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The IMF and Civil Society

The 2009 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings

July 28, 2009

The 2009 IMF - World Bank Annual Meetings will be held on October 6 and 7, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey. More than 13,000 participants are expected to attend. All Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) representatives interested in participating in the Annual Meetings must obtain individual accreditation and are encouraged to apply for accreditation online. The online accreditation process will open on Monday, August 3 and close on Monday, September 21. For accreditation, click here.

The Annual Meetings, which are held outside Washington, D.C., every three years, bring together finance ministers, central bankers, and other top officials from 186 countries to discuss the critical issues facing the world economy. The centerpiece of the event is the annual gathering of the IMF and World Bank governors, as well as the meeting of the IMFís International Monetary and Financial Committee. In addition, a program of seminars is scheduled for October 3-5, addressing topics related to the global financial crisis and the future of the global financial system.

CSO Policy Forum

The meetings also serve as a venue for CSOs to meet with policymakers, the private sector, and staff from the Fund and Bank. The Fund and Bank Civil Society Teams are organizing a CSO Policy Forum from Saturday, October 3 through Wednesday, October 7. The Policy Forum offers space for CSOs to discuss topics related to the work of the Fund and Bank, and related topics. Previous Forums have included sessions on such topics as the reform of the Fundís policies toward low-income countries, the global financial crisis, the Fundís work in crisis countries, and African development. (Click here for information on the Policy Forum and the schedule of sessions.)

The Fund, Bank, and CSOs are cooperating to organize the sessions at the Istanbul Policy Forum, following on a model established for the 2003 Singapore Annual Meetings. A steering committee has been established, including 18 CSO representatives from organizations in most regions and they met in Istanbul in mid-July to begin the planning process. The group will help Fund and Bank staff organize the CSO events at the Meetings, including policy dialogue sessions, a town hall meeting with the heads of the Fund and Bank, and other activities. (See the Terms of Reference for the steering committee and list of participants.) The group also enables CSOs to frame the Policy Forum agenda, ensure a productive level of policy dialogue, and promote greater interaction.

Sponsorship for CSOs/Journalists

In recent years, the participation of CSOs in the Annual Meetings has grown as part of an effort by the Fund and Bank to encourage public debate on development issues. The vast majority of CSO representatives traditionally have come from developed countries, especially Europe and the United States. To address this imbalance and ensure broader substantive participation, the Fund and Bank CSO Teams began several years ago to sponsor home-based CSO representatives and journalists from low-income countries. For Istanbul, we will provide sponsorship to between two and three dozen CSO representatives and journalists. With support from donor countries, the Fund and Bank will cover the sponsored representativesí airfare, hotel, and other travel costs.

More general information about Fund/Bank Annual Meetings can be found here. If you have any questions about the Annual Meetings and/or are interested in organizing a policy session, please send an email to ngoliaison@imf.org, or civilsociety@worldbank.org.