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24.6.2020 | 14:0015:30 | online

Online-Event: A Matter of Life and Debt. The COVID-19 debt crisis.

Virtuell stattfindende Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache, organisiert vom Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) mit Beteiligung von Kristina Rehbein (

Invitation of the Organizers

The Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) warmly invites you to an online event with the debt experts Kristina Rehbein (Jubilee Germany/ and Syed Abdul Khaliq (Institute for Social and Economic Justice, Pakistan) as well as trade unionist Daniel Bertossa (Public Services International).

The Covid 19 crisis has clearly shown the importance of stable, well-equipped health and social systems. But public services need to be financed. And financing has been difficult for many highly indebted countries – even before the pandemic. A World Bank study revealed already in 2019 that the current “global wave of debt” is unprecedented in its size, speed and scope, especially in emerging and developing countries. 46 out of 76 low-income countries spend four times more on debt service than on their public health care systems. But also heavily indebted developing countries with higher income, like Pakistan, struggle when coping with the pandemic. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has therefore suggested a “global initiative for debt relief”.

In mid-April this year, the G20 decided to defer debt repayments on bilateral loans of 77 countries of the Global South until the end of the year. Will this moratorium solve the problem? An increase in government revenues to pay back debts and tackle the economic and health crisis cannot be expected any time soon. Capital flight, lower investment levels and tax evasion, as well as falling world market prices for important export commodities might cause deep budget cuts.

How many countries are currently in debt distress? What is the impact of the debt crisis on health and other public services during the Covid-19 pandemic? How can heavily indebted countries, like Pakistan, be supported?

Language: English


Kristina Rehbein
works for Jubilee Germany, a debt and development coalition of 600 organisations promoting debt justice. She is also a member of the board of the European Network on Debt and Development in Brussels.

Syed Abdul Khaliq
is a debt justice and human rights activist in Pakistan and founder and director of the Institute for Social and Economic Justice (ISEJ) in Pakistan. He is also the contact for the Campaign for Abolition of Illegitimate Debts (CADTM) in Pakistan.

Daniel Bertossa
is Assistant General Secretary of Public Services International (PSI), a global trade union federation whose affiliates represent 30 million public service workers in 163 countries. PSI defends public sector workers’ rights and promotes quality public services.

Martina Neuwirth
works at the VIDC on international economic and finance policy issues.


Please register by sending an email to
The Zoom link will be sent to you one day before the event and after personal registration.




Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation