The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today agreed to reduce the lag for public access to most Board meeting minutes from five to three years, while retaining the five-year lag only for minutes of discussions that involve Use of Fund Resources or a Policy Support Instrument. The decision offers a significant improvement in public access to the minutes of most IMF Board meetings, while mitigating the risks of prematurely disclosing information in the cases of ongoing IMF-supported programs.
The reduction of the lag for public access in respect of Board minutes - the fourth such reduction since 1996 – was discussed in the most recent Review of the Fund’s Transparency Policy, when the Executive Board endorsed new measures aimed at increasing the amount, timeliness, and accessibility of information that the IMF makes available to the public and agreed to consider options to further reduce the time lag – a request that was frequently mentioned during the consultations for the Review, including from Civil Society Organizations.
The Board considered that the decision strikes the right balance between informing the public about the Executive Board’s views, maintaining the candor of Board discussions, and ensuring that access to Board meeting minutes does not jeopardize ongoing Fund operations.
In order to allow time for the Fund and members to implement the new rules, the Board agreed to a transition period of six months; the new rules will therefore become effective for the minutes of all Board meetings taking place on, or after, August 27, 2014.