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PNG’s massive financial losses to logging companies
A report by the Oakland Institute has exposed serious tax evasion and financial misre-porting by foreign logging companies in Papua New Guinea (PNG), allegedly resulting in non-payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
Logging is an important source of tax income for the country’s development. However, “The Great Timber Heist” – a report based on field research and analysis of hundreds of financial documents and tax records of logging companies – details how foreign firms use dubious mechanisms to evade taxes.
“Despite decades of operations in PNG, the official tax filings of many firms report losses year after year. Through transfer pricing – under-pricing exports and overpricing expenses – the logging industry is able to evade paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, vitally needed revenue for the country,” says Frederic Mousseau, author of the report.
How human rights contribute to sustainable finance
A report by the Institute for Human Rights and Business analyses how human rights can be integrated within – and deliver – a sustainable financial system.
“Human Rights and Sustainable Finance, Exploring the Relationship” analyses three levels of interaction between the financial system and human rights: the systemic level, which looks at regulatory actors; the client level, which considers how market segments address identifiable human rights impacts of their sovereign or corporate clients’ activities; and the consumer level, which addresses the human rights impacts of institutions’ products and services directly on consumers.
At the systemic level, the methodological disconnect between the capabilities of mathematical finance and ethics is identified as a key challenge. At the client level, progress has been made where human rights is seen as a new dimension of risk. The consumer level is where most opportunity has been seized, with the rise of financial inclusion, impact investing and impact insurance.
Better water use could help close food gap
A study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has found that better water use could save millions of people from starvation.
For the first time, a study has assessed the global potential for growing more food using the same amount of water. Results indicate that production could rise by some 40% simply through the optimisation of rain use and irrigation systems. That is half the amount the United Nations says is needed to eradicate world hunger by mid-century.
Wolfgang Lucht, co-author of the study, argues that the global effect of proper water use has been neglected in the discussion about how to feed the world. “Since we are rapidly approaching planetary boundaries, our study should draw the attention of decision makers at all levels to the potential of integrated crop water management,” he says.
Chinese government shuts women’s aid centre
A prominent women’s aid centre has been shut down by local authorities in China amid an escalating clampdown on civil society.
The Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counselling and Service Center – which repre-sented low-income Chinese women free of charge – was highly symbolic for having been born of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.
The centre announced its closure in a statement on its website, but gave no reason for the order. The tightening grip of Chinese authorities over civil society comes at a time when charity workers in China report increased pressure over foreign funding, which state-run media say could undermine the country’s authoritarian political system.
NGOwatch timber tax Human rights climate United Nations China Government