The IMF’s evolving role in the international monetary system is expected to be a main focus of the first meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which is to be held in Washington on April 16. In addition to considering issues in the reform of the IMF, the IMFC is also expected to review the continued strengthening of growth in the world economy and progress in the Initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
The IMFC comprises 24 IMF Governors, ministers, or others of comparable rank, and is chaired by Gordon Brown, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was established at the 1999 Annual Meetings, when the IMF’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution transforming the Interim Committee into the IMFC (see IMF Survey, October 11, 1999, page 317).
Following a review of world economic developments and prospects, the provisional agenda for the IMFC provides for consideration of a number of issues related to reforming the role of the IMF in the global economy. Specifically, these are
the next steps in the ongoing review of IMF financial facilities;
safeguarding the resources of the IMF;
a review of IMF surveillance and the links between surveillance and international standards and codes of conduct. This will take place against the background of the IMF Executive Board’s biennial review of surveillance; its progress reports on standards and codes of good practice; its discussion of the lessons from the pilot exercise in the Financial Sector Assessment Program and the next steps in this area; and its review of the IMF’s data standards initiative; and
work toward a framework for securing private sector involvement in the prevention and resolution of financial crises.
The IMFC is also scheduled to review progress on the HIPC Initiative and poverty reduction and growth strategies.
As a basis for discussion of much of its agenda, the IMFC is expected to receive a report from the IMF management on progress on a wide range of issues in strengthening the architecture of the international financial system. Other issues that ministers may discuss include the progress in implementing the Special Data Dissemination Standard and the General Data Dissemination System; issues of reserves and debt management; initiatives toward greater transparency; exchange rate regimes; and the external evaluation of IMF activities.
The IMFC’s discussions will take place against the background of the IMF staff’s latest review and projections for the global economy in the World Economic Outlook. The World Economic Outlook will be released on the IMF website on April 12, when it will also be discussed at a press conference by Michael Mussa, Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department.
Following the conclusion of the IMFC’s meeting on April 16, Chairman Brown and the IMF’s management are scheduled to hold a press conference at which the Committee’s communiqué will be released.
A number of ancillary meetings will take place in connection with the IMFC. The Group of 24 ministers, representing the developing member countries of the IMF, is to meet on April 15, with Germán Suárez, Governor of the Central Bank of Peru, in the chair. A press conference will be held following the meeting. The finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 10 will meet on April 16 prior to the IMFC meeting.
Following the IMFC meeting, on April 17, the Joint IMF-World Bank Development Committee will meet. The Committee, formally known as the Joint Bank-Fund Committee on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries, will be chaired by Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda, Finance Minister of Thailand. The Committee is expected to discuss trade and development issues and steps toward intensifying action against HIV/AIDS. The Committee is to receive an IMF-World Bank progress report on implementing poverty reduction strategy papers and the HIPC Initiative. It will also receive a report on the conclusions of the World Bank-Commonwealth Task Force on Small States and an update on the World Bank’s financial capacity. Chairman Nimmanahaeminda and James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, will hold a joint press conference following the meeting.
The next issue of the IMF Survey will be dated April 24 and will provide full coverage of the IMFC and the Development Committee meetings.