IMF Executive Directors met with UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) ambassadors in New York on October 28 to discuss cooperative actions the two institutions could take in the fight against poverty. Reducing poverty, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said, was emerging as one of the greatest challenges of the times and one that should engage all the energies of the international organizations. Although significant progress has been made, there is no time for complacency, and the momentum for reform needs to be maintained, she said.
Noting the significant improvement in global conditions in the past few months, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said he was reasonably optimistic, but not complacent. For countries seeking financial assistance from the IMF, he said the IMF would take social programs aimed at poverty reduction into account when deciding which programs to finance. As for debt reduction, as far as the IMF is concerned, the financing is there. The international community has established the link between debt reduction and human development, which would make a big difference to the world’s poorest countries—but only if they are committed to putting in place policy frameworks and structural adjustment programs that would boost their growth rates, Camdessus said.
The full text of Press Release ECOSOC/5877, issued on October 28, is available on the UN website (www.un.org/News/Press/docs/1999/19991028.eco5877.doc.html).