Asia: Stopping illicit financial flows vital to implement the SDGs

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As the 5th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) was convened in Bangkok, Thailand at the end of March by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a Civil Society Forum was organized prior to this inter-governmental forum, held for the fifth year to provide a regional follow-up and review process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Forming part of the preparatory processes, the gathering of civil society organizations and movements generated important inputs into the 5th session of the APFSD.

The interventions to strengthen the section on resource generation for the SDGs in the civil society statement were made by Mae Buenaventura, on behalf of APMDD and Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA), Global Alliance for Tax Justice’s regional network member. She cited states’ commitments reflected in the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which recognizes the importance in domestic resource mobilization of reducing, towards eventually eliminating illicit financial flows, and in achieving the SDGs.

She further added the need to press governments to build progressive tax systems and collect revenues in a more transparent and equitable manner, rather than relying more on regressive measures that unjustly burden the poor and low-income, particularly women.

Highlights of the civil society statement were read in plenary at the 5th APFSD, including the points on curbing illicit financial flows as one of the means towards realizing the SDGs. The final report of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on the 5th APFSD reflects this concern in point VI, titled “Progress  on  the  regional  road  map  for  implementing  the  2030: Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”: 

The CSOs’ gathering was made possible by the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Mechanism (AP-RCEM), a platform for CSOs to engage with United Nations in this region coordinated by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

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