The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on many lives around the world, and while it is too early to comprehend the full impact of the pandemic, it is evident that this crisis is deepening the debt burden of many poor and middle-income countries.
As part of the New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) initiative, the World Council of Churches (WCC), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Council for World Mission (CWM) convened an Interfaith E-consultation on Just Finance and Reparations on 02, 12 and 16 October 2020 to dialogue with and learn from diverse faith perspectives and to deepen interfaith cooperation on economic justice.
All our faith traditions have a vision for a just and compassionate world. Inspired by such a vision, our different faith traditions reflected on human greed and economic life as well as the role of money and finance in society. While debt may have once been seen within the matrix of mutual obligation in society, it has shifted, with time, to unjust interest-demanding systems of usury. This has been exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and climate change, which have come on top of the legacies of colonisation.
Gathering Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Rastafarian voices, the interfaith e-consultation addressed the following questions:
What do our faith perspectives have to say on the issue of debt and how it affects people’s lives?
How can international financial structures be made to align with our faith-rooted values and visions?
What kind of proposals can we put forward for debt action and securing a post-COVID-19, post-debt, post-growth, and life-affirming future for all?
This joint message captures faith reflections on just finance and reparations, identifies common ground and calls for urgent action to tackle the debt crisis and to build more just, reparative, and restorative financial and economic structures.