As human rights mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) responsible for the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights and collective rights of peoples we express our grave concern over the regressions being experienced in the enjoyment of these rights as many people are unable to have access to essential social and public services and many are pushed to extreme poverty in recent years.
Among other setbacks faced for making progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals include the rise in poverty and hunger. It is the first time in decades that the world has witnessed such reversals in these and related areas triggered, among others, by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis and have a devastating and lasting impact on the countries of our region, which are also suffering the consequences of the global cost-of-living crisis. Further exacerbating the socio-economic conditions of the peoples is the distressing debt burden and soaring interest rates limiting policy action on the provision of social services.
As our respective works show, the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development including through the right of all peoples to their natural resources in Africa and some other parts of the world are also affected by the structural constraints facing the economies of these regions on account of the prevailing inequitable international financial architecture, which contributes to, among others, illicit financial flows and punishing interest rates for accessing development finance, thus depriving countries much needed resources for funding development. That architecture was created when many of today’s developing countries were still under colonial rule and it is skewed in both structure and operation against these countries.
As indicated by the Secretary General of the United Nations, a two-track world of haves and have-nots is already driving a crisis in global trust. As evident from the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly on 20 September 2023, the systemic problems of financing for sustainable development require a systemic solution: reforms to the global financial and fiscal architecture.
It is our collective view that this is the time to negotiate a new reform on international tax cooperation based on human and peoples’ rights and where all the stakeholders involved, including governments and civil society, can participate fully and in a democratic manner. We have decided to join forces and work for a future built on less inequality and poverty.
We, therefore, express our support for the African Group's call, as expressed in resolution A/78/235 (2023) and further developed in the UN Secretary-General report on the “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (A/78/235) to begin intergovernmental discussions at the United Nations on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of tax cooperation and move it forward to the design of a legally binding framework convention.
We specifically call States members of the United Nations that are members of the African Group and those who support progress towards the realization of the SDGs and creation of an equitable world reflective of the shared conviction in the dignity and equal worth of all human beings to engage decisively in the ongoing discussions at the Seventy-eight session of the United Nations General Assembly (under agenda item 16, Macroeconomic policy questions”) to advance the proposals made by the African group under the leadership of Nigeria.
Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Chairperson of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights, of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR)