Front Matter

Front Matter

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Published Date:
July 2010
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    Established in July 2001, the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) provides objective and independent evaluation on issues related to the IMF. The IEO operates independently of IMF management and at arm’s length from the IMF’s Executive Board. Its goals are to enhance the learning culture within the IMF, strengthen the IMF’s external credibility, promote greater understanding of the work of the IMF throughout the membership, and support the Executive Board’s institutional governance and oversight responsibilities. For further information on the IEO and its work program, please see its website (www.ieo-imf.org) or contact the IEO at +1-202-623-7312 or at info@ieo-imf.org.

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    Contents

    The following conventions are used in this and other IEO reports:

    • In tables, a blank cell indicates “not applicable,” ellipsis points (…) indicate “not available,” and 0 or 0.0 indicates “zero” or “negligible.” Minor discrepancies between sums of constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

    • An en dash (–) between years or months (for example, 2005–06 or January–June) indicates the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months; a slash or virgule (/) between years or months (for example, 2005/06) indicates a fiscal or financial year, as does the abbreviation FY (for example, FY2006).

    • “Billion” means a thousand million; “trillion” means a thousand billion.

    • “Basis points” refer to hundredths of 1 percentage point (for example, 25 basis points are equivalent to ¼ of 1 percentage point).

    As used in these publications, the term “country” does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice. As used here, the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states but for which statistical data are maintained on a separate and independent basis.

    Some of the documents cited and referenced in IEO reports are not available to the public at the time of their publication. Under the current policy on public access to the IMF’s archives, some of these documents will become available five years after their issuance. They may be referenced as EBS/YY/NN and SM/YY/NN, where EBS and SM indicate the series and YY indicates the year of issue. Certain other documents are to become available 10 to 20 years after their issuance, depending on the series.

    Message from the Director

    This seventh Annual Report describes the activities of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) during the year to April 30, 2010, and is the first during my term as Director.

    I arrived at the IEO in February 2010, having served as an Executive Director of the IMF from 2004 to 2006 representing Mexico, my own country, and seven other economies facing different circumstances and stages of development. This allowed me to get involved in numerous aspects of the work of the Fund, and to understand the need of the IMF to adapt to a changing economic environment. I previously worked in Mexico’s Central Bank, the Finance Ministry, and most recently as President of the National Commission for Retirement Savings. With this background, I come to the IEO with a clear vision of the IMF’s critical role, the vital importance of continuing to strengthen and improve its functioning in a challenging time, and the essential part the IEO plays in promoting effective learning and in assisting the Executive Board in its oversight responsibilities.

    The IEO has conducted 16 evaluations in its initial nine years, each contributing to a body of lessons and knowledge about the IMF and its operations. In FY2010, the IEO issued its most recent evaluation examining IMF Interactions with Member Countries. The evaluation detailed a number of recommendations to enhance the traction of Fund surveillance and policy advice, to improve the effectiveness of outreach, and to strengthen the management of interactions. Chapter 2 provides a summary of this evaluation and of the Executive Board discussion. It also discusses the Management Implementation Plan (MIP) for the IEO report on IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues issued in FY2009.

    Work continues on two new evaluations—Research at the IMF: Relevance and Utilization and IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Current Financial and Economic Crisis. The scope and status of these evaluations are described in Chapter 3.

    The future work program of the IEO will soon be laid out. Given the transition of Directors, charting a new agenda of evaluations for the IEO was one of the first tasks I faced on my arrival. I am currently engaged in consultations with government authorities, Executive Directors, IMF management, staff, and outside stakeholders about a medium-term agenda and expect to have this in place early in FY2011. The referred work program will focus on issues relevant for the work of the Fund and its membership. I expect that the IEO’s evaluations will continue to promote learning and a more efficient and effective organization.

    Even as the IEO takes up new issues, following up on past evaluations and the recommendations contained therein is imperative to the learning cycle and to effective oversight. The current approach begins with the summing up of the Board discussion for each evaluation, which identifies IEO recommendations that were endorsed by the Executive Board. On this basis, IMF staff prepares a MIP detailing key implementation steps and a corresponding timeline. Progress in executing these plans is summarized in an annual Periodic Monitoring Report. (A fuller description of this process is provided in Chapter 1.) While this approach has provided some accountability, it is not clear that it is working as effectively as it could be to ensure that the IEO’s work has the impact intended by the Board. Executive Directors, management, and staff have initiated a dialogue about enhancing follow-up, and I look forward to continuing this conversation.

    We are all aware that the IMF and its members face a particularly critical time. Looking ahead, there will be much to learn from the testing experiences of the current crisis, and continued adaptation will be necessary to position the IMF to serve its membership well in a new era. The IEO will work hard to fulfill its role in reflecting on experience, identifying how things might have been done better, and helping position the Fund to be yet more effective in the future.

    Moisés J. Schwartz

    Director

    Independent Evaluation Office

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