Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the launch of the FACTI panel report, 25 February 2021.
Let me begin by congratulating the FACTI panel. I commend former President Grybauskaite and former Prime Minister Mayaki for steady leadership. I thank the panel members for their hard work. Under difficult circumstances you have given us an ambitious and forward-looking report.
When the panel was launched, we were just entering a global pandemic. A year on, Covid-19 has deepened inequalities. It has been difficult to invest in sustainable development. Illicit financial flows have reinforced social and economic challenges.
It is often said that “with crisis comes opportunity”. This is such a moment. We should use it to make the reforms needed to reach the sustainable development goals. This will take courage and willingness to act.
The panel has engaged extensively with member states and stakeholders. The dialogue needs to continue. All stakeholders must act together to close the gaps that allow illicit financial flows to flourish.
The FACTI panel addresses complex and technical issues. But the objective is clear and simple: Stopping the leak of trillions of dollars. And channeling more of these resources towards sustainable development.
Illicit flows come in many forms. The result is always the same. It undermines governance, erodes trust and increases poverty.
No one is immune from this global scourge. But developing countries are especially affected. This means less resources for health care, social protection and quality education.
The report shows that many mechanisms do not prevent tax evasion, corruption, and illicit flows. There are gaps in implementation and enforcement. We need stronger standards around accountability, transparency and integrity.
Corruption and financial crime should not go unpunished. Effective implementation of the UN Convention against corruption is key.
We should also build on valuable work done in the OECD, the G20 and the IMF. I welcome recent steps to facilitate more country-by-country tax reporting. I am encouraged that more countries are improving transparency on beneficial ownership.
However, many countries are still not participating in the standard-setting bodies. In order to ensure the legitimacy of tax norms and standards, we must frame and negotiate them in an inclusive manner.
We all share a responsibility to prevent illicit flows from passing through our jurisdictions. A stronger global consensus on tax cooperation is an important step. If we invest in more robust international tax systems, we will receive a healthy and much needed return.
Let us heed the call of the FACTI panel. Let us join the movement towards a financial system built on accountability, transparency and integrity.
We need a global financial system that works for all and leaves no one behind.