Climate justice needs debt relief
+++ The campaign ended in December 2020. Thanks to everyone who participated! We promise: We will keep climate justice on our agenda! +++
Hurricane Maria swept across the Caribbean island of Dominica in 2017, completely devastating it. It was a natural, but also a financial disaster for the island nation, with the damage corresponding to 225% of its total annual economic output. Dominica is not an isolated case. Natural disasters like these will increase in severity and frequency worldwide due to man-made climate change.
These climate disasters are causing highly indebted countries such as Dominica to fall ever deeper into the debt trap. With every debt repayment to their creditors, they lose money that is urgently needed for emergency aid and reconstruction. They have to wait for aid from abroad or even take out new loans that will further increase their debt stock.
In the event of such disasters, money has to be prevented from continuously being drained out of state budgets. An automatic halt on ongoing debt repayment frees up urgently needed money that can be immediately used for emergency relief and reconstruction. In a second step, the country affected must be able to negotiate with its creditors on how to reduce debt to a sustainable level.
It is acutely unfair that the countries contributing least to climate change, are hit the hardest by its negative effects. Moreover, the major emitters – rich countries such as Germany – have so far been unwilling to accept financial responsibility for the devastating effects of climate change.
erlassjahr.de therefore calls on the German government to work to ensure that natural disasters do not lead to debt crises in poor countries. The Federal Government must pursue this goal in all forums relevant to development and climate financing debates.
WHAT WE DEMAND:
- The German Government, at international climate conferences, as well as at the United Nations Financing for Development process and the International Monetary Fund, should support the creation of a debt relief option for countries that are particularly affected by climate change.
- In the event of a disaster, Germany should – preferably together with other EU members, but if necessary, also alone – issue a moratorium on the servicing of debt of any country concerned
GET INVOLVED AND TAKE ACTION:
- Adapt the campaign message to your own country and demand action from your government!
- Download and share the campaign picture!
- Translate the campaign message to other languages!
- In the week from 12th to 18th of October 2020, and especially on Tuesday, 13th of October, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, we will widely spread the message “Climate justice needs debt relief!” via Facebook and Twitter. Join us by sharing or retweeting our posts and the campaign picture or by posting and tweeting yourself! Use the Hashtag #ClimateJusticeNeedsDebtRelief and/or, in German, #KlimagerechtigkeitBrauchtEntschuldung and help us to spread the word!
- If you speak German, find more information here!
- News (30.12.2020): “New educational material on sovereign debt and climate change”
- Jürgen Kaiser, Guest Post for “German Climate Finance” (24 June 2020): “Debt Relief in Response to Loss and Damage Caused by Climate Change”
This campaign was partially funded with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Citizens for Financial Justice and erlassjahr.de, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
Partially funded by the Open Society Foundations.