During financial year 2001, the IMF’s Executive Board decided to establish an office to conduct objective and independent evaluations of IMF policy and operations. These evaluations, which have the full support of IMF management, are intended to enhance the learning culture within the IMF, strengthen its external credibility, promote better understanding of its work, and support the Executive Board’s responsibilities for oversight and governance of the international monetary and financial system. The Evaluation Office will be independent of management and staff and will operate at arm’s length from the Executive Board. It became operational in July 2001.
The Executive Board first discussed the establishment of an independent evaluation office at the IMF in January 1993, but took no action at that time. Instead, the IMF continued its existing practice of conducting and publishing the results of its own evaluations, including of IMF-supported programs during the Asian crisis, the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), and surveillance. Subsequently, the IMF sponsored and published evaluations conducted by external experts. Among the aspects of the IMF’s work that have been evaluated by outside experts are the ESAF, the institution’s internal research activities, and surveillance.
In reviewing this approach in March 2000, the Executive Board considered the issue of relying solely on external experts for independent evaluations, deciding that, despite the generally high quality of the evaluations to date, the experts’ lack of familiarity with the details of the IMF’s operations and mandate could limit the practical value of their advice.
In April 2000, the Board decided to set up an independent evaluation office in the IMF. Montek Singh Ahluwalia of India was appointed to be its director and assumed his responsibilities in August 2001. Singh, a prominent economist, has served on the Indian Planning Commission and on the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Finance Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of India.