23 March 2017

Curbing illicit financial flows to finance SDG implementation

The implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in developing countries is expected to be financed primarily by domestic resources. Yet this endeavour is undermined by significant levels of illicit financial flows (IFFs) that erode countries’ ability to raise revenue. Since the 2008 financial crisis and the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, IFFs have garnered increasing policy traction and scholarly attention. However, research to date – conducted primarily by think tanks and advocacy groups – suffers from poor data and methodological flaws.

To address this issue, Professor Gilles Carbonnier has been awarded a multi-year research grant by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme), a joint initiative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Drawing on economics, law, political science, and political economy analysis, the project will be implemented jointly with Fred Dzanku (University of Ghana), Sthabandith Insisienmay (National Economic Research Institute, Laos), Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi (Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern) and Fritz Brugger (NADEL Centre for Development and Cooperation, ETH Zurich).

Looking at the factors at play in both developing countries and major trading hubs such as Geneva and London, the project will engage relevant state and non-state actors at national, regional and international levels, with the aim of strengthening the capacities of resource-rich developing countries to consolidate their tax base in order to implement the SDGs.

Housed at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), the project will generate doctoral and post-doctoral positions at the Graduate Institute, as well as in Accra, Vientiane, Bern and Zurich. The research consortium is supported by an international multi-stakeholder advisory board composed of leading policy-makers and experts. More information on the project is available here.