A public online webinar “In a Time of Pandemic, Inequality, and Climate Change: Zacchaeus Tax (ZacTax) and Jubilee Now!” will be held on Monday 14 September, where panellists will explore how taxation, reparations and debt cancellation could contribute to shaping an Economy of Life in our current landscape marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, widening socio-economic inequalities and a worsening climate emergency.

Organised as part of the 2020 Ecumenical School on Governance, Economics and Management (GEM), the webinar will offer faith-rooted and gender-just perspectives on taxation and reparations, as well as share concrete proposals as part of the ecumenical #ZacTax and Jubilee campaigns.

The ZacTax campaign had been launched by Council for World Mission (CWM), WCC, WCRC and LWF as a side event at the United Nations (UN) High-level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals in New York last year. This global ecumenical campaign formed part of our New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) process, and was modelled on the transformative story of the biblical character Zacchaeus.

Another aim of the ZacTax campaign had been to engage churches to encourage national and international systems of taxation that reward work and redistribute gains, promote gender justice and ecological sustainability, and penalise public ills such as speculative, polluting and resource-depleting activities.

Click here to register for the webinar, held on Zoom on Monday, 14 September, 15:00 – 16:30 CEST.

About the speakers

Dr. Manuel ‘Butch’ Montes works with the Society for International Development. He was a former senior advisor at South Centre, chief of policy analysis and development at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, coordinator for economics studies at the East-West Centre, and associate professor of economics at the University of the Philippines. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

Rev. Suzanne Membe Matale is a tax justice activist, a pastor, and a commissioner of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, a group of global leaders calling for deep-seated changes in the international system of taxation. Previously, she was the general secretary of the Council of Churches in Zambia and former chairperson of the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa.

Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers is the general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a national interdenominational organisation within the African American faith tradition focused on social justice issues. Former director of the Black Theology Project, she has a long history of engagement in community development initiatives and social justice ministry. She is Professor Emeritus and former chairperson of the Sociology Department at Northeastern Illinois University.

Rev. James Bhagwan is the general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches. He is a long-time activist for climate justice and the denuclearisation of the Pacific, a minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji, a crew member of the iconic traditional sailing canoe Uto Ni Yalo, and a Ph.D. student at the University of South Pacific’s Department of History and Politics.


About the GEM School

The GEM School aims to build economic literacy within churches by equipping participants with the tools and languages to effectively advocate for urgent transformations in the global financial and economic realm.