Our urgent coronavirus campaigns to bolster healthcare in the developing world and protect all of us from financial crisis are moving forward urgently. In recent weeks, we've won several campaigns to cancel some debts and deliver grants for the 29 poorest countries to improve health services. We won commitments from the IMF to increase resources for all countries in need so they can increase social protections and keep paying workers.
Now, the White House, IMF and G20 are working through this Easter weekend and will announce decisions next week about canceling debt payments for the 76 poorest countries in the world and providing aid for countries that need it.
Yesterday the head of the International Monetary Fund said the current economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus is on par with the Great Depression. Please sign our petition to the IMF and G20, urging financial crisis protections that are critical for our survival in both the developed and developing world.
In early February, Jubilee's Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, travelled to Rome for an intimate meeting with Pope Francis, the head of the IMF, a dozen finance ministers and world leaders. The meeting focused on Jubilee's concern of a pending financial crisis. At the early February meeting, we began planning for the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA sent an urgent joint letter to the White House:
"As the G20 considers a suspension of debt payments from the 76 poorest countries in the world, the United States can lead the world, again, in calling on wealthy countries, the G20, the IMF and World Bank, to suspend debt payments for developing countries," wrote Bishop David J. Malloy on behalf of the US Catholic Bishops along with Jubilee's Eric LeCompte. "Suspending debt payments, with no interest, can immediately allow countries to access funds to bolster their health systems and support needed stimulus packages in the developing world—allowing these countries to provide for their own health, safety and security."
This letter was covered by hundreds of newspapers around the world, your local communities and wire services like Reuters and the Catholic News Service.
Since this letter was sent, national Jubilee USA partner organizations and faith communities are preparing another White House, G20 and IMF letter on protecting the vulnerable and stopping financial crisis ahead of next week's decisions. This new letter is already signed by the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, Oxfam America, Church World Service and synagogues, dioceses and churches from North Carolina to Indiana to Puerto Rico to Montana.
With our global Jubilee partners, we organized a statement calling for debt cancellation with 200 development groups from around the world. We supported 165 world leaders, former Presidents and Prime minsters to urge the G20 to cancel debt and save lives. Now, we need you to sign our IMF petition before they make decisions next week.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development last week called for a trillion dollars of debt to be cancelled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. All of Africa's finance ministers joined our call. Our friends - a coalition of 200 US Africa policy groups - the Advocacy Network for Africa Forum is calling for a Jubilee!
Just moments ago - the International Chamber of Commerce, the institutional representative of over 45 million businesses and the International Trade Union Confederation just asked the IMF and Finance Ministers to cancel debt so countries don't have to deny their people health services.
On Tuesday, groups representing "Jubilee" organizations around the world wrote the heads of the Fund and the World Bank to press broader aid and debt relief efforts. The letter was sent from the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, the European Network on Debt and Development, Jubilee UK, Jubilee Germany, the Latin American Network on Debt and Development and Rights, Oxfam International, the French Catholic - La Plateforme Française Dette & Développement, the Society for International Development and Jubilee USA Network.
As hundreds of Jubilee USA congregations and organizers mobilize petition drives and actions across the United States, please sign our IMF petition. The IMF, G20 and White House will announce the next round of decisions on our Jubilee campaigns before next Thursday.
As many of us reflect on Good Friday and wrestle with the coronavirus, we feel sadness and loss. We feel anxiety. Many of us in the US and around our world are suffering. As we reflect, let us take a moment to prayerfully act - our survival around the world depends on it.