By Caroline Atkinson

In early October, economic policymakers representing the entire membership of the IMF, 186 countries in total, will gather in Istanbul for the Annual Meetings. More formally, the 2009 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on October 6-7, 2009. Many others—including private sector executives, academics, and civil society representatives—will also come to Istanbul during this period to discuss issues of global concern. 

And where they go, so goes this blog. For the next week or so, the blog will be coming “live” from Istanbul, providing a real time account of the many events and debates.

Istanbul at sunset (photo: Graham Dwyer/IMF)

Istanbul at sunset: economic policymakers representing the entire membership of the IMF, 186 countries in total, will gather in Istanbul for the Annual Meetings (photo: Graham Dwyer/IMF)

There’s a lot going on. We will have the formal meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF, discussing the next steps in overcoming the global financial crisis and getting growth going again. The IMF will unveil its latest forecasts and present its World Economic Outlook (WEO) and Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR). We will discuss how the IMF has responded to the crisis, looking at how crisis lending reveals more flexible terms, and focuses more on the social impact. 

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF’s Managing Director, will deliver a speech at the Central Bank of Turkey entitled “One Year On—Lessons from the Financial Crisis and Policy Imperatives.” He will also engage in a discussion with Turkish university students. 

A Program of Seminars will bring together leading experts to discuss the financial crisis from a variety of different angles. No less than 78 speakers, ranging from George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management, to Sweden’s development minister Gunilla Carlsson, will share their expertise and predictions for the future with us.

One of the debates, titled “Global Financial Crisis: Can we Afford the Future?,” will be broadcast live by the BBC. This is a first for the IMF. This partnership will allow millions of viewers who can’t come to the Meetings to tune in for a high-level discussion of our economic future. The speakers will include IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Professor Niall Ferguson from Harvard Business School, France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, Jim O’Neill, Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs, and Güler Sabanci, who is chairperson of Sabanci Holding in Turkey. Sabanci was ranked fifth on a list of the world’s top 50 women CEOs published by the Financial Times on September 26, 2009. 

The IMF’s policy steering committee, the International Monetary and Financial Committee, will meet on October 4. The Committee discusses matters of concern affected the global economy and also advises the IMF on the direction of its work. At the end of the meetings, the Committee will issue a joint communiqué summarizing its views. This communiqué provides guidance for the IMF’s work program during the six months leading up to the next Spring or Annual Meetings. The following day, the Development Committee will meet to discuss issues related to economic development in emerging and developing countries. 

We will also hold discussions with civil society, and will participate in a conference hosted by Turkish labor unions. Kemal Dervis—a leading Turkish economist and previous minister for economic affairs—will deliver a Per Jacobsson lecture entitled “Growth After the Storm? A Longer Run Perspective.” 

As you can see, we will have a lot to report on. This blog hopes to capture some of that excitement. Obviously we can’t cover everything, but we will do our best to share with you the essence of the meetings. Be sure to stay tuned.