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โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹2019 Resolutions and Q&A Resources


RESOLUTION: Exclude Sovereign Debt of Countries 
โ€‹Involved in Prolonged Military Occupation

This resolution identifies "sovereign debt" as bonds issued by a national government. It also identifies three geographic areas of prolonged military occupations: "Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1976; Turkey has occupied Northern Cyprus since 1974; Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories since 1967, thus denying the subject populations their self-determination in violation of the system established by the Charter of the United Nations and International Law in general."
โ€‹In this resolution, the annual conference calls on all agencies in the UMC and its own investment managers to add "to their human rights guidelines explicit language with regard to governmental debt so as to exclude those governments maintaining a prolonged military occupation that have been the subject of United Nations Security Council resolutions and/or International Court of Justice rulings, and to align their portfolios accordingly, avoiding the governmental debt of each such country until the time when each government ends their military occupation."

The annual conference would submit this resolution as a petition to General Conference 2020.
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RESOLUTION: Exclude Government Debt of Countries 
Involved in Prolonged Military Occupation
This resolution is similar to the one above with slightly different terminology. It includes this definition: "government debt (also called sovereign debt), especially that held in bonds denominated in foreign currencies, is unrestricted funds that a government uses at its own discretion and without any formal mechanism for advocacy by the bond holder."
This resolution identifies the same three occupations of special concern and calls for the same action by UMC boards and agencies and investment managers.
โ€‹The annual conference would submit this resolution as a petition to General Conference 2020.

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RESOLUTION: Ethical Investing
This resolution encourages all United Methodist related institutions with investment portfolios to develop investment guidelines that adhere to the broad understanding of the UMC Social Principles  so that even as we avoid making money from the production of alcohol or tobacco we also avoid investments that help sustain long term military occupations or systematic denials of human rights.  The resolution further calls for:
- conscientious oversight of local church investments,
- making such investment guidelines known to the public as well as any changes to investments due to those guidelines,
- engaging in dialogue with entities and corporations with problematic practcies and reconsidering investing if those if problems persist
It also supports the right of the church to make investment policy decisions based on its ethical considerations and opposes efforts by governments to suppress legitimate and non-violent means of resisting unethical conduct.
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Sustainable and Socially Responsible Investments

This resolution would amend Paragraph 717 of the UMC Book of Discipline which pertains to socially responsible investing by the church. See the full text below; the underlined text would be added. Below that is the rationale for the changes.

Amend ยถ 717:
In the investment of money, it shall be the policy of The United Methodist Church that all general boards and agencies, including the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and all administrative agencies and institutions, including hospitals, homes, educational institutions, annual conferences, foundations, and local churches, make a conscious effort to invest in institutions, companies, corporations, governments, or funds with policies and practices that are socially responsible, consistent with the goals outlined in the Social Principles. All United Methodist institutions shall endeavor to seek investments in institutions, companies, corporations, governments, or funds that promote racial and gender justice, protect human rights, prevent the use of sweatshop or forced labor, avoid human suffering, and preserve the natural world, including mitigating the effects of climate change. In addition, United Methodist institutions shall endeavor to avoid investments in companies engaged in core business activities that are not aligned with the Social Principles through their direct or indirect involvement with the production of anti-personnel weapons and armaments (both nuclear and conventional weapons), alcoholic beverages or tobacco; or that are involved in privately operated correctional facilities, gambling, pornography or other forms of exploitative adult entertainment. United Methodist institutions should similarly not hold sovereign or government debt in states conducting prolonged military occupations as they violate international law and human rights standards. The boards and agencies are to give careful consideration to environmental, social, and governance factors when making investment decisions and actively exercise their responsibility as owners of the companies in which they invest.  This includes engaging with companies to create positive change and hold them accountable for their actions, while also considering exclusion if companies fail to act responsibly.

When we buy sovereign debt (government bonds) we are lending our funds to governments without any formal mechanism for advocacy.   Governments conducting prolonged military occupations are violating international law and human rights standards. Such investments are morally wrong and financially risky.

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Resources        2019 Resolutions