The overriding purposes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are to promote international monetary cooperation and to help member countries achieve a sustainable balance of payments and exchange rate stability (see Annex 1). While these are the main purposes of the Fund, the managing director has directed the staff to assist member countries with the steady pursuit of policies oriented towards what has been called "high quality growth." This term has been defined to cover "...growth that is sustainable, growth that reduces poverty and distribution of inequalities, that respects human freedom and national cultures, and protects the environment." Therefore, the protection of the environment has increasingly become an important subject and an important consideration, especially since early 1991, when the IMF started thinking about the interrelationships between macroeconomic policies and the environment.
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