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Commendation of G7 debt cancellation for Haiti

In this letter from the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC asked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international financial institutions to follow the G7 example and make sure financial support to Haiti is "grant-based and not debt-creating".

09 February 2010

Similar letters of commendation have been sent to the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Honourable
James M. Flaherty
Department of Finance
Canada

Geneva, 08 February 2010

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) I wish to express our appreciation of the decision of the G7 industrialized nations to cancel Haiti’s debts incurred to these countries.  Sharing your deep concern for the people affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti and who are struggling to recover and rebuild their country, we welcome this initiative.

We hope that the statement made by Your Excellency, that Haiti’s “debt to multilateral institutions should be forgiven and will work with these institutions and other partners to make this happen as soon as possible” will encourage other countries and multilateral institutions to commit to the unconditional cancellation of Haiti's debts.

Your Excellency, the decision of the IMF approving more loans to Haiti after the earthquake will only add to Haiti’s burden, nearly doubling the country's debt to that institution, as there is no clear willingness or definitive moves yet to cancel the country's current debt.

It is in this context that the WCC issued a statement on 25 January 2010 calling for the immediate and full cancellation of Haiti’s foreign debt as the quake-stricken country needs a broader plan to support recovery, poverty eradication and sustainable development. We take this opportunity to reiterate this call and ask that international financial institutions take urgent measures to cancel Haiti’s debts and that all financial support to Haiti be grant-based and non-debt creating.

Following the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January many of our member churches and networks around the world have participated in the immediate relief efforts.  We are all committed to participating in

Haiti’s long road to recovery and reconstruction. We will continue to be engaged with extending such support to Haiti, particularly through the ACT Alliance, a WCC-partner representing many of our member churches.

Once again, I offer our appreciation for your timely action.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary