Reforming the IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a special agency of the United Nations with 186 member countries, to which it provides policy and technical assistance and funding. The IMF is a core International Financial Institution (IFI) and an influential funding body which has influence over developing countries’ economic and other policies.

IFIs are the largest source of development finance in the world.  Therefore the decisions they take and the way these decisions are made have a substantial impact on developing countries. In 2008, civil society was asked to present recommendations on IMF Governance Reform and below are some of the results from this process.

Idasa participated in the discussion and gave a number of recommendations.  Overall, Idasa emphasized that the IMF has the responsibility, as well as the opportunity, to help remedy the democratic deficit in the countries where the IMF operates.  At minimum, if the IMF wants to promote good governance, both internally and externally, it should consider the following suggestions:

  • Country representatives / executive directors should operate under a presumption of disclosure, i.e. disclosure should be automatic.
  • The IMF’s Disclosure Policy should incorporate the creation of an independent appeal mechanism to decide on complaints of noncompliance with the policy.
  • The Ombudsman should be a “problem solver” with the ability to make binding decisions.
  • The Ombudsman’s process of appointment should be transparent and participatory.
  • The IMF should be fully subject to international law.  The IMF should surrender any form of immunity.

The key messages that emerged from these civil society consultations were that the IMF should be responsible for its own decisions and actions (accountable), and that its policies and programs must be fully understood by all citizens (transparent).

Read more here.


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