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Questionable Values? Policy Report

Why we believe that it is time to stop defending the indefensible across all the world’s tax havens. Following the hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated a number of Caribbean islands in September this year, the focus has rightly been on supporting the hardest hit and those in greatest need. But as the rebuilding effort develops, many are starting to think more deeply about the long-term sustainability of these islands’ economies, and their ability to protect and provide for their populations in an economically and climatically uncertain future. What type of jobs, and what type of economy, should places such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) be looking to build? This is a question that extends beyond the storm-hit Caribbean. Defensive measures against tax evasion and avoidance are on the rise in the US, the EU and emerging economies, driven in part by the exposure of these activities in successive leaks of information (most recently, the Paradise Papers). Such developments call into question the sustainability of any economic model that relies on providing various combinations of secrecy and low taxation. So far, many small offshore centres, and their supporters, have largely reacted defensively to the threat of change, arguing that media coverage has unfairly maligned ‘tax havens’; that the problem is not as large as portrayed; and that they are already instituting tax and transparency standards better than many large ‘onshore’ economies. However, careful scrutiny of one of the most comprehensive efforts to explain the role of international finance centres and to illustrate the impact that such a territory has on the global economy – the prominent report that the government-backed financial lobby group, BVI Finance, commissioned this year from consultancy firm Capital Economics – demonstrates major weaknesses in the arguments and conclusions presented, and suggests to us that such defences are more concerned with maintaining the status quo than a genuine concern for the wider global economy. Our analysis of the Capital Economics report is an example of why we believe that it is time to stop defending the indefensible across all the world’s tax havens. With public demand building for new regulation, and the ever-present threat of further mass leaks, the UK Government needs to initiate a serious discussion about alternative economic pathways for the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. Alternative futures for offshore tax havens are not only vital for the poorest countries of the world that lose tax revenues each year to the offshore system, but also for the ordinary women and men in places like the BVI, for whom a secure future is dependent on the creation of robust, equitable and sustainable economies.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire (Part 2)

A debilitating drought may bring riots and social unrest in one country, but in a neighbouring country, the same problem may be dealt with by citizen mobilisation towards collective action solutions. To a large extent, governance capacity and community resilience explains the nature and structure of the response. In this report, three case studies – from Angola, Mali, and Honduras – of actual responses to climate change and conflict are presented.

Challenges in the Sahel: Implications for peace and development

A ‘perfect storm’ - an extraordinary combination of poverty, violent conflict, corruption, criminality, and climate change - is blowing over Mali and across the Sahel. Within this storm, some unusual actors have emerged. Politicians are known to be corrupt but still get elected and smugglers are criminalised by authorities but are also the only providers of employment in disintegrating local economies. This report is part of a series that Christian Aid is producing to understand what ought to be done differently in tackling violence and building peace.

The Scandal of Inequality 2 (Spanish)

Describe las diferentes caras de la desigualdad en America Latina y el Caribe

Celebrating Inclusion - PACS India final report

A celebration of seven years of achievements, learnings and impact on the lives of millions of India’s poorest and marginalised people.

Benefits? Tax Incentives in Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish)

Overview of the use of tax incentives that analyses whether or not tax incentives bring benefits to countries and communities.(Spanish)

Developing Climate Services

A report summarising our key experience across three countries – Kenya, India and Nicaragua.

Low-carbon development Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish)

It is time for Latin America and the Caribbean to move to more sustainable, equitable development based on low-carbon energy.(Spanish translation)  

Low-carbon development in South Asia: leapfrogging to a green future

The report gives examples of the potential for low-carbon energy in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Shifting of goal posts: rural electrification in India

Highlights failure of national grid approach to deliver electricity to rural India and presents alternative using decentralised renewable power.  

Action2020 family planning: Mali context analysis

An in-depth investigation into the context and opportunities for civil society-led accountability on family planning in Mali.