In July, the IMF published a review of its transparency policy, with executive directors and staff lauding their record of 90 per cent of country documents being published. The staff paper linked the transparency policy to having helped “the Fund get is message across during the crisis.” However, the paper also found that the “Fund’s transparency still falls short in some key areas”, noting especially that “doubts persist” about the even-handedness of Fund policy implementation. Lack of even-handedness is the code word used in the IMF to describe staff treating developing countries more harshly than rich countries. Civil society complaints about the Fund’s consultation practices on policy papers were also acknowledged.
However, the board refused to substantively change the policy, rejecting a staff proposal to reduce the time lag for publication of board minutes from five years to three years despite “most directors” supporting the idea. The only proposal the board accepted was for a shortening of the deadline for countries to request deletions of ‘sensitive’ information from IMF country reports, but added the caveat that this “would not establish a binding deadline”. Finally the board asked the staff to “strengthen monitoring” related to even-handedness, and “urged staff to continue to explore ways to reinforce candor and evenhandedness”.