IEO Annual Report 2005-06

Appendix 1 Objectives and Modes of Operation of the IEO

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Published Date:
January 2007
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Purpose of the IEO

The purpose of the IEO,1 as outlined in its terms of reference, is to systematically conduct objective and independent evaluations “on issues, and on the basis of criteria, of relevance to the mandate of the IMF.” The terms of reference further elaborate that the IEO is intended to:2

  • Serve as a means of enhancing the learning culture of the IMF;

  • Strengthen the IMF’s external credibility;

  • Promote greater understanding of the work of the IMF throughout its membership; and

  • Provide independent feedback to the Executive Board in its governance and oversight responsibilities over the IMF.

The work of the IEO is envisaged as complementing the review and evaluation work being conducted within the IMF and is expected to improve the IMF’s ability to draw lessons from its experience and to more quickly integrate improvements into its future work.


Independence of evaluation is critical if it is to be credible. This aspect of evaluation was emphasized in the Executive Board discussions that led to the establishment of the Independent Evaluation Office. The terms of reference explicitly state that the “IEO will be independent of IMF management and staff and will operate at arm’s length from the IMF’s Executive Board.” The following provisions are designed to achieve this objective:

  • The Director of the IEO is appointed solely by the Executive Board. IMF management, while it may be consulted in the selection process, is not involved in making the selection.3 The Director is specifically precluded from appointment or reappointment to an IMF regular staff position at the end of the term of office.

  • With a view to ensuring that the IEO is staffed with independent and highly qualified individuals, the Director of the IEO is solely responsible for the selection of IEO personnel, a majority of whom must come from outside the IMF.4 IEO staff report exclusively to the Director of the IEO and not to IMF management.

  • The budget of the IEO is prepared by the Director and submitted directly to the Executive Board for approval. IMF management is not involved at any stage of the process.

  • The IEO’s work program is determined by the Director in light of consultations with members of the Executive Board and other interested stakeholders, from both inside and outside the IMF. The work program determined by the Director is presented to the Executive Board for review, but is not subject to the Board’s approval.

Transparency and Accountability

The IEO has developed procedures that allow for extensive consultations in designing each evaluation project and also for receiving substantive inputs during implementation.

To ensure consultation at the design stage, each evaluation begins with the preparation of an issues paper that identifies the questions to be addressed and, to the extent possible, the methodology to be followed. The issues paper is posted on the IEO website ( to elicit comments from a wide set of interested external observers. The IEO also seeks comments from Executive Directors, IMF staff and management, and member country governments (especially in the case of evaluations involving individual countries). The comments received are taken into account in determining the final terms of reference for the study, which is also posted on the website.

The responsibility for the research undertaken and the conclusions reached must necessarily rest with the IEO. However, in conducting its evaluations the IEO interacts extensively with concerned parties both within and outside the IMF. A unique feature of IEO evaluations, which distinguishes it from other external analyses of IMF activities, is that the IEO has access to internal IMF documents not normally made public and can also interview IMF staff concerned with the subject of the evaluation. For evaluations involving individual countries, consultations are held in the country concerned with both the authorities and a broad range of other interested parties, including civil society. Furthermore, the issues paper posted on the IEO website specifically invites interested parties to make submissions to the IEO on issues covered by the issues paper.

An important aspect of transparency and credibility is the assurance that IEO reports will be published and disseminated to a wide audience. The IEO’s terms of reference provide that the reports, once they have been considered by the Executive Board, will be promptly published “unless in exceptional circumstances the Executive Board were to decide otherwise.” All evaluation reports prepared by the office have been published.

To ensure full transparency, IEO reports are published in the form in which they were submitted to the Executive Board, without being changed in any way in light of comments received from management.5 Comments received on the evaluation report from IMF management and staff, along with the IEO’s reactions to those comments, if any, are submitted to the Executive Board as separate documents for the Board meeting at which the evaluation report is discussed. These documents are published together with the evaluation report and a summary of the Executive Board discussion. Once released to the public, the report is immediately posted on the IEO’s website, followed by publication of the print version.6

Additional background to the thinking behind the goals and mode of operations of the office is given in “Making the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office Operational: A Background Paper,” prepared by the Evaluation Group of Executive Directors, August 7, 2000 (

For the full terms of reference of the IEO, see

The initial terms of reference provided for a four-year term, renewable for a second term of up to three years. In November 2004, the Board modified these terms to provide for a single nonrenewable term of six years. The new Director, Thomas A. Bernes, was appointed on these terms in June 2005.

The maximum length of appointment for full-time staff in the IEO is six years.

The only exception would be for purely factual corrections, for which an errata page, identifying the specific corrections made, would be issued.

A full list of IEO publications is available on the IEO website at

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