nl en

Role of International Actors in (tackling global inequality and) Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Topics: Sustainable development, international and European governance, economics and (good) governance.
Disciplines: Law, Political Science, International Political Economy, International Relations.
Skills: Research, public speaking, leadership, presenting, academic writing.

Admission requirements:

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.


The overall aim of this course is to analyse how international actors intervene in the discussion of global inequality and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, by using the case of taxation.

Governments and internationals organizations as international actors are building new initiatives to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. One field where these initiatives have clearly emerged is in the field of taxation since tax revenue can be used to provide public services (health, education, etc.) and therefore to alleviate poverty and to tackle global inequality.

This course is divided in two parts.
In this first part, we look at the evolution of global tax governance and draw a map of the international actors that have a stake in the international sphere, focusing particularly on the challenges faced by developing countries. We also ask more generally what the purpose of international tax policy making is within the broader ‘2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’.
In the second part, we look at the EU Standard of Tax Good Governance which has been introduced by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN, in 2008 - amended in 2018) as a pre-condition for third-world (non-EU) countries that receive EU development aid, conclude strategic partnership agreements, free trade and economic partnership agreements. In ‘July 2020 Communication’, the EU Commission reaffirmed the need to achieve fair taxation and to achieve global recovery by strengthening the EU Standard of Tax Good Governance.
This Standard aligns with the EU Commission political guidelines (2019-2024) which state that fair and efficient taxation (and therefore, good tax governance) will remain a high priority for the Commission. For the Commission, fair taxation is central to the EU’s social and economic model and its sustainability. It is essential for sustainable revenues, a competitive business environment and overall taxpayer morale.

This course will address the role of:

  • Political fora (G7, G20, G24, G77);

  • International tax organizations (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD, International Monetary Fund IMF, World Bank WB, and the United Nations UN);

  • Regional organizations (EU, African Union, etc.);

  • Civil society (NGOs).

This course welcomes interaction between different areas of law, public policy and international relations.

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

Research, exercise public speaking, leadership, presenting, academic writing, social skills (cooperation, working in groups): by the end of this course the students will have integrated these skills and knowledge from the challenges that countries and international organizations face to deal with the Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition, students will gain a basic understanding of how international actors (civil society, international and regional organizations, political fora) intervene in the discussion of the Sustainable Development Goals.

By addressing global tax governance, fair taxation and EU Tax Good Governance this course will contribute to raise students’ awareness of the imposition of global tax (and EU) standards to developed and developing countries.

Programme and timetable:

This class will take place on the following Thursdays from 17:15-19:30.

Session 1: November 9
Session 2: November 16
Session 3: November 23
Session 4: November 30
Session 5: December 7
Session 6: December 14
Session 7: December 21

The following topics will be covered in the class:

  • Contextualizing Tax and Society: Building a Sustainable and Fair Tax System; ;

  • Role of political forums (G7, G20, G24, G77);

  • Role of the International Organizations (OECD, World Bank, IMF and the United Nations);

  • Role of the NGOs (civil society;)

  • Regional organizations (EU, African Union);

  • Presentation by students.

Kamerlingh Onnes building, room C0.14

Reading list:

In outline (some) examples of literature that will be used in this course. Provisionally, subject to change:

  • Taxation, International Cooperation and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Eds. I.J. Mosquera, D. Lesage and W. Lips. United Nations University Series on Regionalism. Springer Publications. 2021. Open access. Link

  • Bradford, Anu. “Exporting Standards: The Externalization of the EU’s Regulatory Power via Markets.” International Review of Law and Economics 42 (2015): 158–73. Link

  • Christensen Rasmus, M. Hearson and T. Randriamanalina. 2020. At the Table, Off the Menu? Assessing the Participation of Lower-Income Countries in Global Tax Negotiations. ICTD Working Paper 115. Institute of Development Studies, Brighton. Link

  • Keohane, Robert O. 2011. Global governance and legitimacy. Review of International Political Economy 18 (1). Routledge: 99–109. Link

  • Hearson Martin. (2021) Imposing Standards: The North-South Dimension to Global Tax Politics, New York: Cornell University Press. Link

  • Mason, Ruth. (2020). The Transformation of International Tax. American Journal of International Law, 114(3), 353–402. Link

  • Mosquera Valderrama, Irma. The EU standard of good governance in tax matters for third (non-EU) countries. Intertax. Link

  • Murphy-Gregory, Hannah, and Aynsley Kellow. “Forum Shopping and Global Governance.” In Rethinking International Institutions: Diplomacy and Impact on Emerging World Order, edited by Wilhelm Hofmeister and Jan Melissen, 39–50. Singapore / The Hague: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung / Clingendael, 2016. Link

  • Ring, Diane (2009). Who is Making International Tax Policy: International Organizations as Power Players in a High Stakes World. Fordham Int’l LJ, 33, 649. Link

Other possible literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.

Course load and teaching method:

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours:

  • Seminars: 7 seminars of 3 hours = 21 hours

  • Literature reading: 6 hours/week = 42 hours

  • Memorandum and presentation = 42 hours

  • Essay = 35 hours

Presence and participation is mandatory

Assessment methods:

  • Memorandum: 40% (topic and deadline TBA.)

  • Presentation of the memorandum: 20%

  • Essay: 40% (topic and deadline TBA.)

NB: For the memorandum, presentation and policy letters, students will work in a group (2 to 3 students) to ensure the exchange of ideas in the project and (also) the cooperation between students of different disciplines.
The essay will be an individual essay.

Students can only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.
The assessment methods will be further explained in the first session of the class.

Brightspace and uSis:

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Application process:

Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 21 August 2023 up to and including Tuesday 12 September 2023 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.

Dr. I.J.Mosquera Valderrama:
Professor Tax Governance, EU Jean Monnet Chair on EU Tax Governance, and PhD Dean and Lead Researcher ERC GLOBTAXGOV Project - Leiden Law School.