Dr Manuel (Butch Montes), representing the Ecumenical Panel on New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA), shared findings from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems report. Montes identified four factors behind the unsustainable cycles in food, fuel, and debt problems, including import dependencies, extractive financial flows, corporate consolidation, and climate breakdown.
Aida Jean Nacpil-Manipon from Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia highlighted the devastating impact of food, fuel, and debt crises on marginalized sectors and communities who have the least responsibility for producing the crises and the least access to decision-making on solutions.
“There must be an understanding of the debt issue not just as a financial issue but as a political one. What kind of power relations does this produce, perpetuate, and reinforce? Who stands to benefit, and who stands to gain? Who bears the social and economic cost? Who owes whom? There must also be recognition of the historical social, environmental, and ecological debt of countries of the North to the Global South,” Nacpil-Manipon added.
Nacpil-Manipon called for the cancellation of unsustainable debts disproportionately borne by women, workers, and farmers, as well as the establishment of a multilateral debt workout mechanism and framework under the UN auspices. She urged churches, faith-based communities, and the ecumenical movement to join and support civil society-led initiatives for inclusive, democratic, transparent, and accountable global economic governance in addressing the global debt issue.
Dr Barry Herman of the NIFEA panel and the Board of Social Justice in Development drew attention to the struggle between economic classes within a country for public financing for social protection and between an indebted government and its foreign creditors for workout from sovereign debt crises.
“Civil society, including churches, can and should work toward resolving the struggles in a socially responsible direction. The church organizations organizing this side event are working in that direction. More power to them,” Herman said.
The side-event, part of the NIFEA initiative, called for inclusive, democratic, transparent, and accountable global economic governance and urged churches, faith-based communities, and the ecumenical movement to support civil society-led initiatives to advocate reforms in the international financial architecture.