Archived - Report on Operations Under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act 2004 : 3
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2004 Communiqués of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the IMF
April 24, 2004
1. The International Monetary and Financial Committee held its ninth meeting in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2004 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.
The Global Economy and Financial Markets—Sustaining the Recovery
2. The Committee welcomes the strengthening of the global economic recovery since its meeting last September. Industrial production and global trade have picked up sharply, and improved prospects in most regions point to stronger global growth going forward. However, a number of risks remain. These arise from large global imbalances, medium-term fiscal challenges in many countries, and the implications of the eventual transition to a higher interest rate environment. Continuing geopolitical uncertainties and developments in oil markets also remain important concerns.
3. The priority now is to implement the macroeconomic and structural policy measures that will help achieve a robust, balanced, and sustainable recovery. Structural reforms are essential to improve growth potential. Priority should be given to medium-term fiscal consolidation; reforms of pension and health care systems; better functioning labor and product markets; and reducing vulnerabilities in banking and corporate sectors. The Committee calls on all countries and regions to play their part and cooperate in addressing global imbalances.
4. The economy of the United States is expanding briskly, and Japan's economy continues to recover. The recovery in the euro area so far is more subdued. Monetary policy in advanced economies will need to remain consistent with price stability and support the recovery; in many countries where growth is strengthening, interest rates will over time need to rise to more neutral levels; and it will be important to communicate policy intentions clearly. The Committee encourages countries to take advantage of the current environment to strengthen the foundations for sustainable growth. Priorities for action include: medium-term fiscal consolidation in the United States; acceleration of structural reforms in the euro area; and continued banking and corporate reforms in Japan. Fiscal consolidation is also needed in the euro area and Japan.
5. The Committee is encouraged by the strong performance and recovery in many emerging market and developing countries, which has been aided by improved fundamentals and a rebound in private capital flows. Countries should continue to use the opportunity provided by the favorable financial market environment to strengthen growth prospects and reduce vulnerabilities. This will require steps to further strengthen fiscal positions and improve the structure and sustainability of debt, sustained and broad-ranging structural reforms, and, in some emerging market countries, a move toward more exchange rate flexibility as appropriate. The Committee welcomes the improvement in Argentina's macroeconomic performance, and calls on the government to continue to push ahead with full implementation of the policies and provisions of its economic recovery program aimed at strengthening growth, including negotiations aimed at reaching a sustainable debt restructuring through a collaborative agreement with creditors.
6. Economic performance in many low-income countries continues to improve. Nevertheless, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out in the UN Millennium Declaration remain at risk, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and much remains to be done by all partners in the global effort to deliver them. The Committee underscores that stronger domestic institutions, sound economic policies, trade integration, and less burdensome regulation will be needed to underpin faster growth and poverty reduction. It welcomes the recent steps taken through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union to improve governance and eradicate corruption. It calls on the international community to provide additional and coordinated assistance—including technical assistance, policy advice, increased and more effective aid including grants, debt relief, and greater access to industrial country markets.
7. The Committee received the report of Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director-General of the World Trade Organization. It reiterates the critical importance of open markets for supporting broad-based global economic growth and prosperity. The Committee calls for constructive and determined efforts by all countries to achieve early progress with the Doha Round, focusing on the issues of importance to all countries of open markets and fair access, and the reduction of trade-distorting subsidies in all areas, notably in agriculture. A successful completion of the round is a shared responsibility, important for all countries, particularly developing countries. The Committee supports the IMF's role in advocating trade liberalization and helping members to take all the necessary actions to gain full advantage of the opportunities provided by more open trade. It welcomes the IMF's decision to establish a Trade Integration Mechanism, designed as a temporary policy to address concerns associated with the current round of multilateral trade negotiations.
Crisis Prevention and IMF Surveillance Across the Membership: Priorities, Tools, and Modalities
8. Effective and evenhanded IMF surveillance remains an essential element of the international community's efforts to enhance crisis prevention, promote financial stability, and foster high and sustainable growth. The Committee especially welcomes the increased focus of surveillance on: financial sector and capital market issues—including the work from the Financial Sector Assessment Program, Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes, and Offshore Financial Center assessments; economic developments and policies in countries of systemic or regional importance; early identification of potential vulnerabilities; and institutional foundations of growth. It also welcomes the work already underway and the proposed pilots on the treatment of public investment in IMF advice and arrangements with a view to protecting infrastructure investment, consistent with macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability.
9. The Committee welcomes efforts to bring a fresh perspective to the surveillance of program countries, and the decisions taken to increase the transparency of surveillance. It calls for a strengthening of efforts to ensure the objectivity of surveillance (including through debt sustainability analysis), and requests the IMF to explore ways to support countries' own economic efforts when the IMF is not providing financial assistance. The Committee looks forward to the forthcoming biennial review of surveillance, which should provide a thorough assessment and candid review of surveillance, and propose ways to enhance its focus, quality, persuasiveness, impact, and overall effectiveness.
10. The Committee welcomes the greater focus on vulnerabilities and key issues for surveillance identified at its meeting in Dubai: improving debt sustainability; reducing balance sheet vulnerabilities; and making progress on structural reform and sustainable medium-term fiscal frameworks. It agrees that further progress in these areas, as well as with policies to facilitate the adjustment of global imbalances, remain key priorities for surveillance in the coming year. Surveillance will also need to pay due attention to relevant political risks and to vulnerabilities to exchange rate and interest rate movements.
11. The Committee looks forward to further work on ways to reduce vulnerabilities and provide support for members with strong policies in dealing with external financial developments. It looks forward to the upcoming discussion of precautionary arrangements and their potential to assist members’ own efforts to prevent balance of payments crises and as a possible exit strategy from IMF financial support.
12. The Committee welcomes the inclusion by an increasing number of countries of collective action clauses (CACs) in their international sovereign bonds and the convergence toward a market standard. It calls on the IMF to continue to promote progress in this area. The Committee also encourages sovereign debtors and private creditors to continue their work on a voluntary Code of Conduct, and looks forward to reviewing further work on issues of general relevance to the orderly resolution of financial crises. The Committee takes note of the Executive Board’s ongoing review of the framework, and application of procedures, for exceptional access to IMF resources. It calls on the IMF to continue reviewing implementation of its lending into arrears policy.
Enhancing IMF Support to Low-Income Members: Instruments and Financing; IMF-World Bank Collaboration; and Promoting Debt Sustainability
13. The Committee reiterates that the IMF—in partnership with multilateral development banks and donors—has an important role to play in assisting its low-income members with effective policy advice, financing, and technical assistance to achieve high and sustained growth and poverty reduction. It welcomes the progress on better tailoring the IMF’s assistance to the differing financing and policy needs of low-income countries. The Committee looks forward to further work on a strengthened process of surveillance for those countries where the IMF is not providing financing, with a view toward enhancing the signaling role of surveillance and promoting country ownership. It underscores the importance of improving the macroeconomic design of PRGF-supported programs, including the social impact. The Committee underscores the importance of maintaining an adequate PRGF financing capacity. In order to meet future needs, it calls for further discussions on the financing of a self-sustained PRGF. The Committee welcomes that some countries have indicated a willingness to provide additional resources.
14. The Committee reiterates that the Monterrey Consensus and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach provide the appropriate framework for the IMF’s engagement with low-income countries and its participation in global efforts toward achieving the MDGs. It encourages a further sharpening of the focus of PRSPs and PRGF-supported programs to enhance their linkage to the MDGs and their operational usefulness for policy choices and donor coordination. The first Global Monitoring Report on meeting the MDGs highlights the significant remaining challenges. The Committee expresses concern that on current trends, most MDGs will not be met without an increase in the level and effectiveness of financial resources in support of strong policies. It looks forward to reviewing at its next meeting the ongoing joint work with the World Bank on aid effectiveness, absorptive capacity, results-based measurement mechanisms, and various policy options and financing mechanisms, such as an international financing facility and other options. In this regard, it welcomes the consultation with emerging markets and developing countries. The Committee welcomes the recent review of IMF-World Bank collaboration, and supports the plans for improved coordination.
15. The Committee welcomes the progress in providing debt relief under the enhanced HIPC Initiative, with a further five countries reaching their completion point since the Annual Meetings. It looks forward to continued further progress toward full implementation of the Initiative, and takes note of the work being undertaken on options for addressing the sunset clause. The Committee urges all creditors that have not yet done so to deliver debt relief in full. It welcomes the development by the IMF and the World Bank of a debt sustainability framework for low-income countries, and looks forward to further work to make it operational.
16. The Committee underscores the importance of IMF technical assistance in supporting members’ efforts to build institutional capacities and implement sound economic policies and financial systems, which will lay the foundations for sustained growth and poverty reduction.
17. The Committee underscores the importance of further determined action by the international community to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It welcomes the significant progress that has been made under the 12-month IMF/World Bank pilot program of AML/CFT assessments. The Committee endorses the recent decision by the Executive Board to make the scope of the IMF’s involvement in AML/CFT assessments comprehensive and a regular part of the IMF’s work. It encourages all international organizations and bodies to work together closely in conducting assessments and delivering critically needed technical assistance. The Committee urges all members to adopt and implement the revised FATF 40 + 8 Recommendations as the accepted international standard.
18. The IMF’s effectiveness and enhanced credibility as a cooperative institution also depends on all members having appropriate voice and representation. Efforts should continue to be made to enhance the capacity of developing and transition countries to participate more effectively in IMF decision-making. The Committee calls on the Executive Board to continue its work on IMF quotas, voice and representation, and looks forward to a report on progress at its next meeting. The Committee recommends completion of the ratification of the Fourth Amendment.
19. The IMF’s liquidity is adequate to meet the near-term projected needs of its members although continued monitoring will be important.
20. The Committee welcomes the high-quality work of the Independent Evaluation Office, and looks forward to its reports on PRSP/PRGFs, technical assistance, and the role of the IMF in Argentina from 1991 to 2002.
21. The Committee pays tribute to Mr. Horst Köhler for his leadership of the International Monetary Fund as Managing Director during the past four years. In the face of a difficult world economic situation and unprecedented challenges for the international community, Mr. Köhler has worked tirelessly to promote close international cooperation so that all can share in the benefits of globalization. He has strengthened the IMF’s role in working for the stability of the international financial system, has helped the IMF lead the international effort to assist low-income countries, and has instilled a listening and learning culture in the IMF that will change the way in which the IMF interacts with members and civil society.
22. The Committee also acknowledges the contribution of Mr. Jacques J. Polak through 57 years of service to the IMF.
23. The next meeting of the IMFC will be held in Washington, D.C. on October 2, 2004.
October 2, 2004
1. The International Monetary and Financial Committee held its tenth meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 2, 2004, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom. The Committee welcomes Mr. Rodrigo de Rato as the new Managing Director, and looks forward to working closely with him on furthering the goals of global stability and prosperity.
The Global Economy and Financial Markets—Outlook, Risks, and Policy Responses
2. The Committee welcomes the strengthening and broadening of global economic growth in 2004, supported by a strong upturn in global trade, supportive policies, and favorable financial market conditions. The global expansion is expected to continue at a solid pace provided all countries implement policies and reforms that will promote robust, balanced, and sustainable growth. The Committee notes that downside risks to the recovery have recently increased, stemming in part from the increase and volatility in oil prices. These reflect geopolitical tensions, strong global demand, and market dynamics. The IMF stands ready to assist members that may be adversely affected.
3. The Committee reiterates the desirability of stability in oil markets and prices which are consistent with lasting global prosperity. To this end, it welcomes the decisions by oil-producing countries to continue to expand production and urges further measures to increase capacity, and calls on oil-consuming countries to take measures to promote energy sustainability and efficiency. The Committee also stresses the importance of dialogue between consumers and producers, and of further progress to improve oil market information and transparency.
4. The strength of the global recovery has set the stage for a gradual return to more neutral monetary policies, with the desirable pace and timing of tightening varying across countries, depending on cyclical positions. Continued good communication of policy intentions will be essential to facilitate orderly adjustment in financial markets to higher interest rates, where needed. Inflation remains low and risks to price stability remain moderate. However, policymakers should be ready to contain any inflationary pressures, including from higher commodity prices, thereby ensuring noninflationary growth.
5. All countries should take advantage of the recovery to address medium-term vulnerabilities and challenges with renewed commitment. The Committee considers that bold reforms on a wide front are needed to strengthen fiscal positions, remove structural impediments to growth, support the correction of global imbalances, reduce financial and corporate vulnerabilities, and accelerate poverty reduction.
6. Fiscal consolidation remains a key priority in many countries. In the advanced economies, credible medium-term fiscal frameworks should be based on well-defined policies, and ensure progress on consolidation particularly in good times. Reforms of pension and health care systems will also be critical to address the fiscal pressures from population aging. Although many emerging market countries are making good progress in improving the structure of public debt and strengthening fiscal positions, further efforts are needed to bring public debt down to levels that will build adequate resilience to shocks. Broad tax bases, effective and transparent public expenditure management, and structural measures to boost growth will be important to improve debt sustainability and meet social and infrastructure spending priorities.
7. Structural reforms remain crucial to strengthen the foundations for sustained growth. Most advanced economies should step up their efforts to increase economic efficiency and flexibility to take full advantage of the opportunities from rapid technological change and global integration. Boosting sustainable growth and increasing economic resilience across emerging market countries, depending on country circumstances, will involve: completing financial and corporate sector reforms; strengthening banking supervision and developing domestic capital markets; improving the investment climate; and promoting economic diversification. The Committee notes the importance of addressing the economic implications of demographic changes. Depending on country circumstances, policies will need to focus on boosting labor supply, increasing public and private savings, and lifting productivity.
8. Policies to support an orderly resolution of global imbalances are a shared responsibility, and key to reinforcing the basis for more balanced and sustainable growth. The Committee underscores the importance of progress on medium-term fiscal consolidation in the United States, continued structural reforms to boost growth in Europe and Japan, and, in emerging Asia, steps toward greater exchange rate flexibility, supported by continued financial sector reform, as appropriate. Also, improving information and transparency in markets, including the role of hedge funds, would help strengthen market surveillance. The Committee welcomes the recent improvement in Argentina’s fiscal position since 2002. The Committee supports that Argentina decisively addresses all the outstanding structural issues in their program, completes a comprehensive and sustainable debt restructuring, and ensures a sustainable medium-term fiscal framework. We welcome the efforts by Argentina toward completing a comprehensive and sustainable debt restructuring and hope for an expeditious conclusion to the process.
9. The Committee emphasizes that in the coming months IMF surveillance should focus on a number of key issues, including: the impact of higher oil prices, especially on the most vulnerable; the sustainability of medium-term fiscal positions and debt in many members; and managing the policy response to potential inflationary pressures.
10. The Committee calls on all partners to strengthen their commitment to the global effort to reduce poverty. The recent strong growth in most low-income countries is welcome, but the Committee is concerned that in many cases, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, growth remains inadequate for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The key challenge for these countries—as recognized in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development—is to press ahead with efforts to further strengthen institutions and governance, to build on the macroeconomic stabilization that has been achieved. The international community needs to support these efforts with more open markets for these countries’ exports, increased and better-coordinated aid and technical assistance, further debt relief, and sound policy advice.
11. An open and inclusive multilateral trading system is central to global growth and economic development, especially for developing countries. The Doha Round offers a unique opportunity for substantial progress toward this objective, and the Committee is encouraged by the recent decisions on negotiating frameworks. We endorse the "July Package" and urge all parties to work toward concrete advances in liberalizing trade, strengthening multilateral trade rules, and reducing trade-distorting subsidies, notably in agriculture. To achieve ambitious trade liberalization will require the full commitment of all parties, in particular strong leadership from the major trading nations and readiness of all countries to embrace the opportunities provided by more open trade. The Committee supports the IMF’s continued role in advocating trade liberalization and assisting members, including through the Trade Integration Mechanism.
Making Surveillance More Effective and Strengthening Crisis Prevention
12. Effective and evenhanded IMF surveillance across the whole membership is central to promoting high and sustainable growth in member countries and to crisis prevention. The increasing interdependence of the membership reinforces the importance of effective surveillance of systemically-important countries and capital markets. The Committee welcomes the progress made in strengthening surveillance, and the steps identified during the recent biennial surveillance review to enhance its overall effectiveness. A focus on implementation is now needed. The Committee calls upon the IMF to continue its efforts to strengthen its economic analysis and policy advice; systematically evaluate the appropriateness of that advice; complement multilateral and bilateral surveillance with a focus on regional issues; improve the quality of the policy dialogue with members (including through increased cross-country analysis where relevant); strengthen communications to markets and the public of the IMF’s policy messages while preserving its role as a candid and confidential advisor; and develop a methodology for better assessing the effectiveness of surveillance.
13. Toward meeting these objectives, the achievement of which should be assessed in the next surveillance review, the Committee agrees that priority should be given to sharpening the focus of Article IV consultations, including a deepening of the discussion of exchange rate issues; enhancing financial sector surveillance; and better integrating debt sustainability analysis and regional and global spillovers into country surveillance. Further progress in reducing balance sheet vulnerabilities, and further work on surveillance in low-income countries will also be monitored in the next review of surveillance.
14. Progress in bringing a fresh perspective to the surveillance of program countries should be kept under review, and lessons learned from ex-post assessments of program performance should be carefully implemented. It is important to assess the extent to which earlier IMF advice was acted on by countries, taking account of the countries’ views. The Committee looks forward to the forthcoming reviews of the standards and codes initiative and the Financial Sector Assessment Program, reflecting the increasing importance of financial system stability. The Committee calls for a strengthening of efforts to ensure the objectivity of surveillance, including through enhanced debt sustainability analysis covering all member countries.
15. The Committee welcomes consideration of whether there are gaps in the IMF’s range of instruments and policies. It notes the preliminary discussions of possible new modalities for high-frequency policy monitoring and delivering signals on the strength of a member’s economic policies outside the context of an IMF financial arrangement. The Committee notes the role that existing precautionary IMF instruments are playing in signaling the strength of members’ policies; and the possible role for a precautionary PRGF, and precautionary and other financing instruments designed to prevent the emergence or spread of capital account crises. It calls for further work on these proposals, including the usefulness and potential demand, in close consultation with potential users, donors, and creditors, and calls for a report at its next meeting.
16. The Committee welcomes the increased adoption of collective action clauses (CACs) in international sovereign bonds, and calls on the IMF to continue to promote progress in this area. It notes recent initiatives aimed at achieving a broad consensus between sovereign issuers and their creditors on voluntary principles for emerging markets’ crisis management and debt restructuring. The Committee looks forward to reviewing further work on general issues of relevance to the orderly resolution of financial crises, including implementation of the IMF’s lending into arrears policy.
Enhancing International Support for Low-Income Members
17. The Committee supports the ongoing work to clarify and strengthen the IMF’s role in low-income countries, which should be based on country ownership and close cooperation with other multilateral institutions and bilateral donors. The IMF has an important role in supporting—through policy advice, capacity building, and financial assistance, including debt relief—low-income countries’ efforts to achieve the macroeconomic stability and high growth needed to make progress toward the MDGs. The Committee looks forward to further work on the financing and modalities of the IMF’s engagement with low-income members, including the financing of the PRGF after 2006 to maintain adequate capacity to meet future needs, instruments to help members face shocks, and ways to improve monitoring and signaling. The Committee notes the joint report of the IMF and the World Bank on aid effectiveness and financing modalities. It encourages further analysis by the World Bank and IMF of aid effectiveness, absorptive capacity, results-based measurement mechanisms, and financing modalities and mechanisms to augment aid flows, such as the International Finance Facility, global taxes, and other innovative mechanisms, and looks forward to a further report.
18. The Committee supports continued efforts to strengthen the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) approach and IMF support to low-income countries under the PRGF. It welcomes the report of the Independent Evaluation Office on the PRSP/PRGF, and the work underway to follow up on its recommendations. To support implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) process should be improved and become better integrated into each country’s domestic policy-making processes, and international assistance, including from the IMF, should become more fully coordinated with domestic economic priorities. The Committee looks forward to the work on improving the role of the IMF in the PRS process, and on the design of policy programs supported by the PRGF. It calls for increased incorporation of poverty and social impact analysis into PRGF-supported programs, and for more extensive analyses of the sources of and obstacles to growth, and the linkages between poverty reduction and economic growth.
19. The Committee welcomes the progress in providing debt relief under the HIPC Initiative, which has been extended for two more years, encourages eligible countries to take the necessary actions to benefit from the Initiative, and urges full creditor participation. The Committee supports the IMF’s and the World Bank’s work on a single framework to assist low-income countries’ efforts to achieve and maintain robust debt sustainability while pursuing their development objectives. It looks forward to further consideration of outstanding issues in the proposed framework for debt sustainability, before it is made fully operational, and of further debt relief, including its financing.
20. The IMF’s effectiveness and credibility as a cooperative institution depend on all members having appropriate voice and full participation in its processes. The Committee takes note of the IMF Executive Board’s status report regarding work on quotas, voice, and representation. It encourages the Board to consider further issues of voice, quotas, and participation, noting as the Board agreed, that progress will require broad consensus among the shareholders. The Committee recommends completion of the ratification of the Fourth Amendment.
21. The IMF’s liquidity is adequate to meet the near-term projected needs of its members, although continued monitoring will be important.
22. The Committee expresses its appreciation of the work of Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia as first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO). It looks forward to continued high-quality reports by the IEO.
23. The 60th anniversary of the IMF is a timely opportunity to reflect on the forces that will help shape the institution’s priorities going forward. The Committee welcomes the preliminary consideration by the Executive Board of the work on the IMF’s strategic direction initiated by the Managing Director, and looks forward to a discussion at its next meeting. It also welcomes the continuing progress in reforming the IMF’s budgetary framework.
24. The next meeting of the IMFC will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 16, 2005.
2004 Communiqués of the Development Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and IMF
April 25, 2004
1. The strategies and decisions agreed in Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg set out a framework for fighting poverty and achieving the internationally agreed goals of the Millennium Declaration, based on countries pursuing sound policies and good governance, combined with stronger international cooperation and support. We met today to assess progress based on the first Global Monitoring Report. We welcomed the report which provides a good basis for our yearly review. Building on this work, future reports should focus on the agenda of monitorable actions in the identified priority areas in order to reinforce accountabilities and enhance cooperation amongst all development partners.
2. We recognize that there has been progress on many fronts, including significant reforms undertaken by developing countries and important gains in reducing income poverty. However, we are very concerned that, based on current trends, most Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be met by most developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. All parties, developing and developed countries and the international institutions, must urgently enhance concerted action to accelerate progress towards these goals.
3. Sustainable and inclusive growth needs to be accelerated in many developing countries, in particular through: improving the enabling climate for private sector activity; strengthening reforms, capacity and results focus in public institutions and improving the quality of governance; scaling up effective investment in infrastructure; and ensuring access to healthcare, education and other basic social services and fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
4. Specific priorities must be determined at the country level in the context of country-owned and monitored development strategies, as reflected in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in the case of low-income countries and respective national strategy frameworks in middle-income countries (MICs). We look forward to reviewing progress on the Bank’s efforts to enhance its support for development in MICs at a future meeting. Given the centrality of faster and more equitable economic growth for making greater progress on the MDGs, we welcomed the efforts of the Bank to support stronger investment climates in developing countries and we intend to discuss improving the climate for private sector activity at our next meeting. As we have noted previously, infrastructure investment within the right policy environment makes a fundamental contribution to economic growth and achievement of the MDGs. The implementation of the infrastructure action plan of the Bank has been reviewed by the Board of Directors and we look forward to a discussion on progress at our next meeting.
5. Developed countries must meet their commitments to help accelerate progress. Sustaining stable, balanced and strong growth in the global economy is a prerequisite. Ensuring a successful, pro-development, and timely outcome to the Doha Development Agenda is critical to global growth and the economic prospects of developing countries. We stressed our commitment to a constructive and determined effort to move the multilateral trade agenda forward. We again stressed that it is essential for developed countries to do more to liberalize their markets and eliminate trade distorting subsidies, including in the areas of agriculture, textiles and clothing, which are of particular importance for developing countries. At the same time, we emphasized the importance of trade facilitation and liberalization efforts in developing countries. We welcomed the Bank’s continuing efforts to promote trade facilitation and the Integrated Framework, as well as the IMF’s recently adopted Trade Integration Mechanism, which will provide additional support and assurances to developing countries as they integrate further into the global trading system. We also urged continued efforts to tailor Bank lending activities to support capacity building and country-owned trade initiatives. We noted the growing importance of migration, and with it, workers’ remittances and called for further work to improve understanding of their determinants and to create a supportive environment to enhance their development impact.
6. More aid is also required. It should be predictable, timely, long-term and more effective. We urged developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of GNP as ODA. A substantial and timely agreement on the funding of IDA 14 will be a critical affirmation of our commitment to mobilize the resources for our support for strong, results-oriented action by partners in the poorest countries.
7. We noted a progress report on financing modalities and we look forward to a report at our next meeting on aid effectiveness, absorptive capacity, results-based measurement mechanisms and elaboration of policy options and financing mechanisms for mobilizing additional resources (including examining an international finance facility, global taxation and other proposals). More aid can only be sustained by showing positive results. This requires a strengthened effort to implement the Declaration of the Rome High Level Forum on Harmonization and the Core Principles of Marrakech including strengthening country capacity to manage for results. We support the work by the OECD/DAC, jointly with development partners, to address the continuing divide between agreed global policies and detailed operational procedures and country-level practices.
8. We also recalled that the IFIs are accountable for their contribution to implementing the Monterrey consensus. Key areas for action include harmonization, managing for results, and responsiveness to clients. We urged them to increase their efforts to identify and meet needs of client countries. Taking into account fiscal constraints facing clients, we encouraged the Bank to consider new innovative products, improve internal efficiencies and simplify the application of lending policies in order to reduce the costs of doing business while respecting fiduciary and safeguard standards.
9. In April 2002, we endorsed the plan to help make primary education a reality for all children by 2015 and achieve gender equality in primary and secondary education by 2005. The Fast Track Initiative (FTI) was designed to address the data, policy, capacity and resource gaps that constrain progress in achieving Education For All. Its implementation has highlighted the potential as well as the challenges associated with scaling up the MDG agenda more generally and in particular, the need for credible, effective and predictable financing in support of adequate policies and programs. The experience of FTI so far has demonstrated that it should be anchored in countries’ Poverty Reduction Strategies if it is to be effective. We urged all countries, developed and developing, to take the additional steps required to make this initiative succeed and requested the Bank Board to continue to monitor progress.
10. We also reviewed implementation of the HIPC Initiative and recalled the importance of full creditor participation for its success. Thirteen countries have reached the completion point and another 14 are between decision and completion point. However, 11 countries, several of which are affected by conflict and some with protracted arrears, are either yet to reach the decision point or to begin establishing a track record under a Fund-supported program. We urged the Bank and the Fund to help facilitate these countries’ rapid access to HIPC debt relief when their outstanding issues are addressed. We also urged that careful consideration be given to options to deal with the HIPC sunset clause which is scheduled to take effect end-2004.
11. We broadly supported the principles underlying the proposed framework for debt sustainability in low-income countries while acknowledging that the modalities and operational implications remained to be clarified. We stressed the need for a consistent and coordinated approach among borrowers, creditors and donors, to ensure that resources to low-income countries are provided on appropriate terms, including the degree of concessionality and level of grant financing. This must build on full implementation of the HIPC initiative. We also welcomed work by the Fund and the Bank on measures and instruments to assist low-income countries deal with exogenous shocks and urged them to accelerate their work, in close collaboration, for early consideration by the Boards.
12. Strengthening the voice and participation of developing and transition countries in the work and decision making of the Bretton Woods institutions remains a major challenge. We welcomed the further progress, particularly on capacity building, made since our last meeting, including the establishment of an Analytical Trust Fund to support the African Chairs and a secondment program at the Bank. We look forward to receiving reports from our Boards on all aspects of this issue and to further discussion at the 2004 Annual Meeting.
13. The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 2004.
October 2, 2004
1. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bretton Woods Institutions and approach the fifth anniversary of the U.N. Millennium Declaration, we recommit ourselves to supporting efforts by developing countries to pursue sustainable growth, sound macroeconomic policies, debt sustainability, open trade, job creation, poverty reduction and good governance. These actions need to be reinforced by stronger international action and partnerships, including reforming trade, more and more effective aid and stronger private flows in order to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals. We remain concerned that most MDGs will not be met by most developing countries.
2. Global economic growth is strong, supported by exceptionally robust growth in developing countries, as the world benefits from the significant reforms undertaken by many countries over recent years. Private sector driven growth resulting in new jobs and higher tax revenues, which can be used to finance poverty-reducing public expenditures, is critical to the success of country-led efforts to reduce global poverty. Success in the Doha Development Agenda can only complement these developments and we stress the importance of translating the recently agreed WTO frameworks into tangible results. We urge all countries, developing and developed, to participate fully in the negotiations and urge the IMF and World Bank to continue to support work to this end, and to help developing countries assess the impact and to provide additional support to address potential adjustment costs.
3. To help developing countries take advantage of the new opportunities that can arise from a better economic setting and to strengthen the foundations for economic growth, we welcome the renewed focus being given by the World Bank Group to private sector development, improving the investment climate and strengthening financial sectors, and urge the Bank to continue to translate this into country operations. Complementing macroeconomic stability, capacity building and a greater results focus in public services and institutions and improving the quality of governance, successful private sector investment, social development as well as gender equality are key to accelerating pro-poor growth. We note the important role played by remittances in this context. We urge the Bank to intensify its analytical work on the potential sources of growth and ways to mobilize them and to help countries build the relevant analytical capacity.
4. Strengthening the foundations for growth will also critically depend on addressing large infrastructure needs in many countries. We welcome the Bank Group’s plans to scale-up activities in implementing the Infrastructure Action Plan and urge accelerated support of country efforts in accordance with the Bank’s safeguards. We emphasized the importance of addressing maintenance and other costs to ensure the sustainability of infrastructure investments. We also stressed the need to pursue—together with the IMF—efforts to increase fiscal space for public infrastructure investments within limits of fiscal prudence and debt sustainability. We also endorse further Bank engagement to meet infrastructure needs at the regional and sub-sovereign levels, enhancing application of risk mitigation instruments, and continuing efforts to offer a more complete and seamless client product line across the World Bank Group; accordingly, we urge the Bank to present options to its Board to move this agenda forward concretely. These actions will be particularly important in enhancing the Bank’s support for development in middle-income countries, as well as in low-income countries.
5. These and other actions required to lay the basis for sustained stronger growth are critical to our ability to achieve the MDGs, as is progress in providing effective health systems (in particular tackling HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases), education for all and other basic social services. We noted the special needs of low-income countries under stress (LICUS), where technical assistance is especially necessary to strengthen weak policies and institutions. We look forward to reviewing progress in all these areas in the second Global Monitoring Report at our next meeting.
6. We agree that reform efforts in developing countries must be supported by improved aid effectiveness, increased aid and other financial flows, and coherent policies to achieve development results. The international community has agreed to harmonize and align their support behind country-owned development strategies, streamline the use of conditionality, increase the focus on results, and use country systems where appropriate. We are committed to using the Second High-Level Forum on Harmonization in Paris next spring to translate these agreements into clear and specific commitments and timetables and call for the development of indicators and benchmarks to monitor the participation of all partners in this effort at the country level.
7. We must also enhance our efforts to help developing countries build capacity and address absorptive capacity constraints. We welcome the progress achieved to date in implementing the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) process as indicated in recent independent evaluations. We note the important challenges that remain in implementing the approach fully and effectively both at the country level and in the Bank and Fund and among other development partners, and welcome the revisions to the PRS architecture to help achieve this. One area which deserves closer attention in next year’s PRS report is the continued efforts by the Bank and Fund to streamline their aggregate conditionality. We also call on the Bank to review its own policy and practice on conditionality and report at our meeting in Fall 2005.
8. The provision of additional, predictable and timely financial assistance to countries committed to sound policies, remains a critical issue, particularly for sub-Saharan Africa. We urge those donors, who have not yet done so, to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of GNP as ODA. We welcome the progress announced by some countries, including, in some cases, the setting of clear timetables to achieve this objective. We also reaffirm our commitment to a substantial and timely replenishment of IDA, recognizing the critical timetable to reach the MDGs.
9. To address the needs for additional stable and predictable financing to help developing countries undertake ambitious investment plans to meet the MDGs and to finance associated recurrent costs where appropriate, we reviewed proposals to complement increased aid flows and commitments with innovative mechanisms. We welcomed the World Bank and IMF analysis of these options, notably the International Finance Facility, global taxes and voluntary contributions, including the analysis of their technical feasibility. We also took note of the international meeting on Action Against Hunger and Poverty convened by President Lula on September 20th 2004 in New York. We ask the Bank and the Fund to continue their work and report at the next meeting on how to take such options forward. We also encourage the Bank to explore the potential for increasing leverage through blending aid with other flows, including MDB lending.
10. Debt sustainability is an essential underpinning for growth. We reviewed progress under the enhanced HIPC Initiative, welcomed the recent decision to extend the sunset clause and urged full creditor participation. We welcome the development of a forward-looking debt sustainability framework that aims to help low-income countries manage their borrowings and avoid a buildup of unsustainable debt, while pursuing the MDGs. We stressed the need to provide resources to low-income countries on appropriate terms, including the degree of concessionality and level of grant financing. We look forward to further work on the remaining issues by the Bank and the Fund to make the framework operational as soon as possible. We underscore the need for joint Bank/Fund Debt Sustainability Analyses (DSAs) (based on a clear division of labor) to provide countries, and their development partners, with clear and coherent analysis and guidance. We also urge the Bank and the Fund to accelerate their work on means to help mitigate the impact of exogenous shocks on low-income countries and to report to their Boards at an early date.
11. We also reviewed reports from our Boards with respect to their work on enhancing the voice and participation of developing and transition countries in our institutions. This work takes place within a broader context of reflections on how best to address governance issues within the international community. We welcomed the progress to date in making Bank and Fund operations more responsive to borrowers’ needs. We urge the Boards to cooperate closely together in exploring all relevant options and to strive to achieve consensus amongst all members. We look forward to receiving a report regarding the feasibility of these options, to allow us to address the necessary political decisions at our next meeting.
12. The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Washington, D.C., on April 17, 2005.
1 In this document "World Bank" and "Bank" refer to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). "World Bank Group" and "Bank Group" refer to the broader group of World Bank institutions that includes the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). [Return]
2 The special drawing right (SDR) is an international reserve asset created by the IMF and allocated periodically to its members as a supplement to their foreign currency and gold reserves. The SDR is also the standard unit of account for the IMF’s operations. It represents a weighted basket of four major currencies: the US dollar, the Japanese yen, the pound sterling and the euro. At the end of 2004 the exchange rate was SDR 1 = C$1.87. [Return]
5 PRSPs were originally conceived as a comprehensive policy mechanism to link heavily indebted poor country debt relief more closely with poverty reduction initiatives. They are rapidly evolving into the primary statement of the development strategy of the world’s poorest countries. [Return]
6 The CDF supports country ownership by better integrating the social, environmental and governance aspects of development with financial and structural considerations. Under the CDF, the Bank and other development players take a longer-term view of development and work in closer partnership with developing countries, civil society and the private sector in supporting country-led development programs. The CDF also recognizes the need for countries to develop ownership of their development agendas, the need for a strong focus on development results, and the need for greater coordination and partnership among all development sectors. [Return]
8 The other participants in the IF are the IMF, the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Trade Organization. [Return]