Online discussion Monday, 16. November 2020

Launch: Debt Relief for Green Recovery Report

Greening the Recovery in Time of Debt Distress

Date, Time
Mon, 16. Nov 2020,
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Save in my calendar
➽ Online Event

Heinrich Böll Foundation - Headquarter Berlin

A global debt crisis is looming. Even before COVID-19 swept the world, the International Monetary Fund deemed global public debt burden a high risk for the majority of developing countries – noting that half of the lower-income countries were ‘at high risk of or already in debt distress.’ As the COVID crisis worsens, developing countries face steep output contractions, massive increases in unemployment and poverty as well as limited fiscal space, while the COVID relief and recovery effort demands a massive upscaling of expenditures.

This new, systemic debt crisis emerges at a critical time when the global climate crisis demands the urgent mobilisation of huge investment in mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, partly driven by policy, partly by technological disruption, fossil fuels are transitioning from being an asset to a liability, amounting to a third systemic crisis sweeping capital markets and the developing world. It is at the intersection of these three systemic crises that new and innovative answers need to be urgently found, breaking through silos of international policy making.

Against this backdrop, the initiative Debt Relief for Green Recovery (DRGR) is putting forward proposals for addressing at a multilateral level, the debt crisis in the Global South while helping generate significant resources for far-reaching action for climate adaptation and mitigation. The link between debt reduction and climate finance should be done in ways that guarantee sufficient scale and speedy delivery.

This launch event will draw on research carried out about DRGR; it will examine the options for debt reduction that will allow for investments which will address climate change and inequality by investing in the low carbon economy, support leaving fossil fuels in the ground, and investing in climate adaptation while expanding job and livelihood opportunities.


  • Kevin P. Gallagher, Professor of Global Development Policy at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies & Director of the Global Development Policy Center, Boston University
  • Stephany Griffith Jones, Financial Markets Program Director at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University
  • Ulrich Volz, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS, University of London
  • Shamshad Akhtar, Chair of the Board of Directors, Karandaaz Pakistan (chair)
  • Barbara Unmüßig, President Heinrich Böll Foundation

Moderator: Jörg Haas, Head of International Politics Division, Heinrich Böll Foundation


Helena Hoffmeister
Heinrich Böll Foundation


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