Famous names petition G20 in call for debt and climate crisis reform

English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry, singer Annie Lennox and American actor Forest Whitaker
English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry, singer Annie Lennox and American actor Forest Whitaker Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Doloresz Katanich
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More than 100 signatories, including a number of celebrities, send an open letter to the G20 asking for reform to the global financial system.


Stephen Fry, Richard Curtis, Annie Lennox and Forest Whitaker are among a host of celebrities who have written to G20 leaders calling for a reform to debt and climate crises across the world.

The letter was sent ahead of this week's Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.

In their open letter, the leading actors, politicians, artists and economists wrote: "80 years on, we need another Bretton Woods moment," referring to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. 

The "institutions of world finance have lost their muscle", they added as they called for an upgraded coordination of the world's finances. 

The celebrities called on  international financial institutions and policymakers to reform the global financial system to help solve the debt and climate crises and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The letter, coordinated by Project Everyone, urges rich countries to triple their investment in multilateral development banks, end crippling debt and make polluters pay for the environmental damage they cause to achieve "Sustainable Development Goals".

Sustainable Development Goals "under threat"

The UN estimates that the total amount needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is $5.4 trillion (€5.07 trillion) a year by 2030. Based on current policies, there is a $3 trillion (€2.81 trillion) shortfall. 

Meanwhile, almost 60% of low-income countries face difficulty paying their debts. 

"Removing burdensome debt allows countries to invest in their people and their future: in resilience, education, health and nutrition," says the letter, adding that "each of us stands to gain from stability, lower food and energy costs, and nature protection".

Dr Joyce Banda, former President of the Republic of Malawi, said: "As African leaders, we need to invest in resilience, education, health and nutrition but we're being held back by unfair debt. ... This has to stop."

It’s time to transform global public finance to pave the way for a fairer, more stable future for all.
Dr Joyce Banda
Former President of the Republic of Malawi

David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said: "To end extreme poverty and unlock sustainable development, G20 leaders should back financial architecture reform, deliver more concessional finance via the World Bank's International Development Association, and work with civil society to ensure the money gets to where it's needed most."  

The letter – also signed by leading NGOs Save The Children, The ONE Campaign, Oxfam, Project Everyone and Christian Aid – ends by urging the leaders to: "Triple the investment. End crippling debt. Make polluters pay."

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