"The countries want their collective $685 billion in debts forgiven so the money can be invested in climate projects."
"WASHINGTON — Twenty countries most vulnerable to climate change are considering halting their repayment of $685 billion in collective debt, loans that they say are an “injustice,” Mohamad Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, said on Friday.
When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund conclude their annual meetings in Washington on Sunday, Mr. Nasheed said he would tell officials that the nations were weighing whether to stop payments on their debts. The finance ministers are calling instead for a debt-for-nature swap, in which part of a nation’s debt is forgiven and invested in conservation.
“We are living not just on borrowed money but on borrowed time,” said Mr. Nasheed, who brought global attention to his sinking archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean by holding an underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. “We are under threat, and we should collectively find a way out of it.”
Mr. Nasheed said poor nations were locked in a Sisyphean trap: they must borrow money to ward off rising seas and storms — only to see disasters made worse by climate change destroy the improvements they make. But the debt remains, and often countries are left to borrow once again."
Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times October 14, 2022.