A global conference on Tax and the SDGs was organized by UNDP and Columbia University from 14-17 November in New York City. The event gathered approximately 400 delegates from more than 50 countries, featuring a diverse array of attendees including several finance ministers, leaders of national tax authorities, high-ranking government officials, experienced tax professionals, campaigners, and scholars, among them a Nobel Prize winner in economics. The primary aim of this conference was to explore and identify ways in which taxation can be effectively utilized to expedite the achievement of the SDGs.
Taxes serve a role that goes beyond just generating revenue; they are a pivotal tool in public policy for fostering sustainable development, strengthening social contracts, and impacting crucial SDGs such as health, education, environment, and gender equality. The various sessions at the conference underscored the connection between taxation and the SDGs, addressing the worldwide challenges and opportunities in making taxation work for all. This includes issues and prospects in taxing wealth and capital, combating illicit financial flows, implementing health taxes, modernizing tax administrations through digitalization, and other relevant topics. Recordings from the conference can be accessed here.
The conference was led by UNDP´s Tax for SDGs Initiative, which focuses on harnessing taxation to advance the SDGs. Central to this initiative is the idea that taxation isn’t merely about generating funds for investments relevant to the SDGs, but also involves aligning the methods of tax collection with these goals. During the conference, the Tax for SDGs Initiative officially launched the SDG Taxation Framework, an innovative tool that helps interested countries to self-evaluate the degree to which their tax systems are aligned with the SDGs, including SDG 5 on gender equality.
Advancing Gender Equality through Taxation
During the session titled Advancing Gender Equality through Taxation on the fourth day, specialists from UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal Team, the Tax for SDGs Initiative, the World Bank, the International Center for Taxation and Development, Eurodad, and the Nigerian Ministry of Finance, engaged in a panel discussion about current efforts and viewpoints on utilizing taxation to promote gender equality. This session emphasized the significance of both tax policy and administration in relation to gender equality. It also underscored the necessity of integrating gender equality considerations into the operations of Finance Ministries and tax administrations.
In this session, David Davidsson, taxation expert part of the Global Seal Team, introduced the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions as a viable option for tax authorities and ministries of finance aiming to make meaningful progress in terms of gender equality. Following this, the Director of Tax Policy from the Nigerian Ministry of Finance shared the country´s experience in implementing the Gender Equality Seal in institutions relevant to tax policy, particularly within the national tax administration. A critical takeaway from this experience is the necessity of allocating resources specifically for gender equality initiatives and the important role of committed senior leadership in driving progress in this area.
Reach out to us if you would like to learn more about how the Gender Equality Seal for Public institutions can support gender-responsive fiscal reforms.