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Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive Recovery

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Key Elements of the Proposal

To enable a green and socially just recovery for all countries, public debt problems need to be urgently addressed so that all governments have the fiscal space to finance crucial health and social spending and invest in a green and inclusive recovery.

We propose a Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive Recovery Initiative as an ambitious,

concerted, and comprehensive debt relief initiative – to be adopted on a global scale – that

frees up resources to support recoveries in a sustainable way, boosts economies’ resilience,

and fosters a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

Eligibility should be a function of debt sustainability, which should be determined in a Debt

Sustainability Assessment carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the

World Bank, with inputs from other institutions. Debt Sustainability Assessments need to

be based on realistic assumptions and account for climate risks.

If a Debt Sustainability Assessment asserts that the sovereign debt of a country is of significant

concern, the G20 should coordinate with all bilateral and multilateral creditors about

a debt restructuring, and the IMF should make its programmes conditional on a sovereign

debt restructuring involving private creditors.

Governments receiving debt relief would need to commit to reforms that align their policies

and budgets with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.

Our proposal consists of three pillars and aims at achieving maximum creditor and debtor



  • Pillar 1: Comprehensive debt relief for eligible heavily indebted countries by public creditors that is analogous to, but improves upon, the HIPC Initiative.
  • Pillar 2: Private-sector involvement, with private creditors swapping their old debt holdings with a haircut for new «Green Recovery Bonds».
  • Pillar 3: Debt-for-climate or debt-for-sustainability swaps for countries that are not heavily indebted, but have reduced fiscal space due to Covid-19.

Any new debt issued by countries participating in the Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive

Recovery Initiative could receive Brady-type credit enhancement, which would help countries

to continue to have access to international capital markets.

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