Treasury Secretary Yellen and Religious Leaders Hold Historic Meeting on Global COVID Response

Debt Relief, Transparency, Climate, Aid, Puerto Rico, SDR Reserves and Bankruptcy Discussed

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Jubilee USA Network and some of the highest-ranking religious leaders met on global COVID response on Tuesday. The high-level roundtable discussion focused on emergency SDR reserve funds, debt policies, aid, climate change, Puerto Rico relief and bankruptcy, transparency and tax proposals to prevent future crises.

"The meeting with Secretary Yellen and leaders from the largest faith traditions was historic," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who organized the meeting. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, religious institutions have called for responses to the COVID crisis that protect the vulnerable and address inequality." 

Leaders of the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ Churches, the Union for Reform Judaism, Puerto Rico's Catholic Church and the Puerto Rico Evangelical General Bible Society attended the meeting. Jubilee USA Network was also joined by the AFL-CIO and International Trade Union Confederation.

"The religious community is concerned that many developing countries are left out of crisis response," noted LeCompte a United Nations finance expert. "The discussion with Yellen was critical on climate change because many of the most significant climate decisions will be made by Treasury, the IMF and G20."

Climate policies are a growing focus of the G7 and G20. In a recent letter to the G20, Yellen called for cooperation to address climate and support low-income countries to meet climate goals.

"President Biden’s climate executive order instructs Treasury to promote policies that protect the environment and address climate change,” stated LeCompte.

Organized by Jubilee USA, 220 religious, labor and human rights groups signed a letter to Biden calling for aid, debt relief and new development processes to confront the pandemic. In February, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network sent a letter to Biden urging short-term solutions to confront the current crisis and long-term solutions to prevent future crises.

Read Treasury Secretary Yellen/Jubilee USA Network roundtable agenda here

Read Treasury's readout and release on the roundtable here.

Read the letter to President Biden and Secretary Yellen from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here

Read the letter from Treasury Secretary Yellen to G20 Finance Ministers here

Read Jubilee USA's COVID-19 Jubilee White House, IMF, G20 letter signed by 220 groups here.