Annex I. Selected Recommendations on TA-Related Issues
Continue with the prioritization methods, but increase the size of the central reserve to 10–15 percent.
Relate the size of internal financing of TA to the size of the Fund’s operations. The level of internal financing reached after the downsizing (complemented by any crisis-related financing needs) seems to be broadly adequate.
Phase in RBM and strengthen the TA evaluation process with in-depth ex-post reviews conducted by external evaluators.
Exploit the synergies between TA and training better, including through the merger of INS and OTM.
Fine-tune RSNs to better align TA with strategic priorities and medium-term budget.
Develop a conceptual framework for evaluating TA projects.
Refine the costing and billing of TA projects, and the outreach program.
Strengthen the Fund’s partnership with donors.
Give a central role to area departments and explore ways to enhance the prioritization process.
Strengthen and expand the TA Evaluation Program and develop and implement more systematic procedures for feeding back into TA programs the lessons learned from self-assessment and evaluations.
Create incentives for staff to implement the proposals.
Develop a medium-term, country-focused TA policy framework, which sets the strategy and priorities giving a central role to area departments.
Increase authorities’ ownership and involvement in capacity building.
Track TA implementation better and strengthen its ex-post evaluation.
Discontinue the prioritization filters.
Keep TA program focused, using prioritization filters, but maintain flexibility.
Develop TA strategies to meet institution-building needs, especially in low-income countries, and to define longer-term objectives and the specific role of the Fund.
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of regional TA and training centers.
Establish a standardized evaluation methodology and continue with the formal three-year rolling program of evaluations.
Continue the use of prioritization filters, but discontinue technical consultations and restrict use of technical cooperation action plans to exceptional cases.
Limit expanding regional delivery of TA and training, weighing carefully the benefits (regional externalities) against the costs (significant amounts of backstopping and oversight).
Broaden options for greater dissemination of TA reports and information, taking into account the sensitive nature of some information in TA reports.
Develop a comprehensive system for planning and tracking TA and create a TA evaluation program.
Ensuring Alignment of Technical Assistance with the IMF’s Policy Priorities (2000)
Strengthen the prioritization of TA using the filters introduced in the Policy Statement in 2000, but the approach should not compromise the principle that all members are eligible to request TA.
Focus on core areas of specialization.
Make further efforts to ensure strong systems for monitoring, follow-up and evaluation of TA activities.
Cooperate with other TA providers and draw up comprehensive TA action plans for countries with extensive TA needs.
Review of Fund Technical Assistance (1999)
Link the assessment of TA priorities and allocation decisions more closely with IMF Article IV consultations, changing the orientation of the IMF’s TA from being largely curative to being more preventive.
Conduct specific TA Consultations as part of Article IV consultations in order to assess progress in implementing past technical advice and discuss future needs. For countries requesting significant volumes of TA, a Technical Cooperation Action Plan would be drawn up that would place cooperation in a medium-term framework.
Limit the subject areas to those areas for which the IMF has a comparative advantage.
Place greater emphasis on the use of short-term and peripatetic experts rather than long-term experts.
Develop an explicit policy on TA, to strengthen evaluation, and increase reporting of results to management and the Executive Board.
Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund (IEO), 2005, Report on the Evaluation of Technical Assistance Provided by the International Monetary Fund (Washington: International Monetary Fund).
Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund (IEO), 2011, IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Financial and Economic Crisis: IMF Surveillance in 2004-07 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).
Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund (IEO), 2013, The Role of the IMF as a Trusted Advisor (Washington: International Monetary Fund).
International Monetary Fund, 2001, Policy Statement on IMF Technical Assistance (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2002, Review of Technical Assistance Policy and Experience (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2004, Review of Technical Assistance (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2005, Conclusions of the Task Force on IMF Technical Assistance (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2008a, Enhancing the Impact of Fund Technical Assistance (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2008c, Training as Part of Capacity Building: Recent Initiatives and Strategic Considerations (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2011, Report of the Task Force on the Fund’s Technical Assistance Strategy (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2011b, 2011 Triennial Surveillance Review—Review of the 2007 Surveillance Decision and the Broader Legal Framework for Surveillance (Washington).
International Monetary Fund, 2014, FY2014–FY2016 Medium-Term Budget (Washington).
Enhancing the Impact of Fund Technical Assistance, hereafter the 2008 TA review; Training as Part of Capacity Building—Recent Initiatives and Strategic Considerations, hereafter the 2008 training paper; and Report of the Task Force on the Fund’s Technical Assistance Strategy, hereafter the 2011 TA review.
This paper is supported by The Fund’s Capacity Development Strategy—Better Policies through Stronger Institutions—Background Paper, hereafter the Supplement. The background paper covers various aspects of CD, including the importance of institutions for growth, stylized facts about CD, measurement issues, background work on prioritization, and the evolution of the funding model. It also gives more information on the current status of the monitoring and evaluation, provides recommendations on ways to increase synergies between TA and training, and discusses the revolution in online learning.
In this paper, capacity development is defined as technical assistance and training. From a legal perspective, Fund technical services include technical assistance and training in the Fund’s core areas of expertise. From a budget perspective, TA and training are treated as separate outputs (Supplement 1.C).
See the 1999 Review of Fund Technical Assistance, hereafter the 1999 TA review.
A TA evaluation program was launched in 2002 following the Review of Technical Assistance Policy and Experience to introduce a more formal approach to evaluation of the Fund’s TA, and provide the Board with information on a regular basis. The last formal review was in 2008.
Historically, the Office of Technical Assistance Management (OTM) was the secretariat of the CCB; this role has been assumed by ICD.
The IEO report on the IMF Performance in the Run-Up to the Financial and Economic Crisis and the 2011 Triennial Surveillance Review suggest that the Fund could have used preventive measures earlier than it did, including TA. In addition, the 1999 TA review recommended linking prioritization and allocation more close with Article IV consultations in order to change the orientation of TA from being largely curative to being more preventative (Annex I).
Crisis onset deemed to be: for Asian crisis countries, the last of the financial year quarter in which the crisis occurred; and for the recent crisis countries, the last day of the IMF fiscal quarter in which the country joined an IMF program. To facilitate comparability, four countries were chosen from the sample of current crisis countries to compare to the four countries discussed in the 1999 TA review. The current crisis countries include advanced economies, which typically received little or no TA prior to the crisis.
The bullets under principles 1 and 2 are drawn from paragraphs 3, 10, 11, 29 (first bullet) of the 2011 TA review and regrouped for presentation purposes.
As elsewhere in the paper, Figure 6 shows data through FY 2012 only because data for FY 2013 are preliminary.
In most cases evaluations should not be exhaustive, but rely instead on sampling techniques.
This is an outstanding recommendation of the 2005 IEO Evaluation of TA that has not been implemented.
These advantages must be balanced against the critical role of centralized TA in ensuring integration of TA with other country work.
TA departments do this on an ad hoc basis or distribute relevant material in technical and guidance notes.
Development of an e-learning Financial Programming and Policies (FPP) course is underway.
E-learning delivered through short pre-course modules can enhance the effectiveness of face-to-face training by ensuring that participants arrive well-prepared. Three e-learning modules have been piloted in five courses with very positive feedback from participants and requests for more e-learning content.
For example, the e-learning FPP will replace the distance learning FPP and will allow long HQ courses to be shortened.