The Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) officially launched the ATI Declaration 2025, its new partnership agenda, during a high-level side event at the 2021 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development (FfD) on 13 April 2021. Having emerged from the Third International Conference on Financing for Development six years ago as one of its most striking outputs, the ATI it is firmly anchored within the Financing for Development process. The ATI Declaration 2025 brings equitable tax policies, efficient revenue administration, capacity development, policy coherence and accountability in tax and revenue matters to the fore as critical aspects to close recognised gaps in development finance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
In the event, high-level representatives from Sierra Leone, the European Commission, Paraguay, Belgium, Finland, Kenya, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the United States, Oxfam, and The Gambia stressed the need to lift political commitment and inspire collective action to implement the ATI Declaration 2025. The ATI Declaration 2025 “comes at the right time”, said Patricia N. LAVERLEY, First Deputy Minister of Finance of Sierra Leone. Speakers agreed that the partnership agenda reflects the complexity of the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, which are erasing many years of development progress.
In this light, Koen DOENS, Director General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships, stressed that “we will only be able to deliver a sustainable recovery if indeed we also have sustained and strengthened domestic revenue mobilisation”, seen by ATI members as the single most important source of revenue to finance sustainable development. At the same time, there was consensus that “how we raise revenues is as important as how much […] we raise”, as stated by Maria FLACHSBARTH, Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation of Germany. Fostering innovative and inclusive policy making, involving civil society and relevant stakeholders, responding to the needs of partner countries and – most importantly - leaving no one behind when reforming tax systems are just some of the crucial aspects mentioned.
The ATI was broadly praised for being a “unique space” for all members to work together “for [tax] systems [that are] at the service of the people”, as stated by Meryame KITIR, Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium. The valuable role of the ATI Declaration 2025 as guidance to the initiative’s members for raising domestic revenues equitably and efficiently as a means to close recognised gaps in development finance cannot be mistaken. As emphasised by Per OLSSON FRIDH, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, “we must join forces and fight the pandemic together, in solidarity and across nations, to build back better and greener.”
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