UN Forum Wrestles with Funding Development

New York City - After months of negotiations and four days of formal meetings, the United Nations voted on development policies at the fourth UN Financing for Development Forum. The UN meetings convene world leaders, ministers, governments, the IMF, World Bank and development groups. The annual process attempts to implement the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, an international agreement that includes policies on debt, tax, trade, transparency and aid.

"If we can improve trade, debt and tax policies, we can mobilize the resources to end extreme poverty and achieve the UN development goals," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte helped forge the 2015 UN Addis Ababa Financing for Development agreement. "The developing world loses more than a trillion dollars annually because of unsustainable debts, tax evasion, tax avoidance, corruption, trade practices and a lack of loan and budget transparency."

The UN meetings took place days after the IMF issued two reports warning of a potential financial crisis due to risky market behaviors and high sovereign and corporate debt.

"The same financial and economic policies that can fund development are some of the same policies that can prevent financial crisis," noted LeCompte who addressed the UN body on Thursday. "While these meetings are helpful for education and to build greater consensus, implementation is not moving quickly enough."

The Financing for Development process will continue during High-Level UN meetings in the Fall and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals process.

Read Eric LeCompte's United Nations statement here

Read about the UN Financing for Development Forum here
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Urgent: Puerto Rico, E-mail the Senate Now

Friends, 

Because of your actions, we consistently moved the White House and Congress on Puerto Rico. 

However, disaster relief and food assistance are stalled for Puerto Rico. We are worried that Puerto Rico won't receive the debt relief it needs. Our work moved Republicans and Democrats to agree that continuing emergency food assistance for Puerto Rico should happen, but on March 1st more than a million people in Puerto Rico lost food assistance benefits. 

We must flood Senate inboxes to move forward disaster and debt relief for Puerto Rico. Please clink on this link and send a message to your Senators.

While your phone calls and actions forced Senate votes, Congress left for recess without agreeing on disaster relief and emergency food aid for Puerto Rico.

Your calls moved legislation to a vote. We need you to put the pressure on again.  

We need to move Congress to pass this vital food and disaster assistance. We need Congress to be sure that Puerto Rico receives debt relief. Email your Senators now and tell them to fund Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program, provide further disaster aid and support debt relief.

Gratefully,

Kate

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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Implementing Debt Policy Commitments from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda

United Nations Financing for Development Forum

(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Jubilee USA Network

April 18th, 2019

Thank-you Mr. Chair.

Today I speak on behalf of Jubilee USA, a coalition of more than 700 faith communities across the United States. Our founders and national members range from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Church of Christ, Protestant Mainline denominations, American Jewish World Service and Islamic Relief.

Jubilee USA seeks to protect and lift vulnerable communities across our world. Jubilee USA, the global Jubilee Movement, many of the leaders and governments in this room along with the leadership of President George Bush, moved forward debt relief policies that won more than 130 billion dollars in debt relief for the world's poorest countries.

Together the policies that we won allowed more than 54 millions kids in Sub-Saharan Africa to attend school who never would have seen the inside of a classroom. Together, we forged the political will to ensure that debt relief, an effective form of accountable aid, would be invested in social infrastructure in the developing world.

Amidst such great progress, much of the world is facing debt risks, debt distress and some countries face debt crisis.

Recent reports from the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development warn of new emerging debt crises.

When we met together in 2015 and forged the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, 22% of the world's countries were facing debt concerns, debt distress or debt crisis. As we meet today in 2019, that number has doubled and now 44% of our world faces debt concerns, debt distress or financial crisis. 40% of the world's low-income countries face debt distress or debt crisis.

17 countries are now in default and unable to pay their loans or their debt.

While debt crises hurts a country and their population, wide spread debt crises can create the conditions for another global financial crisis.

Last week, the IMF released its two flagship reports warning of another potential global financial crisis, the World Economic Outlook Report and the Global Financial Stability Report. On Tuesday, the IMF released its World Economic Outlook Report warning governments that if they don't tackle unsustainable debt and stop predatory risky behavior, we could be in store for another global financial crisis.

Last Wednesday, the IMF released its Global Financial Stability Report and made direct comparisons to the conditions that caused the 2008 global financial crisis and our economy now. In fact, the IMF directly compared the causal conditions of 2008 to now and analyzed sovereign debt levels, corporate debt levels and home values. The IMF is worried.

When we met and forged an agreement in 2015, we agreed on recommendations in the Addis Ababa Action Agreement to tackle financial crisis and debt crisis. Today I ask the panelists, the floor and UN Member States what we have done to formalize, implement and act upon the critical debt agreement we made together in Addis Ababa.

According to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, we all made 4 specific commitments and I ask the floor what we have achieved regarding the actual implementation of these agreements.

1.) In 2015 we called for countries to pass national domestic legislation to stop the predatory behavior of so-called vulture funds. What progress have we made?

2.) In 2015 we called for the achievement of a global consensus on responsible lending and borrowing. Where are we on achieving a global legal framework on this? We expect responsible lending and borrowing frameworks to bring stability to our domestic economies, but these legal frameworks are still absent from our global economy.

3.) Similarly, we agreed upon improved debt restructuring processes based on domestic principles of lawful bankruptcy we enjoy in most of our domestic economies and that we rely upon for domestic economic stability. We agreed on improved debt restructuring processes that would be transparent, negotiated in good faith, neutrally arbitrated and be comprehensive. I ask the floor and the panel, where we are today?

4.) Finally, in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda we agreed that special protections should be granted for Small Island Developing States (SIDs) and the Caribbean region to ensure timely debt restructuring and sustainable financing. I ask the floor where we are today on this commitment.

These questions I ask about the commitments that we made together are urgent if we wish to finance the SDGs and prevent financial crisis.

Let us not forget that the financial crisis of 2008, according to the World Bank, pushed nearly 100 million people - mostly women and children - into extreme poverty.

I ask the panel and the floor, where are we in passing domestic legislation to stop vulture funds, where are we in implementing a global legal framework on responsible lending and borrowing, where are we in formalizing global debt restructuring in accordance with our domestic bankruptcy laws and where are we in improving debt restructuring and sustainable financing for the hurricane prone small islands and Caribbean countries across the region?

Thank-you Mr. Chair and panelists for considering my comments and questions.
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Jubilee USA Statement on Spring World Bank and IMF Meetings

Washington DC - World leaders, Finance Ministers, industry representatives and development groups are meeting at the Spring World Bank and IMF Meetings.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious development organization, releases the following statement on the Spring Meetings and the Communique of the thirty-ninth International Monetary and Financial Committee:

"The IMF is urging us to do all we can to prevent another financial crisis. Reducing risky market behavior and tackling unsustainable government and corporate debts are priorities to prevent another financial crisis.

"In two reports this week, the IMF analyzes our current economic situation against conditions that led to the 2008 financial crisis. They are worried and don't want history to repeat itself.

"The last financial crisis drove nearly 100 million people, mostly women and children, into extreme poverty. Our world can not afford another crisis.

"High debt loads, financial transparency policies and trade tensions were key focuses of the meetings. We need policies that can cut unsustainable debt, curb tax evasion, avoidance and corruption to raise revenue and build a trade regime that protects workers and the poor."

Read the full IMF Communique here: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2019/04/13/communique-of-the-thirty-ninth-meeting-of-the-imfc

Read the Jubilee USA release on the World Economic Outlook Report

Read Jubilee USA's release on the Global Financial Stability Report

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The United Nations Forum on Financing and Development

From April 15th - 18th Jubilee USA will be participating in and cosponsoring 5 events on tax, trade, debt and transparency at the United Nations Financing for Development Forum in New York. To attend these events, individuals must be registered for the UN Financing for Development Meetings. 

Strengthening the FfD Follow-up Process: Proposals and Plans from Civil Society

Tuesday, 16 April, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
Trusteeship Council Chamber


Tax and Illicit Financial Flows: Following up on FfD and SDG commitments

Monday, 15 April, 1.15-2.30 pm
Trusteeship Council Chamber


Reaching the furthest behind: Is blending fit for purpose?

Tuesday, 16 April, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Conference Room 8


Trade and Investment Policy: A Critical Ingredient in Harnessing FfD Instruments to Achieve the SDGs

Wednesday, 17 April, 8.00 am – 9.30 am
Conference Room 8


The new wave of debt and financial crises: how to tackle it?

Wednesday, 17 April, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
Trusteeship Council Chamber


Sustainable Investments & Systemic Reform: Policy and Regulatory Challenges

Wednesday, 17 April, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Conference Room 5

Find more information about the UN Economic and Social Council Financing for Development Forum here
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Dealing with Sovereign Debt Distress: Case Studies, Causes and Solutions

IMF/World Bank Annual Spring Meetings 

Friday April 12, 2019,
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
 
Building I2 Room 250
 
Moderator: 
Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA Network 
Panelists: 
Fanwell Kenala Bokosi, AFRODAD  
Mark Flanagan, IMF Debt Policy Division
Patricia Miranda, Latindadd
Sponsors: Jubilee USA Network, AFRODAD, Latindadd, Brot für die Welt
 
New debt case studies and analysis for Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean will be presented during this panel. Debt and finance experts will discuss current debt crises and debt distress facing countries. Causes, prevention measures and solutions will be debated. In light of new debt reports, this panel will review policies including: debt restructuring, debt sustainability, tax and transparency, trade agreements and responsible borrowing and lending.
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Jubilee USA IMF World Bank Spring Meetings Events

Tackling the Next Wave of Sovereign Debt Crises

Wednesday, April 10, 2019,
3:00pm - 4:00pm
IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings
IMF Headquarters 1 - Meeting Hall A&B


Moderator: 

 Mr. Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian

Panelists: 

Mr. David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, IMF
Mr. Fanwell Kenala Bokosi, Executive Director, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD)
Mr. Lee Buccheit, Legal Expert
Ms. Odette Lienau, Professor of Law, Cornell University and Yale University
H.E. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Finance of Benin

Debt is at record levels in advanced economies and emerging markets. 40 percent of low income countries are wrestling with debt distress or high-risk debt levels. If measures are not put in place to reduce risk, a new and broad-based wave of debt crises could emerge as a major threat for the 2030 development agenda. In a few countries, a debt crisis has already materialized. Can the current international financial architecture provide prevention and resolution of debt and financial crises? Or does it need to be reformed?

Sponsors: Jubilee USA Network, AFRODAD, eralssjahr.de, Eurodad, Latindadd, Oxfam

Click here for printable event flyer.  

Available for Interview and On-Camera Interviews: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Kate Zeller, Campaigns Director - kate@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x105 / (m) (503) 936-7553

 

Dealing with Sovereign Debt Distress: Case Studies, Causes and Solutions

Friday April 12, 2019,
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
IMF/World Bank Annual Spring Meetings
Building I2 Room 220

Moderator: 

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network 

Panelists: 

Fanwell Kenala Bokosi, AFRODAD  

Mark Flanagan, IMF Debt Policy Division

Patricia Miranda, Latindadd

Sponsors: Jubilee USA Network, AFRODAD, Latindadd, Brot für die Welt

New debt case studies and analysis for Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean will be presented during this panel. Debt and finance experts will discuss current debt crises and debt distress facing countries. Causes, prevention measures and solutions will be debated. In light of new debt reports, this panel will review policies including: debt restructuring, debt sustainability, tax and transparency, trade agreements and responsible borrowing and lending.

Click here for printable event flyer. 

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High-Level Forum on Debt Cancellation for Somalia

April 12, 2019, 7:30 am - 9:00 am
U.S. Institute of Peace, Bush Building
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington DC 20037
 
Moderator: 
Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network 
Panelists: 
H.E. Dr. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Somalia
Nnenna Nwabufo, Deputy Director General, African Development Bank East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office
Helima Adan, Deputy Director for Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), Somalia and Somalia NGO Consortium, Somalia NGO Consortium
The American Friends Service Committee and the Somalia NGO Consortium, in collaboration with Jubilee USA Network and Somalia Working Group, will host a high-level forum on debt cancellation for Somalia. The forum will bring together key stakeholders to discuss  the impact of external debt burdens on social and economic development and the need for the international community to support Somalia’s agenda for debt cancellation. H.E. Dr. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Somalia will provide a keynote address highlighting achievements made thus far and reiterate his government’s commitment to meeting conditions for debt cancellation.
Sponsors: American Friends Service Committee, the Somalia NGO Consortium, Somalia Working Group, Jubilee USA Network and African Faith and Justice Network 
Please RSVP to Faye Lee at coord@jubileeusa.org
View printable flyer here
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Somalia Leaders Call for Debt Cancellation

Washington DC - In Somalia, 60 percent of the 15 million person population lives in extreme poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme almost 10 million people live in extreme poverty or close to poverty in Somalia while the war-torn African nation wrestles with a $4.6 billion debt. On Friday, Somalia's Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh will call for debt cancellation for humanitarian assistance.

"In the face of such terrible suffering, Somalia's debt must be eliminated as soon as possible," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Eliminating Somalia's debt means an immediate investment to reduce extreme poverty in the country."

Somalia owes more than $4.6 billion in debt. The United States, France, Italy, the IMF and World Bank hold the highest levels of Somalia debt.

"Humanitarian concerns and global political will are coming together to relieve Somalia's debt," stated LeCompte. "The situation is so extreme in Somalia and we need immediate debt relief."

On Friday morning Somalia's Finance Minister, Jubilee USA head - Eric LeCompte, the African Development Bank and Save Somali Women and Children will participate in the forum at the US Institute of Peace. American Friends Service Committee, the Somalia NGO Consortium, Somalia Working Group, Jubilee USA Network and the African Faith and Justice Network are sponsoring the event. 

To learn about or RSVP for the April 12th High-Level Forum on Debt Cancellation for Somalia visit here.

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IMF Warns of Global Financial Crisis Risk

Washington DC - For the second day in a row, the International Monetary Fund raised concerns of pending financial crisis. Ahead of the Spring IMF and World Bank meetings, the IMF released the Global Financial Stability Report, warning of "vulnerabilities" in corporate debt, house values and sovereign (country) debt.

"We are seeing some of same conditions that created the 2008 financial crisis and the IMF worries that we are not doing enough to prevent the next financial crisis," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who monitors IMF reports. "When we review the IMF's analysis, they are looking directly at causes of the 2008 financial crisis, including house values, corporate and country debt and risky financial behavior."

On Tuesday, the IMF released the biannual World Economic Outlook Report noting a global growth slowdown and raising concerns about unsustainable debt, trade tensions and the impact of natural disasters on the financial system. The IMF expressed heightened concerns of looming debt crises and possible financial crisis. 

On the heels of the IMF report releases, the IMF and development groups organized a high-level event at the meetings,"Tackling the Next Wave of Sovereign Debt Crises." On Wednesday, world leaders, finance ministers, business leaders, journalists and development groups attend the event at IMF Headquarters. 

"In order to prevent financial crisis, we need stronger international and national policies to deal with debt problems, stop risky financial behavior and promote tax and transparency policies that can raise revenue," said LeCompte, one of the organizers of the debt event.

The speakers at the high-level forum include Benin's Finance Minister Romuald Wadagni, the IMF's David Lipton, The Guardian's Larry Elliot, the director of AFRODAD - Fanwell Bokosi and legal experts Lee Buccheit and Odette Lienau. Jubilee USA Network, AFRODAD, Oxfam, Latindadd, Eurodad, Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK), Jubilee Germany and the IMF sponsored the event. In addition to the high-level debt panel, Jubilee USA is also organizing events this week on Somalia, transparency policies and country debt case studies.

Read the April 2019 Global Financial Sustainability Report 

Read Jubilee USA release on the April 2019 World Economic Outlook

Read more about the IMF Main Event "Tackling the Next Wave of Sovereign Debt Crises"

Read about Jubilee USA's Panel "Dealing with Sovereign Debt Distress: Case Studies, Causes and Solutions"

Read about Jubilee USA's upcoming "High-Level Forum on Debt Cancellation for Somalia"

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