G20 Gets “D” Grade for Breaking Commitments to the World’s Poorest

Jubilee USA

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Melinda St. Louis, Deputy Director, 202-441-7579, melinda@jubileeusa.org, or
Hayley Hathaway, Communications Coordinator, 860-205-6078, hayley@jubileeusa.org

G20 Gets “D” Grade for Breaking Commitments to the World’s Poorest

New Report Analyzes Progress on Past Commitments; Offers Recommendations Ahead of Summit

WASHINGTON - Today the Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 75 religious
denominations and faith communities, labor, environmental, and human
rights groups, and development agencies, issued a progress report titled
“Making the Grade? The G20’s Commitment to the World’s Poorest.” The
report finds that G20 leaders have made shockingly little progress since
their last summit on development commitments and calls on leaders to
take bold action to support the world’s poorest at a gathering of world
leaders this week.

The report’s release comes just ahead of the
upcoming G20 summit in Toronto, Canada on June 26-27th with leaders from
countries representing 85 percent of the world’s economy.
The scorecard evaluates the G20’s progress toward key commitments made
at the conclusion of its first summit on the global economic crisis in
April 2009. New analysis shows that, in the past nine months since the
G-20’s September summit in Pittsburgh, only $1.2 billion in additional
money has been clearly accounted for and delivered to low-income
countries - an amount equivalent to money spent by the Canadian
government for the upcoming three-day G8/G20 summits.   
“There is something wrong when more political will
exists for the U.S. to mobilize $285 billion to bailout the top 20
too-big-to-fail Wall Street companies within a few months than for the
entire G20 to deliver on $50 billion in promises to the 78 poorest
countries in the world.  In more than a year, only $24.7 billion has
been delivered, and nearly all of that has been new loans, which could
provoke a renewed debt crisis - the last thing our global economy
needs.” says Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network.
On Tuesday, faith leaders will meet with U.S.
Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard before
she attends the summit.  They will share the findings of the report and
encourage the U.S. to be a leader within the G20 in support of the
world’s poorest. 

“Last year the G20 took responsibility for the economic crisis and
committed to help those most affected: the world’s most impoverished.
Now, in the face of deepening poverty and debt, we need to ensure that
leaders at the third G20 Summit do not sweep the reality of the world’s
poor under the rug. They need to commit to providing debt relief and
grant support,” says Ruth Messenger, President of the American Jewish
World Service, a member of the Jubilee USA Network.
The report gives the G20 a failing grade on its
commitments to fulfilling past aid pledges and working toward the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

“The tragic
reality is that if G20 countries do not meet their commitments to the
world’s poorest, we may see a reversal in past progress made in fighting
extreme poverty,” says Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director of the United
Nations Millennium Campaign.  “By failing to provide grant assistance to
poor countries, the G20 is contributing to a renewed debt crisis for
poor countries.  At this upcoming summit, we are calling on the U.S. to
lead within the G20 to take bold action to ensure that the most
vulnerable are not forgotten.” 
The report finds that the G20 has fallen short of
several more of its commitments to benefit the poorest - from stemming
the illicit flight of capital through tax havens to governance reform of
the international financial institutions to addressing the urgent
threat posed by climate change. Accountability, transparency, and
governance reforms all are lagging in implementation.
Some of the report’s key policy recommendations for
the G20 meeting in Toronto include:

  • Ensure
    that promises to fully deliver $50 billion in assistance to the poorest
    are delivered without further delay, without harmful conditions, and on
    grant terms.
  • Institute a two-year moratorium
    on debt service payments by low income countries, and commit to deliver
    expanded debt cancellation to all poor countries whose debt levels
    currently prevent them from meeting their people’s basic needs and which
    struggle under a burden of odious and illegitimate debt.
  • Demand that the IMF use its
    windfall profit of over $2.5 billion from gold sales for debt relief and
    non-debt-creating financial assistance to low-income countries.     
  • Insist upon far-reaching reforms
    in IMF and World Bank economic policy conditionality before delivering
    any further funding to these institutions.
  • Take ambitious steps help finance
    the fight against climate change, which has disproportionate impacts on
    the poorest countries, by committing to dramatic increases in
    additional funds they will mobilize for mitigation and adaptation,
    utilizing innovative sources such as a currency transaction levy.
  • Broaden the discussion on
    international economic cooperation beyond the 20 most powerful economies
    to include low-income countries and smaller economies.
The progress report is available here.
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Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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