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November 24, 2023

A historic tax resolution tabled by Nigeria on behalf of the Africa Group was adopted at the UN General Assembly on November 22, 2023.  

This kickstarts an intergovernmental UN process to negotiate a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation. While a group of mainly rich Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries voted against the resolution, it was adopted by an overwhelming majority. The OECD has set global tax rules mainly benefiting a small group of wealthy countries and former colonizers. 

This is a significant victory for the tax justice movement and citizens and activists everywhere who have been demanding more funding for gender-responsive public services, including education. Globally, $483 billion is lost to tax abuse yearly. The UN Framework Convention on Tax Cooperation promises to be a significant step towards sealing the loopholes that enable this tax abuse and for all countries to have a seat at the table of this process. This will help countries to progressively unlock the funding required for gender transformative public services.  

This builds upon the resolution adopted last November mandating the UN to take on a leadership role on matters relating to global tax, which was itself a key milestone in the progress towards a more democratic, transparent, and fair financial architecture. 

Arthur Larok, Secretary General, ActionAid International, said:

We are thrilled with the adoption of the UN tax resolution! We particularly acknowledge the resolute leadership of the Africa Group, and [the] critical support of the 125 countries that voted in favour of the world’s first truly global agreement on international tax cooperation. This marks a truly historic shift – a democratic tax revolution. 

This is a much-needed boost for the global fight against international tax dodging and a turning point for the global economic system. No longer should it be dominated by the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of justice and progress for the rest. As the Chair of the Africa Group, H.E. Dr. Chola Milambo from Zambia, stated, this convention is ‘a lifeline to millions who aspire for better healthcare, education and a life of dignity.’ We urge those 48 countries that opposed this resolution to now join us on the right side of history. Countries must now come together to support the next steps to develop a legally binding, fair, and effective UN Convention on Tax.” 

Roos Saalbrink, Economic Justice and Public Services Lead at ActionAid International, said:

This resolution marks a momentous turning point in dismantling an international financial architecture that was largely built by colonial governments and perpetuates the plundering of resources from the Global South to this day. With the enormous outflow of resources leading to chronic underinvestment in gender-responsive public services. This convention has the potential to address these outflows and recover the billions of dollars in lost tax income needed to build societies and economies that care for both people and the planet. It also means all governments have a voice in decision-making about global tax issues.” 

Ashina Mtsumi, TaxEd Alliance Coordinator, said:

This resolution is a testament to the power of international cooperation in addressing the complex challenges we face today. The Transforming Education Summit Call to Action on Education Financing showed that now more than ever we need bold action to support domestic financing of education systems in a sustainable and progressive way. The same is true for other public services. Following through with this Framework Convention on tax is essential if we are to come close to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and human rights for all.” 

The next step is to ensure the budget for the new intergovernmental tax process is approved at the UN in December, so that negotiations between governments can begin in 2024. Until August 2024, the focus will be on developing Terms of Reference for the new UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation. Based on these Terms of Reference, governments then will proceed to negotiate the new UN Tax Convention.  


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  • Roos Saalbrink, who is the Economic Justice and Public Services Lead at ActionAid International 
  • Ashina Mtsumi, who is the TaxEd Alliance Coordinator 

Notes to editors:

The vote at the UN took place in the 2nd Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with economic and financial affairs. The text of the resolution that was adopted can be found here

Last week, the Africa Group at the United Nations organized a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters to introduce the group’s resolution. The video of the press conference can be found here.   

For more information about the UN tax process, see this Q&A.  



About ActionAid   

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.