Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the International Monetary Fund
Chapter

Article XII, Section 7 Publication of Reports

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
April 2004
Share
  • ShareShare
Show Summary Details

Overdue Financial Obligations—Policy to Publish Information on Missed Repurchase Expectations

When a member has failed for three months to meet a repurchase expectation under paragraph 1(b) of Decision No. 5703-(78/39), paragraph 10(a) of Decision No. 4377-(74/114), or paragraphs 6(b) or 19 of Decision No. 11627-(97/123) SRF/CCL, a brief factual statement noting such failure and the resulting suspension of use of Fund resources will be posted on the member’s country-specific page on the Fund’s external website. This statement will be removed when the Executive Board lifts the suspension, or if the member meets the missed repurchase expectation or settles the associated repurchase obligation. (EBS/01/122, 7/23/01)

Decision No. 12547-(01/84) SRF/CCL

August 22, 2001

Publicity upon Suspension of Voting Rights and Termination of Suspension

The Fund shall issue a press release upon its decision to suspend the voting rights of a member and thereafter upon termination of suspension and shall also include the information contained in such press releases, where pertinent, in the Annual Report for the year concerned.

Decision No. 10305-(93/32)

March 10, 1993

Pilot Project for the Publication of Article IV Consultation Staff Reports

The Fund establishes a pilot project under which a staff report on Article IV consultation discussions with a member, including one that also relates to the use of Fund resources, may be published. A member wishing to participate in the project will notify the Managing Director. Prior to the publication of a report, the member concerned may propose to the Managing Director the deletion of highly market-sensitive information. The Fund will publish (including on its web site) the report, along with the Public Information Notice and any statement by the member on the Article IV consultation, as soon as the Public Information Notice is finalized. A participating member will be free to withdraw from the project at any time. After a year, a review of experience under the project will be commenced. The project will terminate on October 4, 2000, unless otherwise decided by the Fund.

Decision No. 11973-(99/58)

June 3, 1999

Summing Up by the Acting Chairman—Transparency and Use of Fund Resources Executive Board Meeting 99/135, December 20, 1999

Executive Directors welcomed the opportunity to revisit transparency-related issues, including the questions of the release of use of Fund resources (UFR) staff reports and whether there should be UFR summings up/Public Information Notices (PINs) following Board discussion of a request for the use of Fund resources…

Concerning the release of UFR staff reports, a clear majority of the Board agreed with the staffs proposal to complete the reviews of the recent UFR transparency initiatives and the Article IV pilot project that are scheduled for June and August, 2000, before proceeding to a decision on the possible publication of UFR staff reports…

In considering the question of whether there should be UFR summings up and PINs, Directors agreed with the proposal to continue publishing Chairman’s statements, emphasizing the key points made by the Board in approving or reviewing the program. …Directors considered that the current procedures for the timely publication of Chairman’s statements worked well and should not be modified in advance of the June 2000 review. However, it was agreed that, in view of the clarification of the legal situation relating to such statements, the Executive Director for the country concerned would have, separately, an opportunity to review the Chairman’s statement, and would need to give a decision on its publication, subject to very minor revisions, if any, within a very short time of the Board meeting. In the event that the Executive Director did not agree to publication of the Chairman’s statement, the Fund would release publicly a short factual statement indicating that the Board meeting had been held and that resources were being provided. The Executive Director for the country concerned would inform the Board of the reasons why publication of the Chairman’s statement had not been accepted.

Several Directors expressed the view that, for internal purposes, the Chairman should present a summing up at the end of UFR Board discussions, and the Board agreed to institute this practice.

The Board will review the experience with the transparency initiatives under way in June and August 2000, and will return to the issue of the release of UFR staff reports in the context of the August 2000 review of the pilot project on the voluntary release of Article IV staff reports.

Transparency and Fund Policies—Continuation of Publication of Article IV Consultation Staff Reports Under Rules of Pilot Project

Pending the adoption of a decision pursuant to the Summing Up by the Chairman on the Review of the Pilot Project for Voluntary Release of Article IV Staff Reports and Other Issues in Fund Transparency (SUR/00/85, 9/6/00), the publication of Article IV consultation staff reports shall remain possible under the same rules set out in the pilot program established by Decision No. 11973-(99/58), adopted June 3, 1999 (SM/00/190, Sup. 2, 10/11/00).

Decision No. 12317-(00/102)

October 18, 2000

Publication Policies of the Fund

Authorization and Consent

1. The Managing Director shall arrange for publication by the Fund of the documents on the attached list, subject to the consent of the member concerned in the case of Documents 1–11, 13, and 16–17 and to the authorization of the World Bank in the case of Documents 6 and 11. For purposes of this decision: (i) Documents 1–4, 6, 9–10, 11, 13, and 17 will be referred to as “Country Documents”; (ii) Documents 5, 7–8, and 16 will be referred to as “Country Policy Intentions Documents”; and (iii) Documents 14 and 15 will be referred to as “Fund Policy Documents.”

2. The Executive Board encourages each member to consent, where required, to the publication by the Fund of a document under this decision. It is recognized that for some members such publication would be a longer term objective.

3. In the case of Documents 5–8 and 11, which pertain to a member’s use of Fund resources, a member’s consent for Fund publication shall be voluntary but presumed. Such presumption means that if, in a particular case, a member does not wish to consent to Fund publication of a document, the member will need to notify its decision and should provide an explanation, which may be done through an Executive Director appointed, elected, or designated by the member, before the Executive Board takes a decision relating to the member’s use of Fund resources. In the case of a Chairman’s Statement (Document 10), if the member does not consent to its publication by the Fund, a brief factual statement describing the Executive Board’s decision relating to the member’s use of Fund resources (including any information on waivers, HIPC initiative decisions, and endorsements of Documents 5) will be released instead. In the cases of Documents 1–4, 9, 13, and 16–17, publication shall be voluntary.

4. In the case of a member’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), Interim PRSP, or PRSP progress report (Document 5), the Managing Director will not recommend its endorsement by the Executive Board if the member concerned does not consent to its publication.

5. For the purposes of paragraph 1, a member’s actual consent shall normally be communicated to the Secretary of the Fund. Such consent may be communicated by the Executive Director elected, appointed, or designated by the member.

6. In respect of documents circulated to the Executive Board for which publication requires a member’s consent, the Secretary’s cover note will indicate whether a communication has been received from the member in this regard and, if so, the member’s intentions.

Member’s Statement Regarding Fund Staff Reports

7. If a Fund staff report (Documents 1, 9, and 17) on a member is to be published under this decision, the member concerned shall be given the opportunity to provide a statement regarding the staff report and the Executive Board assessment. Such statement shall be communicated to the Fund and published together with the staff report.

Deletions

8. Prior to publication of a Country Document, or a certain Country Policy Intentions Document (Documents 7–8) that has been the basis of a Fund decision, or Document 16, the member concerned may propose deletions to the Managing Director. In the case of a serious disagreement between the Managing Director and the member, the Managing Director, or the Executive Director elected, appointed, or designated by that member, may refer the matter to the Executive Board for its consideration. Deletions should be limited to highly market-sensitive information, mainly exchange rate and interest rate matters. In particular, deletions will not apply to information in the public domain or politically sensitive information that is not highly market sensitive. In the case of Documents 1, 7–9 and 16–17, information relating to any performance criterion or structural benchmark may not be deleted unless the information is of such character that would have enabled it to be communicated to the Fund in a side letter pursuant to Decision No. 12067, adopted September 22, 1999.

9. Deletions will not generally apply to a PRSP, an Interim PRSP, or a PRSP progress report that has been the basis of a Fund decision.

Chairman’s Statements in Respect of Use of Fund Resources

10. After the Executive Board adopts a decision regarding a member’s use of Fund resources (including a decision completing a review under a Fund arrangement), or completes a discussion on a member’s participation in the HIPC Initiative, PRSP, Interim PRSP, or PRSP progress report, a Chairman’s statement on the discussion, emphasizing the key points made by Executive Directors, will be released to the public. Where relevant, the Chairman’s statement will contain a summary of HIPC Initiative decisions pertaining to the member and the Executive Board’s views on the member’s PRSP, Interim PRSP, or PRSP progress report. Waivers for nonobservance, or of applicability, of performance criteria, if any, will be mentioned in the press release containing the Chairman’s statement. Before the statement is released, it will be read by the Chairman to the Executive Board and Executive Directors will have an opportunity to comment at that time. The Executive Director elected, appointed or designated by the member concerned will have the opportunity to review the Chairman’s statement, to propose very minor revisions, if any, and to consent to its publication immediately after the Executive Board meeting. Notwithstanding the above, no Chairman’s Statement released under this paragraph shall contain any reference to a discussion or decision pertaining to: (i) a member’s overdue financial obligations to the Fund, where a press release following an Executive Board decision to limit the member’s use of Fund resources because of the overdue financial obligations has not yet been issued; or (ii) a request to amend a repurchase expectation schedule pursuant to paragraph 1(b) of Decision No. 5703-(78/39) or paragraph 10(a) of Decision No. 4377-(74/114). In the case of an Executive Board meeting pertaining solely to a discussion or decision described in either (i) or (ii) above, no Chairman’s statement will be released.

Fund Policy Documents

11. After the Executive Board meets on policy issues, it shall be presumed, unless otherwise decided by the Executive Board, that the staff report considered at the meeting (Document 14) and/or a Public Information Notice (PIN, Document 15) on the discussion will be published. This presumption of publication shall not apply to Executive Board meetings on policy issues dealing with the administrative matters of the Fund, such as the Fund’s operating budget, personnel policies, staff retirement plan and asset management, for which the Executive Board may decide to publish Documents 14 and/or 15 on a case-by-case basis. In deciding to publish or not to publish Documents 14 and/or 15, the factors on which that decision shall be based shall include whether the discussions have reached completion or, if not completed, whether informing the public of the state of the discussions would be useful. The staff shall make a recommendation on the publication of a staff policy paper and/or a PIN on its cover. A PIN on policy discussions will be based on the decision that may have been adopted by the Executive Board or the Chairman’s summing-up of the discussions. It will also include a short section setting out background information.

Timing and Means of Fund Publication

12. Documents may be published under this decision only after their consideration by the Executive Board, except for: (i) PRSPs, Interim PRSPs, or PRSP progress reports; (ii) documents circulated to the Executive Board for information only; and (iii) Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). Documents under items (i)—(iii) may be published immediately after circulation to the Executive Board.

13. Publication by the Fund under this decision shall mean normally publication on its website but may include publication through other media.

Repeal of Superseded Decisions

14. The following decisions are repealed: (i) “Use of Fund Resources—Release of Chairman’s Statement,” Decision No. 11971-(99/58), adopted June 3, 1999; (ii) “Public Information Notices for Policy Matters,” Decision No. 11972-(99/58), adopted June 3, 1999; (iii) “Publication of Letters of Intent, Memoranda of Economic and Financial Policies and Policy Framework Papers,” Decision No. 11974-(99/58), adopted June 3, 1999; and (iv) “Release of Information—Reports on Recent Economic Developments and Statistical Appendices and Annexes,” Decision No. 10138-(94/61), adopted July 11, 1994. The decision set forth in EBD/98/64 (6/19/98), which was approved on a lapse-of-time basis on June 24, 1998, is repealed to the extent that it relates to the publication of the final Decision and Completion Point documents under the HIPC Initiative.

Article XII, Section 8

15. Nothing in this decision shall be construed to be inconsistent with the power of the Fund to decide under Article XII, Section 8, by a seventy percent majority of the total voting power, to publish a report made to a member regarding its monetary or economic conditions and developments which directly tend to produce a serious disequilibrium in the international balance of payments of members.

Review

16. This decision shall be reviewed in light of experience at regular intervals not to exceed 24 months.

List of Documents Covered by the Decision

I. Surveillance and Supporting Documents

1. Article IV and Combined Article IV/Use of Fund Resources Staff Reports

2. Selected Issues Papers and Statistical Appendices

3. Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) and Financial Sector Stability Assessment (FSSA) Reports

4. Public Information Notices (PINs) following Article IV consultations and regional surveillance discussions

II. Use of Fund Resources by a Member

5. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Interim PRSPs, and PRSP Progress Reports

6. Joint Fund/World Bank Staff Assessments of PRSPs, Interim PRSPs, and PRSP Progress Reports

7. Letters of Intent and Memoranda of Economic and Financial Policies (LOIs/MEFPs)

8. Technical Memoranda of Understanding (TMUs) with policy content

9. Use of Fund Resources and Post-Program Monitoring Staff Reports (excluding staff reports dealing solely with a member’s overdue financial obligations to the Fund)

10. Chairman’s Statements

11. Preliminary, decision point, and completion point documents under the HIPC Initiative

12. Statements on Fund decisions on waivers of applicability, or for nonobservance, of performance criteria

13. PINs following Executive Board discussions on post-program monitoring

III. Fund Policy Documents

14. Fund Policy issues papers

15. PINs following Executive Board discussions on policy issues

IV. Other Documents

16. LOIs/MEFPs for Staff Monitored Programs (SMPs)

17. Stand-alone Staff Reports on SMPs

Decision No. 12405-(01/02), January 4, 2001,

as amended by Decision No. 12882-(02113),

November 11, 2002

The Acting Chair’s Summing Up The Fund’s Transparency Policy—Issues and Next Steps Executive Board Meeting 03/87, September 12, 2003

Directors welcomed the opportunity to review the implementation of the Fund’s transparency policy and to discuss the next steps. They considered the key issue for this transparency review to be whether to move to a policy of presumed publication of country staff reports. Directors acknowledged that progress had been made in publication rates for most types of documents and in most regions under the policy of voluntary publication, reflecting the broad acceptance among the membership of the benefits of transparency.

Most Directors noted that progress in publication rates has been slow and unevenly distributed across regions, and that further impetus is needed by moving to a policy of presumed publication. These Directors noted that publication of country reports would help strengthen surveillance and provide for greater accountability of the Fund. Extending the presumed publication policy to all documents related to the use of Fund resources (UFR) would help put into context members’ requests for the use of Fund resources as set forth in their published Letters of Intent (LOIs)/Memoranda on Economic and Financial Policies (MEFPs), and explain the basis for management’s recommendation that the Board approve these requests.

Many other Directors, however, pointed out that the information provided by the staff showed that the present voluntary approach is effective and that it is not clear that a policy of presumed publication would achieve significant additional gains in publication rates. These Directors suggested that a move to presumed publication could undermine the candor of discussions and documents and the advisory role of the Fund.

All Directors emphasized that candor in the Fund’s dialogue with members and in reporting to the Board will remain essential for effective surveillance. They looked forward to the opportunity to discuss the potential conflict between transparency and candor in the next Biennial Review of Surveillance, in light of the increased coverage expected in staff reports of such topics as vulnerability, debt sustainability, currency mismatches, and other balance sheet and capital account developments.

Most Directors noted the significant declines from already low levels of publication rates of staff reports for the use of Fund resources with exceptionally high access. They emphasized the critical importance of transparency for strengthening confidence in these cases, as they typically involve capital account crises where a high premium is placed on increasing public understanding and market support of the program strategy. However, many other Directors were concerned that, given the high degree of market sensitivity in exceptional access cases, publication of these reports might conflict with the need for frank assessments of the risks involved.

On balance, the Board agreed on a set of measures to enhance transparency further. It was agreed to establish a policy of voluntary but presumed publication for all UFR and Post-Program Monitoring (PPM) staff reports, to be effective as soon as the amendments to the Transparency Policy Decision have been circulated to and approved by the Executive Board.

It was also agreed that, in exceptional access cases, the Managing Director will generally not recommend Board approval of a program or completion of a review unless the authorities consent to the publication of the associated staff report. This new publication policy for UFR staff reports in exceptional access cases will apply to new arrangements approved on or after July 1, 2004 that contain exceptional access, and to existing arrangements that, by reason of augmentation after July 1, 2004, will result in exceptional access. Exceptional access arrangements (i.e., those on the same terms and conditions and timing) in place as of July 1, 2004 will be grandfathered. One Director expressed the view that it would be preferable for the Managing Director’s recommendation not to depend on the publication of the staff report but on a more comprehensive assessment of the adequacy of the country’s transparency policy.

The Board also agreed to move to voluntary but presumed publication for all Article IV staff reports, Article IV Public Information Notices (PINS) and related Article IV papers (Selected Issues papers, Statistical Annexes and Appendices prepared as background material for Article IV consultations). If a member did not wish a PIN to be published, a brief press release would be issued promptly by the Fund to inform the public that the Board had concluded the consultation. These changes will be effective July 1, 2004; until July 1, 2004, existing policies will continue to apply.

Directors considered the possibility of moving to a policy of presumed publication for Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs) and Financial System Stability Assessments (FSSAs). While a number of Directors stressed the value of better informing the public and markets through a policy of presumed publication of these documents, other Directors referred to the voluntary nature of standards and codes, and cautioned that presumed publication could affect participation in the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). Against this background, Directors decided to retain the existing policy of voluntary publication, while encouraging members to publish these reports.

In the recent FSAP review, a few Directors proposed that the FSAP technical notes (FTNs) constituting background material for the FSAP process should be circulated to the Board to better inform Directors. Directors agreed that, when FTNs raise issues of sufficient relevance to surveillance, they should be included in the background material for Article IV consultations, and thus would be subject to the Fund’s publication policy on Article IV and related reports. Whenever such notes are prepared jointly with World Bank staff, their circulation and publication would be coordinated with the World Bank. Publication of FTNs that are not circulated to the Board as background documentation for Article IV consultations would continue to follow the practice applied to technical assistance reports. When the authorities request publication and management consents to it, FTNs would be circulated to the Board prior to publication and subsequently published on the Fund’s external website.

Directors discussed the modalities of voluntary but presumed publication for various Fund documents. It was agreed that, under the presumed publication policy, publication would be expected to occur within thirty calendar days of Board consideration of the relevant papers. If the member has not decided on its publication intentions by the time of the Board meeting, the Secretary will remind the member to communicate its publication intentions to the Fund within thirty calendar days following the Board meeting. In this context, Directors emphasized that presumption of publication requires the explicit consent of the member prior to publication, without which the report would not be published.

Directors re-examined the issue of allowing deletions of highly politically sensitive material, and the removal of material that would undermine the ability of the authorities to implement policies or would render implementation more costly. While many Directors continued to favor the extension of the deletions policy to highly politically sensitive material, the majority of the Board did not support such a move, noting the practical difficulties of designing an objective test of “high political sensitivity” to implement such a policy, and the risks of undermining the candor and comprehensiveness of Board documents. Directors urged the staff to continue to avoid language that would exacerbate domestic political challenges to implementing reforms.

Against this background, Directors generally agreed that the continued application of the current deletions policy is appropriate, with the scope of deletions covering highly market-sensitive information, including not only exchange and interest rate matters, but also highly market-sensitive material in vulnerability assessments and the banking and fiscal areas. Directors also agreed that, when third party analysis is presented in a staff report, the source should be indicated, or a staff assessment of such analysis should also be included in the paper.

Directors expressed concern that, in the context of increased publication, there could be an intensification of pressures to delete significant elements of documents on grounds of high market sensitivity. They agreed that management may recommend to the Board to withhold publication of the relevant documents when deletions of highly market-sensitive material would undermine the overall assessment of the Fund and its credibility.

Directors agreed to apply the broad principles for deletions and corrections that are now in place for country staff reports to policy papers prepared by the staff. Modifications to such policy papers before publication would be limited to factual corrections and deletions of highly market-sensitive material and of country-specific references. If Directors considered that there was a danger of confusion when the summing up differed from the staff recommendations, the published version of the staff policy paper would indicate clearly in the text those staff positions that the Board had not endorsed.

On administrative papers, while a number of Directors favored a move to presumed publication, most agreed that publication should continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, staff recommendations regarding the publication of these papers will be explained to Executive Directors when the paper is circulated.

On other publication-related matters, Directors supported publication of the Board agenda at the same time as it is made available to Executive Directors, with the indication that the agenda is tentative and subject to change. They asked the staff to elaborate on the modalities.

Amendments to the Transparency Policy Decision reflecting the changes agreed to above will be prepared and circulated to the Executive Board for approval. Except for those changes that are to become effective on July 1, 2004, such changes will become effective upon the Board’s approval of the amendments to the decision.

The next review of the Fund’s transparency policy is expected to take place by June 2005.

    Other Resources Citing This Publication