Moldova & IMF IMF Activities Publications Press Releases

                                                                                                    In Russian

March 2002

Civil Society Newsletter

In this issue:

IMF, World Bank review approach to poverty reduction

IMF to present outcome of PRSP review at Financing for Development conference

IMF proposal for restructuring sovereign debt sparks debate

Evaluation of prolonged use of Fund resources

Köhler, Wolfensohn meet civil society representatives in Washington

Bulletin Board


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. 

The review 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 and Budapest. 

  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 options. 

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). 

Further reading:  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 conference. 

Please visit the public information notice and newsbrief 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 discussion. 

You can contact Simonetta Nardin by email at 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 groundbreaking speech 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 policies. 

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. 

In a 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. 

Further reading:  Anne Krueger has elaborated her proposal in two more speeches in Australia and India, 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 initiative. 

  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 website. 

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 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) 623-7312. 


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 discussed. 

You can read the transcript of the conference on our website. 


BULLETIN BOARD  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. 

Staff News  • 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& or by fax to  Usha David 202 623-4740. 

Speeches  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. 

Recent Papers  Poverty Reduction, Growth and Debt Sustainability in Low-Income CIS Countries, a  joint IMF-World Bank-ADB and EBRD paper, also available in Russian. 

• Globalization Facts and Figures by Paul Masson, Policy Discussion Paper No. 01/4. 

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 No.01/2. 

Issues Briefs  Global Trade Liberalization and the Developing Countries. Also available in Spanish  and French. 

100 Percent Debt Cancellation? A Response from the IMF and the World Bank. Also  available in Spanish and French.