2021 brings the hope that the Covid-19 pandemic can be controlled, but existing inequalities are exacerbating access to the vaccine and with it, return to normal life. Here we set out what we expect to be the biggest issues we face as a network in the coming year.
Today’s governance of sovereign debt has contributed to wave after wave of debt distress, undermining countries’ ability to fulfill their human rights obligations, pursue development and climate goals, and combat inequalities.
What is it?
Lenders dominate in setting the rules and definitions surrounding debt issues, resulting in a system that drives many impoverished countries into long-term indebtedness, and which is ill-equipped to tackle debt crises in a timely, just and durable manner. As the nature of developing country debt becomes more complex, and traditional creditors are joined by new, and increasingly commercial lenders, risks to debt sustainability are growing. Market-based approaches to development further exacerbate these risks.
Eurodad’s work on debt justice seeks to promote fundamental reforms to how debt crises are prevented and resolved, challenge irresponsible financing and the legitimacy of debts, and put the needs and rights of people ahead of debt service. We work closely with civil society partners in the global north and the global south to build a more powerful global debt movement to push forward this transformative agenda.
Eurodad's expertise and the quality of their policy analysis on debt issues has been invaluable in supporting PSI's efforts to educate and engage workers on sovereign debt issues. As Covid-19 worsens an already precarious debt situation, especially in the global south, this work is essential if we are to avoid another round of crippling austerity, attacks on workers, privatisation, deregulation and cuts to public services. PSI values the partnership we have with Eurodad on debt and the bridge it brings to the global debt justice movement.
Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International (PSI)