1. Research

    The Path to Accountability: Citizen-led revenue management in Burkina Faso

    Oxfam in Burkina Faso is collaborating with civil society organizations (CSOs) to promote citizen participation in the management of natural resources and the fiscal benefits that, if administered correctly, may accompany mineral extraction. A pivotal moment in this work was the successful 1% Revenue from Gold Campaign that, in 2015, resulted in the creation of the Local Mining Fund for Development (FMDL for its French acronym). The fund guarantees the allocation of mining revenues for education, health, and social services. To date it has distributed nearly 174 million USD across Burkina Faso’s 301 districts.[1] Recognizing that legislation alone does not drive change, Oxfam and partners piloted Committees of Citizen Oversight (CCOs) in select localities to encourage citizen participation in the administration of the FMDL and improve contributions to local development priorities. The experience summarized in this case study is testimony to the value of a longstanding, unwavering, and responsive mobilization strategy that persisted past legislative wins and accompanied communities through the effective operationalization of the law.

    Oxfam au Burkina Faso collabore avec des organisations de la société civile (OSC) pour promouvoir la participation des citoyens à la gestion des ressources naturelles et aux bénéfices fiscaux qui, s'ils sont administrés correctement, peuvent accompagner l'extraction minière. Un moment charnière de ce travail a été le succès de la campagne 1% de revenus de l'or qui, en 2015, a abouti à la création du Fonds minier de développement local (FMDL). Ce fonds garantit l'affectation des revenus miniers à l'éducation, à la santé et aux services sociaux. À ce jour, il a distribué près de 174 millions USD dans les 301 districts du Burkina Faso[1]. Reconnaissant que la législation seule ne soit pas un moteur de changement, Oxfam et ses partenaires ont piloté des Comités de Veille Citoyenne (CVC) dans certaines localités pour encourager la participation des citoyens à l'administration du FMDL et améliorer les contributions aux priorités de développement local. L'expérience résumée dans cette étude de cas témoigne de la valeur d'une stratégie de mobilisation de longue date, inébranlable et réactive, qui a persisté au-delà des victoires législatives et a accompagné les communautés jusqu'à l'opérationnalisation effective de la loi.

  2. Research

    The Value-Added Tax (VAT) Improvement Program: Raising the operational efficacy of the VAT administration in Bangladesh

    Bangladesh has a weak and inequitable tax system. This undermines domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) and the financing of pro-poor public expenditures. Over the past 15 years, the government of Bangladesh (GoB) has relied on the regressive value-added tax (VAT) for more than a third of all revenues, with little progress towards strengthening direct taxation of high net-worth individuals and large corporations. Robust social protection systems can mitigate the regressive character of VAT, especially if combined with exemptions for necessities. However, social protection programmes in Bangladesh inadequately cover urban low income households. Also, certain essential purchases remain subject to VAT, including medicines, cellphone charging services, and menstrual products.

    During 2015–2021, the World Bank’s VAT Improvement Program (VIP) assisted the Bangladesh National Board of Revenue (NBR) in improving VAT administration. VIP helped expedite automation, and VAT revenue increases exceed the programme’s target. But VIP did not include any objectives to improve VAT equity and fairness, and it also fell short on its ambitions to improve the transparency of VAT administration. Nor did the programme achieve the target level of increased taxpayer satisfaction. Ongoing resistance to fully automated VAT compliance procedures is likely to come from both within and outside NBR. Such procedures challenge officials’ discretionary power and the scope of VAT evasion for businesses and political elites.

    To address VAT’s regressive nature and significant impact on low income households, it is imperative that the GoB improve coverage of social protection programmes. Bangladesh and its external partners, such as the World Bank, need to focus future DRM efforts on strengthening progressive direct taxation. At the same time, the government must end gender-blind VAT administration and recognize that the tax currently has negative effects on low income female entrepreneurs and consumers, so as to contribute to both fiscal and gender justice.

    Below, you will find the full research report as well as a shorter summary of the paper.

  3. Research

    Adoption Rate and Trends in Adoption of Conservation Agriculture in Ethiopia

    Since 2019 the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture has offered extension advice on conservation agriculture (CA). However, agricultural policy focuses mainly on intensive tillage whereas CA calls for zero or minimum tillage. Policy seems to favour productivity over sustainability, with CA adoption remaining low. Supply-side constraints include lack of access to high-quality inputs, credit, and machinery. Demand-side constraints include risk aversion and competition for crop residues needed for mulching from requirements for fuel and feed. Women farmers like CA because it does not require draft animals. However, some women in male-headed households report a shift of labour responsibilities to women.

  4. Research

    The crisis of low wages in the US

    New research reveals that nearly a third of all workers in the US earn under $15 an hour. But women and people of color do much more than their fair share of low-wage jobs, and as wages lose value, it's becoming a civil rights crisis in this country.

    low wage map report cover 2022
  5. Research

    Caring in a changing climate: Centering care work in climate action

    The global care crisis is being exacerbated by the global climate emergency, with interlocking impacts that threaten lives and livelihoods in all parts of the world. These impacts are particularly severe among rural livelihoods in low-income countries. Climate change intensifies the work involved in caring for people, animals, plants, and places. It reduces the availability and quality of public services in marginalized communities and directly compounds the unfair distribution of unpaid care work that sustains gender inequality.

    Yet the intersections of climate change and care work have been overlooked in the development literature. Strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation have paid relatively little attention to how care work is affected by climate impacts, nor have they considered whether interventions improve or intensify the situation of carers. Instead, when designing “gender-sensitive” climate actions, the focus has been largely on women’s economic empowerment as opposed to alleviating or transforming existing distributions of care work.

    The aim of this report is to fill a knowledge gap by examining the points of interaction between climate change impacts and the amount, distribution, and conditions of unpaid care work. We focus on care workers rather than those who are cared for, while stressing the relational nature of care and acknowledging that carers too require care.

    The Research Brief is a concise (18pg) version of the (129pg) report.

    Two events were organized around the launch of this work, both at sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66). You can find the recordings linked below. Please note that the recordings are only available in the native language of the speakers (overwhelmingly English). We apologize for the oversight.

  6. Research

    Analysing European Union Institutions’ Flows for Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD)

    This report analyses the first round of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) data from European Union (EU) Institutions.

    The EU is a key stakeholder in the development of TOSSD, as Co-Chair of the International TOSSD Task Force, and in the promotion of this as an essential metric in the implementation of Agenda 2030. It is our hope that this paper’s detailed examination of the scope of what has been reported by the EU Institutions identifies trends and issues arising from the first reporting round for TOSSD, which can be addressed going forward.

    It is timely to acknowledge the level of transparency in the proceedings of the TOSSD Task Force, which has been open to comments and suggestions since its inception, and has recently seated CSO representatives as observers. This transparency has put into practical effect the notion that data validation can, to some extent, be entrusted to third parties provided that the relevant information is available to all interested stakeholders on a timely basis.

    Good norms, such as good reporting instructions, can help steer the development agenda in the right direction for the benefit of the communities of the Global South.

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