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Major Religious Institutions Urge President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves
by Kate Zeller
Tuesday Apr 14th, 2020 2:27 PM
Many of the largest religious institutions are calling for financial crisis protections, debt relief and additional resources to protect the world's poor in what the IMF calls the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
The 80 groups joined a letter organized by Jubilee USA Network to confront the coronavirus crisis and it was delivered to the White House, G20 and IMF on Tuesday.

Signers include: The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jubilee USA Network, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, Buddhist Association of the United States and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The largest labor union in the United States, the AFL-CIO joined the Jubilee USA letter.

The signers join calls from Pope Francis, the US Catholic Bishops and 165 world leaders encouraging additional resources, aid and debt relief to ensure all countries can withstand the crisis.

"Religious institutions and their partners are making a moral call for all people on the planet to be able to have enough resources to weather the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. There is already momentum behind debt relief and emergency financing," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte is a United Nations finance expert and has monitored IMF meetings since 2008. "We are urgently calling on the G20 and IMF to access global reserve funds so that both developed and developing countries can get through the greatest financial crisis of our time. We need to use the special drawing rights or SDRs like we did after the 2008 crisis."

"Special drawing rights," debt relief and additional emergency financing are the issues that the G7, G20, IMF and World Bank are focusing on during virtual spring meetings this week. On Tuesday, the IMF released a report dubbing the "Great Lockdown" as the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The US Treasury released a statement Tuesday after a virtual meeting with G7 leaders expressing support for the world's 76 poorest countries to stop debt payments to provide health services in the developing world.

On Monday, the IMF announced it would cancel 6 months of debt payments for 25 poor countries in an effort to boost their health systems and economies.

"Urgent and bold actions are needed now if we are to survive the greatest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes," said LeCompte.
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