Yellen: World Bank Should Incorporate Climate and Pandemic Challenges in Fight to End Poverty

World Bank poverty reduction work should include growth goals and address climate change, pandemics and other global challenges, asserted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday. Speaking at the Center for Strategic International Studies, she presented US priorities on a World Bank reform process of the Bank's vision, operation and finances.

“The pandemic, war and inflation are increasing poverty around the globe,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Yellen knows we've lost decades of work on development and that the World Bank and development banks can do more if we can make these banks more effective."

Last October, the US led calls for a reform process of the World Bank. The agenda includes assessing proposals to increase bank lending by hundreds of billions of dollars.

“As we need development banks to do more, they will need more resources and capital,” added LeCompte. "We also need them to be more innovative to deal with multiple, growing crises."

In a 2021 letter to President Biden, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network called for significantly increasing multilateral development bank lending power. In March of that year, at a roundtable Jubilee USA convened with Secretary Yellen, some of the US's highest-ranking religious leaders delivered the same request to her. The leaders represented the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ Churches, as well as the Union for Reform Judaism. 

Addressing a question on debt during Thursday's talk, Yellen remarked how debt restructuring not only serves the interests of the borrowers, it also serves the interests of the creditors. She elaborated that where debt reaches an unsustainable level, it stops the country from growing, developing and investing, and thus it cannot make payments.

“If we are going to be effective in reducing poverty in countries then we need debt to be reduced and more aid delivered to countries,” stated LeCompte. "Debt relief and sufficient economic aid must go hand and hand."

Read Secretary Yellen's speech here.

Read the World Bank Group Statement on Evolution Roadmap here.

Read the letter to President Biden and Secretary Yellen from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network here

Read Treasury Secretary Yellen/Jubilee USA Network roundtable readout and release here.

 

Read More

The New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill and bill memo


Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill (English) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill (español) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill memo (English) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill memo (español) as a PDF here.

 

Bill: 

Bill Memo: 

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill (English) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill (español) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill memo (English) as a PDF here.

Download the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act bill memo (español) as a PDF here.

Read More

Concerns of Growth, Pandemic, War and Inflation Top World Economic Forum Agenda

World Bank Cuts Global Growth Forecast as Developing Countries Struggle with Debt

Ministers, business leaders, economists and development groups convened this week for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The pandemic, Ukraine war, food crisis and rising inflation dominated talks at the meetings.

“A positive message from the gathering is that a strong economy is built on addressing poverty and protecting our planet,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, which monitors the forum. “While the gathering can help build consensus on solutions to global problems, we didn't hear any sense of urgency about the economic crises that most countries face.”

The World Bank cut the 2023 global economic growth forecast, noting that only twice in the last two decades did the economy grow more slowly. Those slowdowns occurred in 2008 – the global financial crisis -- and 2020, the pandemic crisis. One-third of developing countries will not regain their pre-2019 income levels until 2024 or later, the recent Bank report found.

“As major economies raise interest rates to counter inflation, the higher rates increase debts for the poorest countries,” LeCompte stated. "As debt becomes more unsustainable, more countries will default and all countries will struggle with greater economic and supply shocks."

The IMF recently announced it will convene a high-level debt roundtable to resolve outstanding issues with a G20 debt reduction initiative that has been in place for more than two years.

Read the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects report here.

Read More

2021/2022 Report

Friends,

Most of the world's countries continue to struggle with impacts of the pandemic, soaring food prices and a climate crisis. As we review our efforts together over the last year, we moved forward solutions to the climate crisis and pandemic and we won the largest amounts of relief and aid in our 25 year history.

Read and share our 2021-2022 report as we look back on our work and continue efforts to address the root causes of poverty, inequality and climate and financial crisis.

In our report, you'll read about our New York legislation to resolve debt crises, protect US tax payers and stop economic shocks. Almost 50 countries benefited from our debt relief efforts. We won hundreds of billions in new pandemic response aid, secured student debt relief and Puerto Rico aid advanced.

We produced new research on how the pandemic is impacting 24 countries. Hundreds of Jubilee congregations, faith communities and partners organized with us to push the G20, IMF and White House to implement policies to resolve the current climate and financial crisis - and prevent future crises.

While our campaigns continue to succeed, we'll need your help as world leaders continue to make critical decisions about our lives, livelihoods and planets. Read and share our Jubilee USA Network 2021-2022 report.

We look forward to continuing to work with you in the new year and beyond.

Gratefully,

Aldo Caliari
Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns
Jubilee USA Network
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

PS. Please join me and donate now to support our Jubilee USA mission and efforts to protect our lives, livelihoods and planet.

Read More

Call the Senate: Urgent Puerto Rico Healthcare, Jobs, Poverty Relief

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators. You will need to call twice to reach each of your US Senators. The switchboard is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to leave a message for your Senator.

If you need help finding your Senators, you can ask the Capitol Switchboard attendant by telling them in what state you reside or use this link.

Once you are connected, ask to leave a time-sensitive message for your Senator.

"Thank you for taking my call. I live in your state, my name and address is______________. Unless Congress takes action, Puerto Rico faces a Medicaid budget gap of more than $2.5 billion. I want the Senator to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from debt crises, natural disasters and tackle a nearly 60% child poverty rate, by:

1.) Increasing funds for Puerto Rico healthcare Medicaid program for at least the next five years, and pass a permanent fix.

2.) Supporting Puerto Rico nutrition assistance parity with the states;

3.) Passing measures to increase manufacturing jobs in Puerto Rico."

Read More

Congress Votes Puerto Rico Health, Jobs, Protect Debt Relief

Friends,

Before the year ends, Congress will pass a major budget bill. The spending package should include Puerto Rico funding for healthcare, jobs and poverty reduction.

Please call your Senators and ask them to support relief and opportunity for Puerto Rico.

Earlier this year, we joined 25 Puerto Rico and US major religious leaders to call for steps to end child poverty and promote economic recovery after a new debt deal passed on the island. Puerto Rico wrestles with a 60% child poverty rate, continuing economic crises and natural disasters. The debt settlement cut debt payments by two-thirds, a historical achievement under bankruptcy legislation we won together.

Absent Congressional action, Puerto Rico loses 85% of its Medicaid funding. The budget shortfall of more than $2.5 billion means dramatic losses in healthcare access for residents still living in the public health emergency left by Hurricane Fiona. Such staggering reduction also erodes funding for rebuilding programs and the most vulnerable.

You can leave a message for your Senators as they prepare to vote before the end of the year. The Capitol Switchboard is open 24/7.

While a lot hinges on solving the Medicaid crisis, Puerto Rico still needs a comprehensive agenda including funding for nutrition and other social programs, disaster relief and jobs. Add your voice to our highest-ranking religious leaders and help us move Congress to reset Puerto Rico on a path to recovery and protect the gains of debt relief.

Gratefully,

Aldo Caliari
Senior Director of Policy and Campaigns
Jubilee USA Network
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

Read More

Enough 4 All, GivingTuesday Gift

Friends,

On #GivingTuesday, I'm asking you to make a gift to Jubilee USA Network to help us build a world where everyone has enough.

Over the last year, with your partnership, we won hundreds of billions for developing countries, a new UN climate fund to help developing countries address climate change damage and new tax and trade agreements that protect people. Our proposals won debt relief for the world's most vulnerable countries. In Puerto Rico, legislation we won yielded a debt settlement slashing two-thirds of the territory’s debt payments. This year, we also introduced historic New York legislation to win debt relief, protect US taxpayers and address supply shocks.

With a pandemic crisis that continues in many developing countries, the war in Ukraine, rising cost of living and energy and food shortages - your support is needed for us to continue our efforts.

Over the next year, the G20, G7 and IMF make the next round of decisions regarding developing country debt, protecting our planet and global economic crises solutions.

Please join me and make a tax-deductible gift on #GivingTuesday so Jubilee USA continues our vital efforts on pandemic response, debt relief and winning solutions to prevent future crisis. Donations are doubled now.

In solidarity,

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

Read More

Won, Lost, Still Fighting for G20/IMF Pandemic Response: Lives, Livelihoods and Planet

Friends,

In recent weeks world leaders met at the IMF, G20, World Bank and United Nations Climate Conference on decisions affecting our lives, livelihoods and planet. All of the decisions are more urgent given the Ukraine war and that the pandemic deepened poverty, inequality and crises around the world and across the United States.

In the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, we took action together. We mapped out a plan to win solutions to resolve the current crisis and prevent the next crisis.

Together - we won hundreds of billions in new aid and debt relief for pandemic response. We won new processes to lift the vulnerable, share vaccines, fight the impacts of climate change and resolve debt crises. We need to ask you to do more as we need more progress. Sign our petition to the IMF and G20 to cancel debt, expand crisis aid, bolster global healthcare and provide the resources to protect our planet.

Because of our work together, we won $230 billion for developing countries and another $100 billion in commitments (Special Drawing Rights). As of this week, we have a new fund for developing countries to fight the impacts of climate change. We won new tax and trade agreements. We gained debt relief for the world's most vulnerable countries and a new developing country debt process. Using bankruptcy legislation we won, Puerto Rico slashed its debt payments by two-thirds. Now, our historic legislation is introduced in New York to win debt relief, protect US taxpayers and address supply shocks.

Unfortunately, developing countries still face lost decades of development and aid and climate commitments are moving too slowly. The new debt relief processes are still not producing enough debt relief fast enough. We need to win hundreds of billions in resources to resolve the current economic and climate crises and meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks for your partnership,

Aldo Caliari
Senior Director of Policy and Strategy


www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

PS. Now through #GivingTuesday and until the end of the year donations are doubled to Jubilee USA Network. Please make a gift now. 

Read More

UN Climate Conference Agrees on Fund to Address Climate Change Impacts in Developing Countries

 

COP27 Agreement Asserts Climate Change Results in High Debts and Development Failures

Delegates from 200 countries closed this year’s UN climate summit, COP27, with an agreement to create a fund to compensate countries most vulnerable to climate change. The accord reached in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, recognizes that climate-related damage contributes to growing debt burdens and hurts development in countries. 

"During the climate conference negotiations, the concept of loss and damage refers to negative climate change impacts that include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and destruction of forests," noted Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and leader of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. "A number of countries have chronic debt problems that can be traced to the growing severity and frequency of natural disasters."

Future negotiations will determine the loss and damage fund parameters and set it in motion.

"When wealthy countries took and consumed natural resources from developing countries to fuel industrialization, it spurred global warming and climate change impacts like rising sea levels that developing countries can't stop alone," noted LeCompte. "This new climate fund can start to repay a climate debt that wealthy countries owe to developing countries."

Negotiators also reviewed progress on setting a new climate finance goal and reiterated the plan to finalize it by 2024. In a report commissioned by the COP presidencies of last year and this year, a group of experts estimated developing countries need $1 trillion annually to meet climate goals. Wealthy countries failed to meet a $100 billion annual climate finance commitment, promised in 2009.

“In order to get the resources we need to fight climate change we'll need debt relief, more money from development banks and other innovative sources of aid,” added LeCompte. “This is why G20 and IMF decisions are so critical to raising the resources we need to protect our planet, lives and jobs.”

Last year the Group of 20 decided to create $650 billion in IMF emergency currency or Special Drawing Rights. Developing countries' share was more than $230 billion and the G20 targeted $100 billion of the share wealthy economies received, to finance poorest members. Proposals on debt relief and scaling up loans from global development lenders are also on the group’s agenda. The G20 heads of state met in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15-16, while climate negotiations were still ongoing, and agreed to take action to limit temperature rises to 1.5 °C.

“The G20 commitment to limit global warming helped the Sharm el-Sheikh negotiations at a crucial moment when continuing the target was in doubt,” shared LeCompte. 

 

Read More

Praising the Eternal, Thanksgiving Chairs Message

Friends,

Across the US, as we pause for this moment of praise, thanks and hope - all of us at Jubilee wish to thank-you for working with us to build a world where we all have enough. See below a note of Thanksgiving from Jubilee's new Co-Chairs Rabbi Matthew Cutler and Sobia Ijaz.

Thank-you for you,

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

------

A message from Co-Chairs Sobia Ijaz and Rabbi Matthew Cutler:

"I give thanks before You, living and eternal Sovereign, for You have returned within me my soul with compassion; abundant is Your faithfulness”
- Modeh Ani

"In the name of Allah,
the Gracious, the Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,
The Gracious, the Merciful,
Master of the Day of Judgment."

- (1:1-4) Qur'an

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...
for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever."
- The Magnificat (Mary's Prayer)

Friends -

Amidst times of suffering and loss, we praise the Eternal One, celebrate the harvest and follow the promise. We are grateful to join you and the many builders of a Jubilee world where we all reap the promised harvest, demanded by the Eternal One.

We give thanks that many of our Jubilee USA Network efforts to protect our planet, lives and livelihoods succeeded in 2022. Thanks to our partners, members and donors who continue to work until the promise is fulfilled. We appreciate our wonderful Jubilee team, board and leadership community that drive our efforts on pandemic response, poverty, inequality and climate.

On behalf of all of us at Jubilee, we give thanks for you and wish you and your loved ones a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.


In hope,



Rabbi Matthew Cutler
Jubilee USA Network Co-Chair


Sobia Ijaz
Jubilee USA Network Co-Chair

Read More

Presbyterian Mission Agency and partners reveal how debt relief addresses systemic injustices across the globe

Presbyterian Mission Agency and partners reveal how debt relief addresses systemic injustices across the globe

‘Forgive us our debts’ from Puerto Rico and Sri Lanka to New York.

“Irresponsible borrowing decisions are felt on the backs of the people” Catherine Gordon, representative for international issues in the Office of Public Witness, said in Debt, Disaster and Corruption, the first in a series of global debt webinars co-sponsored by OPW, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Read full article here.

Read More

Biden and 90 Other Heads of State Descend on COP27 United Nations Climate Summit

Resources for Climate Action and Poor are Major Themes for Egypt Meetings

President Biden joins ninety heads of state in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the COP27 climate summit beginning this weekend. UN analysis finds that current action commitments fall short of reaching global warming goals made during the 2015 UN Paris Agreement.

“This year we experienced record heat waves, floods and natural disasters. If we fail to take action to address climate change, we'll see increasingly worse impacts from the climate crisis,” stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “As world leaders gather in Africa, the continent most vulnerable to climate change, we see the impacts of the climate crisis on the poor and our global economy.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that in 2020 annual climate aid from developed to developing countries was $17 billion short of progress towards a $100 billion target agreed back in 2009. At the UN summit, leaders negotiate a revised climate action funding target for beyond 2025. 

"More than half of developing countries spend a quarter of their budget on paying debt," noted LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "Debt relief is an important part of reaching climate action goals for countries."

At October IMF and World Bank meetings, climate action was a critical part of discussions on debt and lending. Global leaders began a process to reform development banks to lend more for global priorities such as climate. A new IMF process also began that uses donations from wealthy countries to support long-term, cheap loans to developing countries that can support climate action.

“The success of the climate summit is all about showing us the money,” shared LeCompte. "The bottom line is whether or not we can raise the financial contributions to address the climate crisis."

Read More