Appendix I. COM at a Glance
This Appendix describes the organizational design of the Fund’s Communications Department (COM), which has six divisions focused on various aspects of communications work and a Front Office.
Current Communications: Drafts, edits and publishes Finance & Development magazine and IMF Survey Online (in English and other languages), manages the Fund’s blog iMFdirect, its Spanish-language blog, Diálogo a fondo, and its Arabic blog, Economic Window, and produces material about the Fund, including videos, podcasts, and more than 60 online factsheets (in multiple languages). Annual figures of various products from 2013 show a high degree of interest: IMF Survey (890,000 views), F&D (1.5 million views), videos (540,000 views), blogs (550,000 views), factsheets (1.2 million views), and podcasts (90,000 followers).
Digital Communications: Manages the Fund’s external website imf.org as well as 6 multilingual websites, and 119 resident representative websites. Manages digital platforms such as Twitter (English plus 3 LOEs), Weibo, and Linkedin. Scope of work includes web design; packaging, publishing, and updating of Fund’s news and outreach content on websites and digital channels; social media messaging; live webcasting; and gathering and analyzing data. More than 7,300 items were posted in 2013 and imf.org received an average of 1.325 million monthly visits. There were 358,470 followers for the IMF’s Twitter accounts in English and LOEs as of January 2014. In addition, the Sina Weibo account (China) has over 4.5 million followers.
Editorial and Publications: Runs the Fund’s publishing program. Drafts, edits, and produces the Annual Report (in 7 languages), and edits and publishes key IMF reports including WEO, GFSR, Fiscal Monitor, Regional Economic Outlooks (REOs), Occasional and Departmental Papers and Books. Develops and manages the IMF’s eLibrary–an online subscription-based portal of IMF publications—and manages the online IMF Bookstore. About 900 titles are published and some 1.7 million digital and print copies distributed worldwide each year.
Internal Communications: Helps foster staff engagement and community building through a range of tools, including by maintaining a vibrant intranet news space, and by facilitating internal events such as town halls, seminars, brown bag lunches, and coffees with management. Promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing by providing a space for staff dialogue; and enhances knowledge and productivity by keeping staff informed of key policy, country, and institutional developments. 1
Media Relations: Manages the Fund’s interactions with media and fosters relations with journalists in all member countries, including via a 7,000-strong database. Advises Management and staff on their media interaction; drafts, reviews, and issues press releases in multiple languages. Organizes regular press briefings at Headquarters with Spanish simultaneous interpretation, and supports Management and missions with press outreach in the field. Produces videos, including in LOEs, and organizes training for journalists to promote a better understanding of the Fund. Monitors and disseminates news to staff and Management, and provides analysis of news trends. In 2013, Media Relations issued 622 press releases, arranged 40 Management interviews, managed some 60 press conferences and conference calls at HQ, produced about 500 news digests and special news packet editions, organized 10 media training courses, and produced about 40 videos.
Public Affairs: Develops and fosters outreach to non-media stakeholders, including legislators, think tanks, academics, civil society, and the general public. In 2013, there were over 300 briefings/meetings for general public, legislators, think tanks, academics, labor, and CSOs. Also manages the Civic and Community Program, including Helping Hands (annual employee giving campaign). The IMF Civic and Community Program raised over 1 million dollars in 2013 for local and international charities.
Front Office: Defines and implements the overall strategy for the department and manages human resources and the budget. Leads departmental contacts with Management and the Executive Board, and develops networks inside and outside the Fund. Meets day-to-day departmental business needs and provides oversight over Front office staff, divisions and intra-departmental teams.
In addition to the organizational configuration, COM maintains an active matrix structure (comprised of intra-departmental teams of communications specialists with various expertise dedicated to one specific area or functional department or subject area) that keeps it in close touch with all departments in the Fund. This matrix structure is used to connect departments with COM staff in respective areas and thus create a coordinated and supportive network for communications across the institution.
Appendix II. Crisis Communications
Crisis Communications at the Fund are coordinated through the Fund’s Crisis Management Team (CMT), an emergency institution-wide group that convenes as needed to manage security, health, or disaster-related events that could affect staff, assets, operations, and reputation. COM chairs a subgroup of this team, the Crisis Communications Team (CCT), which coordinates internal and external communications on behalf of the CMT. The activities of the CMT are found in the Fund’s Security Accountability Framework.
In addition, the IMF’s Communications Department (COM) has in place a systematic approach to crisis communications that allows the department to mobilize staff and resources at short notice, to disseminate information, and to take remedial action, as needed. Examples include regular communications meetings, strong monitoring capability, and a variety of channels for information distribution. Key ingredients of the crisis communications framework include:
Active Structure. COM has a standing group that meets three times a week to discuss communications issues. The group draws on all COM divisions, can meet as often as needed (including virtually), and can be used as the focal point for coordinating a crisis response.
Assess/Monitor. COM has extensive monitoring capability (for both traditional and social media) that provides it with “ears to the ground” and enables it to focus on the direction where reporting and perceptions around a crisis is heading and on potential fallout. This information is vital in helping to shape the Fund’s crisis response.
Connect and collaborate. COM’s matrix structure (see Appendix I) facilitates quick mobilization of resources across COM in support of departments’ communications during a crisis. COM’s ongoing relationship with the Office of the Managing Director (OMD) is also a vital part of coordinating crisis response.
Delivery. COM has a variety of platforms, channels, and relationships that it uses to convey the Fund’s message on a daily basis (e.g., traditional media, social media, and relations with CSOs, editorial writers and bloggers, think tanks, academics, and country authorities). These can be mobilized on short notice in support of crisis communications.
Appendix III. Fund Materials in Languages Other Than English (LOE)
The Fund has attached considerable attention to the publication of materials in languages other than English (LOE) in recent years.1 One in three of the Fund’s member countries use English as their main language. The availability of material in LOE is an important part of the Fund’s communications strategy—to help the Fund communicate more widely, more effectively, and more strategically; to build consensus around its policy advice; and to be more accountable to its members.
Since 2007, based on the recommendations of the 2006 Working Group on LOE, the Fund has significantly increased the communications of LOE material. Some of the highlights are:
Enhanced LOE access on www.imf.org. Web pages in the Fund’s six most heavily used languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish) were introduced in 2007. Links to all six sites feature prominently on the main homepage of the Fund’s website. Usage of these sites has steadily increased from 260,000 views in 2007 to 1.9 million in 2013. Spanish and French sites have seen high usage, and the Chinese site is growing, particularly through promotion on social media. Targeted translations in other languages are also provided as appropriate.
Simultaneous release of major Fund documents in LOE. The Fund’s flagship World Economic Outlook (WEO) (chapters 1 and 2) are published in French and Spanish simultaneous with the English version and full versions are published in five languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) shortly thereafter. Summaries of other flagship reports—the Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), Fiscal Monitor (FM)—are also released simultaneously with the English versions. Other major documents available in LOE include Regional Economic Outlooks (REO), the Annual Report, and Finance & Development magazine. WEO downloads in LOE have increased from 17,254 in 2007 to 125,497 in 2013.
Release of shorter information materials on institutional issues. Press releases, IMF Survey stories, and IMF Factsheets are translated into multiple languages and posted on the web.
Speeches. Public presentations, especially management speeches, are posted simultaneously in relevant LOEs upon delivery.
Social media. Blogs and Twitter are also released in LOE. The Fund’s Spanish and Arabic blogs have over 500,000 views, while the Managing Director’s Chinese Weibo account has over 4.5 million followers.
Videos and podcasts. 324 videos in 12 LOE have been released since 2007. 267 podcasts in English, Arabic, and French have been produced since 2010.
Resident Representative Websites. 31 Resident Representative Websites are in LOE, including documents posted in local languages.
Appendix IV. Transforming Publications at the Fund
Fund publications have been radically transformed, taking advantage of new technologies, and improving the Fund’s reach. Some of the highlights include:
About 900 titles are published each year, consisting primarily of country reports, selected issues, and related material (400 titles), working papers (some 300 published per year), as well as flagship publications (WEO, GFSR), FM), books, SDNs, data and statistical material, manuals, guides, and the Annual Report.
Some 1.7 million digital and print copies distributed worldwide per year.
Introduction in 2010 of a pioneering digital eLibrary and Bookstore that provides global access to Fund publications and data reaching over 700 institutional subscribers (free-of-charge in developing and low-income countries).
The eLibrary now has more than 14,000 IMF digitized titles, including multiple languages, dating back to the Fund’s inception, and is considered a standard-setter among international agencies, within the scholarly and library communities, and among commercial publishers.
Distribution of Fund content, much of which is free of charge on the revamped imf.org, through a network of about 50 national and regional distributors to ensure a global availability of IMF research and analysis.
Fund content is now also available on Amazon, Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, China’s CNP eReading, and other platforms.
IMF research is now included in major bibliographic databases such as Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), a centralized index that includes working papers, articles, and software, as well as the Social Science Research Network, which gives additional prominence to IMF research. More than 560,000 research and policy papers have been downloaded through RePEc since 2002.
The Fund also works with leading scholarly publishers to jointly issue some of our content.
IMF Publications is a recognized member of the scholarly publishing community, being one of the few non-academic members of the Association of American University Presses and the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.
The IMF serves readers with disabilities that make it difficult for them to read a printed book. It has an agreement with Bookshare, a global online library for blind, vision impaired, learning disabled and physically disabled readers. IMF Publications represent the third largest corpus in the Bookshare program.
Appendix V. The Legal Framework Underpinning Fund Communications1
A. Who is the Fund?
“The Fund” most typically refers to the Executive Board, but it can also be a reference to other organs of the Fund or to the institution as a whole, depending on the context.
1. Under the Fund’s Articles of Agreement, various powers of the Fund are conferred specifically on one of the three organs of the Fund, namely, the Board of Governors, the Executive Board and the Managing Director. Several powers of the Fund are not, however, conferred specifically to any of these three organs; they are simply conferred upon “the Fund”.
2. Article XII, Section 2(a) states: “All powers under this Agreement not conferred directly on the Board of Governors, the Executive Board, or the Managing Director shall be vested in the Board of Governors.” This provision of the Articles thus vests in the Board of Governors all of those powers conferred on “the Fund”.
3. Article XII, Section 2(b) provides: “The Board of Governors may delegate to the Executive Board authority to exercise any powers of the Board of Governors, except the powers conferred directly by this Agreement on the Board of Governors.” This provision of the Articles thus authorizes the Board of Governors to delegate to the Executive Board all of the powers conferred on “the Fund”. The Board of Governors cannot, however, delegate those powers conferred specifically on it.
4. Section 15 of the Fund’s By-Laws provides: “The Executive Board is authorized by the Board of Governors to exercise all of the powers of the Board of Governors except those conferred directly by the Articles of Agreement on the Board of Governors.” Through this section, the Board of Governors has delegated to the Executive Board all of the powers conferred to “the Fund” under the Articles. Given this delegation by the Board of Governors, authority attributed to “the Fund” in the Articles is read as attributed to the Executive Board. Thus, references to “the Fund” in the Articles—where there is no mention of a specific Fund organ —are read to refer to the Executive Board even though the Articles do not expressly define “the Fund” to mean the Executive Board.
5. Given that the Articles do not expressly define “the Fund” to mean the Executive Board, a reference to “the Fund” in a Fund document or communication can mean the Executive Board, but it can also have different meanings in different contexts. Such a reference could mean the Board of Governors if it concerns a power directly conferred by the Articles on the Board of Governors. Similarly, such a reference could mean the Managing Director if it concerns a power conferred directly by the Articles on the Managing Director. In addition, “the Fund” can also refer to the institution as a whole.
For example, a statement that “the Fund today admitted Country X to its membership” is a reference to the Board of Governors, not to the Executive Board since, under Article II, admission to Fund membership is a power directly conferred upon the Board of Governors and cannot be delegated to the Executive Board. However, as a communication strategy, such a statement would typically be drafted to refer specifically to the Board of Governors (rather than to “the Fund”) in order to minimize any confusion as to which organ of the Fund has made the decision to offer Fund membership.2
Similarly, a statement that “the Fund today appointed a new Department Director” would be a reference to the Managing Director since, under Article XII, Section 4(b), appointment of Fund staff is a power directly conferred upon the Managing Director, which the Executive Board cannot exercise. Again, as a communication strategy, such a statement would typically be drafted to refer specifically to the Managing Director (rather than to “the Fund”) in order to minimize any confusion as to which organ of the Fund has made the decision on a staff appointment.
Finally, it is readily apparent that certain references to “the Fund” pertain to the institution as a whole. Common examples of such references include: the Fund’s Articles of Agreement, the Fund’s mandate, the Fund’s governance structure, the Fund as an international organization or as a specialized agency, the Fund’s headquarters and the Fund’s external website.
B. Who can speak for the Fund?
The Articles do not directly address the issue of who can speak for the Fund. Since there is no specific conferral of authority to speak for the Fund, the result has been that each of the organs do speak for the Fund, depending on the power being exercised. The Articles do, however, address the issue of publication of reports.
1. From the Fund’s inception, it has been recognized that if an organ exercises certain powers, then it naturally has the authority to speak for the Fund regarding those powers.
In respect of resolutions passed at meetings of the Board of Governors, since the very first Annual Meeting, the Board of Governors has empowered the Chairman (and later the Chairman and the Managing Director) to publicize information concerning the proceedings as deemed suitable.3
Similarly, the Executive Board and the Managing Director have long issued public statements on matters within their respective purviews. The Managing Director has long issued statements both in her capacity as Chair of the Executive Board and in her role as head of the staff.4
2. With regard to publication of reports, the Articles are more specific. Article XII, Sections 7 and 8 deal with publication by the Fund.
Article XII, Section 7(a) requires “the Fund” to publish an annual report containing audited statements of its accounts and also to publish summary statements of its operations and transactions and of its holdings of special drawing rights, gold and currencies at intervals of three months or less.
Article XII, Section 7(b) authorizes “the Fund” to publish “such other reports as it deems desirable for carrying out its purposes.”
Article XII, Section 8 authorizes “the Fund” to publish reports pertaining to the monetary or economic conditions and developments in individual countries if certain conditions are met.
Given the analysis in Section I of this Annex, the provisions of Article XII, Sections 7 and 8—which refer to “the Fund”—are read to mean that the authority to approve publication of reports lies in the Executive Board. In particular, in this regard, the Executive Board has established the Transparency Policy, which deals with the publication of reports prepared for its consideration and use.
The Executive Board has, however, allocated some of its authority on publications to the Managing Director.
3. Under Rule N-5 of the Fund’s Rules and Regulations, the Executive Board has decided that express authorization of the Managing Director is required for staff to publish certain documents and to make certain public statements.
Rule N-5 states that Fund staff should not publish documents or make public communications without the “express authorization” of the Managing Director.
Rule N-5 has been applied to documents and statements on issues that are within the authority of management, such as staff discussions with members on their economic policies in the context of Article IV consultations; negotiation with members on the use of Fund resources and recommendations to the Board on such use; and the provision of Fund technical assistance to members. Typical documents and statements in this regard include mission concluding statements for Article IV staff discussions and press releases on staff-level agreements concerning the use of Fund resources.
A key issue is for public communications to make very clear on whose behalf a communication is made. Whenever relevant, where management/staff views are expressed, it should be clearly qualified by language explaining that the Fund’s ultimate position would depend on the Executive Board (for example, completion of Article IV consultations and approval of use of Fund resources).5
With regard to the “express authorization” required from the Managing Director, management has delegated to the Director of the Communications Department and heads of department the authority to provide such “express authorization” on behalf of the Managing Director. This delegation has been achieved, in particular, through GAO 34 (Clearance of Publications and Public Statements of Staff Members) and Staff Bulletin 05/9: Guidelines on Staff Participation in Political Activities and Public Statements.
In this regard, GAO 34 of May 1, 1989 requires staff members to obtain the clearance of their department head and for that department head to consult with the Director of the Communications Department. Respect for these procedures is an obligation of the staff under the 1998 Staff Code of Conduct.
In 2005, Staff Bulletin 05/09 further refined the clearance procedures and emphasized that the Director of the Communications Department has been empowered by the Managing Director to provide the “express authorization” required under Rule N-5.
Appendix VI. Concluding Statements and Staff Press Releases Published at the End of Missions
Illustration for Publication of Concluding Statements
A Concluding Statement describes the preliminary findings of IMF staff at the end of an official staff visit (or ‘mission’), in most cases to a member country. Missions are undertaken as part of regular (usually annual) consultations under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, in the context of a request to use IMF resources (borrow from the IMF), as part of discussions of staff monitored programs, or as part of other staff monitoring of economic developments.
The authorities have consented to the publication of this statement. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board or of the IMF’s management. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF Executive Board for discussion and decision.
Illustration of Staff Press Releases Issued at the end of IMF Missions
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s management or of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion and decision
Appendix VII. COM Surveys of Selected Countries
COM engages external consultants to conduct occasional opinion research of the Fund. An overview of the main findings of such research was included in the 2013 IEO Report1:
Between 2009 and 2011, the IMF Communications Department undertook qualitative opinion research in a small sample of countries in Latin America, Asia, and Europe to assess key stakeholders’ perceptions of the Fund.2 The research—based on interviews with a random sample of opinion makers—focused on the IMF’s overall image, strengths and weaknesses; effectiveness during the financial crisis; and potential role in the future at the country and global level. Where the Fund had contributed with programs during the crisis period, stakeholders felt the Fund had moved speedily and flexibly, combining well its technical expertise with financing. The Fund was perceived as collaborative and adaptable to the circumstances. They acknowledged the Fund’s increased openness and its contribution in terms of cross-country knowledge and training.
In Asia and Latin America, however, the responses were more mixed. In Asia, there were lingering perceptions that the Fund is “Western-centric” and needs to re-establish its relevance as a key voice in the region. In Latin America—where attitudes varied widely among countries—there was still a view that Fund advice was overly rigid and influenced by a US/Euro/Western-centric tradition, that the Fund’s monitoring function was limited to developing and emerging countries, and that it lacked the influence on advanced industrial economies needed for reform. In both regions, the perception of an equal playing field was seen as critical for the future.
A more recent survey on Fund perceptions in Asia conducted in 2013 is more optimistic. The survey suggests that much of the region has effectively moved past the Asian crisis and, increasingly sees the Fund as a key partner. Respondents praised the quality of the Fund’s surveillance, unique multilateral perspective and analyses of spillovers. They see important changes taking place at the Fund in recent years, including a more open culture that is receptive to different views, and would like the Fund to build on these gains through more timely analytical engagement, especially in the context of Article IV consultations. They also would like the Fund to deliver more on “early warnings”, reach out to stakeholders beyond the traditional comfort zone, and develop further the trusted advisor role. The APD Director summarized these findings in an informal Board briefing in mid-2013.
Appendix VIII. CSO Engagement: Lessons Learned and Recent Experience
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have become influential opinion and policy shapers. Whether national, regional, or global, CSOs employ extensive networks and implement advocacy campaigns, mostly through social media platforms, to shape policies on a broad range of issues. The Fund’s engagement with CSOs benefits from a tailored approach based on the issue under discussion and, in some cases, the communications environment in a country.
Outreach to civil society has two broad purposes: (i) to explain IMF policies, programs and operations in order to strengthen ownership in member countries; and (ii) to enable Fund staff to better understand the conditions on the ground in member countries and to have access to informed feedback.
In a 2013 CSO survey, a majority (63%) of respondents indicated that, in their view, the IMF has become more open and transparent.1 Most respondents (82%) have had positive/objective experiences of engagement with the IMF and find that great strides have been made in staff’s willingness to listen and discuss ideas. Some CSOs, however, feel that they are consulted too late in the Fund’s decision-making process and, as such, engagement is perceived as a box-checking exercise. Based in part on the results of this survey, as well as the Fund’s extensive interaction with CSOs, the following broad rules of thumb have been identified when interacting with CSOs:
Engage early in the process
Provide a framework for the dialogue and set expectations of the process
When possible, and as appropriate, reflect CSO’s views in Fund country/policy documents
These and other findings will be reflected in a forthcoming update to the Guide for Staff Relations with Civil Society Organizations.
Appendix IX: Internal Communications
COM’s Internal Communications division conducted a survey in early 2014 of all Fund employees with intranet access. The objectives were to:
Gauge attitudes to internal communications at the Fund;
Gather insights into staff’s priorities and interests in this area;
Gather feedback on the 2013 intranet revamp;
Guide the Fund’s internal communications priorities in FY15 and beyond.
The survey, conducted during March-April 2014, was carried out with the support of Insidedge, an external specialist in internal communications, in order to ensure analytical rigor, impartiality, and confidentiality of respondents’ demographic and personnel data. The survey questionnaire included some questions directly comparable with previous surveys. The response rate of 26 percent was judged to be analytically robust.
The survey results showed a high level of overall satisfaction, with about 60 percent of respondents judging that internal communications had improved in the past year. The results indicated a high degree of trust in the accuracy of intranet news: asked about intranet news coverage, 97 percent of respondents considered it somewhat or very “accurate and trustworthy,” and 94 percent considered it somewhat or very “fair and balanced.”
In terms of communications topics, survey responses indicated a high degree of satisfaction with security announcements and information on the HQ1 Renewal Program. The responses also highlighted an appetite for enhanced communications on HR issues; policy issues; and Fund strategy (in which communications by the Management team can play an important role).
The results indicated a broad endorsement of the intranet revamp, although many respondents noted continuing challenges with search functionality (which staff has been working to address). The results also demonstrated an opportunity to enhance users’ intranet experience through continued communications and education on time-saving features that are currently under-utilized by many staff, such as “My Links” shortcuts and the Communications Toolkit.
Appendix X. 2014 Global Opinion Research on the IMF
COM engages external consultants to conduct occasional opinion research on the Fund. The latest such research was conducted online by Globescan (an independent consulting firm) in the first half of 2014 and invited some 58,000 respondents from around the world to respond. A total of 5,244 people participated from across 179 countries—almost evenly divided between advanced and emerging/developing countries. The response rate (about 9 percent) is within the norm (5-10 percent) for such surveys to provide robust results.
Some of the main preliminary findings of the study suggest that the Fund is perceived as:
one of the most effective multilateral organizations
highly relevant to the world economy
effective in providing expertise (high-quality data, research), meeting the Fund’s main goals (e.g. ensuring financial stability), and serving members’ needs (e.g., through high-quality policy advice)
having strong communications (range of products, timeliness, quality, effectiveness)
somewhat less effective on helping countries avoid crises
less effective in promoting jobs and growth
not representative enough of the entire membership or in treating members in an “evenhanded” way
In addition to the preliminary headline findings, additional analysis is being conducted by Globescan, and will be available, along with the underlying data, shortly.
Appendix XI. The New Media Landscape
Blogs are personal internet journals that provide commentary on a particular subject. Blogs allow the writer or “blogger” to easily share views, receive comments, and provide links to useful websites. The growth of blogs has been substantial, with over 150 million blogs in existence. The Fund maintains four blogs: two in English, one in Spanish, and one in Arabic.
Social networking sites are online platforms to build communities and share information. Facebook has more than 1 billion users, though recently many of its youngest users are spending more time on competing services. Finance & Development and the Managing Director both maintain Facebook pages but there is currently no institutional Fund Facebook page. The Fund also has a LinkedIn page which reaches a more professional audience.
Microblogs sites such as Twitter or Sina Weibo in China allow posts of strictly limited character length and/or images. With more than 500 million users, Twitter is commonly used to discuss specific topics such as breaking news stories, which are identified and followed using “hashtag” keywords and to link to other material available on the web. The Fund currently has several Twitter accounts (including for LOEs, the Managing Director, and, resident representatives in a pilot program) and a Sino Weibo account for Chinese language communications.
Instant messaging. While sites like Facebook and Twitter offer possibilities for instant messaging and chat, specialized platforms can be used for virtual meetings and seminars. Google Hangouts have been used to hold discussions with an invited audience.
Online images/videos. Online services for private storage or community/public sharing of images and videos have experienced rapid growth, partly fuelled by the increase in use of smartphones. The Fund currently has accounts for YouTube (videos) and Flickr (photos).
Infographics are visual representations of data, often designed to present information or comparisons in an immediate and compelling way. Infographics are well suited for dissemination through social networks and increasingly used to disseminate Fund messages, including for the 2014 World Economic Outlook.
Podcasts are audio recordings delivered via the Internet, which listeners can subscribe to and download. Weekly podcasts on key economic and financial issues are released. IMF podcasts are widely distributed to radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa, and distributed by UN Radio to their network of partner stations. They are also freely available on iTunes and on the IMF’s Soundcloud page.
For example, Executive Directors were briefed informally in July 2012, December 2013, and in February 2014.
The 2013 Review of the IMF’s Transparency Policy, for instance, notes that two decades of reforms have improved significantly the Fund’s transparency, with over 90 percent of country documents and policy papers now published.
For example, US Fed Chair Janet Yellen in a April 2013 speech on Communications in Monetary Policy noted that: “By the eve of the recent financial crisis, it was established that the FOMC could not simply rely on its record of systematic behavior as a substitute for communication—especially under unusual circumstances,… The financial crisis and its aftermath demanded advances in FOMC communications as great as any that had come before.”
See the 2013 IEO report on the Role of the Fund as a Trusted Advisor, p.10. Established in July 2001, the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) provides objective and independent evaluation on issues related to the IMF. The IEO operates independently of IMF management and at arm’s length from the IMF’s Executive Board. Further information can be found at www.ieo-imf.org.
Sources: McKinsey Global Institute’s Social Economy Report (2012), the World Bank’s Information and Communications for Development Report (2012), and the Radicati group (2013).
The effectiveness of communications should be measured in relation to the guiding principles set out in the communications strategy (see Box 1).
Departmental strategies typically describe the overall communications objectives and main messages, products, target audiences, and potential risks. They also help inform, and ensure consistency with, country-specific strategies by establishing overall objectives and best practices.
In addition to media training provided to mission chiefs and resident representatives, even more tailored communications training is now being provided for resident representatives, focusing on specific country and regional issues, more in-depth media training on different platforms (including social media), and stakeholder engagement. The IEO report on the Role of the Fund as a Trusted Advisor noted that, in many cases, authorities wanted resident representatives to do more outreach (p. 19).
The database, which captures the Fund’s main outreach activities, is updated regularly by departmental representatives and is available on the Fund’s intranet at http://IMF outreach.
Apps for the 2013 Annual and 2014 Spring meetings, and the Finance and Development magazine have recently been launched. Other Apps include IMF eLibrary and data on the Fund’s finances. Developing a mobile-friendly imf.org site is a high priority, and is expected to become available soon. As Apps are being developed it will be important to ensure consistency in their look and branding.
OIA’s 2012 Review of the Fund’s Outreach Strategy and Implementation, p.19. The comparator institutions in the OIA report included the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Bank.
The CSO Fellowship Program—which also includes the participation of youth leaders—offers a seminar during the Annual and Spring Meetings on the work of the Fund, a town hall with the Managing Director of the IMF and the President of the World Bank, a meeting with the Executive Directors of both institutions, bilateral meetings with IMF staff, and access to official seminars. It also offers CSO Fellows an opportunity to organize their own seminars as part of the Civil Society Policy Forum.
The IMF proactively engages with Members of Parliament (MPs) through already established “umbrella” parliamentary organizations, including Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (PN). At the country level, IMF management and staff also reach out to parliamentarians on the committees that have oversight of economic issues.
Unique visits to the top 400 intranet news pages rose by 11 percent to 172,658 in 2013 compared with the previous year, while ratings posted by readers rose by 30 percent and reader comments increased by 23 percent.
The Fund’s Intranet was named among the Top 10 Best Intranets in the World in 2013 by the Nielsen Norman Group.
This guidance encapsulates the N-rules, GAO, and the Staff Code of Conduct as they relate to communications, with GAO 34 setting forth the procedures for clearance of publications and public statements of staff members, pursuant to Rules N-5 and N-6 of the Fund’s Rules and Regulations. It requires that all staff members obtain the approval of their head of department, who shall consult with COM, prior to making public statements or publishing material relating to the policies or activities of the Fund, or to any national political questions. The OIA’s 2012 Review of the Fund’s Outreach Strategy and Implementation found that: “All departments indicated that they follow the requirements of GAO 34 and routinely collaborate with COM in drafting public statements and publishing documents and publications” (see p. 18).
Improvements have already been made in this area, in the context of a Fund working group on Innovative Article IV Reports that made suggestions to make Article IV consultation staff reports more effective and relevant. These were discussed with Executive Directors at an informal Board seminar in June 2010.
These shorter documents are already proving effective for public messaging and have contributed to increasing the overall readership of the Fund’s key publications. For example, for the IMF’s 2013 Spillover report, there were 2,280 visits to the accompanying IMF Survey story, in addition to the 1,396 downloads of the report itself. Further training is also being provided to Fund staff (e.g., on writing blogs).
These measures include compiling country-specific specialized vocabularies to better “localize” translations, and enhancing interaction with LOE users, including Executive Directors, to seek more frequent feedback.
For example, at the March 2014 Board discussion of the World Economic and Market Developments (WEMD), the joint staff presentation explicitly included key external messages of the flagship reports. The recent GPA Board meeting also included a discussion of key public messages in advance of the Managing Director’s curtain-raiser speech for the 2014 Spring Meetings.
See External Report on Interviews with Country Authorities, which was used as input into the 2011 TSR.
In some cases (e.g., staff visits), missions are not followed by an Executive Board meeting.
The majority of concluding statements are used for Article IV missions, but they also have been used for other types of missions (e.g., staff visits).
Some country reports and policy papers are prepared for informal meetings of Executive Directors as a means to engage in a dialogue and receive feedback, before coming back to the Executive Board in further sessions. There are also informal sessions to brief Executive Directors on policy and country issues. No decisions are taken at informal meetings.
Staff level papers include Staff Discussion Notes (SDNs), IMF Working Papers, Departmental papers, Occasional papers, Technical Notes and Manuals, and books. These already include clear attributions and increased efforts will be made to ensure they are applied consistently.
See 2013 IEO report on the Role of the Fund as a Trusted Advisor, p.10.
The latest survey received responses from 1800 web users.
Readership of Fund publications through the imf.org and the eLibrary has been strong. The 2013 survey of over 50,000 users on eLibrary found that the majority access Fund publications and data at least on a monthly basis, and are particularly interested in data, the WEO and Working Papers. Books and occasional papers are accessed less frequently, and users would like to see enhanced search capabilities. These findings are similar to those of the imf.org survey, where the majority of respondents searched for data, the Fund’s flagship publications, and country-specific information. 84 percent of respondents indicated that they could find the information they were looking for.
Additional analysis of the results is still underway.
See the IMF’s Communications Strategy Executive Board Assessment, 2007.
For instance, the Fund is increasingly active on multimedia platforms, such as Flikr and Youtube, and is also exploring, and using selectively, other social media platforms such as Google Plus, Linkedin, and Google Hangout.
iMFdirect was named among the top 40 most influential economic blogs in 2013 by Onalytica, a marketing and communications firm that specializes in influencer identification and relationship management.
For example, at the informal Board meeting in February 2014.
A twitter account was also recently opened for the Fund’s new office in Brussels.
While Twitter was used as the means for engaging in social media in the countries under the pilot program, it may be that other social media platforms are better suited for different countries and regions.
For example, finance ministries and central banks all over the world are now active on Twitter.
OIA’s 2012 Review of the Fund’s Outreach Strategy and Implementation.
COM’s FY15 budget of $35 million is projected to increase to $36.5 million in FY17, while regular staff positions would remain constant at about 86.
The numbers of daily visitors to the intranet homepage range from 2,500 to 3,500, and close to 400 news stories are posted every year.
A March 2006 report by the Task Force on Publication of Fund Documents and Information in Languages Other than English (LOE), also known as the Kashiwagi Report, prepared a comprehensive review of LOE publication at the IMF and made a number of recommendations to strengthen LOE practices in a cost-effective way. A 2006 inter-departmental staff Working Group made specific cost-effective recommendations for strengthening policies and practices on LOE publications, building on the Kashiwagi Report.
Prepared by the Legal Department.
The fact that one organ of the Fund is conferred specific powers and makes the ultimate decision, does not mean that other organs do not play a role in reaching that decision. For example, when the Board of Governors makes a decision on membership, it relies on a recommendation from the Executive Board that the member be offered membership and a particular quota. The Executive Board in turn relies on the determination by the Managing Director, taking into account the views of the international community, that the applicant is a “country” as required under Article II. The situation is the same with delegated powers. While the Executive Board approves use of Fund resources and completes Article IV consultations, its decisions are based on the work done by management and staff in the negotiation of programs and in the Article IV discussions with members.
See First Report of the Procedures Committee (September 28, 1946) as reported in the Report on the First Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors.
There are many press releases by the Executive Board and by the Managing Director on matters within their respective competencies right from the beginning in 1946 and 1947.
The respective roles of the Executive Board and the Managing Director ultimately rest upon the general allocation of responsibilities between the Board and management as set out in the Fund’s Articles. For a discussion on this issue, see Statement by the General Counsel on the Fund’s Framework for Country Contributions—The Roles of the Executive Board and Management.
The 2013 IEO report on the Role of the Fund as a Trusted Advisor.
The interviews were conducted by phone.
Fund Materials in Languages Other Than English (LOE)