Global Debt Crisis (80582-GM-R207)
Amend and readopt Resolution No. 207
As the 21st century begins, the global debt crisis continues to cripple poor countries. Countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean owe over $2 trillion to rich nations and international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The poorest countries in the world are the most heavily indebted, owing around $370 billion. For many countries, the burden of repaying the debt has prevented them from providing adequate health care, education, and food for the masses. This debt burden inhibits the social and economic development that is needed to lift people out of poverty. Throughout the world there is a call for Jubilee, a call for debt cancellation.
Since the inception of the global Jubilee Campaign in 2000, we can celebrate important strides. The debt of twenty nations to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank has been wiped out, with the proceeds going to fight poverty in these nations. Despite this important step, the global debt crisis continues to cripple poor countries. Countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean still owe over $2 trillion to rich nations and international financial institutions. The poorest countries in the world are still among the most heavily indebted, owing around $380 billion. For too many countries left behind by world leaders, the burden of repaying the debt continues to prevent them from providing adequate health care, education, and food for their people. This debt burden – often incurred illegitimately by dictators – inhibits the social and economic change that is needed to lift people out of poverty. Throughout the world there is still a call for Jubilee, a call for debt cancellation in a Sabbath Year.
II. Biblical Foundation (No changes)
III. Causes of the Debt Crisis
(New paragraphs after last paragraph) Today, debt campaigners across the globe are increasingly focused on the origins of much of the debt of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Campaigners in these regions are questioning whether much of the debt is really owed. A growing number of governments are undertaking official audits to assess the legitimacy of debts. Debts are odious if they result from loans
contracts contracted without the knowledge or consent of the population or if the government officials used the money for personal purposes or to oppress their people. In cases where borrowed money was used in ways contrary to the peoples’ interest, with the knowledge of the creditors, the creditors may be said to have committed a hostile act against the people. Creditors cannot legitimately expect repayment of such debts. Examples of odious debt are money from loans stolen by the ruling elite of the then Indonesia dictator Suharto; debts contracted y the apartheid regime of South Africa; and debts accrued during the dictatorial rule of Mobbutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and the military junta in Argentina.
IV. Consequences of the Global Crisis—Everyone Loses (No Changes)
V. Principles to Guide Debt-Crisis Solutions (No Changes)
VI. Recommended Actions for The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church, as a covenant community committed to Christian discipleship and advocacy with the poor, must work toward "measures that would reduce the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few" (¶
67 163, 1996 2004 Discipline). Thus, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church:
1. celebrates the
worldwide on going global Jubilee 2000 debt C campaign, a movement to cancel the crushing and illegitimate debt of the world's poorest countries in the year 2000; , and the participation of the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries in the campaign:
2. recognizes even with the progress made to cancel the debt of impoverished countries, much more remains to be done: 9 out of 10 people in the developing world saw no benefit from the 2005 debt deal at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland; and debts are accumulating faster than they are being canceled;
2. 3. calls for the United States, governments of other leading industrial nations, private commercial lending institutions, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF to:
a. cancel the debts of the poorest countries to enable them to
enter the new millennium with a fresh start meet human development goals, beginning with the Millennium Development G g oals;
substantially reduce the debts of the b.
audit their lending portfolios, including loans made to middle-income countries, within the same time frame in order to assess the legitimacy of these loans;
introduce a new, independent, and transparent arbitration process for negotiating and agreeing upon international debt cancellation support measures to promote accountability of debtor countries
d. implement measures to promote accountability of debtor countries when debts are relieved; these measures must be determined and monitored by local community organizations, including churches, and other communities of faith, and representative organizations of civil society, to ensure that debt cancellation leads to a more just distribution of wealth;
e . d. use their powers to ensure that funds illegitimately transferred to secret foreign bank accounts are returned to debtor nations; and
f. e. engage, in consultation with civil society, in a process of global economic reform towards the development of responsible financing standards for a more just distribution of wealth and prevention of new cycles of debt.
3 4. urges the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries to:
work with annual and central conferences to become advocates for debt cancellation and relief, for new structures and mechanisms involving participation and dialogue between creditors and debtors, that is open and transparent and includes civil society;
advocate for the introduction of an international insolvency law which ensures that losses and gains are equally shared, new terms of trade that insure poor nations can trade on an equal footing with rich nations, and other equitable resolutions of the global debt crisis that will protect the poor through public policy and corporate responsibility;
c . b. develop and distribute appropriate curriculum and study materials to annual conferences and local congregations; and
b . c. organize and assist speaking tours on the human impact of the global debt crisis.
(New numbering of 4 as 5 and 5 as 6 with no changes)