News Brief: IMF Invites Comments on Streamlining and Focusing Conditionality

April 9, 2001

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is inviting comments from outside the institution on a set of papers that review the evolution of IMF conditionality—the conditions attached to IMF financing—and discuss issues associated with streamlining and focusing it. These papers were published on March 21, 2001 following a discussion by the IMF's Executive Board (see IMF Public Information Notice No. 01/28) and also have been posted on the IMF website (

Interested parties are invited to send comments on the conditionality papers by regular mail or facsimile to the contact points listed on this News Brief, or by email to via the hyperlink on the IMF website. Comments received through these channels by 6:00 PM Washington time (2300GMT) May 18, 2001 will be conveyed to the IMF's Executive Board as background information for a Board discussion in June, and used in further work by IMF staff, thus contributing directly to further progress in reforming conditionality.

IMF Executive Directors agreed in a discussion March 7, 2001, that while conditionality remains indispensable there is a need to streamline and focus it, to leave maximum scope for countries' policy choices while ensuring that essential policies are implemented.

The Board's discussion identified several important issues to be raised again in the period ahead; comments from the public on these issues will be particularly useful in guiding the Fund's work. They include:

  • where to draw the line between measures that are critical to program objectives and those that are relevant but not critical;
  • how to improve coordination with other agencies on measures outside the IMF's core areas of responsibility;
  • what the IMF should do when its financial support is requested by a country that lacks a strong commitment to policies needed to achieve a sustainable external position;
  • whether there is scope for results-based conditionality, whereby the IMF would provide its financing only after specific policy results have been achieved (rather than on the basis of progress toward such results);
  • and the scope for the Fund to play a more supportive role in helping countries build ownership of sound policies.

Two seminars to be held in the second quarter of 2001 will provide an opportunity for country officials, academic experts, and representatives of other international organizations, donor groups, and nongovernmental organizations to contribute to the IMF's review of conditionality. One seminar is to be held at IMF headquarters in Washington D.C. following the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings; the other will be held in Berlin, Germany, June 10-11. Both seminars will be open to the press.

For anyone unable to access the Internet, copies of the background papers and the summary of the March 7 Executive Board discussion are available from:

Public Affairs Division fax: 202 623-6278
External Relations Department
Washington, DC 20431 USA.

Written comments may be mailed or sent by facsimile to:

Tim Lane fax: 202 623-4233
Chief of Policy Review Division
Policy Development and Review Department
Washington, DC 20431 USA


Public Affairs    Media Relations
E-mail: E-mail:
Fax: 202-623-6278 Phone: 202-623-7100