Recent Developments in IMF-CSO Relations

Since the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings in April, debt relief and other issues related to low-income countries have been given a high profile on the agenda of the international community. Since the G-8 finance ministers proposed, at their June meeting in London, that the IMF, the International Development Association, and the African Development Fund cancel their claims on countries that have reached (or will reach) the completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the IMF has been assessing the various policy, legal, and financial aspects of the proposal relating to the Fund. The IMF Executive Board met in early August to discuss the proposal and asked staff to "work on potential modalities to implement the proposal as a basis for further discussions by the Executive Board before the Annual Meetings."

The 2005 Annual Meetings will be held on September 24–25 in Washington, D.C., roughly a week after the UN 2005 World Summit. As always, Fund and Bank staff, along with civil society organizations (CSOs) will organize civil society dialogues. More information can be found at The website also gives information on how to apply for accreditation via the new on-line registration system for CSOs.

In the past few weeks, the world's attention has focused on the extremely difficult situation in Niger, where food shortages have become critical. It is heartening to see the growing international response through contributions of food, medicines, and other aid. As an article explains, the IMF stands ready to assist in any way that it can. Now the attention of the international community is turning to neighboring countries, which have been hit by the same drought and locust invasion that have created Niger's food shortages. The Fund will be closely following the situation in those countries as well.

Finally, an article on the continuing efforts to expand the Fund's dialogue with national legislators in member countries may also be of interest to CSOs. In this context the IMF recently published a draft Guide for IMF Staff Outreach to Legislators. Public comment was invited until July 29, 2005. The main purpose of the guide is to help IMF staff in their outreach efforts with legislators.

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Feature Article:

IMF Executive Board discusses G-8 debt relief proposal

On August 3 the IMF Executive Board discussed the proposal for debt cancellation for HIPC countries set out by the G-8 finance ministers at their June 10 meeting in London and reaffirmed by the G-8 Heads of State and Government at the Gleneagles Summit on July 8. IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato issued the following statement after the meeting:

"Executive Directors reiterated their commitment to further debt relief by the IMF as part of the international support for low-income countries, including its poorest and most heavily indebted members. They emphasized that the G-8 proposal could go a long way to complete the process of debt relief for these countries by providing additional balance of payments support from the Fund, thereby freeing up resources to help them reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Directors noted that to provide effective benefits to its recipients, debt relief must be designed and implemented carefully. There was a clear consensus among Directors on the importance of preserving: (i) the Fund's ability to provide concessional financial support to its low-income members; and (ii) the principle of uniformity of treatment, to ensure that all low-income members are treated by the Fund in an even-handed manner. Staff will work on potential modalities to implement the proposal as a basis for further discussions by the Executive Board before the Annual Meetings. Directors reiterated that the Fund will continue to operate under existing policies and procedures until decisions to change or modify these policies are taken by the required majorities.

The meeting followed the Executive Board's initial formal exchange of views on the proposal that took place on June 22 and provided an opportunity for Executive Directors to explore in more detail the financial, legal, and policy implications of the proposal for the Fund. It also complemented the continuing discussion in the Executive Board on ways to enhance the role of the Fund in low-income countries, including through: (i) the establishment of a nonfinancial mechanism to support policies in low-income countries; (ii) financing the continuation of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility; and (iii) the establishment of a facility to help countries facing exogenous shocks."

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IMF joins the Niger relief effort

In recent weeks, the world's attention has been focused on the severe food shortages afflicting Niger as a result of the confluence of natural disasters: prolonged drought and a locust invasion. According to the United Nations, about 2 .5 million of Niger's 12 million people are directly affected by the crisis.

UN agencies have launched a series of appeals for international donations totaling $57 .6 million. While the initial response to the call for aid was slow, donations and assistance now are arriving more rapidly because of the intense media attention given to the issue.

Disaster relief is the responsibility of the whole international community, especially the UN agencies, the World Bank, and nongovernmental organizations. The IMF also is playing a role—working closely with international donors to mobilize additional resources to address the food shortages and assist long-term development. In addition, the IMF is in close consultation with the Nigerian authorities on a range of related issues. The IMF has encouraged the government to take every possible step to deal with the immediate needs, fully supporting all government spending aimed at addressing the food crisis and alleviating the effects of the drought.

In addition, the IMF has signaled that it is prepared to increase Niger's access to IMF financing if grant aid proves to be insufficient. An IMF mission is expected to visit Niger later this month to assess recent developments and to assist the government in its efforts to address the food crisis.

Toward debt and poverty reduction

The food crisis is occurring in a country that already faces many economic difficulties. One of the poorest countries in Africa, Niger has been working hard in recent years to address the needs of its population. Over the past five years, Niger has made significant progress in restoring macroeconomic stability and liberalizing its economy. In recognition of those efforts, the international community agreed to provide substantial debt relief when Niger reached the completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in April 2004.

IMF policy advice to Niger draws largely on a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) outlined by the Nigerian authorities in 2002 after consultation with the country's civil society. The PRS identifies priorities that are regarded as critical for strengthening economic growth and reducing poverty. In particular, it focuses on increasing spending on human capital, with an emphasis on access by vulnerable groups to basic social services, and on agricultural development. Niger's PRS also underscores the need to preserve fiscal sustainability. Efforts are aimed at strengthening revenue mobilization, improving public expenditure management, and ensuring that maximum government spending is directed toward propoor and pro-growth projects.

Since 2000, IMF financial support to Niger under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) has totaled $88 million. The IMF has also provided extensive technical assistance, especially in the area of fiscal management. The IMF-supported program mirrors the PRS's focus on agriculture by stressing the need for Niger to deal with the effects of unfavorable weather through the introduction of much needed irrigation systems. The authorities have been urged to expand their domestic revenue base and seek increased donor support. Notwithstanding relatively large donor financial assistance so far, it is recognized that Niger needs additional resources to make adequate progress toward the MDGs, which target a halving of key poverty indicators by 2015. Briefing the press on August 3, Thomas C. Dawson, Director of the IMF External Relations Department, said that as important as the long-term development issues are, the key challenge at this stage for the international community is to provide "all possible assistance as quickly as possible" to relieve the food crisis. And that, he added, "is what we intend to do."

The article appeared in the IMF Survey, August 15, 2005.

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IMF Parliamentary Outreach

IMF continues to expand dialogue with legislators

Continuing efforts to expand its dialogue with national legislators in member countries, the IMF recently published a draft Guide for IMF Staff Outreach to Legislators. Public comment was invited until July 29, 2005. The main purpose of the guide is to help IMF staff in their outreach efforts with legislators.

Both IMF management and the Executive Board have signaled that a high priority should be given to outreach to legislators. The objective of the expanded outreach has been to familiarize legislators with macroeconomic issues and basic financial programming, to explain IMF advice and operations, and to listen to and learn from legislators' views and concerns.

The guide is based on experience with outreach to legislators so far and the findings and recommendations of the 2004 report by the Working Group of Executive Directors on Enhancing Communications with National Legislators (see Civil Society Newsletter February 2004). The report concluded that outreach to legislators should be expanded to help build understanding of the IMF. The public was also invited to submit comments on that report. As a follow-up, the IMF has now developed a draft guide for staff on outreach to legislators.

IMF's Outreach to Legislators

The IMF engages legislators in a variety of ways.

  • IMF management, Executive Directors, and staff meet with legislators regularly during visits to member countries and when legislators visit IMF headquarters in Washington, D .C.
  • The IMF organizes an increasing number of country and regional seminars for legislators; for example Tanzania in October 2004 (see IMF Survey, November 8, 2004), Cambodia and Timor Leste in March2 005 (see IMF Survey, May 9, 2005), and seven Central American countries in May 2005 (see IMF Survey, June 20, 2005).
  • The IMF has been providing training at the Joint Vienna Institute for legislators from the former transition economies of Eastern and Central Europe (since 1995) and Central Asia.
  • The IMF has a well-established relationship with the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank; Fund management and staff participate in the annual conference, regional events, and field visits (see IMF Survey, July 4, 2005).
  • On the international level, the IMF cooperates with and attends meetings organized by various groups, including the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC); Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA); the Parliamentary Centre; the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA); and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

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Civil Society-IMF Dialogue:

Global Witness meets IMF African Department staff

Staff of the civil society organization Global Witness (GW) met with IMF African Department (AFR) staff on July 13 to discuss the Fund's work on fiscal transparency. AFR Deputy Director Anupam Basu, Assistant Directors Menachem Katz and Sanjeev Gupta, and Roger Nord, Division Chief for Angola, Gabon, Guinea, and Nigeria, attended the meeting.

GW was represented by co-director Patrick Alley, oil campaigner Sarah Wykes, Washington-based advocate Daryl Edwards, and researcher Emily Bild. They welcomed the recent IMF Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency, but said they would like to see fiscal Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) become mandatory rather than voluntary for resource-rich countries. Fund staff said the current approach is working well, as it stresses the country's ownership of transparency measures. GW said it is looking forward to hearing about the outcome of the upcoming review of Standards and Codes, to which it already submitted comments.

Even though both IMF and GW staff have been fully supportive of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), launched by U .K. Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Johannesburg World Summit of Sustainable Development in September 2002, they have concerns that countries might be able to get credit by simply signing on to the initiative without fulfilling the criteria. All participants agreed the initiative becomes meaningful only if countries fulfill all criteria.

In a separate meeting, GW presented a new report Under-Mining Peace: Tin—the Explosive Trade in Cassiterite in Eastern DRC. It concerns allegations of exploitation of resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by several neighboring countries. AFR staff said they found the analysis to be valuable. They explained the Fund's work in DRC and the limited influence the Fund can have on issues such as mineral exploitation, but said it was an issue they were discussing with the authorities. GW staff mentioned that another report on diamond trade is coming out in late August. IMF staff agreed to continue the exchange of information with the group.

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The IMF at the UN Social Forum on Poverty and Economic Growth: Challenges to Human Rights

A United Nations forum, held in Geneva July 21–22, 2005, discussed the role of accountability in the relationship between economic growth, poverty reduction, and human rights. The forum was organized by the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and included representatives from the Sub-Commission, the IMF, World Bank and UN Development Program, and civil society representatives .Jean-Pierre Chauffour, IMF Representative to the WTO, who also liaises with the Geneva-based UN agencies, participated (he also attended last year's forum, see Civil Society Newsletter August 2004). Chauffour was invited to make a presentation on "Institutional Accountability in Pro-Human Rights Growth Policies: the IMF Perspective" at a panel on "Growth with Accountability."

Opening the forum, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour noted that the very gathering was a recognition that much more needs to be done to ensure that strategies and policies for poverty reduction go together with the realization of all human rights. She emphasized that extreme poverty is a violation of human dignity and frequently represents a violation of human rights. Accordingly, she said, the addition of a human rights perspective and methodology in implementing the MDGs would be an important step. She called for relevant state institutions to be held accountable for their failures. She said they must ensure that PRSs result in real improvements in the standard of living for the most vulnerable and destitute. In particular, to close the gap between human rights rhetoric and reality, Arbour called for those living in poverty to be offered the opportunity to participate in the design, implementation, and monitoring of PRSs. At a very minimum, she said, participation should include the right to express one's opinion, the right to assembly and association, to information, and to access to justice.

Arjun Sengupta, a UN expert on human rights and extreme poverty and a former IMF Executive Director for India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka, emphasized that to be effective in addressing the plight of the poor, the process of economic growth and poverty reduction has to be anchored in enforceable human rights. Only a rights-based approach and its relevant political, legislative, and administrative institutions can ensure that the benefits of this process reach the poorest and the most vulnerable, he said. This would require that rights-holders' grievances be addressed through domestic judicial systems or through appropriate international mechanisms. On the latter, Sengupta made two proposals: (1) establishment of optional but binding protocols to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and (2) strengthening peer pressure in relevant international fora.

The IMF's Jean-Pierre Chauffour said that, far from being inconsistent, there is a potentially strong connection between development and human rights "frameworks" in promoting pro-human rights growth policies. In particular, there are versions of the development and human rights approaches to economic growth and poverty reduction that are mutually supportive and internally consistent regarding the respective role of states, markets, and individual rights. However, pending a broad understanding of the core elements of such a pro-human rights development strategy, development actors (i .e. , individuals, associations, civil society, states, international institutions) will remain accountable to bodies with different and, at times, inconsistent sets of values and norms, thereby making the quest for coherence in institutional accountability elusive.

Brian Ngo, Lead Economist at the Paris office of the World Bank, presented the main findings of the most recent Bank/Fund PRS review and noted that two of the five areas under review are of direct relevance to the general theme of the Forum, namely (1) utilizing the PRS as an accountability framework; and (2) broadening and deepening meaningful participation. He emphasized that accountability is not only about supply but also about demand. However, demand for monitoring is often weak, especially domestic demand. Furthermore, accountability is tilted toward donors and multilateral agencies, which is at odds with efforts to enhance the domestic accountability framework.

Although his assigned topic was on the successes and limits of civil society participation to ensure greater accountability of state institutions in poverty reduction, Rick Rowden, policy officer, ActionAid USA, used the forum as a platform for criticizing the Fund and its policies.

The presentations left little time for the actual panel discussion and participants regretted that many issues raised could not be discussed further.

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Poverty Reduction:

An update on the IMF's PSIA activities

As reported in the Civil Society Newsletter May 2004, August 2004, and February 2005, the Fund has formally set up a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) group of five experts within the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD). In June, the head of the group, Robert Gillingham, participated in a meeting of the PSIA Network in Paris. In July, the second meeting of the external advisory panel of the Fund's PSIA group was held.

Meeting of the PSIA Network

On June 15, Robert Gillingham participated in a meeting of the PSIA Network in Paris. Jennifer Bisping of the IMF's External Relations Department also attended. The network comprises international financial institutions, bilateral donors, and civil society organizations interested in promoting the use of PSIA in the development and implementation of poverty reduction strategies.

The purposes of the meeting were to: (1) share recent experiences with PSIA methods and lessons learned from conducting such analyses; and (2) discuss the possibility of a larger PSIA gathering with greater participation from recipient countries to expand the network and facilitate capacity development.

The morning session focused primarily on lessons learned from PSIA experience, with presentations by the World Bank, IMF, the German development cooperation agency Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, and the U .K. Department for International Development. Gillingham's presentation summarized the activities of the PSIA group, and discussed the lessons learned and possible next steps. He emphasized the group's close cooperation with IMF area departments—its focus on countries and issues where PSIA can make contributions to program design—as well as the group's attempts to leverage its resources by building capacity within the area departments. Gillingham noted that the group has taken a broad view, recognizing that poverty has many dimensions and seeking input from a variety of stakeholders in the Fund's country work. He also stressed that the PSIA group's analyses have fed into IMF program design.

The key CSO presentation was by Lucy Hayes of Eurodad on "Civil Society Perspectives on PSIA in Practice." The presentation raised concerns about the lack of PSIA capacity-building in developing countries, narrow economic focus, lack of local involvement in the process as well as lack of transparency in recent PSIAs. Bank and Fund staff tried to place these concerns in perspective—in particular, that expectations for PSIA capacity building may be too high. They noted that some of the work mentioned in the presentation is incomplete, so that it is too early to draw conclusions. They also noted that publishing the results of specific analyses is a matter of concern. Although both organizations would like to disseminate their results widely, they must respect procedures to protect the interests of member countries.

PSIA Advisory Panel Meeting

The second meeting of the external advisory panel of the Fund's PSIA group was held on July 11. The panel reviewed three main areas: (1) PSIA missions and other country work, (2) preparation by the group of guidance notes and accompanying seminars for Fund economists, and (3) external outreach. The panel agreed that the group's efforts to date have effectively promoted the integration of PSIA into the design of Fund-supported programs, which is the group's established objective. However, the panel recommended steps that could broaden the scope of the group's work and increase its effectiveness. These recommendations included placing more emphasis on (1) the social dimensions of poverty, (2) the broader macro-economic context of the program measures it analyzes, (3) the political and social responses of households to falling into poverty, (4) the political economy of reforms, and (5) the labor market effects of reform measures. The PSIA group has already worked on some of these topics; the work will be expanded in the future, within resource constraints.

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Letters from the Field:

IMF Management visits development projects in Africa

During recent trips to Africa that focused on discussions with government and financial leaders, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato, First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger and Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato also visited development projects. During these visits they made donations on behalf of the Fund's Civic Program, which responds to specific humanitarian needs, and is separate from the IMF's financial support for member countries' policy programs.

In each of the four countries ( Benin, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) that IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato visited May 17–20, he met with civil society organizations. In Benin, he spent time at the Institut des Filles de Marie Auxiliatrice, which provides shelter, food, education and medical care to girls who have escaped from trafficking, slavery, or other serious abuse. More than 520 girls have been helped since 2001. De Rato donated $5,000 on behalf of the IMF's Civic Program. He was accompanied by Benin's Minister of Education.

In a village on the outskirts of Niamey in Niger, the Managing Director visited the Women's Dairy Cattle Project, a nongovernmental organization (La Coordination des Organisations non Gouvernementales et Associations Féminines Nigériennes) of women who raise cattle for milk production. With children watching from the sidelines, the village leaders told de Rato about purchasing the cattle with microfinancing provided by the government. The small-scale lending had been made possible by debt relief provided through the IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The cattle provide income for the women's families that also allows them to repay their microfinance loans. De Rato told members of the dairy cattle project that the IMF Civic Program would donate 10 cows. He was accompanied by the Ministers of Finance, and Education and Health.

In Chad, de Rato donated $5,000 on behalf of the IMF's Civic Program to the Oure Cassoni Camp near the Sudanese border for refugees from the Darfur region. The visit to a community center and a health center within the camp highlighted the adverse affects of conflict on economic well-being and also the important work that the Fund is doing with conflict and post-conflict countries. In Nigeria, de Rato donated $5,000 on behalf of the IMF's Civic Program to the Wongoje Training and Rehabilitation Centre for Destitutes, a training center for the homeless. He was accompanied by the Minister of Federal Capital Territories.

One a trip to Madagascar in early June, Deputy Managing Director Krueger visited the social project Conseil de Développement d'Andohatapenaka in Antananarivo (Andohatapenaka is a section of the capital city Antananarivo). The project identifies children and adults in the poorest parts of the town and provides services for them such as schooling, training for basic employment skills, and basic health, pre-natal, and pediatric services. Krueger donated $5,000 on behalf of the IMF's Civic Program to the project.

Deputy Managing Director Kato visited a health research institute and a banana cooperative—the Cooperative Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique and an HIV/AIDS orphanage in Zambia during his July 24–29 trip to the two countries. The Centro de Investigação de Sáude de Manhiça is one example of how public and private partnerships have enabled groundbreaking research to be conducted on the most pressing health issues in the region. At the other end of the spectrum, the Cooperativa de Bananas Eduardo Mondlane is an example of poor women organizing themselves to engage in income-producing business activities. The cooperative was established in 1976 and provides self-sustainable work to 91 farmers growing bananas and vegetables, and raising chicken. The cooperative is also about to embark on a new project to raise fresh water fish. The Kwasha Mukwenu Women's Group, that runs the Zambian HIV/AIDS orphanage, provides provide food, clothes, skills training, primary and secondary education, parental care, and counseling to over 2,000 orphans and other vulnerable children, affected by HIV/AIDS. Kato donated $5,000 on behalf of the IMF's Civic Program to each project.

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Bulletin Board

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Other recent meetings between the IMF and CSOs

Peter Fallon, Deputy Division Chief in the Policy Development and Review Department (PDR), participated in the Trade Union Communicators Conference on May 13. The discussion focused on current key issues faced by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as debt relief and the implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). The discussion also highlighted the IMF's tailored approach towards addressing labor issues in various countries.

On May 17, William Allan, Section Chief in the Fiscal Affairs Department, participated in a discussion panel on "Remedying the Natural Resources Curse in Autocratic Societies: Changing Global Norms on Resource Revenue Disclosure," sponsored by the Open Society, the IRIS Center, a research and advisory center attached to the Economics Department of the University of Maryland, and the Democracy Coalition Project. Co-panelists included Corinna Gilfillan, lead campaigner of Global Witness, and Nicholas Cotts, unit director at the Newmount Mining Company. The panelists outlined the relationship between autocratic governments, centrally controlled natural resource revenues, corruption, and underdevelopment and gave an overview of the progress made towards establishing norms of resource revenue disclosure.

The role of the Fund in low-income countries (LICs) was the focus of a May 26 meeting between Oxfam Great Britain's Director Barbara Stocking and IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato. It was Stocking's first meeting with de Rato, following two sessions with his predecessor, Horst Köhler, in 2001 and 2003. One of the main issues discussed was the role of the Fund in helping poor countries absorb more aid. De Rato agreed that increasing the capacity to absorb more resources is an imperative for many LICs and noted that the IMF is doing more work on this issue. This point was underlined by PDR Director Mark Allen, who described how the review of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility program design (currently under discussion) specifically looks at the challenges faced by governments and by the Fund in preparing for more aid inflows. Benedicte Christensen, Deputy Director in the African Department explained how staff reports for African countries increasingly include forecasts that allow for greater donor inflows. This had already been done in the case of Ethiopia and Madagascar would be next, she said. De Rato also noted that it is necessary for donor countries to harmonize their aid flows and to reduce the burden they put on recipient countries.

An international conference in Montreal discussed visions and strategies for civil society seeking to attain global democracy. The May 29–31 conference was organized by the Montreal International Forum, "a global alliance of individuals and organizations with the goal of improving the influence of international civil society on the UN and the multilateral system." The conference's theme of Global Democracy: Civil Society Visions and Strategies brought together CSOs, social movements, funders, academics and UN agencies. The IMF was represented by Simonetta Nardin of the External Relations Department (EXR). The conference, which was attended by EXR and PDR staffers in October 2002 (see Civil Society Newsletter, January 2003), offers a unique opportunity for the Fund to interact with CSOs and, this year in particular, to discuss important issues such as UN reform and global economic governance. Nardin was invited to participate in a discussion on "The Growing Influence Of International Actors On Regional And Local Governance: Perspectives From The IMF." Nardin said CSOs could take advantage of the growing push for more transparency and better governance that now accompanies most Fund programs that can have positive effects on issues such as human rights and the rule of law.

EXR staffer Simonetta Nardin attended the annual InterAction Forum, June 1–3, entitled "Charting a Course for Relief and Development: Advancing the MDGs and Other Global Commitments." The forum aimed to continue discussions surrounding aid by donors to achieve the MDGs.

On June 7, Robin Robison, Alison Prout, and Martin Watson of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Nestor Avendano of the Managua-based CSO Consultores para el Desarollo Empresarial (COPADES), and Tom Loudon of the Don Quixote Center, met with the Nicaragua mission team to discuss recent economic developments in Nicaragua.

On June 7, PDR Division Chief Andy Berg, Ross Leckow, Assistant General Counsel in the Legal Department, Luis Breuer, Deputy Division Chief in the Western Hemisphere Department, and EXR's Simonetta Nardin, sponsored a seminar at the IMF for the Academy of Human Rights at American University. The seminar panelists gave a brief overview of the IMF's role in poverty reduction, transparency policy, and legal perspectives in Latin America.

As part of the effort to improve dialogue between civil and international organizations, EXR staffer Jennifer Bisping participated in the annual meeting of the NGO/CSO Focal Points of the UN System in Paris on June 16–17. The discussions were aimed at sharing best practices amongst UN representatives to enhance civil society dialogue with multilateral organizations.

On June 23–24, EXR staffer Sofia Soromenho-Ramos participated in the Informal Hearings of the UN General Assembly with NGOs, CSOs and the Private Sector. The hearings allowed groups to present their views directly to member states in preparation for the 2005 UN World Summit scheduled for September 14–16, 2005. Testimony by CSO representatives focused on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report on UN reform, In Larger Freedom, and IFI policy, transparency and accountability. CSOs advocated for issues related to debt cancellation, poverty reduction strategies and trade liberalization. Hearings for CSOs by the General Assembly could become an annual event.

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Upcoming meetings:

The 2005 Annual Meetings, wherethe Boards of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank Group (WB) meet to discuss and review the work of their respective institutions, will take place over the weekend of September 24–25 at Fund and Bank headquarters in Washington. Numerous seminars are held in the week prior to the Meetings, including Civil Society Dialogues. The Annual Meetings Program of Seminars, designed to foster dialogue among CSOs, the private sector, government delegates and senior WB and IMF officials, will be open free-of-charge to CSOs this year. CSOs need to be accredited in order to attend. Accreditation opened on July 25 and will close on September 5. A new on-line registration system for CSOs can be accessed at: where complete information on how to apply for accreditation can be found.

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Selected speeches

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Selected publications

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