Civil Society Newsletter
IMF, World Bank review approach to poverty
IMF to present outcome of PRSP review at
Financing for Development conference
IMF proposal for restructuring sovereign debt
Evaluation of prolonged use of Fund resources
Köhler, Wolfensohn meet civil society
representatives in Washington
IMF, World Bank review
approach to poverty reduction The
Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank reviewed the Poverty Reduction
Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach on March 8 and March 12, respectively. The papers
will be posted on the two institutions’ websites shortly.
relied extensively on an external consultation process
involving civil society organizations, governments, donors, and academia. PRSP
stakeholders were invited to submit comments by email. IMF and World Bank
staffs also consulted a wide array of papers
written by civil society and academia, and
organized four regional PRSP conferences
that took place in Dakar, Santa Cruz Bolivia, Hanoi
This process culminated in an
international PRSP conference
that brought together 200 representatives from 60
countries in Washington in January. The consultation process resulted in many
suggestions on how to improve the content and quality of PRSPs. They included a
better prioritization of goals; more realistic growth projections; taking into
account economic shocks; enhancing capacity building; providing more attention
to issues that cut across sectors; and focusing more on alternative policy
The IMF Executive Board also
reviewed the experience with its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF)
on March 8. The review, which was based on views collected from participating
countries, development partners, civil society organizations, and academia,
examined whether the PRGF has met its objectives and considered possible
improvements. A staff report summarizing the findings of the review and
containing recommendations will be made public shortly.
The IMF and the World Bank will
present the outcome of the Board discussions and discuss next steps with civil
society and donors at the UN conference on Financing for Development in
Monterrey (see below).
The February 11 issue of the
IMF Survey has an
in-depth summary of the Washington conference. The article is also available in
French (February 18 issue)
and Spanish (February
18 issue). You may also refer to the joint IMF-World
Bank description of the PRSP approach
and to a press release
describing the outcome of the Washington
Please visit the
public information notice
pages on the IMF website for more information on the
PRSP and PRGF reviews.
IMF to present PRSP review
at Financing for Development conference in Monterrey
The summary paper of the PRSP review will be one of
the important contributions to the UN Conference on Financing for Development
in Monterrey, Mexico, which will take place on March 18–22.
Masood Ahmed, Deputy Director of
the IMF Policy Development and Review Department, and John Page, Director of
the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Group, will present the paper and discuss
the outcome of the Board discussions at a side event organized during the
conference. The event will take place inside the conference building on March
20, at lunchtime, and all interested parties are invited to join in the
You can contact Simonetta Nardin
by email at email@example.com
or, starting March 13, in Monterrey on her cell phone
at (202) 493-9183 to receive more information on these events.
IMF proposal for
restructuring sovereign debt sparks debate
Anne Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director at the
IMF, proposed a new approach to sovereign debt restructuring in a
in November. The proposal represents an important
step forward in the IMF’s ongoing work to make the private sector assume
greater responsibility in resolving financial crises. The fear that sovereign
debt restructuring will be unnecessarily painful currently discourages many
debtor countries from renegotiating their loan terms before it is too late. A
sovereign debt restructuring mechanism could make the process less protracted
and costly and help preserve debtor countries’ reserves. A debtor country would
receive legal protection from creditors while a restructuring is being
negotiated, in return for a pledge to negotiate in good faith and adopt sound
The proposal also would require
dissenting creditors to accept a restructuring agreement once it has been
accepted by a large majority of creditors.
The proposal has already been the
subject of much public debate. Governments, the private sector, and civil
society are currently focusing on questions such as which countries should
benefit from the mechanism; what should be the role of the IMF; should debts
owed to the IMF be restructured along with those owed to the private sector;
and will a debt restructuring mechanism reduce the amount of private capital
flowing to emerging market countries.
contribution to an online forum discussion
of the SDRM proposal organized by EURODAD, EXR
Director Thomas Dawson presented the IMF’s point of view on some of these
issues. The debate continues, including at the UN conference on Financing for
Development in Monterrey, where an IMF representative will debate the issue in a
side event organized by CIDSE on March 19 at 6:15 p.m.
Anne Krueger has elaborated her proposal in two more
speeches in Australia
and in a recent interview
with the French newspaper Le Monde.
Evaluation of prolonged use
of Fund resources As its first case,
the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has decided to focus on the prolonged
use of IMF resources. Some twenty-five countries have been indebted to the IMF
for more than thirty years out of the last fifty. Sixteen countries have had IMF-supported
programs for twelve years or more out of the last eighteen. In the issues paper,
the IEO argues that such prolonged use risks turning the IMF into a source of
long-term financing, in contradiction with its mandate. Many of these countries
have acute debt sustainability problems and most are now enrolled in the HIPC
The study will be based on an
examination of three countries that have been repeat users of IMF resources,
namely Pakistan, the Philippines, and Senegal.
The draft issues paper is available on the IEO
The IEO has called for comments
on the paper. The final version will be released by mid- March and the public
will then have until May 3 to submit their contributions. Comments may be
submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can subscribe to the
IEO notification service
(scroll down to Releases of the IEO) if you
want to be notified about the publication of future IEO documents. For more
information, you may either refer to the IEO
website or contact the IEO office at (202)
Köhler and Wolfensohn meet
with civil society representatives On
January 17, at the end of the Conference on Poverty Reduction Strategies, the
heads of the IMF and the World Bank met with around 35 participants from civil
society to discuss issues of mutual concern. PRSPs were high on the agenda but
other issues, such as trade, the environment, human and labor rights, were also
You can read the
transcript of the
conference on our website.
If you are want to be notified when new documents are
being published on the IMF website, please sign up for our
website notification system.
The service is being updated regularly, so watch for more options.
• Anoop Singh was appointed in late February as
Director for Special Operations,
a newly created position within the IMF. The unit was created to enhance the
ability of the Fund to respond to critical situations. Singh will immediately
assume leadership for the IMF staff team that is working with the Argentine
authorities. He was Deputy Director in the Asian Department before taking up
his new position.
• Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané, former
Finance Minister in Benin, assumed his functions as Director of the African
Department on March 1. He succeeds G.E. Gondwe, a national of Malawi, who
retired in February after heading the African Department for three years. The
appointment was announced in January.
Upcoming Events •
The IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings
have been advanced by one day and will now take place
on April 20 and 21, 2002. We will keep you posted on NGO-related activities
during the week before the Spring Meetings.
• The Second IMF’s Conference on
Macroeconomic Policies and Poverty Reduction
will take place in Washington, D.C., on March
14 and 15, 2002. Speakers will include academic scholars as well as researchers
from the Fund. In addition, a number of invited policy-makers and
representatives of civil society organizations from around the world will
attend and participate in the discussion. The conference is open to the public
but you need to pre-register by email Macro&PovConf@imf.org
or by fax to Usha David 202 623-4740.
• Working for a Better
Globalization, a speech by Horst Köhler to the
Conference on Humanizing the Global Economy, Sponsored by the Canadian
Conference of Catholic Bishops, El Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano, and The
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, January 28, 2002.
Text is also available in French.
• Poverty Reduction,
Growth and Debt Sustainability in Low-Income CIS Countries,
a joint IMF-World Bank-ADB and EBRD paper, also available in
• Globalization Facts and Figures
by Paul Masson, Policy Discussion Paper No.
Reviewing Some Early Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
in Africa, by Caroline Robb and Alison Scott,
Policy Discussion Paper No. 01/5.
Providing Health Care to HIV Patients in Southern
Africa, by Markus Haacker, Policy Discussion
Paper No. 01/3.
The Economic Consequences of HIV/AIDS in Southern
Africa, by Markus Haacker, Working Paper No.
02/38 • The IMF and Civil Society: Striking A
Balance, by Thomas C. Dawson II and Gita V.
Bhatt, Policy Discussion Paper
• Global Trade
Liberalization and the Developing Countries.
Also available in Spanish
100 Percent Debt Cancellation? A Response from the IMF
and the World Bank. Also available in