Taxation and the SDGs

UN Sustainable Development Goals Infographics

The mobilization and effective use of domestic resources are central to the pursuit of sustainable development. Taxation is a powerful tool to help finance achievements of the SDGs, and it can also spur inclusive and sustainable development in other ways. Fiscal policies can simultaneously mobilize resources, reduce inequalities, and promote sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As highlighted in the key findings of the 2018 Development Cooperation Forum, the objectives of mobilizing resources and improving societies should be aligned both in policy and in capacity building terms, by providing relevant guidance to developing countries.

The 2021 Report of the Secretary-General “Our Common Agenda” calls for strengthened global cooperation and inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism. Among the tools available to the international community to achieve a safer, better and more sustainable future, the Secretary-General highlights a strengthened international tax cooperation for sustainable development and improved digital cooperation, as well as the broader inclusion of women and youth.

Given the cross-cutting and fundamental nature of the topic, Taxation and the SDGs is a lens through which the UN Tax Committee identifies, prioritizes and assesses its work. The Committee contributes directly to the achievement of SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals) through the promotion of international tax cooperation and provision of practical guidance on domestic as well as international tax matters and through its inclusive methods of work, with multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary approaches. Additionally, many of the Committee’s workstreams have a significant practical relevance – going beyond domestic resource mobilization – for country efforts to achieve the different SDGs. For an overview of the linkages between different SDGs and the current and potential future contributions of the UN Tax Committee, please see here.

The yearly ECOSOC Special Meeting on Tax also provides an important opportunity for the UN Tax Committee to discuss with the broader international community about the role of tax in achieving the SDGs, as well as the strengthening of international tax cooperation to reduce tax avoidance and abuse, tax-related illicit financial flows, and harmful global tax competition. The Special Meeting is a platform to raise awareness, exchange experiences and generate ideas on how countries can use tax policy and administration in tackling pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

Links

Presentations at UN Tax Committee Sessions by Mr. Navid Hanif, Director, Financing for Sustainable Development Office, DESA:

Secretariat Papers:

ECOSOC Special Meetings on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (Special Meeting on Tax)