The principle that lenders are responsible for the debts they create, particularly in the developing world, was highlighted in an announcement by the Norwegian government.
The Norwegian Minister of Development, Heikki Holmas, announced in August that there will be an assessment of the legitimacy of the legitimacy of developing countries`debt to Norway. It is the first time a government has ever carried out a ‘creditor’s debt audit’. Gina Ekholt, director of the Norwegian Coalition for Debt Cancellation, said:
‘This is a historical day! Not only for debt campaigners who have been fighting for this for years, but also for the people across the world that are suffering from unpayable and illegitimate debt burdens.
‘This is an important tool to promote responsible lending and to take responsibility for past loans. We hope that other creditors will be inspired by Norway’s debt audit.’
The audit will be launched this autumn and followed up with new and stronger guidelines for responsible lending.
The Norwegian Coalition for Debt Cancellation has done its own research which reveals that part of Indonesia’s current debt to Norway is clearly illegitimate. The loans were given to the oppressive government of Suharto, the general who ran one of the most corrupt regimes in history.
Norwegian initiatives have led to the establishment of international principles for responsible lending and borrowing in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The principles will be applied in the Norwegian debt audit.