IFI governance

Background

Guide to the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office

2 February 2015 | Inside the institutions

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF was established in 2001 to “conduct research and evaluations on issues of relevance to the mandate of the fund”, and to be “independent of IMF management and staff and to operate at arm’s length from the board.” The IEO’s establishment followed many years of board-level discussions and advocacy by civil society for an independent evaluation body to increase the transparency and accountability of the Fund. IEO evaluations have had a significant impact on Fund policy and upon perceptions of its role. Significant studies include the evaluations of the IMF’s responses to the Argentina crisis of the early 2000s, and more recently its evaluation “International reserves: IMF concerns and country perspectives”. The IEO usually publishes two evaluations per year. To date it has produced 24 evaluations, most recently in November with “IMF Response to the Financial and Economic Crisis”. The IEO reports to the IMF’s executive board, rather than to Fund management.

Structure and staffing

The IEO currently employs 11 staff, the majority of whom are required to come from outside the Fund. The current director is Moises Schwartz, a macroeconomist who previously served as the director of the National Commission for Retirement Savings in Mexico and as head of research at Banco de Mexico. The director is appointed by the IMF executive board for a non-renewable period of six years. The Director is not subsequently eligible for appointment to the Fund staff. His responsibilities include the selection of IEO personnel and the preparation of the budget. The budget of the IEO amounts to 0.5% of the IMF’s budget and is hence significantly lower than the budget of equivalent organizations in the World Bank Group (The budget of the Independent Evaluation Group in the World Bank amounts to 1.2% of the Bank’s budget).

Evaluation process

The evaluation cycle is composed of eight stages: consultation on the work programme, preparation of an issues paper, research, preparation of the evaluation report, board discussion of the report, management implementation plan, monitoring of the implementation by the board and post-evaluation activities.

In the first two stages involvement of country authorities, executive directors and IMF management, staff and external stakeholders is actively sought: both in deciding upon topics for future reports, as well as in commenting upon the issues paper. Once the evaluation topics are selected, research is conducted using IMF documents and surveys, interviews and focus groups. In stage three, the draft version of the report is circulated among IMF staff for factual corrections prior to publication.

Publication is followed by three further steps. Following discussion by the board, a Management Implementation Plan is prepared by IMF staff and management (in place since 2006), which states the recommendations to be followed. Finally, the annual Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR) assesses the extent to which the report’s recommendations have been adopted. The PMR is conducted solely by IMF’s management and only assesses the implementation of recommendations from the IEO’s evaluation that the board had accepted. Often the Periodic Monitoring Reports cover several evaluations.

Accountability of the IEO

A regular external evaluation is required by the IEO’s Terms of Reference. The first took place in 2005 with the Lissakers report conducted by Karin Lissakers, former U.S. Executive Director to the IMF. Key findings included questions regarding the IEO’s independence from the Fund. It recommended different measures to enhance the IEO’s effectiveness, such as the introduction of the MIPs, PMRs and measures to make IEO’s staff more independent of the Fund. Some of the suggested measures, such as the MIPs and the PMRs, have been incorporated in the evaluation cycle.

A second external evaluation was chaired by Jose Antonio Ocampo, of Columbia University and former minister of finance of Colombia, in 2013. The evaluation found that though the IEO had positively contributed to the IMF’s external credibility the implementation process for recommendations derived from evaluations did “not work well”. It suggested the IEO drop the mandate of “promoting greater understanding of the work of the Fund” as well as an increase to the IEO’s budget. Following the Ocampo report the IEO begun producing re-evaluations of already published evaluations. These are used to assess the validity of past evaluations and the extent to which the recommendations remain valid. So far four of these updates have been published.

IEO consultation

Civil society and other stakeholders can provide input to IEO evaluations in three ways. The IEO invites consultation on the subjects for evaluation via its publication of proposed topics for evaluation in the medium-term. Consultation also takes place on the draft issues paper prior to research commencing for an individual evaluation. The regular external evaluations of the IEO, which now occur every five years, also provide stakeholders the chance to comment on the functioning and effectiveness of the IEO itself.

More background on this issue

IFI governance

Background

2 February 2015 | Inside the institutions

Guide to the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office

Understanding the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF, including how it works and how civil society can input into its evaluations.

IFI governance

Background

23 January 2014 | Inside the institutions

The IFC’s development outcome tracking system

Since 2005 the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm) has used the Development Outcome Tracking System (DOTS) to track the development impact of all its investments and advisory work

IFI governance

Background

3 November 2012 | Review

Climate Investment Funds Monitor survey

The Bretton Woods Project launched the twice-yearly Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) Monitor in 2010 to track the development of the CIFs and highlight concerns. As it approaches our third year, we would like your input into how we can improve the CIFs Monitor to ensure that it remains a valuable resource for civil society and other interested stakeholders of the CIFs.

IFI governance

Background

11 October 2012 | Minutes

The Role of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG)

This session provided CSOs with the opportunity to have an exchange with IEG's Director-General and Senior Vice President on the role of the IEG.

IFI governance

Background

21 April 2012 | Minutes

Lessons from IEG's Cluster Review of IFC-supported Extractive Industries Projects

Minutes of IFC and extractives meeting, Washington DC, 21 April 2012

IFI governance

Background

21 April 2012 | Minutes

Safeguards in a Changing Landscape

Minutes of safeguards meeting, Washington DC, 21 April 2012

IFI governance

Background

13 May 2011 | Minutes

IMF consultation on the 2011 review of conditionality

Minutes from a 4 May 2011 consultation in London between civil society organisations and IMF staff.

IFI governance

Background

26 April 2010 | Minutes

A sustainable World Bank energy strategy: perspectives from various stakeholders

Civil society event at the World Bank spring meetings 2010, 23 April

IFI governance

Background

26 April 2010 | Minutes

Evaluation as a critical tool for accountability

Civil society event at the World Bank spring meetings 2010, 23 April

IFI governance

Background

27 April 2009 | Minutes

Compliance Advisory Ombudsman review of standards for Bank’s private sector lending

Notes of a session with the CAO at the World Bank spring meetings, Washington, DC, April 22, 2009.

IFI governance

Background

20 December 2006 | Resource

Bretton Woods Update 2006 survey results

Summary of results from the 2006 survey of Update readers. Compiled by Peter Chowla and Omar Idriss.

IFI governance

Background

15 May 2006 | Minutes

Highlights of Tom Bernes (IEO) meeting in May 2006 on IEO proposed work plan

Some civil society organisations in the UK had a chance to meet with the IEO director Tom Bernes in May 2006 while he was visiting London for other reasons. Thus we had some interesting discussions of the proposed IEO work plan for the next year.

IFI governance

Background

8 May 2006 | Minutes

IEO evaluation of the role of the IMF in the determination of the external financing envelope

Uncorrected highlights of a 21 April 2006 workshop hosted by the Independent Evaluation Office on their evaluation of the role of the IMF in the determination of the external financing envelope in sub-Saharan Africa.

IFI governance

Background

25 April 2006 | Minutes

Briefing on the implementation of new IFC performance standards

Briefing on the implementation of new IFC performance standards at the World Bank-IMF spring meetings in Washington, 20 April 2006.

Latest articles on this issue

IFI governance

Analysis

World Bank results: "box-ticking" on gender, weak monitoring and evaluation

A new IEG report highlights persistent concerns with the World Bank’s monitoring and evaluation systems and ‘sluggish’ management response, and raises questions about the effectiveness of the Bank’s integration of gender within its operations.

29 June 2016

Finance

Analysis

Where is the public in PPPs? Analysing the World Bank’s support for public-private partnerships

A review of the World Bank’s support for public-private partnerships by the Independent Evaluation Group reveals a lack of proven poverty impacts.

29 September 2014

IFI governance

Background

Guide to the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office

Understanding the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF, including how it works and how civil society can input into its evaluations.

2 February 2015 | Inside the institutions

Private Sector

News

Civil society letter re: the IFC and lessons learned

A letter from civil society in response to the IFC's lesson learned briefing

13 June 2014 | Letter

Finance

News

Program-for-Results review launched

The Bank is launching a review of the controversial Program-for-Results instrument which was approved in early 2012.

27 February 2014

IFI governance

Background

The IFC’s development outcome tracking system

Since 2005 the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm) has used the Development Outcome Tracking System (DOTS) to track the development impact of all its investments and advisory work

23 January 2014 | Inside the institutions

IFI governance

News

IEO announces new evaluation on IMF crisis response

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) announces new evaluation on the IMF's response to the global financial crisis

2 December 2013

Infrastructure

Analysis

World Bank says "stars are aligned" for large infrastructure

The World Bank, in conjunction with the G20, is reinvigorating its infrastructure focus, paying particular attention to leveraging resources from the private sector and investing in fragile and conflict affected states. It announced a return to big hydropower projects, despite continued concerns about projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Uganda.

26 June 2013

IFI governance

Analysis

Memorandum to the International Development Committee

In written evidence submitted to the UK parliament's International Development Committee, we argue that further reform of the World Bank is needed.

26 June 2013 | Briefing

IFI governance

News

IEO: IMF reform implementation "not working well"

The second external evaluation of the IMF's Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), discussed by the IMF board end March, evaluated how well the IEO has met its institutional mandate since 2006.

3 April 2013