Call to the G20: fight the debt crisis and save lives


Christian leaders call for tax reforms and debt relief ahead of G20 summit in Saudi Arabia

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) joins ecumenical partners in calling on leaders of G20 countries to provide emergency debt relief to countries struggling to cope with the consequences of the COVID pandemic- 19.

In a letter sent to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the current president of the Group of 20 Nations, Christian leaders recognize a debt moratorium granted to the world’s poorest countries last April, but insist that ‘Much remains to be done to save lives and address the issues of “hunger exacerbated by COVID-19, unemployment and homelessness”.

As G20 leaders gather for a summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 21-22, LWF general secretary Pastor Martin Junge joins leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the World Mission Council (CWM) by appealing to “durable” solutions to deal with the debt crisis.

Renewing international financial institutions

These include measures to free countries from the historic debt burden, sweeping tax reforms, a rejection of austerity policies and the establishment of a “restructuring mechanism of the economy.” global international debt, fair, transparent and timely to deal with sovereign insolvency ”. Such a mechanism, underlines the letter, must be able to “cancel odious and illegitimate debts contracted fraudulently or by despotic regimes without the consent of the public, charge usurious interest, lead to repayment at an enormous social and ecological cost”.

The six-point appeal of ecumenical organizations, representing more than 500 million Christians around the world, was developed following a series of ecumenical and interfaith consultations organized by churches in the New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) initiative. He urges G20 governments to renew international financial institutions so that they can “deploy funds in times of crisis without conditions for structural adjustment” and to ensure that their actions “are not dominated by the rich or the poor. ‘interests”.

Amid the current global health emergency, hundreds of billions of dollars continue to be diverted from life-saving public health and social service systems to paying down debt.

Letter from LWF, WCC, WCRC and CWM Leaders to G20 Country Leaders

Christian leaders write “with a sense of urgency as the pandemic continues to ravage the world in a second devastating wave, killing tens of thousands every day and increasing poverty for billions of people.” Amid the ongoing global health emergency, they say, “hundreds of billions of dollars continue to be diverted from life-saving public health and social service systems to paying off debt.”

The extension of a debt moratorium granted by G20 creditors in April was “an important step to temporarily ease the pressure,” the letter says, but it is insufficient as more countries are expected to default on their payments. over the coming year. Christian leaders conclude with a prayer that G20 summit leaders “step up and make the bold, principled decisions that are needed at this critical juncture.”

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