ASAP – Academics Stand Against Poverty – is an organization devoted to “promoting collaboration amongst poverty-focused academics, by helping them reach out to broader audiences on issues of poverty, and by helping them turn their expertise into impact through specific intervention projects.” It’s only a couple of years old, although its origins are a few years older. The Board of Directors, chaired by Thomas Pogge, includes professors and graduate students, and their Advisory Board includes philosophers, economists, political scientists, and others from around the world.
They have a number of on-going projects that are worth looking at, but they are just launching a new one concerning an issue that I, for one, don’t know much about – illicit financial flows. They estimate that some $1 trillion per year is transferred out of developing countries through corruption, smuggling, money laundering, and corporate tax evasion, and this directly hampers efforts at development and poverty relief. More information about this estimate and this issue is available at Global Financial Integrity. This focus on the relationship between global institutional structures and poverty is, of course, one of Pogge’s main areas of research and advocacy, as is the emphasis on issues that can create an overlapping consensus of different perspectives.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are a set of 8 priorities set to expire in 2015. ASAP is pushing to have illicit financial flows become an important piece of the next set of priorities. So they are looking to raise $15,000 to produce a policy paper articulating politically feasible goals concerning these illicit financial flows and to promote their inclusion in the UN’s next development framework. Take a look.