- Ruben Lamdany, and Hali Edison
- Published Date:
- December 2012
Independent Evaluation at the IMF The First Decade
Ruben Lamdany and Hali Edison, Editors
© 2012 International Monetary Fund
Cover design: designMind, Washington, DC
Independent evaluation at the IMF : the first decade / Ruben Lamdany and Hali Edison, editors.
— Washington, D.C. : International Monetary Fund, 2012.
p. ; cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office.
2. Financial institutions, International—Evaluation. I. Lamdany, Ruben, 1954– II. Edison, Hali J. III. International Monetary Fund.
HG3881.5.I58 I53 2012
Acknowledgments and disclaimer: We are grateful for the editorial and production assistance provided by Rachel Weaving, Alisa Abrams, and Esha Ray and the administrative assistance provided by Arun Bhatnagar, Annette Canizares, and Mari Lantin. The papers in this volume represent the authors’ views and not necessarily those of the IEO or the IMF.
Publication orders may be placed online, by fax, or through the mail:
International Monetary Fund, Publication Services
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Ruben Lamdany and Hali Edison
Moises J. Schwartz
Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Alisa Abrams and Ruben Lamdany
Yaga Venugopal Reddy
Jo Marie Griesgraber
The following conventions are used in this publication:
In tables, a blank cell or N/A 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, 2011–12 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, 2011/12) indicates a fiscal or financial year, as does the abbreviation FY (for example, FY2012).
Some of the documents cited and referenced in this book were not available to the public at the time of publication of this book. Under 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.
The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created in 2001 to strengthen learning, accountability, and transparency at the IMF. Ten years after its establishment is an opportune time to assess its contributions and to explore how it could be more effective. We marked this important landmark in true evaluative form, with a conference that took place on December 6, 2011, focusing on IEO’s achievements and challenges. Madame Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, joined me in opening the Ten Years Conference. In her remarks, which follow this foreword, she highlighted IEO’s independence and explained that its “ruthless truth telling” is “critical to the IMF’s credibility and effectiveness.”
This volume includes the material that was prepared as background for this conference, as well as statements by participants and some additional studies that take stock of what the IEO has achieved in the decade since its establishment. The introduction puts the contributions in context, pulling together the main messages and discussing the main lessons from across IEO evaluations. Part I of the volume provides remarks by my predecessors, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Thomas Bernes, and myself on our vision for the IEO and on its challenges. It is followed by six studies in Part II that examine different aspects of the IEO, starting with an explanation of why independent evaluation is needed in international organizations and a brief history of how the IEO came to be. The other chapters in that section describe the evaluation process, provide a retrospective of the 18 reports issued by the IEO during its first decade, and examine the impact of IEO evaluations.1Part III includes statements by current and former IMF Executive Directors, current and past members of Management and senior staff, and important external stakeholders who participated in the conference. Participants emphasized IEO’s independence and the quality of its evaluations as key strengths. They also pointed to areas for improvement—in particular the framework for follow-up on IEO evaluations.
I hope that the material presented in this volume will be helpful to the Executive Board and IMF Management, as well as to authorities in member countries, to understand how independent evaluation is contributing to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the IMF, and how the function can be strengthened. The discussions may also provide useful insights to academics and those interested in enhancing the evaluation function in other international organizations.
Moises J. Schwartz
Independent Evaluation Office
Remarks by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
The Independent Evaluation Office is an entity that not many organizations would tolerate. It goes under the skin of the institution, and under the skin of projects, reports, and ways of operating. It consults with IMF Management and takes what it wants of Management’s feedback, but it reports directly to the Executive Board. Obviously the Board’s Evaluation Committee, headed by Executive Director Majoro, plays a critical role here, and I would like to recognize the work of the eight members of this committee. Once reports of the IEO are approved by the Board they are published and can be checked by each and every member of the media or by any other observer who may like to either praise or criticize. The fact that not many organizations would allow such an arrangement is recognized by some of the Fund’s most qualified observers, including the journalist Martin Wolf. In an article prompted by the IEO’s review of how the Fund performed during the financial crisis,1 Wolf said, “The IMF’s quick reaction to the crisis made up for much of its initial neglect. Scrutinizing what it got wrong, it is again leading the way. Others should now follow.”2 Wolf has since observed that the Independent Evaluation Office is an important innovation and that it has produced superb evaluations of what has happened.
“Ruthless Truth Telling” Critical to the IMF’s Credibility and Effectiveness
The IEO has several missions: enhancing our learning culture, strengthening our external credibility, promoting a greater understanding of our work, and supporting the Board’s governance and oversight.
For the IMF, the independent evaluation function is critical to both credibility and effectiveness. Credibility and effectiveness are two of the Fund’s key attributes, but only because they are also two of its key objectives. Credibility and effectiveness deserve and demand a constant effort from each of us. They are predicated on honesty, on the quality of our work, on our even-handedness. Because we in the Fund are keen to trade honestly on our credibility, and to continue to be effective in whatever we do—be it our surveillance, our recommendations, our technical advice, or our programs under the lending policies and the various instruments that we have in store—we want the IEO to continue to produce honest, fair, and demanding analysis in a constant dialogue with us. Seen in this context, the IEO is a true child of Lord Keynes, in that it carries out the mandate of “ruthless truth telling” at the heart of an institution whose own mission is to tell the truth.
Over the last 10 years the IEO has addressed all the key components of the IMF’s work. IEO reports include assessments of the prolonged use of IMF resources and of fiscal adjustment under IMF programs; an evaluation of the enhanced Financial Sector Assessment Program; the 2007 evaluation of IMF structural conditionality; and the 2008 evaluation of IMF governance3—a study that has proved to be not only invaluable but the subject of many debates, with obviously yet more to come.
Let us face it: anybody tends to be defensive when the findings about their work are negative. But given that we in the IMF trade on telling the truth and being honest in the review work that we do, in the programs we design, and in the technical assistance we provide, we ourselves should also be told the truth about the way in which we operate. This is a brave choice and one that we stand for. And we want to continue to have the support of the IEO and its ultimate honesty, because it is this internal honesty and internal truth telling that enhances our own ability to tell the truth.
Progress Needed on Evaluation Follow-up
I recognize that we need to make progress, particularly in the stage of implementing the recommendations from evaluation and in the follow-up to the implementation. We are open to ideas. We should explore again honestly what can be done and how it can best be done—without adding another layer of bureaucratic process on top of what exists, because we want to be very careful with our resources. I am sure that we have the creativity and agility to enhance effectiveness without adding to bureaucracy. If you in the IEO can propose such ideas, we should and will be better at implementing them.
To conclude, I would certainly encourage you in the IEO to continue with your good work, and to make your own improvements as well. I am not suggesting that there should be an IEO of the IEO of the IEO, like Russian dolls nested one inside the other. Because, frankly, you already have plenty to do and we have plenty to do to work together in good cooperation with a good spirit.
IEO, IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Financial and Economic Crisis: IMF Surveillance in 2004–07, 2011.
Martin Wolf, “The IMF goes to the confessional,” Financial Times, February 9, 2011.
IEO, Evaluation of Prolonged Use of IMF Resources, 2002; Fiscal Adjustment in IMF-Supported Programs, 2003; Financial Sector Assessment Program, 2006; Structural Conditionality in IMF-Supported Programs, 2007; Governance of the IMF: An Evaluation, 2008.
African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of Countries
Asian Development Bank
African Development Bank
Annual Report on Structural Conditionality
Consultative Group on Exchange Rate Issues
Consolidated Multilateral Surveillance Report
Executive Board Committee on Development Effectiveness (World Bank)
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Extended Credit Facility
Evaluation Cooperation Group
Evaluation Completion Report
European Investment Bank
Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility
Evaluation Committee (IMF)
IMF Evaluation Office (2000–01)
Financial Sector Assessment Program
Financial System Stability Assessment
An informal forum founded to coordinate economic policy among leaders of prominent industrialized nations including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States
Steering committee created by the G-7, with membership of G-7 countries and systemically important developing countries
Global Financial Stability Report
Interim Committee (of the IMF Board of Governors, precursor to the IMFC)
Inter-American Development Bank
Independent Evaluation Group (World Bank Group)
Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF (as of 2001)
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International financial institution
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary and Financial Committee (of the IMF Board of Governors)
Islamic Development Bank
Joint Management Action Plan
Middle East and Central Asia Department
Multilateral development bank
Millennium Development Goal
Management Implementation Plan
Monitoring of Fund Arrangements (Database)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-Development Assistance Committee
Operations Evaluation Department (World Bank)
Operations Evaluation Group (International Finance Corporation)
Operations Evaluation Unit (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency)
Operational Guidance Note
Office of Evaluation and Oversight (Inter-American Development Bank)
Office of Internal Audit and Inspection
Policy Development and Review Department
Public Information Notice
Periodic Monitoring Report
Poverty Reduction Strategy
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
Poverty and Social Impact Analysis
Regional Technical Assistance Centers
Southern African Customs Union
Southern African Development Community
Terms of reference
Triennial Surveillance Review
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Evaluation Group
World Economic Outlook
World Trade Organization