Call for Papers

Tackling Debt Traps: Rethinking International Debt Architecture & Debt Sustainability Assessments”

Guest Editors: Christina Laskaridis, Jason Braganza and Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky

The Development Journal (edited by the Society for International Development and published by Palgrave Macmillan) is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue on 'Tackling Debt Traps: Rethinking International Debt Architecture & Debt Sustainability Assessments'.

We invite interested authors to contribute articles for the next issue of the Development  Journal, providing critical analysis and propositional thinking in view of the upcoming 4th Financing for Development Conference (FfD4), which is scheduled to take place in Spain at the end of June 2025.

With the negotiation process starting in December 2024, it is timely to produce this double issue by mid-November 2024, with articles published online before the print version.
Interested authors are therefore invited to submit short abstracts (max 400 words) by no later than April 15, 2024. Notification of interest along with feedback will be provided by April 30, 2024. Full articles (approx. 4,000 words) are due no later than July 20, 2024. Online publication will be expected in October, with print publication in mid-November 2024.

➞ Click here to learn more about the Context and Rationale of this special issue.

The issue intends to focus on two critical interrelated dimensions:

  1. the governance reform of the international development architecture 
  2. the rethinking of debt sustainability assessments.
International Debt Architecture

The Journal welcomes contributions that focus on all critical pillars that underpin the reform of the international debt architecture and:

  • Provide a wide political framing that locates ‘contractual debt’ in the context of historical injustices and ecological and colonial debt
  • Expose the structural determinants of debt and its interconnections with commodity markets, tax regimes and other critical dimensions of the economy
  • Expose the multiple failures of current credit-centric debt governance arrangements and the vested interests of the IFIs
  • Examine role of multilateral development banks
  • Explore the possible institutional structure and regulatory framework for the establishment of a Debt Workout Mechanism under the aegis of the United Nations
  • Examine how to consolidate and harmonize principles for responsible lending and borrowing, including by considering possible mechanisms of enforceability
  • Propose concrete rules and procedures to ensure debt transparency
  • Examine options for state-contingent debt instruments, including climate instruments, and assess, from a critical and systemic angle, recent experiences on debt-for-nature swaps
  • Explore the role of credit rating agencies and their regulation from a public interest viewpoint
  • Propose legal solutions and institutional arrangements to tackle illegitimate debt.


Debt Sustainability Assessments

The Journal welcomes contributions that focus on legal, economic, historical, political and institutional aspects of debt sustainability analysis (DSA) that:

  • Provide theoretical and/or practical foundations for including a broader set of issues into DSA such as social and environmental considerations, human rights, gender impacts, across a range of time horizons
  • Examine the underlying analytical elements embedded in current DSAs including the artificial divide between low income and market access countries
  • Examine social, economic, environmental, gender, political consequences of using a narrow, economistic approach to debt sustainability
  • Examine DSA in the context of financing pathways and debt relief to ensure meeting of development and environmental goals
  • Examine the historical, economic and critical legal foundations of the role of the IMF, G20, and World Bank in sovereign debt restructurings and the role DSA plays in this context
  • Explore debt sustainability analyses as part of a broader power dynamic among creditors and between creditors and debtors
  • Examine human rights obligations of both creditors and debtor States, and their implications in the DSA field, including on debt relief and social tolerance to austerity
  • Develop specific “metrics” that could be used to measure debt impacts on human rights, including the right to development
  • Analyze concrete cases of sovereign insolvency and the role played by different notions of debt sustainability
  • Explore the nexus between improved DSA framework and post-growth theories.


Submission Guidelines:

  • Abstracts should be maximum 400 words.
  • Articles should be approximately 4,000 words (though there is some flexibility in length), including references.
  • Please follow the Journal's formatting and referencing guidelines, which can be accessed here.
  • Please find the Journal Editorial Statement here.


Important Dates:

  • Abstract Deadline: 15 April 2024 30 April 2024 (extended)
  • Abstract Feedback: 30 April 2024 15 May 2024 (extended)
  • Articles Deadline: 20 July 2024
  • Expected Publication: October 2024 – online, November 2024 – print


For any additional inquiries related to this issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Editorial Team at

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Development Editorial Team