Pandemic Response: 2020/2021 Report

Friends,

We mourn the loss of too many lives and livelihoods because of the COVID crisis. Several of our solutions to address the current crisis moved forward. There is much work to do. Economic forecasts for most countries and most of the world's people look bleak in a post pandemic world. We can change that. 

Some highlights from our 2020-2021 pandemic response efforts:
  • We had a major victory as the G20, G7, and US agreed to create $650 billion in global reserve funds (Special Drawing Rights). Developing countries will receive over $200 billion in emergency support

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

  • After 10 years of work, the Corporate Transparency Act passed Congress. Our bipartisan bill sheds light on anonymous shell corporations which shield human traffickers, steal debt relief and enable tax evasion and corruption
  • We facilitated a high-level meeting between Treasury Secretary Yellen and religious leaders. Yellen publicly endorsed Jubilee's positions on debt, aid, and climate change

  • Our campaigns with Puerto Rico religious leaders won a White House award of almost $20 billion for  disaster recovery funds, $1.6 billion food aid and tax measures to reduce the island's staggering 60% child poverty rate

  • The US - Mexico - Canada (USMCA) trade agreement was enacted with our provisions to ensure vulnerable communities have access to lifesaving medicines as well as eliminating harmful arbitration processes

  • We persuaded the White House to freeze student loan payments until September 2021

  • Somalia and Sudan debt relief was supported by the White House, Congress, State Department, Treasury, IMF and World Bank

  • Hundreds of thousands of news outlets covered Jubilee USA coronavirus response efforts

Read and share our Jubilee USA Network 2020-2021 report.

As we take stock of our efforts since the pandemic began, we prepare for the work ahead.

Gratefully,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

PS. When you make a gift now to support Jubilee USA's efforts, it will be doubled. Please join me and donate now.

 

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Reuters Quotes Eric LeCompte on the G7's Minimum Global Corporate Tax Rate Deal

A Reuters article quotes Eric LeCompte on the G7 nations' discussions to create a minimum global corporate tax rate. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

UPDATE 1-G7 nations near historic deal on taxing multinationals

By David Milliken

Rich nations have struggled for years to agree on a way to raise more revenue from large multinationals such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, which often book profits in jurisdictions where they pay little or no tax.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has given the stalled talks fresh impetus by proposing a minimum global corporation tax rate of 15%, above the level in countries such as Ireland but below the lowest level in the G7.

"All countries face revenue loss when corporations don't pay their share in taxes," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, an alliance of organisations promoting debt relief.

"The G7 needs to support global tax reforms so we have resources for people to get beyond this pandemic," he added.

 

Read the full article here.

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G7 Finance Ministers Encourage Global Tax Reform and Greater Pandemic Response

Washington DC - G7 finance ministers met in London to discuss global COVID-19 response, vaccines, debt relief and global tax reform.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network, releases the following statement on the G7 finance minister communiqué and meeting:

"The G7 tax discussion is historic and could mean raising critical revenues for countries to emerge from the crisis with resilience.

"If corporations were paying their fair share in taxes, countries would have had greater resources to combat the economic shocks caused by the pandemic.

"G7 agreements on a global minimum corporate tax and digital taxes can provide revenue to face the pandemic around the world.

"The G7's work on tax reform and corruption is a blow to tax havens.

“The G7 focus on global COVID vaccine access is incredibly important. 

"The biggest threat to the global economic recovery is the lack of vaccine access in most of the world's countries.

"G7 countries must lead the way in donating their surplus vaccines and providing aid to get vaccines to developing countries.

"Regarding discussions on debt relief, the G7 made its strongest statement yet on the need for the private sector to participate in debt relief.

"The G7 was very clear that it expects the private sector to provide at least as much debt relief for developing countries as wealthy countries will provide.

"We must extend debt relief beyond the poorest countries to include all developing countries. Developing middle-income countries face the worst increases in poverty and job loss and also need to receive debt relief.

"As Sudan debt relief moves forward, we are encouraged by G7 support.

"G7 finance ministers urged that the creation of emergency currency, or Special Drawing Rights, happens by August.

"Processes to distribute Special Drawing Rights can support developing countries access vaccines, fight climate change and reduce poverty. We still need commitments that these resources can be deployed to all developing countries quickly at a low cost.

"The G7 acknowledged that climate change can only be fully addressed as part of global financial decisions and the pandemic response."

Read the G7 Finance Minister Communiqué here.

Read Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's Statement on Tax Reform and the G7 Meeting here.

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G7 Finance Ministers Meet on COVID Response, Tax and Debt Policies

Washington DC - Discussing global COVID response and tax policy, G7 finance ministers began two days of meetings on Friday.

"All countries face revenue loss when corporations don't pay their share in taxes," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "The G7 needs to support global tax reforms so we have resources for people to get beyond this pandemic."

The G7 is discussing a global corporate minimum tax to pave the way for a July G20 agreement.

In a National Security Study Memorandum released on Thursday, President Biden pledged to lead international efforts to bring transparency to the US and the international financial system.

“Biden is right to focus so much energy on a global corporate minimum tax, digital taxes, tax evasion and corruption," said LeCompte. "Tax evasion and avoidance are reasons why we didn't have enough revenue to prevent the current crisis."

Through Saturday the finance ministers also have talks on debt, global vaccine distribution and deploying emergency reserve funds for developing countries also known as Special Drawing Rights.

"The G7 needs to lead the way to make sure that everyone in the world can access vaccines," stated LeCompte.

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Global Institutions Close Ranks Behind IMF $50 Billion Vaccine Plan

Washington DC - Heads of the primary global financial, trade and health institutions urged government leaders to finance a $50 billion vaccine plan to end the pandemic. “A two-track pandemic is developing, with richer countries having access and poorer ones being left behind,” shared IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank President David Malpass, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and World Trade Organization Director General Nkozi Okonjo-Iweala in a joint statement.

“Since the IMF released its vaccine plan at the G20 Health Summit 10 days ago, voices are growing to ensure universal vaccine access,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “With what's at stake for everyone's health and the global economy, it's critical that we act quickly and invest more towards global vaccine access."

The IMF argues that the global vaccine investment would spur $9 trillion in economic gains by 2025. The proposal requires the mobilization of public and private donations and cheap loans. The leaders also called for surplus vaccines to be donated to developing countries.

 

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Collegeville Institute Features a Personal Profile of Eric LeCompte

The Collegeville Institute features a personal profile of Jubilee USA Network's Eric LeCompte, titled "All is Possible". Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

All is Possible - A Profile of Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA

By Catherine Hervey

When he was five or six years old, Eric LeCompte accompanied his parents to church and noticed the face of a suffering person in the sanctuary. He asked his parents who it was, and his mother told him it was Christ, the Son of God. His father added that we’re all children of God, and Eric decided something: if that was what happened to the children of God, he didn’t want to be part of it.

Today, Eric is the executive director of Jubilee USA, an interfaith network of more than 650 religious groups working to address the structural causes of global poverty and inequality by advocating for debt relief for impoverished nations. Eric is, by all accounts, very much involved with the suffering he saw on the face of Jesus. 

“If one of us is suffering, we are all suffering,” Eric says. And suffering, in all its myriad forms, is something he describes in the simplest terms: so many of us don’t have enough. Eric’s advocacy for the poor is based on the Jubilee year of the Torah—the fiftieth year when debts were forgiven, the enslaved liberated. These are the kinds of practices, Eric believes, that ensure we all have enough, because for many of the world’s most impoverished people, basic necessities like health care and education could be much more accessible if nations weren’t spending so much capital on debt payments. In Jubilee economics, Eric says, “We all have enough. We provide for each other and we’re protected from having too much.”

That striking choice of words—that the wealthiest of us need protection from having too much—seems at once radical and absolutely true. It brings to mind all the warnings about the perils of wealth in scripture, and also the work of social scientist Brené Brown, whose research indicates that the opposite of scarcity is not actually abundance but simply, as Eric says, enough.

Growing up as the oldest of four children in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago, Eric has his own personal experience with deprivation. “As a child, there were times when my parents were out of work, when our family did not have enough. And certainly that has been an incredible influence on my life, to ensure that all people have enough.”

Eric says his sense of calling didn’t materialize in any particular moment, but over a lifetime of daily prayer. For years he carried a copy of a sermon he heard preached while he was a student at Saint John’s. It was a sermon delivered by now Abbot John Klassen about the martyrs of Algiers, monks who served the local population in Algiers for years before they were killed, knowing each day the risks they were taking. Eric puts the message of the sermon this way: “The great sacrifice of the cross is not faced in just one moment. The great sacrifice comes after bearing small daily crosses, taking small daily risks and sacrifices that prepare us for greater action, greater risk, and perhaps the greatest sacrifice, of our lives.”

 

Read the full article here

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Eric LeCompte Featured in Podcast "Cable a tierra" on New Debt Relief Efforts

Nuestramerica.TV's Cable a tierra with James Mencias features Jubilee USA's executive director Eric LeCompte on the new issuance of Special Drawing Rights to aid developing countries with debt relief. Click here to listen to the episode. 

EP. 4 Dinero sin deuda: ¿Es posible?

By James Mencias 

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte

"We are looking at the issue of Special Drawing Rights right now in which we are working towards the issuance of $650 billion new SDRs. That means, right away, that there will be $224 billion available for middle- and low-income developing countries.

"It is incredibly exciting because most of these countries can make use of these new available resources for the acquisition of vaccines, debt payments, tackling poverty, or funding social programs.

"About $420 billion of the new SDRs will go to the developed world. Nonetheless, there is a process moving forward in the International Monetary Fund in which those new reserve funds will be donated to the developing world so that more resources are available to fight the pandemic."

 

Click here to listen to the full episode. 

 

 

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IMF Proposes $50 Billion Vaccine Plan to End Pandemic and Boost Economy

Washington DC – As worldwide COVID cases peak, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva unveiled a $50 billion proposal to support vaccinations of 60% of the world's population. During a G20 and European Commission summit, Georgieva argued the global vaccine investment would end the pandemic and spur $9 trillion in economic gains by 2025.

"Economic forecasts for most countries are grim,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “Unless we can get most of the global population vaccinated quickly, most countries will be worse off in coming years and all countries are likely to face economic shocks.”

The IMF says their vaccine plan could be funded through public and private donations and cheap loans.

In April, the IMF and G20 supported the creation of $650 billion in global reserve funds, known as Special Drawing Rights. Up to $400 billion of these pandemic crisis response funds could be donated to support additional needs of developing countries.

“Rich countries can donate their new reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights to support vaccine distribution in developing countries,” shared LeCompte. "It's critical that wealthy countries act now and support global vaccinations. If we don't act, more lives will be lost and the global economy will suffer."

Read the IMF proposal here

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US Pledges Aid, Vaccines and Climate Solutions at Vatican Conference

A High Priority is Debt Relief, Says Treasury Secretary Yellen in Address

Washington DC – Debt relief for poor countries is a high priority for the US, shared Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in virtual remarks at a Vatican meeting of global finance leaders and Catholic dignitaries. A G20 debt reduction process is in place for poor countries, but developing middle-income countries cannot access the process. During Yellen's address, she lifted US support for developing middle-income countries to qualify for debt relief.

“Yellen's participation in this Vatican event shows the synergy between the pandemic response priorities of Pope Francis and the US Treasury,” said Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte advises the Vatican on economic issues and organized a meeting between high-level religious leaders and Yellen in March. "The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences did an incredible job convening leaders to confront the current crisis."

“Dreaming of a Better Restart,” the conference that Yellen attended, focused on economic policies to combat inequality, climate change and food insecurity.

Yellen remarked on US support for creating $650 billion of emergency currency, known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). While developing countries will receive more that $200 billion of these new resources, more than $400 billion is received by wealthy countries. Yellen stated the US wants to donate their share of SDRs to poor countries.

“The support of the US to get as many new resources to developing countries is critical,” stated LeCompte. “More resources are needed to get vaccines to developing countries. Less than 2% of vaccines have reached poor countries.”

The US recently signaled support to waive pharmaceutical patents to increase access for COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.

On climate, Yellen repeated that the US will use its full power to tackle climate change. May 24th is the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, ‘Laudato Si.’ 

"Yellen's powerful comments on climate change to this special Vatican conference come as we are celebrating the Holy Father's landmark teaching on protecting the environment," shared LeCompte.

Read Secretary Yellen's Speech here.

View the agenda and read about the Jubilee USA Treasury High-Level Religious Leader Roundtable here.

Read Treasury's readout and release on the High-Level Roundtable here.

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IMF Approves Sudan Debt Relief Plan

Washington DC – On Monday, the International Monetary Fund approved a plan to pay for Sudan's debt owed to the financial institution. Using grants and internal resources, IMF leadership agreed to clear $1.3 billion in missed debt payments or arrears.

“The IMF approved an important step in the process for Sudan debt relief,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "As Sudan wrestles with the pandemic and a 50% poverty rate, debt relief cannot come soon enough."

Sudan is on track to join thirty-seven countries that received debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, a plan won by debt relief advocates in the early 2000s.

“An important part of Sudan's debt relief process is that Sudan produces a poverty reduction plan," shared LeCompte who serves on United Nations finance expert groups.

If Sudan meets IMF economic reforms and clears remaining missed debt payments, the country could qualify for an 85% reduction of its $50 billion debt by June.

Read about Sudan's debt process and the US role in relief here.

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U.S. Catholic Features Jubilee USA on Global Response to the Pandemic

U.S. Catholic features the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network joint letter to the Biden Administration for global debt relief. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

It’s time to reform global lending, say U.S. Bishops

By Kevin Clarke

In a joint letter in February, the interfaith religious development group Jubilee USA Network and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Biden administration to take the lead in preventing such lamentable trade-offs. Their appeal calls for a short-term response to address immediate humanitarian needs this year, freezing debt servicing, and forgiving some loans outright. But the letter writers also argue that long-term reform of global lending practices has to be a part of a rational response to prevent a rinse and repeat of such crises. Too often resource-rich-but-capital-poor states accept debt deals that promise prosperity but just as often deliver economic and social catastrophe.

Cornering poor counties into trading emergency spending on public health for debt payments will definitely mean a higher death toll and the likelihood that the pandemic will continue longer than it has to. In that sense a merciful response on debt is a wise investment for all, helping economies around the world return to normalcy faster and with fewer casualties. No one should be forced to choose between life and debt.

 

Read the full article here.

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Rome Reports Quotes Eric LeCompte on Global Economic Recovery

Rome Reports features Eric LeCompte on the Vatican's commitment to debt relief for developing nations. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Religious groups shift attention to economic crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic

By Justin McLellan

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund held a series of Spring meetings earlier this month to discuss the global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ahead of the virtual conference, Pope Francis addressed a letter to the meetings' participants, urging them to seek an equitable and sustainable recovery plan that recognizes the needs of developing nations, in particular the estimated 52 countries currently experiencing a debt crisis.

"This is an issue that the Catholic Church has been a leader on since 1997 when Pope John Paul II aligned the jubilee year of the Church with a campaign for debt relief," said Eric Lecompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network.

For Pope Francis, debt relief is not only a financial question, but a matter of respecting human dignity. Relieving the burden of debt of so many countries and communities today, is a profoundly human gesture that can help people to develop, to have access to vaccines, health, education and jobs.

 

Read the full article here.

Read the full article in Spanish here.

 

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