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The Sovereign Debt Forum (SDF) is the result of a collaboration between the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center and was launched at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC on 21, October 2019. The European University Institute joined the SDF as a member in the spring of 2020.

The Forum’s Academic Directors are Rosa María Lastra (Queen Mary University of London) and Anna Gelpern (Georgetown Law), and the Forum’s founding members include: Lee Buchheit (University of Miami School of Law), G. Mitu Gulati (University of Virginia), and Sean Hagan (Georgetown Law). The Forum’s affiliated scholars include Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal (Queen Mary University of London), Ugo Panizza (Graduate Institute of Geneva), and Mark Weidemaier (University of North Carolina). 


The Forum serves as an interdisciplinary research hub and a platform for capacity building, policy development, and research-dissemination programs. The Forum’s capacity building work focuses on low- and middle-income countries at risk of sovereign debt distress, as well as countries that have recently gained market access and have limited debt management experience.

Forum activities include:

  • Conducting and disseminating innovative, policy-relevant interdisciplinary research on all aspects of sovereign debt management.
  • Development and delivery of capacity-building programs with emphasis on the legal aspects of sovereign borrowing, debt management, restructuring, and litigation.
  • Convening experts, researchers and practitioners from diverse academic, policy, and market spheres; organizing conferences, seminars, and policy fora.


  • African Legal Support Facility
  • Central Bank of Ghana
  • Central Bank of Peru
  • International Monetary Fund 
  • Ministry of Finance of Italy
  • Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands
  • Paris Club Secretariat
  • UK HM Treasury
  • World Bank

                                                      UPCOMING EVENTS

Sovereign Debt: An Agenda for The Future

June 21 – 12:00 p.m – 2:00 p.m EDT

The world is currently facing an unprecedented level of sovereign debt – and debt is continuing to pile up. The state of sovereign borrowing was critical prior to the pandemic, with several countries already facing limited fiscal space and increasing levels of debt, but the situation has deteriorated, tipping some economies over the edge.

Two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, the debt conundrum has deteriorated considerably. Belize, Ecuador, Suriname and Zambia defaulted on their debt, and other countries are close to joining ranks.  In Africa, external debt costs rose by 1.1% of GDP on average over 2010-2019, offsetting nearly two-thirds of the average increase in tax levels over this period. The impact of the pandemic and the ensuing inflation resulting from world conflict will further increase debt-servicing costs.

In this roundtable, a group of international experts representing some of the key players involved in sovereign debt will discuss key areas that require further attention in order to draft an agenda to shape the future of sovereign borrowing and management.

Click Here to Register


Anna Gelpern
Anna Gelpern
Georgetown University Law Center
Rosa Lastra

Rosa María Lastra

Queen Mary University of London, CCLS


Lee Bucheit Picture
Lee Buchheit
Queen Mary University of London, CCLS
Anna Gelpern
Anna Gelpern
Georgetown University Law Center
Mitu Gulati
G. Mitu Gulati
University of Virginia, School of Law
Sean Hagan Picture
Sean Hagan
Georgetown University Law Center
Rosa Lastra
Rosa María Lastra
Queen Mary University of London, CCLS


Rodrigo Olivares Caminal
Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal
Queen Mary University of London, CCLS
Uggo Panizza
Ugo Panizza
Graduate Institute of Geneva
Mark Weidemaier
Mark Weidemaier
University of North Carolina School of Law
Daniel Bradlow
University of Pretoria, Centre for Human Rights

Stephen Park

University of Connecticut, School of Business