— The South Centre Blog

UN-Prinzipien für den fairen Umgang mit überschuldeten Staaten (UN Principles on the fair treatment of over-indebted countries)


On 10 September 2015, at its Sixty-Ninth Session, the UN General Assembly in plenary session adopted the resolution on “Basic Principles on Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes” (A/RES/69/319) in New York, with 135 member States voting for, six against and 42 abstentions.  On the grounds that it would create uncertainty and reduce external financing for developing countries, the United States, supported by developed country allies – European Union countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand – voted against the proposed General Assembly effort to start work toward a multilateral legal framework in the UN.

Only six countries, among them the US, the UK, and Germany, voted against the resolution.  The US explained that it opposed the resolution because the principles implicitly recognize the right of a state to debt restructuring and to revoke contractual obligations. Developed countries boycotted this one-year effort, even though it was an official General Assembly process.  The IMF and international organizations led by the developed countries, such as the European Commission, also chose not to participate in the discussion of the principles.  With their advocacy of the legal framework and later of the nine principles for sovereign debt resolution, developing countries have placed themselves on the record as champions of efficient international financial markets that give developing country governments access to finance while building in accountability on the part of creditors for their actions.  The countries that supported or have not objected to the nine UN principles have put down a moral marker against “the law of the jungle” approaches to sovereign debt resolution processes.


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