Debt and Debt Sustainability
Debt is frequently characterized as a constraint to development, but that ignores the essential role of debt in enabling structural transformation and development, historically, now and in the future. We provide timely analysis of the most important developments and emerging issues in external and domestic debt as well as debt sustainability, adapting our technical assistance to the changing needs of developing these countries.
UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing
The UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing, published in 2012, set out the essential responsibilities of both lenders and borrowers of sovereign debt. They identify fundamental soft law concepts or norms of international law and their applicability to realm of sovereign debt crisis prevention.
Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes
UNCTAD has advocated for a multilateral legal framework for decades - to facilitate effective and fair sovereign debt restructurings. UNCTAD’s work in this area resulted in the Roadmap and Guide for Sovereign Debt Workouts, launched in 2015, and in the resolution A/RES/69/319 on Basic Principles of Sovereign Debt Restructuring Processes, adopted in September 2015.
UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development
UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development (IGE FfD) was a core outcome of UNCTAD’s fourteenth Ministerial Conference. Its wider purpose is to provide an expert forum for discussion and deliberations on development finance issues, concerns and challenges posed by Agenda 2030 and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNCTAD Financial Condition Indicators
Our Financial Condition Indicators (FCIs) aim at measuring and tracking financial conditions in developing countries. Initially developed for 35 developing countries, and subsequently updated for some, these have performed reliably in providing early warning of financial stress.
The Debt and Development Finance Branch (DDFB) comprises two units - an analytical unit, the Debt and Finance Analysis Unit (DFAU), and a technical unit, the Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) programme (see link below).
Located within the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (DGDS) of UNCTAD, the main purpose of our work is to perform the three pillars of UNCTAD’s contribution – research, consensus building and technical assistance - as related to debt and development finance and other systemic issues. We are particularly interested in understanding the trends around the external and domestic debt of developing countries and the systemic and financial challenges associated with development.
We are the focal point within the United Nations for debt analysis, preparing the Secretary General’s annual report on External Debt Sustainability and Development to the General Assembly.
We conduct research and provide technical assistance on a range of issues including:
- Debt, debt sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Mobilization of domestic public and private financial resources for development
- Systemic issues underlying developing countries’ debt vulnerabilities
- Soft law and responsibilities of borrowers and lenders
- Sovereign debt restructuring mechanisms
- Illicit financial flows and how they affect resource mobilization
- The role of financialization in undermining policy space
- Financial inclusion