Kristalina Georgieva statement on most recent IMF work program
Summary of IMF work program (December 2021)
On December 2022, the IMF published the MD’s Statement on the Work Program for the remainder of FY 2022 (Jan-April) and top priorities for FY 2023 (May 22-April 23). The IMF 3 policy priorities for the next four months are: (1) pushing forward the global vaccination campaign, (2) “calibrating” a wide range of policies to support the COVID recovery (including global and regional analytic work, debt, trade, and more), and (3) accelerating economic transformation along the topics of climate, inclusion, digitalization, and fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS).
On Priority 1 (vaccination), the work program is very limited, and merely mentions that the Fund will continue its collaboration with the Multilateral Leaders Task Force and IMF-WHO vaccine supply tracker to reach for 70 percent vaccination globally by mid-2022.
- IMF staff made an initial proposal on “how to end the COVID pandemic” in May 2021 and announcement on vaccine equity in June. All related information is hosted on a dedicated web page, including links to IMF datasets, trackers, and monitors.
Priority 2 (policies to support the recovery) is the most detailed, including the IMF’s usual annual publications and policy advice, regional and country briefings, surveillance, lending, capacity development, debt, as well as some additional work on trade, research, global standard setting, and IEO evaluations.
- On Surveillance, among several other issues the IMF will focus on formulating an Institutional View on Liberalization and Management of Capital Flows, likely in response to the IEO’s 2021 evaluation of the Fund’s policy on capital controls (for more info, see a recently published At Issue briefing by UNCTAD economist Daniela Prates here). As part of implementing the 2021 Comprehensive Surveillance Review (CSR), a Country Matters Meeting will be scheduled in FY 22; per the CSR, these are designed to ‘capture—in a regular and timelier manner—policy issues relevant for countries across regions rather than within regions.’ There is no mention of the staff guidance note for the CSR in the Board’s work programme, likely indicating – as expected – that this guidance is unlikely to require formal Board approval (for more on the CSR, see here).
- On Lending, the main focus will be on the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) as the vehicle for leveraging SDRs, and potentially re-channeling them (for more context, see here). The Fund will also review various other lending instruments, such as concessional financing and the flexible credit line.
- On Capacity development, the board will kick-off a strategy review to define priorities for 2023-25.
- On Debt relief, the Fund will continue its focus on the joint IMF-WBG Multipronged Approach for Addressing Debt Vulnerabilities, as well as discussing an update of the DSSI and Common Framework, in addition to considering further funding for the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). The Fourth Tranche of the CCRT was just approved, while the Fund has announced considering a fifth tranche in January through April 2022.
- On research and other additional work, the Fund expects work on medium-term fiscal frameworks, capital flow management, as well as climate change data through the G20 Data Gaps Initiative.
On priority 3 (transformation: climate, digitalization, inclusion, FCS), the work plan builds on the previous plan of fall 2021.
- After its previous publication of a strategy to help members address climate change (see BWP coverage here), the IMF is looking at a host of activities and initiatives in 2022/23, such as strengthening infrastructure governance for climate-responsive public investment, integrating climate adaptation into fiscal policy, assessing the financial stability implications of climate risk, and developing a new Climate Macroeconomic Assessment Program.
- Digitalization has moved further into the spotlight with recent discussion of crypto currencies and their impact on the global financial system in IMF blog posts from October, December, and our own analysis. Clearly the Fund is very concerned about this issue.
- On inclusion, the Board will consider the Fund’s first ever Gender Strategy that is supposed to be approved in March 2022, and will also discuss the Fund’s Strategy on engaging in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States. This follows the appointment of a new IMF senior gender advisor, Ratna Sahay, in April (see here).
On Fund Operations, the work program mentions work on the 16th general Quota Review to be concluded by December 2023 (see BWP’s coverage of the October 2021 G24 communique for more on this), as well as further analysis to be considered on surcharges, without committing to suspend these charges, in line with civil society calls (more info here).
Finally, on the IMF’s budget and income, while the MD’s statement provides scant details, it does hint that the Fund will be receiving additional resources from shareholders to expand its work on the priority areas laid out in the work program (for context, the IMF’s climate strategy published in July 2021 called for an additional 85 new staff to work on climate issues, across the full spectrum of the IMF’s mandate). The statement notes, ‘In early December, the Board approved a framework to ensure that the IMF has the staff and skills required to carry out its mandate. The Board will have the regular engagements on the FY2023-FY2025 Medium-Term Budget, which will discuss specific allocations in the priority areas.’