Coordinated by MENA Fem, GCAP along with 540 signatories from prominent civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world signed letter sent this Wednesday to the IMF Executive Board, calling for a review of surcharge policies. This collective plea emphasizes the urgent need to reconsider the impact of surcharges on heavily indebted nations and their ability to address pressing global challenges. With an increasing number of countries facing the burden of surcharges, the letter underscores the importance of equitable multilateralism and sustainable global development.

Read the full letter below:

Dear members of the IMF Executive Board,

At last year’s Annual Meetings, Chair of the International Monetary and Financial Committee Ms. Nadia Calviño stated that the Fund “will consider a review of surcharge policies.” As the 2024 Spring Meetings approach, it is our understanding that the Executive Board plans to make good on this commitment, and will soon hold discussions to determine the future of this controversial policy.

We are encouraged by these signs, and appreciate the Fund’s willingness to engage with this longstanding demand from a large majority of IMF’s shareholders, academics and civil society. Now, we, the undersigned organizations, write to urge you to use this opportunity to put an end to this harmful and counterproductive surcharge policy once and for all.

The case against surcharges has been made many times before. This policy — which levies additional fees of up to 300 basis points on countries with high or longstanding levels of outstanding credit — is plainly procyclical. By punishing heavily indebted countries with additional debt, surcharges increase borrowing costs; exacerbate (rather than alleviate) onerous debt burdens; and divert valuable resources from investments in development, climate action, health, or education. The surcharges policy therefore contributes to the trends of increased social and political unrest recognised by the Fund as a risk to the global economy. It also disregards warnings about the urgent need for a more legitimate and equitable multilateral system in the UN Secretary General’s New Agenda for Peace.

From 2019 to 2023, the number of countries paying surcharges doubled from 8 to 16. This year, that number has jumped to 22.* This alarming trajectory is likely to continue as more and more countries resort to the Fund for financing in the face of accelerating debt and climate crises.

The IMF has yet to provide any evidence that surcharges disincentivize reliance on IMF credit. Indeed, the growing number of countries subject to surcharges is evidence to the contrary. The other justification for surcharges — that they are a necessary source of income for the IMF’s precautionary balances — is not only directly counter to the IMF’s mission, as Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, but is also inaccurate.

Since civil society first began raising concerns, opposition to the Fund’s surcharge policy has expanded considerably. The G77 and China, representing nearly every nation in the Global South, G20 chair Lula da SilvaUN human rights expertsleading economists, the UN Global Crisis Response GroupUN Secretary-General António Guterresdozens of former heads of state and governmenthundreds of civil society organizations, and many more, have all called on the Fund to suspend or eliminate surcharges.

As the burden of surcharges and global demands to end them both continue to grow, it is clear that this path is not sustainable. It is no longer a question of whether to end this unjust and unjustifiable policy, but when. We urge you to act now.

Sincerely,

*The 22 countries now paying surcharges are: Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Barbados, Benin, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Georgia, Jordan, Kenya, Moldova, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

 

ORGANISATIONS
350.orgInternational and regional networks
African Forum and Network on Debt and Development – AFRODADInternational and regional networks
Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development – APMDDInternational and regional networks
Center for Economic and Social RightsInternational and regional networks
European Network on Debt and Development – EurodadInternational and regional networks
Fight Inequality AllianceInternational and regional networks
Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)International and regional networks
Global Policy ForumInternational and regional networks
IBON InternationalInternational and regional networks
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary _ Loreto GeneralateInternational and regional networks
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)

MenaFem Movement for Economic Development and Ecological Justice

International and regional networks
NGO Forum on the ADBInternational and regional networks
Oxfam InternationalInternational and regional networks
Red of Justicia Fiscal de America Latina y El CaribeInternational and regional networks
Red Latinoamericana by Justicia Económica y Social – LATINDADDInternational and regional networks
Society for International DevelopmentInternational and regional networks
Third World Network (TWN)International and regional networks
Womankind Worldwide
Political OrganizationAlbania
Co-ordination Office of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference for International Development and Mission (KOO)Austria
11.11.11Belgium
CNCD-11.11.11Belgium
Mutual aid and fraternityBelgium
Extinction Rebellion AuderghemBelgium
International Trade Union ConfederationBelgium
CROSOLCroatia
Ekumenická akademie (Ecumenical Academy)Czech Republic
Estonian Roundtable for Development CooperationEstonia
SuitabilitiesFrance
CADTM FranceFrance
CADTM FranceFrance
CCFD – Solidarity EarthFrance
French Debt and Development PlatformFrance
erlassjahr.deGermany
Urgewald eVGermany
WEED – World Economy, Ecology and DevelopmentGermany
Zukunftskonvent GermanyGermany
National Society of Conservationists – Friends of the Earth HungaryHungary
Financial Justice IrelandIreland
Both ENDSNetherlands
WECF InternationalNetherlands
WemosNetherlands
Changemaker NorwayNorway
Debt Justice NorwayNorway
The Norwegian Solidarity Committee for Latin-America (LAG)Norway
ACEPPortugal
Oikos – Cooperation and DevelopmentPortugal
Jubilee ScotlandScotland
Economists without FronterasSpain
Observatori del Deute en la GlobalitzacioSpain
Kvinna till KvinnaSweden
AgentsSwitzerland
Global Social JusticeSwitzerland
International Federation of Social WorkersSwitzerland
Center for Economic StrategyKraine
Institute of Analysis and AdvocacyKraine
NGO “Ekoltava”Kraine
ActionAid InternationalUnited Kingdom
Bretton Woods ProjectUnited Kingdom
Global Justice NowUnited Kingdom
Jubilee Debt CampaignUnited Kingdom
Women’s Budget GroupUnited Kingdom
GO+A69:A105SCOPAngola
AJUDECAAngola
Citizen Initiative for the Environment and Sustainable Development-ICEDBurundi
Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN)Cameroon
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)Egypt
GravefEgypt
Center for Muslim Youth In Peace And DevelopmentGhana
AbibiNsroma Foundation ANFGhana
Apostolic Ministerial International NetworkGhana
Center for muslim youth in peace and developmentGhana
National platform of Citizens United for Development (PCUD)Guinea
Guinean Organization of Citizen’s Rights and Duties (OGDDC)Guinea
NGO EDER (Environment, Development and Renewable Energy)Guinea
Focus of Disabled PersonsPhilippines
Good Health Community ProgramsPhilippines
Jamaa Resource InitiativesPhilippines
Green Advocates International (Liberia)Liberia
Solidarity support for the enforcement of development aidMali
NGO ASRAD-MALIMali
Youth Association for YouthMorocco
Association of intermediaries for sustainable developmentMorocco
LaSiesta Association for Environmental ProtectionMorocco
Movement for equal democracyMorocco
ATEDMorocco
Development Center of the Tensift RegionMorocco
Oriental Solidarity and Cooperation AreaMorocco
CORENigeria
Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth, FOCONENigeria
Gender-Based Violence As A Public Health IssueNigeria
Observatory for Studies and Support for Social and Environmental Responsibility, OEARSEDR Congo
Greater Purpose for DevelopmentSierra Leone
Ecology Africa FoundationSouth Africa
Labor and Social Studies GroupSouth Africa
Natural JusticeSouth Africa
ATCP (Tunisian Association of Public Controllers)Tunisia
A Generation Against MarginalizationTunisia
Central VisionTunisia
TunisiaTunisia Association for Local GovernanceTunisia
Tunisian Development Law Association and Arab Watch CoalitionTunisia
Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social RightsTunisia
Center for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management (CECIC)Uganda
Friends with Environment in DevelopmentUganda
South Feminist FuturesZimbabwe
Training and Research Support CenterZimbabwe
Fundación SESArgentina
Civil Association for Justice and Justice (ACIJ Argentina)Argentina
Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS)Argentina
Grupo de Estudios en finanzas Internacionales (GEFI) / Universidad Nacional de Rosario (UNR)Argentina
Partido socialista auténtico federación corientesArgentina
Caribbean Policy Development Center (CPDC)Barbados
Climate ResponseBolivia
Barranquilla+20Colombia
Climate Control ProgramCosta Rica
ECOLOGICAL ACCIÓNEcuador
Action Jurídica PopularEcuador
Center for Economic and Social Developments — CDESEcuador
La Raíz – Pensamiento Crítico (EC)Ecuador
VoicesEcuador
FUNSALPRODESEEl Salvador
Movimiento Tzuk Kim popGuatemala
FOSDEHHonduras
Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)Mexico
Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y FamiliaMexico
Red Mexican Action Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)Mexico
CEDECAM/LATINDADDNicaragua
RENICCNicaragua
Peru Solidarity Forum – FSPPeru
Movimiento Laudato SiPeru
ActionAid AustraliaAustralia
Aid/WatchAustralia
Biosophia NGOArmenia
“Green Armenia” Environmental Educational NGOArmenia
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)Bangladesh
BNSK-Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (Bangladesh Women Workers Association)Bangladesh
JusticeMakersBangladeshBangladesh
ALTSEAN-BurmaBurma
Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)Fiji
Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for EqualityFiji
Association For Promoting Sustainable DevelopmentIndia
Environics TrustIndia
Center for Financial AccountabilityIndia
Focus on the Global SouthIndia
KRuHA – people’s coalition for the right to waterPhilippines
debtWATCH IndonesiaPhilippines
Press Freedom Advocacy AssociationIraq
Women and children affairs organizationIraq
UNISC InternationalJapan
Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics StudiesJordan
Friends of the Disabled AssociationLebanon
Oyu Tolgoi WatchMongolia
Rivers without Boundaries Coalition MongoliaMongolia
Zurgaan buudal ngoMongolia
National Campaign for Sustainable Development NepalNepal
Rural Area Development Program (RADP)Nepal
Rural Reconstruction NepalNepal
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)Nepal
South Asia Tax and Fiscal Justice Network (SATaFJA)Nepal
Women Empowerment Against Poverty of Nepal (WEAPoN)Nepal
CADTM PakistanPakistan
Crofter FoundationPakistan
Pakistan Fisherfolk ForumPakistan
Pakistan Kissan Rabita CommitteePakistan
Policy Research Institute for Equitable Development (PRIED)Pakistan
Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI)Pakistan
Shirakat – Partnership for DevelopmentPakistan
WomanHealth PhilippinesPhilippines
Migrant Forum in AsiaPhilippines
Freedom from Debt CoalitionPhilippines
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)Philippines
Unlad KabayanPhilippines
Community Resource CenterThailand
Climate Watch ThailandThailand
Wedyaan Association For Society DevelopmentYemen
Yemen Organization for Promoting IntegrityYemen
Yemeni Observatory for Human RightsYemen
Bank Information CenterUnited States
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)United States
Democratic Socialists of America, International CommitteeUnited States
Fondazione Proclade Internazionale-onlusUnited States
Friends of the Earth USUnited States
Gender ActionUnited States
Justice is GlobalUnited States
New Rules for Global FinanceUnited States
Ecumenical Services for Reconciliation and ReconstructionUnited States
Sisters of Charity FederationUnited States
Stop TB USAUnited States
VIVAT InternationalUnited States
Win Without WarUnited States
The Society for Children Orphaned By AIDS Inc. (SOCOBA)United States
Individuals
Nancy CardosoAngola
Szaltina CutaiaAngola
Adrian FalcoArgentina
Agostina CostantinoArgentina
Alan B. CibilsArgentina
Alejandro ManzoArgentina
Alfred F. CalcagnoArgentina
Andrew WainerArgentina
Francisco CantamuttoArgentina
Jozami Alberto AgustínArgentina
Juan Pablo BohoslavskyArgentina
Laura ClericoArgentina
Maria KarinaArgentina
Noemi BrentaArgentina
Sergio ArelovichArgentina
Sergio Martin PáezArgentina
Sociedad de Economía Critica – EEFArgentina
Shahanur IslamBangladesh
She’s moreBangladesh
Alexandra LopesBelgium
Christine PagnoulleBelgium
Nathalie MarinsBrazil
Ricardo de Figueiredo SummaBrazil
Lena LavinasBrazil
Ronald LabonteCanada
Andres Araya MontezumaCosta Rica
Diego Fernando Ramos FlorEcuador
Gabriel Rodriguez UndaEcuador
Roberto Ruiz BlumEcuador
Santiago del HierroEcuador
Hossam Mohamed Hany Mohamed AliEgypt
Egyptian Maha QabilEgypt
Alice CellamareGermany
Barbara FritzGermany
Dr. Klaus UrgastGermany
Wolfgang LippelGermany
Wolfgang SchoneckeGermany
Finance in MotionGermany
Miguel de BarrosGuinea-Bissau
Damairia PakpahanPhilippines
Judith WedderburnJamaica
Adriana LopezMexico
Oscar UgartecheMexico
BuykaMongolia
SisterhoodMongolia
KhadkhuuMongolia
SarnaiMongolia
Semjedmaa ChoijilMongolia
Sukhgerel DugersurenMongolia
Mohammed naihMorocco
Nassira KhamlichiMorocco
Umesh UpadhyayaNepal
David SoggeNetherlands
John Oladejo OluwaleyeNigeria
MehwishPakistan
Muhammad Hasnain YousafPakistan
Rocío ValdeavellanoPeru
RosarioPeru
Daniel BradlowSouth Africa
David HallowesSouth Africa
Ourania DimakouSpain
Gilgamesh HusseinSwitzerland
Chawki SaidaniTunisia
Also KibowaUganda
Yuliya YurchenkoUK/Ukraine
Andrei MelnikovKraine
Andrew Brian TriggUnited Kingdom
Ania PlomeenUnited Kingdom
Ayobami IloriUnited Kingdom
Bruno BonizziUnited Kingdom
Celine TanUnited Kingdom
Christina LaskaridisUnited Kingdom
Christopher CramerUnited Kingdom
Diane ElsonUnited Kingdom
Dr Juliet AllenUnited Kingdom
Elisa Van WaeyenbergeUnited Kingdom
Emily RutledgeUnited Kingdom
Frances StewartUnited Kingdom
HishgueUnited Kingdom
Jane CowanUnited Kingdom
Gay GinnUnited Kingdom
Jerome De HenauUnited Kingdom
Judith EmanuelUnited Kingdom
Julia ChukwumaUnited Kingdom
Kevin DeaneUnited Kingdom
Lawrence HarrisUnited Kingdom
Liam CleggUnited Kingdom
Lorena LombardozziUnited Kingdom
Machiko NissankeUnited Kingdom
Professor James PutzelUnited Kingdom
Roberto SimonettiUnited Kingdom
Susan HimmelweitUnited Kingdom
Susan NewmanUnited Kingdom
Teresa AsheUnited Kingdom
Ulrich VolzUnited Kingdom
Yannis DafermosUnited Kingdom
Karina Patricio Ferreira LimaUnited Kingdom
Diana StrassmannUnited States
Ilene GrabelUnited States
Paolo BernardiUnited States
Teresa KotturanUnited States
IT’s NOTUnited States
Peace ActionUnited States
Egypt 360