The Resilience and Sustainability Trust: Early Learning and Challenges from Costa Rica and Rwanda

July 25, 2023


In 2022, as part of the IMF’s recent efforts to re-channel Special Drawing Rights, it created the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), facilitating the transfer of concessional finance from high- to lower-income countries for climate resilience and pandemic preparedness. It is the first new such facility following the polycrises of the early 2020s.

Demand for the RST is strong and learning from its pilots can inform how future RST financing can be used most effectively. This research provides case studies of two RST pilots: Costa Rica and Rwanda. Lessons from the pilots are not only relevant for future RST recipients. The RST is operational, and therefore, uniquely worthy of analysis in terms of how additional financing—above and beyond the RST—can be effectively integrated.

Our analysis finds that the RST is becoming the IMF’s de facto climate finance facility; is government-driven; is being awarded to countries with strong governance and climate credentials; and that authorities are banking on using the RST to attract additional climate finance.

At the same time, the RST faces the challenges of being too small to confront climate resilience; has questionable priorities in terms of supporting climate over poverty reduction in low-income countries; is almost tripling the number of IMF program conditions some countries are facing; and is escalating IMF policy influence over governments in an area where the IMF has limited experiences.

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