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Demystifying 'Debt Justice and Sustainability' through a Rights-Based Economy Lens

This past August, CESR joined other members of ESCR-Net Economic Policy Working Groups (EPWG) over a three day strategy meeting. The meeting aimed at building a common understanding of the shared history of global systems of debt injustices; demystifying key concepts on debt justice sustainability; and building solidarity across movements and strategizing for key entry points and advocacy spaces for members over the next few months. The meeting gathered 22 key partners and allies from South West Asia and North Africa and the Sub-saharan Africa regions. The workshop was enriched by the diverse participation of representatives of the debt justice movement from across human rights and economic justice organizations, feminist lawyers collectives, and members of social movements. 

As a resource organization CESR helped bring a rights-based approach to demystifying key concepts on debt justice. In addition to unpacking the concept, we enjoyed engaging in discussions with members on how a vision for a Rights-Based Economy can be used as guidance and a reference point for what debt justice would look like if we were to work for an economy that works for the people and the planet. As part of our continued efforts to challenge technocracies, CESR is contributing to the creation of a rights-based political glossary for EPWG members to refer to on key issues on debt and human rights. CESR also shared its publication Key Concepts on sovereign debt and human rights with the group. The publication was also used as a key resource for the discussions on demystifying key concepts on debt justice i.e. debt sustainability which forms the basis for the rights-based political glossary. 

The meeting concluded with a field visit to the Kebira community. In an act of solidarity, we joined community youth groups as they presented performance art followed by discussion on debt justice tactics across Sub-Saharan Africa. The three days meeting closed with an advocacy strategy session led by CESR together with colleagues from GI ESCR, where members discussed key advocacy spaces for Debt Justice struggles that help connect local struggles to the global spaces. Together with the members, CESR found it useful to reflect on the positionality of different actors, and different possible strategies that range between holding and disrupting existing formal spaces and creating new ones.

One major take away from the session is the importance of connecting the macro to the micro, the global to the local. This is an area where CESR continues to build out through accompanying national level partners in collaborative and in depth country research.