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Call for Contributions: Taxation, illicit financial flows and human rights

Issued by

Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt


12 September 2022

presented to

General Assembly at its 77th session in 2022


Issued by Special Procedures


Foreign and external debt

Symbol Number



This report focuses on exploring more effective and fair mechanisms to use public resources to guarantee human rights for all by tackling the uncontrolled growth of the wealth of a few, which is deepening inequalities and addresses the issue of international tax governance through the creation and development of a global United Nations-led tax convention and a global tax body using a human rights lens.


Many countries in the world are currently facing the cumulative dangers of high debt-related distress, illicit financial flows, severe socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, increased climate-related emergencies, and food inflation. Wars and conflict add to this complex mix and may indicate even darker times ahead. However, this confluence of crises may also offer an opportunity to advance the discussions and reforms needed for global fiscal policies fit for the XXI century. This could happen by putting in place more effective and fair mechanisms to use limited public resources to guarantee human rights for all, and by tackling uncontrolled wealth growth of a few, deepening inequalities.

According to 2021 the State of Tax Justice report1, countries around the world lose a combined 483 billion USD a year to global tax abuse. For all governments, but particularly for low and middle-income countries, these losses in taxable revenue critically reduce the available pool of resources essential to invest in social policies and public services. Governments cannot tackle these issues alone. Multilateral mechanisms and better flow of information are crucial to addressing global tax avoidance and evasion. 

In her annual report to the General Assembly 77th session the Independent Expert on debt, other international financial obligations and human rights, Ms. Attiya Waris, will address the issue of international tax governance.

Pursuant to the commitments made though the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, many States recognized the urgency of reforming the global tax architecture. The ongoing debates around the OECD/G20 Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy have highlighted the importance of equitable and fair mechanisms of global fiscal and tax cooperation. Developing countries have raised concerns around the fora, scope, decision-making process and implications of the proposals currently being discussed at the OECD-level, taking into account the specific needs, and priorities. Many States and organizations have advocated for alternative frameworks of international tax governance cooperation and decision-making that respond to global tax-related challenges in an inclusive and transparent manner.


The Independent Expert invites and welcomes contributions from States, international financial institutions, civil society organizations and networks, trade unions, United Nations agencies and entities, private actors, academia, think tanks, and any other relevant stakeholders.

She invites all to share information, documents, statements or analysis to address the links between international tax policy, illicit financial flows and human rights. The Independent Expert welcomes, in particular, answers to the following questions:

  1. What specific challenges in international tax governance call for reform? Why? Are there examples or initiatives in the past that might serve to guide this process?
  2. What should be the nature, scope and purpose of an international tax reform that supports human rights? Which alternatives could be considered and how do they differ from each other and from existing efforts of better collection and regulation of international taxation, for example from the OECD/G20 Agreement achieved in 2021, and it’s Two Pillar Solution?
  3. What would be the advantages/disadvantages of a single global tax entity? How would a global tax body ensure equal representation of the interests, needs and concerns of different States, particularly low and middle-income countries? What would be the advantages/disadvantages of regional fiscal or tax entities?
  4. What measures and mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that a global tax entity incorporates human rights principles and priorities in its processes and outcomes?
  5. What would be the arguments in favor of a UN Convention on Tax? What would be the benefits of such an instrument for developing countries, including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries?
  6. In recent months, there has been a stronger call for a Global Beneficial Ownership Registry. What should be the process and mechanisms to achieve this goal? What measures or considerations are needed to ensure that such a registry is framed along human rights principles? What practices, legislation or policies at the national or regional level might serve as good references?
  7. For a number of years, linked to various global reports from investigative journalists’ consortiums, including the most recent “Pandora Papers”, there has been a call to better monitor and regulate the activities of some financial advisors, and other professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and notaries, as part of enhancing mechanisms to address tax evasion, tax fraud and corruption. Are there practices, legislation or policies at national or regional levels that could serve as good examples? Are there case studies that could be considered for this report?
  8. What other issues ought to be addressed by the Independent Expert in this domain, both for her report to the General Assemble, 77th session, and for other activities and initiatives that she may undertake in line with her mandate?


    Inputs Received
    Inputs Received

    See all inputs received from States, civil society organizations, networks, private actors and academics in the following link: