Pope Francis renews call for debts cancellation

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 00:00 | By
Pope Francis waves to worshippers from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square in The Vatican on during the weekly Angelus prayer. Photo/AFP

Rome, Tuesday

Pope Francis renewed a call Tuesday for the cancellation of debt owed by poor countries in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was time for restorative justice.

The pope is preparing for an audience with the public today, his first since the pandemic hit Italy nearly six months ago.

“I repeat my call for the cancellation of the debt of the most vulnerable countries, in recognition of the severe impact of the medical, social and economic crises they face as a result of Covid-19,” the Roman Catholic Church’s highest official said.

“We also need to ensure that the recovery packages being developed and deployed at global, regional and national levels must be regeneration packages.

“It is a time for restorative justice.”

In April, the Argentinian-born pontiff called for debt to be reduced or cancelled in a message from an empty Saint Peter’s Basilica.

On Tuesday he said: “Policy, legislation and investment must be focused on the common good and guarantee that global social and environmental goals are met.”

The World Bank warned last month that coronavirus may have driven as many as 100 million people into extreme poverty.

The situation made it “imperative” that creditors reduce the amount of debt held by poor countries, the Washington-based institution’s president David Malpass warned.

Advanced economies in the Group of 20 have already committed to suspending debt payments from the poorest nations until the end of the year.

Extending moratorium

There is growing support for extending that moratorium into next year amid a pandemic that has already killed more than 840,000 people and registered 25.2 million cases globally.

Pope Francis on Tuesday asked countries to continue fighting global warming as per the 2015 Paris climate accord.

“Modern society had pushed the planet beyond its limits and the time to fix a climate emergency was running out”, he said.

“Our constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world,” Francis said.

“Forests are leached, topsoil erodes, fields fail, deserts advance, seas acidify and storms intensify. Creation is groaning!”, he added.  - AFP

More on World