In a letter to leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) on 17 November, the World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Lutheran World Federation and Council for World Mission urged easing of pressure on countries being suffocated by debt especially in a time of pandemic. The organisations represent more than 500 million Christians across the world.
“Hundreds of billions of dollars continue to be directed away from life-saving public health and social service systems, towards debt payments,” reads the letter.
“The most difficult period likely lies ahead as more countries are expected to fall into debt default in 2021.”
Therefore, “real, more durable solutions are called for to address the debt crisis as well as COVID-19-exacerbated hunger, joblessness, and homelessness.”
G20 governments and financial institutions need to provide the means to alleviate and release countries from their onerous and historic debt burdens as well as establish a comprehensive, fair, transparent, and timely international debt restructuring mechanism to address sovereign insolvency, the letter urges.
To mobilize resources to tackle the pandemic, “there is a need for special taxes on the super-wealthy, equity and hedge funds, as well as on multinational, e-commerce and digital corporations that have profited during the crisis, together with measures to curb tax evasion and avoidance,” the letter reads.
“Your governments have the power and resources to make a positive difference in the lives of many people and communities…we pray that the G20 will step up and make the bold and principled decisions that are needed at this critical juncture.”
Currently chaired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit is taking place on 21-22 November with the theme, “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.”
Read the full letter
Just Economics for Liberation and Life – Interfaith Message on Just Finance, Debt and Reparations
Interfaith panel addresses debt cancellation and reparations – WCC news release (6 October 2020)
WCC, WCRC, LWF, CWM letter to G20 finance ministers (July 2020)
Calling for an Economy of Life in a Time of Pandemic – a Joint Message from the WCC, WCRC, LWF, and CWM
An Interfaith Call for Justice and Compassion in Finance
First published on the World Council of Churches website on 18 November 2020.Jump to next article