Donors agreed today to endorse the work plan for the first year of operations of a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) trust fund designed to help ten low-income and lower-middle-income countries like Nepal to manage better their natural resource wealth.
The Managing Natural Resource Wealth Topical Trust Fund -- launched in December 2010 -- will enable the IMF to step up its technical assistance to low- and lower-middle income countries with substantial extractive industries for harnessing the full benefit of their natural resources and accelerate poverty reduction, said the Fund.
The trust fund’s donors are the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, the Netherlands, and Kuwait.
The work plan of the trust fund for the year starting from May 1 seeks a balance among geographic regions, as well as countries at different stages of resource development and income levels.
Complementing the technical assistance activities, the work plan also includes several research projects and workshops focused on economic governance in natural resource development for wide dissemination of expertise and best practice.
The steering committee unanimously appointed Norway, one of the leading donors of the trust fund, as the chair for the first year. "As donors in the steering committee, we have great expectations to this partnership, and believe it will enable us to respond to increasing needs from developing countries in strengthening their management of natural resources," Per Øyvind Bastøe, representing Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), said.
"This is an important new development, greatly expanding our technical assistance activities in the vital area of natural resource wealth management," Carlo Cottarelli, director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, said. "We appreciate the close engagement with donors at this inaugural Steering Committee meeting."
The multi-donor trust fund, one of several being set up to finance IMF technical assistance in critical fields, will provide about $25 million over five years from May 2011 to scale up technical assistance to 15–20 resource rich low-income and lower-middle income countries