What’s normal? Tackling the norms that hinder gender equality

By Bathylle Missika, Head of Division – Networks, Partnerships and Gender and Gabrielle Naumann-Woleske, Policy Analyst, OECD Development Centre

What do you consider ‘normal’? Is it normal that men earn more than women and make up the majority of parliamentarians, managers, presidents and CEOs? Is it normal that most men do less than 50% of unpaid care and domestic work and yet make the most important financial decisions at home?  What we think is normal is not only a reflection of what is typical or standard, but also implies that it is what we consider to be appropriate or acceptable. When it comes to men and women’s roles in society, our preconceived ideas of what is ‘’normal’’ might be reinforcing a system where men hold the power and women are excluded. In other words, a system that keeps us from achieving gender equality. To break these barriers, we need to question and measure these norms, including masculine norms, for a transformation based on evidence and data, rather than assumptions and stereotypes.

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Trapped in the middle? Developmental challenges for middle-income countries

By José Antonio Alonso, Professor at Universidad Complutense and member of the Spanish Co-operation Council and José Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University, and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Finance Minister of Colombia

The intense growth enjoyed by a group of emerging economies during the last two decades drove some analysts to predict the beginning of a new stage of generalised economic convergence. In their vision, more and more middle-income countries (MICs) were likely to reach high-income status in the near future, taking advantage of the new opportunities provided by access to financial markets, information technology and international trade, including the development of global value chains.

Unfortunately, data have not confirmed these optimist predictions. Actually, up to now, economic convergence has been a selective opportunity for a small group of countries, and rather a generalised tendency for the whole group of MICs. Moreover, there is growing evidence that trespassing the low-income threshold and achieving middle-income status is not enough for countries to converge toward high-income levels. Few MICs have successfully completed that transition in recent decades, with the majority getting stuck in the middle-income group, thus facing what has come to be called the middle-income trap.

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Inspectores Fiscales sin Fronteras: ayudar a los países en desarrollo a recuperarse de la crisis del COVID-19

Pascal Saint-Amans, director del Centro de Política y Administración Tributarias de la OCDE

Este blog es parte de una serie sobre cómo afrontar el COVID-19 en los países en vías de desarrollo. Visite la página de la OCDE dedicada al COVID-19 para acceder a los datos, análisis y recomendaciones de la OCDE sobre los impactos sanitarios, económicos, financieros y sociales del COVID-19 en todo el mundo

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Tras la crisis financiera de 2008, los gobiernos se unieron para lograr la transparencia fiscal y enfrentarse a la erosión de la base imponible y el traslado de beneficios. Aquella crisis también inspiró el nacimiento de Inspectores Fiscales sin Fronteras (IFSF), que se tornó en una iniciativa conjunta de la OCDE y el PNUD en la conferencia sobre la Financiación para el Desarrollo, celebrada en Addis Abeba. La iniciativa IFSF ayuda a los países en desarrollo a recaudar los impuestos que les corresponde pagar a las empresas multinacionales, gracias a la convergencia de países que se prestan asistencia mutua para desarrollar su capacidad de auditoría tributaria.

En la actualidad, estamos enfrentando una crisis sanitaria y económica mundial aún mayor, que tendrá importantísimas consecuencias sobre la vida y los medios de subsistencia. El fuerte descenso del comercio mundial e interno está provocando una caída equivalente en los ingresos fiscales, que golpea con dureza a los países más pobres, dada su dependencia del impuesto sobre sociedades. Los países que dependen fuertemente del turismo, la industria hotelera y las remesas procedentes del extranjero sufrirán la peor parte.

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Inspecteurs des Impôts sans frontières : aider les pays en développement à se relever de la crise du COVID-19

Par Pascal Saint-Amans, Directeur du Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales

Ce blog fait partie d’une série sur la lutte contre le COVID-19 dans les pays en voie de développement. Visitez la page dédiée de l’OCDE pour accéder aux données, analyses et recommandations de l’OCDE sur les impacts sanitaires, économiques, financiers et sociétaux de COVID-19 dans le monde.

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Au lendemain de la crise financière de 2008, les États ont uni leurs forces, décidés à lutter pour la transparence fiscale et à entamer la lutte contre l’érosion de la base d’imposition et le transfert de bénéfices. Cette crise a également été à l’origine de l’Initiative Inspecteurs des Impôts sans Frontières (IISF), devenue un projet conjoint de l’OCDE et du PNUD lors de la Conférence d’Addis-Abeba sur le financement du développement. L’Initiative IISF a vocation à aider les pays en développement à percevoir les impôts dus par les entreprises multinationales en permettant aux pays participants de se prêter mutuellement assistance au service du renforcement des capacités en matière de vérification fiscale.

Nous faisons à présent face à une crise sanitaire et économique mondiale plus grave encore, dont les conséquences sur nos vies et nos moyens de subsistance sont profondes. L’effondrement brutal du commerce et des échanges nationaux et internationaux entraîne une chute proportionnelle des recettes fiscales, qui porte un coup particulièrement rude aux pays pauvres du fait qu’ils sont tributaires des impôts sur les bénéfices des sociétés. Ceux qui dépendent fortement du tourisme, de l’hôtellerie et des envois de fonds de leur diaspora sont ceux qui risquent de pâtir le plus de la situation.

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Tax Inspectors Without Borders: ready to assist developing countries recover from COVID-19

By Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

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In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, governments came together to fight for tax transparency and begin the battle against base erosion and profit shifting. It was that crisis that also inspired Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB), which became a joint initiative of the OECD and UNDP at the Addis Finance for Development conference. The initiative helps developing countries to collect the taxes due from multinational enterprises, with countries coming together to assist each other in building tax audit capacity.

We now face an even greater global health and economic crisis, with profound implications for lives and livelihoods. The sharp decline in global and domestic trade and commerce is leading to a commensurate drop in tax revenues, hitting poorer countries hardest due to their reliance on corporate income taxes. Those that depend heavily on tourism, hospitality and remittances from their diaspora may suffer the worst.

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Transforming finance in the Middle East and North Africa

By Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank and Lemma W. Senbet, The William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and Immediate Past Executive Director/CEO, African Economic Research Consortium

Bedouin solar panels

To overcome current challenges and seize the opportunity to leapfrog, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region needs to simultaneously embrace the technological tide transforming the global economy and clean energy development. This transformation calls for a dual transition: (a) decarbonisation of the economy—moving away from the use of fossil fuel as the main source of energy toward renewable energies; and (b) digitalisation— the digital transformation of traditional activities and the advent of new digital activities. To achieve the transition, MENA needs hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in quality projects, including in renewable energy and telecom sectors. MENA should aggressively join the global momentum for the use of clean, renewable energy (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal) to combat climate change. Likewise, it should aggressively develop the digital infrastructure that is also essential for the development of a digitised financial economy.

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Building resilience and infrastructure in a warming world


By Jan Corfee-Morlot, New Climate Economy/ World Resources Institute (WRI), Nancy Kete, Kete Consulting and Delger Erdenesanaa, WRI

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

Solar panels and roadInvestment in tackling climate change is still very small compared to the expected adverse impacts on society and nature. The economic costs of climate change are estimated to range from 2-10% of global GDP loss by the end of this century. Flood-related damages alone under high emissions scenarios might account for 3% of global GDP in 2100, translating to losses in the range of USD 14-27 trillion per year. In today’s US dollars, this would be equivalent to losing the combined GDP of China and India in the best-case scenario, and US, Canada and Germany combined, in the worst case.

Currently most climate funding supports work to reduce emissions rather than for adaptation to impacts. While the world must strive for net-zero emissions and the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must at the same time plan for conditions that may be much worse. Continue reading “Building resilience and infrastructure in a warming world”

Integrations, amalgamations and mergers: Lessons from institutional reforms in development co-operation

By Jorge Moreira Da Silva, Director, Development Co-operation Directorate, and Mags Gaynor, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD

Where OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries have been through a process of integration, amalgamation or merger, they have shared with us their lessons both in real time and with hindsight. As a result, we have been able to reflect on the integration and merger experiences of a number of members in their recent peer reviews, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand and have a historical perspective on how restructuring and integration processes worked in countries such as France, Ireland, Japan, Korea and the United States. More generally, we do regular peer reviews of the 30 members of the DAC which give us the benefit of seeing strengths, opportunities, risks and challenges that members experience with their institutional arrangements and reform processes. We hear how institutional arrangements are experienced both internally and externally, including by partner country governments. Eight main observations can be drawn from these reviews.

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Restoring the dreams of our children: why NGOs need more futures thinking

By Claire Leigh, Director of Child Rights and Governance, Save the Children UK, and Peter Glenday, Director of Programmes and Research, School of International Futures (SOIF)

shutterstock_396707761In September 2019 Greta Thunberg made an emotional speech to world leaders at the UN, climaxing in the now-famous accusation: “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood.” That line will rightly haunt us adults as we move through what is widely regarded as the make-or-break decade for both the climate crisis and the UN’s global development goals. Now, with the COVID-19 crisis upon us, there is even more reason to accept Thunberg’s charge of a woeful lack of foresight on the part of this generation of leaders.

Our apparent inability to make good decisions informed by possible futures lies at the heart of the intergenerational crisis of which Thunberg has become the voice. By displacing the costs of our current prosperity – the resource and ecological degradation, the worsening climate conditions – onto future generations, we are quite literally stealing from the future to give to the present. The result is a future which may be ‘unliveable’ for millions of children, as reported by the WHO and UNICEF.

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How COVID-19 could help eliminate fossil fuel subsidies


By Mario Pezzini, former Director of the OECD Development Centre and special adviser to the OECD Secretary-General on development, and Håvard Halland, Senior Economist at the OECD Development Centre

This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

Oil pumpjacks in Tatarstan, Russia
Photo: Yegor Aleyev/Tass/PA Images

As oil-exporting countries struggle to respond to the crisis, there is a way to make critical fiscal resources available.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit oil-exporting countries at the worst possible moment. Severely strained health systems, and the need for economic stimulus, call for unprecedented growth in public spending. At the same time, oil export revenues have plummeted, following the demand collapse caused by the pandemic and a breakdown of traditional price-setting mechanisms. As a result, many oil exporters in the low- and middle-income category will struggle to muster anything near the level of expenditure required for an efficient response to the virus. Continue reading “How COVID-19 could help eliminate fossil fuel subsidies”