Caritas Internationalis called on leaders of the world’s richest nations to cancel the debt of poor countries and use the funds to address the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis.
The global organization of Catholic charities said the world cannot recover from the health and economic crises and tackle climate change without debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.
“This moment of crisis requires an unprecedented and innovative response,” said Aloysius John, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, in a statement on June 10.
John said G7 countries should explore options to utilize their “Special Drawing Rights” to support poor countries “in ways that do not increase debt and conditionality.”
“Special Drawing Rights” is an asset used for transactions among members of the International Monetary Fund.
G7 leaders met for three days over the weekend to talk on global pandemic recovery, including a commitment to share 1 billion vaccine doses with poorer countries.
Caritas Internationalis, however, said the G7 agenda “could not possibly succeed without canceling the debt of poor countries” and allowing the money to be used in health care and in fighting the climate crisis.
“COVID-19 put the rampant social injustices in today’s world under a magnifying glass,” said John. “The only way to rebuild the future must be by eliminating such injustices.”
“G7 countries must lead the way in COVID-19 response and recovery to support those worst affected by the pandemic and support a just, green recovery,” John said.
“The first step is to ensure that all debt payments are cancelled, including to private creditors. This is the quickest way of getting finance to where it is most needed,” he added.
Through its grassroots presence in about 200 countries and territories worldwide, the Catholic confederation witnesses the dramatic consequences of debt on the people in developing countries.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Caritas Internationalis has been advocating for the poorest countries, urging the international community to commit to and fund a just recovery for all.