United Nations Convenes High-Level COVID Response Session for Vulnerable Countries

Washington DC – The United Nations convened on COVID response and development needs for vulnerable, small island and landlocked countries. The President of the Economic and Social Council, Pakistan Ambassador Munir Akram organized the high-level event to focus on countries struggling with specific disadvantages from the crisis.

“Small islands, poor countries and landlocked nations faced considerable risks and vulnerabilities before the pandemic struck,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and one of the primary speakers at the session. “The COVID pandemic made the situation worse and too many countries are left out of global agreements to deal with the crisis."

The pandemic set back progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, targets the international community adopted in 2015, for the countries discussed during the special UN session today.

“These countries struggle to provide vaccines and lack aid to support jobs, address climate change and feed their people,” noted LeCompte.

High-level speakers at the session include Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde; Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi; Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General and the Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, Communications and the Minister responsible for Climate Change of Fiji; Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United  Nations  and  Co-Chair  of  the  Preparatory  Committee  for  the  Fifth  UN  Conference on LDCs; Baroness Patricia J. Scotland QC, Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat; Lindsey Zuluaga, White House Director for International Economic Policy, National Security Council, USA; Jose Antonio Ocampo, Chairperson of the Committee for Development Policy of the Economic and Social Council; Mr. Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union; Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary General and Special Representative of the Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

The UN session takes place from 10:00 to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM New York Eastern Daylight Time.

Read the schedule and speakers here.

View the special UN session live and see recordings here.

Read Jubilee USA Network Executive Director Eric LeCompte's Speech here

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Biden Vows Cut to US Emissions as Yellen Commits Full Power of Treasury to Address Climate Change

Washington DC – Financial decisions play a critical role in solving climate change, advocated Treasury Secretary Yellen during a US-hosted climate summit. More than 40 world leaders are attending the two-day virtual gathering convened by President Biden. Biden announced a new US target to halve fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050. 

“The summit encourages world leaders to do more to protect our planet and environment,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Secretary Yellen's powerful words remind us that climate change decisions are linked to financial decisions and global coronavirus response."

In a strategy unveiled on Tuesday, Treasury pledged to confront climate change, domestically and globally, in all decisions the financial institution considers. To ensure all agencies within Treasury focus on climate change, Yellen named John Morton as the department's first Climate Counselor to lead the Climate Hub, reporting directly to Yellen on climate matters.

“Treasury is playing a key leadership role at the IMF and G20 to confront climate change worldwide," stated LeCompte. 

This year the US co-chairs the G20 sustainable finance working group which will have a role in climate change issues.

In a speech on Wednesday to a group of private investors and creditors, the Institute of International Finance, Yellen asserted that developing countries are vulnerable to climate change. She underscored that infrastructure investments should be low-emission, resilient and sustainable.

“Treasury's encouragement for private sector investments to promote climate solutions is important,” shared LeCompte. "I worry that Yellen's words are falling on deaf ears. In spite of the urging of the US, IMF, G20, UN and World Bank, too much of the private sector refuses to participate in coronavirus debt relief. Segments of the private sector are forcing developing countries to choose between paying debt or supporting their people and addressing climate change."

In March, Jubilee USA Network and Treasury organized a roundtable with Yellen and high-ranking religious leaders. At the meeting, the Secretary shared her vision of Treasury's role in combating climate change. 

See the full agenda for President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate here.

Read Secretary Yellen's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here

Read Secretary Yellen's speech to the Institute of International Finance here.

Read Treasury's readout of the Jubilee USA High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

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

Read President Biden's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here.

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National Catholic Reporter Quotes Eric LeCompte on Climate Summit

National Catholic Reporter quotes Eric LeCompte on the representation of developing countries at President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Pope Francis, in Earth Day messages, warns 'we are at the edge' on climate change

By Brian Roewe

In a statement, Jose Aguto, associate director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, said the summit, along with Biden's American Jobs Plan, were "positive steps our nation can take to uplift the dignity of all people and address climate change." An interfaith statement from 13 religious organizations, including Interfaith Power & Light and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, offered "prayers and our hopes for moral leadership" during the summit" and that the U.S. respond to climate change "with urgency, fairness and equity."

"Addressing the scale of this problem in all its dimensions requires us, and indeed all stakeholders, to embrace a whole community approach, with government taking on a significant role," the faith organizations wrote.

Officials with the Maryknoll Offfice in their own statement applauded the summit, calling it "a good step forward in the right direction." Chloe Noël, its faith, economy and ecology program coordinator, said the U.S. commitments "make a just and equitable recovery possible," adding that climate projects worldwide have to include local community participation and respect human rights and environmental integrity.

Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, was encouraged that the summit included a diverse representation across geography, industry and varying economies. He added it was an important signal that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke and that debt relief for developing countries be considered in conjunction with sustainable investments in those regions.


Read the full article here.

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Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter and Crux Feature Eric LeCompte's Views on COVID, Tax, Debt and IMF Meetings

CNS, National Catholic Reporter, Crux and others feature Eric LeCompte's views on COVID, tax and debt relief decisions at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

Advocates welcome global steps to help poor nations with pandemic recovery

By Dennis SadowskiCatholic News Service

Recent decisions by leading financial institutions and the world's leading economies to ease the debt burden of the world's poorest nations will help those countries respond to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the executive director of Jubilee USA said.

The decisions were reached during April meetings of the Group of 20 nations, or G-20, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

"We've made some real progress," said Eric LeCompte, who heads the alliance of faith-based development and debt relief advocacy organizations and has long advocated for financial reforms affecting the world's 73 poorest nations and dozens of other middle-income countries.

"The steps will allow countries to respond to the pandemic and other needs," LeCompte told Catholic News Service April 15. "At the same time, with how serious the crisis is, we recognize we need to do a lot more and in some ways move quickly."

Atop Jubliee USA's priority list was the creation of $650 billion in emergency reserve funds, known as Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs. He described the size of the fund package as the "biggest ever mobilization of such reserves."

Read the full article here.

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America Magazine Pens In-Depth Feature on Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA, Pope Francis, Debt, Covid

America Magazine features Eric LeCompte on Jubilee USA's debt relief work amid the pandemic, complementing Pope Francis' strong calls for debt relief and protection of the vulnerable during this crisis. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full story.

Pope Francis warns us: Covid-19 is not the only global crisis we’re facing right now

Eric LeCompte could not have asked for a more timely and effective celebrity endorsement of the work of the Jubilee USA Network to confront—yet again—a bubbling-under debt crisis that threatens a staggering impact on the world’s most vulnerable people. “We’re approaching the greatest wave of debt crises and debt restructurings the world has ever seen,” he said in an interview with America. “Fifty-six percent of all countries in the world are either [already in] debt crisis or on the verge of debt crisis,” he said, “so it’s an incredibly significant issue, and it’s become more significant because of the coronavirus pandemic.” Nations in Africa have been particularly hard hit, with 14 countries vulnerable to default and nine others in default or on the verge of default.

Decades of progress against extreme poverty is currently at risk, Mr. LeCompte said. A sobering report from the World Bank warned in October that 150 million people could be moving back into extreme poverty this year. “Because of the debt trap and the pandemic, we’re facing the worst losses in development in the last 50 years,” Mr. LeCompte said.

The Group of 20, a policy-making forum of the world’s largest 20 economies, and the I.M.F. have created an emergency process to respond to the crisis for the 73 “very poorest countries in the world”—Zambia, Chad and Ethiopia have already appealed for relief under this emergency debt relief process—but that emergency response still leaves out a substantial number of nations facing overwhelming debt, Mr. LeCompte said.

Then as now, the stakes could not be higher. “Debt means death” was Mr. LeCompte’s blunt summary of the implications of the crises, which have forced low-income states to disburse “more in debt payments than…all of their health care, education and social services combined.”

Click here for the full story.

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Just Love Features Eric LeCompte on Global Covid Response

Just Love interviews Eric LeCompte on the global economic impact of the pandemic, poverty, inequality, climate change, and the work of Jubilee USA. Click here to listen to the episode from 4:45 to 27:47. 

The Global Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change; and a Look at Immigration Law, Policies and Procedures

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte 


"Had the crisis resolution process to continually stop financial crisis and reduce debt that Pope Francis called for at the United Nations in 2015, we would not be dealing with as a severe economic crisis for all countries in the world."

"At Jubilee, we are focused on making sure that enough aid goes to the developing world. Because of the crisis, developing countries are about a trillion dollars short of getting to where they were before the crisis started."

"The most consequential decisions on climate change will not be made by the United Nations in the next month or next five years. They are actually going to be made as a part of the same financial decisions we are discussing via the IMF and the G20."

"The problems we are dealing with did not begin with the pandemic, they were challenges that were already in place. We got into this crisis because we haven't put in place the actual solutions world leaders have agreed upon over the last 20 years."

"We should move forward permanent solutions into the financial system that can continually address inequality and extreme poverty and ensure that countries have the revenue and aids they need."

"The greatest challenge that we face around development  is that because of the current crisis we are losing all of the gains we made since the early 1990s."

"The crisis is incredibly concerning and that is why the structural policies that Jubilee USA and the religious community work on are so important because these policies will help countries to go back to where they were before the pandemic and will help prevent the next crisis."


Click here to listen to the episode from 4:45 to 27:47.


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Jubilee USA Statement on IMF and World Bank Meetings and Development Committee Communiqué

Washington DC - The Development Committee, a ministerial-level consensus building and policymaking body for the World Bank and the IMF, met as part of the Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA, a UN expert who monitors IMF and World Bank meetings, releases the following statement on the meetings and World Bank Development Committee Communiqué:

"While we've made some significant progress in combating the coronavirus crisis, this week's meetings lacked ambition and should be defined as a lost opportunity.

"IMF and World Bank analysis shows that developing countries face deeper challenges because of the pandemic and yet, the institutions seem to be taking the crisis less seriously.

"High debts and rising deficits limit the ability of developing countries to mount an effective pandemic response. The current IMF and World Bank measures are insufficient.

“Access to vaccines, aid and debt are all connected. The World Bank found that only 2% of vaccines have reached poor countries.

“World Bank analysis unveiled this week shows that the number of poor countries in debt crises or with high debts continues to grow.

“The importance of private creditors in debt relief is a theme throughout the Spring meetings, but not a single solution to promote their involvement has been raised this week.

“All countries that defaulted last year were middle-income countries. This group of countries faces incredible challenges and are not included in current relief and aid initiatives.

"Moving forward more IDA funding to support poor countries is a very positive step.

"This week, the IMF and World Bank are taking strong steps to link addressing climate change as a part of pandemic response."

Read the World Bank Development Committee Communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on the IMFC communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA's release on 260 faith, labor, human rights, and other groups pressing the IMF, G20 and White House on a COVID response here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting here.

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

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.
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Telam Features Jubilee USA at Economic and Social Council Meeting

Telam features Jubilee USA in the latest discussion at Argentina's Economic and Social Council meeting that addressed the challenges facing Latin America as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The forum also addressed the importance of debt restructuring and Special Drawing Rights. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

El Presidente pidió renegociar tasas y plazos por la deuda con el FMI

El presidente Alberto Fernández pidió este jueves "renegociar" las tasas y los plazos de pago de la deuda que el país contrajo con el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), al encabezar esta tarde la apertura de la reunión plenaria del Consejo Económico y Social (CES) con miembros del Grupo Asesor Externo. "Lo que más buscamos no es postergar pagos, sino encontrar una solución al problema de la deuda, de modo de tener tiempo para crecer y que lo que comprometamos a futuro se pueda cumplir. De otro modo, la restructuración de la deuda será un problema que se dilate y no quiero incrementarlo sino resolverlo", completó el mandatario. Fernández señaló que la Argentina "es un país que enfrenta un problema de deuda singular, que tal vez no haya otros en el mundo" y señaló que "siempre esa deuda le ha generado un condicionante para poder avanzar y crecer".

De la reunión plenaria participaron el presidente del CES, Gustavo Beliz; el ministro de Economía, Martín Guzmán; el profesor de la Universidad de Columbia y consejero de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), Jeffrey Sachs; la secretaria General de la Secretaría General Iberoamericana (Segib), Rebeca Grynspan; el director ejecutivo del Jubilee USA Network, Eric LeCompte; y la secretaria Ejecutiva de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal), Alicia Bárcena; además de los integrantes del Consejo.

Entre otros temas, los participantes analizaron el futuro del trabajo, el sistema de obras públicas, la reforma de la arquitectura financiera global y regional, los desafíos de Latinoamérica en la era del Covid-19, la relevancia de la reestructuración de deudas, la ampliación de derechos especiales de giro (DEG) del FMI y el financiamiento del desarrollo en la Argentina.


Read the full article here.


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Jubilee USA Statement on World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings and IMFC Communiqué

Washington DC - World leaders, finance ministers, heads of corporations and development groups are meeting virtually for the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF policymaking body, discussed policy responses to the global COVID-19 economic crisis, including tax, aid, vaccines, Special Drawing Rights and debt processes to support developing countries.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, who monitors the IMF, releases the following statement on the IMFC Communiqué and IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings:

"While noting its analysis is uncertain, the IMF continues to herald a faster global economic recovery. At the same time, the IMF is saying that most countries will be worse off than they were before the pandemic. 

"This week, the IMF released analysis that forecasts stronger recovery centered on two countries, the United States and China. The same IMF analysis notes most countries will continue to struggle and developing countries will lose decades of development gains.

“Wide differences in resources between rich and poor countries sow the seeds of a more unequal post-COVID economy.

“The support for the creation of $650 billion in emergency reserve funds, or Special Drawing Rights, means new resources for developing countries struggling with the pandemic.

"Thanks to the United States Treasury and the IMF, consensus is growing on a global minimum corporate tax. 

"A global minimum corporate tax means new revenues to fight poverty and address inequality.

"A global digital tax agreement can provide additional revenues for coronavirus-hit developing countries. 

"Almost 95 million people entered the ranks of extreme poverty due to the pandemic over the last year. As developing countries face decades of lost development gains, we need to do more to ensure that all countries recover, not just rich countries.

"According to the IMF, the entire future of the global economy hinges on the pace of global vaccination.

“Debt relief is not moving quickly enough to address the needs of all developing countries struggling with the pandemic.

"I'm incredibly concerned by references in G20 and IMF statements about ending debt relief measures as suffering increases in developing countries.

“The poorest countries will need to spend $450 billion over five years to fight the pandemic and restart some growth. Only significant debt cuts and aid can get them there.

"As deficits and debts rise in many developing countries, rising interest rates in wealthy economies could precipitate another global financial crisis.

"It's critical that world leaders are placing more emphasis on solving the climate crisis as we tackle the health and economic crises spurred by the coronavirus.

"In the next months, we must focus more on moving forward processes to prevent the next crisis. Had world leaders implemented past global agreements on crisis prevention, we'd have the tools in place to deal with the current crisis."

Read the IMFC Communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA's release on 260 faith, labor, human rights, and other groups pressing the IMF, G20 and White House on a COVID response here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting 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.
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Reuters, Fox Business Covers Jubilee USA Letter to the IMF, G20 and White House on COVID Response

Reuters covers Jubilee USA's Covid letter to G20 leaders, the IMF, and the White House in support of debt relief expansion measures. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

G20 to boost IMF war chest, extend debt-servicing freeze

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Associated Press, MarketWatch, Fox Feature Eric LeCompte on G20 Temporary Debt Payment Moratorium

Associated Press, MarketWatch, Fox, and hundreds of local outlets quote Eric LeCompte on the G20's temporary debt payment moratorium. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Major economies support $650 billion boost in IMF resources

By Martin Crutsinger

The proposal to increase the IMF’s resources received a boost earlier this year when it got the backing of the Biden administration. The resources are known as IMF Special Drawing Rights and create an asset that countries can use to bolster their own reserves.

The proposal still needs approval from the IMF’s board and then contributions from member countries.

The debt-payment deal extends the moratorium begun last year until the end of this year. But international aid groups expressed unhappiness that the G-20 is saying the extension will be the final one to be offered.

“We’ve seen progress on debt relief and aid, but we still need to solve multiple challenges so countries can get through this crisis,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network. “It is unlikely that the breathing space indebted countries get with this extension will be enough.”


Read the full article here.

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Common Dreams Pens In-Depth Article on Jubilee COVID Letter Endorsed by 260 Organizations

Common Dreams quotes Eric LeCompte on Jubilee USA's letter urging additional debt relief measures in low- and middle-income countries. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

'We Must Do More': Hundreds of Advocacy Groups Urge Biden, G20, and IMF to Increase Pandemic Aid

By Common Dreams

While both the G20 and IMF have agreed to temporarily suspend debt payments for dozens of developing nations, Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert who heads the Jubilee USA Network, said these moves are not enough. 

"World leaders worked hard over the last year to tackle the health and economic crises spurred by the [Covid-19] pandemic," said LeCompte on Wednesday. "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." 

Finance ministers from G7 nations—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—last month agreed to create emergency reserve funds, or Special Drawing Rights (SDR), in what LeCompte at the time called an effort "to confront the [Covid-19] economic crisis that is ravaging developing countries."


Read the full article here.

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