Faith Communities around the Country and World call for a COVID Response that Prioritizes the Poor and the Planet
World leaders met for annual IMF, World Bank and G20 meetings. The IMF lowered economic growth projections for all countries, and downgraded United States growth projections for 2021.
"World leaders agree that low vaccination rates in developing countries lead to more COVID variants and economic challenge for all countries,” noted Eric LeCompte who heads the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. “The IMF and G20 failed to offer a plan to get vaccinations and sufficient aid to developing countries. The crisis will worsen unless we get this done quickly."
The IMF shared that less than 4% of the population in low-income countries is vaccinated.
In August, the IMF created $650 billion in emergency currency for pandemic response which could help with vaccination distribution. G20 finance ministers are working on ways for wealthy countries to transfer their emergency currency or Special Drawing Rights to poor countries. Wealthy countries hold more than $400 billion in pandemic response funds.
“Wealthy countries should donate, rather than loan, their emergency currency reserves that they cannot use to developing countries,” stated LeCompte. “We support plans for a new IMF fund that can provide long-term loans to middle-income countries, which have been left out of the pandemic response to date.”
Resiliency and Sustainability Trust can support a number of efforts including combating climate change.
"World leaders were clear at the IMF and G20 meetings that climate change will continue to cause significant economic shocks for countries," stated LeCompte.
The G20 pledged to do more on debt relief through the Common Framework it launched last year in response to the pandemic. The IMF announced an extension of debt payment relief for 24 countries through January 10, 2022. Additional relief may be extended to April 13, 2022, if the IMF's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust has resources.
“Debt grew dramatically during the crisis and too many countries are not bringing in enough revenue to combat the pandemic,” added LeCompte. “Developing countries are concerned about their debt and coronavirus recovery as the G20 debt suspension ends and central banks are beginning to consider rate increases.”
Organized by Jubilee USA Network this weekend, more than a hundred organizations and faith communities are organizing G20 petition drives, hosting educational events and dedicating worship services for “Jubilee Weekend: A COVID Response that Shares Medicine, Ends Poverty and Protects our Planet.” Faith communities from Kentucky to Colorado and California to Georgia are calling on the G20 and IMF to provide additional aid and debt cancellation for developing countries to prevent future crises and protect people and planet. Around the world, the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (Jubilee Asia Pacific) convened 100 plus global organizations to host actions and events through the end of October.
“The coronavirus already wiped out a decade of development, throwing millions of people into poverty,” stated LeCompte. “Faith and anti-poverty organizations are calling on world leaders to take immediate action on a pandemic response plan that increases aid and support for vulnerable countries.”
Read the list of groups and faith communities participating in "Jubilee Weekend: A COVID Response that Shares Medicine, Ends Poverty and Protects our Planet," here.
Read Jubilee USA's press statement on the IMF and World Bank Development Committee Communiqué here.
Read Jubilee USA's press statement on the International Monetary and Financial Committee Communiqué here.