Eric LeCompte Quoted in Politico on Disaster Recovery

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently quoted in Politico speaking about transparency in disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Zinke's political ties to Virgin Islands improved Interior's hurricane response, party boss says

By Ben Lefebvre

Disaster response experts say it would be inappropriate for Canegata's political connections to influence Interior's efforts in the Virgin Islands.

“These are processes that are supposed to be transparent and supposed to be above the board,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, an anti-poverty group that has been involved in hurricane disaster relief efforts. “So, it would not be something a political party would be part of.”

Read more here

 

 

 

 

Read More

G7 Discusses Debt Relief for Islands as Hurricane Season Begins

On the first day of the 2018 hurricane season, G7 Finance and Development Ministers are reviewing proposals for debt relief and “innovative financing” when islands are hit by natural disasters. Also focusing on empowering women in the economy, the group meets in Whistler, Canada, through Sunday. These meetings will help prepare outcomes for the upcoming G7 Ministerial meeting that President Trump attends later in June.

“As a new hurricane season begins, there is an urgency for the G7 to promote crisis response tools like debt relief,” noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who tracked G7 meetings since 2010. “This is the first time that Finance and Development Ministers are meeting jointly at the G7 and they can promote solutions for when financial crises and humanitarian crises collide.”

Colorado State University's "2018 Tropical Meteorology Project Forecast Schedule," projects that the 2018 hurricane season could be stronger than the 2017 season. From Dominica to Puerto Rico, many islands are struggling to recover from the damage inflicted during the 2017 hurricane season. In September, Jubilee USA began collecting thousands of petitions and organized hundreds of national and local faith communities urging debt relief initiatives when hurricanes strike. These initiatives include providing “breathing space” so when natural disasters hit developing islands they can temporarily stop debt payments and put the money into disaster relief. If a debt payment moratorium is not enough, then Jubilee USA advocates restructuring the debt to deliver further aid.

In recent months major religious leaders and Heads of State went on record calling for such processes including Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. Caribbean Leaders of the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, Anglican and Episcopal Churches and the Salvation Army joined Jubilee Caribbean urging that this process be in place before this year’s hurricanes hit. The proposals were discussed at the April United Nations Forum on Financing for Development during high-level public and private meetings. The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA met with the White House and US G7 team around the proposals.

“Many of the islands that are prone to hurricanes already struggle with high child poverty rates and high debt burdens,” stated LeCompte. “When these islands are struggling to recover and meet the needs of their people, they shouldn’t be paying debt.”

According to Jubilee USA, since the early 2000s, debt relief processes cut the debt of some of the world’s poorest countries. In recent years, debt relief initiatives supported Haiti after it was struck by an earthquake and relieved the debts of three African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Read the Jubilee Caribbean Religious Leader Statement

Read More

Before the Next Hurricane Strikes, Protect Islands with High Debt and Poverty Rates

Friend,

On the first day of the 2018 hurricane season, G7 Finance and Development Ministers are reviewing proposals for debt relief and “innovative financing” when islands are hit by natural disasters. These meetings will help prepare outcomes for the upcoming G7 Ministerial meeting that President Trump attends later in June.

Thanks to our work together since September, the G7 and world leaders are considering proposals for debt relief when islands with high poverty rates and high debt burdens are hit by hurricanes.


Colorado State University tracks tropical weather and projects that the 2018 hurricane season could be stronger than the 2017 season. From Dominica to Puerto Rico, many islands are still struggling to recover from the damage inflicted during the 2017 hurricane season. Last September you joined with Jubilee USA as we began collecting thousands of messages for hurricane debt relief. We organized hundreds of national and local Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities urging debt relief initiatives when hurricanes strike. These initiatives include providing “breathing space” so when natural disasters hit developing islands, they can temporarily stop debt payments and put the money into disaster relief. If a debt payment moratorium is not enough, then Jubilee USA advocates restructuring the debt to deliver further aid.

In recent months major religious leaders and Heads of State went on record calling for such processes including Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. Caribbean Leaders of the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, Anglican and Episcopal Churches and the Salvation Army joined Jubilee Caribbean urging that this process be in place before this year’s hurricanes hit. The proposals were discussed at the April United Nations Forum on Financing for Development during high-level Jubilee public and private meetings. 
 
A few weeks ago we met with the White House and US G7 team around our proposals. At the White House, The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, The Catholic Church and Jubilee USA found that the White House supports some of our efforts. Your voice and your action is urgently neded now.

Many of the islands that are prone to hurricanes already struggle with high child poverty rates and high debt burdens. Please tell the White House, IMF and G7 that when islands are struggling to recover and meet the needs of their people, they shouldn’t be paying debt. 

We are seeing progress because of your partnership and action. 
 
Expanding debt relief and disaster protections is another extension of all we have achieved together in recent years. Because we campaigned together, we won recent debt relief initiatives to support Haiti after it was struck by an earthquake and a process that relieved the debts of the three African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Because of your continued action since last year, we now are in sight of achieving new processes that can protect the vulnerable in the face of crisis.

Earlier this week, the Caribbean Development Bank held its annual meetings with Caribbean leaders and finance ministers in Grenada. Grenada's Presbyterian Pastor and head of Jubilee Caribbean, Reverend Osbert James offered the opening prayer. His words are inspiring:

"At this the 48th meeting of the banks governors, I pray that the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) will resolve to support and champion efforts to urge the IMF to use its rule-setting power to endorse a full debt moratorium once a hurricane or any other serious disaster brings destruction beyond a pre-defined level and make sure that a serious debt restructuring of all external commitments shall be possible under due consideration of our peoples' human rights. Mindful that national debt and vulnerability to natural disasters are among the major causes of poverty, I pray that the CDB will see debt restructuring as  a means of providing a breathing space for our small Island states who too often have been locked in a vicious cycle of build and rebuild."

Please join Jubilee Caribbean and Jubilee USA and take urgent action now. 


Gratefully,

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

 

 

Read More

The Bond Buyer Interviews Eric LeCompte on Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently highlighted in The Bond Buyer speaking on emergency relief funds, the bankruptcy process and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Puerto Rico Bond Holders May Have to Wait More Than Two Years 

By Robert Slavin

Some observers, including Jubilee USA Network executive director Eric LeCompte and Council on Foreign Relation Senior Fellow Brad Setser, said the bankruptcy’s progress was reasonable considering the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

PROMESA “gave Puerto Rico some breathing space by allowing for a debt payment moratorium and preventing creditor litigation," LeCompte said. "PROMESA allowed Puerto Rico to default and made it disadvantageous for new predatory creditors to buy the debt. Finally, the legislation created a super bankruptcy process that is capable of restructuring all of Puerto Rico’s debt.”

LeCompte said PROMESA is the “first comprehensive debt restructuring process since the 1953 London Accord that restructured all of Germany’s debt.” He explained that by this he meant that it was the first time since the London Accord that both state-level and local government level debt was simultaneously restructured.

Read more here.

Read More

Religious Leaders Letter on NAFTA covered by Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service and Crux featured articles on the statement issued this week by Jubilee USA and religious leaders on NAFTA and access to medicines in trade agreements. 

Read excerpt below and follow link to the full Crux and Catholic News Service articles. 

Religious leaders say new NAFTA shouldn’t restrict access to medicines

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services was one of seven U.S. religious leaders asking that any new North American Free Trade Agreement “avoid enhanced and extended monopolies on life-essential medicines.”

The May 18 letter, sent to President Donald Trump, administration officials and members of Congress, added: “Our faith traditions call us to care for the sick and respond to the needs of the poor in our societies. Trade agreements can have enormous impacts on the ability of the sick and the poor to access the medicines they need for healing and even survival.”

“We agree with the provisions of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, currently in effect in all NAFTA countries. The TRIPS agreement calls for respect of intellectual property rights, including those for medicines,” the letter said.

“Crucially, as was underscored by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, it also recognizes each nation’s right to take necessary steps to ensure that medicines are available to all of their residents.”

“This ‘May 10th Agreement’ recognizes the flexibility in intellectual property rights provisions with regard to pharmaceuticals that developing countries sometimes need in order to serve the public health needs of their people,” the letter said. “We hope our political leaders can come together once again on these principles in support of the most vulnerable.”

“We ask that a renegotiated NAFTA reaffirm the TRIPS public health protections that enable the United States and other countries to promote the human right to health and access to medicines for all,” it added.

Read More

National Catholic Reporter Publishes Eric LeCompte's Analysis on Vatican Economy Release

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA wrote an Op-ed featured in National Catholic Reporter called "Vatican's considerations on economic system call us to shape a new one" which talks about the Vatican's recent assessment of the economy in Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones

Read excerpt below and follow link to the full article.

 

Vatican's considerations on economic system call us to shape a new one

By: Eric LeCompte

The Vatican's recent assessment of the economy reveals a Catholic Church that is alive, engaging and relevant.

It reflects a Catholic Church that sees the suffering tied to our financial system as the church delivers aid to hurricane victims, refugees and homeless people. The document is tied to a church working with other faiths, in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean calling for transparency, relief and an end to poverty. It illuminates the church that in 1999 helped gather 27 million petitions for the G-8 Cologne Summit, the forum of the world's leading industrial nations, urging the cancellation of debt burdens in Africa and across the developing world.

Not only do we see the continued application of Catholic teaching to understand our economy, the release is a culmination of decades of Holy See efforts to diminish poverty through the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and decision making fora around the world.

"Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System" (Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones) shows a church spreading the Gospel outside of our church buildings and into the market place. The 15-page release from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development show a church being relevant to current economic policy debates.

The Vatican's document lifts the reality that God has given us a rich and abundant world so each of us can reach our full potential and that we are closest to the Creator when we share these resources among us.

The global economy should support each individual to achieve their full potential, and each individual must rise to actively shape the economy to this purpose. The Vatican economy document asserts our responsibility to understand that "what is morally unacceptable is not simply to profit, but rather to avail oneself of an inequality for one's own advantage, in order to create enormous profits that are damaging to others."

In closing, the document offers each of us the invitation: "In front of the massiveness and pervasiveness of today's economic-financial systems, we could be tempted to abandon ourselves to cynicism, and to think that with our poor forces we can do very little. In reality, every one of us can do so much, especially if one does not remain alone."

Read More

NAFTA: Interfaith Statement on Trade and Access to Medicines

The below statement was sent to President Trump, Members of Congress and Administration officials on May 18th, 2018

NAFTA and International Public Health: An Interfaith Call for Access to Medicines

Recognizing the inherent dignity of the human person, our faith traditions call us to care for the sick and respond to the needs of the poor in our societies. Trade agreements can have enormous impacts on the ability of the sick and the poor to access the medicines they need for healing and even survival.

Therefore, we agree with the provisions of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), currently in effect in all NAFTA countries. The TRIPS agreement calls for respect of intellectual property rights, including those for medicines. Crucially, as was underscored by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, it also recognizes each nation’s right to take necessary steps to ensure that medicines are available to all of their residents.

We would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Administration’s defense of sovereignty on the issue of investor-state arbitration; each state has not only the right but the obligation to safeguard the common good within their nations.

At this time, we recall the Bipartisan Agreement on Trade Policy espoused by President George W. Bush and leaders of both parties in Congress in May 2007. This “May 10th Agreement” recognizes the flexibility in intellectual property rights provisions with regard to pharmaceuticals that developing countries sometimes need in order to serve the public health needs of their people. We hope our political leaders can come together once again on these principles in support of the most vulnerable.

We call on you to ensure that no terms of a renegotiated NAFTA go beyond the TRIPS agreement mandates, and avoid enhanced and extended monopolies on life-essential medicines. Instead, we ask that a renegotiated NAFTA reaffirm the TRIPS public health protections that enable the United States and other countries to promote the human right to health and access to medicines for all.

 

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Reverend Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church

Reverend Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President, The United Church of Christ

Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network

 

Read More

Vatican Urges Transparency to Address Inequality and Prevent Financial Crisis

The Vatican released an official assessment on global economics entitled, "‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones" or "Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system." The document calls for improvements in global finance policies on debt resolution, taxation, financial crisis prevention and transparency. 

"The recent financial crisis might have provided the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities that would neutralise predatory and speculative tendencies and acknowledge the value of the actual economy," reads the Vatican statement. "Although there have been many positive efforts at various levels which should be recognized and appreciated, there does not seem to be any inclination to rethink the obsolete criteria that continue to govern the world. On the contrary, the response seems at times like a return to the heights of myopic egoism, limited by an inadequate framework that, excluding the common good, also excludes from its horizons the concern to create and spread wealth, and to eliminate the inequality so pronounced today,' continues the Vatican assessment.

"The Catholic Church offers a profound analysis of what we need to prevent the next financial crisis and promote greater inclusion in our economic system," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte advises religious and Catholic Church leaders on the impacts of financial policies on vulnerable populations. "Debt, tax and trade policies are at the center of this debate and the Vatican is noting we need greater transparency in our economy."

The Vatican takes on a number of financial issues in their 15-page release including tax havens, debt relief, interest rates and risky market behavior. The document was authored jointly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

"This document is significant because it carries the full weight of Catholic teaching that asserts that a financial system must serve all human beings, not just the interests of a few," stated LeCompte who serves on United Nation finance expert groups. "The Vatican is seeking to influence policies that can address inequality."

Read "‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones," or  in English, "Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system" via this link

Read More

Eric LeCompte's Thoughts in ValueWalk on Next Hurricane Season

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, was quoted in ValueWalk's article today "As Atlantic Region Braces For Another Damaging Hurricane Season, Concern Grows: Islands are unprepared as forecasters predict three hurricanes again" ahead of the next hurricane season.  The article highlights how meteorologists are predicting another three "major" hurricanes this season.  LeCompte stresses the need for disaster and debt relief mechanisms and payment moratoriums ahead of these storms.
To read the full article, click here.

As Atlantic Region Braces For Another Damaging Hurricane Season, Concern Grows: Islands are unprepared as forecasters predict three hurricanes again

Mark Melin   
May 17, 2018

Efforts to reduce the country’s debt load in the wake of the hurricane appear to be moving backward, according to UN sovereign debt consultant and Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. He points out that the initial offer to pay 25 cents on the dollar to investors has now moved 40 cents as serious consideration is being given to so-called G.D.P.-linked bonds tied to the success or failure of the nation’s economic engine.

While efforts to prepare Puerto Rico, a US territory, require a response from the wealthiest nation on earth, smaller independent islands are especially exposed if a hurricane ravages the region again.

Moves are underway at the United Nations that could provide debt relief to independent islands such as Grenada, St Lucia, and Antigua if they are again stricken.

Recent public and private conversations have taken place at the United Nations Financing for Development Forum (FfDForum) in New York. The group is currently considering provisions for automatic debt relief and payment moratoriums when a disaster hits, as well as mandated debt restructuring. After the FfDForum focused on the measure, LeCompte says the G7, G20, International Monetary Fund or UN could call for its adoption and the creation of a legally binding process. Once approved at this level it could become legally binding, he said.

LeCompte expects the provisions to move forward in the next few months, just as the hurricane season could be approaching its historically most volatile period in the fall.

Read More

Eric LeCompte featured in video on Debt Relief during United Nations meetings

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in a video speaking on the Financing for Development meetings at the United Nations last week in New York with Reverend Osbert James. Read excerpt below and follow link to full video.

“Moving Forward on Debt and Debt Sustainability: With a special focus on the situation of Caribbean Countries”

On the sidelines of the 2018 FfD Forum, FES and partners have teamed up to present a luncheon and roundtable - with a special focus on the situation of Caribbean countries - to discuss sovereign debt & debt sustainability.

The 2018 FFD draft outcome document calls for movement toward a global consensus on guidelines for debtor and creditor responsibilities in borrowing by and lending to sovereigns, building on existing initiatives. UN Member States are requesting the Inter-agency Task Force – in its 2019 report – to carefully analyze these initiatives, as well as to advance the analysis of state-contingent debt instruments, GDP-linked bonds, insurance coverage and other innovative mechanisms, as a means of reducing risks to sovereign balance sheets, particularly in SIDS, LDCs, LLDCs and open economies more vulnerable to disasters.

To take meaningful steps toward a global consensus on sovereign debt sustainability ahead of next debt crisis, against which the IMF and Civil Society Organisations, are raising their warnings, it is imperative that stakeholders move quickly to identify 1) where there is already agreement (such as on causes, if not solutions to crises, on concerns regarding predatory behavior, on the need to improve restructuring procedures), 2) where there is possible agreement (such as on illicit financial flows, or on the need to turn external debt into an instrument of support in case of natural disasters), and 3) where there is a lack of agreement (such as the design of an improved debt restructuring regime).

On the sidelines of the 2018 Financing for Development Forum, the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), erlassjahr.de, and Jubilee USA have teamed up to present a luncheon and roundtable, which was held under Chatham House Rule, to discuss – with a special focus on the situations of Caribbean countries, who have suffered serious natural disasters in recent years –different views and perspectives on what is needed to move forward within the multilateral system on sovereign debt and debt sustainability. In addition to representatives from the co-organizers, the discussion was attended by representatives of UN Member States, as well as members of the secretariat of the FFD Office, UNCTAD and the IMF.

Read More