Majority of Countries Wrestling with Multiple Crises as G20 Finance Ministers Meet in Bengaluru Meeting - Jubilee USA Network

Secretary Yellen Calls for More Aid for Ukraine while India Urges Ministers to Avoid Conversation on the War

G20 Finance Ministers gather for a three-day meeting in Bengaluru, their first under the Indian Presidency. While addressing global debt tops the G20 agenda, the Ukraine war is debated on the sidelines.

"The G20 wants to tackle debt in developing countries that is at its highest in 50 years, as poverty rises and standards of living decline," said Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "I'm worried that progress on a number of key issues will be another casualty of the war in Ukraine." 

At a high-level gathering, the Sovereign Debt Roundtable, a group of borrowing countries, governments that lend money, private lenders and international financial institutions will explore solutions to expedite and make debt reduction more widely accessible and predictable.

“These side meetings are happening because the G20 debt relief initiative is still not supported by some private creditors yet,” shared LeCompte. "We are not waiting for the private sector to join the G20 initiative, so we support new legislation in New York that can make sure the private sector comes to the table."

Under the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act, private creditors will be required to participate in debt relief initiatives at the same level as the US government, other governments and other creditors and protect US taxpayer-funded debt relief commitments. New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Judiciary Committee Chair, introduced S.4747, a companion bill to A.2970 that Assemblymember Patricia Fahy champions in the Assembly.

During the meetings, the G20 will review progress on using the emergency pandemic aid that the IMF issued in 2021 for developing countries. The IMF released $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – an emergency currency. Wealthy countries received more than $400 billion and the G20 subsequently committed that rich countries would provide $100 billion of their share to finance low-cost, long term loans to developing countries.

“A key discussion is whether the G20 can support more development bank funding with Special Drawing Rights,” noted Aldo Caliari, Senior Director of Policy and Strategy at Jubilee USA Network. 

The IMF approved loans using the SDRs for five countries to date. The African Development Bank put forward an initiative to use SDRs as capital to finance climate and food security programs in the region.

Leaders plan to discuss proposals to increase development bank lending. Last year, a group of experts that the G20 tasked with producing proposals offered recommendations that could boost lending by hundreds of billions of dollars. The US and other countries led a call to see the institutions lending more to global challenges such as climate and pandemic preparedness.

“Continuing to ask banks to step up to face global crises response will require creativity on how they use capital, and we will very likely need more capital,” stated Caliari.

Read more about the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act here