Global Financial Integrity (GFI) today praised the United Nations High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda for highlighting the need to tackle illicit financial flows and the role of tax havens as key to global development moving forward.
“Tax haven secrecy drained developing countries of US$859 billion in illicit financial outflows in 2010, ten times more than the US$88 billion they received in official development assistance, said GFI Director Raymond Baker. “This is an astronomically large amount of money. We’re talking about nearly US$1 trillion that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure in the world’s poorest countries. It’s nearly a US$1 trillion dollars that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives.”
“Curtailing this illicit outflow of money is crucial to global development efforts, and it’s fantastic to see the High Level Panel prioritize the fight against illicit financial flows.”
In their communiqué released today in Bali, the HLP states that “Particularly important will be the regulation of tax havens and illicit financial flows.”
The HLP is working to pull together a global anti-poverty agenda to implement when the mandate of the Millennium Development Goals expires in 2015.
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a member of GFI’s Advisory Board who also sits on the UN’s High Level Panel, highlighted the importance of tackling illicit flows in an interview with The Guardian earlier this week.
“I’m really frustrated at these illicit flows,” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala told the British newspaper ahead of the HLP meetings. “What would it take for G8 and G20 countries to take some specific steps to put pressure on those countries acting as tax havens?”
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who co-chairs the UN HLP, has put the issue of illicit financial flows and tax havens secrecy on the agenda of the G8 Summit, which he will also be chairing this year.
“There appears to be serious movement by a number of world leaders to crack down on illicit financial flows as we move forward,” noted GFI’s Baker. “The focus should now be on making sure that world leaders follow through with their commitments.”
The HLP will now draft a final report to be presented to the UN Secretary General in May 2013.