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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),…

Statistics, Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 provides a global overview of progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, using the latest available data and estimates. It tracks the global and regional progress towards the 17 Goals with in-depth analyses of selected indicators for each Goal.

According to the Report, cascading and interlinked crises are putting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in grave danger, along with humanity’s very own survival. The Report highlights the severity and magnitude of the challenges before us. The confluence of crises, dominated by COVID-19, climate change, and conflicts, are creating spin-off impacts…

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…

Statistics, Sustainable Development

More countries and communities are recognizing the need to bolster efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in light of the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on people around the world, according to The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, released by the United Nations.

The decisions and actions taken during the next 18 months would determine whether pandemic recovery plans would put the world on a course to reach the globally-agreed upon goals that aim to boost economic growth and social well-being while protecting the environment.

According to the report, which tracks global efforts to achieve the SDGs, COVID-19 had caused a major disruption…

Economic Analysis and Policy, Social Development

New approaches made possible through improved access and Internet connectivity can raise the standard of living for approximately 3.4 billion people living in rural areas, without them having to migrate to cities, according to the newly released 2021 World Social Report “Reconsidering Rural Development.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, together with already persistent high levels of poverty and inequalities, are threatening to stall progress for the world’s rural populations. But the pandemic has also proven that new technologies can enable rural populations to flourish, ending the rural-urban divide.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the new technologies opened up new…

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…

Population

COVID-19 has disrupted all forms of human mobility through the closing of national borders and halting of travel worldwide. Preliminary estimates suggest that the pandemic may have slowed the growth in the stock of international migrants by around two million by mid-2020, 27 per cent less than the growth expected since mid-2019, according to a report by the United Nations released today. 

Growth in the number of international migrants has been robust over the last two decades, reaching 281 million people living outside their country of origin in 2020, up from 173 million in 2000 and 221 million in 2010.  Currently, international migrants represent about 3.6 per cent of the world’…