In a letter to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, APMMD urged the G20 to not only support the economy during this pandemic, but also protect lives by cancelling debt, ending support for fossil fuel development, and delivering climate finance.

Letter from Asian Movements to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

14 October 2020

Dear G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors,

We are movements and communities from Asia, a region that is home to more than two-thirds of humanity that is facing unprecedented suffering brought about by the multiple crises: the COVID-19 global pandemic, the global economic recession, and the climate crisis.

At your meeting today, we ask that you put the well-being of the people and the planet at the center of your discussions of the G20 Action Plan.

As a grouping of governments of countries that comprise nearly two-thirds of the world’s population and land area, 82% of GDP and 80% of global CO2 emissions, the G20 has a key role to play in building a post-pandemic world that emphasizes climate action and social protection.

We convey three urgent demands that directly affect the ability of people and communities in Asia to survive the multiple crisis and to overcome injustice and inequality:

1. Unconditional cancellation of public debt; No to loans as the main form of COVID fiscal response

The multiple crises underscores the urgency of comprehensively addressing unsustainable and illegitimate debt nationally and internationally. The state of public health care systems in many countries, especially in the South, bears the marks of decades of inadequate financing due to large chunks of national budgets being allocated for debt payments and the implementation of debt-related austerity measures and fiscal policies.

We demand the unconditional cancellation of public debt. In the immediate, we call for a cancellation of a minimum of four years of debt service for all countries in need. This needs to be followed by a comprehensive program towards cancellation of outstanding public debt. We urge you to go beyond the narrow frameworks of "debt sustainability" and "debt distress" currently being applied.

We also urge the G20 to ensure that international fiscal measures in response to the multiple crises are not extended as loans. We are gravely concerned that the recovery response to the pandemic is creating a greater debt burden because the "debt relief" currently being offered is dwarfed by the volume of COVID-19 loans being extended and accessed.

2. End to all public finance for oil, gas, and coal projects by G20 countries and their multilateral development banks

It is horrendous that in the midst of great need, the G20 governments and public financial institutions continue to finance fossil fuel industries. This, despite the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and despite the commitments governments have made to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5C.

We demand a stop to the further expansion of coal and fossil fuels and a swift and just transition to clean, renewable and democratic energy systems that give primacy to the needs of people and communities. Governments and public financial institutions must lead in this transition and an immediate step that must be taken is to halt the use of public funds to extend the life of fossil fuel energy.  

Fiscal responses to the COVID-19 crisis have included bailouts of fossil fuel corporations and very little support for renewable energy systems. COVID-19 must not be used to justify extending the life of the fossil fuel industry through public funds. Providing financial support to the fossil fuel industry enables them to continue to fuel the climate crisis.

3. Delivery of adequate, additional, public and non-debt creating Climate Finance

We demand the delivery of adequate, additional, public, and non-debt creating Climate Finance. Climate finance for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage is as urgent as public financing of measures to fight COVID19. It is as urgent as providing economic relief to people and sectors affected by the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.

COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse for continuing to fail in the delivery of climate finance, which is an obligation of rich countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Building a resilient post-pandemic world means deploying sufficient climate finance now more than ever. We are still awaiting clear pledges and timetable for the delivery of climate finance from developed country parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

We need decisive actions by individual G20 governments, as well as by the whole G20 that rise to the gravity of the emergency situation we are facing today.

APMDD at 20 years


Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
and the following member organizations:

  • Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, INDIA
  • All-India Women Hawkers Federation (AIWHF), INDIA
  • All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa), NEPAL
  • All Nepal Women’s Association (ANWA), NEPAL
  • Bangladesh Jatiyo Sramik Jote, BANGLADESH
  • Bangladesh Krishok Federation, BANGLADESH
  • Bulig Pilipinas, PHILIPPINES
  • Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), SRI LANKA
  • CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Network), BANGLADESH
  • Climate Watch Thailand (CWT), THAILAND
  • Community Development Library, BANGLADESH
  • Debt Watch, INDONESIA
  • Digo Bikas Institute (DBI), NEPAL
  • Environics Trust, INDIA
  • Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBd), BANGLADESH
  • Focus on the Global South, REGIONAL
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), PHILIPPINES
  • GEFONT Trade Union Federation, NEPAL
  • Himalaya Niti Abhiyan (HNA), INDIA
  • Human Rights Alliance, NEPAL
  • Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), INDIA
  • Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), INDONESIA
  • Jagaran Nepal, NEPAL
  • KRuHA (People's Coalition for the Right to Water), INDONESIA
  • Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), REGIONAL
  • Mineral Inheritors Rights Association (MIRA), INDIA
  • mines, minerals & People (mm&P), INDIA
  • Monitoring Sustainability of Globalization (MSN), MALAYSIA
  • Nadi Gati Morcha, INDIA
  • National Fishworkers Union, INDIA
  • National Hawkers Federation (NHF), INDIA
  • National Labour Academy, NEPAL
  • Oriang Women’s Movement, PHILIPPINES
  • Our Rivers, Our Life, PHILIPPINES
  • Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), PAKISTAN
  • Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC), PAKISTAN
  • Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, PHILIPPINES
  • River Basin Friends, INDIA
  • Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN), NEPAL
  • Sawit Watch, INDONESIA
  • Solidaritas Perempuan, INDONESIA
  • South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE), REGIONAL
  • Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), PHILIPPINES
  • Unnayan Onneshan, BANGLADESH
  • Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE), BANGLADESH
  • WomanHealth PHILIPPINES