Global Policy Forum

Environmental tax reform in countries of the South

In our series of papers coming out of the international conference „Tax Justice – Human Rights – Future Justice” in Berlin on the 27th November 2012, we are happy to present the latest edition on „Environmantal tax reform in countries of the South“. The paper ist he ninth in our  series of Policy briefs „Info Steuergerechtigkeit“ on issues of tax justice, published in cooperation with the Tax Justice Network Germany.

April 22, 2013

"So far, combating tax evasion and tax avoidance has been at the centre of the international tax justice agenda, together with the creation of fair and efficient tax systems. As yet, ecological aspects have been discussed separately from these issues, as has been the case in Germany with the debate around an ecological financial reform.

However, tax and fiscal policy is a key tool for governments to implement environmental policy goals in the narrower sense and achieve the goals of sustainable development in the wider sense. But so far, this has been insufficiently applied. Many governments have been reluctant to introduce effective taxes on the environmentally harmful consumption of natural resources or to eliminate the respective subsidies.

In the meantime, environmental taxes have been introduced concerning various items in several countries, although systematic environmental tax reform has remained an exception. This applies even more to comprehensive models of environ- mental-social fiscal reform, which link up environmental goals with the protection of human rights and with promoting social justice. In this manner, they can have a twofold impact: They can contrib- ute both to reducing social disparities and to protecting the environment and the climate. Furthermore, such reforms can mobilise additional public finance urgently required to achieve the sustainable development goals."

"Info Steuergerechtigkeit #09" takes a closer look at the concepts of environmental tax reform vs. eco-social fiscal reforms, draws from experiences with environmental taxes and draws conclusions for the introduction of a comprehensive Eco-Social Fiscal Reform.

The info brief is ready for download here.

It is available also in German.

Info Steuergerechtigkeit #09 is based on material including contributions and discussions at the international expert conference on “Tax Justice – Human Rights – Future Justice” in Berlin on the 27th November 2012. The conference was jointly organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Global Policy Forum Europe, MISEREOR and terre des hommes in co-operation with the Tax Justice Network Germany.


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