how we work on economic inequality
Norwegian Church Aid work both to eradicate poverty and to reduce economic inequality in its programs and through our influencing work. Economic inequality is increasing within most countries. Economic inequality hinders economic growth, undermines democracy, and harms gender equality. NCA works for inclusive growth, progressive taxation, social protection and against debt-induced austerity.
Reducing economic inequality requires a combination of policies to be successful. Politically we are working for the Government of Norway (GoN) to have reduced economic inequality as an overall goal for Norwegian ODA. We are working for global tax reforms which will make taxation of multinational companies and extreme individual wealth easier for development countries. In addition, we are working for an international debt workout mechanism to resolve the growing debt crisis. Reaching the SDGs and climate targets is impossible for countries in debt crisis.
NCA has been engaged in the UN Finance for Development process since the start in 2002 working on tax, aid and debt.
Who we work with
NCA works through broad coalitions collaborating with Eurodad, Afrodad, Tax Justice Network and the Global Coalition for Tax Justice as well as the ACT Alliance. We work together with Oxfam and others using the Commitment to reducing Inequality Index (CRI) in Southern and Eastern Africa.
In Norway we collaborate with TJN, Debt Justice Norway and the Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development among others. Changemaker remains a key partner on topics of economic justice.
Our partners are organised by Afrodad and TJN Africa as well in the regional Stop the Bleeding campaign.
NCA has a long history working on Economic Justice of which economic inequality is part. NCA was instrumental fighting for international and Norwegian debt cancellation during the Jubilee 2000 campaign from 1998-2006 and has continued to work for a debt workout mechanism and rules for responsible lending and borrowing ever since. NCA has also worked for fair trade rules and for the respect of human rights from businesses and investors. In 2010 NCA started working on tax in earnest focusing on transparency and championing Country by Country reporting rules. In advance of the Addis Abeba conference in 2015 NCA campaigned for a Global Tax Body under the UN which failed to get majority. Since then NCA has worked towards a tax convention in the UN arguing that such a convention will ensure equal representation for developing countries and must include unitary taxation as well as the ABC of taxation (Automatic Exchange of Information, Registries of Beneficial Ownership, Country by Country reporting.
Together with our partners NCA has worked against tax abuse by companies particularly in the mining sector. In 2012 NCA and partners started the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) which have grown to the biggest activist and CSO gathering on mining, tax, and environment on the continent. In our partner programs we still focus on company taxation, but increasingly on linking taxes to social protection.
Reducing inequality, in particularly related to climate, is becoming more important for Norad with reducing inequality and poverty being treated as twin goals.
Norway and Norad has over the past two decades supported tax and has become the most important international donor on the topic for civil society, researchers and development banks. NCA together with TJN and members has encouraged and supported this initiative. Norway initiated the Mbeki-panel in 2015, co-chaired the FACTI-panel in 2020 and is seen as a tax champion on the issues internationally. With ongoing discussions on tax convention in the UN, the challenge is to keep it this way.
On debt Norway is progressive but is no longer in a leadership position having been a Northern pioneer until the end of the UNCTAD responsible lending and borrowing guidelines process in 2013. We are collaborating NCA and PS is working for the GoN to explore opportunities to champion solutions to the debt crisis in international fora. In this respect the 2025 Financing for Development conference is a key goal.
NCA has since 2018 collaborated with Oxfam and Development Finance International on their Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI). This is an important tool to highlight which policies reduce inequality and why and is used for programming and advocacy globally and in southern and eastern Africa through publishing the regional reports.
NCA is working to keep Norway a champion in global processes such as the FfD negotiations, on debt and tax issues in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. As a faith based organisation a key goal is to engage faith leaders and constituency on these topics and relevant arenas.
PS has the responsibility for global advocacy in NCA and collaborates with country offices when relevant and possible. PS regularly participates at the annual FfD-forum as well as the spring and annual World Bank and IMF meetings.
Results from 2022
- Published the report “A Nordic Intitative to Resolve the New Debt Crisis” at Annual Meetings. The report set the agenda for discussion solutions and for defining the growing debt problem. It kickstarted work on a CSO-led initiative Debt Service Watch creating a database of debt service vs spending for most countries.
- Agreement (resolution) in the UN to work on a tax convention
- Launch of the regional CRI- report in Southern- and Eastern Africa.