G20 Summit: COVID, Climate, Debt and Transparency

Washington DC – Presidents and prime ministers, chaired by Saudi Arabia, met virtually for the annual G20 summit. The group focused on climate issues, financial transparency and endorsed the “Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative,” which allows up to 73 poor countries to obtain debt reduction.

Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the G20 Leaders' Summit and Communiqué:

"Climate issues are a growing concern for the G20 and the group has the power to make binding decisions related to climate change solutions.

"Over the last months, the G20 made progress on tackling debt as a response to the coronavirus health and economic crisis.

"Some of the world's poorest countries urgently need the debt relief that the new G20 debt reduction process offers.

"The new framework makes G20 debt relief contingent on countries making requests for similar treatment from the private sector. This pushes the private sector to start debt relief negotiations, but does not guarantee there will be private sector debt relief.

“Six of the twelve countries with the highest COVID death rates are middle-income countries, which remain outside the scope of the G20 debt process.

"Too many developing countries are still left out of debt relief and aid measures. The G20 failed to implement solutions on the debt and economic challenges that middle-income countries face because of the COVID crisis.

“It's clear that some G20 members, like the United States, wish to see debt relief and aid measures extended to more countries. 

"The fact that the G20 summit focused on the needs of small island developing states is notable.

"The G20 commitment to curb tax avoidance and evasion is important. Part of the reason too many countries were not prepared to deal with the current crisis is because they lost vital revenues to tax avoidance and evasion. The G20 must act seriously to challenge these global economic losses.

"Promoting more transparency and anti-corruption measures in the financial system and within global debt policies is a priority for the G20." 

Read the G20 Communiqué here.