Pascal Canfin, the French Development Minister, and Justine Greening, the British Secretary of State for International Development have welcomed the outcomes of the Transparency for Development seminar held on 21 May 2013 in Lille, France.
Pascal Canfin, the French Minister Delegate for Development, opened the discussion. At a time when the United Kingdom holds the G8 Presidency in 2013 and has made transparency one of its top priorities, this seminar with representatives from NGOs and businesses from France, the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa has discussed the themes for the G8 Summit, to be held on 17 and 18 June 2013 in Lough Erne (Northern Ireland).
At the seminar, Pascal Canfin reaffirmed that France fully supports the implementation of the British G8 Presidency’s transparency agenda, which is essential to global economic growth and the sustainable development of the planet.
France and the United Kingdom were clear in their commitment to make transparency the rule rather than the exception.
In the area of extractive industries, which accounts for a substantial source of income, especially in developing countries, France and the United Kingdom stressed the importance of adopting and swiftly implementing national and regional regulatory frameworks to ensure transparency for each country and for each project, like the European Accounting Directive. To this end, France and the United Kingdom are keen to implement extractive reporting requirements in the Directive, so that citizens can challenge their governments on how they spend the money they receive from oil, gas and mining companies. At the same time, France and the United Kingdom fully encourage the strengthening and the extension of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
When it comes to land transparency, at a time when global food security is one of the world’s key strategic challenges and global agriculture will need to feed 9 billion people in 2050, France and the United Kingdom stressed the pressing need to strengthen governance, responsible investment and the protection of citizens’ rights. In this regard, France and the United Kingdom are committed to assist in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests and support the work of the Committee on World Food Security on Responsible Agricultural Investments (RAI), especially to tackle the problem of illegal land acquisitions in developing countries.
In order for finance to serve the economy for both developed and developing countries, France and the United Kingdom support the work of the international community to promote financial transparency, particularly by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and an ambitious approach in tackling money laundering and illicit flows of capital.
In order to help fight the global scourges of tax evasion and avoidance, which hit the poorest countries the hardest, France and the United Kingdom are working on enhancing international tax cooperation, and especially developing a multilateral standard on automatic tax information exchange. France and the United Kingdom fully support building the capacity of developing countries to collect the tax they are owed.
The outcome of the seminar will feed into discussions prior to the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lough Erne on 17 and 18 June 2013.