Statement Timor-Leste should remain debt-free

Timor-Leste should remain debt-free
We, the undersigned Timor-Leste and international organizations, urge the government of Timor-Leste to keep the nation debt-free and refrain from borrowing money from international lenders.
We do not take this position to hold Timor-Leste back, but to protect its future generations. Rather than repeat the mistakes of other developing countries that have struggled with debt during recent decades, Timor-Leste should learn from their experiences, which often inflicted great hardships on their people. This is especially important because of Timor-Leste’s high dependence on exporting non-renewable oil and gas wealth, a resource which will run out soon.
Rather than repeat the mistakes of other developing countries that have struggled with debt during recent decades, Timor-Leste should learn from their experiences, which often inflicted great hardships on their people. This is especially important because of Timor-Leste’s high dependence on exporting non-renewable oil and gas wealth, a resource which will run out soon.
More than thirty years ago, lenders made loans to developing countries, creating unsustainable debt and causing the "debt crises" of the 1980s and 1990s. Today, creditors continue to drain scarce resources that could have been spent on essential services like health care, education, water and sanitation. International financial institutions - like the IMF and the World Bank - forced countries which owed them money to implement so-called austerity measures, demanding cuts in public services in order to repay debt. This has included the privatization of state services like water and electricity. The poorest and most vulnerable members of society have been forced to pay more for essential services, and salaries of public servants have been lowered. Even when loans are made at concessional interest rates, borrowing countries are often legally obligated to prioritize debt payments above their people's needs.
Some argue that revenue from Timor-Leste’s oil and gas wealth can provide a cushion against which to borrow. History proves such thinking is wrong. The more oil a country produces and the greater its dependence on petroleum exports, the more debt that country is likely to accumulate – and Timor-Leste today is the most petroleum-export-dependent country in the world, with oil and gas providing 95% of state revenues. Oil prices and interest rates are very volatile and beyond Timor-Leste’s control, leaving it especially at risk, as petroleum revenues will decline and interest rates may rise while loans are still being paid back. When Timor-Leste's oil and gas run out in less than 15 years, and debts still must be repaid, Timor-Leste’s children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences.
In most developing countries with oil resources, worsening economic and development conditions with little long term benefit are the result, including increased conflict, impoverishment, and corruption. Timor-Leste should avoid such a tragedy by learning from other’s experiences, not repeating them.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste began life in 2002 without owing money to anyone. For the sake of an equitable, prosperous, and environmentally sound future for today’s and tomorrow’s children Timor-Leste should remain debt-free. We urge Timor-Leste’s leaders and international institutions to use other ways to finance the country’s much-needed development.
Facilitated by Timor-Leste Movimento Kontra Deve (KONDENA)
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), USA

(If your organization wants to add its name to the statement contact
Community Development Interest (CDI)
ETADEP (East Timor Development Action and Peace)
Farming Study Group (FSG)
Forum Lider Comunitario (FLC)
Forum NGO Timor-Leste (Fongtil)
Front Mahasiswa Timor-Leste
Fundasaun Mahein
Haburas Foundation
HAK Association
Hasatil (Haburas Agrikultura Sustentavel Timor-Leste)
Instituisaun Edukasaun Popular (IEP)
Kdadalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI)
Knua Haberan Comunidade (KHC)
La'o Hamutuk
  (Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring & Analysis)
Mata Dalan Institute (MDI)
Movimentu Estudantes Fakuldade Ekonomia -Timor-Leste (MEFE-TL
Ponta-Leste Watch (PLW)International Organizations
Africa Jubilee South
Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD)

Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)
CADTM International (Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt)
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific (CATW)
Focus on the Global South
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
IBON International
International Federation for East Timor
International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET)
Jubilee South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
LDC Watch
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Peoples Movement on Climate Change
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
Third World Network

Bangladesh Krishok Federation
Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), Bangladesh
Nabodhara, Bangladesh
Resource Integration Centre, Bangladesh
SUPRO, Bangladesh
Arakan-Oilwatch, Burma
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India
Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice, Indonesia
Imparsial, Indonesia
International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)/ Indonesia Mining Advocacy Network
JATAM/Friends of Earth (FoE) of East Java
Koalisi Anti Utang (Coalition Against Debt), Indonesia
KRUHA Indonesia
Pantau Foundation, Indonesia
Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
Urban Poor Consortium, Indonesia
WALHI - Friends of The Earth Indonesia
Japan East Timor Coalition
Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN) Malaysia
All Nepal Peasants' Federation (ANPFa)
Right to Food Network (RtFN), Nepal
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)
Jagaran Nepal
Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition - Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition - Iloilo Chapter, Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition - Negros Chapter, Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition - Socsksargen Chapter, Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition - Western Mindanao Chapter, Philippines
Farmers Forum - South Cotabato, Philippines
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment
   (Kalikasan-PNE), Philippines
Kalimudan Culture and Arts Center - Mindanao, Philippines
KAISA - University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines
Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippines
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines
Sanlakas, Philippines
Sanlakas Youth, Philippines

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), Philippines
Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND), Philippines
Youth Against Debt (YAD), Philippines
Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts (FCAID), Philippines
WomanHealth Philippines
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
EARTH (Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand)
PACIFICAidwatch, Australia
Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc
Australians for a Free East Timor
Hunter East Timor Sisters, Australia
USAAidwatch, Australia
Indonesian Solidarity, Australia
Jubilee Australia
Justice for Palestine Matters, Sydney, Australia
Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand

EUROPEFoundation ProPapua, The Netherlands
Stg. Timor Lorosa'e Solidarity, The Netherlands
Vrij Oost Timor / Free East Timor Foundation (VOT), Utrecht, The Netherlands
Jubilee Scotland
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización, Spain
Ongd AFRICANDO Ingenio (Canary islands), Spain
Who owes whom? campaign / Campaña ¿Quién debe a Quién? - Spain
Swedish Association of Free Papua
Swedish East Timor Committee
Jubilee Debt Campaign, UK
Tapol, UK

Latin America and the CaribbeanDIALOGO 2000 (Argentina)
Proceso de Comunidades Negras (Palenke Alto Cauca), Colombia


African Forum for Alternatives
Worldview – The Gambia
Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center, Kenya

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)
African Alternatives, Senegal
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), South Africa
Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project,
    University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE), South Africa
Friends of the Earth Canada
WestPAN (Canada's West Papua Action Network)
Baltimore Nonviolence Center, USA
Bank Information Center, USA
Campaign for Peace and Democracy, USA
Fellowship of Reconciliation USA
Friend of the Earth U.S.
Green Delaware
Institute on Religion and Public Policy, USA
Jubilee USA
Jubilee NW (USA)
Madison-Ainaro Sister-City Alliance, USA
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA
Office of the Americas, USA
Oil Change International
Peace Resource Center of San Diego
The Philippine Workers Support Committee, USA
Sustainable Energy & Economy Network/
   Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Voices for Creative Nonviolence, USA
WESPAC Foundation
(as of September 9, 2011)
Additional signers:
Peperka (Kayong Women's Association),  Indonesia

Pax Christi Maine, USA


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