Explanation of Position on a Resolution on External Debt Sustainability and Development

Jesse Walter
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 24, 2020


On behalf of the U.S. government, I would like to extend our thanks Kimberly Louis of St. Lucia as the facilitator of this important resolution. Their leadership throughout this extraordinary time resulted in a resolution that addresses the important issue of debt as we look to build a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic.

We have seen how the Paris Club/G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) can provide the needed fiscal space for countries to channel savings from debt relief toward their COVID-19 response, creating a tangible, rapid benefit for those most in need. The United States is a leader in implementing DSSI and recognizes the continued need for payment relief.

We continue to urge full and transparent implementation of the DSSI by all official bilateral creditors. This will be critical to the success of DSSI.

The United States supports advanced economies’ using their existing special drawing rights (SDRs) at the IMF to bolster Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) resources or to otherwise support low-income countries.

Amid this global health crisis, transparency and accountability are more crucial than ever. While the crisis demands swift and decisive action, it nevertheless requires honesty, transparency, engagement, and public trust.

This is why disclosure of all public sector debt was one of the prerequisites for benefitting from DSSI and will remain an important eligibility factor for further debt suspension.

Increased debt transparency is not only critical to maximizing the benefits of DSSI debt relief, but also helps prevent corruption, promote debt sustainability, and allow citizens to hold their governments accountable as the world seeks to recover from the pandemic stronger than before.

We take this opportunity to make important points of clarification on some of the language contained in this resolution.

Regarding the references to non-cooperative minority bondholders in OPs 26 and 27, we note that the ability of such bondholders to block a deal is permitted by law in the covenants agreed to by the issuer. As such, we believe it is outside the scope of a UN resolution to express concern about the enforceability of contracts.

Finally, regarding references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and climate change, and the characterization of trade and technology transfer, we refer you to our General Statement delivered on November 18.

Thank you.