The open letter comes ahead of a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors this Friday to finalise a Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, Global Citizen Co-Founder Michael Sheldrick and Global Citizen Advocates Sabrina and Idris Elba write:
“[Friday’s] meeting comes at a crossroads for the international community. While the recent Annual Meetings reflected muted optimism at the progress made by developed countries as a result of robust fiscal and monetary policy interventions, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook downgraded the growth forecast for emerging and developing countries excluding China, indicating crushing business closures, job losses and a rise in the incidence of extreme poverty for the first time in over two decades.”
Mr Denton said: “We must learn from the mistakes of the 1980s and ensure that the Common Framework prevents ‘short and shallow’ restructurings, enabling a return to sustainable development and economic growth. Small- and medium-sized enterprises are really hurting right now – we must ensure that the Common Framework enables debtor countries to save lives and livelihoods through this pandemic and beyond.”
Ms Burrow said: “It is time to make the leap from the limited suspension to tackling debt burdens that will undermine stability and recovery. The Common Framework should encourage comprehensive and fair debt restructuring including haircuts when necessary. This will enable investments in jobs, just transition, public health and social protection to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and rebuild with resilience.”
Global Citizen Advocates Idris and Sabrina Elba said: “We live through an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis and the impacts are even worse in poor countries than in the G20. While wealthier countries have been able to do their own economic stimulus packages, poor countries don’t have this possibility. Many of them are being crushed by debt on top of dealing with COVID. Now is the time for a global recovery package – as we will only recover better together.”
The letter is one of several open letters sent by the three organisations to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors this year. Read more below:
- 8 October 2020, ICC, ITUC and Global Citizen call for an updated G20 Action Plan to address the barriers that sovereign debt burdens present toward pandemic containment and economic stabilisation.
- 13 July 2020. ICC, ITUC and Global Citizen call for greater action by G20 Governments on sovereign debt relief.
- 10 April, ICC, ITUC and Global Citizen call for World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings to take debt out of the COVID-19 equation.