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Consultation Roundtable on IMF Transparency

Summary of Comments from Civil Society Organizations


Last Updated: August 05, 2013

On April 23, 2009, the IMF hosted a consultation roundtable on IMF transparency as part of the Bank-Fund Civil Society Policy Forum. Following is a summary of the comments and suggestions made by the approximately 30 representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) who attended the roundtable.

The IMF welcomes further comments on its transparency policy, which may be sent, through May 31, 2009, to transparency@imf.org. All public comments will be taken into account in preparing the staff paper for the Executive Board’s review of the transparency policy, which is scheduled to take place later this year.

Summary of Comments

  • The Transparency Policy should be used for meaningful dialogue with CSOs and the rest of the public rather than a tool for improving the IMF’s public relations.
  • The Transparency Policy should include the principle that as much information as possible should be disclosed and a clearly defined list of exclusions.
  • The IMF Transparency Policy should cover all documents rather than only Board documents.
  • There should be a clear process for requesting information, a response to all requests, and an appeals process.
  • The IMF should publish draft policy documents, invite comments from the public on the draft, and take cognizance of these comments in preparing a final paper for the Executive Board.
  • The IMF should publish more of its operational guidance notes.
  • There should be public disclosure of more IMF budget information.
  • All country documents should be published unless the country provides written notice and reasons for nonpublication. The reason for nonpublication should be published.
  • It should be made clearer who has (not) published various reports; for example, the IMF could post a list of the most recent Article IV Public Information Notices (PINs) and for a member who has not published, the list could read: “PIN not available.
  • More “information on information” should be provided, for example, how to make a request for information, a staff directory.
  • Minutes of Executive Board meetings, currently made available under the archives policy after ten years, should be published.
  • The confidential classification of a document should be re-assessed when a classified document is requested from the archives, with a view to declassifying documents whenever possible. When information in the document is still deemed classified, the IMF should aim to release as much of the document as possible, withholding or redacting the most sensitive information and releasing the rest of the document.
  • The IMF should make an effort to release information in a timely fashion as this makes information more valuable.
  • All IMF documents should state their source(s) of information, so reports are verifiable.
  • PINs and the Executive Board Summings Up that they contain should be written in clearer language and not use unexplained “codes;” that is, phrases such as “many Directors” and “some Directors” should be explained or eliminated.
  • IMF documents should use clear and precise language, and avoid terms that can mean different things to different people.
  • There should be more translation of documents into languages other than English.
  • IMF mission teams should consult more with trade unions and CSOs, and not rely on the government to pick the organizations it meets with.
  • IMF Executive Board meetings should be open to the public.