Discussion Group IV: Debt and COVID-19


Over the last decade, developing countries experienced the largest, fastest, and most broad-based period of debt accumulation in the past 50 years, along with substantial increases in debt servicing costs. The combination of increased public expenditures in health and social protection, diminished tax revenues and restricted access to external financing caused by the COVID-19 crisis threatens a large number of developing countries to fall in debt distress. To prevent a global debt crisis, the Secretary General of the United Nations proposed (i) a debt standstill for all countries that need it, (ii) debt relief for highly indebted developing countries, and (iii) improving the international debt architecture to make restructuring exercises more efficient and fair. This Discussion Group will propose concrete options to prevent a major debt crisis, including by considering the Secretary-General’s three-pronged approach.

Co-leads and country members

Member State Co-Leads: Netherlands, Pakistan and the African Union

Member State Participants: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Brazil, Cabo Verde, China, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Russia, United States of America
(Please note that the list of member State participants is open and will be updated frequently.)

UN Entity Focal Point: DESA and UNCTAD

Meeting summaries

First Meeting: 16 July 2020

Second Meeting: 6 August 2020

Upcoming meetings

Third Meeting of the Group: 25th August, EDT

Deadline for submission of final menu of policy outcomes: 28th August, EDT

Meeting with Ministers of Finance: 8th September, EDT

Head of States and Government Meeting on the sidelines of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly: 29th September, EDT

Related documents

Discussion Group 4 Background Document