June IMF Meeting on Transparency Planned

1 June 2003

Optimism that the MDBs will follow through on suggestions for greater openness from the G-8 is not high among transparency activists. An article published recently by the Bretton Woods Project reflecting on the potential disclosure of more documents, observes: "It is unlikely that the IFIs and their borrower governments will readily acquiesce to the publication of such documents." (See link here)

The same Bretton Woods report states: … "the apparent reluctance of borrowing countries to disclose more information on their relations with the IMF can be explained by a willingness to prevent closer scrutiny and potential ‘interference’ in sometimes difficult negotiations with the institutions." It further comments, "However, it would be sensible for borrowing governments to involve legislators and others before a loan agreement is signed rather than negotiate in secret and risk parliaments or mass protests rejecting the conditions of IMF assistance."

The date for the IMF board’s transparency policy review has not been set, but will likely come in very late June, according to a Fund official. The set-up policy options document by Fund staff, which is not disclosed to the public prior to the meeting, has not been completed yet, she said.

However, the broad outlines of the issues before the board are known, and will feature reconsideration of the Fund’s policy on releasing the Article IV staff reports, the key document covering conditions in member countries and laying out Fund-recommended policies. They are now disclosed in a majority of instances, as the Fund likes to point out, but the decision is voluntary on the part of member governments.

By Toby McIntosh

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Filed under: IFTI Watch

ABOUT IFTI WATCH

In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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