STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR RUDOLPH MICHAEL TEN-POW, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE HIGH-LEVEL PANEL ON INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY BY THE PRESIDENTS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ECOSOC (New York, 2 March 2020)
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, let me express our appreciation for the continuing synergy between the Offices of the President of the General Assembly and the President of ECOSOC, particularly on issues relevant to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Abba Action Agenda.
With only ten years left to 2030, it has become imperative that we pay keen attention to issues that make it difficult for Member States to accelerate efforts towards mobilizing sufficient resources to achieve the developmental aspirations and targets we have set for ourselves, particularly those in the 2030 Agenda. Achieving the SDGs requires innovative approaches to development financing that would help us meet the obligations of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, particularly the strengthening of international cooperation to combat all forms of illicit financial flows, including corruption, crime and illegal commercial activities.
We see today's event as an important opportunity to further enrich the ongoing discussion on this subject and we wish to reiterate four fundamental factors:
i. First, that illicit financial flows are an existential development challenge.
ii. Second, that illicit financial flows reduce the availability of valuable resources for financing the development priorities of the affected States.
iii. Third, that developing countries are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of illicit financial flows; and
iv. Fourth, that reducing illicit financial flows would contribute to the achievement of other Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda.
We support endeavours aimed at strengthening regulatory frameworks at all levels, increasing the transparency and accountability of financial institutions and of the corporate sector, eliminating base erosion and profit shifting, and ensuring that all companies, including multinational corporations, pay taxes to the Governments of the countries where their economic activity occurs and where value is created.
We believe that there is need for inclusive multilateral action to tackle these challenges if we are to reach the objective of leaving no country behind in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We recognise that there is an urgent need to build political momentum at the global, regional and national levels to decisively and comprehensively address illicit financial flows. At the same time, we want to reaffirm that international development assistance should not be ignored. North-South cooperation should remain the main channel. Developed countries should honor their commitments on ODA, thereby creating an enabling external environment for growth and development in developing countries.
We note that the current initiative by the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC, is intended to identify gaps in international frameworks for financial transparency and address issues of tax evasion, corruption, money laundering and the return of stolen assets.
Nonetheless, we are concerned that important processes, including regional consultations, are scheduled to take place in the tentative timeline for the work of the Panel. In our view, such consultations should take place during the early stages of this undertaking. The Group would like stress that the work being undertaken should be built on consensus among the Member States of the United Nations.
We are of the view that the Panel must build on the work of existing platforms and avoid duplication. It should not detract from or undermine existing processes and should focus instead on supporting the efforts of existing international bodies. The Group would also like to seek clarification on the composition of the Panel, since 4 of its members are still to be identified, including one of the Co-chairs.
In conclusion, distinguished Presidents,
Given the concerns expressed about the Panel, it is our expectation that it will operate with full transparency and remain open to a variety of ideas and suggestions.
I thank you.