Venezuela chairs panel on “Debt for Development” at the UN-Geneva

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Venezuela presided this Monday, in the person of Ambassador Jorge Valero, the panel entitled “Debt for development: Is this still a valid option in this time of uncertainty?”, Held within the framework of the 11th Conference on Debt Management of UNCTAD, which takes place at the UN-Geneva.

At the journey also participated Steve Keen, professor of economics at Kingston University, London; Stephanie Blankenburg, representative of the Division of Globalization and Development Strategies of UNCTAD, and Karin Küblböck, researcher at the Austrian Foundation for Development Research, and professor of Development Economics at the University of Vienna.

“Throughout history, debt has been an instrument for the economic growth of certain countries. In other cases, it has rather become a structural obstacle to development”, said the permanent representative of Venezuela to the UN-Geneva, Ambassador Jorge Valero.

He added that we have today in the world “a globally fragmented economy, characterized by financial volatility, which contributes to accentuate inequalities on the planet”.

Valero brought up the concepts of Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, who is an independent UN expert on the consequences of the external debt and the related international financial obligations of the States for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

“According to Bohoslavsky, the richest 8% of the world’s population receives half of the world’s income. In 2015, the richest 1% of the world’s population owned more than 50% of the world’s wealth, when in 2010 it was 44%”, he said.

The Venezuelan spokesman at the UN asked what means can be used to ensure that developing countries take advantage of the national debt – public and private – for structural transformation.

He then indicated that: “There is no doubt that the policy space for these has been reduced. And that the benefits and guarantees that creditors receive are increasing”.

He also described as “pernicious” the activity of private commercial entities with the so-called “vulture funds”, which, by means of legal and speculative tricks, force debtor countries to divert financial resources, undermining the possibility that governments can comply with their commitments on human rights matters.

For their part, the panelists and experts presented their research in the field of countries’ indebtedness and the repercussions of economic crises on the development of nations.

They addressed technical aspects of economic theory and the analysis of contemporary debt crises, and addressed issues such as international trade, private sector development and international development, including debt sustainability and combined financial problems.