International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The scenario planning exercises help to draw out the surveillance priorities and stress- test the robustness of those priorities to uncertainties in the decade ahead. To inform the two priorities on confronting risks and uncertainties and mitigating spillovers, the scenarios illustrate how different shocks and alternative policy approaches carry their own risks and can have both positive and negative spillovers. The scenarios also illustrate some of the complex economic and non-economic factors that feed into the priority on economic sustainability and demonstrate how resource constraints and changing economic structures underpin the need for a unified policy approach.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Ensuring economic sustainability is key to achieving the IMF’s surveillance mandate of maintaining present and prospective balance of payments and domestic stability, assuring orderly exchange arrangements, and promoting a stable system of exchange rates. A good understanding of issues related to economic sustainability is thus essential for the IMF to provide effective surveillance and policy advice, while it requires a broad perspective and a long time horizon. With respect to the IMF’s surveillance mandate, the principle of macro-criticality, which guides the IMF’s engagement with its members, is sufficiently flexible and broad, allowing the IMF to cover issues related to economic sustainability. At the same time, given the wide range of issues that are related to economic sustainability, IMF surveillance needs to be selective and focused, with the choice of issues made on a case-by-case basis, considering country circumstances. It also needs to leverage the expertise of other institutions when necessary. The IMF and other institutions have advanced work to enhance analytical frameworks and indicators related to economic sustainability, and this should continue.
The global economy is embarking on a lengthy path to recovery with modest growth expected for 2021, after a severe contraction this year. The global forecast is subject to unusually large risks. Emerging markets and developing economies face an uphill battle. Low-income developing countries are in an especially vulnerable position and risk a persistent and significant deterioration in development prospects.
Controlling the pandemic and cushioning the impact on the economy are key. LIDCs should adopt targeted containment measures and strictly prioritize spending and refrain from policies that could create long term damage. Multilateral cooperation and extensive support from the international community are indispensable.
The IMF has helped EMDEs through emergency lending and debt service relief. Targeted surveillance and capacity development will tackle new policy challenges and react nimbly to the needs of the membership including fragile and small states.
This paper proposes that the Executive Board approve the disbursement of a second 6-month tranche of CCRT debt service relief to 28 of the 29 members, covering the period October 14, 2020 through April 13, 2021, given staff’s assessment that sufficient financial resources are available.2 In this context, the paper also provides brief updates for each beneficiary country on its policy responses to the pandemic and staff’s assessment of these policies and the use of resources freed up by debt service relief. It also provides an update on the finances of the CCRT and the fundraising efforts to secure adequate resources for grant assistance in the future. Based on grant pledges to date, resources are not sufficient to extend CCRT relief beyond the proposed second sixth-month period.
Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s Global Policy Agenda, Exceptional Times, Exceptional Action, highlights three priorities for policymakers around the world: protect lives, protect livelihoods, and plan for the recovery. She Says “The reality is that anyone’s fight against the #COVID-19 virus is everyone’s fight. More than ever we need global solidarity, a common resolve, and coordinated international efforts. And with so many countries short on resources, we need to give more support to those most in need,”.
In direct response to the COVID-19 crisis the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has adopted some immediate enhancements to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to enable the Fund to
provide debt service relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members. The CCRT enables the IMF to deliver grants for debt relief benefiting eligible low-income countries in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters and major, fast-spreading public health emergencies.
"Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries continue their considerable past achievements. The Millennium Development Goals—which were to have been met by 2015—helped focus attention on achieving progress towards poverty reduction, better health outcomes, and improvements in education in the ASEAN developing countries. The 17 SDGs—adopted in 2015 and to be met by 2030—cover a wider set of interlinked development objectives, such as inclusion and environmental sustainability, which are important for all countries, including all ASEAN member countries.
ASEAN countries have made significant progress in improving incomes and economic opportunities, including for women, and reducing poverty since 2000. Reflecting the economic dynamism of the region, strong income growth, structural transformation, and infrastructure improvements continue to support sustainable development in ASEAN. With continued income growth and strong policy efforts, most ASEAN countries are on track to eradicate absolute poverty by 2030, a major milestone. Also, several ASEAN countries already do relatively well in terms of gender equality. As a result, given support from continued income gains, economic welfare in ASEAN countries is expected to continue converging towards advanced Asia levels.
Ensuring more inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth presents a key challenge for ASEAN. Despite some progress, income inequality remains relatively high in several countries and the shift towards manufacturing strains environmental sustainability. These challenges hamper ASEAN welfare convergence relative to advanced Asia. Policies to close these gaps in sustainable development can lead to significant gains. For the lower-middle-income ASEAN countries, in particular, more determined policy efforts are needed to improve infrastructure, as well as health and education outcomes. Remaining sustainable development challenges call for comprehensive, country-specific SDG strategies formulated in the context of national development plans and close monitoring through the voluntary review process.
Pursuing sustainable development entails sizeable spending needs. Estimates for Indonesia and Vietnam, the two cases studies considered in this paper, show that reaching the level of best performers in their income group in infrastructure, health, and education by 2030 could entail an additional cost of 5½–6½ percent of GDP per year. While development needs vary across countries, estimates suggest large spending needs for most ASEAN countries. Meeting them will require efforts on multiple fronts, including improvements in spending efficiency, tax capacity, and support from the private sector. For developing ASEAN countries, concessional financing from development partners will be required.
The IMF continues to engage ASEAN countries in key areas as they pursue their SDGs. As called for in their mandates, ASEAN and the IMF both strive for economic growth and sustainable development through economic integration and collaboration among their member countries. The IMF has increased its engagement with ASEAN countries to support their policy efforts through its policy diagnostics, advice, and capacity development. ASEAN countries have also received support through IMF initiatives in strengthening revenue mobilization, building state capacity for infrastructure provision, pursuing economic and financial inclusion, addressing the challenges of climate change, strengthening economic institutions for good governance, and building statistical capacity. While fundamental reforms to improve sustainable development take time to bear fruit, there is evidence that efforts have started to pay off. "