A virtual launch of the Handbook on Public Debt Transparency via the Zoom/Go to Webinar platform, including opening remarks by the Commonwealth Secretary General and panel contributions. The session will be recorded.
Developing countries continue to face rising public debt and related vulnerabilities which exacerbate development challenges. Public debt levels have reached unprecedent levels in many emerging market and developing countries recently, leading to high debt service costs that have not only crowded out the provision of vital public goods and services but also affected other macroeconomic outcomes. The covid-19 pandemic followed by severe global recession have erased several economic and social gains including reversing poverty reduction and delaying progress towards the SDGs including targets related to the climate, gender and youth. These setbacks, together with the global implications of the war in Ukraine, have compounded development challenges in the emerging market and developing countries including widening infrastructure gaps. Adverse shocks including conflicts and climate related events have further constrained governments’ ability to provide adequate social safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.
Simultaneously, as many countries grapple with rising and unsustainable debt burdens, and limited financing options there has been a call for a new global financial architecture to support developing countries to access capital and to address mounting debt vulnerabilities. Despite concerted efforts by countries and development actors, the objectives of the new global financial architecture may not be met if stakeholders, especially borrowing countries, do not work decisively to ensure transparency in public debt operations.
Public debt transparency refers to the dissemination of timely, comprehensive, accurate, accessible, and intelligible debt data, policies and operations across a range of debt management dimensions. Reporting and publishing debt information may, therefore, not always imply that a country is being fully transparent. As such, public debt transparency goes beyond public debt reporting.
Considering the above, a recent publication by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, ‘A Handbook for Public Debt Transparency’ provides a detailed information on the benefits and necessary requirements for countries to ensure greater openness and accountability as it relates to public debt management. The Handbook will be officially launched on Thursday 28th, September 2023, during a virtual seminar under the theme: Towards a new global financial architecture: public debt transparency as an essential requirement.
To provide a forum and opportunity:
- To launch the Handbook of Public Debt Transparency
- To showcase the ways in which member countries can advance public debt transparency.
- For experience sharing for Commonwealth countries’ debt managers, to share their concerns and challenges in achieving debt transparency.
The Webinar Format
The proposed virtual event will be held for a duration of 1.5 hours and targets a global audience. The event will include opening remarks from the Secretary General, followed by a presentation on the key components of the handbook. Other speakers will provide insight and reactions before an interactive question and answer segment. Discussants are expected to share experiences, challenges and perspectives on the two core issues: public debt transparency and advancing the new global international architecture.
The issues for consideration are outlined below:
- Debt Transparency challenges and progress in the Commonwealth
- Practical steps towards achieving public debt transparency
- Role of Commonwealth Meridian in supporting debt transparency
- Linkages between public debt transparency, debt reform, debt restructuring and calls for a new global international architecture
The Webinar will:
- provide participants with additional insight into different approaches taken by Commonwealth countries towards achieving public debt transparency; and
- identify areas for collaboration and technical assistance for advancing public debt transparency in member states.
The presentations and discussions will be collated into a single report.
Given the global relevance of this webinar, speakers will be drawn from all geographical regions for diversity of thought and perspectives. High-level officials including senior officials from Commonwealth Countries, academics and development partners will be invited to share their thoughts via the panels and keynote presentations.
The webinar will also target debt managers, practitioners, and various officials involved in debt management operations in various ministries of finance and central banks.
Virtual Launch of Handbook on Public Debt Transparency
Towards a new global financial architecture: public debt transparency as an essential requirement.
Welcome address: Moderator (3 minutes)
Keynote Remarks (5 minutes)
Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General Confirmed
Remarks (5 minutes)
Dr. Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director, The Commonwealth Secretariat Confirmed
Presentation: Overview of the Handbook (30 minutes)
Discussants (30 minutes) 5-6 minutes each
Q & A: Moderator (20 minutes) 3-minute interventions
Country Representative (Caribbean, Asia-Pacific)
Observations, questions, clarifications, usefulness of Handbook, challenges, respond to issues they are faces re debt transparency and how can Comsec assist? etc.
Summary and Close (10 minutes)
Adviser and Head, Debt Management Unit, The Commonwealth Secretariat