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Responding to Risks of Covid Debt Distress

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As many countries continue to face severe economic pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) New York office and the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) jointly convened the Roundtable on Responding to the Risks of Covid Debt Distress.

The Roundtable convened eminent experts with direct experience in dealing with debt distress at the policy and operational levels, including former senior government officials and private attorneys who have represented sovereign debtors, bilateral and multilateral creditors, and academics who have closely studied the recent history of sovereign debt restructuring.

This new report represents the consensus of the group on a set of recommendations that could make private creditor participation in managing the risks of debt distress more complete, more equitable, and more effective. The group also developed recommendations for integrating new and additional multilateral finance into restructuring, to ensure that governments emerging from debt distress are able to continue making investments for sustainable development.

In this context, the group sees many opportunities to build on existing commitments, policies, and tools for managing the risks of debt distress, including those established in response to the pandemic by the G20, Paris Club IMF, and MDBs, in order to minimize the risk of widespread debt distress. The most important challenges to meet are 1) ensuring that debt restructuring by vulnerable low- and middle-income countries on the basis of comparable treatment is sufficiently timely and inclusive to enable sovereign creditors to maintain public services and investments, and 2) providing additional public and private finance to meet the very substantial needs for investment in recovery and sustainable development.

Contributors: Yannis Manuelides (Allen & Overy LLP), David Fairman, Charles Boamah, Patrick Bolton, Lee C. Buchheit, Homi Kharas, Nancy Lee, José Antonio Ocampo and Yide Qia. 

Download the full report below.

FES is planning a formal launch and discussion of the Roundtable Report in early Fall (2021). If you are interested in more information about this event, please email

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