During the 3rd drafting session to formulate an outcome document for the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, a coalition of 30 NGOs from around the globe is urging governments to pave the way for setting up an intergovernmental body on tax cooperation with universal membership under the roof of the United Nations. To ‘sweeten the deal’ for delegates, and to strengthen their resolve, negotiators received a little gift of chocolate, which came right in time just after lunch. Of course, arguments were also provided for why the world needs a new institution for a truly global tax governance.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new international labour standard that is expected to help hundreds of millions of workers and economic units move out of informality and into the formal economy.
More than half of the world’s workforce is estimated to be trapped in the informal economy, which is marked by the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection, a lack of social dialogue and low productivity, all of which constitutes a significant obstacle to the development of sustainable enterprises.
The new Recommendation acknowledges that most people enter the informal economy not by choice but due to a lack of opportunities in the formal economy and an absence of any other means of livelihood.
The most important international negotiations of which you’ve never heard are in trouble. They aren’t about Iran’s nuclear program or trans-Pacific trade: they’re about ending extreme poverty and saving hundreds of millions of lives in the next fifteen years.
In New York, talks aimed at agreeing how to finance the future of international development have hit gridlock. Less than a month before a critical summit on the topic in Addis Ababa, the states of the United Nations, rich and poor alike, should be raising their game, setting ambitious plans to improve the lives of millions of people currently denied basic services like health care or education. Instead, there’s a standoff over who is responsible for delivering a new deal, and a general refusal by governments to put their money where their mouth is and sign up to meaningful targets.
NO ONE likes paying taxes and many are quick to criticise elected officials for how they spend our money, especially if evidence suggests flagrant waste and fraud.
Public demands for greater transparency and accountability in how governments use taxpayer money are accelerating, not only in SA and other democracies but countries still autocratic in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as citizens gain access to IT and social networks.
Far less evident are the complementary demands from taxpayers and governments for companies and extremely rich individuals who avoid vast amounts of badly needed lawful taxation every year.
Two recent events in Johannesburg may be harbingers of a growing awareness that the tax-avoidance tactics of the rich and powerful could face rising public demands for reducing extreme inequalities by greater transparency in monitoring and enforcing tax policies.
After five years of austerity policies imposed by the Troika (European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank) the Greeks voted for a government trying to make an end to the hardships. In the past years Greek GDP has shrunk by 20 %, pensions have been reduced, VAT has increased, 25 to 30 % of people are jobless, health services have been dismantled, many people lost their homes and their businesses. Suicides are soaring. There is a real humanitarian crisis. All the institutions know that imposing austerity on a country in recession can only worsen the recession. It can never bring a solution.
Wealthy people's assets only grew modestly in 2014 ... 7,2 %
Read and look at the report; learn everything on the demands for 'social impact' of mainly young dollar millionaires
When Denmark hosted the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) in March 1995, one of the conclusions of that international gathering in Copenhagen was to create a new social contract with “people at the centre of development.”
But notwithstanding the shortcomings in its implementation over the last 20 years, the United Nations is now pursuing an identical goal with a new political twist: “global citizenship.”
Reform — Greece sorely needs it. Cash — the government is running desperately short of it. So it is time for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to do what’s best for Greece and accept its creditors’ reform demands in exchange for much-needed cash. That is how the Greek situation is usually framed. It is utterly misleading.
Imagine you’re in prison for not being able to pay your debts. (You’re right, it’s almost unthinkable — civilized societies no longer lock up bankrupt individuals. But bear with me.) After five years of misery, you lead a rebellion, take control of the prison, and demand your release. The jailers respond by cutting off your water supply. Should you back down and return to your cell, perhaps negotiating for slightly less unpleasant conditions, in order to obtain a little liquidity? Or should you keep fighting to be free? That, in essence, is what the standoff between an insolvent Greece and its eurozone creditors is really about.
At the panel to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World summit for Social Development, Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio said that “as we advance into the post-2015 agenda, some key ideas endorsed by the Social Summit are being reaffirmed. Inequalities are back in the agenda, after having disappeared for 15 years, and universality is recovered, with a strong sense of social protection floor. It is urgent, though, to make serious progress in the implementation of those agreed aspirations. Inequalities are in the title of a goal but nowhere to be found on the proposed indicators and a clear financing commitment on social protection floors (cash transfers/benefits for children, for people of working age in cases of maternity, unemployment, disability or work injury, and pensions for older persons, and other schemes) is still missing, even when now as in 1995, the resources are there." Read his complete intervention:
10 UN experts issued a statement last week expressing strong concerns regarding the adverse effects of trade agreements and ISDS on human rights. They criticize the secret nature of the negotiations and more specific the Investor – State Dispute Settlement mechanism. ISDS chapters are anomalous in that they provide protection for investors but not for States or for the population. They allow investors to sue States but not vice-versa.
BOTH THE SIZE and composition of the world working class have changed dramatically over the past four decades. But these massive shifts are not reflected in the strength of workers’ organizations.
In what was traditionally called the global South, capital accumulation has resulted in the fast growth of the number of wage-earners in industry, building, services, and transport. A recent International Labor Organization (ILO) study revealed that in the period 1980-2005, the labor force in the Middle East and North Africa region had grown by 149%. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean it had roughly doubled, in South Asia it had increased by 73%, and in East and South East Asia by 60%. (Kapsos 2007)