ESCR-Net members calls on the IMF to stop promoting austerity measures during the recovery process

Publish Date: 
Monday, November 2, 2020

ESCR-Net members, including Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), Phenix Center, Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and Tamkeen, expressed in an collective statement their “utmost alarm” at the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) advice for countries to return to austerity once the current crisis recedes.

The collective statement, signed by over 500 organizations and academics, calls  on the IMF to immediately stop promoting austerity around the world, and instead advocate policies that advance gender justice, reduce inequality, and decisively put people and planet first. 

Prior to the pandemic, many countries were already grappling with unsustainable debt and austerity measures undermining their ability to meet  their obligations to fulfil economic and social rights. The pandemic has exposed the calamitous consequences of systematic under-investment in public services like health, education and social protection impacting the most marginalized members of the society, including women, older people, racial and ethnic minorities, informal workers and low-income families. 

“The IMF has already started locking countries into new long-term austerity-conditioned loan programs in the past few months,” notes the signatories  These actions undermine and  contradict any prior messaging by the IMF on supporting fair and green recoveries, addressing gender inequality, climate change and bad governance to spearhead growth and stability. Moreover, the IMF’s COVID-19 emergency financing packages contain language that depicts promoting fiscal consolidation in the recovery phase. 

“Instead of austerity cuts, it is critical to create fiscal space and give governments the time, flexibility and support to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and just recovery,” affirms the statement. ”Medium to longer term recovery efforts, however, should continue promoting further fiscal and policy space that allows for an increase, rather than a decrease, in social spending, and progressive tax policies that collect sufficient revenue and redistribute wealth fairly.”

You can read and download the full statement HERE.