Debt Relief

10,000 Jubilee USA supporters call on President Bush to wipe out debt ahead of G-8 summit

Jubilee USA will deliver letters from more than 10,000 “people of faith and conscience” calling for 100% cancellation of multilateral debt for poor countries to President Bush before he leaves for the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

Washington: As President Bush prepares to leave for the (Group of 8) G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, Jubilee USA Network announced today that more than 10,000 people of faith and conscience all over the country wrote to President Bush and Treasury Secretary Snow to enact 100% cancellation of debt to all multilateral creditors for all impoverished countries without harmful economic conditions. Jubilee USA will deliver these letters to administration officials on Thursday.

Debt, aid, and trade are to lead the agenda of the G-8 Summit, with President Bush anticipated to make a statement on fresh aid to Africa. Civil society groups around the world are mobilizing to ensure the G-8 heeds their calls; Live 8 concerts and activities organized by the Global Call to Action against Poverty are among the events to be held globally over the next couple of weeks.

Jubilee USA Network remains focused on urging G-8 leaders to conclusively end the debt crisis. While the debt agreement reached at the G-8 Finance Ministers meeting cancels 100% of 18 impoverished countries’ debts to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and African Development Bank, it excludes other impoverished nations and debt to other significant creditors. Jubilee USA Network insists that the deal must be expanded to include all impoverished nations. The Network further demands that the G-8 provide immediate cancellation to additional impoverished nations without forcing them to implement harmful economic policies as part of the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative.

“The agreement likely to be approved by G-8 leaders at their summit in Gleneagles for 100% cancellation of debt to the IMF, World Bank, and African Development Fund for some impoverished nations is a first step on a long journey towards freedom from debt for all impoverished nations,” said Neil Watkins, National Coordinator of Jubilee USA Network. “But the G-8 must expand its agreement to include all impoverished countries, not just those classified as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), and debt cancellation must come without subjecting these countries to devastating economic conditions.”

Jubilee USA Network has just published a report analyzing the likely G-8 debt agreement, entitled “First Step on A Long Journey: Putting the G-8 Deal on Debt into Perspective.” The report highlights the benefits of the G-8 debt agreement, with recommendations of next steps for the G-8 to fully cancel the debts of impoverished nations. The report and executive summary are available at www.jubileeusa.org.

The G-8 debt agreement would establish an important precedent, long advocated by Jubilee USA Network, that poor countries must receive 100% cancellation of their debts to multilateral creditors.

However, too many impoverished nations are excluded from the deal, and will continue to spend more on debt service than on healthcare and education. The 18 countries that qualify immediately represent less than a third of countries that need full cancellation to meet the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to halve extreme poverty by 2015. The $40 billion to be cancelled by this agreement represents less than 10% of debt cancellation required for nations to meet the MDGs. It does not include middle-income countries that are heavily indebted and impoverished.

The economic policies mandated by the HIPC Initiative and continued under the G-8 debt agreement include privatization of government-run services and industries, increased trade liberalization, and budgetary spending restrictions. These policies have not been proven to increase per capita income growth or reduce poverty as documented by both World Bank and civil society economists. Jubilee USA and social movements call for these conditions and policies to be abandoned.

Jubilee USA Network notes that the G-8 debt agreement is an important first step towards the Jubilee vision of a world where external debt no longer diverts resources from impoverished people or constrains policy choices. Jubilee USA Network will continue to work for debt cancellation for more countries (such as impoverished countries not included in this deal, middle income countries with large impoverished populations and those with odious/illegitimate debts) and creditors (such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, bilateral, and private creditors) not included in this year’s initiative in the years ahead.

Jubilee USA Network is the US arm of the international movement working for debt cancellation for impoverished nations. Jubilee USA is a network of over 70 religious denominations, labor groups, environmental organizations, and community and advocacy groups working for freedom from debt for countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Jubilee USA, Common Dreams, June 29, 2005

Categories: Debt Relief, Odious Debts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s