UN Panel Seeks Global Support For Financial Integrity

The United Nations High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for achieving the 2030 Agenda has called for global support to strengthen financial integrity for sustainable development.

This call is among the 14 recommendations made by the UN panel at the launch of its new report titled “Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development”.

The panel urged governments across the world to create robust and coordinated national governance mechanisms that efficiently reinforce financial integrity for sustainable development.

In addition, the FACTI Panel asked governments to publish national reviews evaluating their own performance as part of measures to improve financial integrity, while also recommending the establishment of an inclusive and legitimate global coordination mechanism at United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The inclusive and legitimate global coordination mechanism, it noted, will address financial integrity on a systemic level.

The Panel, in the newly released report, urged governments to redirect the trillions of dollars recovered from curbing tax abuse, corruption and money-laundering to financing critical action on the climate crisis, COVID-19 recovery and extreme poverty.

In its 14 recommendations, the FACTI Panel outlined an ambitious set of measures to reform, redesign and revitalize the global architecture, so it can effectively foster financial integrity for sustainable development.

The recommendations by the high-level body include building up on existing structures, create an inclusive inter-governmental body on tax matters under the United Nations; creating the legal foundation for an inclusive intergovernmental body on money-laundering; and enacting legislation providing for the widest possible range of legal tools to pursue cross-border financial crimes.

The body also recommended establishing tax-transparency standards through an open and inclusive legal instrument with universal participation; requiring all countries to create a centralised registry for holding beneficial ownership information on all legal vehicles and requiring taxpayers, especially multinational corporations, to pay their fair share of taxes.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the report, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan advocated concrete steps to stem the flow of illicit money from developing countries to tax havens and to ensure the return of stolen assets.

“These steps should include a commitment by countries that were currently acting as tax havens to immediately and unconditionally return all foreign assets that are shown to be stolen or whose legitimacy cannot be explained.

“The United Nations should initiate negotiations on the new international tax corporation and anti-money laundering legal instruments like the Convention on Corruption, adopt common principles identified by the FACTI panel that will apply to all financial transactions and establish a UN coordination, adjudication and mediation mechanism on illicit financial flows,” Khan said.

On the proposal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s to freeze and return the unexplained assets of foreign politically exposed persons, the Pakistani Prime Minister noted that it was worthy of consideration.

Khan, it would be recalled, had during the presentation of the FACTI panel’s interim report in September 2020, suggested several global policy actions.

The Panel is co-chaired by former Prime Minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki and former President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė.

Members of the Panel include: Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye; Annet Wanyana Oguttu, Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Irene Ovonji-Odida, José Antonio Ocampo, Karim Daher, Magdalena Sepúlveda, Manorma Soeknandan, Shahid Hafiz Kardar, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Tarisa Watanagase, Thomas Stelzer, Yu Yongding and Yury Fedotov.

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