‘I know a big tent when I see one,’ said President Bill Clinton, after he met with Jubilee 2000 in late 1999. The American president was one of many to highlight the breadth of the debt campaign as one of its greatest strengths.
It is a little too early to judge the effectiveness of the international Jubilee 2000 campaign. We know that at the end of 2002 about $34 billion of debts had been written off (instead of the $68 billion promised) and that debt payments by a very few countries has fallen dramatically. In addition, there is now a degree of consultation with civil society in debtor nations around so-called ‘poverty reduction’ strategies. On the other hand, not enough debt relief has been provided to return a single country to sustainability; aid flows have fallen; and the IMF insists on using the debt relief programme to deepen and widen its deflationary economic programmes. So the jury is still out.