CCFD-Terre Solidaire is today launching its ?Pact for an Earth in Solidarity? in an effort to bring our proposals for a more just world to the attention of the presidential candidates and the National Assembly. We are also calling on citizens to support this Pact and to bring it to the attention of the candidates of their choice.
As the leading French development NGO supporting more than 400 initiatives each year in 70 countries of the South and East, as well as with 15,000 volunteers in France, CCFD-Terre Solidaire continues to maintain its historic commitment to the defence and upgrading of aid policies, co-operation and development financing. We offer these proposals today within the framework of Coordination SUD (the coordinating body for disaster and development NGOs) together with five indicators of commitment for the candidates .
Nevertheless, we recognise that aid and co-operation will not suffice to build a world based on solidarity. The organisations around the world that we support ? our partners in the struggle against poverty and for development ? never cease to remind us of this message: in order for things to change there, we need here to change our economic, trade, agricultural and migration policies…
In a globalised economy, crises are interconnected, e.g. the euro crisis with sovereign debt, budget austerity with the diminution of social policy in the North, speculation on agricultural markets, crisis of employment, human rights… Up to the present political authorities have appeared to be incapable of providing concrete responses for regaining control of the disoriented global economy and have acted for the benefit of private interests. However, it is urgent to act both in the Global North as well as the Global South!
The issues are significant. It is necessary to end tax evasion in order to provide a just response to the debt crisis, to make multinational enterprises accountable for their subsidiaries, to regulate and provide a framework for agricultural markets in order to ensure food sovereignty. It is necessary to respect the rights of migrants and to re-work circulation agreements and to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention for the protection of migrant workers and their families.
There are so many challenges that are issues for the people in the countries of the Global South as well as for French society. Today we need to build a democratic, just, fair and sustainable world. The turning in of each country on its own problems and the disengagement of states as citizens are not adequate solutions. On the contrary, what is needed is for citizens as well as politicians to take responsibility in solidarity.
The new head of state and new National Assembly must provide responses to all these challenges. We believe that the vision and actions proposed in our ?Pact for an Earth in Solidarity? offer the necessary responses at each level ? France, Europe and internationally.
Today, therefore, we submit to your attention CCFD-Terre Solidaire’s analyses and key proposals of on two major issues that the Pact deals with:
? Regulation and transparency for an economy at the service of the common good
? Defence of migrant rights
Representatives of CCFD-Terre Solidaire have already contacted your teams in order to propose an even deeper exchange concerning our proposals.
We ask you to rapidly indicate the proposals on which you are prepared to commit yourself if elected and we propose to publish your answers.
Evidently, we would also like to meet you in order to discuss your own proposals with respect to the Pact for a Solidarity Earth.
For an economy at the service of the common good
While the governments of OECD countries have their eyes fixed on the vagaries of the financial markets and ratings agencies, CCFD-Terre Solidaire wishes to affirm that innovative solutions to meet the current challenges already exist. For us, more than ever, international solidarity cannot remain an act of good conscience for rich countries. It is a necessity if we are to respond to the financial, food, economic and social challenges where the interests of the peoples of North and South meet.
The new president of France will need to act within a context of grave budgetary crisis… Austerity, or a European version of the structural adjustment programs that are well known to countries of the Global South, will not provide a satisfactory response in any case. It will only cause the costs of the crisis to weigh unjustly on the poorest, contracting the economy and employment over the long term, without requiring a just contribution from those principally responsible for the financial and economic crisis. The person who accedes to the Elysee must take matters in hand, reaffirming the primacy of the political over the economic and replacing the general interest above that of particular interests.
To achieve this, it will be necessary to reorganise the financial markets and to impose the indispensable rules of accountability on economic actors in order to stimulate a virtuous dynamic for the benefit of France and the French people. These measures will also form the basis for a new organisation of international relations with emerging and developing countries, namely relations based on justice, co-responsibility and solidarity. This ambitious solidarity is necessary for the concerted construction of a positive future. This alone is capable of bringing people together in the search for the common good, to end the scandal of poverty and ‘maldevelopment’ and finally to respond to the great challenges of our world.
In order to re-centre the economy and the financial sector on service of the people, political decision makers must show courage and imagination. We have therefore identified three essential fields of work:
- To put an end to tax havens, accounting transparency rules must be imposed on multinational companies on a country by country basis in order to prevent them from evading taxes, which form the basis of the pact between the citizen and the state. This would enable hundreds of billions of euros to be placed in the service of public policy both in the North and the South.
- In order for multinational enterprises to contribute to employment and development throughout the world, they must be made more legally accountable so that they will take responsibility for the practices of the subsidiaries from which they have profited. This is the condition for restoring the social and environmental rights that have been degraded by the practices of certain multinationals and their subsidiaries.
- In order to end speculation on agricultural products, which deprive producers of fair remuneration for their work and consumers of access to quality products at a fair price, it is time to promote a genuine regulation of global agricultural markets.
After his or her election the new President of the Republic must be be ready to act. Buoyed by the majority that French voters will give, he or she must commit to acting in a determined and ambitious manner along with the National Assembly as well as with European and international partners (at the United Nations, during the Earth Summit at Rio, during the G8 or during the G20)
The world can wait no longer. Economic, social and environmental urgency demand that we act in a responsible and just manner.
When tax havens siphon off public resources
End tax evasion to provide a just response to the debt crisis
The future elected President of the Republic and his or her government will need to respond to a crucial question: how to reduce our nation’s public debt in order to finance quality public policies?
Even though the state coffers are ?empty?, nevertheless, it should not be left to citizens to consent to efforts that affect their health, the education of their children or their social rights. Solutions do exist but unfortunately they are not implemented. According to estimates, tax fraud deprives the state of 50 billion euros each year, including 20 billion euros from international fraud alone, particularly by multinational corporations via tax havens. In addition to this, there is also tax ?optimisation? (avoidance) as well as the lowering of tax rates as a result of competition between countries (from 44 to 33% between 1986 and 2006). In the countries of the South, tax evasion by business enterprises generates a loss of earnings for states of 125 billion euros each year (which is more than the the total official development assistance)
This means many resources cannot be affected to essential services for the most disadvantaged populations.
The list of tax havens established by the G20 has quickly diminished, yet the problem has still not disappeared. At present, measures implemented in France have led the recouping of less than 3% of lost receipts. Only small scale ?defrauders? have been caught whereas the greatest users of tax havens, i.e. multinational enterprises and international banks have not been seriously tackled.
To end the scandal of public resources being siphoned off by tax evasion, it is urgent to show courage by taking concrete and effective measures. As well as contributing significant public resources, these measures will enable social justice to be replaced at the heart of societies both in the North and the South, and to reaffirm the role of states in directing the global economy.
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