IFI governance


Distilling lessons from the ESAF Reviews

15 September 1998

Many NGOs have fed in comments to the IMF about its staff report Distilling the Lessons of the ESAF Reviews.

The IMF Executive Board met in July to discuss the staff’s paper, which followed the internal and external reviews (see previous Bretton Woods Updates) and agree actions to be taken in the light of the reviews. The Board considered how to improve national programme design and ownership and how to enhance Bank-Fund collaboration. Among actions endorsed are:

  1. making Policy Framework Papers and Letters of Intent publicly available;
  2. encouraging Fund staff to engage in more frequent contacts with representatives from civil society;
  3. staff doing more to assess the likelihood of governments implementing IMF programmes, and commitment should be judged through prior actions, which should be sought more frequently;
  4. social impact assessments should be conducted during programme design, and social impacts should be monitored;
  5. relaxation of budget constraints to allow certain countries to use more aid for investment purposes.
  6. testing various structures for enhancing Bank and Fund collaboration in a series of 12-18 month pilot projects.

NGOs are concerned that for all the IMF‘s talk about national programme ownership, the IMF still views ownership as a process of persuading countries to adopt its demands. They also argue that the IMF still prescribes a set menu of reforms rather than a case by case approach and that programme are still not set within the long-term perspective of reducing poverty.

Contact the Bretton Woods Project for more information.