SDR Global Webinar

 English-Spanish translation (by Zoom streaming)

Spanish version

Curing the Coronavirus Health & Economic Crisis in Developing Countries & Emerging Resilient as a Global Community;

Injecting Special Drawing Rights & Zero Debt Solutions

Global Webinar

June 25th 

19:30 New Delhi • 16:00 Harare • 15:00 London • 10:00AM Washington DC  

11:00AM Buenos Aires • 9:00AM Quito • 16:00 Brussels • 14:00 Accra • 23:00 Tokyo

 

Developing countries faced debt and financial crisis prior to COVID-19. Inequality exacerbates the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus in developed and developing countries. Too many countries, due to austerity policies, wrestled with weakened health systems and soaring unemployment before the coronavirus hit. Over 110 countries seek emergency support. The suspension of debt payments for a few countries is not enough to get through the crises, let alone being able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and address inequality. Development aid, boosting tax revenues, curbing tax evasion and corruption are necessary, but cannot deliver enough resources or the urgent resources needed.

 

The United Nations Secretary General and UN agencies, African Finance Ministers, the International Monetary Fund, many countries and civil society organizations, call for a new and large issuance of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to offer efficient, unconditional and rapid means of providing liquidity to all developing countries.

 

Accessing these critical global reserve funds requires the IMF Executive Directors and the G20 to make an urgent decision that impacts every person in the world.

 

Panelists

The Honorable Minister for Finance of Ghana, Ken Ofori-Atta (TBC)

Andres Arauz, former Director of the Central Bank of Ecuador

Patricia Miranda, Global Advocacy Director, Latindadd

Jean Saldanha, Executive Director, Eurodad

Matthew Martin, Advisor of OIF Finance Ministers and Director of Development Finance International

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network (Moderator)

 

During this webinar, we will address:

  • What are SDRs, how are they issued, and how do they work?
  • Why were they issued in previous global financial crises, like 2008?
  • How do SDRs benefit low and middle income countries to fight the current health, economic and social crisis?
  • What is the amount of financial reserves that is needed?
  • What is the process of distributing SDRs from developed to developing countries?
  • What, if any, power do these actions give the IMF over countries?

 

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8315924362490/WN_Coyl6vuPREeAIFHNzYKdoA

For more information, contact coord@jubileeusa.org.

 

   

 

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Eric's UN COVID Address, Global News Coverage

Friends,

Jubilee USA's Eric LeCompte addressed a special session of the United Nations on coronavirus recovery on Tuesday. Eric articulated the global policies that need to move forward to lift the vulnerable, ensure the developing world can access healthcare and for all of us to be protected from financial crisis that rivals the Great Depression.

In his UN speech, Eric raises the need for emergency United Nations Security Council action, tackling inequality and corruption and changing laws to protect Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Ghana and all countries from debt crisis.

The speech promoted news ideas that are gaining momentum to confront the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. The address received in-depth and featured coverage the you read in Associated PressFox News and the Washington Post.

Our Jubilee USA UN remarks highlight that we can emerge from this crisis with hope, more resilience and more inclusive global society.

Please read and share our Jubilee United Nations coronavirus address.

Thanks to your support and partnership, our coronavirus campaigns are moving forward with the United Nations, G7, G20 and White House. 

Thousands of you signed our petitions. More than 130 groups from the largest Christian and Jewish groups to the AFL-CIO signed our statement on debt, transparency and crisis response policies to world leaders. Recently, Eric spoke to National Public Radio's Marketplace about how the crisis could drive 60 million more people into extreme poverty and that we must take action.

In the coming days and weeks, we'll depend on you to act with us as we move the G20 in July.

Gratefully,

Zach Conti
Director of Policy and Advocacy
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G7 Finance Ministers Discuss Coronavirus Debt and Transparency Impacts for Developing Countries

Washington, DC - Amidst questions of upcoming G7 meeting dates and which countries are participating, G7 Finance Ministers met virtually about economic issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The G7 meeting focused on aid, debt and transparency issues affecting developing countries impacted by the coronavirus.

"The G7 clearly sees the need for greater debt transparency policies and that poor countries will likely need more debt relief to address the impacts of the coronavirus," stated Jubilee USA Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte addressed these issues at a special session of the United Nations on Tuesday, "Unfortunately, the G7 seems blind to the role of private and commercial creditors who hold large portions of poor country debt."

Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank leader David Malpass and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended the meeting.

"Private creditors cannot be asked for voluntary participation. The crisis is so great that we must compel private and commercial creditor participation in debt transparency and relief measures," shared LeCompte who on Tuesday urged the United Nations Security Council to compel private creditor participation, "If private creditors are not told to come to the negotiation table, we run the risk that debt cancellation and relief could be used to pay private creditors."

Read Eric LeCompte's Remarks to the United Nations here.

Read the G7 Finance Meeting Statement here.

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Eric LeCompte Addresses United Nations on COVID-19 Crisis Recovery

 

United Nations Economic and Social Council Informal Meeting on “Financing a sustainable recovery from COVID-19”

United Nations Virtual Special Session

 

Recovering from the Coronavirus Pandemic with Resilience: Confronting Inequality, Ending Poverty and Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network

June 2nd, 2020

(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

 

The coronavirus wreaks havoc around the globe and induces a global economic crisis on par with the Great Depression. Our calls for debt cancellation, relief and increased aid are needed to meet the $2.5 trillion initial IMF estimate to address the crisis in developing countries. The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates that $5 to $7 trillion dollars was needed already to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Due to the crisis, according to UN agencies, 265 million people face famine and 40 to 60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty. The International Labor Organization says 300 million jobs will be lost.

Job loss, unemployment and poverty are recipes for social unrest, conflict, terrorism, inequality and financial crisis. Dealing with this current crisis requires additional spending to protect health, workers and save lives.

African Finance Ministers representing many Middle-Income Countries, call for $44 billion in debt relief just for African countries as a short-term measure to this crisis. Current measures enacted by the IMF and G20 for all of the 73 poorest countries that qualify, may amount to $22 billion. Most of these poorest countries had less than 50 critical care units for millions of people. Some have zero. These debt relief measures do not include "Middle-Income" developing countries, home to 62 % of the world’s poor. It does not bind private lenders and more than half of countries that qualify are refusing the terms or afraid of the market consequences for accepting relief.

Debt relief measures which include debt cancellation, debt payment moratoriums or standstills and debt restructuring are critical, but alone will not be enough to deal with this profound crisis.

The effects of the crisis will be more long lasting in developing countries than in advanced economies. Measures must be put in place to evaluate debt sustainability and cancel debt payments into 2021 and possibly 2022 and beyond - if not even fuller elimination of debt stocks. Debt relief must be broadened to more countries that need it. Longer-term, we must implement the debt policies from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2014 and 2015 UN General Assembly efforts on improving debt restructuring and embracing a global bankruptcy process. In order to emerge from this crisis with resilience, ensure economic and debt sustainability and be able to access future revenue streams, we must move forward agreements now that curb tax evasion and avoidance and corruption.

To meet this current crisis we must count our response not in the billions, but the trillions.

It's why we must access global financial reserves, or the Special Drawing Rights and allocate the use of these reserves to developing countries. We did this after the 2008 financial crisis and now we need to do it again. Estimates of need, range from $1 to $4 trillion.

Caribbean Islands to African nations, need to access these revenue streams, aid and relief - so they can pass their own "stimulus" or bridge financing plans to survive the crisis and ensure funds are available to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the strongest calls from the Financing for Development Addis Ababa Action Agenda was to implement rules on responsible lending and borrowing. While we've seen progress with the G20's Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing, we still lack binding rules. These common sense laws of debtor and creditor responsibility and public budget transparency should be enshrined as part of our international financial architecture.

However the most important and most critical points that I will make today - is responding to the resistance of private creditors, commercial lenders and banks to participate in the G20, IMF and World Bank debt relief calls.

Long-term, we need changes in the major financial jurisdictions like the United Kingdom and New York State. For countries around the world and for US Territories like Puerto Rico, legal changes are needed in these financial jurisdictions to make debt restructuring more transparent and predictable - and too implement another strong commitment from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, outlawing predatory "vulture" funds.

Because of the enormity of this crisis and the long-term challenges the markets could face, the fact that some private and commercial creditor blocks are not participating at the urging of the United States, the G20, the IMF and World Bank baffles the mind.

Given that this crisis could devastate all of us, poor countries and the markets, the United Nations Security Council has little choice but to act. The UN Security Council should follow its precedent in 2003 when it protected the assets of Iraq from creditor payments and now immediately make the same decision for the 73 countries that need this protection most to compel private and commercial creditors to join the G20 debt relief call. This decision would protect the assets of these countries and mandate that debt relief from official bilateral creditors is not used to pay private creditor debt.

Additionally, officials must strengthen public announcements that do more than "call" or "invite" private creditors, they must make public announcements that say they "expect" their participation in order to help compel it. We welcome stronger announcements from the World Bank's David Malpass last week. The IMF and G20 should revise their statements from April and instead of "calling" private creditors, "expect" their participation and condition public participation on the participation of private and commercial creditors. United Nations agencies should also make public announcements that "expect" private creditor participation.

These public announcement and the words we use do have legal implications.

Finally, this is not the time for creditors to use accounting gimmicks to leave countries with higher debt burdens and higher debt payment service after they received some relief.

The decisions we make now can ensure that we not only survive this health and economic impacts of the coronavirus, they can also ensure that we emerge from this crisis with more resilience. The decisions we make now, can ensure that we emerge from this crisis with the tools to stop the next crisis.

Thank-you.

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World Health Assembly Wrestles with Coronavirus

Leaders Urged to Address Health and Economic Impacts of Pandemic

Washington DC - As the global coronavirus death toll tops 300,000 people, the leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO) prepare to hold their leadership meetings virtually from May 18th - 19th.

"As world leaders gather, it is crucial that they ensure there are no trade barriers for any country to receive life-saving medicines and medical equipment as the coronavirus spreads," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who serves on United Nations finance expert groups. "During these meetings, we must send a message that debts need to be cut and aid must move quickly to developing countries as they confront the virus."

Ahead of the WHO's World Health Assembly meetings, Jubilee USA organized a letter to the G20, IMF and White House urging debt relief and resources to fund health services in the developing world. The letter further calls for policies to improve the arbitration of debt and enacting transparency and tax agreements so countries can emerge with "more resilience."

The 120 signers include: All Africa Council of Churches, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jubilee USA Network, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, American Jewish World Service, Buddhist Association of the United States, the largest groupings of Quakers and representing US Reformed Jews, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. More than 100 Catholic congregations, synagogues, churches and muslim groups from Virginia to Montana to Nebraska to Oregon joined the letter. The largest labor union in the United States, the AFL-CIO, and Oxfam joined the letter. In conjunction with Jubilee USA, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis and 165 world leaders, pressed these issues too.

The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for expanded debt relief and aid for broader groups of developing countries to confront the coronavirus pandemic. The UN Conference on Trade and Development called for a trillion dollars of debt to be eliminated so countries can get through the crisis. The IMF and G20 issued recent plans to offer 6 months of debt cancellation for the poorest countries and debt payment suspensions for 2020.

"The G20 and IMF must do more so we can all survive the economic and health impacts of this crisis," said LeCompte. "People are dying because of this virus and people are starving because of this crisis."

Read the Letter signed by 120 organizations and faith communities to the President, IMF and G20 to cancel debts, mobilize resources and pass financial crisis protections to protect the poor here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

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Big news, our analysis goes global, Barron's/Dow Jones

Friends,

In recent weeks, Jubilee USA Network's views and our coronavirus campaigns appeared in more than 100,000 newspapers and TV and radio shows.

We just published this column in Barron's and Dow Jones. This syndicated column will appear in coming days in the global Wall Street Journal family of publications.

Click here and read our global analysis on what we won in our Jubilee USA coronavirus efforts, what we need to win in the next few months and our focus for the next few years in Barron's and Dow Jones. They took down the paywall in the world's most prestigious finance magazines. Just x out the ad and read our article.

Barron's dubbed our in-depth column titles like, Adam Smith and Pope Francis Agree, Let Countries Declare Bankruptcy and The World's Poor are Drowning in Debt.

When you read our column, we break down the short-term and long-term efforts we need to cure the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus, from taxes, corruption, using global financial reserves, debt laws and bankruptcy. 

Read our column and share it within your communities. When you go to Barron's, you can X away the ad and read our global analysis.

So grateful for your support and partnership,

Eric

 

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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Anger, sadness, too much loss

Friends,

We are mourning at Jubilee USA for all of the lives that the coronavirus took from us.

From our network around the world and across the US we've lost too many friends and colleagues. So many of our chapters, congregations and partners of all faiths are suffering losses. We've seen pastors of our congregations fall to the virus.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus hit hard and killed members from the Sisters of Mercy, the Jesuits, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and St. Francis and the Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers and Sisters.

Our dear friends who dedicated their lives to service are lost to this disease.

As we wrestle with grief and anger, in honor of all those suffering around the world, we've updated our Prayers in a Time of Pandemic. Now included is a beautiful poem from Roberta Badger-Cain from Jubilee Oregon. The poem is inspired by Cardinal Peter Turkson's recent prayer and speech he offered to the members of Jubilee USA on our recent national and global video call.

You can download this vital poem and prayer resource here. Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ friends contributed to this traditional and interfaith resource. We hope our resource will lift, inspire and challenge you.

As you know from the e-mails below, our efforts are seeing success and have never been more important. Amidst our anger and sadness, we are seizing this moment when world leaders are focusing on our Jubilee USA efforts - to tackle inequality and end extreme poverty.

In May, June and July, world leaders will make further decisions on our debt, trade, tax and transparency campaigns. We are grateful that you are with us as we approach these critical decision points in the coming days.

Someone I was lucky to work with and a friend of Jubilee USA, John Prine, was lost to the virus. John was a magical musician who inspires us still. As our journey together continues, I leave you with his words of hope and lament from his song, Angel from Montgomery:


"If dreams were thunder
And lightning was desire
This old house would've burned down
A long time ago

"Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin'
Is just a hard way to go"

In hope,
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Developing Countries Struggle with Coronavirus Health and Economic Impacts

Additional Resources Urgently Needed Says Religious Development Coalition

Washington DC - From Ecuador to the Dominican Republic to Ethiopia, developing countries are struggling to obtain aid and financing to address the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

"Because of high debts and austerity policies, countries like Ecuador cannot provide basic health services to confront the coronavirus, let alone help their people survive the economic disaster," stated Eric LeCompte a United Nations finance expert who leads the religious development group, Jubilee USA Network. "While international institutions and aid groups are providing what they can, it's not enough to confront the enormity of this global crisis."

On Friday, the International Monetary Fund is expected to approve $500 million in emergency financing for Ecuador. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved $700 million in loans for the beleaguered South American Country. About $350 million of the IDB funds are destined to bolster health services and support small businesses. In March, Ecuador's Congress called for a suspension of debt payments on the country's $4.6 billion public debt. 2020 debt payments for Ecuador would surpass 30% of the country's revenue.

In the Caribbean, only Haiti will see debt relief in a plan released from the IMF in April. As hurricane season approaches and islands wrestle with high poverty rates, the IMF predicts a 6.2% contraction of the region's economy. This week the IMF approved concessional financing of $650 million for the Dominican Republic.

As African countries confront the crisis, a number of countries received similar financing packages. Ethiopia will receive a $411 million package. African Finance Ministers called for suspension of debt payments to free up $44 billion to fight Covid-19. 

"While the IMF is using just about every tool at its disposal to deal with the crisis, the aid and relief so far is not enough," said LeCompte. "To confront the crisis, the G20 needs to move forward broader debt relief and debt restructuring processes that include the private sector. The IMF and World Bank needs to cancel debts. Countries need to be able to access emergency financial reserves or what's known as the special drawing rights."

The World Bank and IMF released a joint paper on April 17th noting that as the economic crisis deepens, they would consider expanding debt relief to a broader set of developing countries.

In a March 23rd letter to the IMF, Jubilee USA called for a “well-designed, globally-coordinated response from the international community" to address the health and economic impacts of the crisis. The development group detailed a plan to expand debt relief, aid, financing, improve debt restructuring and move forward financial crisis protections and transparency initiatives.

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

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Update: IMF, G20 Moving Our Proposals

Friends, 

Jubilee USA's coronavirus proposals to lift the vulnerable and protect all of us from financial crisis continue to move at the IMF, G20, White House and Congress.

Last week, Jubilee's Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, met with the heads of the IMF and World Bank. Since then we've continued daily meetings with Finance Ministers and world leaders on our proposals. We are now working with our Republican and Democratic partners to authorize last week's coronavirus crisis victories in the next stimulus package.

Now nearly 100 religious groups, labor unions and partners signed our letter to the G20, IMF and White House to cancel debt and increase aid to developing and developed countries, bolster global healthcare, move forward transparency and anti-corruption proposals and put in place policies to protect all of from the financial crisis.

Will you join us and sign and share our 4 point call to action to the IMF now? We'll deliver our next round of petitions and letters to the IMF next week.

Yesterday the head of the United Nations, António Guterres, echoed our proposals to expand debt relief and aid to more countries! The UN Conference on Trade and Development encouraged the creation of a process to create a new global financial crisis mechanism.

Linked here, you'll see Eric's e-mail from Sunday with an in-depth overview of our work and prayer, action and education resources.

We're so grateful for your partnership. As we've entered Ramadan, we lift this holy time for our Muslim members and partners.

Best,


Kate Zeller
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Argentina and Creditors Struggle to Agree on Debt Plans

Washington DC - In less than three weeks, Argentina and it's creditors must reach a deal on restructuring the South American country's $70 billion debt or risk default. Last week, Argentina offered a proposal to creditors that was rejected by enough debt holders to thwart the plan.

"Argentina was running out of money to pay debt before the coronavirus struck," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte's group monitored Argentina debt since the early 2000s. Then in 2014, Jubilee USA filed to the US Supreme Court when Argentina's last debt crisis faced US Court arbitration. "As the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus worsen, Argentina's ability to pay debt becomes more uncertain."

On Wednesday Argentina missed a $500 million debt payment which set in motion a possible default by the end of May if Argentina and it's creditors cannot reach a new debt agreement. Argentina's proposed debt plan represents a more than 60% cut on the country's debt payments and some investors say the country can pay more and offer better terms.

"In light of the coronavirus and the suffering of Argentina's people, the initial plan is reasonable," said LeCompte, who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Vulnerable and poor people are the ones who suffer most because of the country's economic woes."

Argentina's efforts to surmount recent debt challenges are supported by the International Monetary Fund, G20 leaders and Pope Francis.

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