Resolution adopted without a vote by the 101st Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Brussels, 15 April 1999)

The 101st Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Acknowledging and appreciating the HIPC initiative launched by major donor countries, through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to provide debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries,

Concerned at the slow and limited implementation of the initiative,

Deeply concerned that several poor countries cannot service their foreign debts,

Deeply concerned also that the burden of debt inhibits and in some cases totally prevents economic growth and the delivery of vital socio-economic services in these countries,

Aware that the stranglehold of poverty is a source of instability and conflict within countries and regions, making world peace difficult to attain,

Distressed at the abject poverty and deprivation of many communities and the impact this has on the lives of their members, in particular the most vulnerable (women, children and the elderly),

Aware that in many cases the debt burden of poor countries has been inherited from historical conditions of colonialism and foreign domination, and further aware of the problem of corruption existing in some debtor and creditor countries,

Recognising the urgency of the issue, as evidenced by the high-level attention currently being devoted to the problem of HIPCs by donor governments, parliaments, multilateral institutions and citizens groups world-wide,

Welcoming the efforts of debtor countries, despite the short-term social impact often involved, to pursue economic reform, stabilisation and structural adjustment programmes,

Recalling the relevant provisions of past IPU resolutions, notably the resolution on the "Need for a radical solution to the problem of debt in the developing world", adopted in Stockholm in September 1992, and the resolution on "Foreign debt as a factor limiting the integration of the Third World countries into the process of globalisation", adopted in Windhoek in April 1998,

  1. Urges the creditor countries to commit themselves in principle to writing off the public debt of HIPCs in the shortest possible time;
  2. Calls on both creditor and debtor nations to convene a meeting of heads of government for the purpose of accelerating debt forgiveness;
  3. Recommends that the eligibility criteria for debt relief under the HIPC initiative be broadened to include other poor or vulnerable countries facing unsustainable debt burdens;
  4. Urges debtor countries to perform in accordance with good governance, introducing transparent and accountable mechanisms of control in order to ensure that the benefits of debt relief result in the socio-economic development of their peoples;
  5. Recommends that debt relief should be achieved without jeopardising the economies of other nations or the stability of the world's financial markets;
  6. Requests the IPU Secretary General to transmit this resolution to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and to explore with them possibilities for future co­operation;
  7. Urges the IPU Committee for Sustainable Development to monitor the follow-up of the present resolution and to report yearly to the Inter-Parliamentary Council.

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