The IMF‘s Executive Board agreed to improve IMF transparency in September, including writing documents in clearer language and making them available in other languages than English. It has been agreed that:
- most Article IV surveillance documents and related public information notices can be made public on a voluntary basis, except Financial System Stability Assessments on which a decision will be made at the end of the year;
- programme and staff documents relating to the use of Fund resources, such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and Joint Staff Assessments, will be presumed to be public, except Use of Fund Resources Staff Reports (these assess whether a programme is in fact needed and what reforms may be necessary), which can be published on a voluntary basis;
- some staff mission documents can also be published on a voluntary basis; and
- publication of Board papers on policy documents and related Public Information Notices will depend on whether Board discussions have reached completion or whether their publication is deemed useful.
These moves are welcome although the Bretton Woods Project is concerned that publication of internal evaluations has not been made mandatory, nor are staff mission reports assessing progress with programme implementation to be made available.
The Project is also concerned that the staff do not produce “programme completion reports”, which assess whether programmes have achieved their objectives and whether conditions were implemented (or why programmes have broken down). The staff argue that assessment is automatically carried out when a new programme is formulated. However, this may not be the case if there is delay in agreeing a new programme, and consistency and quality of analysis is not assured.