Reaction to the UK Chancellor’s speech at COP26

UK Chancellor points to action on debt at COP26 but ignores failure of G20 debt relief schemes 

In response to the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech today where he highlighted the need to act on unsustainable debt to address the climate crisis at COP26,  

Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign said:  

“The Chancellor is right to acknowledge the need to address unsustainable debt to tackle the climate emergency but he failed to mention the G20’s response to unsustainable debt has been desperately ineffective. Many countries on the frontline of the climate crisis have been left with no choice but to borrow to pay for reconstruction after climate disasters as well as continue diverting billions of dollars in debt repayments every year rather than investing in climate resilience. Wealthy governments need to step up and cancel the debt and provide climate finance through grants to address the climate crisis.”   



[1] In his address to attendees at the UN climate conference the Chancellor spoke directly to lower-income countries and said: 

“We know you’ve been devastated by the double tragedies of coronavirus and climate change. That’s why the G20 is stepping up to provide debt treatments more swiftly.” 

[2 ]Since the onset of the pandemic the G20 have introduced two initiatives that aim to relieve the debt burden of lower-income countries, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI. However, both schemes have so far failed to offer the level of support required. 

[3] The Jubilee Debt Campaign is a UK charity working to end poverty caused by unjust debt through education, research and campaigning: https://www.jubileedebt.org.uk 

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