The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), its member organizations, its colleagues in the Jubilee South network, and its partners in the international community stand together with the people of Nepal as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes and deal with unimaginable devastation, suffering and loss.
Once again, it has taken a disaster of massive proportions to highlight and remind the world of the intense vulnerabilities that people living in impoverishment and deprivation bear. Nearly 8,000 have died because of the first earthquake alone, and many more are missing, injured, starving and homeless.
One of the Least Developed Countries, Nepal ranks close to the bottom of the UN’s Human Development Index, 145th out of 187 countries. The slight improvement from 2014 means that the little gains made have but all been wiped out by the quake. Nepal is one of many countries in Asia where over a billion people are known to be living barely above the extreme poverty line between US$1.25 to US$2.50 a day. Already under several layers of socio-economic deprivations, they are at great risk of regressing into deeper impoverishment than before in the face of catastrophe and crises.
The fight of Occupy Wall Street is the struggle of all movements in the world. Finance capital, that created the crisis in 2008, has increased its power instead of being disciplined. At present, world GDP is 64 trillion US dollars while the derivatives market reached the incredible figure of 1,500 trillion US dollars in 2011. The speculative economy is 250 times larger than the real economy of the world. Now banks and Transnational corporations (TNCs) are moving to speculate on the impacts of the climate and environmental crises that the capitalist system has created. Prices of food are beginning to climb again because of climate change and speculation in a world where 1 billion people already suffer from hunger. The banks and TNCs like Cargill, Wal-Mart, Monsanto are seeing this situation as a new opportunity to make profits through food derivatives, natural resource grabbing, GMOs, agro-fuels, free trade agreements, structural adjustments, austerity plans and other mechanisms to increase the privileges of the 1% at the expenses of the 99% of the world and at tremendous cost to our Mother Earth.
The system of debt continues to devastate the lives of people around the world. People in the South face the daily impacts and consequences of the financial indebtedness of their countries, which far from having been "relieved" is growing in step with the crisis and the pursuit of extraordinary profits by the most concentrated forms of capital. They continue also to bear the burden of the unpaid historical, social, ecological, and climate debts which are increasing as well to the rhythm of false solutions to the global crisis.
The whole nation of Pakistan continues to reel from devastating impacts of the unprecedented disaster that hit the country over a month ago.
The responses thus far from the international community are far from adequate and, in the case of the IMF, World Bank and ADB, even deplorable. These institutions have chosen to offer more loans rather than cancel the debts they claim from Pakistan. Together, loans from these institutions and other multilateral financial institutions constitute more than 50% of Pakistan's total outstanding external debts. As of 2009 outstanding credits from the IMF are US$5.1B, outstanding loans from the World Bank amount to US$11.5B and from the ADB it is US$9B. Bilateral loans comprise more than 30%. The major bilateral lenders are Japan (US$6.67B), France (US$B2.17B), Germany (US$1.82B), USA (US$1.51), and China (US$1.88B). Total external debt of Pakistan as of 2009 is US$50.7B. (for more information see Annexes)
The Jubilee South-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD) joins the international community in expressing deep solidarity with the people of Pakistan who continue to suffer from the devastating floods that has so far claimed more than a thousand lives, left four million people homeless and damaged 7.9 million acres of farmland and other economic structures. Not only did the floods wreak havoc to lives and property, it also intensely exacerbated the already dire situation of the Pakistani people.