By José Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University, and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Finance Minister of Colombia
The world must curb financial flows associated with tax evasion and avoidance, as well as those obtained through corrupt activities and money laundering. The magnitude of the funds involved is immense; trillions of dollars in bank accounts and other assets, and not just in tax havens. The concealed money drains resources from the hands of governments, generates increasing inequality –because the beneficiaries are generally rich people— and causes significant deterioration in public sector governance worldwide. Increased transparency and accountability to curb these flows would improve governance and enhance fairness at the national and international levels.
The problems are systemic and therefore require systemic solutions. This is the basic message of the Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development Report launched by a High Level United Nations Panel on February 25th. It represents a landmark in the fight against illicit financial flows in the global economy. Former prime minister of Niger Ibrahim Assane Mayaki and former president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė co-chaired the Panel, which included 15 independent members from around the world. The Panel’s recommendations aim at strengthening national governance, as well as enhancing international co-operation on specific controls on tax abuse, money laundering or corruption, but also to build a coherent ecosystem of institutions to curb these illicit practices.Continue reading