Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the IMF, Thirty- Sixth Issue -- Summing Up by the Acting Chair Review of Side Letters and the Use of Fund Resources

Prepared by the Legal Department of the IMF
As updated as of December 31, 2011

< Previous DocumentNext Document >
ARTICLE V, SECTION 3(a), (b), AND (c)
Use of Fund Resources
General Decisions
Summing Up by the Acting Chair—Review of Side Letters and the Use of Fund Resources
Executive Board Meeting 02/59, June 12, 2002

Directors welcomed the review of side letters. They agreed that, in general, the policy on side letters has achieved its objective of enhancing accountability to the Board while at the same time the number of side letters had declined. Furthermore, the procedures set out in the side letters policy have maintained the confidentiality required by members’ authorities. Directors noted that the policy areas covered by side letters have appropriately focused on highly market-sensitive issues or understandings where premature release of information would undermine the authorities’ ability to implement their economic program or increase the costs of implementation. They also noted that resort to oral understandings between the Fund and national authorities has been rare, and should continue to be discouraged as such understandings lack transparency and are difficult to monitor. In the highly exceptional cases in which oral understandings would be used, the Board will be informed in an appropriate manner.

Directors stressed the need for systematic reporting to the Board on the implementation of understandings in side letters. In general, implementation will continue to be summarized in staff reports while maintaining the confidentiality of the original understanding, but information on the implementation of prior actions and performance criteria will, in all cases, be specifically reported to the Board. Some Directors suggested that this information be communicated to the Board in staff reports, which would be issued with a higher level of confidentiality than normal Board documents in cases where the information is still sensitive. However, most Directors agreed that, to better safeguard confidentiality, reporting to the Board on specific implementation of prior actions and performance criteria should follow the existing side letter procedures. Experience with the agreed reporting procedure will be monitored carefully and reviewed as appropriate.

< Previous DocumentNext Document >