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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

Inequality and The 1%: Is a Transformative Fiscal Policy Possible?

Date: 10 Jul 2019

Inequality and The 1%: Is a Transformative Fiscal Policy Possible?
Parallel event during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

This event allows participants to gain a better understanding of the key drivers and consequences of inequitable and ineffective tax systems, from global to local levels. Speakers present new empirical evidence and concrete experiences of different actors and countries that have implemented and funded equality-enhancing policies (policies to combat both vertical and horizontal inequality), and participants come away with insights into the political strategies that can be mobilized to move towards a new fiscal compact for sustainable development.

Inequalities are one of today’s greatest challenges, obstructing poverty reduction and sustainable development. Elite capture of economic and political power catalyses inequalities, and reinforces them -- undermining social, environmental and economic sustainability, and fuelling poverty, insecurity, crime and xenophobia.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to overcome inequalities, “leaving no one behind”. How can the transformative change envisioned in the 2030 Agenda take place?
  • Read the Event Brief for a summary of the discussions
  • Download the Issue Brief for a broader overview of the topic
  • 🎧 Listen to the recordings of this event here.

Fiscal policy, an equality-enhancing instrument

In keeping with the mandate of the HPLF to provide guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the panellists at this event will share knowledge and experience on the use of equitable and sustainable taxation policies to reduce inequalities, and explore strategies for building the agency and overcoming the political barriers to implementation of tax reforms that are equality-enhancing and contribute to sustainable development.

Tax policy and tax governance have the potential to raise necessary revenues for public spending which tackles vertical and horizontal inequalities, and to stem market incentives for accumulation of income and wealth at the top, while forging a credible fiscal compact between citizens and the state. At this Side Event, representatives from civil society organizations, member states and UN organizations, as well as researchers, discuss:
  • recent economic and political factors that have shaped fiscal space
  • the role of fiscal policies in reducing inequalities
  • how to reform tax policies and tax governance to enhance equality, from national to global levels
  • drivers of progressive tax systems
  • how to build alliances and coalitions to promote tax reforms for inclusive and sustainable development

Join us for the whole morning, or as your schedule permits.


8.00–8.20→Welcome remarks
  • Luise Rürup, Director, FES New York
  • Paul Ladd, Director, UNRISD

Opening remarks
  • Ambassador Luis Bermúdez, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Uruguay
  • Mr. Inge Herman Rydland, Special Envoy for the 2030 Agenda, Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs

8.20–9.45→Panel Discussion: Setting the Stage for Global-Level Action
  • Katja Hujo, Senior Research Coordinator, UNRISD
  • Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, Executive Director, Oxfam Mexico
  • Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data, UN Women
  • Dora Benedek, Deputy Division Chief, Fiscal Policy Department, IMF
  • Fernando Filgueira, Senior Researcher, CIPPEC (Argentina) and CIESU (Uruguay)
  • Paul Ladd Moderator, Director, UNRISD

Coffee break

10.00–11.45→Roundtable: Coordinating Global and National Action
  • Jo Marie Griesgraber, Director, New Rules for Global Finance
  • Matthew Martin, Director, Development Finance International
  • Paola Simonetti, Deputy Director, International Trade Union Confederation
  • Kate Donald, Director, Human Rights in Economic and Social Policy, Center for Economic and Social Rights
  • Sara Burke Moderator, Senior Policy Analyst, FES New York