Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing



In 2009 UNCTAD launched the Project to Promote Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing. The aim of this project was to develop a set of principles to establish internationally recognized principles that promote and reinforce responsible sovereign lending and borrowing practices.

With the increasing incidences of sovereign debt difficulties, the UNCTAD initiative has become even more relevant and consequently has been garnering increasing support from developed and developing countries alike.

Identifying agreed principles for lending and borrowing is the first step in the process of preventing (and if necessary resolving) future problems. UNCTAD aims to build consensus around a set of internationally agreed principles to promote responsible sovereign lending and borrowing.

This project seeks to identify these principles through a transparent and inclusive process in a multi-stakeholder forum. Input and feedback will be drawn through consultations with governments, experts, representatives of multilateral financial institutions, academics and members of civil society.

Eventually such principles could lead to the establishment of criteria to assess whether the contracting of sovereign debt has been performed in accordance with internationally accepted principles.

For the purpose of arriving at a draft set of principles, UNCTAD has established a forum to study and document practices and standards of responsible sovereign lending and borrowing. An Expert Working Group has been established to provide technical and policy analysis to inform the discussion among member states.

The work from the Expert Working Group will be used to inform the Group of Advisory Countries, composed of government representatives, which will be consulted in the process of drafting the proposed principles. The membership of the Group of Advisory Countries is open to all countries interested in participating in and contributing to this Initiative. All members of the UN will be encouraged to send delegates to its meetings. This group represents national, as well as regional, linguistic and other interests.

Objectives of the project:

  • Create a forum for the study and documentation of the practices and standards on responsible sovereign lending and borrowing and related consensus-building activities. This will include inter alia the analysis of new sovereign lenders, their lending practices and impacts on future debt sustainability.

  • Develop a set of principles to promote responsible sovereign lending and borrowing and invite a discussion on the possible use of such guidelines as criteria for assessing legitimacy of sovereign debt.

  • Promote the discussion on the different options for a structured approach to resolving defaults and disputes between sovereigns and private creditors.

  • Create a global debt portal targeted at borrowers, lenders, policy-makers, debt managers and researchers.


 Background Documents



 Project Reports




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