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After a period
of silence from JDC Web Group, this brief is largely prompted by the opportunity
to keep Debt on the political agenda by protesting at the blocking of
Ethiopia’s funding for debt relief. JDC
and Jubilee Research have asked everyone to lobby hard on this issue.
Please read the brief below and email your protests to the national
representatives on the World Bank/IMF as requested by JDC.
Whilst Ethiopia is being denied agreed debt relief, Gordon Brown and
James Wolfensohn (Director World Bank) have been calling for a new deal for the
world’s poor (through the International Finance Facility).
It would be a good opportunity to point out that the World Bank is
reneging on its commitments to lift the poorest countries out of unsustainable
debt. Please write to Gordon Brown
who represents Britain on the WB/IMF Boards protesting and write to your MP
asking them to table a question to the Chancellor.
Ethiopia is they key action request in this brief
v Ethiopia denied top-up debt relief–go to
v JDC Annual Conference March 27 -go to
v Blair to lead report into poverty! go to
v Gordon Brown’s speech at the conference ‘Making globalisation work for all - the challenge of delivering the Monterrey consensus’ go to
v World Debt Day – May 16th go to
v IMF recommends debt relief for Nigeria! go to
v Guyana finally gets debt relief go to
The USA (along
with Germany and Japan) is blocking debt relief that would make Ethiopia’s
debt burden sustainable (by World Bank criteria!).
Due to the collapse of coffee prices and changes in interest rates
Ethiopia’s debt burden would be considered far too high (the debt to export
ratio would be 220% against a maximum set by the WB of 150%).
The USA is blocking the additional $700M debt relief recommended by
WB/IMF. Moreover, because the debt
burden is then un-sustainable, the Bank cannot make further loans.
this injustice –email the Bank representatives (list below), write to Gordon
Brown, get your MP to ask questions.
Ethiopia has a population of almost 70 million.
Nearly half (44%), live below the poverty line
The price of Ethiopia’s major export, coffee,
has fallen 73 per cent in 20 years.
The Ethiopian drought of 2003 was one of the
worst in history and cut agricultural production and exports
GDP per capita is as low as US$89 per year
compared to US of US$36,300
The country is almost bottom of the UNDP’s
development league: 169th out of 175.
Infant mortality is as high as 116 per thousand
47 per cent of children under five suffer from
24 per cent of Ethiopians have access to clean water sources
Blocking the top-up funding will cost Ethiopia
$35m/annum which could be spent on Poverty reduction programs.
For a full
explanation see Jubilee Research http://www.jubileeresearch.org/analysis/reports/ethiopia130204.htm
the national representatives on the World Bank.
Basically the same message, but modified to encourage those who are not
against the funding to pressurise USA, Germany and Japan.
Use you own
words or modify this
Debt relief rules say that at Completion a country’s debts must be sustainable
and that if not they must get top-up relief. I have been informed that some
countries (USA and Germany and Japan) are trying to block this. This will hit
poor countries like Ethiopia and Niger (whose cases are currently under
consideration) very hard. For example:
half of Ethiopia's 70 million people live below the poverty line - it is they
who will pay for the USA and Germany's attempt to change the rules.
Human Development Indicator is 169 out of 175
is currently very vulnerable economically, due to the low price of coffee (its
major export). Commodity prices
have fallen steadily for decades and are unlikely to recover.
of top-up relief will cost Ethiopia $35 million p.a., which should be spent on
World Bank is supposed to be committed to meeting the MDGs.
Please ensure that the World Bank and IMF stick to the rules on topping
up and make sure that poor countries get the urgent debt relief for which they
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your email to as many of the following as possible:
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protest to Gordon Brown (The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, The Chancellor of the
Exchequer, HM Treasury, Parliament Street, London, SW1P 3AG) who represents
Britain on the boards of the World Bank and the IMF.
Point out that for all the imperatives of the IFF, which has still not
been accepted by America, the priority should be to insist that initiatives and
rules that have been agreed are adhered to first.
Write to you
MP, (to find your MP use link http://www.locata.co.uk/commons/
) and summarise Ethiopia’s position. Ask
them to table a question of Gordon Brown such as, ‘What are the grounds for
the World Bank/IMF delaying the completion agreement for Ethiopia’s HIPC debt
relief?’ Or ‘Would the
chancellor accept that if the top-up debt relief due to Ethiopia is denied,
Ethiopia’s debt would be unsustainable and that Ethiopia will be denied $35M/a
towards meeting the MDG goals?’
'Fighting poverty - Challenging the rules',
University of London Union (ULU), Malet Street, London, WC1E
Entry is free but places are limited. For full details and to
book a place please call JDC on 020 7324 4728 or visit www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk
a series of private meetings at Downing Street with Sir Bob Geldof over
several months, Tony Blair is to author an "age-defining" report
similar to that produced by former German Chancellor Willy Brandt in the late
1970s. In his wide-ranging report, Brandt argued that trade liberalisation was
needed to eradicate long-term poverty and to encourage development in poorer
with Blair set to have unrivalled global political influence holding presidency
of both the European Union and the G8 summit next year, Geldof said he wants the
Prime Minister to make the blueprint to eradicate poverty and Aids his legacy.
Blair is also under pressure from 30 charities, including Jubilee Debt Campaign,
Oxfam and Chistian Aid, to break with the "gesture politics" of past
have written to the Prime Minister to urge him to step up pressure on the other
G8 countries to back Chancellor Gordon Brown's international financing facility,
which would mobilise the extra $50 billion (£27bn) the UN estimates is needed
to meet poverty goals.
Gordon Brown speech
Gordon Brown's speech to the
conference today (Monday 16th Feb 2004) on “MAKING GLOBALISATION
WORK FOR ALL - THE CHALLENGE OF DELIVERING THE MONTERREY CONSENSUS” is well
It’s a remarkable,
passionate speech, seeking to embrace the faith and commitment of NGOs and
campaigners. It more or less sets out the failure of the rich countries to
meet the MDG obligations. Its only specific initiative is his IFF.
But it seems to contain what one must assume is an agreed position with Tony,
that the 2005 presidency of the G8/EU will be a 'Development Presidency'.
Underlying the speech is the question ‘is there the political will to meet the
Millennium Development Goals?’ Unfortunately,
given the minimal world support for the IFF, the speech really illustrates how
little political will really exists and how hard it’s going to be to make the
MDGs a reality. Which underlines why he is calling on (needs)
campaigners to support him!
Here’s a summary of Gordon Brown’s own assessment of status and
But we know already that the first target to be set
and to be met – the 2005 target that ensures for girls the same opportunities
in primary and secondary education as boys - is going to be missed. Not only are
the vast majority - 60 per cent of developing countries - unlikely to meet the
target but most of these are, on present trends, unlikely to achieve this gender
equality for girls even by 2015. This is not good enough – this is not
the promise that we made.
Take education. Yes, in the past decade, primary
enrolments have increased at twice the rate of the 1980s. But consider the
115 million children – 80 million boys and girls in Africa and south and west
Asia – who did not go to school this Monday morning.
To reach our education goals requires 80 million new
primary school places in Africa alone over the coming decade and at the current
rate of progress more than 70 countries will fail to achieve universal primary
education by our target date, and in sub-Saharan Africa we will not achieve what
we committed to by 2015 until at the earliest 2129. This is not good
enough – the promise we made was for 2015 not 2129.
Take health, Just as the numbers of illiterate have
halved in the last 40 years so too life expectancy in developing countries has
increased in the last forty years by 20 years. And to date with nearly 5
billion dollars pledged to the global health fund some poor countries have shown
we can stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and half TB deaths. But because
inexpensive cures are not funded, 2 million die unnecessarily each year from
tuberculosis, 1 million die painfully from malaria - curable diseases - 40
million are suffering from HIV/AIDS, and, tragically, on current forecasts sub
Saharan Africa will achieve our target for reducing child mortality not by 2015
but by 2165. This is not good enough – the promise we made was for
2015 not 2165.
And let us be clear: it is not that the knowledge to
avoid these infant deaths does not exist; it is not that the drugs to avoid
infant deaths do not exist; it is not that the expertise does not exist; it is
not that the means to achieve our goals do not exist. It is that the
political will does not exist. In the nineteenth century you could say that it
was inadequate science, technology and knowledge that prevented us saving lives.
Now, with the science, technology and knowledge available, we must face the
truth that the real barrier is indifference.
So the Millennium target for a two thirds reduction in
child deaths - that can most easily be met because there are available medicines
and cures - is not being met and will not be met simply because the world
doesn’t care enough. And today and every day 30,000 infant lives are
being lost. This is not good enough – the obligation we promised to honour for
sub-Saharan Africa was not for 2165 but for 2015.
And take our Millennium global poverty target.
Although the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by 10 per
cent in the last ten years, there are one billion people still living on less
than $1 a day. And without greatly increased growth, sub-Saharan Africa,
the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the transition
economies of Europe and Central Asia will all fail to see the halving of their
poverty by 2015. Our best estimate is that it will not be achieved in sub
Saharan Africa for more than a hundred years. This is not good enough – the
dream we dreamed was not for 2147 but for 2015.
Gordon effectively sets out the challenge for the political will
So when the need is pressing, when it is our
generation that has made historic commitments, the simple questions that, to use
the words of an American President, we must ask are:
Not left to some other time and some other people but
now and us, working together
This is how he sets out the political objectives
And I propose we all – all of us who believe that
globalisation must also mean justice on a global scale - commit ourselves to a
specific course of action, and then each of us as partners – government,
business, NGOs and faith groups, international institutions – agree to work
together to make the radical changes required. And as Tony Blair has said: for
the sake of Africa and the poorest countries we will make our 2005 G8 presidency
a ‘Development Presidency’.
Put simply, our proposal is that in return for
developing countries developing their own country owned, community owned poverty
reduction plans to expand their own development, investment and trade, and
we, the richest countries, commit the $10 billion
needed each year for education for all
we, the richest countries, release at least $10
billion for tackling Aids, TB, and malaria
we finance sustainable debt relief
we finance, for the poorest countries, the
building of capacity to trade
and that we do so by increasing development aid,
on the road to 0.7 per cent of GDP, and by, immediately, creating an
International Finance Facility that, by leveraging in an additional $50 billion
each year until 2015, brings forward the development aid and investment that is
essential to meet the Millennium Goals
It would be
good to have ideas for how JDC Web Group could respond, appropriately (email to email@example.com
). Current thinking is along the
lines of designing a graphic showing the importance of debt relief to achieving
the Millennium Development Goals to be emailed to key figures just to illustrate
‘World Debt Day’. We would ask
supporters to cascade requests for the action to friends and contacts that might
be sympathetic and try and get everyone to email on May 16th.
Other ideas and any good ideas for a graphic would of course
Nigeria was one of the Jubilee 2000 countries but was excluded from the
42 HIPC countries by the IMF/WB
In the past Nigeria has had many difficulties qualifying for debt relief
despite being one of the world's poorest countries. In 1998 Nigeria was dropped
from the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) list. The debt was largely
built up by military regimes that have cursed Nigeria. A large proportion of the
debt is owed to the British government and was lent to Nigeria almost entirely
during this era of military dictatorship
Another great opportunity to insist that the Government lives up to its rhetoric in a situation in which it can’t pass the buck to the IMF/WB!
'A big day for all the people of the country' -
After a delay of four years, Guyana has become the ninth country to have
its debts reduced under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC).
The 54% reduction raises hopes that, unlike other countries that have passed
through HIPC, it will now be on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Predictions indicate that Guyana will save US$30
million annually, on average, over 10 years. The President stressed that the
savings will go to the social services, enabling increased spending on health,
housing, water and education, as well as stimulating economic activity
This is great news for the people of Guyana but we must remember
This is only the 9th
Country out of 42 HIPC countries to reach completion after 5 years! (note Tony
Blair told Parliament after the Cologne G8 in 1999-“We have agreed that the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund should take steps to ensure that
at least three quarters of eligible countries get the benefits of debt
relief by the end of next year” in
practice it’s less than one quarter in 5 years!
Completion has only
been achieved by accepting IMF conditionalities that have not been made public!
(So much for open and transparent governance!)
Web Group - last updated 18 Februar 2004