- International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
- Published Date:
- July 2009
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
Independent Evaluation Office
of the International Monetary Fund
Annual Report 2009
© 2009 International Monetary Fund
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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 sixth Annual Report describes the activities of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) during the year to April 30, 2009. It is my last as Director of the IEO. For over ten years, I have had the honor and the pleasure to be associated with the development of an independent evaluation function at the IMF. I served as Chairman of the Board’s Evaluation Committee from November 1998 to 2000, which reached agreement on the establishment of the IEO, a concept that had been hotly debated during the previous ten years. The Office came into existence in 2001, and since June 2005 I have had the great opportunity to serve as its Director.
Over the past year, several IEO evaluations delivered in previous years continued to have an impact. The evaluation of Structural Conditionality in IMF-Supported Programs was acknowledged as having informed the recent overhaul of the Fund’s lending facilities and conditionality. The evaluation on the Governance of the IMF, which was discussed by the Board in FY2009, is widely seen as having influenced the ongoing debate on IMF reform—contributing to the governance work of the Executive Directors, Management, and the Committee on IMF Governance Reform (also known as the Manuel Committee or Eminent Persons Group) appointed by Management. Governance reform also received attention in the communiqués and working papers of the Group of Twenty. Chapter 2 of this report discusses the impact of both these evaluations.
Chapter 2 also describes the evaluation on IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues, which was completed in May 2009. This evaluation found that there was a radical swing in IMF involvement in trade policy. The interventionist approach of the late 1990s, when the IMF played an uneven and at times aggressive role in trade policies through conditionality gave way to substantial reluctance to state strong positions even on trade policies with macroeconomic import. The evaluation called for the Fund to play a strong advisory role on trade policy and to focus more attention on Preferential Trade Agreements and trade in financial services, including in the regional and global contexts.
At a time when the rapid unfolding of the global financial crisis has magnified the importance of the IMF carrying out its activities in a professional and fully accountable manner, the IEO’s work is more vital than ever. As I look back on my time in the IEO, I draw a number of lessons for strengthening both the IEO’s work and evaluation efforts more broadly. Chapter 3 discusses these issues and lessons.
The IEO continues to work on several reviews central to the mission of the IMF. Evaluations on The IMF’s Interactions with Its Member Countries and on The IMF’s Research Agenda are ongoing. The IEO is also launching an evaluation of how well the Fund performed in the run-up to the current crisis. Chapter 4 provides further details on these ongoing efforts. I have decided to leave the selection of the future work program to my successor, the next IEO Director.
The final impulse for the creation of the IEO was the need to have an independent and credible watchdog that would assist the membership to distill lessons and promote effective learning and change in the IMF in the aftermath of the 1997–98 crisis. The criticism that has been heard about the Fund not anticipating the current crisis underscores once again this need. I wish the Office, and the IMF, great success in the future.
Thomas A. Bernes
Independent Evaluation Office