Sovereign Debt - Focus Areas

Issues around debt are complex and country-specific, and the IMF is taking a careful and deliberate approach to help member countries address them. The IMF’s work to support its members in ensuring debt sustainability and addressing sovereign debt challenges takes the following, mutually reinforcing and partly overlapping, forms:

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Debt Crisis Prevention


Debt crisis prevention through a multi-pronged approach incl. fostering debt transparency and better public sector debt data; supporting members’ capacity development in adopting prudent public debt management framework incl. the formulation of a medium-term debt management strategy; developing the local currency bond market; and exploring other ways, incl. the adaptation of the IMF’s own analytical tools and policies, to mitigate debt risks.

Update on the Joint IMF-WB Multipronged Approach to Address Debt Vulnerabilities▸

Working with Creditors on Sustainable Financing 

G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable FinancingꟷSecond Self-Assessment Survey Results and Policy Recommendations▸

G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable FinancingꟷDiagnostic Tool▸

Survey: G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable FinancingꟷDiagnostic Tool▸

Debt Transparency 

G20 Notes on Strengthening Public Debt Transparency▸

Collateralized Transactions – Key Considerations for Public Lenders and Borrowers▸

Public Sector Debt Definitions and Reporting in Low-Income Developing Countries▸

Debt Limits Policy

Reform of the Policy on Public Debt Limits in IMF-Supported Programs, November 2020▸

Staff Guidance Note on the Implementation of Public Debt Limits in Fund-Supported Programs, May 25, 2021▸

Public Debt Limits in IMF-Supported Programs▸

Reform of the Policy on Public Debt Limits in Fund-Supported Programs, November 14, 2014▸ 

State-Contingent Debt Instruments 

The Role of State-Contingent Debt Instruments in Sovereign Debt Restructurings▸

State-Contingent Debt Instruments for Sovereigns▸

Uncertainty Premia, Sovereign Default Risk, and State-Contingent Debt▸

Local Currency Bond Market Development

Joint IMF-World Bank Guidance Note for Developing Local Currency Bond Markets▸

Local Currency Bond Markets – A Diagnostic Framework▸

Developing Government Bond Markets – A Handbook▸

Public Debt Management

Revised Guidelines for Public Debt Management▸

Strengthening Debt Management Practices – Lessons from Country Experiences and Issues Going Forward▸

Medium-term Debt Management Strategy

Developing a Medium-term Debt Management Strategy Framework – Updated Guidance Note for Country Authorities▸

Medium-term Debt Management Strategy – An Assessment of Recent Capacity Building▸

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Debt Crisis Resolution


Debt crisis resolution can be achieved through a combination of policy adjustment and measures to restore growth. But in some cases, adjusting policies is not enough to address the debt problem, and a debt restructuring is necessary. In such cases, an IMF-supported program can complement the debt restructuring by the member country, with macroeconomic policies and fresh financing to enable a return to medium-term viability. More broadly, the IMF is also lending its support to improving the international architecture for sovereign debt restructurings, which is critical to enable faster and more effective debt reduction.

Reform of the International Debt Architecture is Urgently Needed▸

The IMF’s Lending Framework and Sovereign Debt

Issues in Restructuring of Domestic Sovereign Debt▸

Sovereign Debt Restructuring—Recent Developments and Implications for the Fund’s Legal and Policy Framework▸

The Fund’s Lending Framework and Sovereign Debt - Preliminary Considerations▸

The Fund's Lending Framework and Sovereign Debt-Further Considerations▸

Private Sector Involvement

The International Architecture for Resolving Sovereign Debt Involving Private-Sector Creditors—Recent Developments, Challenges, And Reform Options▸

Strengthening the Contractual Framework to Address Collective Action Problems in Sovereign Debt Restructuring▸

Fourth Progress Report on Inclusion of Enhanced Contractual Provisions in International Sovereign Bond Contract▸

Arrears Policies 

Reviews of the Fund's Sovereign Arrears Policies and Perimeter▸

Fund Policy on Lending into Arrears to Private Creditors—Further Consideration of the Good Faith Criterion▸

Reforming the Fund's Policy on Non-Toleration of Arrears to Official Creditors▸

Debt Relief Initiatives 

G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI▸

COVID-19 Special Series Note: The Common Framework: Utilizing its Flexibility to Support Developing Countries’ Recovery▸

Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI)▸

Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT)▸

Debt Relief Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative▸

Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI)▸