IFI governance


Changing the allocation of special drawing rights

3 October 2012

The World Economic and Social Survey 2012, published by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), has called for a change in the special drawing rights (SDRs) allocation formula in order to meet the challenge of raising sufficient funds to meet global development challenges, including the Millennium Development Goals. SDRs are the international reserve asset created by the IMF to supplement member countries’ reserves. The value of SDRs is determined by a basket of four major international currencies, and are exchangeable for other currencies (see Update 65).

The report recognises that “the feasibility of these proposals depends mainly on securing the political agreement needed to implement them. Questions regarding the best ways to allocate the funds need to be addressed at the same time.” It suggests that if “two thirds [of SDRs] were allocated to developing countries, they would receive $160 billion-$270 billion annually”. The proposal would favour developing countries but its implementation is contingent upon securing 85 per cent of the vote of member countries since it would constitute a change to the IMF Articles of Agreement.