- International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
- Published Date:
- August 2013
© 2013 International Monetary Fund
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Message from the Director
I am pleased to present the tenth Annual Report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), describing activities during the year from May 1, 2012, to April 30, 2013. This has been a very productive year for the IEO. The achievements of the IEO were recognized by a panel of external experts established by the Executive Board, and the IEO delivered a large work program, including two evaluation reports, two reviews of past evaluations, and a book reflecting on the first ten years of independent evaluation at the IMF.
This year, the Executive Board asked a team of external experts to conduct the second external evaluation of the IEO, which was completed during the financial year. We are gratified by the conclusion that the IEO is highly relevant and successful, having contributed to the effectiveness, learning culture, external credibility, and accountability of the IMF during the past five years. The evaluation team also identified issues for improvement, which the IEO will take into account in its work going forward. Of note, the external evaluation found that follow-up on IEO evaluations remains a concern. It clearly stated that this process is not working well and that enhancements are needed. Directors also made this point in Evaluation Committee discussions this year. The IEO looks forward to further discussions on how to enhance this process.
The IEO evaluation on International Reserves: IMF Concerns and Country Perspectives was discussed by the Board in December 2012. This evaluation examined the IMF’s analysis of the effect of reserves on the stability of the international monetary system and its advice on reserve adequacy assessments in the context of bilateral surveillance. In the multilateral context, the evaluation acknowledged the IMF’s broader work stream on the international monetary system but noted that this work had not sufficiently informed the analysis and recommendations regarding reserves. In the context of bilateral surveillance, it found that IMF discussions of international reserves were often pro forma, overly reliant on traditional indicators, and insufficiently attuned to country circumstances.
The IEO evaluation of The Role of the IMF as Trusted Advisor was discussed by the Board in February 2013. This evaluation found that perceptions of the IMF had improved, but that they varied markedly by region and country type. Recognizing that there will always be an inherent tension between the IMF’s roles as a global watchdog and as a trusted advisor to member country authorities, the evaluation report explored how the IMF could sustain the more positive image it had achieved in the aftermath of the recent global crisis. The evaluation found that among key challenges facing the IMF were improving the value added and relevance of IMF advice and overcoming the perception of a lack of evenhandedness.
The IEO continues to look for ways to enhance its contributions. As part of this effort, this year the office undertook a pilot project to review two early evaluations—issued about a decade ago. The two reviews are summarized in this report and published as annexes. Without trying to establish causality, these reviews found that, to different degrees, many IEO recommendations had been implemented but that the main conclusions remained relevant. The IEO plans to continue with this initiative, producing two additional reviews in the coming year. One review will revisit the findings of two evaluations focused on the IMF’s engagement in low-income countries, the evaluations on The Role of the IMF in PRSPs and the PRGF and on The IMF and Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa, and the other will look back at the evaluation on IMF Technical Assistance.
The IEO has a full agenda going forward. In addition to revisiting past evaluations, the office is working on five evaluations: on IMF self-assessment, IMF forecasts, statistics, the IMF’s response to the global financial crisis, and, in response to a suggestion in the external evaluation report, the IMF’s progress in addressing big picture issues raised by IEO evaluations.
I look forward to continue contributing to the effectiveness and credibility of the IMF.
Moises J. Schwartz
Independent Evaluation Office