On Monday, as the G7 meeting got underway in Germany, around ten people held a protest in the lobby at the Palace of Westminster.
Sitting on the floor of the ancient building, they bared t-shirts with the slogan “End Global Debt Apartheid”, and unfurled a large banner which said “G7: Pay your climate debt.”
They shouted out a short speech calling on the G7, the UK, the IMF and the World Bank, to cancel debts owed by Global South countries.
The action focussed on the climate crisis, as activists from the Debt For Climate campaign explained to Real Media. Global South countries are spending huge amounts on servicing their debts, and they desperately need foreign currency to do so. So when multi-national corporations come looking for oil, minerals or gas, or they want to start logging or planting lucrative mono-cultures, governments have no choice but to say no.
Cancelling these debts would free Global South countries to improve health care and education, AND help them develop greener economies. The deadly cycle of debt affects us in the rich world because the increasing droughts, heatwaves and flooding will decimate our food supplies, even if we imagine we can somehow adapt to a different climate while the rest of the world burns.
So cancelling the debt seems like a no-brainer, and the Debt For Climate campaign, which is a grassroots, Global South-driven initiative hope to unite labour, social and climate movements across the world to get the debt cancelled, the oil left in the ground, and a just transition to a greener future.
As Rob from DebtForClimate told us: