Virtual Launch of Handbook on Public Debt Transparency

Event date: 05 October 2023, 13:00 - 14:30 (BST)
A Handbook on Public Debt Transparency

You are invited to the virtual launch of our Handbook on Public Debt Transparency via Zoom.

With opening remarks by the Commonwealth Secretary General, the virtual launch will draw speakers from various geographical regions for diversity of thought and perspectives. Speakers from The Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Member Countries, Academics, Development Partners, Debt Managers, Experts and Practitioners, will also share their thoughts via the panels and keynote presentations.

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Developing countries continue to face rising public debt and related vulnerabilities which exacerbate development challenges. Public debt levels have reached unprecedent levels in many emerging market and developing countries recently, leading to high debt service costs that have not only crowded out the provision of vital public goods and services but also affected other macroeconomic outcomes. The covid-19 pandemic followed by severe global recession have erased several economic and social gains including reversing poverty reduction and delaying progress towards the SDGs including targets related to the climate, gender and youth.

These setbacks, together with the global implications of the war in Ukraine, have compounded development challenges in the emerging market and developing countries including widening infrastructure gaps. Adverse shocks including conflicts and climate related events have further constrained governments’ ability to provide adequate social safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.

Simultaneously, as many countries grapple with rising and unsustainable debt burdens, and limited financing options there has been a call for a new global financial architecture to support developing countries to access capital and to address mounting debt vulnerabilities.  Despite concerted efforts by countries and development actors, the objectives of the new global financial architecture may not be met if stakeholders, especially borrowing countries, do not work decisively to ensure transparency in public debt operations. 

Public debt transparency refers to the dissemination of timely, comprehensive, accurate, accessible, and intelligible debt data, policies and operations across a range of debt management dimensions. Reporting and publishing debt information may, therefore, not always imply that a country is being fully transparent. As such, public debt transparency goes beyond public debt reporting.

Considering the above, a recent publication by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, A Handbook for Public Debt Transparency’ provides a detailed information on the benefits and necessary requirements for countries to ensure greater openness and accountability as it relates to public debt management. The Handbook will be officially launched on Thursday 5th, October 2023, during a virtual seminar under the theme: 'Towards a New Global Financial Architecture: Public Debt Transparency as an Essential Requirement.


To provide a forum and opportunity:

  • To launch the Handbook of Public Debt Transparency
  • To showcase the ways in which member countries can advance public debt transparency.
  • For experience sharing for Commonwealth countries’ debt managers, to share their concerns and challenges in achieving debt transparency.


The virtual event will include opening remarks from the Secretary General, followed by a presentation on the key components of the handbook. Other speakers will provide insight and reactions before an interactive question and answer segment. Discussants are expected to share experiences, challenges and perspectives on the two core issues: public debt transparency and advancing the new global international architecture.

The issues for consideration are outlined below:

  • Debt Transparency challenges and progress in the Commonwealth
  • Practical steps towards achieving public debt transparency
  • Role of Commonwealth Meridian in supporting debt transparency
  • Linkages between public debt transparency, debt reform, debt restructuring and calls for a new global international architecture

Expected Outcomes

The Webinar will:

  • Provide participants with additional insight into different approaches taken by Commonwealth countries towards achieving public debt transparency; and
  • Identify areas for collaboration and technical assistance for advancing public debt transparency in member states.
  • The presentations and discussions will be collated into a single report.


  • Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General
  • Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Baba Musa, Director General, WAIFEM
  • Jacob Mkandawire, Programme Director, MEFMI
  • Pamella McLaren, Public Debt Management Expert
  • Dev Useree, Director & Technical Expert, Debt Markets & PFM Consulting Ltd
  • Sanjay Kumar, Debt Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Henry Mooney, Economics Adviser, IDB
  • Country Representative (The Maldives)
  • Delia Cox (Moderator), Debt Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat