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Annual Fiscal Summit at ECLAC: Promoting a Human Rights Perspective Towards Taxation

Annual Fiscal Summit at ECLAC: Promoting a Human Rights Perspective Towards Taxation

From 6 to 8 May 2024, we joined other civil society organisations in the annual regional fiscal summit organised by ECLAC at its headquarters in Santiago, Chile. This meeting, comprised of state representatives, international organisation officials, experts in the field of taxation, and NGOs, proved fundamental to promoting a human rights perspective on the fiscal justice discussion in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Under the framework of the Permanent Council of the Civil Society of the Tax Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean (TPLAC, in which GI-ESCR is a member of), our Associate, Ezequiel Steuermann, was able to liaise with several partners to raise the voice of the civil society within the spheres of discussion of this event. Notably, we have been leading the involvement of the civil society council with the working group on green taxes and intervening in substantive debates regarding the prospects of environmental taxation in the region. 
We also highlighted the immense potential that these fiscal tools have for promoting a just transition that benefits the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean. Moreover, we raised concerns about the need to mitigate the potential counter-effects that such measures might have on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, thereby enshrining the necessity for any progressive fiscal reforms to bear in mind the undesired costs and retrogressions that it may bring along to specific groups and, subsequently, the imperative to adopt effective counter-measures. 
More broadly, we promoted a human rights perspective towards taxation, where resource allocation priorities are guided by the legal mandates enshrined in both regional and universal human rights instruments, not only by macroeconomic considerations. Such an approach was enshrined in the official statement of the state's parties to the TPLAC, who explicitly determined that "tax systems enable the financing of public goods such as education, health, and infrastructure, which are central to economic growth, the reduction of inequalities and social cohesion. These systems also facilitate the mobilisation of the resources needed to confront the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss". 
Additionally, the need to articulate a common regional voice towards global negotiations and proposals which are under discussion in the fiscal and climate financing spheres -such as the United Nations Framework Convention on International Taxation, the proposal on a global tax on the ultra-rich promoted by Brazil under its G20 Presidency, and the prospective Advisory Opinions on Climate Change by the Interamerican Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice- was noted, making explicit the immense momentum that the region has to make its realities present in current multilateral debates. South-to-south collaboration with members of the African Union and other States from the Global South proves pivotal to promote a distributive justice approach to the negotiated instruments, thereby highlighting the essential role that platforms such as TPLAC have to offer in finding common ground between states to build a robust regional position.
Lastly, regarding the incumbent Chilean presidency of the TPLAC, we participated in institutional meetings between the members of the Ministry of Finance in charge of the platform's daily activities, Mr. Nicolás Bohme and Ms. Natalia Sandoval, and the NGOs comprising the Permanent Council of the Civil Society of the Tax Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean (TPLAC). 
Additionally, we also met with Mr. Tomás Pascual, Director of the Human Rights Division of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ms. Catalina Fernandez Carter, Head of the Universal System of Human Rights Department of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to further discuss Chile's strategy towards the platform in the upcoming year and streamline potential avenues for collaboration in the fiscal and climate justice agendas.

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