IFI governance


Policing the policemen

15 April 1998

The IMF has been urged to be more transparent and accountable by a US Study Group convened by the Centre of Concern, and by the UK Chancellor.

The Study Group, which included academics, NGOs, Executive Directors (EDs) and IMF staff members, recommends the creation of a permanent and independent evaluation unit. It also urged publication of Letters of Intent, Policy Framework Papers, Public Information Notices, Staff reports, EDs’ reports to the Interim Committee and the Governors, and Executive Board minutes.

UK Chancellor Gordon Brown told the IMF‘s Interim Committee in April, that:

“we should explore ways to improve the IMF‘s own public accountability. Just as it is essential that we give proper support to the IMF, so it is essential that it performs its responsibilities in an open and transparent way that enhances public confidence. The Fund is already arranging external evaluations of some of its activities. We should explore ways to make this more systematic, perhaps looking again at the option of establishing a new full-time evaluation unit, to report directly to the Fund’s shareholders, and in public, on its performance.”

However, Bernd Esdar, German ED and Chair of the ED committee overseeing the IMF‘s experimental, ad hoc external evaluations, said most EDs were content to carry on with the current trial. He did admit, however, that these procedures were slow and other reviews could be done in parallel.

The Bretton Woods Project and Friends of the Earth US have jointly produced a briefing paper, Policing the Policemen, detailing the argument for an independent IMF evaluation unit. The briefing also includes an analysis of the internal review of the IMF‘s Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility and case studies of ESAF programmes in Senegal and Tanzania.

IMF Study Group Report: Transparency and Evaluation, is available from Center of Concern, tel:+1-202-635-2757; fax:+1-202-832-9494; coc@igc.apc.org.

Policing the Policemen from the Bretton Woods Project.