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Financing for Development

Developing countries still have to regain lost ground from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has put more countries at risk of debt distress, constrained their fiscal space and hampered economic growth. The war in Ukraine is exacerbating all these challenges. In this context, the 2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report identifies a “great finance divide” – the inability of poorer countries to raise sufficient resources and borrow affordably for investment.

The great finance divide leaves developing countries unable to respond to crises and invest in sustainable development. On average, developed countries use 3.5 per cent of revenue to pay interest on their debt,…

Financing for Development

Environmental taxes are on the agenda of many developing countries, for both revenue purposes and for meeting countries’ commitments on climate change and sustainable development. 

Carbon taxes are a policy option aimed at curbing carbon-based emissions responsible for climate change, in line with the commitments assumed by countries under the Paris Agreement. Carbon taxes put a price on the emission of greenhouse gases, thereby motivating companies to invest in cleaner technology or switch to more efficient practices. Likewise, consumers may be incentivized to invest in energy efficiency, change their lifestyle habits or, where options are available, switch to cleaner forms of…

Financing for Development

Double tax treaties aim to prevent unrelieved double taxation, in order to foster cross-border economic activity and the transfer of technology. Countries generally use models as a starting point when negotiating tax treaties. As the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries generally favours retention of greater host country taxing rights, it tends to be relied upon more by developing countries than the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital.

The UN Model Taxation Convention consists of articles on the treaty’s scope and on definitions to be used in the treaty. For different kinds of income and capital, it allocates taxing rights…

Financing for Development

A main preoccupation of those responsible for designing tax systems is minimizing disputes concerning the interpretation and application of income tax laws and ensuring that any disputes are resolved fairly and effectively. 

Particularly for tax administrations of developing countries, fair and effective resolution of tax disputes serves to balance the dual country needs to raise domestic revenues and to attract and keep foreign investment. Achieving the right balance contributes to the strengthening of domestic resource mobilization. 

The new UN Handbook on Avoidance and Resolution of Tax Disputes provides guidance on the various mechanisms to avoid and, if needed,…

Financing for Development

Transfer pricing is the general term for the pricing of transactions between related or associated enterprises. It should reflect the internationally accepted arm’s length principle embodied in Article 9 of the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries. It is particularly relevant to the global transactions of multinational enterprises, involving the transfer of goods, services and intangibles between enterprises of the multinational groups.

When transactions between associated enterprises do not reflect the arm’s length principle, profits might be shifted to low-tax or no-tax jurisdictions and losses and deductions shifted to high-tax…

Financing for Development

The proliferation of special tax exemptions, including tax exemptions related to government-to-government aid projects, poses a serious obstacle to developing country efforts to broaden their tax base. Donor countries are increasingly conscious of the difficulties that such exemptions create for the tax authorities, and a number of them have reconsidered their policy in this area. This trend is further encouraged by the call in the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development for countries to consider not requesting tax exemptions on goods and services delivered as government-to-government aid, in order to make their development cooperation more effective.

The new…

Financing for Development

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to an even more sharply unequal world as the development gains for millions in poor countries are reversed, according to a new report released by the United Nations today.

The Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2021 says the global economy has experienced the worst recession in 90 years, with the most vulnerable segments of societies disproportionately affected. An estimated 114 million jobs have been lost, and about 120 million people have been plunged back into extreme poverty.

Only immediate action can prevent a lost decade for development for many countries.

“What this pandemic has proven beyond all doubt is that we…

Financing for Development

This UN/DESA-UNCDF Handbook represents a significant contribution to the Financing for Sustainable Development agenda, advancing both thought leadership and action. Finalized in the crucible of the COVID-19 crisis, the Handbook brings global visibility to infrastructure asset management as a critical, high impact area for investing in local capacities to mobilize and manage financing for sustainable development, including in emergencies.

With trendy focus on the ‘new and shiny’, old assets often go neglected, while new ones are built without putting in place effective asset management frameworks. Underinvestment in infrastructure maintenance has been estimated to cost some…

Financing for Development

Governments must take immediate steps to prevent a potentially devastating debt crisis and address the economic and financial havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic – says a new report from the United Nations-led Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development.

The UN System’s 2020 Financing for Sustainable Development Report outlines measures to address the impact of the unfolding global recession and financial turmoil, especially in the world’s poorest countries. Its recommendations are based on joint research and analysis from the UN System, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, and more than 60 UN agencies and international institutions.

Financing for Development

The United Nations Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Tax Treaties between Developed and Developing Countries (2019) is a compact training tool for beginners with limited experience in tax treaty negotiation. It seeks to provide practical guidance to tax treaty negotiators in developing countries, in particular those who negotiate based on the United Nations Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries. It deals with all the basic aspects of tax treaty negotiation and it is focused on the realities and stages of capacity development of developing countries.

While every country should form its own policy considerations and define its objectives…

Financing for Development

The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development warns that mobilizing sufficient financing remains a major challenge in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Despite signs of progress, investments that are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remain underfunded and parts of the multilateral system are under strain.

The FSDR recommends that the international community should use this opportunity to reshape both national and international financial systems in line with sustainable development. If we fail to do so, we will fail to deliver the 2030 Agenda.…

Financing for Development

The 2018 report of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development finds that most types of development financing flows increased in 2017, and that there has been progress across all the action areas of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. This progress was underpinned by an upturn in the world economy, but at the same time the report warns that risks could derail development progress and structural impediments continue to undermine sustainable development prospects.

The 2018 report provides policy options which, if implemented, would put the world on a sustained and sustainable growth and development path. It also examines the financing challenges to the SDGs under in-…