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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IEO completed an evaluation of the governance of the IMF in 2008 when the stability of the international monetary system was under threat and the relevance and legitimacy of the IMF was in question. The 2008 evaluation assessed the extent to which IMF governance was effective and efficient, and whether it provided sufficient accountability and channels for stakeholder voices to be heard. It concluded that effectiveness had been the strongest aspect of the Fund’s governance while accountability and voice had been the weakest, with the potential to undermine legitimacy and effectiveness if not addressed.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) completed an evaluation of IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues in 2009. The evaluation was published at a time when global trade was experiencing a historically unprecedented decline in the wake of the global financial crisis (GFC). This report updates the IEO’s 2009 study, covering the period from January 2010 to August 2019, examining the Fund’s reaction to the myriad developments that have reshaped the global trade system (GTS) over the last decade.

Louellen Stedman, Mr. John Hicklin, and Roxana Pedraglio

Abstract

In 2007, the IEO completed an evaluation of IMF Exchange Rate Policy Advice. The evaluation addressed issues at the heart of the IMF’s work, as laid out by the Articles of Agreement. In particular, the Articles call on the institution to oversee the effective operation of the international monetary system and to collaborate with member countries in promoting growth, stability, and a stable system of exchange rates.1 This function is carried out through surveillance, a process that provides for periodic dialogue between the Fund and its members, with the IMF providing advice on exchange rate and other policies.2

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

1. Social protection has become a central concern in the global policy discourse. The global crisis in 2008 triggered job losses and financial turmoil, prompting the Group of Twenty (G-20) to call for actions to “mitigate the social impact,” particularly on the poorest and most vulnerable (G-20, 2009). Attention to social protection has also been raised by recurrent commodity price shocks; by concerns about rising inequality and the implications of increasing trade openness and new technologies for displaced workers and their families; by long-running demographic trends such as aging populations; and by regional social and political stresses such as the “Arab Spring” that brought attention to the need for “inclusive growth.” In 2011, G-20 member countries recognized the importance of “social protection floors”—i.e., nationally-defined guarantees ensuring that all in need have access to essential healthcare and basic income security—and urged international organizations to enhance cooperation on the social impact of economic policies (G-20, 2011). In 2015, world leaders adopted the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), pledging to achieve, by 2030, “nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all,” among other things (UN, 2015).

Louellen Stedman, Mr. John Hicklin, and Roxana Pedraglio

Abstract

The IEO evaluation of IMF Exchange Rate Policy Advice found that the IMF was “not as effective as it need[ed] to be” in fulfilling its responsibilities for exchange rate surveillance in the period reviewed (1999–2005).7 The evaluation acknowledged the efforts of staff, as well as the complexity of the task, not least given the lack of professional consensus on many of the key issues in this area. Nonetheless, the evaluation observed serious weaknesses in the IMF’s focus on key analytical issues and in its engagement with members—which reduced the traction of IMF advice on countries’ policy choices, contributed to perceptions that member countries were not treated consistently, and limited the IMF’s effectiveness. The evaluation attributed these shortcomings to gaps in three main areas:

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The 2008 evaluation assessed the degree to which Fund governance was effective and efficient, and whether it provided sufficient accountability and channels for stakeholders to have their views heard. It focused on institutional structures as well as on the formal and informal relationships among the Fund’s main governance bodies: the Executive Board (“Board”), Management (the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Directors), and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). Overall, it found that effectiveness had been the strongest aspect of Fund governance, which allowed for quick and consistent action particularly in times of systemic crisis. On the other hand, accountability and voice had been the weakest aspects, which the evaluation considered would likely undermine legitimacy and effectiveness over the medium term if left unaddressed.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The 2009 evaluation found that, starting in the early 2000s, the Fund had scaled back its involvement in trade policy issues for several reasons. Externally, these included a long period of growth in global trade and trade liberalization that had reduced interest in IMF advice and conditionality and the growing role of the WTO following its establishment in 1995. Internally, financial sector issues were demanding increasing attention at the Fund, the overall downsizing of the IMF had tightened the availability of resources, and the Executive Board (the Board) approved steps to streamline trade policy surveillance. In this context, the 2009 evaluation focused on five areas: (i) the IMF’s mandate and involvement on trade policy issues; (ii) the cooperation of the IMF with other international organizations; (iii) the guidance provided by the Board to staff; (iv) the adequacy of the IMF’s work on trade policies in both program and surveillance contexts; and (v) the effectiveness of IMF advice.