The Addis Tax Initiative (ATI), the Development Partners Network on Decentralisation & Local Governance (DeLoG) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) are launching a webinar series focused on the role of subnational domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM) for public service delivery. The goal of the webinar series is to facilitate frank and open discussions between ATI and DeLoG members concerning this topic, most notably between civil society organisations, partner country governments, providers of official development assistance, think tanks and academia.
Local governments financing public goods and services
Local governments (LGs) are the frontline representatives of governments and essential for the provision of public goods and services required to advance progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By doing so, LGs contribute to strengthening the social contract and trust in public institutions. At the same time, however, LGs need to generate sufficient revenues in a sustainable manner to improve the provision of public services and by that deliver on the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
Development partners widely support the decentralisation of service delivery but often end up facing high barriers when these efforts are not supported by stable public financing mechanisms, like intergovernmental fiscal transfers or own resource revenue. Research has demonstrated the significant potential for raising revenue through the establishment of local taxes. The benefits of DRM reforms at subnational level is increasingly gaining the attention of the international development cooperation community. However, it can be observed that ongoing interventions on subnational DRM are not being linked up to national or global tax programmes. This challenges the strengthening of multi-level governance (political economy of taxing rights), hampers efficiency of development cooperation in the area of DRM and needs to be addressed more coherently by all stakeholders involved.
Raising awareness for the role of subnational DRM
The aim of this first webinar series is to raise awareness and advocate for the role of LGs in raising revenues to finance the delivery of public goods and services. The idea is to sensitise participating stakeholders for the potential of subnational tax policy for raising revenues, support state-building efforts (relationship state-society) and strengthen local governance in partner countries.
Participating stakeholders will have the chance to exchange on opportunities, challenges, good practices and lessons learned linked to supporting LGs in their efforts to raise revenues for financing key services and goods. At the same time, the webinar series will serve as a forum to identify common ground to build upon a debate around the potential of local taxes for development and ways to enhance development cooperation.