[mgj-announce] MGJ response to the G-8 Debt Cancellation Agreement
mgj at riseup.net
mgj at riseup.net
Thu Jun 16 19:58:22 GMT 2005
On June 11th, 2005, the Group of Eight wealthiest countries (G8) announced that
they had reached agreement on a proposal that would deliver 100% debt
cancellation to 18 countries and potentially as many as 38 countries. All the
countries under discussion in the debt deal are part of the existing Heavily
Indebted Poor Country initiative (HIPC). HIPC was an earlier response by the
G8 to calls for debt cancellation, and has been heavily criticized. The
choice of HIPC countries was guided mainly by political motivations and
excluded such countries as Jamaica, Guatemala, and Haiti - the poorest country
in the western hemisphere. HIPC forces countries to adopt strict economic
reforms - such as the privatization of essential services and the
liberalization of trade, and other reforms which result in a loss of
sovereignty - before they are eligible for even nominal debt relief.
The 18 countries slated to receive 100% debt cancellation with this new proposal
have reached what is called HIPC completion point, which essentially means they
have nothing left to destroy, exploit, or privatize. They have all run the
gamut it of HIPC conditionality and are still severely impoverished. For the
other 20 HIPC countries being considered for debt relief the new proposal will
only include them if they complete all the HIPC requirements. That could mean 8
to 10 more years of harmful economic reforms before these countries benefit from
The debt cancellation agreement only includes HIPC countries. This excludes
countries in desperate need of debt cancellation such as Guatemala and Jamaica,
and excludes countries paying off illegitimate debts of brutal regimes such as
the Marcos regime in the Philippines. In addition, of the numerous regional
development banks that hold multilateral debt, only the debt owed to the
African Development Bank (AfDB) is included in the deal. Other major creditors
such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) are not included.
All told there are over 64 countries in dire need of debt cancellation,
including deeply impoverished countries, countries that were devastated by the
December 2004 tsunami, countries in the crushing grip of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,
and countries that are still burdened by illegitimate and odious debt.
The Mobilization for Global Justice does not take lightly this development in
the movement for global economic justice, nor do we simply brush it off as yet
another lame attempt by the powers that be to appease our cries for justice.
MGJ recognizes that the language of 100% debt cancellation is in the proposal
due to the successes of social movements around the world to force debt
cancellation into the light. It has been no small feat to take on the World
Bank, IMF and G8. Activists and organizers, paid and unpaid, will continue to
work tirelessly for the full cancellation of multilateral debt.
Knowing that we have made one small step forward does not give time to pause and
celebrate; it must give us the vision and energy to move forward. So much work
is left to be done.
MGJ has four demands of the World Bank and IMF:
1.) Open the meetings to the media and public;
2.) End structural adjustment programs such as privatization and free trade;
3.) Cancel the debt 100% for all impoverished countries without harmful
conditions and with the institutions own resources;
4.) End support for environmentally and socially destructive projects such as
large dams and mines.
This agreement on debt cancellation addresses but a small part of just one of
MGJs core demands.
MGJ will continue to put our hearts and hands into our work for global justice.
With our hearts we continue to feel the power of injustices we see all around
us and to guide our work for justice; our hands to offer support, comfort and
power where needed in this long struggle. When the World Bank and IMF meet in
Washington DC September 24th and 25th, 2005 our protest will be no less
condemning of the institutions because of this agreement. We stand firm: The
World Bank and IMF must get out of the Global South!
The Mobilization for Global Justice
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