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IMF-World Bank Revised Guidelines for Public Debt Management

The IMF-World Bank Guidelines for Public Debt Management (the Guidelines) were published in 2001 by the World Bank Treasury and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in cooperation with public debt managers from around the world. The Guidelines provide a set of voluntary principles to assist debt managers in improving debt management practices and reducing financial vulnerability. They cover both domestic and external public debt and focus on principles applicable to a wide range of countries with various institutional structures for public debt management.

The Guidelines have been widely used by countries as a benchmark to improve public debt management and by the IMF and the World Bank for advisory purposes. In 2013, the IMF and the World Bank reexamined the Guidelines in light of financial sector regulatory changes implemented after the 2008 financial crisis and taking into consideration macroeconomic policy developments that had an impact on the landscape in which debt managers operate. Through a collaborative process with World Bank member governments, revisions were proposed that reflect country experiences and advice on public debt management that has accumulated during the past decade.

The revisions include: (i) additional guidance on balancing flexibility, transparency, and accountability; (ii) greater detail on risk mitigation strategies and assessment of risks; (iii) further guidance on the use of collective action clauses; and (iv) additional guidance on developing and maintaining an efficient market for government securities. These revisions ensure that the guidelines will continue to help public debt managers improve debt management practices and reduce vulnerability to financial shocks.