first head of the DESA Strategic Planning Unit established in 2010.
He was Principal Officer in the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, Vice-Chair of the UN High Level Committee on Programming (HLCP) and Co-Coordinator of the UN team on repositioning of the UN Development System that led to major reforms in 2018.
He has contributed several articles on financing and investing in the SDGs in various journals and reports.
He holds MIA, International Political Economy, Columbia University (NY), & M.A., English Literature, Government College University (Lahore).
María Fernanda Valdés
Deputy Minister of Finance of Colombia@MFValdesV
María Fernanda Valdés is Colombian deputy Minister of Finance. She is an economist from Universidad Icesi in Cali, and she holds a Master’s degree in International Political Economy and Development from the Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands and a PhD in Economics from the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. She has served as Project Coordinator at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Colombia and Deputy Minister of Business Development at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. She is also a professor at the Universidad de los Andes, has been a researcher at the Freie Universität Berlin and she is the author of the book “Reducing Inequality in Latin America: The Role of Tax Policy”, published in 2016.
Kenyan based lawyer and Non-Executive Director, Tax Justice NetworkLylaALatif
Lyla Latif is a Kenyan based lawyer with litigation experience and has drafted legislation for the Government of Kenya, she is also a Non-Executive Director at the Tax Justice Network. Based on her 11 years as a legal professional and researcher on fiscal responsible regimes, she has built an international reputation as a consultant producing scholarship and making evidence-based policy recommendations for governments and international organisations focusing on closing revenue leakages and financing human rights. She has established strategic working partnerships with stakeholders who are keen to influence tax justice, responsible state building, financing equitable development and improving lives through shared and inclusive economic prosperity. In this regard, she has worked with, advised, and consulted for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation, WHO, UNCTAD, OHCHR, UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, UNAIDS, UNGA Economic and Financial Committee, the Tax Justice Network Africa, East Africa Tax and Governance Network, Africa Forum for Debt and Development, SEATINI, the Kenyan and German Parliaments and several international organisations. Lyla has gained expertise on the fiscal regimes in Africa and the continent’s approach to securing its fiscal space to finance development and to leverage on the digital economy. The impact of her work can be seen from her publications, international speaking engagements, advocacy work and tax trainings of over 3,000 Africans (Members of Parliament, journalists, lawyers, accountants, economists, political scientists, graduate students, civil society activists) since 2018. She holds faculty position at the University of Nairobi, where she co-founded the Committee of Fiscal Studies (CFS). She has also taught at Cardiff University and Warwick Law School. Lyla is an appointed member of the inaugural Tax Law Committee of the East Africa Law Society (2022-2024). She sits on the Advisory Board of the International Lawyers Project (2022-2024), and trains on tax related content globally with Rotterdam’s tax training organisation, Capabuild.
Policy and Advocacy Manager, Tax Justice, Eurodadtoveryding
Tove joined Eurodad in March 2013 as Senior Policy Analyst. She now leads the work on tax and transparency, and carries out coordination, advocacy, communications work as well as research and analysis. Tove is one of two elected representatives for Tax Justice Europe in the coordinating committee of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. Before joining Eurodad Tove worked with Greenpeace International as coordinator for climate policy. She’s also been chair of the Danish 92 Group for over 5 years and head of the Danish NGO Forests of the World for 3 years. Tove speaks Danish, Swedish and English.
Chief Executive, Tax Justice Networkalexcobham
Alex Cobham is an economist and chief executive of the Tax Justice Network. He is also a founding member of the steering group of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and of the technical advisory group for the Fair Tax Mark. His work focuses on illicit financial flows, effective taxation for development, and inequality. He has been a researcher at Oxford University, Christian Aid, Save the Children, and the Center for Global Development, and has consulted widely, including for UNCTAD, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, DFID, and the World Bank. Recent publications include The Uncounted (Polity Press, 2019); and Estimating Illicit Financial Flows (OUP, 2020, with Petr Janský).