Senator Lugar Jubilee USA Statement

Washington DC - On Sunday, former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (R) died. Lugar sponsored and led Jubilee USA legislation and efforts on debt relief, anti-corruption, preventing financial crisis, tax evasion and the Jubilee Act on responsible lending and borrowing.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement on Senator Lugar:

"Senator Lugar was a bridge builder and defender of the vulnerable.

"Lugar was a leader of legislation to prevent financial crisis, provide debt relief for poor countries and make our financial system more responsible and transparent.

"Currently in Congress we face such polarization and so many divides. In Washington DC, we need his kind of leadership again."

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May 1st 4 Puerto Rico, Mozambique and NAFTA

Friends -

I wanted to alert you that on May 1st, Jubilee USA is co-sponsoring a major advocacy effort with national partners and hundreds of activists for Congress to fully fund disaster relief for Puerto Rico, US States and Territories.

Puerto Rico's disaster relief is intrinsically tied to its need for debt relief. I hope on Wednesday you'll join Jubilee USA's national Call Congress Day for Puerto Rico. Please look for our Wednesday action alert.

Also on Wednesday, May 1st, our matching donation funds expire. Will you please join me and contribute to support Jubilee USA's vital 2019 campaigns by May 1st so your gift can be matched and doubled?

If you make a monthly, recurring gift your donation will be tripled for the entire year!

Your support is vital now and moves mountains. Your support made it possible for us to push the White House and the US Justice Department to prosecute Mozambique lenders and corrupt government officials who agreed on secret loans to turn fishing boats into military attack crafts.

On Friday, as Category-4 Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique we renewed our call for debt relief and public budget transparency for the East African nation.

Your gifts allow us to move forward advocacy for a new NAFTA agreement that protects the vulnerable, stops predatory debt collection and moves forward access to medicines for all of us. Your support means we can move forward bipartisan legislation to stop tax evasion and corruption - legislation that can keep dictators from stealing debt relief monies and prevent the financing of human trafficking.

In a tough political environment, your gift makes it possible for us to move forward trade deals, debt deals and corporate transparency legislation that lifts and protects the vulnerable. You tax-deductible donation today will be matched and doubled. If you make a recurring, monthly donation by May 1st, your gift will be tripled for the year.

Thanks for your partnership,

Eric
Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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

 

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Second Deadly Cyclone Hits Mozambique

Religious Development Group Calls for Debt and Disaster Relief

Washington DC - Category-4 Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique Thursday night, the second severe storm to hit the country in six weeks. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 30,000 people were evacuated because of Cyclone Kenneth and another 70,000 people are still in harm's way. The hurricane-strength storm is predicted to drop twice as much rainfall as Cyclone Idai, which devastated the East African nation in March. Mozambique is still recovering from Cyclone Idai and the International Monetary Fund loaned $118.2 million for Idai rebuilding efforts.

"It's time to move away from loans for Mozambique and start the process of debt relief," said United Nations debt expert Eric LeCompte who heads the religious development group Jubilee USA. "This cyclone was the first major storm to hit Mozambique with hurricane strength in 60 years and as one of the poorest countries in the world, they don't have the resources to respond."

The United Nations Development Programme ranks Mozambique as the 9th least developed country in the world out of 189 ranked countries. On March 14th and 15th Cyclone Idai made landfall, killing over 700 people and causing an estimated $2 billion in damage.

In 2016 the IMF stopped financing Mozambique after over $1 billion in secret loans were discovered to outfit fishing boats into military crafts.

"Debt relief is an effective form of disaster aid and must be an important part of Mozambique's recovery," said LeCompte.

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Yom Tov, a Promise, Chag Pesach Samech

Dear Friends,

As Yom Tov approaches, from my family to yours, from the community of Jubilee USA to your community - may I wish you - chag Pesach samech.

May the sea part for us, may we hear tambourines and drums as we continue, together, the long journey that ends at the land of promise, joy and freedom.

Wishing you and your loved ones every blessing,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Jubilee USA Network


Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us
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ValueWalk Features Eric LeCompte's Thoughts on IMF Analysis

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with ValueWalk about the policy challenges faced in achieving the sustainable development goals. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

As Jamie Dimon Says Lehman Won’t Happen Again, IMF Analysis Points To Next Global Financial Crisis

“Developing countries are wrestling with crisis,” UN sovereign debt analyst and Executive Director of Jubliee USA Eric LeCompte told ValueWalk, pointing to a virus that could quickly spread to the developed world. “There is more than one canary in this coal mine.”

The IMF has released a series of reports on unsustainable debt levels in developing economies that it says makes the global environment “unsettled.”

LeCompte notes that even with a relatively strong global economy, many developing nations are finding trouble with GDP to debt levels above 100% and 17 countries are in default. He was moderating an IMF panel discussion on the topic when unknown derivatives risk exposures tied to the debt was raised as an issue that could derail the economy, calling it “the scariest IMF meeting I’ve ever attended.”

The debt crisis is now engulfing 40% of low-income nations with the IMF concerned of rising debt levels in African nations that is even starting to impact wealthy regions such as Kenya and South Africa.  What also concerns LeCompte is how the debt problem is spreading in Latin America, right on the doorstep of the US. Brazil, El Salvador, Venezuela and Argentina are all showing signs of cracking under a mountain of debt. According to LeCompte,  three Latin American countries are beyond 70% debt to GDP.

Argentina, which lost a debt fight with hedge funds led in part by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, is particularly hard hit. Investors are now pricing in a 49% chance of default, up from 22% a year ago, according to credit-default swaps pricing.

“In Argentina, public money (from the IMF) is bailing out hedge funds,” LeCompte quipped, noting that solutions for another global debt crisis have not been put in place.

Read more here

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Eric LeCompte Speaks with Devex on UN Debt and Tax Agreements

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with Devex about the policy challenges faced in achieving the sustainable development goals. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

What will it take to fix flailing SDG funding?

While the financing for development process has helped build consensus around several issues, the challenge is that very little about it is binding, said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the financial-reform focused alliance Jubilee USA. Addis brought up illicit financial flows but created no mechanism to support countries in retaining their resources, he said. The Addis agreement also called for debt restructuring to be improved, which needs to be done, especially with growing indebtedness.

“Across the board — particularly with tax, transparency, debt policies — we are at a point where we need to move beyond voluntary mechanisms because we don’t have the ability to reach the SDGS,” LeCompte said.

Read more here

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UN Forum Wrestles with Funding Development

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

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

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

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

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

Read Eric LeCompte's United Nations statement here

Read about the UN Financing for Development Forum here
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Urge Congress for Puerto Rico Relief

Friends, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gratefully,

Kate

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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Implementing Debt Policy Commitments from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda

United Nations Financing for Development Forum

(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Jubilee USA Network

April 18th, 2019

Thank-you Mr. Chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the Jubilee USA release on the World Economic Outlook Report

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

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