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Tell @G20: Fix the cracks in tax

Posted by Caroline Hooper Box Media adviser, Oxfam international

4th Sep 2013

The path to global economic recovery is a tough one and on 5-6 September, Oxfam will be in St Petersburg to remind world leaders that the people who have it hardest are those trapped in poverty. 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day and it's critical that we convey the message that economic growth alone won't be enough to prevent poverty escalating. This needs to happen at the G20 summit. 

What is the G20?

The G20 - or group of 20 - started as a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies (it's actually 19 countries, plus the European Union) that gather annually to discuss key issues in the global economy.

Collectively, the G20 economies represent 90% of global GP, 80% of global trade and two-thirds of the world's population. It's a powerful group, and its efforts to boost growth and fix the global financial architecture are important and needed.

In 2009, the G20 launched a framework for "strong, sustainable and balanced growth". To pull this off, they said they would clamp down on tax havens, meet their aid commitments, and make sure the world's poorest people got food, fuel, and finance.

But too much of the time G20 leaders have put economic growth first and the interests of poor people second. It's up to us to hold our leaders accountable.

What's on the agenda?

This year, the G20 Summit is being hosted by the Russian government in St Petersburg on September 5-6 As the chair of the summit, they've outlined a wide-ranging agenda for discussion:

   1) Framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth
   2) Jobs and employment
   3) International financial architecture reform
   4) Strengthening financial regulation
   5) Energy sustainability
   6) Development for all
   7) Enhancing multilateral trade
   8) Fighting corruption.

What Oxfam wants from the G20

Leaders in St. Petersburg need to agree a way to tackle widening inequality gaps, and map out growth strategies that are balanced and inclusive. Reducing inequality is not only the right thing to do; it also makes sound economic sense.

We think that the road to economic growth that is sustainable, fair, and balanced will require urgent action from the G20 to:

  • Clamp down on tax dodging, improve tax transparency, and stem illicit financial flows draining developing country economies.
  • Invest in high-quality public health and education services. These are crucial safety nets for the poorest and those falling on hard times, as well as crucial investments in productivity.
  • Concentrate on ensuring that growth is fair and boosts equality, so that its benefits reach people living in poverty. As a first step G20 countries should make inequality reduction a measure of progress alongside GDP growth.
Find out how G20 leaders can fix the cracks in tax here:

The G20 must also act decisively toward a political solution to end the blood-shed in Syria.

More than 100,000 lives have been lost and two million people, more than half of whom are children, have fled as refugees and more are escaping each day. The financial resources of the humanitarian community to cope with this human cost are already stretched. In June, the UN launched its biggest appeal ever, but it is so far only 41 per cent funded. G20 leaders must give more to help finance the humanitarian response.

Oxfam will also urge G20 leaders to bring about an immediate ceasefire and work toward a political solution to the crisis, rather than focusing on military options. Arab voices must be put at the heart of the discussions. Military intervention carries unpredictable consequences for the region. G20 leaders should set a date for the Geneva peace talks and stick to it.

What can we do?

Sign the joint agency petition calling for President Obama and President Putin to put their differences aside, and throw their political weight behind making Syria peace talks a reality, and a success.

While our policy team is working behind the scenes to push for G20 policies that work towards ending poverty and inequality, we need you to help us out. Tweet your message to @G20rus with #G20 and #taxjustice 

  • Join Oxfam's global fight to stop tax dodging. Ask #G20 leaders to rewrite global #tax rules @G20rus
  • Did u know poor countries lose billions to tax havens? That's enough to fight poverty. Ask G20 leaders to stop #tax dodging scandal @G20rus 
  • More than half the world's poor live in G20 countries. Don't leave them behind. Tell @G20rus, economic growth must not leave poor people behind #inequality

Together we'll make a difference.  Make your voice heard.

Blog post written by Caroline Hooper Box

Media adviser, Oxfam international

More by Caroline Hooper Box