Jul. 13, 2020

500 million Christians urge G20 to fix broken economic architecture

Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC, 2018.

13 July 2020

Four global organizations representing some 500 million Christians have written an urgent letter to G20 leaders, calling for them to leave behind the current broken financial architecture and promote a truly just and sustainable recovery.

The letter, sent 13 July, is from the World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Lutheran World Federation and Council for World Mission.

The organizations express “profound concern” over how COVID-19  and the related economic crisis have continued to destroy lives and livelihood around the world. “To date this has resulted in more than half a million deaths, massive unemployment, increase of debts, poverty, and inequality in many parts of the world.”

And the spread of COVID-19 continues to accelerate.

“This moment offers us an unprecedented opening to collectively examine the current order and to ‘build back better’ a different system that nurtures the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities and the planet for generations to come,” urge the organizations. “Here we would like to underline that COVID-19 recovery measures and policies must be compatible with urgent and ambitious action on the climate crisis.”

People simply do not want to go back to the “old normal,” the letter points out. “For these changes to be viable and sustainable, discussions must also take place under the aegis of the United Nations where there is broad participation of countries and civil society,” the text reads. “Allocate adequate financial resources to the public health and social protection of the hundreds of millions of people whose livelihoods have been decimated by the pandemic and the related response measures.”

In the short-term, this includes widespread testing, provision of protective equipment, healthcare coverage, an accessible and affordable vaccine, basic income grants, unemployment assistance, and support for small businesses.

"Cancel the external debts of low- and middle-income countries (which were at damaging levels even before the pandemic) to free up resources for governments to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and to build the resilience and livelihoods of people and communities,” urges the letter. “Implement global tax reform to fund the recovery.”