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Public Administration

The United Nations E-Government Survey 2022 is the 12th edition of the United Nations’ assessment of the digital government landscape across all 193 Member States. The E-Government Survey is informed by over two decades of longitudinal research, with a ranking of countries based on the United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), a combination of primary data (collected and owned by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and secondary data from other UN agencies.

This edition of the Survey includes data analysis in global and regional contexts, a study of local e-government development based on the United Nations Local Online Service Index (LOSI),…

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…

Public Administration

Institutions are paramount to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Five years after the start of the implementation of the Agenda, governance issues remain at the forefront. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted even more the importance of national institutions for the achievement of the SDGs. The World Public Sector Report 2021 focuses on three dimensions of institutional change at the national level. First, it documents changes in institutional arrangements for SDG implementation since 2015. Second, it assesses the development, performance, strengths and weaknesses of follow-up and review systems for the SDGs.…

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…

Public Administration

The year 2020 witnessed a transformational change in global development as the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on Member States and other stakeholders to “kickstart a decade of delivery and action for people and planet”, given the short time left to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By surveying and studying broad patterns of digital government around the world, the United Nations E-Government Survey assesses the digital government development of the 193 United Nations Member States in identifying their strengths, challenges and opportunities, as well as informing policies and strategies. The Survey supports countries’ efforts to provide…

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.