From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Title: Illegitimate debt or arbitration
"WCC Media" <Media@wcc-coe.org>
Fri, 27 Jun 2003 11:12:44 +0200
World Council of Churches
Press Release 03-24
For Immediate Use
27 June 2003
Illegitimate debt or arbitration?
WCC addresses debt campaign divisions
Forging a common understanding on debt campaigning is the goal of a World
Council of Churches (WCC) workshop that will bring together about 30
representatives of campaign movements devoted to solving the problem of the
debt of poor countries.
The workshop, "Illegitimate debt and arbitration", will take place from June
30 to July 2, 2003 in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva. Representatives from
Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, Pacific and Europe are expected
Almost a decade of global campaigning by multiple actors in civil society has
not resolved the problem of debt. Despite the awareness raised by the
campaigns that debt is a result of an unjust financial system and has to be
approached from a justice perspective, the rich countries have not seriously
addressed the issue. Therefore, churches and other civil society
organizations have realised that new strategies and strong alliances must be
formed to continue to put pressure on creditors.
However, among the campaigns, various creative but sometimes contradictory
methods have emerged. Some parts of civil society speak about debt relief
while others speak of total debt cancellation. Some methods focus on
technical aspects while others are legal or political in nature. Campaign
organizers have now recognized that contradictory methods send contradictory
messages to international financial institutions, the G8 governments and the
United Nations. Thus the World Council of Churches is taking up the issue in
an effort to reconcile groups with different approaches.
"It is now time to come together again and re-examine our strategies,
commonalties and differences in order to forge a solid ground for a powerful
campaign. This time it is expected that a spirit of cooperation and genuine
sharing will prevail. It is quite clear that no one single group can bring
change by itself ... hence the need for strong solidarity", says Rogate
Mshana, WCC programme executive for economic justice.
The workshop aims to create a common understanding between those who propose
debt arbitration mechanisms and those who oppose them. It will also try to
establish how the questions of illegitimacy of debt and arbitration can fit
together. A discussion on different Fair and Transparent Arbitration Process
proposals (FTAPs) will focus on how they can be harmonised.
Participants at the workshop will be available for press interviews upon
For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office,
tel: +41 (0)22 791 64 21 /61 53
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.
World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346
PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
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