August 3, 2004
Source: Cooler Heads Coalition
The United Nations is studying proposals for global taxes as a means to generate sources of financing for development in poor countries. The proposals being considered include a carbon tax on fuel use, a tax on currency transactions (the Tobin tax), an arms sales tax, a global lottery, and a tax on international airline travel.
U. N. Under Secretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo, head of the department of economic and social affairs (DESA), believes the study will be ready by this September. He recognized that, “Some key countries are very strongly opposed to these proposed global taxes [but] a number of developing countries are giving them careful consideration.”
France and Germany, backed by Chile and U. N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, signed a declaration in January re-launching the concept of taxing arms sales and financial transactions to boost funding for global development efforts in combating poverty and hunger. The declaration also supported the United Kingdoms proposal to “frontload” development aid through capital markets via an International Finance Facility (IFF).
The European Union is divided on the establishment of an IFF, with EU Commissioner Poul Nielsen stating at UNCTAD XI in June 2004 that, “A sleight of hand with the rules of public finance – that mortgages future aid programmes – is no substitute for the hard political task of securing and sustaining the will to provide increased aid, now and for many years to come. This leads me to say that the IFF is really not the right way to go. Fighting global poverty is not something we should leave to be paid for by our children and grandchildren.” (www.ipsnews.net, Aug. 2).