Blessed New Year

Friends,

Wishing that your New Year is full of blessings.

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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A Happy 2020 for Somalia, Puerto Rico, the Vulnerable and Transparency

Friends,

We're ending 2019 on a lot of good news.

A week and a half ago, we won the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. After two years of work, President Trump signed our legislation into law. We moved Congress and the International Monetary Fund to pass Somalia debt plans that mean building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and ending the tragic reality that 73% of people live in extreme poverty.

Over the next weeks and months in 2020, we still have a lot of work to do to move Congress, the White House and the IMF further, but now the debt relief process can begin.

So we can continue this work into 2020, please make a donation now to support our bipartisan efforts on Somalia, Puerto Rico, new trade deals, corruption and financial secrecy. Before January 1st, your tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA Network is matched and doubled.

Beyond winning debt relief for Somalia, these last few weeks for Jubilee USA is full of victories. Now we need to carry those victories into 2020:

  • Congress passed and the President just signed, nearly $6 billion in healthcare aid for Puerto Rico. We need your help as we work to secure tens of billions of more disaster aid and assistance for Puerto Rico in 2020.

  • Our interfaith, bipartisan NAFTA, US Mexico Canada trade campaign won all of our goals. We stopped predatory "vulture" funds from using trade deals to collect on old bad debts. We ensured that most abusive corporations can't exploit trade deals to take advantage of poor people or local laws. We removed the language that would keep medicines and drugs unaffordable for vulnerable communities and all of us. Our legislation passed in the House last Thursday. We organized the largest denominations in the US to work with us on this critical campaign. With your help, we'll win our goals in the Senate in 2020.

  • We won support from the White House and passed our Jubilee Corporate Transparency Act in the House of Representatives. Once we pass it in the Senate, this legislation helps stops human traffickers, protects debt relief and development aid and raises revenue in the developing world. We are close to a deal in the Senate and organized 100 faith communities to work with us to move this forward. We expect our Senate vote in February and need your support to push this across the finish line and have the President sign it into law.

Your gift now supports vital and strategic campaigns that tackle the root cause of poverty and inequality. Whether your gift is $250, $50, $1000, $500, $100 or any amount - your tax-deductible donation really matters and is doubled before January 1st.

With many donors prioritizing donations to elections and the tax reform impacting contributions - your gift matters now more than ever.

We are so grateful for your partnership.

Happy New Year,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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2019: Jubilee in the News

Friends,

From TIME to the Associated Press to Quartz to your local newspaper - tens of thousands of newspapers, television and radio shows covered Jubilee USA's efforts in 2019.

See a sampling of Jubilee USA's news coverage below.

Happy Holidays,

Kate

 

JUBILEE IN THE NEWS 

Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Evasion and Transparency

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (Dec 18)

National Catholic Reporter (Sept 9)
National Catholic Reporter (Sept 6)
Agence France-Presse (Oct 23) 
Yahoo! News (Oct 23) 
Accounting Today (Oct 23) 
The Business Times (Oct 23)
Quartz (July 25)
Devex (April 23)


US State, Territory and Puerto Rico Disaster and Recovery Aid

Alabama Political Reporter (June 4)
El Nuevo Dia (June 3)
The Fence Post (May 24)


Climate and the Environment

MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
Crux (Nov 4)
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 4)


The IMF, World Bank, UN, Debt and Financial Crisis

MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
National Catholic Reporter (Dec 9)
Associated Press (Oct 19) 
Chicago Tribune (Oct 19)
US News and World Report (Oct 19) 
Business Report (Oct 16)
The Guardian (Oct 12)
Albany Times Union (Oct 7) 
Investor Daily (Sept 27)
CTV News (Sept 26)
The Baltimore Sun (Sept 26)
Chicago Tribune (Sept 26)
Agence France-Presse (Sept 25)
The Daily Trust (Sept 26)
The Irish Examiner (Sept 26)
The Jakarta Post (Sept 26)
Agence France-Presse (Sept 25) 
Brietbart (Sept 25) 
TIME (Sept 25)
Associated Press (Sept 25) 
ValueWalk (April 23)
Market Watch (April 2)


Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)
The American Prospect (July 29)
National Catholic Reporter (July 27)
Alabama Political Reporter (June 19)
National Catholic Reporter (June 18)
Pensions & Investments (June 14)
Telemundo Puerto Rico (June 16)
National Catholic Reporter (May 10)
Latin American Advisor (Feb 15)
Nonprofit Quarterly (Feb 11)
Pensions & Investments (Feb 5)
El Nuevo Dia (Feb 5)
El Nuevo Dia (Jan 18)


Somalia

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
Jubilee USA Network (Dec 20)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
Jubilee USA Network (Dec 18)


2019 Overview

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)

Jubilee USA Year-end Report

 

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Eric LeCompte's Essay in MACROSCOPE

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung recently published an essay by Eric LeCompte entitled “Keeping our Promises to Finance Development.” Read an excerpt below or find the full text here.  

MACROSCOPE: Keeping our Promises to Finance Development

According to UNCTAD, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be achieved with a 5-7 trillion US dollar investment. If we fund the SDGs, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission notes that 12 trillion US dollars of new market opportunities and 380 million new jobs could be created. Yet we know that the developing world is losing a trillion dollars a year, and according to the IMF’s latest report - 15 trillion US dollars is held in tax havens and financial secrecy havens.

UNCTAD notes that debt sustainability in developing countries is “deteriorating fast”, and the IMF states that as of last August, 47 per cent of low-income countries were in debt crisis or facing high debt distress. Human beings are suffering. In too many poor countries, high debts mean people don’t eat, people don’t see doctors and communities are unprepared to deal with the havoc caused by tsunamis, hurricanes, earth quakes and other extreme weather events.

Because of high unsustainable debts, corruption, a lack of public budget transparency, tax evasion, tax avoidance and bad trade deals – countries are losing revenue, and this real revenue loss becomes a theft from the poor. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children under the age of five are dying every single day.

If these numbers aren’t frightening enough, these same structural causes of poverty are also why we have extreme inequality, why 80 individuals have more wealth than 3.5 billion – or half the world’s people, people who live in poverty.

High debts, illicit financial flows and these other structural issues are why the IMF and UNCTAD are warning all of us that we could experience another global financial crisis.

This frightens all of us as we ask whether debts are hindering development and whether high debts and financial secrecy are creating the conditions for another global financial crisis.

Jubilee USA Network, whose members include the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Jewish World Service, Islamic Relief, the United Church of Christ, The Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Episcopal Church and most mainline Christian Churches – as well as the international debt and development network that coalesced around resolving debt crisis in the poorest countries of the world over 20 years ago – is well positioned to respond to these issues because of our unique history in creating and supporting policies that successfully resolve unsustainable debts, raise revenue, promote good governance and prevent financial crisis and diminish poverty.

Together we move forward global policies that address the root causes of poverty and inequality related to debt, tax, trade and transparency issues. Congressional Quarterly cites the work of Jubilee USA as some of the last truly bipartisan efforts in the United States.

In the 1990’s – we began our work together to address inequality and finance development by addressing the global debt crisis. Working with governments around the world, together, we won two great debt relief and financing initiatives to address global poverty and promote children’s education and health: The Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Because of these initiatives, over 115 billion US dollars was won in debt relief to benefit some of the world’s poorest countries.

Because of that debt relief, we know in sub-Saharan Africa that more than 54 million kids went to school who never would have seen the inside of a classroom. We know that school fees were cancelled, hospitals were opened, because of this historic initiative, because of this relief and the international accountability laws that we won, all of this money had to go into building social infrastructure. Former World Bank President Jim Kim cites debt relief as one of the main reasons we saw sustained economic growth in some countries across Africa.

It was out of these initiatives that concepts around achieving debt sustainability were born. 

Unfortunately, as successful and important as HIPC and MDRI were, we now realize that those solutions were not enough to entirely address the problem. Out of the 38 very poor countries that benefitted from the HIPC and MDRI initiatives, 31 – out of 38 – again face debt distress, financial crisis or unsustainable debts. At this point only Somalia is able to qualify for this existing process. Eventually two other countries may be able to utilize this process.

But for every other country in the world, this door is now closed.

While the door is now closed for almost every country in the world on this process, we acknowledge that it was only because of the political will of UN delegates and their finance, development and foreign ministries back home that this happened. In 2016 we saw that political will again in the United States under the Republican led US Congress when a super bankruptcy process was created to deal with Puerto Rico’s 72 billion US dollar debt crisis. It was the first act of the US Congress to stop predatory “vulture funds.” After Haiti’s tragic earthquake, we saw world leaders and the IMF create a process to relieve Haiti’s debt. Just a few years ago, we saw that political will again when the IMF moved forward a debt relief process and innovative grant process to respond to the three Ebola affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

We also see the US government and the G20 working to stop “vulture funds,” promote sustainable development and prevent financial crisis with the Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Development. Political will mobilized again to create new contract clauses to stop predatory “vulture funds.” 

Now we need that political will again, from all of us, to ensure that debt is a vehicle for sustainable development, not a hindrance to development and a cause of human suffering. We need to make debt sustainable and restructurings predictable to stop another global financial crisis.

While the problems are great, there are solutions we can move forward now.

In Addis Ababa in 2015 we gathered with heads of state, our finance ministers and foreign ministers and we forged a consensus. We forged a consensus more powerful and more important than the consensus we achieved for HIPC and MDRI.

We are halfway there – we have a consensus already. By comparison – the HIPC consensus took decades to achieve. But we already have a consensus. Now we must focus on implementation.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again.

In the Addis Ababa Action Agenda we agreed:

1.) We must implement principles of responsible lending and borrowing, promote good governance and public budget transparency. This implementation costs nothing but would raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year. It means exporting the laws we rely on for our domestic economies. Not implementing means corruption goes unchecked and the Mozambique crisis situation, which could have been prevented, is just the tip of the iceberg.

2.) We created the first international agreement to stop vulture funds. There is no way to separate the current economic condition of a G20 country, Argentina, and its battle with vulture funds.

3.) While the important work and efforts of Monterey foresaw the challenges of illicit financial flows, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda was the first to define them and call for tax evasion and corruption to be curbed as a matter of development. Additionally, curbing tax avoidance was also noted as essential for development and good governance. I would offer one of the gifts of the financing for development process was that we all learned together how startling all of our economic losses are because of illicit financial flows and also legal tax avoidance.

4.) In line with the types of debt restructuring and bankruptcy regimes we rely on in our domestic economies and the Doha and Monterey agreements, we agreed that debt restructuring must be improved to arbitrate debt comprehensively, fairly and neutrally. After the Asian financial in the late 1990s we came close to implementing the SDRM, or the Sovereign Debt Resolution Mechanism. We were so close, but it didn’t move forward. The next moment we saw global political will was after the global financial crisis of 2008. We have an agreement to move this forward – we will we wait until the next financial crisis to build political will again?

5.)  Finally – the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, took aim at debt risks of Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Caribbean countries. It is critical that we focus on this one area to help us leverage and grow political will.

With political will growing, we can tackle some of the debt problems of the SIDS. Across the world, many of these islands have poverty rates that range from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. These so-called Middle-Income Small Islands are now facing crisis. Of the 25 highest debt per capita countries, more than half are SIDS.

Unsustainable debts mean that these small islands don’t have resources to deal with the shock of a hurricane or a financial crisis that stops tourists from visiting their countries. When hurricanes decimated Caribbean islands in the last five years, we saw countries like Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda make debt payments within days of a hurricane ravaging their country. It is imperative to move forward proposals that can restructure debt when countries face shocks or natural disasters.

We see the success of proposals like this, when debt relief was successfully used as a crisis response tool for the three African countries hit by the Ebola epidemic.

When disaster strikes, when famine spreads and when economic crisis impacts the poor, we need to be able to reevaluate these situations. In line with our previous thoughts on improving debt restructuring and looking at Chapter 9 and 11 styles of bankruptcy – it seems the Caribbean and SIDS could be good candidates for a regional or focused initiative. This post HIPC initiative, could be an initiative with the high debt distress many Caribbean countries and SIDS are experiencing. It can utilize the principles of bankruptcy for a regional or focused mechanism. When a disaster strikes, a debt moratorium would allow breathing space and debt payments to be used for rebuilding. This would also be a time to reevaluate debt sustainability and possibly trigger a bankruptcy restructuring process.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again. We will do it again.

For small islands, on a smaller scale, we can test solutions that can build resilient, sustainable communities, address inequality and lift the vulnerable. Starting here, we can build more political will to finally resolve debt crisis, stop global financial crises and curb illicit financial flows.

We’ve done it before. We will do it again.

 

Read more here

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Victory! President Signs Somalia Debt Relief and...

Friends, 

We are so excited to share that we won the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. Last night, President Trump signed our debt relief legislation into law.

Also, thanks to our efforts together, the International Monetary Fund just agreed to a plan that will relieve their share of Somalia's debt. Over the next weeks and months, we still have a lot of work to do to move Congress, the White House and the IMF further, but now the debt relief process can begin.

Relieving Somalia's debt means building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and ending the tragic reality that 73% of people in Somalia live in extreme poverty.

So we can continue this work into 2020, please make a donation now to support our efforts on Somalia, Puerto Rico, new trade deals, corruption and financial secrecy. Now your tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA Network is matched and doubled.

Beyond winning debt relief for Somalia, these last few weeks for Jubilee USA is full of victories:

  • Congress passed and the President just signed, nearly $6 billion in healthcare aid for Puerto Rico

  • Our interfaith, bipartisan NAFTA, US Mexico Canada campaign won all of our goals. We stopped predatory "vulture" funds from using trade deals to collect on old bad debts. We ensured that most abusive corporations can't exploit trade deals to take advantage of poor people or local laws. We removed the language that would keep medicines and drugs unaffordable for vulnerable communities and all of us

  • We won support from the White House and passed our Jubilee Corporate Transparency Act in the House of Representatives. Once we pass it in the Senate, this legislation helps stops human traffickers, protects debt relief and development aid and raises revenue in the developing world

Your gift now supports vital and strategic campaigns that tackle the root cause of poverty and inequality. Whether your gift is $10, $100, $1000 or any amount - your tax-deductible donation is doubled and really matters.

We are so grateful for your partnership,

Eric


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President Trump Authorizes Somalia Debt Relief

IMF Approves Somalia Debt Plan

Washington DC - President Trump signed a year-end spending bill which authorizes the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. Earlier in the week Congress passed the spending package which included $35 million to begin paying the principle of $1.1 billion in US held Somalia debt.

"Relieving Somalia's debt could mean building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and moving forward measures to end extreme poverty," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. Jubilee USA worked on debt relief for Somalia for the last two years.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund announced it is organizing the cancellation of its share of Somalia debt which stands at around $140 million.

"We are seeing good progress from the United States Government and the IMF on Somalia debt relief," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Almost three-quarters of the Somalia population lives in extreme poverty and debt relief is desperately needed."

Somalia owes about $4.6 billion in debt. The United States is the largest creditor holding $1.1 billion in Somalia debt. The majority of the remainder of the debt is held by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, France and Italy.

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Congress Passes Somalia Debt Relief

Friends,

We have great news. It's been a fast moving 24 hours. Thanks to our efforts together, the House of Representatives and the Senate just authorized the beginning of debt relief for Somalia.

We made the impossible, possible. And debt relief for Somalia cannot come quickly enough.

The White House needs to urgently hear from you.

Now that we passed the initial authorization in the Senate and the House, the President needs to sign the authorization into law. Please ask the White House to support Somalia debt relief now.


The Human Development Index ranks Somalia among the 5 least developed countries on earth. Possibly the poorest country on the African continent, Somalia has a 73% extreme poverty rate. Without relieving Somalia's debt, Somalia cannot finance infrastructure and recover from war, disasters or famines.

Debt cancellation for Somalia could mean women's empowerment, kids going back to school and moving forward measures to end extreme poverty.

The President could sign the bill as early as today if we act. Can you please ask the White House to support Somalia debt relief?

Somalia owes $4.6 billion in debt. $1.1 billion is owed to the US and the US is the largest debt holder. If the US authorizes the process to begin, the IMF, World Bank, France, Italy and other countries will follow suit.

Congress authorized $35 million to begin paying the principle of Somalia's debt and authorize the Treasury and State Department to begin the process. We'll need more help from you in the coming weeks to finish the process - but now momentum is on our side.

Thank you,

Eric

P.s. Before the end of the year, we are working to secure $6 billion in Puerto Rico aid and win our changes in NAFTA. We moved the Corporate Transparency Act through the House and are moving the Senate. In order to continue winning, we ask that you please make a donation to support our urgent efforts. All gifts are doubled now.

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Congress Passes Somalia Debt Relief

Bill Heads to White House

Washington DC - As part of the Federal government's year-end spending package or "minibus," Congress passed the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. On Tuesday the House of Representatives passed the DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act of 2019 (HR 1158) which included $35 million to begin paying the principle of $1.1 billion in US held debt. On Wednesday the Senate passed the companion legislation (S 135) which sends the bill to the President to be signed into law.

"Debt relief for Somalia cannot come soon enough," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "Without relieving Somalia's debt, Somalia is unable to finance infrastructure and recover from war, natural disasters or famines."

The Human Development Index ranks Somalia among the 5 least developed countries on earth. Possibly the poorest country on the African continent, Somalia has a 73% extreme poverty rate.

"Canceling Somalia's debt could mean women's empowerment, kids going back to school and moving forward measures to end extreme poverty," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "If President Trump signs the spending package, the US Treasury and State Departments are authorized to move forward the first phase of debt relief for the African country."

Somalia owes about $4.6 billion in debt. The United States is the largest creditor holding $1.1 billion in Somalia debt. The majority of the remainder of the debt is held by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, France and Italy.

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Our Moment

Friends, 

It's hard to believe that after 10 years of work, Jubilee USA's Corporate Transparency Act could finally become law. But together, we again made what seemed impossible, possible.

In addition to our upcoming Senate transparency vote, we prepare for three more imminent Congress votes on Puerto Rico aid, Somalia debt relief and a new NAFTA trade agreement.

It's our moment.

It's also our busiest December on record.

As we successfully move Congress, the White House and world leaders on our bipartisan, interfaith Jubilee USA efforts - we must raise at least $100,000 dollars before year-end.

So - when you join me and make a year-end tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA today, we can focus more on winning and less on fundraising. Your donation right now is matched and doubles our impact.

Whether that gift is $50, $15, $500, $150 or any amount - it's doubled and immediately supports our strategic and transformative efforts that impact billions of people living in poverty.

Gratefully,

Eric

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Senate Votes, Religious Letter, Action

Friends,

Because of your calls, e-mails and actions, we are close to seeing Jubilee USA's Corporate Transparency Act become law. We won White House support and passed our legislation in the House of Representatives.

The last hurdle is the Senate.

Yesterday, we delivered our letter to the Senate with more than 80 national religious bodies and local churches, synagogues and Muslim groups urging passage of our Jubilee legislation. Religious groups including the National Council of Churches and the Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and United Church of Christ Churches signed on.

From Utah to Georgia to Iowa, many of your faith communities signed the letter. Read the letter and the signatories.

If your faith community hasn't signed on to the letter yet, please sign up your faith community before we deliver an updated letter with new signers next week.

It will be more difficult for dictators to use shell companies to secretly steal debt relief and development aid with our Jubilee legislation. Human traffickers won't be able to use shell companies to hide their profits once this legislation passes the Senate. The legislation reveals the true owners of shell companies to law enforcement.

Even if you already e-mailed your Senators, please e-mail your Senators again and tell them to co-sponsor the Corporate Transparency Act and the ILLICIT CASH Act. You can only e-mail one Senator at a time - so please click the link again after sending your first e-mail so you can send an e-mail to your second Senator too.

We can win this legislation before the end of the year. Your calls, messages and postcards got us this far, but we need your voice now more than ever to cross the finish line.

Thanks for taking action,


Kate


Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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