The bags are packed, the shuttle buses are waiting, and the conference center here in Istanbul is slowly emptying. More than 15,000 people have come and gone. Now is the time to take stock and figure out how to move forward on the big decisions coming out of Istanbul.
The IMF’s Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, called them exactly that in his final speech at the plenary on October 6: “The Istanbul Decisions.” So what are they? The IMF’s policy steering committee, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), asked the IMF to move forward in four areas:
- Updating the IMF’s mandate in light of the big changes in the global economy witnessed during the past decade
- Reviewing the IMF’s financing role, possibly beefing up its role as a lender of last resort
- Rethinking multilateral surveillance, with the idea of introducing peer review of economic policies
- Giving more voice and representation to dynamic emerging market and developing countries
On governance reform, Boutros-Ghali said he hoped the IMFC would take on a more hands-on role in setting out the direction for the IMF’s work. “The IMFC presently is an advisory body. The next step will be for the IMFC to be a decision-making body, to provide political cover to what the IMF is doing, to what its Executive Board is doing, and generally set the political direction for the institution.” He acknowledged, however, that it would take some time to get there.
Finally, before we also head for the airport, we wanted to give everybody who didn’t get a chance to get into the studio for the live BBC World Debate—titled The Global Economic Crisis: Can We Afford the Future? —a chance to see it. The IMF-sponsored debate, which was broadcast live on October 2, kicked off the Program of Seminars and has been watched by 240 million people around the world.