Oxfam International Blogs - global tax reform http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/global-tax-reform en Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-05-paradise-papers-one-year-five-ways-stop-such-tax-scandals <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Just one year ago, 13.4 million leaked files from offshore service providers and company registries were made public. This leak, known as the <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/" rel="nofollow">Paradise Papers</a>, revealed the tax planning strategies of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, as well as offshore activities by more than 120 politicians and world leaders.</p><p>Like always politicians were quick to react and promise reforms. But so far very little has happened. A new Paradise Papers is to be expected if no serious reforms are undertaken in the coming years. Just recently <a href="http://gabriel-zucman.eu/hidden-wealth/" rel="nofollow">Zucman estimated</a> that multinationals artificially shift almost half of their total overseas profits – 40 percent – to tax havens.</p><p><strong>Tax dodging is fueling an inequality crisis</strong> where <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">82% of the wealth generated last year</a> went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth. When corporations and the super-rich dodge taxes, it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price as governments balance the budget by raising their taxes and cutting vital public services.</p><p><strong>Poor countries are particularly hard hit</strong> by corporate tax dodging as they are twice as dependent on corporate tax revenues as rich countries.</p><p>Governments must take five immediate steps to stop corporations and the super-rich cheating poor countries out of <a href="http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2016_en.pdf" rel="nofollow">over $100 billion</a> in tax revenues every year.</p><p>Stopping the tax scandals won’t be easy but it is not impossible if the political will is there.</p><h3>Oxfam's 5-point plan for tax justice</h3><p>Oxfam’s five-point plan shows how governments can stop the tax scandals if they put the interests of the public over the demands of the super-rich and big business:</p><p><strong>1. Agree a global <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">blacklist of tax havens</a></strong> based on comprehensive objective criteria and take strong countermeasures including sanctions to limit their use. Governments have yet to agree an objective global list of tax havens.</p><p>A farcical OECD - G20 blacklist published in June 2017<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/94d84054-5bf0-11e7-b553-e2df1b0c3220" rel="nofollow"> features just Trinidad and Tobago</a>. The more comprehensive European Union list, published last December, omits European tax havens such as the Netherlands and Ireland that have been key players in the Paradise Papers scandal.</p><p><strong>2. Create a global tax body</strong> where all countries can work together on an equal footing to agree the fundamental tax reforms that are needed to ensure the tax system works for everyone.</p><p>International tax reforms have done little to prevent tax dodging in rich countries and even less in poor countries which were denied any real say in the reform process. Yet OECD and G20 member countries have blocked attempts by poor countries to create an independent tax body where all countries can work together to agree a second round of more fundamental reforms. This would include action to combat damaging tax competition.</p><p><strong>3. Rebalance tax deals</strong> by making sure tax treaties do not exploit developing countries tax bases.</p><p>Poor countries often lose out from unfair tax agreements because they allow multinational companies to avoid paying tax in the country.&nbsp; Yet, international tax reforms led by the G20 and OECD ignored this issue – in part because poor countries were denied any real say in the process.</p><p><strong>4. End tax secrecy for the super-rich</strong> by establishing a centralized public register of the individuals who own and benefit from shell companies, trusts and foundations publicly available.</p><p>Many countries have established registers of ‘beneficial owners but few have made the information publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax dodgers.</p><p><strong>5. End corporate tax secrecy</strong> by ensuring all multinational companies make financial reports publicly available for every country where they operate.&nbsp;</p><p>The OECD initiative on country-by-country reporting falls well short of the mark as it does not cover all multinational corporations and it does not require companies to make their financial reports publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax cheats.&nbsp;</p><p>Stronger European proposals on public country-by-country reporting, were due to be agreed this year, but are being blocked by EU member states such as Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 5 November 2018, by Johan Langerock, Oxfam's EU Policy Advisor for Tax and Inequality.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow"><strong>Map of the EU's blacklist of tax havens</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals</h2></div> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:35:32 +0000 Guest Blogger 81770 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-05-paradise-papers-one-year-five-ways-stop-such-tax-scandals#comments Do you care about fighting poverty, climate change and inequality? Then you’ll probably care about these three letters: FfD http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-06-29-do-you-care-about-fighting-poverty-climate-change-and-inequality-ffd <div class="field field-name-body"><h3>We live in a rigged and unbalanced world. A world where the richest 1% will own more than half the world’s wealth by next year.</h3> <p>This is not by accident - politicians are continuing to make rules that line the pockets of companies whilst cutting public services and emptying the pockets of the poorest.  <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-02-11-breaking-cycle-how-europe-can-stop-industrial-tax-dodging">Corporate tax dodging scandals</a> are filling headlines on an all too regular basis. Climate change is ruining crops, stealing meals from those already living with hunger. When I hear and see this I want to shout from the roof-tops to call-out these contradictions.</p> <p>So why then, am I diving into the world of UN acronyms? How can the letters ‘FfD’ bring us one step closer to tackling the world’s greatest threats?</p> <p>A year ago I had never heard of FfD conference - it stands for <a href="http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/">Financing for Development</a>. These are meetings organised every 6-7 years by the UN. The more I have learnt about FfD, the more I have realised what a big deal it is. This is the place where decisions are made about how money is spent by governments to tackle poverty and inequality.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">International Conference on Financing for Development <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FFD3?src=hash">#FFD3</a> 13–16 July Addis Ababa Ethiopia <a href="http://t.co/JsPQyxKaT5">http://t.co/JsPQyxKaT5</a> <a href="http://t.co/pKA8EkZxx1">pic.twitter.com/pKA8EkZxx1</a></p> <p>— Equity &amp; Health (@equitylist) <a href="https://twitter.com/equitylist/status/611878210951888897">June 19, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>But the meetings aren’t just about coughing up some token cheques to pay for schools and hospitals. They’re about who decides how the money is raised and what it get’s spent on. It’s about rebalancing power and making sure developing countries get to have a voice. In a world where<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few"> financial rules are rigged</a>, and global financing disadvantages the poorest countries, the Financing for Development conference is a once in a decade opportunity to ensure that efforts to fight climate change, poverty and inequality are funded fairly.</p> <p>This is the third FfD conference and it is part of a landmark year for international development. Negotiations have started and we are seeing a familiar picture – countries with the biggest cheque books throwing their weight around and trying to push developing countries into corners they can’t come out of. But developing countries aren’t budging and are standing firm on issues that that influence how much they might have to spend on schools and hospitals, or roads and irrigation. Civil society and people from across the world are backing them when a critical point of finance justice is at stake. If you want to stand in that corner and help to rebalance that power, if you care about tackling poverty, climate change and inequality, now is the time to <a href="http://oxf.am/Zddr">speak-out and take action</a>.</p> <p><strong>Oxfam will be at <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23FFD3&amp;src=typd">#FFD3</a> and here’s where we’ll be focusing our efforts:</strong></p> <h3>Tax</h3> <p>Tax dodging is a global problem. <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/business-among-friends">Multinational corporations shift their profits</a> out of countries where they make their money and hide it in tax havens, increasing their profits and leaving the poorest countries with an estimated loss of <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/2015/03/26/unctad-multinational-tax-avoidance-costs-developing-countries-100-billion/">$100 billion a year</a>.</p> <p>Global problems need global solutions. Oxfam and others are calling for the creation of a global tax body at the FfD – a body where each country has an equal say. The timing couldn’t be more crucial. Right now, a club of rich countries is claiming to be fixing this unfair system. But in reality that means rich countries writing to rules which benefit them, without considering what the poorest countries need.</p> <p>Global problems also need global movements calling for the global solutions! Luckily, tax justice campaigners across the world are coming together to push for change. Oxfam and others recently took part in a <a href="https://storify.com/TaxJustice/global-tax-justice-a-week-of-action">week of action</a> for <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TaxJustice&amp;src=typd">#TaxJustice</a>. Now we need to keep up the pressure to make sure leaders listen, act and deliver a global body on tax at #FfD3.</p> <p><em>For tax updates:</em></p> <ul><li>Meet the newest kid on the tax block <a href="http://twitter.com/GlobalTaxBody">@GlobalTaxBody</a> – follow to see if it get adopted at #FFD3.</li> <li>Hashtags <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23taxjustice&amp;src=typd">#taxjustice</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23MakeTaxFair&amp;src=typd">#MakeTaxFair</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23globaltaxbody&amp;src=typd">#globaltaxbody</a></li> <li>Follow: <a href="https://twitter.com/alieholder">@alieholder</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/frankcarnibella">@frankcarnibella</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NoeHa7">@NoeHa7</a></li> </ul><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">Love this! <a href="https://twitter.com/GlobalTaxBody">@GlobalTaxBody</a> welcomes Financing for Development <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FFD3?src=hash">#FFD3</a> negotiators <a href="https://t.co/7iHprqLZvw">https://t.co/7iHprqLZvw</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TaxJustice?src=hash">#TaxJustice</a> will benefit everybody!</p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/613315388957437952">June 23, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><h3>Climate</h3> <p>For more than a billion people who live in poverty, a changing climate means <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21656133-climate-change">more extreme weather</a>, more disasters and more hunger. It also means that the poorest countries are paying the price for a problem which they contribute least to causing.</p> <p>Rich countries who polluted the climate on the path to wealth are trying to get away without providing finance – in addition to development assistance –  for poorer countries to adapt to a changing a climate.  Currently rich countries provide just 2% of what poor countries need to adapt to a changing climate. So at #FfD3 <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/29/rich-countries-100bn-promise-fight-climate-change-not-delivered">we’ll be calling for climate finance</a> to be given in addition to development assistance.</p> <p><em>For climate updates:</em></p> <ul><li><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23climatefinance&amp;src=typd">#climatefinance</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23climate&amp;src=typd">#climate</a></li> <li>Follow: <a href="https://twitter.com/LiesCraeynest">@LiesCraeynest</a></li> </ul><h3>Overseas development assistance</h3> <p>Rich nations need to deliver on un-kept promises and commit to spending <a href="http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/press/07.htm">0.7% of national budgets for overseas aid</a>. They can’t keep promising without delivering and without setting a deadline for delivery. So at #FfD3 we’ll be calling for a re-commitment for 0.7% with a timetable and for 50% of this to be heading towards the least developed countries, rather than towards countries where rich countries have political and commercial interests.</p> <h3>Public not private finance</h3> <p>People in every country - developed and developing alike - need access to decent education, healthcare, jobs, livelihood security including in a warmer climate, and the resources needed to provide for themselves and their families. There is a concerted shift to fund public services through private finance. When it comes to essential services, whether schools for your children, or  healthcare for  grandparents, you want the reassurance they’ll get good quality, free public services universally available whether you’re rich or poor – profit-making cannot come before public interest.  At #FfD3 we’ll be calling for commitments that ensure this.</p> <p><em>For finance updates:</em></p> <ul><li><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ODA&amp;src=typd">#ODA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23aid&amp;src=typd">#aid</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SDGs&amp;src=typd">#SDGs</a></li> <li>Follow: <a href="https://twitter.com/hilaryjeune">@hilaryjeune</a></li> </ul><p><em>This entry posted by Francesca Carnibella, Oxfam Global Campaigner, Inequality (<a href="http://twitter.com/frankcarnibella">@frankcarnibella</a>) on 30 June 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Mexico slum. Credit: Bushra al-Fusail</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/Zddr"><strong>Join the call to Stop Corporate Tax Dodging and Make Trade Fair</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-05-02-developing-countries-must-be-heart-global-tax-reform"><strong>Developing countries must be at the heart of Global Tax Reform</strong></a></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Do you care about fighting poverty, climate change and inequality? Then you’ll probably care about these three letters: FfD</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-07-03-te-preocupa-la-lucha-contra-pobreza-cambio-climatico-desigualdad-ffd3" title="¿Te preocupa la lucha contra la pobreza, el cambio climático o la desigualdad? Entonces te interesarán estas tres letras: FfD" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/15-07-06-la-lutte-contre-la-pauvret%C3%A9-le-changement-climatique-et-les-in%C3%A9galit%C3%A9s-vous-tient-%C3%A0" title="La lutte contre la pauvreté, le changement climatique et les inégalités vous tient à cœur ? Retenez bien ces trois lettres : FFD" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:17:45 +0000 Francesca Carnibella 27215 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-06-29-do-you-care-about-fighting-poverty-climate-change-and-inequality-ffd#comments Bringing the inequality message to the Davos elite http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-02-24-bringing-inequality-message-davos-elite <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>From the exclusive chalets of the Swiss Alps to the world’s ghettos, inequality affects us all and it is out of control.</strong></p> <p>To address this worsening issue of our time, I was invited to attend the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos last month as a co-chair. This was an opportunity to take the concerns of the people Oxfam works with in the world’s poorest countries to an event synonymous with the global elite.</p> <p>My intention was to present some of the richest and most powerful people on the planet with the stark facts: <strong>80 people now have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.</strong> I wanted to point out the consequences extreme economic inequality has on poor people around the globe; and to turn concern about inequality into real action to tackle it.</p> <p>Oxfam’s view is that by making sure the richest pay their fair share of tax, tackling the scourge of precarious low paid work and investing in high quality, free and public services for all, we can begin to make progress on reducing inequality. These were outlined in our <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/time-end-extreme-inequality" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Even It Up report</a></strong> released in October, which was backed up by <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/wealth-having-it-all-and-wanting-more" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">our latest findings</a></strong>. Released just ahead of the WEF Annual Meeting, we showed that if inequality is left unchecked, the richest 1 percent will own more than the rest of us by 2016, while 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live in extreme poverty.</p> <h3>To put inequality at the top of the agenda</h3> <p>Did we succeed in getting the message through? I’m proud to say, we - as Oxfam pulling together on this effort globally - managed to put inequality at the top of the agenda in Davos.</p> <p>We made <strong><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/19/guardian-view-sustainable-development-davos-set-tone" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">headlines and column inches around the world</a></strong>, and secured precious air time throughout the <a href="http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/bbc-world-debate-richer-world-whom" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Annual Meeting</strong>.</a></p> <p>Due to the tremendous support Oxfam receives via social media<a href="http://www.weflive.com/?utm_medium=social-media&amp;utm_campaign=2015-com-davos&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_content=gbl+2015+jan+5+wef+participants+tw/#!/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">,</a> I was named as <a href="http://www.weflive.com/?utm_medium=social-media&amp;utm_campaign=2015-com-davos&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_content=gbl+2015+jan+5+wef+participants+tw/#!/user/twitter-355696940" rel="nofollow"><strong>one of the most influential top ten social media users at Davos</strong></a>, ranking alongside <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/billgates" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Bill Gates</a></strong> and <a href="https://twitter.com/ariannahuff" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Arianna Huffington</strong>.</a></p> <p>Words of support came from across the Davos spectrum, including from our Oxfam ambassadors, <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/winnie_byanyima/status/558884174355267584" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Angelique Kidjo</a></strong> and Chris Martin, while high level meetings were had with Christine Lagarde of the IMF and <strong><a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/status/559015050661613568" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank</a></strong>, and Donald Kaberuka of the African Development Bank. I had some warm conversations and some tough conversations - as you would expect in such a setting - but each time I attend Davos I see more and more of the world's elite realise that extreme inequality is a problem for all.</p> <p>This was a worthwhile engagement – but it is just the beginning of Oxfam’s campaign to <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23EvenItUp&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow"><strong>Even It Up</strong></a> for the 99 percent.</p> <p>Now we will continue to push for solutions to the injustice caused by extreme inequality – starting with making sure companies pay their fair share of tax as a first priority. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/05/-sp-luxembourg-tax-files-tax-avoidance-industrial-scale" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>From Apple to Amazon</strong>,</a> it’s an issue that has barely been off the front pages in recent months. </p> <h3><strong>When tax rules are unfair, inequality rises</strong></h3> <p>Companies make more money when they pay less tax, and these profits go towards making the richest people even richer. At the same time, when corporations don’t pay their fair share, this also deprives governments of vital funds that could be spent on reducing poverty: services like schools and hospitals, the very services that are essential to closing the gap between rich and poor, and eradicating extreme poverty for good. Oxfam has estimated that developing countries loose at least $100 billion a year due to corporate <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/g20-turn-tide" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">tax dodging</a>.</strong></p> <p>But it’s not enough to just target the global corporations who dodge their tax. This problem is bigger than a few bad apples. We need to target the system that allows companies to use their power and influence to get away without paying their fair share. <strong>An ambitious, far-reaching and inclusive process is needed to fix the broken international tax system,</strong> to prevent corporations from dodging the taxes they owe and to give governments the resources they need to tackle poverty and inequality. </p> <p>This is<a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-01-23-why-oxfam-calling-world-tax-summit" target="_blank"> <strong>why Oxfam is calling for a World Tax Summit</strong></a>, where all countries are invited and where the rights and needs of citizens are prioritized over the profits of corporate giants. We think this should be a prominent part of the agenda for the Financing Conference in Addis Ababa this year, where all countries are already planning to gather to talk about how to finance development. Developing countries must be given an equal seat at the table where global tax rules are agreed - their ability to reduce poverty and tackle inequality depends on it. We can’t make tax fair if the journey to change isn’t fair. That journey must begin with a truly inclusive World Tax Summit as part of the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa this July.</p> <p>Davos was the start of a robust and frank discussion. I look forward to real progress on these issues in 2015.</p> <p><em>This entry was published on 24 February 2015, by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International.</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <h3><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/node/6280" rel="nofollow">Act now to make tax fair</a></h3></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Bringing the inequality message to the Davos elite</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/15-02-24-mettre-en-garde-l%C3%A9lite-r%C3%A9unie-%C3%A0-davos-contre-les-in%C3%A9galit%C3%A9s" title="Mettre en garde l&#039;élite réunie à Davos contre les inégalités" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/15-02-24-mensaje-la-%C3%A9lite-de-davos" title="Mensaje a la élite de Davos" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:29:45 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 25464 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-02-24-bringing-inequality-message-davos-elite#comments Fighting inequality in Latin America: The road ahead http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-12-08-fighting-inequality-latin-america-road-ahead <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Last week, I was in Santiago attending a <a href="http://www.imfsantiago2014.org/"><strong>high-level conference </strong></a>hosted by Chile’s Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund.</em></p> <p><em>Along with policy-makers, academics, opinion leaders, and financial sector executives, I was exploring challenges and opportunities for securing inclusive and sustainable growth in Latin America.</em></p> <p><strong>Latin America is proof that the global trend of rising economic inequality can be reversed, if the political will exists.</strong> Despite historically being the most unequal region in the world, it is the only region that has managed to reduce inequality during the past decade.</p> <p>This success is the result of the right mix of government policies that focus on poor people. Increased spending on health and education since 2000 has had the greatest impact on inequality reduction. As a result of social public expenditures, many of the region’s poorest citizens have been able to access essential services without having to become indebted to pay for them. For Latin American youth, education is not only an equalizer but it will stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and growth.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><p>Increased spending on health, education in Latin America has had the greatest impact on inequality reduction <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMFSantiago2014?src=hash">#IMFSantiago2014</a></p> <p>— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/status/540954904794513408">December 5, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Increasing the minimum wage, public pensions and employment opportunities has also created secure livelihoods for millions.</p> <p>But this is not the end of the road. <strong>Despite these advances, Latin America is still the world´s most unequal region.</strong></p> <p>Close to a third of the population live in poverty – while the annual income of Latin America’s 113 billionaires this year is equal to the public budget of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua put together. That same income is equal to the public health expenditure of nine Latin American countries.</p> <p>So, the question is: Can Latin America remain an example for the world, and maintain and sustain inequality and poverty reduction trends?</p> <p><strong>Oxfam thinks it can – if Latin American governments continue to invest</strong> in health, education and social protection, if alternatives are found to primary commodities exports as the engine of growth, and if progress is bolstered by progressive fiscal reforms.</p> <p>Growth in Latin America over the last decade has been largely driven by the commodity boom. Several economies in the region depend on oil and other extractive industries. This makes their economies vulnerable. Indeed, growth in LAC has now has stalled, and new drivers of growth are being sought. There is a need to diversify from primary commodity sectors, to sectors which can create many jobs.</p> <p>As the<a href="https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2013/sdn1310.pdf"><strong> IMF has pointed out</strong></a>, “the challenges of growth, job creation, and inclusion are closely intertwined.” Growth gives women job opportunities, but women’s participation in the labor market is also a part of the growth and poverty-reducing equation.</p> <p><strong>There has been a steady increase in women’s participation</strong> in the labor market in recent decades, but in most countries in the region women are much more likely than men to hold low-paid jobs. The wage gap between men and women is also <a href="http://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/6384/New%20Century%20Old%20Disparities.pdf?sequence=1"><strong>substantial</strong></a>, lagging behind OECD countries.</p> <p>Closing this gap will go a long way to equitable and sustainable development – triggering growth and reducing inequality.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMFSantiago2014?src=hash">#IMFSantiago2014</a> Betw 2000-2010,most <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LAC?src=hash">#LAC</a> countries reduced inequality,50mn moved into middle class but region remains most unequal globally</p> <p>— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/status/541244932514934784">December 6, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>Inequality can also be reduced by progressive taxation</strong> – an under-used instrument to reduce in Latin America thus far. A <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/fiscal-justice-reduce-inequality-latin-america-and-caribbean"><strong>recent Oxfam report</strong></a> highlights the low tax collection levels in the region, in comparison to the great social needs. Our research shows tax systems are largely skewed towards benefitting economic and political elites – rather than the majority of the people.</p> <p>More than half of tax in Latin American and the Caribbean comes from consumption taxes, such as VAT. This means the poorest devote a greater share of their income to pay taxes than the rich.</p> <p>Further, corporate tax exemptions in the region amount to $138,000 million per year. In the Dominican Republic tax exemptions for free zones, tourism and other industries are about $720 million - enough to double the health budget. In Nicaragua in 2008 tax exemptions amounted to $415.6 million, 40 per cent more than the Ministry of Health’s total budget that year.</p> <p><strong>Enormous tax evasion in the region is also a problem</strong>. <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/fiscal-justice-reduce-inequality-latin-america-and-caribbean"><strong>Oxfam’s calculation</strong></a> is that money hidden in tax havens would be enough for 32 million people to be lifted out of poverty. That is, all people living in poverty from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru.</p> <p>Latin American leaders should improve their domestic resource mobilization systems, cooperate to stop the race to the bottom on corporate tax exemptions, and demand a say in the G20/OECD-led negotiations to reform global tax rules for curbing illicit financial flows.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><p>Latin American money hidden in tax havens would be enough to lift 32 million people out of poverty <a href="http://t.co/yCPlYBTXgW">http://t.co/yCPlYBTXgW</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IMFSantiago2014?src=hash">#IMFSantiago2014</a></p> <p>— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima/status/540955083111153664">December 5, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>Courageous steps have been taken</strong> by many Latin American leaders in the last decade, and the successes speak for themselves. Now more courageous reforms are needed, to achieve a fiscal system which will dislodge entrenched inequalities and benefit all Latin America’s people equally, and in the long term.</p> <p><em>Originally published on the Huffington Post as: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/winnie-byanyima/inclusive-sustainable-gro_b_6278690.html">Inclusive, Sustainable Growth Latin America: The Road Ahead</a></em> </p><p><em>Photo: Emelina Dominguez, agricultural technician, 42, tending to her vegetables. Honduras, 14 January 2007. Photo: Gilvan Barreto/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/even-it-up">Join the campaign to fight extreme inequality</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/1859">Read more blogs on inequality</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Download the flagship Oxfam report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/working-few">Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality</a></strong></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Fighting inequality in Latin America: The road ahead</h2></div> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 18:20:58 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 24205 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-12-08-fighting-inequality-latin-america-road-ahead#comments A verdict on the G20: Some progress on inequality, little new on Ebola http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-11-27-verdict-g20-some-progress-inequality-little-new-ebola <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Last week I travelled to Brisbane, Australia to take the voice of poor people to the powerful – the summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 most powerful economies. </p> <p>Oxfam’s verdict on the Summit? Mixed. The G20’s promise to pursue inclusive and sustainable growth is welcome, but their response to the Ebola crisis is dangerously inadequate. </p> <h3>The G20 reaction was disappointing</h3> <p>First, the bad news. The Summit was a key opportunity for world leaders to coordinate their efforts on funds, resources and people required to contain the Ebola outbreak. </p> <p><strong>There was <a href="https://www.g20.org/sites/default/files/g20_resources/library/g20_leaders_brisbane_statement_ebola.pdf" rel="nofollow">good will and concern</a>: Leaders said they were saddened by the suffering and loss of life Ebola is inflicting</strong>, and mindful of the serious humanitarian, social and economic impacts on affected countries. </p> <p>But overall, the G20 reaction was hugely disappointing. Leaders did not offer urgent or specific commitments to deliver medical support, funding and military assistance needed to bring the crisis under control, or to build robust public health infrastructure to prevent future pandemics. </p> <p>There is now a real risk that the UN target of 70 per cent of cases being treated and 70 per cent of burials being conducted safely by 1 December, will not be met. I am concerned that the G20’s warms words will do little for those fearing for their lives in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. </p> <p><strong>The G20 represent some 85 per cent of global gross national product and 75 per cent of world trade.</strong> This gives them unrivalled policy influence over their own countries and others. Their decisions directly affect the poorest countries.</p> <p>That’s why the G20 have a responsibility, and why they cannot afford to ignore the problems of the inequality threatening to undermine the efforts of millions of people to escape poverty and hunger. </p> <h3>Commitments to address extreme inequality</h3> <p>This brings me to a more hopeful note: Contrary to all expectations, G20 leaders made a commitment in Brisbane to inclusive growth and to address inequality. </p> <p>Extreme inequality is growing globally, including within G20 countries. Oxfam has argued that reducing inequality needs to be front and center of the G20’s plan to lift GDP – not least because <strong>the global consensus is now that inequality is bad for growth itself</strong>.</p> <p>In terms of tangible steps towards tackling that inequality: The G20 has made welcome <strong>commitments to and progress on cracking down on tax dodging by multinational companies</strong>. </p> <p>But what’s on the table currently is not enough to stop poor countries being bled dry. </p> <p>Despite the best efforts of the OECD, working with the G20 to reform global tax rules, <strong>most developing countries are still excluded from those negotiations</strong>. Luxembourg, a tax haven, has a seat at the decision-making table. Yet Sierra Leone – where Ebola is raging and tax incentives for six multinational companies are the equivalent of eight times the health budget – does not. This is not fair. </p> <h3>A World Tax Summit</h3> <p>It is time to for the G20 to accept that <strong>a more ambitious, far-reaching and inclusive process is needed to fix the broken international tax system</strong> once and for all. </p> <p>That’s why Oxfam is calling for a World Tax Summit in 2015 - to set the basis for what should become a more permanent body to set, implement and arbitrate on the international tax rules in a fairer way. </p> <p>Next year, the G20 will be chaired by Turkey. <strong>The Turkish government has said it will put inequality and inclusivity on the agenda</strong> for its G20 presidency in 2015. Oxfam will be there, holding all to account.</p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/governments-must-tackle-inequality-now" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join Oxfam's Even It Up Campaign to end extreme inequality</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A verdict on the G20: Some progress on inequality, little new on Ebola</h2></div> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:19:59 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 23999 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-11-27-verdict-g20-some-progress-inequality-little-new-ebola#comments G20 must act on the inequality and Ebola crises now http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-11-14-g20-must-act-inequality-ebola-now <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Welcome to Brisbane. Australia's ‘New World City’, according to the City’s advertising. The Oxfam G20 team arrived in ‘Brissie’ (as the locals call it) today for the <a href="https://www.g20.org/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>G20 Leaders’ Summit</strong></a> this weekend. There is a definitely a buzz about the town. I wish I could say that was because everyday people are hanging out on street corners waiting impatiently to hear what would be decided. But I’m referring to the literal buzz of the police helicopters patrolling overhead.</p> <p><strong>We are here to push the G20 to do more</strong>, and to mean more, to the majority of the G20’s citizens. Remarkably more than half of the people in G20 countries, the economic powers of the world, live below the poverty line of $2US per day. These people are mainly in China, India and Indonesia, large countries and major trading partners of Australia, this year’s host. The G20 can do something about this.</p> <p>The top priority for the G20 this year is economic growth. More specifically, the G20 leaders are trying to agree on a plan to boost global growth by 2 percent above trend over the next 5 years. Fair enough. However, inequality is rising across the world and in G20 countries too. On Wednesday, we reported that the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/g20-turn-tide" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>total wealth of the G20 has increased by US$17 trillion </strong></a>in the last year. But the fact is that 36 percent of new wealth went to the richest 1 per cent of people in the G20.</p> <p><strong>Growth by itself is not going to cut it for us</strong>. We are here in Brisbane to ask the G20 to <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/its-time-even-it" rel="nofollow"><strong>Even It Up</strong></a>. We are pushing the G20 to ensure that this growth is inclusive and shared between the rich and the poor in an equitable and sustainable way. The evidence, from the IMF, World Bank, OECD and others, is now clear – <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-11-10-we-must-end-extreme-inequality-now"><strong>inequality is bad for growth</strong></a>. If the G20 want to boost growth, they need to tackle inequality as well. If the G20 want to lift the majority of people out of poverty they need to tackle inequality.</p> <p><strong>We also need the G20 leaders to respond to the <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/ebola-response" rel="nofollow">Ebola crisis</a></strong>. The G20 countries, as the global economic and political powers, have a major role to play. We need their resources (medics, military and civilian personnel, funding) and their political will to turn this crisis around.</p> <p>The second official priority for the G20 this year is to build global economic resilience and protect the economy from shocks. A strong and effective response from the G20 to the Ebola crisis is not only necessary to help people across West Africa whose lives have been destroyed by the disease, it is crucial to protect the economy. The World Bank has warned that if the virus spreads to neighbouring countries, the economic cost could be between $27 billion and $32 billion by the end of next year.</p> <p>So, we’re here in Brisbane, pushing these messages and raising the voice of <a href="https://act.oxfam.org/international/en/actions/take-action-to-help-stop-ebola" rel="nofollow"><strong>tens of thousands of people</strong></a> who have demanded that the G20 acts on these issues. Let’s see how it goes....</p> <p><em>Oxfam Big Heads at the G20 Brisbane. Photo opportunity in no way involved or was supported or endorsed by Surf Life Saving Australia. Photo: Jason Malouin/Oxfam.</em></p> <p><img height="574" width="900" class="media-element file-default" alt="Oxfam Big Heads at the G20 Brisbane. Photo opportunity in no way involved or was supported or endorsed by Surf Life Saving Australia. Photo: Oxfam/Jason Malouin" title="Oxfam Big Heads at the G20 Brisbane. Photo opportunity in no way involved or was supported or endorsed by Surf Life Saving Australia. Photo: Oxfam/Jason Malouin" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/img0470-oxfam-big-heads-g20-brisbane-14nov2014-900x574.jpg" /></p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/ebola-response" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam's Ebola response</strong></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/action/governments-must-tackle-inequality-now" rel="nofollow"><strong>Join the call for governments to tackle extreme inequality</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>G20 must act on the inequality and Ebola crises now</h2></div> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 05:19:39 +0000 Reece Kinnane 23696 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/14-11-14-g20-must-act-inequality-ebola-now#comments