Biden Names Transparency Advocate to Top Regulatory Post

Washington DC – Gary Gensler, former Wall Street regulator will be President-elect Biden's nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to Reuters. Gensler will lead the agency created after the 1920's stock market crash to protect investors and enforce stability in the banking system.

"As the world wrestles with financial crises, Gensler is the right pick for this critical position," noted Eric LeCompte who leads Jubilee USA, a religious development group that advocates solutions for financial crises. "The SEC is key for stopping corruption and promoting global economic stability."

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Gensler chaired the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and forced oversight on the banking industry. Gensler's SEC will issue enforcement rules on recent legislation passed in Congress like the Corporate Transparency Act that targets shell corporations. These types of corporations can hide the identity of their owner and facilitate crime, development aid theft and human trafficking.

“Gensler understands there is no place for corruption in the financial system and holds a proven track record on promoting transparency,” stated LeCompte.

Read More

White House Announces Puerto Rico Disaster Rebuilding Aid

Washington DC – The White House announced a $3.7 billion disaster grant for Puerto Rico to rebuild reservoirs, dams and wastewater facilities.

“Puerto Rico suffers from a debt crisis and is still recovering from hurricanes and earthquakes,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, a religious development organization. "The aid is vital as Puerto Rico needs to rebuild infrastructure damaged by disasters."

As earthquakes continue to shake the US Territory, the island feels the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria which hit Puerto Rico three years ago with an estimated $100 billion in damages.

According to the White House, the new grant award from the Federal Emergency Management Administration brings total hurricane recovery funds to $40 billion. In July, Puerto Rico religious leaders wrote Congress citing the need for an additional $60 billion in recovery aid. The letter was signed by the leaders from Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Churches, the Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities (Caritas) and the Puerto Rico General Bible Society.

Read the Jubilee Puerto Rico Religious Leader Letter to Congress here.

Read More

Historic 2020 Jubilee News Coverage

Friends,

This year hasn't been easy. We've lost too many Jubilee USA friends this year to the coronavirus, inequality is rising and more of us are struggling.

In spite of this, we seized this year to fight for our survival, to protect the poor and our planet. We won multiple coronavirus and stimulus campaigns throughout 2020.

From the Wall Street Journal to Fox News to the Financial Times, the New York Times and your local paper - this year, Jubilee USA appeared in hundreds of thousands of newspapers and shows on our debt, tax, trade, transparency, coronavirus response and Puerto Rico efforts. 

Below you can find a sampling of how the global media told our Jubilee USA 2020 story.

Gratefully,

Zach

Zachary Conti
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

JUBILEE IN THE NEWS 

Devex World 2020: COVID-19, the SDGs, and the Development Finance Agenda Devex (December 10th) 

Devex World 2020: Live updates and news Devex (December 10th) 

Few results from G-20 meeting as decisions await new US administration Devex (November 24th)  

Saudi G20 summit pledges fair global vaccine access but stops short of developing world debt relief The Independent (November 22nd)  

G20 to extend debt relief to mid-2021, pushes private sector to help Reuters (November 22nd)

G20 determined to use all tools to contain pandemic, save jobs, incomes Reuters (November 20th)  

FCDO's foreign nationals policy, G-20 debt framework, and Iota's compounding impact: This week in development Devex (November 19th)  

Africa’s First Pandemic Default Tests New Effort to Ease Debt From China Wall Street Journal (November 18th)  

G20 Releases Debt Framework Details Devex (November 16th)  

World’s poorest countries get fresh debt relief hope from creditor nations Financial Times (November 13th)  

G20 strikes historic debt pact to help poorer states hit by COVID Reuters (November 13th)  

G-20 Looks to Deepen Debt Relief Drive With China’s Coordination Bloomberg (November 12th)  

IMF Eyes New Relationship With Biggest Shareholder After Biden Win US News and World Report (November 11th) 

Francis Names 13 New Cardinals, Including Washington's Archbishop Gregory National Catholic Reporter (October 25th) 

As World Bank pushes others on debt relief, it doesn't participate Devex (October 19th) 

Coronavirus Deals a Blow to Global Battle Against Poverty Wall Street Journal (October 18th) 

'Intense' G20 negotiations fall short on debt support expectations Devex (October 15th) 

IMF warns global economy could be permanently scarred Associated Press and other outlets (October 15th) 

G-20 Extends Debt Relief Plan Amid Warnings It’s Not Enough Bloomberg (October 14th)

G-20 Seen Extending Poor Nations’ Debt Relief Into Next Year Bloomberg (October 13th) 

IMF encourages countries affected by COVID to keep spending on safety net Marketplace (October 13th) 

Proposals and pressure mount for more action on COVID-19 financing Devex (October 5th) 

G7 ministers back extension of debt freeze for poorest nations, urge reforms Reuters (September 24th) 

Le candidat de Trump élu à la tête de la BID Les Echos (September 13th) 

Jubilee USA Network Works Internationally for Economic and Covid Relief Wort FM Radio (September 9th) 

UK aid cuts, G-20 debt delays, and the EU's budget deal: This week in development Devex (July 23th) 

Covid 19: G20 nations put off debt relief decisions until autumn meeting Vatican News (July 21st) 

G20 criticado por adiar decisão sobre extensão da moratória da dívida Sol (July 19th)  

G-20 to Make Debt Relief Extension Call Closer to Year End Bloomberg (July 18th) 

G20 finance officials poised to recommend extension of debt freeze Reuters (July 18th) 

G20 finance officials poised to recommend extension of debt freeze Bloomberg (July 17th) 

Puerto Rico experts, participants discuss its future The Bond Buyer (July 6th) 

PROMESA after four years: Key questions remain  The Bond Buyer (June 30th) 

World Bank chief calls for more private sector buy-in on G20 debt relief Reuters June 22)

An Interview with Eric LeCompte Catholic Profiles (June 14)

UN urges help for countries near ‘debt distress’ from virus Associated Press (June 3)

This crisis is hard on us. It’s even harder on countries that aren’t rich Marketplace (May 21)

 Debt relief needed to help poor nations in pandemic The Tablet (May 18)

Advocates seek debt relief to respond to pandemic Crux (May 15)

Private creditors push back against blanket debt relief for Africa Reuters (May 15)

The World’s Poor are Drowning in Debt. Here’s how to help them Barron’s (May 8)

High-profile economists back Argentina’s debt restructuring bid Buenos Aires Times (May 6)

Canje de deuda: Stiglitz, Sachs, Piketty y más de 130 economistas respaldaron la oferta argentina Pagina12 (May 6)

Restructuring Argentina’s Private Debt is essential Project Syndicate (May 6)

FMI da crédito de emergencia a Ecuador azotado por Covid y bajos precios del crudo Swissinfo (May 2)

Coronavirus could push Latin America, Caribbean into deepest recession since 1930s Miami Herald (April 27)

What will it take to fix flailing SDG funding? Devex (April 23)

Eric LeCompte: El Papa Francisco seguirá pidiendo el alivio de la deuda Perfil (April 22)

Motivation | Natalie Herder The Select 7 (April 21)

IMF, World Bank Pledge Help Amid Calls For More Debt Relief The Jamaica Gleaner (April 19)

G20, IMF deliver on debt relief, but more is needed, experts say Devex (April 17)

World Business Report BBC World News (April 15)

‘Urgent action’ needed on debt relief for poor countries, expert says Crux (April 15)

G20 avala suspensión temporal del pago de la deuda para los países pobres France 24 (April 15)

FMI alivia deuda de 25 países pobres Inter Press Service (April 15)

G20 apoia suspensão por um ano do pagamento de dívida dos países pobres AFP (April 15)

G-20 has agreed to debt standstill for world’s poorest countries, IMF and World Bank heads say Marketwatch (April 15)

Faith groups, AFL-CIO urge U.S., IMF, G20 to cancel debt for poor countries Reuters (April 14)

IMF Predicts Global Coronavirus Crisis Akin to the Great Depression US News and World Report (April 14)

IMF Announces Debt Relief for African Nations to Fight Pandemic Voice Of America (April 14) 

IMF cancels debt payments for 6 months for 25 poor nations Associated Press (April 13)

Amid Pandemic IMF & G20 Called on to Cancel Poorest Nations’ Unsustainable Debt Between the Lines (April 13)

Ilhan Omar Joins Global Call for Debt Relief as Coronavirus Threatens to Push Developing Nations 'Over the Edge' Common Dreams (April 13)

IMF to provide debt relief to help 25 countries deal with pandemic Reuters (April 13)

'Force of nature' Georgieva leads IMF through coronavirus storm Yahoo Finance (April 13)

Bishop, faith groups urge Trump to support debt relief for poor nations Crux (April 10)

IMF’s Georgieva creates external advisory panel on pandemic Reuters (April 10)

Global Business, Workers, Civil Society Join Call for Debt Relief for Poorer Nation Reuters (April 10)

Catholic bishops, faith groups urge Trump to back debt relief for poor countries Reuters (April 9)

Eric Lecompte Interview Voice of America (April 7)

IMF working to support Georgian economy amid coronavirus crisis Click Lancashire (April 4)

The church after coronavirus: new understandings of social mission National Catholic Reporter (April 3)

Declare a jubilee: Pandemic is time to forgive debts, cardinal suggests Catholic News Service (April 1)

IMF head says global economy now in recession Associated Press (March 27)

COVID-19 is hitting Caribbean and Latin American economies hard. Can they survive? The Miami Herald (March 27)

Leaders on Global Finance reform meet at Vatican Catholic Philly (Feb 6)

Game changers: Vatican opens doors to leaders ready for finance reform The Dialog (Feb 6)

Pope’s direct experience of financial crisis informs views on economy, expert says  Crux (Feb 5)

Pope Francis gets involved in Argentina’s debt relief National Catholic Reporter (Feb 5)

The convergence: Third-world debt and the climate crisis are intimately connected Salon (January 26)

IMF boss says global economy risks return of Great Depression The Guardian (January 17)

 

Read More

2020: Sadness, Victory and Profound Loss

Friends, 

In the last days of 2020, we pray you and your loved ones are well.

Just in recent days and over the last year - we lost hundreds of our Jubilee USA friends, members and partners to the coronavirus. Some of us lost are jobs and struggle to pay our bills. The economic and health crises spurred by the pandemic means livelihoods continue to be lost, more friends will die and hunger spreads.

As we remember the loved ones we lost, we also lift 2020 as the most remarkable year in Jubilee USA's history.

We won multiple coronavirus and stimulus campaigns. World leaders looked to the financial crisis solutions that we created. Together, we mobilized hundreds of religious, labor, environmental, human rights groups and institutions to move forward coronavirus response campaigns to lift the poor, our livelihoods and the planet. 

In recent weeks we moved the Trump Administration to support debt relief beyond the policies of other G20 countries. We continue to meet with the leads of the Biden Transition Team on our coronavirus campaigns. Thanks to you, we celebrate our most successful fundraising year on record, allowing us to hire new senior staff.

In order to sustain our COVID campaigns and new team members, your tax-deductible gift is critical now as we stop lost decades of development in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Your gift means we move forward our proposals to tackle increasing inequality in the United States and around the world. Your tax-deductible donation today is matched and will be doubled.

This year, your partnership and support of Jubilee USA's bipartisan, interfaith mission meant: 

  • We won a historic G20 debt reduction process for developing countries suffering from the corona health and economic crisis. This is the most significant debt relief and anti-corruption process we won to date. 73 poor countries can access new resources to confront the COVID crisis

  • After 10 years of work, Jubilee's Corporate Transparency Act just passed Congress. Our bipartisan bill sheds light on anonymous shell companies when they shield human traffickers, steal debt relief and promote tax evasion and corruption

  • 29 of the world's poorest countries saw debt cancelled through next spring and 73 developing countries can obtain debt payment relief through at least mid-2021

  • Our campaigns with Puerto Rico religious leaders won a White House award of $13 billion for a total of $26 billion in disaster recovery funds, food aid for the island’s 300,000 schoolchildren and policies to reduce the island's staggering 60% child poverty rate

  • In the stimulus that passed this week, we just won another $600 million for Puerto Rico child poverty reduction. The White House now supports our proposals to bring back jobs for the island

  • Our stimulus package efforts promoted debt relief for poor countries, Puerto Rico disaster aid and student debt relief

  • We are moving forward IMF and G20 approval of global reserve funds (Special Drawing Rights) to provide the aid that is needed for developing countries to survive and rebuild from the crisis

  • Jubilee USA is promoting climate change finance solutions at the IMF, G20 and with President-elect Biden

  • The US - Mexico - Canada (USMCA) trade agreement went into effect with our provisions to ensure vulnerable communities access lifesaving medicines and eliminate harmful arbitration processes

  • We persuaded the White House to freeze student loan payments until end of this year

  • Somalia debt relief succeeded with the White House, Congress, State Department, Treasury, IMF and World Bank

  • Hundreds of thousands of newspapers and television and radio shows covered our Jubilee USA coronavirus response efforts

Because of your support, world leaders are considering Jubilee USA's proposals to change the global financial system to reduce poverty and inequality, protect our planet and prevent future financial crises.

Your tax-deductible gift today is doubled and propels our coronavirus response campaigns into 2021. Please join me and make a gift today. Whether your donation is $50, $1000 or $500 - your gift is matched, doubling our coronavirus response efforts.

In early February, at the Papal Academy of Social Sciences in Rome, we joined Pope Francis, the head of the IMF, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and 12 finance ministers to move forward processes to stop financial crisis and end poverty. By the last week of February, Jubilee USA was the first organization to launch coronavirus response campaigns, leading hundreds of organizations on the economic and health responses. By April, we won our first campaigns from the IMF, G20, Congress, Treasury and the White House. In June, we addressed the special session of the United Nations on our Jubilee recommendations to solve the COVID crisis. In July and November, we won another round of our coronavirus tax, debt, aid, healthcare and transparency campaigns. In December, after a 10 year fight, our Corporate Transparency Act became law and we won stimulus money for Puerto Rico.

It was a challenging, heartbreaking year – but because together we fought and we didn't give up, it's a remarkable year.

As our community remembers the lost and acts to save more lives and livelihoods into 2021 - your actions, partnership and support continue to make the difference.

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed, safe and happy New Year,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

Read More

Puerto Rico Stimulus Progress

Friends,

As part of the coronavirus stimulus package, Congress passed an additional $600 million in food benefits for Puerto Rico.

This is exciting progress that impacts more than 1.5 million people who rely on Nutrition Assistance Program aid on the island.

This progress is possible because of the calls we all made to Congress and because of the powerful stimulus advocacy of Puerto Rico's religious leaders and our national faith partners during stimulus negotiations. 

Thank you.

As Congress faces more votes on Puerto Rico, please take action and call your Senators. If you already called, please call again and leave another message for your Senator.

The new stimulus package includes Puerto Rico because you acted. As you took action, Jubilee USA coordinated meetings with Republican leadership and US religious groups and Puerto Rico religious leaders during the final stimulus package negotiations.

Since the pandemic hit, Puerto Rico religious leaders, US national faith groups and Jubilee USA pressed Congress to include Puerto Rico in stimulus package plans. Representing more than 95% of Puerto Rico’s population, island religious leaders wrote Congress to include Puerto Rico job creation, disaster relief and $1.2 billion in Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. 

The new food assistance in the stimulus bill will help the many people in Puerto Rico who suffered cuts to food benefits.

Before the New Year, please leave a message for your Senators. You can leave a message 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The new stimulus funding is progress and Congress must do more. Before the pandemic, Puerto Rico wrestled with debt crisis, natural disasters and 60% of kids living in poverty.

In the fall, your actions meant the White House announced a FEMA award of $13 billion in Puerto Rico disaster aid to rebuild the power grid and schools. A few days later, Congress included pandemic-related food aid for schoolchildren in Puerto Rico as part of the continuing resolution extending government funding. President Trump also expressed support for our Jubilee call to return manufacturing jobs to the island.

This progress is only possible because of your partnership and actions.

Thank you,

Aldo

Aldo Caliari
Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns
Jubilee USA Network
aldo@jubileeusa.org
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

Read More

Stimulus Deal Ups Food Aid for Puerto Rico

Washington DC – Congress passed additional Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits for Puerto Rico as part of its $900 billion COVID stimulus plan.

“During the pandemic too many people in Puerto Rico suffered cuts to food benefits,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “The new food assistance in the stimulus bill impacts 1.5 million people on the island.”

Since the pandemic hit, Puerto Rico religious leaders, US national faith groups and Jubilee USA encouraged Congress to include Puerto Rico in stimulus package plans. Representing more than 95% of Puerto Rico’s population, island religious leaders wrote Congress to include Puerto Rico job creation, disaster relief and $1.2 billion in Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The stimulus package increases food aid by $600 million. Jubilee USA coordinated meetings with Republican leadership and US religious groups and the Puerto Rico religious leaders during the final stimulus package negotiations.

“The increased food benefits for Puerto Rico are desperately needed. This stimulus funding is progress and Congress will need to do more,” shared LeCompte. "Before the pandemic, Puerto Rico wrestled with debt crisis, natural disasters and 60% of kids living in poverty."

Read the Jubilee Puerto Rico Religious Leader Letter to Congress here.

Read More

Religious Leaders Press Congress on Puerto Rico Relief, Jobs and Child Poverty

Washington DC – As Congress negotiates a coronavirus stimulus bill, Puerto Rico and US religious leaders met with Congress leaders on job creation, disaster relief and food benefits for Puerto Rico.

"Nearly 60% of our children, US citizens, live in poverty in Puerto Rico. Our children are in vital need of Congressional action. The suffering our children face from the high level of poverty, the recurring natural disasters and now COVID-19, can only be described as tragic," wrote leaders of Puerto Rico Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Churches to Congress over the summer. The Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities (Caritas) and the General Bible Society also joined the letter, resent to Congress this week.

Puerto Rico Catholic Archbishop Roberto González, one of the letter signers, joined US religious groups to meet with Republican leaders on priority actions for the island. The meetings organized by Jubilee USA Network encouraged authorization of $1.2 billion for the Nutrition Assistance Program that benefits 1.5 million people on the island. The House of Representatives passed a stimulus package that approved the funding, but that package did not pass the Senate.

“Before the pandemic hit Puerto Rico, the island wrestled with disaster recovery, high child poverty rates and a debt crisis,” said Jubilee USA Network Executive Director, Eric LeCompte. "Congress must move forward food assistance and efforts to support job creation for Puerto Rico."

In response to the calls for job creation, President Trump expressed support this fall for increasing pharmaceutical jobs on the island.

"In the mid-2000s, Puerto Rico lost over 100,000 good jobs to India and China. This loss led to our current debt crisis and many of the economic challenges we now face, further exasperated by a series of natural disasters. Given the constraints that exist in global supply chains and critical needs faced by all US citizens, current stimulus plans should include measures to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs immediately to Puerto Rico and revive Puerto Rico's failing and debt-burdened economy," wrote Puerto Rico religious leaders in their letter to Congress.

Read the Jubilee Puerto Rico Religious Leader Letter to Congress here.

Read More

After Historic Double-Hurricane Event, Central America Needs Debt Relief

Two hurricanes of the highest category, Eta and Iota, struck Central American countries within less than 15 days. Already facing deep recessions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these countries are among the poorest in Latin America and suffer of natural, economic and social vulnerabilities. Jubilee USA and partners from the region lead calls for a debt moratorium and restructuring to help the affected countries and communities rebuild, protect health and livelihoods and emerge from this crisis with more resilience.

You can access the note on the Latindadd website: https://bit.ly/3qPOzNd

You can also register your support for this initiative in this link: https://bit.ly/3gwVmGQ

Read More

We Won: CTA Passes, Puerto Rico Now

Friends,

After ten years of work, the Senate passed Jubilee's Corporate Transparency Act. Thanks to the tens of thousands of phone calls, postcards, petitions and letters that you generated - now our legislation heads to President Trump's desk to be signed into law.

Our legislation reveals the real owners of so-called anonymous shell companies to authorities. Shell corporations are used by polluters, tax-evaders, human traffickers and public officials who steal debt relief and development aid. United Nations experts recently found that $1.6 trillion is laundered per year through shell companies and related mechanisms.

After this historic victory, as Jubilee USA continues our year-end COVID-19 stimulus advocacy on student debt and poverty alleviation, we need you to call your Senators now for Puerto Rico. Please call now as Puerto Rico aid, jobs and child poverty reduction face votes in this Congress.

As you make your calls, Puerto Rico's religious leaders, our Jubilee USA staff, national religious partners and grassroots religious leaders are meeting with Republican Senate leadership as stimulus negotiations continue.

Puerto Rico needs disaster recovery monies, measures to bring back pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs and the authorization of $1.2 billion for Nutrition Assistance Program benefits that impact 1.5 million people on the island. Across Puerto Rico, leaders of the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Churches and Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities (Caritas) and General Bible Society are leading this campaign with Jubilee USA.

Because of your actions already, the House passed a stimulus bill including the additional $1.2 billion for Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, exactly our demand. The White House announced $13 billion in Puerto Rico disaster aid to rebuild the power grid and schools. President Trump expressed support for Jubilee USA and Puerto Rico religious leaders’ call to bring back jobs to the island.

Now the Senate must act.

Your calls to Congress really matter and already made a difference. We know that even 3 calls from constituents can change the minds of Senators. Please make a call for Puerto Rico today. Your calls amplify our meetings with Senate Republicans and Puerto Rico religious leaders, grassroots US religious leaders and national religious partners from the Evangelical Lutheran Church to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The power of Jubilee USA resonates on a global, national and local level. The calls you make to Congress along with petitions from hundreds of national and local faith communities and mainstream interfaith voices win campaigns. It's why we just moved forward a major global COVID G20 debt relief deal for poor countries. It's why after 10 years of work, we just passed the Corporate Transparency Act.

Jubilee USA Network coordinated over 100 faith communities and some of the largest US religious institutions to encourage Congress and the White House to pass the legislation. Some of the religious groups joining Jubilee USA to pass our Corporate Transparency Act included: the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Catholic religious orders and Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities.

Our new Jubilee anti-corruption law is the fruit of years of bipartisan advocacy and national and local grassroots organizing. Since 2015, we continually moved Congress on Puerto Rico. Now we must make sure that the Senate addresses Puerto Rico's 60% child poverty epidemic, disaster aid and supports bringing jobs back to island. Congress and the White House will act on Puerto Rico this year or early next year. Please call your Senators as soon as possible.

In 2020, because of your partnership, we continue to win campaigns and make the impossible, possible. Let's win more, before the new year.

Gratefully,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

Read More

Linking Debt Relief and Sustainable Development: Lessons from Experience

The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Center for Sustainable Finance (SOAS, University of London), and the Global Development Policy Center (Boston University) published a paper by Jubilee USA's Senior Director for Policy and Campaigns, Aldo Caliari, as a contribution to their Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive Recovery Project.

Read Aldo Caliari's Linking Debt Relief and Sustainable Development: Lessons from Experience

Abstract

The Covid-19 crisis has dealt a blow to developing-country economies, which were already facing rapidly rising debt burdens, calling into question their ability to scale-up climate investments. As the international community considers a menu of options to address the rising prospect of widespread debt distress and defaults in the developing world, it will be crucial that it weighs how such options can best contribute towards addressing the equally urgent climate crisis. Having that need in mind, the current paper examines the experience with debt-for-development swaps and major debt relief processes in order to draw some lessons that could help shape a debt-for-climate initiative (DCI). It concludes that, in order to significantly expand the fiscal space and create the incentives for investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation, a DCI would have to be a transaction capable of combining debt cancellation and swaps in creative ways. It also makes some recommendations to ensure the scheme reaps the benefits that swaps and debt relief have proven they can bring, while avoiding some of their identified shortcomings.

Read More

Climate Change Can Be Addressed in Coronavirus Relief, Study Says

Development Group Urges Shared Solutions for Debt and Climate Crises

Washington DC – As countries address their debt crises, policy responses can reduce climate change, asserts a new study. “Linking Debt Relief and Sustainable Development: Lessons from Experience,” examines previous debt relief processes to learn how debt and climate responses can work in tandem.

“The coronavirus crisis reduced spending on climate issues in poor countries,” stated report author Aldo Caliari, the Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns for Jubilee USA Network. “The good news is that global policies can be designed to provide debt relief and nurture a green recovery at the same time.”

In November, Zambia defaulted on its debt and several more countries face defaults due to the coronavirus-spurred economic crises. The G20 announced a new debt relief process for 73 of the world's poorest countries.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Center for Sustainable Finance (SOAS, University of London), and the Global Development Policy Center (Boston University) commissioned the paper as a contribution to their Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive Recovery Project.

Read Aldo Caliari's Linking Debt Relief and Sustainable Development: Lessons from Experience

Read more on Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive Recovery Project.

Read More

Congress Passes Shell Company Accountability Bill

Legislation Combats Human Trafficking and Curbs Theft of Development Aid, Say Advocates

Washington DC – By a vote of 84 to 13, the Senate passed corporate transparency legislation as part of the annual vote on the National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation reveals to authorities the real owners of so-called anonymous shell companies. These types of corporations can hide the identity of their owner and facilitate crime, development aid theft and human trafficking. The House passed the legislation on Tuesday and now the bill heads to President Trump's desk to be signed into law.

“Shell corporations are used by polluters, thieves and human traffickers,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte's organization worked for passage of the legislation for over a decade, generating tens of thousands of e-mails and phone calls to Congress. “The passage of this legislation is progress towards tackling corruption, tax evasion and crimes against vulnerable populations.”

A UN panel of experts recently found that $1.6 trillion is laundered per year through shell companies and related mechanisms. Developing countries lose more than one trillion dollars per year to illicit financial flows.

Jubilee USA Network coordinated over 100 faith communities and some of the largest US religious institutions to encourage Congress and the White House to pass the legislation. Some of the religious groups joining Jubilee USA included the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Catholic religious orders and Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities.

"The new law is the fruit of years of advocacy and partnership with Republicans and Democrats,” noted LeCompte. “While we  celebrate this progress, more must be done to win the higher degrees of disclosure and transparency that we still need.”

Read Jubilee USA's letter to the Senate in support of corporate transparency legislation here.

Read More