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Leaders' Statement

Tanya Steele

Chief Executive

Save the Children

UK, Europe

Statement

A fairer world – where every last child can survive and thrive.

The Sustainable Development Goals set an ambitious agenda to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. This was a big step forward, but we must be clear about the scale of the challenge. Around 16,000 children under five will die today. And around 250 million school-age children are missing out on learning.

All around the world millions of children are missing out on global progress because of who they are – their gender, race, or disability. To meet the ambition of the Goals, we must make sure the children who are hardest to reach are not forgotten.

For too long, corrupt practices have deprived these children of the healthcare and education they need to survive and thrive; money that should be spent on schools and hospitals is being spirited away to tax havens or lost through illicit financial flows.

All countries need to work hard to respond to this problem – so they can invest in the public services that level the playing field and ensure every child has access to healthcare and learning. But in particular, the world’s poorest countries are not getting the tax receipts they are owed.

The anti-corruption summit presents a vital opportunity to right this wrong. The UK Government is a world leader in development, and in recent years has taken positive steps on tax reform; it is well placed to secure meaningful action on 12th May:

  • Other OECD members should follow the UK’s lead and mandate parent entities of companies’ resident in their countries for tax purposes to file country-by-country reports. This will prevent companies from hiding their profits and disguising who owns what – disrupting the illicit financial flows that deprive children of the services they need.
  • The UK itself can and must go further – the Government should use the summit to set a powerful example and force all UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to publish central registries of beneficial ownership. This move would signal the beginning of the end for the secrecy surrounding offshore tax havens.
  • Increasing revenue alone is not enough. The summit must also take steps to make governments more accountable. The world’s forgotten children must be empowered to demand the equality they are owed – and make sure any increase in revenue guarantees them a future.
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We are grateful to all the authors and contributing organisations within this Manifesto and to the partner organisations that helped to convene this landmark collection of anti-corruption statements from across a wide range of business and civil society leaders. The partners for the Leaders' Anti-Corruption Manifesto are The B Team, Thomson Reuters, the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the ONE campaign and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

This project is supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network.

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