|Putting Life Before Debt (CI - CIDSE, 1998, 38 p.)|
Duncan MacLaren · Luc Trouillard
16 Piazza San Calisto · 00153 Rome · Italy
Tel: (39) 6 698 871 97
Fax: (39) 6 698 872 37
BP 77 · 2340 AB Oegstgeest · The Netherlands
Tel: (31-71) 515 95 00
Fax: (31-71) 517 53 91
Huidevetterstraat, 165 · 1000 Brussels · Belgium
Tel: (322) 502 57 00
Fax: (322) 502 81 01
5 avenue Marie-Thse ·2132 Luxembourg
Grand Duchu Luxembourg
Tel: (352) 447 43 258
Fax: (352) 447 32 31
Betty East · Henry Northover
2 Romero Close · Stockwell Road
London SW9 9TY · U.K.
Tel: (44) 171 733 79 00
Fax: (44) 171 274 96 30
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand*
P.O. Box 12-193 · Wellington · New Zealand
Tel: +64-4 496-1742
Fax: +64-4 499-2519
Catholic Relief Services*
209 West Fayette Street · Baltimore, MD 21201 · USA
Tel: (1) 410 625 22 20
Fax: (1) 410 685 16 35
4 rue Jean Lantier · 75001 Paris · France
Tel: (331) 44 82 80 00
Fax: (331) 44 82 81 43
Jacques Bertrand · Fabien Leboeuf
5633 Est, rue Sherbrooke · Montreal Quebec
HIN 1A3 · Canada
Tel: (1) 514 257 87 11
Fax: (1) 514 257 84 97
Entraide et FraternitR>32 rue du Gouvernement
1000 Brussels · Belgium
Tel: (322) 227 66 80
Fax: (322) 217 32 59
Habsburgerstrasse 44 · Postfach 2856
CH-6002 Luzern · Switzerland
Tel: (41) 41 -210.76.55
Fax: (41) 41 -210.13.62
FOCSIV - Voluntari nel Mondo*
Ezio Castelli · Riccardo Moro
Via S. Francesco di Sales, 18 · 00165 Roma · Italy
Tel: (39) 6 687 77 96 or (39) 6 687 78 67
Fax: (39) 6 687 23 73
Helmut Ornauer · Martina Neuwirth
Turkenstrasse 3 · 1090 Vienna · Austria
Tel: (43) 1 -3170321 or (43) 1 -3170322
Fax: (43) 1 -31703 21 85
Luis Arancibia · Maria Teresa de Febrer
Barquillo 38 - 2 · 28004 Madrid · Spain
Tel: (34) (1) 3082020
Fax: (34) (1) 3084208
Reinhard Hermle · Christiane Overkamp
Postfach 14 50 · 52015 Aachen · Germany
Tel: (49) 241 44 20
Fax: (49) 241 44 21 88
5 Oswald Street · Glasgow G1 4QR · Scotland
Tel: (44) 141 221 44 47
Fax: (44) 141 221 23 73
169 Booterstown Avenue · Blackrock Co. Dublin · Ireland
Tel: (353) I 288 53 85
Fax: (353) I 288 35 77
Jef Felix · Jean-Marie Fardeau
Rue Stevin 16 · 1000 Brussels · Belgium
Tel: (322) 230 77 22
Fax: (322) 230 70 82
Leader of the team that primarily authored this paper:
U.S. Catholic Conference*
3211 4th St., NE · Washington, DC 20017 · USA
Tel. (202) 541-3153
Fax (202) 541-3339
* Members of joint CIDSE/Caritas Internationalis Task group on Debt, Structural Adjustment, and World Bank Reform.
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Pope John Paul II, 1987. P. 19
An Ethical Approach to the International Debt Question, Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission, 1987
Third World Debt, CIDSE Position Paper, Brussels, 1988
Relieving Third World Debt: A Call for Co-responsibility, justice, and Solidarity, USCC Administrative Board, 1989
Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II, 1991. P. 35
Final document, IVth General Assembly of the Latin American Bishops, CELAM, Santo Domingo, 1992
Common Wealth for the Common Good, Australia Bishops' Conference, 1992
Hear the Cry of the Poor, Zambia Episcopal Conference, 1993
Tertio Millennio Adveniente: Apostolic Letter for the jubilee of the Year 2000, Pope John Paul II, 1994
Forgive us our Debts, letter from the African bishops to the bishops of Europe and North America, 1995
US Response to the African Bishops letter, 1995
Ecclesia in Africa, Apostolic Exhortation, Pope John Paul II, 1995
The Common Good, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, 1996
The Struggle Against Poverty; a Sign of Hope in our World, Canadian Bishops' Conference, 1996
A New Beginning: Eradicating Poverty in Our World, Australian Bishops' Conference, 1996
World Debt and International Institutions, Statement of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, 1996
Declaration on the International Debt of the Poorest Countries in the Third World, Catholic Bishops Conference of Austria, November 1996
Note: This list is not exhaustive. There are many other organizations actively working on the issue of debt.
International networks and initiatives
Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network
174 Rue Joseph II · 1000 Brussels · Belgium,
Tel: (322) 230 41 73
Fax: (322) 231 14 13
The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development
P.O. Box MR38 · Marlborough · Harare · Zimbabwe
Tel: (263) 4702093
Fax: (263) 4702143 or (263) 4 722 363
Coordinator: Opa Kapijimpanga
Apartado Postal 2239 · Tegucigalpa · Honduras
Tel: (504) 30-7622
Fax (504) 30-3546
Rep: Alexis Pacheco
Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC)
P.O. Box 35 · Brittons Hill · St. Michael · Barbados
Tel: 1 809 437 6055
Fax: 1 809 437 3381
Rep: Chris Sinckler
European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)
rue Dejoncker 46 · 1060 Bruxelles · Belgique
Tel: 32 2 5439060
Fax: 32 2 5440559.
Coordinator: Ted van Hees.
Institut Africain pour le Dloppement Economique et Social -
Centre Africain de Formation
08 B.P. 8 Abidjan 08 · Cote D'Ivoire
Tel: 225 44 31281 / 29 / 30
Fax: 225 44 0641
Rep: Rene M. Segbenou
Jubilee 2000 Coalition Afrika Campaign - Ghana
P.O. Box 12063 · Accra-North · Ghana
Rep: Esi Amoafo
Latin American Association of Development Organizations
c/o CAAP · P.O. Box 17-15173-B · Quito · Ecuador
Tel: 593 2 52 9591 / 2763 / 3262
Fax: 593 2 56 8452
Rep: Manuel Chiriboga
OIC Conference (International Catholic Organizations)
Rue Jaumain · 15 · 5330 Assesse · Belgium
Tel: 32-83 65 62 36
Fax: 32-83 65 61 41
Rep: Joseph Pirson
1511 K St., NW · Suite 640 · Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 393 5333
Fax: (202) 783-8739
Contact: Veena Siddharth or Justin Forsyth.
SEDOS · Working Group on
Via dei Verbiti, 1 · 00154 Roma · Italy
Coordinator: Michael Seigel
Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative
927 Fifteenth St., NW · 4th Floor
Washington DC 20005
Tel: (202) 898 1566
Fax: (202) 898 1612
Contact: Douglas Hellinger, The Development Gap.
National campaigns on debt
CIAM (Centre d'Information et d'Animation Missionnaire)
B.P. 724 · Limete-Kinshasa · Democratic Republic of the
IAG Ethiopia, (Inter-Africa Group)
P.O. Box 1631 · Addis Abbaba · Ethiopia
Tel: 251 151 8790/51 9582 (dir)
Fax: 251 I 51 7554.
Representative: Jalal Abdel Latif
Uganda Debt Network
P.O. Box 9863 Kampala
Tel: 256-41 -342987 / 321228 / 235532-3-4 / 223152
Fax: 256-413 or PTC Wandegeya 256-41 -530412
Contacts: Zie Gariyo and Maude Mugisha
Zambia Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection,
St. Ignatius Church
P.O. Box 37774 · 10101 Lusaka · Zambia
Contact: Peter Henriot, SJ
Zambia Coalition on Debt and Development
P.O. Box 35264 · Lusaka 10101
Contact: David Musona
Box 545 Harare · Zimbabwe
Tel: 263 4 497204 /5
Fax: 263 4 495363
Contact: Brian McGarry, SJ and Zvashe Kujinga
Caritas India, C.B.C.I. Centre Ashok Place (Gole Dakhana)
110001 New Delhi · India
Tel: +9111 336 2735
Fax: +9111 371 5146
Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)
42 Tughlakabad · Institutional Area
New Delhi · 110 062, India
Tel: 91 11 698 5819/6451908
Fax: 91 11 698 0183/6471183
Rep: Rajesh Tandon
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
P.O. Box 2 · UP Diliman · Quezon City ·1101
Tel: 632 976061-69
Fax: 632 9214381
Rep: Teresa Diokno Pascual (President),
Lydia Nacpil Alejandro (Secretary General)
Erlassjahr 2000 c/o Initiative 96 Entschuldung
Turkenstrasse 3 · A-1090 Vienna · Austria
Tel: (43) 1 31703 21 77
Fax: (43) 1 31703 21 85
Coordinator: Martina Neuwirth
Erlassjahr 2000 c/o SUDWIND e.V.
Lindenstrasse 58-60 · 53721 Siegburg
Tel: (49) 22-41-5912-26
Fax: (49) 22-41-5912-27
Contact: Friedel Hams
German Debt Coalition
Initiativkreis Entwicklung braucht Entschuldung
Dusseldorfer Landstrasse 180 · 47249 · Duisburg
Tel: 0203 791728
Fax: 0203 7789118
Coordinator: Jurgen Kaiser
Irish Debt and Development Coalition
All Hallows College · Grace Park Road 9
Dublin · Ireland
Tel/Fax: (353) I 857 1828
Contact: Jean Somers
Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations
Monbijoustr. 31 · P.O. Box 6735 · CH-3001 Berne
Tel: (41) 31 381 17 11
Fax: (41) 31 381 17 18
Jubilee 2000 (UK Campaign)
P.O. Box 100 · London · SEI 7RT
Tel: (44) 171 620 4444, ext. 2169
Fax: (44) 171 620 0719
Contact: Ann Pettifor and Nick Buxton.
1 rue Nicholas St. · Suite 412
Ottawa · Ontario · KIN 7B7
Tel: (613) 235 1217
Fax: (613) 241 2292
Inter-Church Coalition on Africa (ICCAF)
129 St. Clair Avenue · Toronto · Ontario
M4V 1N5 · Canada
Tel: 1 416927 1124
Fax: 1 4169277554
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Rep: Ruth Rempel
Center of Concern
3700 13th St., NE. · Washington, DC 20017
Tel: (202) 635 2757, ext. 26
Fax: (202) 832 9494
Contact: Jo Marie Griesgraber
Jubilee 2000 USA
P.O. Box 29550 · Washington, DC 20017
Tel: (202) 783-3566
Coordinator: Religious Working Group on the World
Bank and IMF
Maryknoll Justice & Peace Office
P.O. Box 29132 · Washington, DC 20017.
Tel: (202) 832 1780
Fax: (202) 832 5195
Contact: Marie Dennis
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
SDS-BI.P-40 · s/410-414 Edificio Venancio III
70393-900 Brasilia · Brazil
Tel: 5561 2265008
Fax: 5561 2260701
Director: Odair Firmino
Brazil Network on Multilateral Financial
QD.06-VENANCIO 2000 · Bloco B-50, SLS
433/441 Brasilia DF · Brasil.
Tel: 550 61 2268093
Fax: 550 61 2268042
Rep: FatimaVianna Mello
Centro de Estudios y Promociel Desarrollo (DESCO),
Leon de la Fuente 110 · Lima 17 · Peru
Tel: 51 1 264 1316
Fax: 51 1 264 0128.
Rep: Abelardo Sanchez-Leon
If the goal of a significant debt relief is to be met, more people need to become involved in campaigning and lobbying. The purpose of the fourth section of the paper is to share ideas about how to design and implement initiatives in this area. For more detailed and country specific information, please refer to the contacts given in Appendix I. If you are new to the issues or to campaigning, first spend some time learning about international debt. Then, establish clear aims and objectives, build awareness at the grassroots level, and lobby decision makers.
If you have not worked on the debt issue before, you should spend some time learning the basic facts about debt in order to make the topic accessible for yourself and your constituency.
Before you start gathering information, find out what is already available. You could, for example, contact national or regional debt networks, your national episcopal conference, or your local CIDSE or CI partner (see Appendices 1&3). In the South, you can also get information from local or regional offices of the NGO liaison unit of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
Examine the economic condition of your country: What is the country's annual income, known as Gross Domestic Product? What is the level of inflation in the country, and is it falling or rising? What types of products does the country produce for export, and how much money does it earn each year from exports? Is export income falling or rising?
Beyond these standard macroeconomic indicators, look at other questions. What percentage of the population lives in poverty? How unequal is the distribution of income, land, and other forms of wealth in your country? What percentage of the population cannot read? How many people do not have access to potable water? Are literacy rates and health care coverage different for women and men? What percentage of the government's public expenditure goes to health, education, or agricultural programs? Are the services financed through these expenditures accessible to the poor? Do women and children fare worse in these areas? Again, you can request this data from the World Bank, the UN Development Program, your local CIDSE/Caritas Internationalis partner, or other NGOs.
Examine the debt situation of your country: How much debt does the government owe? What is the structure of the debt? How were the loans used? Was the money used for productive investments, for paying back older loans, or for balance of payments support? Find out the amount owed to each type of creditor: commercial bank, bilateral government, or international financial institution. Within the international financial institutions, the government may owe more to a regional development bank, such as the African Development Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, than to the World Bank or IMF. If this is the case, you might consider focusing your campaign on a regional development bank rather than the World Bank or IMF. Some of a government's debt may be short-term and some long-term. Which type of debt does the government pay regularly? Which type does it pay occasionally or not at all?
Assess the information: What do the numbers mean to you? The World Bank and IMF look at the overall amount of debt in a country as a percentage of exports (the average level of exports over a three-year period.) They say that a country is heavily indebted if the debt-to-export ratio is over 200 -250 percent. Another common measure is the debt service-to-export ratio, which compares the country's annual debt repayments to its annual exports. The international financial institutions say that a country is heavily indebted if this ratio is over 20-25 percent. We argue that these thresholds do not adequately take into account critical measures such as the impact of debt service on poverty levels.
To illustrate the burden of debt, divide the total amount of government spending on health by the population of your country. How does that relate to the real cost of health care as you know it? Compare the amount of money the government spends in a year on debt repayments to the amount it invests in health and education. Oxfam International, for example, estimates that Tanzania spends four times more on debt servicing than it does on health and education combined. (Poor Country Debt Relief, April 1997.) Or think about alternative uses for the money the government spends on debt repayments. How many children could get textbooks, or immunizations, or school meals with that money?
In Creditor Countries
Your country's role as a creditor: Find out the number and value of loans made by your government. Which countries are the major debtors to your government? How is the debt burden affecting the population in those countries? Look at the total value of loans made by the European Union (EU) and find out more about debt owed to the EU by groups such as the Africa, Pacific, and Caribbean States (ACP). If you work closely with a debtor country, follow the steps outlined above, for debtor countries.
Your country's policy on debt: What is the policy of your government on debt? Does it have a position document on debt and structural adjustment policies? (In Ireland, an NGO coalition has asked the government to develop a policy paper on debt.) Has your country canceled debt in the past? If so, of which countries? Is your government planning any new cancellations or reschedulings? You can get this information from some of the organizations listed in the appendices.
Focus on one piece of the problem. If you narrow your focus to one section of the debt, then the campaign will be manageable. Decide which aspect of debt is most crucial. The following possible focal points are interlinked:
The HIPC Initiative: Since only a few countries are likely to be eligible, and they will be evaluated one by one, you could campaign to: I) Insure your country will be considered for HIPC relief; 2) Encourage creditors to shorten the time frame; or 3) Increase the amount of debt relief for that particular country. Alternatively, you could try to get the maximum relief possible from one creditor institution, such as the African Development Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank. Check with your representatives, known as Executive Directors, at the World Bank, IMF, or the other international financial institutions, to find out their position on the HIPC Initiative.
Structural Adjustment Policies: If you prefer to focus your attention on the social and environmental consequences of structural adjustment policies, you may be aware of another initiative, the Structural Adjustment Review Initiative (SAPRI), which is gaining support from civil society organizations around the world. The Initiative is a joint government-World Bank-civil society effort to review the impact of World Bank supported structural adjustment policies in seven countries - Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Bangladesh, Ecuador, and Hungary. Is your country one of the seven? If not, consider starting a study of structural adjustment in your country. CIDSE can provide you with information on how to launch such an exercise in your country, based on experiences of member organizations. The Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) in the UK, for example, has supported such projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Monitoring Government Spending: It is important to ensure that new resources made available to the government through debt relief are spent in a way that benefits the people, especially the poor, in your country. Civil society organizations can play an important role in monitoring and lobbying for change, for example, to eliminate corruption.
A useful monitoring tool is the 20:20 initiative agreed upon at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995. This initiative states that countries of the North and South should enter into an agreement in which countries of the South would allocate on average, twenty percent of their public budgets to basic social services (education, health, housing, food, safe water, etc.) and the countries of the North would allocate on average twenty percent of their aid to such services.
In Debtor Countries
Find out whether your government is willing to commit to the 20:20 initiative. Beyond that, try to find out current budget allocations on the national, regional, and local levels. For example, how many girl children receive primary education? What percentage of the agricultural budget goes to support small scale farmers?
In Creditor Countries
Find out whether your government is committed to the 20:20 initiative. If so, have any concrete steps been taken since the Copenhagen summit? Have patterns of allocation been changed accordingly in the foreign aid budget? Is there any quantified data on foreign aid for basic social services? Do any recent aid agreements between your country and debtor countries refer to the 20:20 initiative?
National or local level
Consider joining or launching a campaign to change public opinion. Several campaigns for debt cancellation are gathering momentum (Appendix 3), and you can draw on their work. Being part of an international movement strengthens work at the national level. If there is not already a campaign in your country, you can launch one by bringing together parishes, civic associations, and social movements in a coalition to raise awareness and pressure the policy makers in your country.
Consider the following ideas for action at the local level. Talk with people in your church or organize a discussion about debt after mass and invite your church officials to participate. Talk with people in other churches and from different denominations. Work with popular education materials that national Jubilee Campaigns or other initiatives provide so that more people can learn about the issue. Ask people you know in debtor countries to gather and document information on the concrete impact of debt on their lives (health services, education, etc.) These testimonies can be used in your lobbying and advocacy.
You can use this information to let local media know about the problem. Write a letter to the editor or try to get an editorial placed in your local newspaper. Organize an event and invite the press.
Support Southern/Northern partnerships. Both Southern and Northern groups can help each other by sharing information, supporting policy changes (e.g., anti-corruption laws), and designing common strategies for debt relief. If your parish has a relationship with a parish in a creditor or debtor country, ask them whether they are also interested in the debt issue.
Identify the decision makers
In Debtor Countries: First, identify local decision makers. Who are the politicians, local government officials, bankers or business people who play a role in decision making? Then, identify the decision makers in the North. Who makes the decision to reschedule existing debt? Who decides whether a country should qualify for debt relief? Which commercial banks hold the country's debt? Which creditor countries?
In Creditor Countries: Who decides the government's policy on debt? Which ministries are involved and which committee of the Parliament or Congress is in charge of the issue? Who represents your country at the international financial institutions? To whom does this representative report?
Influence decision makers
To change the minds of decision makers, you need to have a strategy and clear goals that take into consideration the position and interest of the people you want to address. Before taking any of the suggested steps ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish? What are my most important arguments? What arguments will the decision maker make? You will need to be persistent over the long term. You may find that officials promise change but do not follow up. In your meetings, try to get concrete answers on what they are going to do and then closely monitor whether they do what they promise.
A useful place to start your meetings is with the NGO liaison offices of the World Bank. These are located in nearly every country. You should also contact your local CIDSE or Caritas Internationalis partner.
In Debtor Countries
Consider meeting with your representatives in the legislative and executive branches of government to find out their policy regarding the debt issue. Ask them to gather international support for debt relief. Also, consider meeting with your Finance Minister or other officials at the Finance Ministry, because they are the official representatives to the World Bank and IMF. You can also try to meet with visiting delegations from the World Bank and IMF or from the Resident Representatives based in-country. Representatives of these institutions do not often meet with people representing church groups, development organizations, or other civil society organizations, and you can provide them with the information they do not have: what poverty means on the ground.
In Creditor Countries
Meet with your finance minister, country representatives at the World Bank and IMF, legislative representatives, and European Community representatives. Encourage them to visit a highly indebted country. Urge Congressional or parliamentary members to sponsor debates or presentations. Try to get the government to develop a policy statement on international debt and structural adjustment.
Meet with church leaders and NGOs in other countries. If you or your bishop or another church leader visits a creditor or debtor nation, encourage them to meet with representatives of episcopal conferences and NGOs. In some creditor countries, the episcopal conference communicates regularly with legislative and executive branches of government to express concern about certain issues. You could encourage them to communicate the reality of poverty to their representatives at the World Bank, IMF, the legislature, or the European Union.
Consider organizing a public event together with other churches or NGOs or making a joint statement on debt, particularly around the time of key international meetings such as the G-7/8 Summit or the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF.