– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

2 March 2020

Her Excellency Ambassador Juul, President of the Economic and Social Council,

His Excellency, Mr Ibrahim Mayaki,


Distinguished delegates,

It is my pleasure to welcome you here today, alongside the President of the Economic and Social Council to launch the High-level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.

This initiative is yet one response to the problem of the financing gap in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is based on General Assembly Resolution 74/206, which includes an invitation by Member States to give appropriate consideration to the importance of combatting illicit financial flows and strengthening good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development.


We know that international bodies are already working to promote cleaner and more transparent finance. Many questions have arisen as to what gaps and vulnerabilities there are.

By some estimates, the equivalent of 10% of world GDP is held in off-shore financial assets, corporate profit-shifting is collectively costing governments between $500 billion and $600 billion a year in lost corporate income tax revenue, and globally corruption is significantly draining our budgets.

We know that  there are gaps, loopholes and vulnerabilities.  New cases are emerging every day detailing the pilfering of resources, money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and other financial crimes.

No one is immune from this scourge: these gaps or other leakages to government revenues have real consequences in all countries, from developing to developed.

If these activities continue, least developed countries will be unable to deliver adequate health care and education to their populations and fail to achieve our collective Sustainable Development Goals. Let us not forget that we have pledged to leave no one behind.

We have entered the Decade of Action and Delivery, and our focus must now be firmly fixed on implementing the ambitious and transformational blueprint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our aim is to contribute to efforts which will enable the global economic and financial systems to work better for everyone, everywhere.

No one is immune from this scourge: these gaps or other leakages to government revenues have real consequences in all countries, from developing to developed.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly


Let me assure you: our goal is to contribute. We seek to add insight in areas where they are needed, open up the conversation, and find ways to accelerate progress. We trust that the panel, with all of your inputs, will generate ideas and recommendations that Member States can get behind.

I commend all Member States for their commitment to fighting corruption and for taking steps to  prevent bribery and money laundering. I also acknowledge the efforts of Member States in sharing tax information and their commitment to asset recovery and return.

I recognise that the support from, and solidarity within, the international community has been, and will be, critical in facilitating successful outcomes.

We must continue to galvanise multilateral support and strengthen international institutions to secure gains and make further progress.

It is our belief that an independent review of existing institutional and legal frameworks related to financial accountability, transparency and integrity can identify gaps, impediments and vulnerabilities in their design and implementation, including with regard to their comprehensiveness, effectiveness and universality.

I urge you to lend your support to this effort, as you do to all other actions towards achieving Agenda 2030. I am confident that by working together we can succeed in creating a better world for all.

I thank you.