By Adwoa Difie Boakye-Mensah, Associate Advisor, Commonwealth Secretariat
Featuring opening remarks from the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the virtual launch will attract speakers from all geographic regions for the diversity of their thoughts and perspectives. Speakers from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth member countries, academics, development partners, debt managers, experts and practitioners will also share their thoughts via panels and keynote presentations.
Developing countries continue to face growing public debt and related vulnerabilities, which exacerbate development challenges. Public debt levels have recently reached unprecedented levels in many emerging and developing countries, leading to high debt servicing costs that have not only crowded out the provision of vital public goods and services, but also affected d other macroeconomic results. The Covid-19 pandemic followed by a severe global recession has erased several economic and social gains, including the reversal of poverty reduction and the delay in progress towards the SDGs, notably the targets related to climate, gender and to youth. These setbacks, along with the global implications of the war in Ukraine, have compounded development challenges in emerging markets and developing countries, including widening infrastructure deficits. Negative shocks, including conflict and climate-related events, have further limited the capacity of governments to provide adequate social safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.
Meanwhile, as many countries face growing and unsustainable debt burdens and limited financing options, there has been a call for a new global financial architecture to help developing countries access capital and address growing debt vulnerabilities. Despite the concerted efforts of countries and development actors, the objectives of the new global financial architecture may not be achieved if stakeholders, particularly borrowing countries, do not work decisively to ensure transparency of financial operations. public debt.
Public debt transparency refers to the timely dissemination of comprehensive, accurate, accessible and intelligible debt data, policies and operations across a range of dimensions of debt management. Communicating and publishing information on debt therefore does not always imply that a country is fully transparent. As such, public debt transparency goes beyond public debt reporting.
In view of the above, a recent publication from the Debt Management Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, “A manual for public debt transparency [AE1] provides detailed information on the benefits and requirements for countries to ensure greater openness and accountability in public debt management. The Manual will be officially launched on Thursday, October 5, 2023, during a virtual seminar under the theme: Towards a new global financial architecture: public debt transparency as an essential requirement.
Providing a forum and opportunity:
- Launch the Public Debt Transparency Handbook
- Present ways in which member countries can advance public debt transparency.
- For a sharing of experiences between debt managers from Commonwealth countries, in order to share their concerns and challenges in terms of debt transparency.
The format of the webinar
The virtual event will be held for one and a half hours and will target a global audience. The event will include the Secretary General’s opening speech, followed by a presentation of key elements of the handbook. Other speakers will provide information and feedback before an interactive question and answer segment. Participants are expected to share their experiences, challenges and perspectives on the two fundamental issues: public debt transparency and the advancement of the new global international architecture.
Questions to consider are outlined below:
- Challenges and Progress in Debt Transparency in the Commonwealth
- Practical measures to achieve public debt transparency
- Commonwealth Meridian’s Role in Supporting Debt Transparency
- Links between public debt transparency, debt reform, debt restructuring and calls for a new global international architecture
- provide participants with additional insight into the different approaches taken by Commonwealth countries to achieve public debt transparency; And
- identify areas of collaboration and technical assistance to advance public debt transparency in Member States.
- The presentations and discussions will be brought together in a single report.
Given the global relevance of this webinar, speakers will come from all geographic regions due to the diversity of their thoughts and perspectives. High-level officials, including senior civil servants from Commonwealth countries, academics and development partners will be invited to share their thoughts through panels and keynote presentations.
The webinar will also target debt managers, practitioners and various officials involved in debt management operations in various finance ministries and central banks.[AE2]
Welcome speech: Moderator (3 minutes)
Main remarks (5 minutes)
Alright. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Remarks (5 minutes)
Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Principal Director, Commonwealth Secretariat
Presentation: Manual Overview (30 minutes)
DMU: Sanjay Kumar, Advisor, Debt Management Unit
Dev Useree, Author (Director and Technical Expert, Debt Markets & PFM Consulting Ltd)
Speakers (30 minutes) 5 to 6 minutes each
MEFMI – Jacob Mkandawire (Program Director)
WAIFEM – Baba Musa (General Manager)
IDB – Dr Henry Mooney (Economic Advisor)
Pamela McLaren, expert in public debt management
Moderator: Delia Cox, Advisor, Debt Management Unit
Questions and answers: Moderator (20 minutes) 3-minute interventions
Country Representative (Caribbean, Asia-Pacific)
[AE2]This has been summarized in introductory form at the top. We can omit or keep