Reform of the IMF stood at the center of the 2006 Spring Meetings, held in Washington, D.C., in late April. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the primary advisory committee of the Fund's Governors, supported Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato's vision for the organization, which was laid out in his recent report on Implementing the Fund's Medium-Term Strategy. The IMFC also called on the Fund to make new efforts—including new multilateral consultations—to encourage actions related to global imbalances.
IMF staff will now work on implementing the proposals and undertake the preparatory work for the September Annual Meetings in Singapore, which IMFC Chairman Gordon Brown has declared will become a Reform Summit. One prominent item on the agenda for Singapore is Voice and Representation, an issue that has long been addressed by civil society organizations (CSOs). The IMFC endorsed the exploration of a two-step process designed to realign voting rights at the Fund.
"Since its origin 60 years ago, the IMF has had to cope with the fast-changing forces at work in the global economy, originally having to cope with sheltered, protected, and closed economies, and temporary support for balance of payments issues," Brown said at a recent press conference. "We recognize today that the IMF must now cope with open, not closed, economies; with international, not regional, flows of capital; and the reforms we have agreed...are designed to equip the IMF best for these future challenges."
With accreditation for CSOs attending the Singapore meetings in early June, a related article provides information on preparatory activities. This edition's Letters from the field offer a cross-section of the Fund's most recent country outreach.
By Masood Ahmed
Masood Ahmed is Director of the IMF's External Relations Department. Before taking up that post on May 1, he served for three years as Director General for Policy and International Development at the UK Government's Department for International Development. From 2000 to 2003, Ahmed was Deputy Director in the IMF's Policy Development and Review Department, focusing on the Fund's policy work in support of low- income countries as well as its relationship with the World Bank and other development agencies. He held a number of positions at the World Bank between 1979 and 2000.
I return to the IMF as Director of the External Relations Department at a time of reform, as this newsletter makes clear in its discussion of the medium term strategy. But the Fund also has changed significantly in the three years that I have been away, not least in the IMF's relationship with civil society.
Working on development issues within a donor government provided a unique perspective on the issues that the IMF is called upon to address as part of its mandate. It also offered a unique view of civil society organizations and their relationship with the Fund. This relationship has not always been easy for both sides, so it has been very encouraging to see how much the dialogue has evolved and improved. Dialogue with civil society offers opportunities to dispel public misconceptions about the Fund and its activities; it also enables Fund staff to have a clearer understanding of the policy issues they address. There has been an important, ongoing discussion of several key issues, especially the Fund's role in the process of scaling up aid to developing countries and the nature of its macroeconomic advice to those countries. I believe that that discussion has borne fruit in many ways. There is no question that Fund staff is paying close attention, and we see some of the Fund's policies and programs being adapted in response.
I am aware that mistrust still exists, but both sides seem to be making a serious effort to listen to each other—in many settings. Interaction with labor unions, faith-based groups, and other forms of nongovernmental organizations has become an integral part of our work. Country teams in every region of the world increasingly engage in such consultations. Their work is based on the Guide for Staff Relations With Civil Society Organizations, while there is always room for improvement, it is striking to me that so many of our teams now take civil society interaction so seriously.
Going forward, I believe that input from civil society will become even more important to our work. I can assure you that the IMF's External Relations Department will make every effort to foster and facilitate the dialogue. For my part, I look forward to playing a constructive role in that process, renewing old friendships, and making new ones.
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Report from the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC)
IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato won global backing at the Fund's 2006 Spring Meetings for his strategy to reorient the organization's work to better meet the demands of a globalized world economy. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the primary advisory committee of the Fund's Governors, supported the Managing Director's medium-term strategy and called on the IMF to make new efforts—including new multilateral consultations—to encourage actions to address global economic imbalances.
The IMFC communiqué also asked de Rato to make concrete proposals to bring quota distribution and voting shares at the Fund into line with current realities in the world economy. The Managing Director has been asked to explore a two-stage approach to the issue that would involve ad hoc quota increases for the most under-represented members in the near term, followed by more comprehensive reforms at a later stage. Agreement on an increase in basic votes, which is key for strengthening the voice of the smallest members, could be part of the final reform package.
The April 22-23 meetings of the IMFC and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee took place at a time of continuing resilience and strength of the global economy. However, sharply higher oil prices and large and widening current account imbalances—discussed at a Global Imbalances Conference held at the IMF on April 21—lent urgency to calls for policymakers to shake off complacency and take actions to reduce risks to sustained global growth. The IMFC reiterated that action for an orderly medium-term resolution of global imbalances is a shared responsibility; it again urged the international community to make a concerted and sustained effort to reduce the associated risks. The communiqué listed some of the needed policies—notably, raising U.S. national saving, including by reducing the budget deficit; boosting growth in the euro area and several other countries through structural reforms; further structural reforms in Japan, including fiscal consolidation; greater exchange rate flexibility in emerging Asia; and promoting efficient absorption of oil revenues in oil-exporting countries. The committee asked the IMF to work with member governments to encourage actions to reduce the imbalances, including the use of new multilateral consultations proposed in the medium-term strategy.
Speaking with the press after the IMFC meeting, de Rato made it clear that it is governments, not international institutions, that need to act to address imbalances. The IMF will provide a framework in which consequences of actions and inactions can be seen more clearly and, in addition to providing description and analysis, will engage governments in an active consultation process.
The IMFC also welcomed the IMF's efforts to respond to the new challenges and needs of emerging market countries. In an April 20 address at the Institute for International Economics, de Rato challenged those who argue that Fund lending may no longer be necessary now that capital markets have become more important. "There will be financial crises in the future, in current emerging markets or in those that have yet to emerge." He added that the Fund could prepare for those crises now or "react in haste to them later."
An important element of the Fund's medium-term strategy is on crisis prevention and the desire of emerging market countries for more predictable and flexible financing instruments. The IMFC backed a "further examination of the Managing Director's proposal on a possible new instrument to provide high-access contingent financing for countries that have strong macroeconomic policies, sustainable debt, and transparent reporting but remain vulnerable to shocks." The committee also encouraged the IMF to explore a possible role in supporting regional arrangements for pooling reserves.
The IMFC also reaffirmed a critical role for the IMF in low-income countries, especially in helping these countries absorb increased aid flows and debt relief and maintain macroeconomic stability. The Fund will also play a role, in its areas of competence, in monitoring low-income countries' progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. The IMFC and the Development Committee asked the Fund and the Bank to refine their debt sustainability framework and help countries implement sound medium-term debt strategies and strong public expenditure management and tax systems to avoid reaccumulating crippling debt burdens.
The IMFC also welcomed the Fund's new Policy Support Instrument for low-income countries that seek IMF policy guidance without financing, and the Exogenous Shocks Facility for poor countries coping with oil price or other shocks.
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About 140 representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) attended events at the 2006 Spring Meetings. This year's Program of Policy Dialogues for accredited CSOs included 15 sessions organized by the IMF, the World Bank, and CSOs. Fund staff were involved in meetings on the IMF's medium-term strategy, trade, debt relief, and issues related to the scaling-up of aid. The full list of dialogues as well as summary notes of most sessions will be available at http://www.worldbank.org/civilsociety.
Considerable attention was given to issues related to the scaling-up of aid to low-income countries. On April 22, an IMF panel met with representatives of CSOs on work being done by the Fund in this area, and the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) offered a briefing on its evaluation of the role of the IMF in determining the external financing envelope in Sub-Saharan African countries.
IMF work on scaling-up of aid
Current research at the IMF on these issues was discussed at a session with CSOs on April 22. IMF panelists included Andy Berg from the Policy Development and Review Department (PDR), Peter Heller and Marijn Verhoeven from the Fiscal Affairs Department(FAD), and Sanjeev Gupta from the African Department(AFR). Gupta presented the conclusions of an April 19-20 workshop organized by the IMF and the UK Department for International Development (DfID). He noted that the participants had before them a new handbook entitled "Macroeconomic Challenges of Scaling-Up Aid to Africa—A Checklist for Practitioners," co-authored by Gupta, Robert Powell, and Yongzheng Yang. The handbook was prepared as a guide for assessing the macroeconomic implications and challenges associated with a significant scaling-up of aid to African countries.
Berg presented a paper that examines how countries manage aid surges, in particular whether they use the aid to finance increase spending and whether they use it to increase imports. One finding was that, in most of the cases examined in the paper, currencies had not appreciated as a result of significant increases in aid flows, partly because countries put much of the increased aid into reserves, often exceeding Fund targets for reserve accumulation. While this means that "Dutch disease" (currency appreciation or inflation arising from an inflow of external resources, which can adversely affect net exports and incomes of producers in the trading sectors) was not observed, it suggests that the fear of Dutch disease keeps some countries from fully using the aid inflows to finance increased imports.
Heller described preliminary work being done on a new paper that would likely be ready near the September Annual Meetings, and that will build upon his previous paper on fiscal issues in scaling-up. The new paper would examine the issues that arise in making sure that spending does occur, without adversely affecting macroeconomic stability. The issues include: the challenges of programming spending appropriately in the context of medium-term fiscal frameworks; avoiding sectoral imbalances in the distribution of spending; dealing with the loss of a fiscal anchor as a result of debt relief; and how to conduct budget planning in the face of possible volatility of donor commitments.
Verhoeven discussed the preliminary findings of a working paper (co-authored with Annalisa Fedelino and Gerd Schwartz) that assesses the impact of wage bill ceilings that are often part of Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) programs. Based on country case studies for 2003-05, the paper suggests that such ceilings have not previously restricted the use of available donor funds. It offers suggestions for further enhancing wage flexibility under IMF programs in order to respond to the higher aid flows that are expected to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Civil society representatives focused on two main issues suggested by the analyses in the various papers: the need to work with donors to enhance the predictability of aid flows (a conclusion reached at the IMF-DfID workshop also), and the need to enhance transparency related to accountability for decision making on the use of aid. Speakers noted that country officials often blame the IMF when they cannot increase spending in certain sectors, while the IMF insists that decisions belong to the authorities.
Forthcoming IEO paper
The issue of accountability was one of several subjects that will be examined by the IEO in its forthcoming evaluation of the Role of the IMF in the Determination of the External Financing Envelope in Sub-Saharan African Countries (see Issues Paper). Panelists—including Joanne Salop, Steve Mugerwa, Martin Kaufman, and Markus Berndt, all of the IEO—at a session with CSOs on April 22 explained that this evaluation is focusing on the years 1998-2005, with reference to the earlier Report on the Evaluation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and the PRGF for historical perspective. A major part of the evaluation involves a process of consultation with, and a survey of, PRGF country officials, donors, the African Development Bank, as well as civil society. The report, expected to be completed by end-2006, will also examine such issues as the capacity and style of Fund missions and resident representatives.
Civil society representatives called on the IEO to broaden its consultations in Africa by exploring different means of contacting CSOs, many of which are based in the countryside and do not have access to the internet. One suggestion was to expand outreach through the media, by publicizing an ongoing evaluation—and opportunities for consultation.
Michael Hadjimichael of PDR participated in the panel: Is the Doha Agenda Moving Away from Development?, sponsored by the International Working Group on Trade-Finance Linkages and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Participants discussed the growth model underpinning the Doha Round negotiations; World Bank and Fund advice and analysis on trade issues; and the scope for the Doha negotiations to regain a greater focus on development. Speakers included Chandra Patel (Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Initiative); Tom Palley (Economics for Democratic & Open Societies); Sandra Polaski (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); and Richard Newfarmer (World Bank). The session was moderated by Liane Schalatek of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Carolyn Reynolds and Simonetta Nardin, respectively from the World Bank and IMF civil society teams, met with CSOs to brief them on the plans for the IMF and World Bank 2006 Annual Meetings that will be held in Singapore in September. They covered the planning process for CSO participation in the Meetings, including a recent meeting held with CSOs in Singapore. (See related article)
Thomas Dawson, the outgoing Director of the IMF's External Relations Department, gave an update on the Fund's medium-term strategy (see related article), an initiative that was launched by the IMF's Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato last September.
PDR Deputy Division Chief Hervé Joly participated in a panel that updated CSO participants on the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, which has granted full debt relief to 19 countries. Other panelists included World Bank staff Akihiko Nishio from the Resource Mobilization Department and Sona Varma from the Economic Policy and Debt Development Department. CSOs were most concerned about the potential eligibility of additional indebted countries in the future.
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The IMF and the World Bank organized a series of meetings with labor union leaders in Washington March 27-30, continuing a regular dialogue aimed at strengthening the lines of communication between the international financial institutions (IFIs) and labor unions. Formal high-level meetings are held every two years (see story in the Civil Society Newsletter November 2004), with interim meetings in intervening years, to take stock of progress on commitments, discuss new issues, and plan for the next high-level meeting. Technical meetings focusing on specific issues are also held periodically (see story in the Civil Society Newsletter May 2005).
About 40 trade union officials participated, including representatives of national and international federations, members of the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labor (WCL), and members of the Economic Policy Working Group of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The TUAC Working Group was meeting in Washington at the same time on other issues.
During the meeting, the IFIs reported on progress on commitments made at the last high-level meeting. They noted that these were generally on track, but acknowledged the need to continue efforts to integrate consultations with trade unions at the country and regional levels, and to find ways to deepen the quality of that dialogue. It was agreed that the next high-level meeting would be held in late November or early December 2006.
The ICFTU and WCL delivered a short report on the impending unification of their two confederations and a number of other independent union groups into a new global body. The unification is expected to take place in early November 2006.
Mark Plant, Senior Advisor in the IMF's Policy Development and Review Department, closed out the meeting with a report on progress in implementing the IMF's medium-term strategy, on the introduction of new IMF facilities for low-income countries last year (the Policy Support Instrument and the Exogenous Shocks Facility), and on the IMF's cancellation of debt owed by 19 countries under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative in January 2006 (see Civil Society Newsletter February 2006 ).
Other sessions were devoted to discussions with the World Bank, including on its 2007 World Development Report; its labor market research agenda; ongoing work on informal labor markets; labor market-related work in Africa; labor-related indicators in the Doing Business Reports 2006 and 2007; and the adoption of IFC performance standards on labor and working conditions.
The participants also discussed five country cases studies (Bulgaria, Nepal, Columbia, South Africa, and Germany) of the IMF and World Bank's approaches to labor issues. A positive finding in all five cases was that the IFI country teams knew the union representatives well, having met with them regularly during missions to each country. This illustrated the progress made in fostering regular dialogue with labor unions at the country level. The depth of analysis by all parties was also notable, leading to very specific nationally focused debates on objectives, and belying the claim by some critics of a "one-size-fits-all" approach by the IFIs. As most of the case studies were nonprogram countries, IMF speakers noted that the Fund's role had been mainly to call attention to challenges that need to be addressed, and in that context encourage discussion among social partners that could lead to consensus on possible solutions. While clear differences of views remained between the IFIs and unions on the policies to be pursued, all stressed that the case studies had provided a valuable opportunity to exchange views nevertheless.
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The World Bank and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in February brought together representatives of bilateral and multilateral agencies to discuss coordination on issues related to social protection. Participants included staff from the World Health Organization, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asian Development Bank, World Food Programme, European Union, UNICEF, United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, UK Department for International Development (DfID), Finnish Aid, Swedish International Development Aid, the German aid agency Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, and the Norwegian aid agency MFA.
The meeting's objective was to facilitate more effective interagency coordination on issues such as pension reform, health insurance and health system reform, poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA), unemployment compensation, micro-insurance, and social safety net analysis. Policy instruments discussed included technical assistance, analytic work, preparation of primers, training, program and project loans, and surveillance.
The IMF was represented by Peter Heller, Deputy Director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department, who described the IMF's limited technical assistance in the social protection area, including pension reform and expenditure rationalization. He also offered an overview of the Fund's PSIA activity, and its ongoing analytic work—principally in relation to pension and health insurance reform—in the context of bilateral and multilateral consultations with the membership. Underscoring the importance placed on collaboration with other agencies, he emphasized that the IMF has only limited resources and expertise in this area, and that Fund staff would welcome the possibility of drawing on the work of other agencies. A number of agencies raised concerns about the IMF's willingness to provide "fiscal space" for social protection activities. Heller emphasized the efforts of the IMF to work with countries to explore what are the feasible options for expanding fiscal space, consistent with macroeconomic stability. For many countries, there may be limits in the short-run, other than from reliance on concessional loans and grants.
The sweeping overview provided by each agency of its activities revealed some obvious "holes" in coverage of topics. Specifically, health systems and health financing, while covered to some extent by some agencies, do not appear to be addressed in-depth by any one agency. Other topics that are barely addressed include the challenge of providing social protection in conflict and post-conflict situations, the trafficking of women, slavery, and the economic position of migrants.
While the meeting was valuable in terms of providing a better awareness of the activities of the different agencies, the challenge will be to facilitate the spread of this information to each agency's decentralized units. For most, field operatives make most of the critical decisions on how an issue is addressed in a country, so the challenge is how to make these units aware of the potential resources and expertise available.
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The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group are held outside Washington every third year. This year's meetings and all related events will be held in Singapore during September 13-20.
As in previous years, the Civil Society Teams at the Bank and Fund will organize a Civil Society Policy Forum for accredited civil society representatives. Extensive efforts are under way to ensure that CSOs and representatives will be able to participate productively in the meetings. Accredited CSOs will have at their disposal a centrally-located space in the conference center, with access to reporters, officials, and events. The Program of Seminars will be open to all participating CSOs.
Leading up to the Annual Meetings, the Bank and Fund are meeting with CSOs in Asia to ensure that they have a prominent voice in the discussions at the Annual Meetings and that the Civil Society Forum will have a regional focus. A two day Bank-Fund planning meeting with over a dozen CSOs from the Asia and Pacific region was held in Singapore in late March. A report on these discussions will be available shortly on http://www.worldbank.org/civilsociety.
The World Bank and IMF civil society teams prepared a concept note outlining the process for consultations leading up to the Meetings. Ideas and suggestions from interested CSOs are welcome.
All CSO representatives wishing to participate in the Annual Meetings will need to obtain formal accreditation. The accreditation system will be web-based and will be available in June. Please visit this website for updates closer to the date.
Please contact the Civil Society Teams at the World Bank (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the International Monetary Fund (email@example.com) for further information.
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Western Hemisphere Department Director Singh meets social and indigenous movements in Bolivia
The general elections in Bolivia last December produced historic political change, including new representation in Congress and the impressive victory of Evo Morales, the country's first president of indigenous origin. The new government, which took office on January 22, is committed to a concerted effort to ensure that economic growth becomes more socially inclusive and effective in generating employment and reducing Bolivia's very high income inequality. It is developing an economic strategy, including a poverty reduction component, that would provide the framework for the forthcoming Article IV consultation—the vehicle for the IMF's regular policy discussions with member countries—in May, and a possible successor to the Stand-by Arrangement that expired at the end of March.
Reflecting the importance that IMF management attaches to the political and economic transition in Bolivia, Western Hemisphere Department (WHD) DirectorAnoop Singh visited La Paz in February to signal the Fund's readiness to remain fully engaged in the economic policy debate and assist the authorities in developing their economic strategy. Singh led a group of staff that held high-level meetings with the new government, the private sector, and representatives of the broad coalition of social and indigenous movements that propelled President Morales and his Movimiento al Socialismo party (MAS) to power with an unprecedented mandate for change. The group also met with embassies.
The new government is keen on bringing about a break with many aspects of past policies. The visiting WHD delegation was impressed by the authorities' commitment to preserving macroeconomic stability, and to promoting better governance and greater transparency. This may well, in the end, provide a more supportive environment than in the past for carrying out key structural reforms supported by a broad domestic consensus. Moreover, the new government's strength in Congress bodes well for the advancement of a number of reforms that require legislative action.
A major highlight of the visit for the Fund delegation was a town-hall style meeting with the social movements of El Alto, a large working-class city that neighbors La Paz. The meeting included representatives of the Central Obrera Regional (COR) whose membership is about 40,000. Participants voiced a high degree of frustration with previous governments' policies and with the association of international financial institutions with those policies. One of the central complaints was the perception that resources obtained by previous governments from the international donor community had failed to reach those in need and hence to make a tangible impact in the fight against poverty. The audience was therefore very vocal in demanding debt relief, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Fund had recently cancelled its pre-2005 claims on Bolivia in the context of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
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The first ever joint meeting between Caribbean labor union representatives and international financial institutions took place in Trinidad and Tobago on February 16-17. At the event, 19 Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) leaders from ten Caribbean countries discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the Caribbean region with representatives of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and the IMF.
Discussions centered on regional integration, macroeconomic stability, productivity and competitiveness, labor market reforms, the social impact of the dismantling of the trade preferences in bananas and sugar, and poverty reduction. Opening the conference, CCL General Secretary George de Peana said that "this is a historical and significant meeting, which provides a unique opportunity for the international development institutions and the regional labour movement to join forces to tackle some of the existing problems in the region."
Representatives from the international organizations underscored the need to strengthen labor market institutions and include labor unions in formulating development strategies. "The Caribbean is at a crucial development crossroads," said Caroline Anstey, the World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. "Including the labor movement in any discussion of national or regional development strategies is vital."
The importance for the Caribbean of achieving fiscal and debt sustainability and raising economic growth rates featured at the center of much of the dialogue. Ratna Sahay, Assistant Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department, emphasized that the unions could play an important part in enhancing the quality of public dialogue and policy making in the region by encouraging governments to collect and disseminate more information and analysis on economic and social developments. Dora Currea, Division Chief for the Caribbean at the IADB, said that improving the functioning of labor market institutions is key to achieving quality employment and increased productivity.
Labor union representatives emphasized that they support greater regional integration and reforms to address the challenges facing the Caribbean region. A key concern in this respect was the transition costs to the poor. There was agreement between the union representatives and the international organizations about the importance of ensuring that the poor were protected and that economic growth and social equity should continue to feature prominently in the regional agenda. The participants agreed to hold a follow-up meeting in 2007.
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- On February 22, Andy Berg of the Policy Development and Review Department (PDR) met with Francesco Oddone of the European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD) to discuss the IMF paper, "The Macroeconomics of Managing Increased Aid Inflows: Experiences of Low-Income Countries and Policy Implications."
- Global Witness (GW) Cambodia expert, Mike Davis, and Corrina Gilfillan of GW US met with David Coe, Jeremy Carter, and Matt Davies of the Asia & Pacific Department on February 22, to discuss corruption in the Cambodian logging industry ahead of the Consultative Group (CG) Meeting on Cambodia. Davis gave an overview of GW's reports on corruption in the Cambodian logging industry and emphasized the need to eliminate illegal logging, and improve governance and fiscal transparency. The meeting also addressed the upcoming CG meeting and the debt relief extended to Cambodia in December as part of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
- On March 13-16, the New Rules for Global Finance Coalition hosted a workshop, "Lessons from Experiences with Ex-Ante Poverty and Social Impact Assessments (PSIA) of Macroeconomic Policies in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Nepal and the Philippines," at the IMF and at the United Nations Foundation. The workshop examined five case studies to understand how to overcome constraints affecting more comprehensive poverty impact assessments of macroeconomic policies and their use in policy design. The IMF African Department's (AFR) Paul Francis participated in the panel discussion "Social Analysis in PSIA," while AFR's Kirsty Mason presented the case study of Ghana. Other IMF speakers included Robert Gillingham of the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD), who gave an overview of the policy framework of the Fund's PSIA work.
- Carina Tertsakian, Global Witness' lead campaigner on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), met with the Fund's team for the DRC on March 14. Tertsakian gave an overview on GW research on copper and cobalt mines in Katanga Province. The team welcomed GW's information and shared concerns about governance and fiscal transparency in the mining sector, a major source of revenue for the DRC.
- On April 4-7, PDR's Elliot Harris and Thomas Dorsey, Jeremy Carter of APD, Philippe Beaugrand, the IMF's Resident Representative in Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Simonetta Nardin of the External Relations Department (EXR) held a brief meeting ahead of the conference, Forum on National Plans as PRS in East Asia: Mainstreaming the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, organized by the World Bank, the IMF, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. The meeting allowed an exchange of views about the PRSP conference and provided regional CSOs with information on the September Annual Meetings in Singapore.
- On April 8, PDR's Mark Plant participated in a panel discussion with the author Susan George, Jubilee Debt Campaign's Caroline Pearce, and Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South, at annual Jubilee Debt Campaign conference, Debt and Power, in London. Plant responded to questions on the IMF's debt relief and poverty reduction initiatives. He also met on April 10 with CSOs in a meeting organized by EURODAD in Brussels to discuss the role of the IMF in low-income countries.
- On April 13 FAD's Peter Heller, Marijn Verhoeven, and Shamsuddin Tareq met with Max Lawson of Oxfam GB and Taylor Thompson of Oxfam International's Washington Office, to discuss Oxfam's paper, "Making Services Work for the Poor." The discussion focused on the economic impact of unpredictable aid flows, the need for other international institutions to provide well-crafted sectoral studies on the scaling up of aid, and FAD's current work examining the fiscal impact of unpredictable aid flows.
- On April 25, Henry Northover, Belinda Calaguas, Timeyin Uwejamomere, Dominick De Waal, and James Wicken of London-based WaterAid visited the Fund. The WaterAid delegation met with PDR's Mark Lewis and EXR's Jeremy Mark, Dottie Thibodeau, and Jennifer Bisping for an overview on the governance structure of the IMF, navigation of the IMF website, and the IMF's role in low-income countries. The delegation also met APD and AFR country team members for lunch.
- On April 27, Nikki Reisch of the Bank Information Center and visiting Chadian transparency advocates Gilbert Maoundonodiji of Group de Recherché Alternative et de Monitoring du Projet Pétrole Tchad-Cameroun (GRAMP TC), Thérèse Mekombe of Collège de Contrôle et de Surveillance des Revenus Pétroliers (CCSRP) and Soumaene Adoum of Swissaid met with the Chad country team to discuss fiscal transparency issues in Chad.
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- Anne O. Krueger, the IMF's First Deputy Managing Director, informed Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato of her intention to resign at the end of her term on August 31, 2006. Her successor will be named in due course. Prior to Krueger's five year tenure at the IMF, she was a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, the World Bank's Vice President for Economics and Research, former President of the American Economic Association, and recipient of many economic prizes and awards. She has taught at various academic institutions and published extensively on policy reform in developing countries, the role of multilateral institutions in the international economy, and the political economy of trade policy. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.
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- Address by Agustín Carstens, Deputy Managing Director, at the 2006 Special High-Level Meeting of the ECOSOC, New York, April 24, 2006.
- A Call for Cooperation: What the IMF and its Members Can Do to Solve Global Economic Problems, by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, at the Institute for International Economics, April 20, 2006.
- How the IMF Can Help Promote a Collaborative Solution to Global Imbalances, remarks by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, at the Harvard Business School, April 4, 2006.
- The IMF's Medium-Term Strategy for Low-Income Countries, remarks by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, at the Regional Roundtable on Policies for Growth and Development and the Challenges of Scaling-Up Aid, Lusaka, Zambia, March 16, 2006.
- Shared Responsibilities: Solving the Problem of Global Imbalances, by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, at the University of California at Berkeley, February 3, 2006.
- The IMF's Medium-Term Strategy: New Priorities, New Directions, by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, at the Aspen Institute in Rome, February 9, 2006.
- Evolution not Revolution: The Changing Role of the IMF in the Global Economy, by Anne O. Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director, at Stanford University, California, February 23, 2006.
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- The Managing Director's Report on Implementing the Fund's Medium-Term Strategy.
- Review of Financing of the Fund's Concessional Assistance and Debt Relief to Low-Income Member Countries, by the Finance Department.
- Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative - Statistical Update, by the Staffs of the IMF and the World Bank.
- Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative - List of Ring-Fenced Countries Potentially Eligible Under the Initiative, by the Staffs of the IMF and the World Bank.
- The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative - Progress Report on Implementation, by the Policy and Development Review Department.
- World Economic Outlook, April 2006.
- Communiqué of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development.
- Communiqué of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund.
- Managing Director's Statement to the Development Committee.
- Report on the Incidence of Longer-Term Program Engagement, by Policy and Development Review Department.
- Macroeconomic Challenges of Scaling Up Aid to Africa, edited by Sanjeev Gupta, Robert Powell, and Yongzheng Yang.
- Volatility of Development Aid: From the Frying Pan Into the Fire? By Ale_ Bulir, IMF Institute and Javier A. Hamann, Independent Evaluation office of the IMF, Working Paper 06/65.
- Does NGO Aid Go to the Poor? Empirical Evidence from Europe, by Gilles Nancyand Boriana Yontcheva, IMF Institute, Working Paper 06/65.
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