The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) welcomes the announcement by José Antonio Ocampo, Colombia’s Minister of Finance, of a new Latin American and Caribbean initiative to contribute to inclusive, sustainable, and equitable global taxation. According to Ocampo, the initiative will focus on enhancing the exchange of information, avoiding “tax competition” among countries of the region, and appropriately taxing the activities of multinational corporations and the income of the rich. All ministers in the region are invited to come together to discuss tax policies and standards and Cartagena in July 2023. The Minister also pledged to ensure the participation of civil society and other sectors in the process, including in identifying key issues to tackle in international tax policy.
Meghna Abraham, CESR’s Executive Director, said: “the announcement of the Cartagena Summit and Colombia’s recognition of the urgent need to establish a fairer international tax system to mobilize greater resources to urgently address poverty, inequality and climate change could not be more timely”. “Ministers must use this opportunity to create regional policies and mechanisms to tax the extreme concentration of wealth and end tax abuses by companies to realize their human rights obligations”.
The announcement comes as the United Nations has finally begun the journey towards reforming the global tax system and a potential UN Tax Convention. Civil society and activists around the world have been key in making these types of discussions possible. The Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy, developed by CESR, ACIJ, CELS, Dejusticia, INESC, FUNDAR, Red de Justicia Fiscal, and GI-ESCR, offer a key resource on how human rights norms and standards can be translated into concrete tax policies for countries.
Maria Emilia Mamberti, program officer at CESR, said: “We are delighted that Minister Ocampo and the Colombian government have responded so positively to the call by CESR and our partners to promote a new fiscal pact for Latin America and the Caribbean. Governments in the region can lead the way to design alternative tax strategies and shape a new global tax system which can finally reduce inequalities and ensure adequate resources for the realization of human rights and protection of the planet.”