The Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund were adopted at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (Bretton Woods, New Hampshire) on July 22, 1944. They were originally accepted by 29 countries and since then have been signed and ratified by a total of 189 Member countries. As the charter of the organization, the Articles lay out the Fund’s purposes, which include the promotion of “international monetary cooperation through a permanent institution which provides the machinery for consultation and collaboration on international monetary problems”. The Articles also establish the mandate of the Organization and its members’ rights and obligations, its governance structure and roles of its organs, and lays out various rules of operations including those related to the conduct of its operations and transactions regarding the Special Drawing Rights. The key functions of the IMF are the surveillance of the international monetary system and the monitoring of members’ economic and financial policies, the provision of Fund resources to member countries in need, and the delivery of technical assistance and financial services.
Since their adoption in 1944, the Articles of Agreement have been amended seven times, with the latest amendment adopted on December 15, 2010 (effective January 26, 2016). The Articles are complemented by the By-laws of the Fund adopted by the Board of Governors, themselves being supplemented by the Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board.
This paper discusses the Second Amendment of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement. The drafting of the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement was a more prolonged and more complicated task than the preparation of the First Amendment. One characteristic of the Second Amendment is the transformation into law, by incorporation in the Articles, of policies that the IMF had adopted over the years. The provisions of the Second Amendment that deal with repurchase obligations, the selection of currencies for use in purchases and repurchases, and stand-by arrangements are among the many examples that are sometimes referred to as constituting the modernization of the IMF.
Last issued in 1992, this new release of the IMF's Articles of Agreement for 2011 includes changes to the Articles resulting from the adoption of the Fourth Amendment on August 10, 2009, as well as the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, which entered into force on February 18, 2011 and March 3, 2011, respectively.
This paper explains purposes and functions of various articles of the IMF. The original members of the IMF are those of the countries represented at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference whose governments accept membership before December 31, 1945. The articles describe that the Board of Governors at intervals of not more than five years are expected to conduct a general review, and if it deems it appropriate propose an adjustment, of the quotas of the members. Recognizing that the essential purpose of the international monetary system is to provide a framework that facilitates the exchange of goods, services, and capital among countries, and that sustains sound economic growth, and that a principal objective is the continuing development of the orderly underlying conditions that are necessary for financial and economic stability, each member undertakes to collaborate with the IMF and other members to assure orderly exchange arrangements and to promote a stable system of exchange rates.
The adequacy of international liquidity became a problem of increasing concern to the international community during the 1960's. In response, the IMF proposed a new facility, based on Special Drawing Rights, which took effect on October 3, 1969. This new facility, referred to in this publication, was established within the Fund as its Special Drawing Account, through which the new supplement to reserve assets, in the form of special drawing rights, could be allocated.