Data

Scope of Influence
Multinational
Links
https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Approach
Protest
Advocacy
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Faith-Based Organization
Activist Network
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
name:funder_types-key:na
Staff
No
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Implementers of Change
Elected Public Officials

CASE

Jubilee Debt Campaign

First Submitted By Institute of Development Studies

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team

Scope of Influence
Multinational
Links
https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Approach
Protest
Advocacy
Social mobilization
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Faith-Based Organization
Activist Network
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
name:funder_types-key:na
Staff
No
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Implementers of Change
Elected Public Officials

A global campaign for debt relief led by an international network of civil society actors. The campaign negotiated approx. US$100 billion in debt relief and raised greater awareness about debt and democratic accountability.

Problems and Purpose

Jubilee 2000 was a global campaign to bring about debt relief for developing countries through collaborative action between civil society groups and NGOs and negotiations with creditors. The Jubilee campaign introduced the concept of ‘odious debt’ into the public consciousness.[1]

Background History and Context

The response of international lenders to the so-called ‘Third-World debt crisis’ with Structural Adjustment Programs brought suffering and social unrest across the developing world, including “IMF riots” in a number of countries. Concerns among civil society groups in the Global North brought together activists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who formed the UK-based “Debt Crisis Network” to analyse developing countries’ debts and to campaign for debt relief.[2] 

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

Originating entities include NGOs (organised in the Debt Crisis Network), activists and civil society organisations, with the support of citizens from all over the world.[3] 

Participant Recruitment and Selection

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Methods and Tools

Far from the typical mobilisation and awareness-raising campaign, Jubilee 2000 sought not only to win the issue, but to do so in a way which changed the rules of the game about the transparency of global economic decisions, and which changed the awareness of those directly affected, as well as broader publics, about how debt affected poverty. Economic literacy and public education which enable local people to speak for themselves were just as important as technical research, professional advocacy.[4]

What Went on: Process, Interaction, and Participation 

In 1994 (thanks to early pressure from a small group of evangelical Christians) the campaign was named “Jubilee 2000”, in reference to a biblical cancellation of debt. The year 2000 was chosen as the movement’s focal point. “Jubilee” galvanised activism as a common global “brand” under which disparate movements that shared the debt relief aim could assemble. “Franchisees” were set up in more than 60 countries, with the UK group acting as the centre of the movement, issuing high-profile publications that included “Debt, the most potent form of Slavery.”[5] 

At the heart of the movement was a belief that ordinary people could grasp complex international finance issues and be empowered to act. The campaign’s strongest image were the “human chains” it organised at major international political summits, mirroring developing countries’ “chains of debt”, such as a 70,000-person chain that surrounded the G7 meeting in Birmingham in 1998. The activists negotiated with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for major debt relief in 1999, and further campaigning by successor organizations helped bring about the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative announced at the G7 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005.[6] 

But the movement’s unity was not always easy to maintain. Many Southern activists sought a more explicitly political movement, working to understand particular debts as “odious”, while many Northern activists were more focused on the unsustainability of particular debts, and sought to maintain a (liberal) civil society identity for the movement. These divisions came to a head around the Cologne G8 summit in 1999, when “Jubilee South” coalesced as a distinct entity.[7]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The Jubilee campaign led to the clearance of approximately US$100 billion of debt (at present value) owed by more than 35 countries to foreign creditors, according to the World Bank. The resulting savings were subsequently available for work to reduce poverty and fund health and education programmes. The campaign led to greater awareness in debtor nations of the nature and scale of the debt, and helped local activists to challenge the corruption behind much lending and borrowing, and increase the accountability of governments to their people. The movement mobilised millions of people across the world, including a record-breaking global petition signed by more than 21 million.[8] 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

The Jubilee campaign successfully influenced closed spaces, challenging and making more transparent the deliberations of powerful actors, and entered into invited spaces where campaigners negotiated around the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative. The campaign also proved that debt relief was not only economically and politically feasible, but also could lead to desirable social outcomes.[9]

Southern activists successfully introduced the concept of odious debt into public discourse, but favoured different strategies than many Northern activists. The rift that emerged within the movement showcased the difficulty of speaking to global policymakers with one voice and the disproportionate influence that Northern campaigners had thanks to their access to technical skills and resources.[10]

See Also

Protest

Occupation

References

[1] Carole Collins, “Break the Chains of Debt!,” Africa Recovery 81 no. 26 (1999), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03056249908704406?journalCode=crea20.

[2] “Jubilee 2000,” Advocacy International, Accessed April 8, 2019, https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000.

[3] Collins, “Break the Chains of Debt!”

[4] John Gaventa, “Case study on the Jubilee Debt Campaign: Working across the levels, spaces and forms of power,” PowerCube, Accessed April 8, 2019, http://www.powercube.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Jubilee_debt_campaign.pdf

[5] “Jubilee 2000,” Advocacy International, Accessed April 8, 2019, https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000.

[6] “Jubilee 2000,” https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000

[7] Collins, “Break the Chains of Debt!”

[8] “Jubilee 2000,” https://www.advocacyinternational.co.uk/featured-project/jubilee-2000

[9] Gaventa, “Case study on the Jubilee Debt Campaign.”

[10] Collins, “Break the Chains of Debt!”

External Links

Brookings Institute, “Jubilee 2000 and the Future of Development Advocacy” https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2007busby.pdf

Noam Chomsky, “Jubilee 2000” https://chomsky.info/19980515/

Notes

Lead image: Italy Explained, http://bit.ly/2VzhpBk 

The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).
Original source: https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement