Jubilee 2000
Jubilee 2000 was an international coalition movement in over 40 countries that called for cancellation of third world debt by the year 2000. This movement coincided with the Great Jubilee
Great Jubilee
The Great Jubilee in 2000 was a major event in the Roman Catholic Church, held from December 24, 1999 to January 6, 2001. Like other previous Jubilee years, it was a celebration of the mercy of God and forgiveness of sins...

, the celebration of the year 2000 in the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. From early 2001, Jubilee 2000 split into an array of organisations around the world.


The concept derives from the biblical idea of the year of Jubilee
Jubilee (Biblical)
The Jubilee year is the year at the end of seven cycles of Sabbatical years , and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the territory of the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year The Jubilee...

, the 50th year. In the Jubilee Year as quoted in Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

, those enslaved because of debts are freed, lands lost because of debt are returned, and community torn by inequality is restored. It aimed to wipe out $90bn of debt owed by the world's poorest nations, reducing the total to about $37bn.

The idea was first articulated by Martin Dent, a retired lecturer in politics at the University of Keele, who linked the biblical Jubilee to a modern debt relief programme and founded the Jubilee 2000 campaign in the early 1990s.


The activities were initially directed through church channels, and quickly gained wide currency, spreading messages about the hardship caused by debts among diverse sectors of the public. Youth groups in particular became heavily involved, reversing a perception, born of the 1980s, that young people were uninterested in political issues. Campaigns were launched via a secretariat in the UK, franchising the "trade mark" to any who directed campaign in the spirit of Jubilee 2000. Among the supporters of the movement were Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 of rock band U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

, Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. is an American record producer and musician. A conductor, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend...

, Willie Colón
Willie Colón
William Anthony Colón is a Nuyorican salsa musician. Primarily a trombonist, Colón also sings, writes, produces and acts. He is also involved in municipal politics in New York City.-Early years:...

, Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist...

, Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

, Youssou N'dour
Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour is a Senegalese singer, percussionist and occasional actor. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, in Senegal and much of Africa, "perhaps the most famous singer alive." He helped develop a style of popular music in Senegal, known in the Serer language as mbalax, a type of music...

, Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke
Thomas "Thom" Edward Yorke is an English musician who is the lead vocalist and principal songwriter for Radiohead. He mainly plays guitar and piano, but he has also played drums and bass guitar...

, N.T. Wright, Walter Sobcheck and others.

Jubilee 2000 staged demonstrations at the 1998 G-8 meeting in Birmingham, England. The G-8 refers to the eight countries (US, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia) that represent a majority of the world's economy. The group holds regular summits to discuss various global issues. At the Birmingham meeting, which, among other things, focused on achieving sustainable economic growth in the context of environmental protection and good governance, between 50,000 and 70,000 demonstrators participated in a peaceful protest in an effort to put debt relief on the agenda of Western governments. The protestors made headlines around the world for their demonstrations and activities aimed at increasing awareness, such as forming a human chain around Birmingham City Centre, passing out petitions, and holding informative workshops.

The protests caught the attention of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who met with the directors of Jubilee 2000 to discuss the issue of heavy debt in poor countries. Subsequently, the Prime Minister publicly expressed his personal support for, and dedication to, debt forgiveness. Other notable successes that resulted, at least in part, from Jubilee 2000 pressure, included a promise from the United States during the G-7 (G-8 financial ministers, excluding Russia) meeting in Cologne, Germany in 1999 to cancel 100% of the debt that qualifying countries owed the U.S. Jubilee also lobbied the U.S. Congress to make good on this promise. Congress responded to the growing pressure to address debt relief issues in 2000 by committing $769 million to bilateral and multilateral debt relief.

Post 2000

From early 2001, Jubilee 2000 split into an array of organisations around the world; Jubilee South (encompassing many former Jubilee campaigns in Africa, Asia and Latin America); Jubilee Debt Campaign, Jubilee Scotland and Jubilee Research (hosted by nef new economics foundation
New Economics Foundation
The New Economics Foundation is a British think-tank.NEF was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit with the aim of working for a "new model of wealth creation, based on equality, diversity and economic stability"....

) in the UK; Jubilee USA Network; Jubilé 2000/CAD Mali in Mali; and many other national organisations. These co-ordinate their actions through a loose global confederation.

Jubilee USA, located in Washington DC, is the USA's campaigning successor to Jubilee 2000. Erlassjahr.de is the German branch. There are very many other organisations around the world which also carry forward the debt campaign.

Former Jubilee 2000 UK staff founded the short-lived Drop The Debt
Drop the Debt
Drop the Debt was a short-lived British NGO formed after the dissolution of Jubilee 2000. Using Jubilee 2000's best known slogan as its name, Drop the Debt existed to work in the run-up to the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, and ensure that debt relief was on the agenda at that meeting...

 to work in the run-up to the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, maintaining Jubilee 2000's combination of lobbying, celebrity work and mass activism. Jubilee Research at the New Economics Foundation, located in London, took over from Jubilee 2000 in 2001 and now provides in-depth analysis and data on third world debt. Jubilee Debt Campaign is the UK's campaigning successor to Jubilee 2000, comprising much of the UK's original Jubilee 2000 membership, while Jubilee Scotland campaigns north of the border. The campaign calls for cancellation of debts owed by the world's poorest countries.

Debt was one of the targets of 2005's Make Poverty History
Make Poverty History
Make Poverty History is the name of a campaign that exists in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark , Finland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and Ireland...


External links

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