Organizing the regular autumn Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group for the year 2000 in Prague doubles as an honor for the Czech Republic as well as a major challenge. That the Czech Republic has been chosen as host also can also be regarded as an appreciation of the results achieved toward developing a strong democracy and a market economy since 1989.
The first Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group (IMF/WBG) took place in Washington in the autumn of 1946, two years after the United Nations conference in the Northern American town of Bretton Woods, where these prestigious organizations were established.
One year later, in 1947, the Annual Meetings took place in Europe, specifically, London. However, the following autumn the Board of Governors once again convened in their capital city of Washington, D.C. Even though the ministers of finance and governors of central banks then gradually held their meetings in other major cities — Paris and Mexico City — it was not until 1953 that a decision was made to hold every third Annual Meeting outside Washington, in a member IMF/WBG country.
The Annual Meetings have thus far only taken place in nineteen cities around the world. Prague will be the twentieth city, where the Board of Governors will meet for their fifty-fifth meeting.
Discussion on Czech involvement in this year’s Annual Meetings of the IMF/WBG Board of Governors, which will take place from September 26 – 28, 2000, began as early as October 1993. The then-Prime Minister of the Czech Republic expressed an interest in organizing this important international event in Prague for the year 2000.
In March 1996, the intention to organize the Annual Meetings in Prague was confirmed by Government Resolution No. 596.
Competing candidates included cities in South Africa, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. In October 1996, the successful candidacy of Prague was officially confirmed at the autumn IMF/WBG Annual Meetings in Washington.
In November 1996, the Czech Republic passed Resolution No. 606, which allocated funds for organizing the event. Three hundred and fifty million Czech crowns was allocated from the state budget and two hundred and fifty million Czech crowns was received from the Czech National Bank.
In September 1997, a document called the Memorandum of Understanding was completed by the Czech Government and representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, on organizing the 2000 Annual Meetings in Prague. The Czech Republic’s commitment to organizing the agreed event is based on this memorandum.
The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic has been appointed as the national event organizer, which acts as the principal partner of the main organizer – the Joint Secretariat of the IMF/WBG in Washington. To coordinate the work of all the Czech organizations involved, the government of the Czech Republic appointed a special representative. Some specific work connected with preparing the Annual Meetings and ensuring that they run successfully is performed on a contractual basis for the national organizer by an executive organizer, which is a consortium of specialized companies.