Jubilee USA Statement on G20 Communiqué's COVID Response and Recovery Plans

Washington DC – The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met on global COVID-19 response and plans for a green and inclusive recovery ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.

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

"We've seen progress on debt relief and aid, but we still need to solve multiple challenges so countries can get through this crisis.

“The G20 extended debt payment relief for the 73 poorest countries until end-2021. However, the G20 states this is the final extension. It is unlikely that the breathing space indebted countries get with this extension will be enough.

“Unfortunately, the G20 continues to hope that the private sector will participate in debt relief without more compelling actions on the part of the G20.

"We are seeing some of the most significant increases in poverty and job loss in developing middle-income countries. Not enough is being done by the G20 to address the challenges these countries face because of the pandemic.

"The real tests of the common framework, is how successful the process will be in reducing debt and involving the private sector.

"Ideally, the common framework or a process like that will be extended to developing middle-income countries.

“The decision to upgrade the sustainable finance study group that China and the US lead, to a working group, reflects the increased prominence of climate finance in the G20 agenda."

Read the G20 Communiqué here.

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260 Faith, Labor and Development Groups Press IMF, G20 and White House on COVID Response

Ahead of Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings, World's Largest Unions, Human Rights Groups, Environmental and Religious Institutions, Call for Aid, Debt Relief, Access to Emergency Reserves and Climate Protections 

Washington DC – As G20, IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings convene virtually on global COVID response, 260 groups call for developing country aid and policies to prevent future crises and protect the environment.

Organized by Jubilee USA Network, 260 religious groups, anti-poverty organizations, labor unions, environmental and human rights institutions signed a letter on coronavirus crisis response to the White House, G20 and IMF. 

“World leaders worked hard over the last year to tackle the health and economic crises spurred by the COVID pandemic," said Eric LeCompte, a UN finance expert who heads the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA spearheaded the letter effort. “We must do more. Unless we take immediate action to solidify more aid and relief, we face lost decades of development and millions more will suffer.”

The G20 agreed to suspend debt payments for 73 developing countries through next June and created a process for the same countries to reduce debt. The IMF announced it would cancel debt payments for 28 of the world's poorest countries into October.

In recent weeks, the G7 supported an allocation of emergency reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Treasury notified Congress of support for the aid and the G20 is expected to announce support for SDRs this week.

“If the IMF and G20 move forward emergency reserves, it means right away developing countries can access more than $200 billion to fight the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus," stated LeCompte. "We will likely see another additional process where hundreds of billions of more dollars in Special Drawing Rights could be transferred from wealthy countries to developing countries for further support."

Major religious institutions lead the Jubilee USA letter to the IMF, White House and G20. The signers include: The Union for Reform Judaism, All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches and the Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and United Church of Christ Churches. The Unitarian Universalist Association and the largest representations of Quaker communities and Buddhist consortiums are on the letter. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a separate, companion joint letter with Jubilee USA Network and Pope Francis called again for a debt relief process in his Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Counting their membership in the millions, labor bodies including the International Trade Union Confederation, United Steelworkers (USW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) joined faith groups on letter. Other signers include human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Pax Christi and also environmental advocates ranging from Amazon Watch to Friends of the Earth. Development groups were represented and included Islamic Relief, American Jewish World Service, American Friends Service Committee, Bread for the World, Action Aid, Oxfam, RESULTS and Health Gap.

On March 16th, Jubilee USA organized a roundtable with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the highest-ranking leaders to specifically go over the calls in the Jubilee letter. A separate letter with 240 groups supporting SDRs was sent to the G20. The additional G20 SDR letter was coordinated by Jubilee USA and LATINDADD.

Read Jubilee USA's COVID-19 White House, IMF, G20 Letter here.

Read the joint US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Jubilee USA Network Letter to President Biden here.

Read about Jubilee USA's High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

Read the letter from 240 groups to the IMF and G20 here.
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BBC World Features Eric LeCompte for 6 Minute Segment on Global COVID Economic Solutions

BBC's Business Matters interviews Eric Lecompte on the urgent need for international action on debt relief in developing and middle-income countries. Click here to listen to the episode from 4:00 to 9:44. 

IMF: Rich world recovering faster than expected

By BBC Business Matters

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte 

"These middle-income developing countries have stronger economies than the 77 poorest countries in the world, and right now, these particular countries are looking at the highest risk in terms of growing poverty rates, famine rates, and job loss."

"At the same time, these middle-income developing countries are also countries that have been left out of solutions proposed so far by the G20 and IMF in terms of aid packages and debt relief."

"We have seen a quite significant global conversation take place on expanding debt relief and increasing aid for the developing world."

"We see that the G20, as well as the IMF, are much more serious about ensuring that there is debt cancellation for the poorest countries."

"It's the developing middle-income countries that are going to see some of the most significant suffering, and that's where we need to move and increase debt relief measures."

 

Click here to listen to the episode from 4:00 to 9:44.

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IMF: Indebted Countries Suffer if US Interest Rates Rise

Washington DC – The IMF warns that rising US interest rates could impact the ability of developing countries to pay debt, leading to prolonged economic crisis. The warning comes ahead of IMF, G20 and World Bank meetings, with the Fund's release of the Global Financial Stability Report.

“All countries that defaulted over the last year were middle-income countries,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “Unfortunately, developing middle-income countries are not included in IMF and G20 debt relief solutions."

The report warns that recovery from the pandemic will be unequal between rich and poor countries and that more needs to be done to strengthen long-term stability around the globe. This morning the IMF released the World Economic Outlook Report estimating that 95 million more people fell into extreme poverty over the last year, living on less than $1.90 a day.

"Wealthy countries invested in big stimulus packages and can rebound more quickly," said LeCompte. "Billions of people in developing countries are left behind and their lives will be even worse after the pandemic."

Read the IMF's Global Financial Stability report here.

Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

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IMF Reports Pandemic Economic Outlook Uncertain

Amidst Rising Inequality, Ninety-Five Million Could Fall into Extreme Poverty  

Washington DC – "The pandemic will reverse the progress made since the 1990s in reducing global poverty and will increase inequality," states the IMF in its flagship World Economic Outlook report. 

"The forecasts of rising inequality and tens of millions of people falling into extreme poverty must be averted," stated Eric LeCompte who monitors the IMF and is the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "We can reverse these dire predictions with strong aid packages and deep debt relief for all developing countries."

According to the Fund, the crisis could drive 95 million more people into extreme poverty, living on less than $1.90 a day.

"We have the resources and the ability to act now," said LeCompte. "We cannot allow decades of development to be lost." 

Some wealthy countries are rebounding more quickly due to stimulus, according to the IMF.

"While IMF forecasts remain uncertain due to the depth of the crisis, the Fund predicts inequality will deepen between rich and poor countries," noted LeCompte.

Read the IMF's World Economic Outlook report here.

Read about the IMF extending a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries here.

Read about the IMF announcing support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

 

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Fox News, Fortune and Reuters Interview Eric LeCompte on Leadership of Women in Global Economy

Eric LeCompte discusses the importance of leadership from women in global economic decisions. LeCompte speaks about his recent meeting with Treasury Secretary Yellen. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

What happens when women run the economy? We're about to find out

By Andrea Shalal

A study by the American Psychological Association showed that U.S. states with female governors had fewer COVID-19 deaths than those led by men, and Harvard Business Review reported that women got significantly better ratings in 360-degree assessments of 60,000 leaders between March to June 2020.

Women account for less than 2% of CEOs at financial institutions and less than 20% of executive board members, but the institutions they do run show greater financial resilience and stability, IMF research shows.

Eric LeCompte, a UN adviser and executive director of a non-profit that advocates for debt relief, said he noticed a clear difference during a meeting with Yellen and the leaders of Christian and Jewish faith groups last month.

“I’ve been meeting with Treasury secretaries for 20 years, and their talking points have been entirely different,” he said. “In every area we discussed, Yellen put an emphasis on empathy, and the impact of policies on vulnerable communities.”

Her male predecessors had a “brass tacks” approach that focused first on “numbers not people” and never mentioned words like “vulnerable,” he said.

 

Read the full article here.

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IMF Cancels Debt for 28 Poor Countries into Fall of 2021

Washington DC – The IMF Executive Board extended a process to cancel debt payments for the world's 28 poorest countries. 

"This is good news for poor countries struggling with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who worked on the creation of the debt relief mechanism. "Cancelling debt, for these vulnerable countries, means resources can be spent on healthcare and social services."

The IMF debt relief process, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) provided debt relief for the last year and now continues debt relief through October 15, 2021. The process previously offered debt relief for Haiti and three African countries hit by Ebola crises.

"While this is important debt relief in the short term, we now need to work on cancelling debts for the long term for these countries," said LeCompte. "Only long-term debt reduction can support developing countries to emerge from the pandemic with resilience."

Read the IMF release on the CCRT extension here.

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Media Hits, Big News, Your Help

Friends,

Please see below the incredible news coverage Jubilee USA and our joint efforts received in recent months.

This week we won our big campaign to release $650 billion in global SDR reserve funds for developing countries. This comes after our historic discussion with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to move our coronavirus response efforts.

Below you'll see how the media is showing the successes of our campaigns. Before you read all of the news coverage, please take action:

1.) Next week world leaders will make decisions on our coronavirus response campaigns. Please sign our petition here.

2.) Over 220 religious, labor, environmental, human rights and development groups have signed our coronavirus response letter to President Biden, the IMF and G20. Please have your group sign by April 6th before they make their next COVID decisions here.

3.) Donations to support our Jubilee USA mission and corona response campaigns are doubled now. Please make a gift

From the Wall Street Journal to Fox News to the Financial Times, the New York Times and your local paper - below you can find a sampling of how the global media has told our Jubilee USA 2021 story.

Gratefully,

Zach

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

JUBILEE IN THE NEWS
 

Climate Change is 'Big One' of 'Emerging Risks,' Says Treasury Sec. Townhall (March 31st)

Rare IMF relief offers a hope of green recovery to debt-laden nations Climate Home News (March 26th)

IMF Mulls Creating $650 Billion in Reserves After Yellen Nod  Bloomberg (March 23rd)

IMF staff recommends new allocation of $650 billion in emergency reserves: sources  Reuters, Fox, New York Times (March 23rd)

Religious, labor leaders optimistic after meeting with treasury secretary  The Catholic Spirit (March 22nd)

Catholic bishops meet with U.S. Treasury head to discuss COVID economic crisis Crux (March 19)

G-7 leaders support 'sizeable' Special Drawing Rights allocation  Devex (March 19th)

Papal priorities reflected in Yellen meeting, Catholic participants say National Catholic Reporter

(March 18th)

Nelson joins faith leaders in virtual roundtable discussion with US Treasury secretary Presbyterian Outlook (March 18th)

Yellen Tells Faith Leaders Poor Nations Need Help on Covid-19  Bloomberg (March 17th)

Yellen vows to use 'full power' of U.S. government to tackle climate change Reuters (March 17th)

US Treasury secretary meets with faith leaders about debt, COVID-19 Devex (March 17th)

UCC president, other faith leaders meet with Treasury Secretary Yellen on global pandemic response  United Church of Christ UCC News (March 17th)

Yellen to meet religious leaders, NGO group pushing for debt relief Reuters, New York Times, Fox (March 16th)

G-20 Moves Toward Consensus on IMF Reserve Firepower Boost Bloomberg (Feb 26th)

More than 200 groups urge G20 to back IMF issuance to help poor countries in pandemic Reuters (Feb 25th)

In Brief: US Treasury indicates support for SDRs in letter to the G-20 Devex (Feb 25th)

Yellen backs new allocation of IMF's SDR currency to help poor nations  Reuters (Feb 25th)

Religious Leaders urge Biden to support global coronavirus aid, debt relief The Record, Catholic Spirit and Catholic News (Feb 24)

In Brief: Catholic bishops call on Biden to expand debt relief, aid  Devex (Feb 24th) 

U.S. Catholic leaders urge Biden to lead drive for more aid to poor countries Reuters and US News (Feb 24th) 

Luis Miranda: He gets the job done National Catholic Reporter (Feb 19th)

Biden Urged to End Trump Lawsuit Blocking Payments to Puerto Ricans U.S. News (Feb 16th)

Biden reestablishes White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships National Catholic Reporter (Feb 14th)

Ivory Coast shows up debt relief flaws Refinitiv (Feb 12th)

In Brief: US urges G-7 to 'go big' on COVID-19 response Devex (Feb 12th)

U.S. tells G7 that it is back at the table to help with global recovery Reuters and New York Times (Feb 12th)

Zambia seeks debt restructuring under G20 common framework Reuters and Financial Post (Feb 5th)

Chad becomes first country to ask for debt overhaul under G20 common framework Reuters (Jan 28th)

Environmental activists cheer Biden’s decision to stop pipeline project Crux (Jan 27th)

Joe Biden’s Economic To-Do List U.S. News & World Report (Jan 22nd) 

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Treasury Notifies Congress of $650 Billion Emergency Reserves to Fight Global COVID Crisis

Washington DC – Treasury notified Congress of its support for $650 billion in IMF global reserves, also known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), to assist developing countries struggling with the coronavirus crisis. US law requires a ninety-day advance alert to Congress before the US votes for SDRs with the IMF board.

“The notification paves the way for the US to vote in favor of these funds that developing countries need," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA advocated for the creation of these funds since the advent of the pandemic. "As early as the summer, hundreds of billions of these emergency reserve funds can now be authorized for countries struggling with the pandemic."

In February, Jubilee USA Network and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Secretary Yellen and President Biden expressing support for a new SDRs allocation. Jubilee USA Network also coordinated a letter to the G20 signed by more than 215 organizations worldwide in support of SDRs. The G20 and IMF announced support for the $650 billion allocation.

Treasury says low-income countries will see $21 billion from a new allocation and other developing countries receive $221 billion.

Read the letter on SDRs, aid and debt relief from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here.

Read the letter organized by Jubilee USA with 200 plus signers urging the G20 to support SDRs here.

Read about the IMF's announcement of support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

Read the US Treasury's Fact Sheet on the benefits of a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights here.
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World Council of Churches Quotes Eric LeCompte on Civil Society Policy Forum

World Council of Churches Quotes Eric LeCompte on faith-based organizational meetings with the IMF and World Bank to discuss global debt reductions. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

As debt piles onto the backs of poor countries, Christian community calls for relief

Jeronim Zettelmeyer, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund’s Strategy, Policy and Review Department, shared current efforts to respond to the debt crisis. At the same time, he said civil society organisations should “put pressure on their own domestic authorities” as the problem does not only lie with the international financial architecture. 

Marcello Estevao, global director of the World Bank’s Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice said that their “goal is to enlarge the breathing space for poor countries” in a time of economic crisis.

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, cited the lack of private sector participation and inadequate coverage of middle-income indebted countries as key challenges to current initiatives to tackle debt. Moving forward, “there is a need to expand debt relief to middle income countries.”

 

Read the full article here.

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IMF Head: Global Recovery Uncertain as People Face Income Drops

Washington DC – International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva warned of an uncertain global recovery as the world struggles with the COVID spurred economic crisis. The IMF Managing Director stated concern that average incomes in developing countries faced drops of 20% and 11% in advanced economies. "This loss of income means millions of people will face destitution, homelessness, and hunger," reported Georgieva during her curtain raiser speech ahead of the Spring IMF and World Bank meetings.

"While prospects for economic recovery are higher in the United States and China, every country in the world faces greater inequality and increases in poverty," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has monitored IMF policies for more than a decade. "The average person is worse off as the pandemic economic crisis continues."

The IMF chief warned developing countries, with less vaccine access, lower budgets and higher debts, could face more pressure. In particular developing middle-income countries face serious challenges.

“The IMF is right that middle-income countries need more support,” added LeCompte. "Developing middle-income countries face the highest job losses and increases in poverty. Yet, these countries are left out of critical aid and debt relief initiatives."

Georgieva highlighted one area on the horizon that could benefit these countries, is the creation of $650 billion in global reserve funds known as Special Drawing Rights.

“The creation of Special Drawing Rights will deliver more than $200 billion in aid for developing countries," reflected LeCompte.

View Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's Spring IMF Meetings Curtain Raiser Speech here

Read about the IMF's announcement of support for $650 billion in emergency reserves here.

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Climate Home News Quotes Eric LeCompte on IMF SDR Allocation, Climate

Climate Home News quotes Eric LeCompte on the impact of a $650 billion IMF SDR allocation on low- and middle-income, climate-vulnerable countries. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Rare IMF relief offers a hope of green recovery to debt-laden nations

By Chloé Farand

As the International Monetary Fund is poised to inject $650 billion into the global economy, indebted low and middle-income countries are exploring ways to leverage the relief into green investmentsIn recent months, the plea of vulnerable nations for financial support has risen to the top of the international agenda. Revenues from the commodity trade and tourism collapsed in 2020, leaving many nations struggling to meet their basic needs, let alone invest in sustainable development. Cash-strapped governments in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean do not have the luxury of borrowing cheaply to finance a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

More than half of developing countries are estimated to be in debt distress, with interest payments accounting for at least a quarter of governments’ tax revenues in 2020 and raising to 40% in some countries, according to Jubilee USA Network. “The most consequential climate decision made in the next few months to five years will be made by the IMF, the G7, the G20 and the US Treasury as part of global pandemic response policies,” Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, told Climate Home News.

A debt repayment suspension initiative by the G20 has brought some relief but excludes middle-income countries, such as small island states, that have been hit hard by the pandemic and climate impacts.

 

Read the full story here.

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