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Please write to your MP and lobby for HIPC to be extended to cancellation of all debts as a step to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.  For addresses of MPs (and a link to find the name of your MP), MEPs and Ministers see addresses

This is the text of a JDC Manchester email suggesting questions your MP could ask Hilary Benn

JDC 2003 Question to MP- TDS reduction

 

JDC is asking for supporters to write to MPs prior to the September WB/IMF meeting asking them to press Baroness Amos for full debt cancellation.

 

JDC (also CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Eurodad) will publish a report on September 16th showing that even with recent international commitments for funding development (such as Monterrey), HIPC countries will not achieve the debt sustainability that would enable them to meet the Millennium Development Goals and that HIPC needs to be delinked from damaging economic conditions imposed by the IMF (otherwise known as structural adjustment programmes).  JDC is asking MPs to contact Hilary Benn to raise these issues and to ask him in turn to press the World Bank and IMF to give poor countries the full debt cancellation they urgently need to tackle poverty.

 

Most people appreciate that it isnt so much the amount of debt that keeps one in poverty but the repayments.  In effect its the monthly/annual instalments that could otherwise be spent on health and education not the total debt/loan.  Whilst the government always trumpets how much debt has been cancelled (or really will be if they ever get there), the fact is that the debt repayments have hardly reduced at all.  When J2000 started the debt repayments were $23bn (52 countries), and they are still $23bn (slightly more but the figures arent that accurate).  The debt repayments of those countries that have seen relief have reduced by a mere $2bn (out of $9bn), but the rest have drifted upwards keeping the total for all 52 countries at $23bn.  (The spreadsheet showing the basis of these figures is available at JDC Web Group Data Tables - see column X for calculated TDS based on most recent data, row 48 for HIPC countries, row 64 for all 52 Jubilee 2000.  This spreadsheet has a lot more data including aid figures - for a summary of the data see Debt and MDG data which also links to UN tables on progress on MDGs and the HDI (Human Development Indicator) for all these countries and some other potential candidates fo debt cancellation)

 

JDC Manchester is asking its supporters to write to their MPs, pressing the case for total debt cancellation as requested by JDC but also formally asking the MP to ask Baroness Amos to state how much the debt repayments in 2003 have been reduced from their 1998 levels, for both the 42 HIPC countries and the 52 Jubilee 2000 countries.  Then against that figure ask how they can be expected to meet the MDGs.  Suggested questions are (select one or adapt your own):-

 

       What will the debt service payments (TDS) for the 42 HIPC countries be in 2003 compared to 1998 and also how much will the 52 countries identified by Jubilee 2000 as having unsustainable debts be in 2003 compared to 1998?  How does this reduction in debt compare to the amount the World Bank estimates is needed to fund the investment needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals for these countries?

       What will the debt service payments (TDS) for the 42 HIPC countries be in 2003 and what will be the level of aid given to these countries (in 2003)?  How much have these figures changed since 1998 to provide for an increase in investment to meet the Millennium Development Goals and what is the shortfall from the amount the World Bank estimates is needed for these countries?

       What will the debt service payments (TDS) for the 52 countries, identified by Jubilee 2000 as having unsustainable debts, be in 2003 compared to the 1998 level of TDS?  If all the debt service payments (for these 52 countries) were diverted to fund poverty reduction programs, by how much (approximately) would the figure of one billion people currently living below the poverty line would be reduced?

       The World Bank reported to the UN conference on Finance for Development that 65 countries are at risk of failing to meet the Millennium Development Goals.  Which of the 42 HIPC countries does the World Bank assess can meet the Millennium Development Goals with current levels of debt service and aid?  Which of the other countries identified by Jubilee 2000 as having unsustainable debts does the World Bank believe will meet the MDGs with their current levels of debt service payments?

       In 1998 the amount of debt service paid by the 52 countries identified by Jubilee 2000 as having unsustainable debts was about 50% more than the total aid received by these countries (approximately $26bn TDS, $18bn aid-source World Bank GDF).  What are the current figures for debt service (TDS) and aid for these (52) countries in 2003 and how much has the net balance of payments (between debt service and aid) actually been reduced by HIPC?

These are difficult questions and DFID may claim that they dont have the figures available yet for 2003.  However the implication of the questions is clear and it will at least challenge their ingenuity to spin a positive reply.  Please pass on any replies you receive to JDC Manchester to include in our data and possibly provide campaign arguments.