June 8, 2018, at 5:38 am

Negombo Declaration

End Gender Inequality through Fiscal Justice and Access to Basic Rights!

19-20 November 2018, Negombo, Sri Lanka

We, the people of South Asia from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka working as members of parliament, in political parties, civil society and mass-based organisations, business and academia, gathered in Negombo, Sri Lanka on 19 and 20th of November 2018 at the South Asian Women’s Convergence on Addressing Gender Inequality through Fiscal Justice and Access to Basic Rights, are extremely concerned about the staggering level of inequalities affecting millions of women in South Asia. We resolve not to be silent but rather, to fight to create a fair and equal society.

  • We express grave concerns about the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and call upon states to take immediate measures to reduce the rising inequality.
  • We demand that South Asian governments make immediate efforts to increase the tax to GDP ratio to mobilise tax revenue through progressive direct taxes and reduce the burden of indirect taxes.
  • End unproductive tax incentives, tax exemptions and tax holidays under the pretext of attracting investments that drains public tax revenue. The South Asian states must come together and collaborate to end this race to the bottom.
  • Increase public spending on priority social sectors such as education, health and social protection in order to address inequality from which women will gain more. Reduce military and other unproductive expenditure.
  • We demand that states take pro-active initiatives to end gender pay gap. Living wages should be ensured for every trade and occupation.
  • We demand that South Asian governments recognise, reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care work through valuation, technological innovations and investment to free women of such oppression.
  • Expedite process of gender budgeting and engage women’s group to work on the gender budgeting and taking care of gender dimensions.
  • Invest in promoting women-led business and enterprises.
  • Ensure equal representation of women in all decision making bodies, especially, in all fiscal policy-making process, implementation and monitoring.

To achieve these demand we decide to come together and:

  • Campaign across the region to create awareness around the issues.
  • Train & mobilise people around the demands and create visible actions across the region.
  • Unite South Asians to raise their voice in unison to demand an end to gender inequality.
  • As an immediate action, we all agree to arrange public mobilisations during World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, between 18-25 January 2019 in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, as a part of worldwide movement against inequality. The mobilisations will include demonstrations, rallies, art work, musical performance, cartoons etc.