ATI Declaration 2025 brings the role of Regional Tax Organisations to the fore

Members of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) have agreed on the new ATI Declaration 2025. The document serves as important milestone by setting a new agenda and priorities for international cooperation for domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM) – while simultaneously bringing the role of regional tax organisations advocated by the members of the Network of Tax Organisations (NTO) to the fore.

Regional tax organisations play a decisive role in supporting the efforts of national governments to promote the evolution, social acceptance and institutional strengthening of revenue administrations. As a global platform for the exchange of experiences, knowledge and best practices on tax administration matters, the Network of Tax Organisations (NTO) unites nine regional and international organisations of revenue administrations, with the common goal to develop and promote effective tax systems as a means to contribute to the well-being of all people. Recent activities include technical assistance programmes, peer-to-peer exchanges, research activities and international engagement with networks – pro-actively pointing to the challenges faced by their member administrations with regards to ongoing developments in tax administrations. In order to combine efforts to improve the fairness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of tax systems in developing countries, some NTO members – the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), Centro Interamericano de Administrationes Tributarias (CIAT), Cercle de Réflexion et d’Échange des Dirigeants des Administrations fiscales (CREDAF), and West African Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) – also joined the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI).  

As a multi-stakeholder partnership, the ATI brings together more than 60 developing countries, providers of development cooperation and supporting organisations to foster partner countries’ efforts to increase reliance on domestic revenue in order to fund development and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Since 2019, ATI members have been discussing the importance of the ATI post-2020. A Task-Force was commissioned to draft a new vision and strategy for the partnership, resulting in the new ATI Declaration 2025, which was presented at the ATI General Assembly on 17 November 2020.

The new ATI Declaration was developed in a highly participatory process by a nine-member task force, equally representing the three stakeholder groups in the ATI – developing countries, providers of official development assistance and supporting organisations. The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) represented the voice of regional tax organisations in the task force. During the development of the new ATI Declaration, ATAF engaged with its NTO constituents on key strategic elements of ATI’s new agenda to ensure that regional tax organisations voice was heard.

In July 2019, the NTO presented a position paper addressing the importance of regional tax organisations within the new DRM agenda for the ATI’s post-2020 phase. The document argued that the ATI needs to recognise the contribution of regional organisations in promoting South-South cooperation and the articulation of regional priorities in tax discussions globally. Furthermore, the ATI should put stronger focus on the objectives of aid effectiveness and donor coordination, while better taking the absorption capacities of partner countries into account.

The new ATI Declaration 2025 integrates the issues underlined by the NTO position paper in the new ATI commitments, introducing the dimension of equity, with a shift of focus to “quality” of cooperation to enhance DRM. Through the new ATI Commitment 2, ATI members agree to “foster a diversity of approaches to collaboration and capacity development, to regional tax organisations, South-South and triangular cooperation” in order to strengthen capacities of partner countries, both at the national and subnational levels. The new ATI Commitment 3 also brings forward the importance of facilitating international cooperation through different fora – including relevant regional initiatives – to pursue policy-coherence that fosters DRM and combat tax-related illicit financial flows (IFFs).

During the presentation of the ATI Declaration 2025 at the 2020 ATI General Assembly, Marcio Verdi, head of the NTO Council highlighted the importance of increased coordination to support DRM: “We believe that the international cooperation is the only way that allow us to jump to another curve of knowledge, to a safe stage in order to improve domestic resource mobilization”. “The work of the Addis Tax Initiative -  its members, its partners and participants - must continue to grow, must continue to be strong, but must continue to engage critically, with inputs and country-driven programs [from partner countries], and that it is the direction being taken“, added Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of ATAF, in his keynote address.

The NTO supports the new ATI Declaration 2025 and continues to work towards the common goal of achieving “tax systems that work for people and advance the SDGs”.