Terms of reference have been agreed for the IMF‘s External Evaluation Office (EVO). Under external pressure, the Executive has stepped back from limiting the mandate of the EVO to ex post evaluations as had suggested in its August Board paper. The EVO will have complete freedom to evaluate all areas of IMF activities except ongoing Article IV consultations. The Board also agreed to waive its right to approve the EVO work programme, which NGOs had feared would allow the Board to reject evaluations it did not agree with. This decision will enable the EVO to operate as independently as possible from the Board and management. NGOs welcomed these changes which they had requested in a letter to the International Monetary and Finance Committee, signed by 130 NGOs, academics and individuals from 33 Countries. The EVO letter also demanded:
- publication of all reports;
- full transparency in setting the terms of reference for evaluations and appointing consultants;
- mechanisms for stakeholders outside the IMF to suggest areas for evaluation and to input into terms of reference and comment on draft reports;
- mechanisms to ensure that staff, particularly those seconded from the IMF, are free to act as independently as possible;
- clear monitoring and follow-up mechanisms to ensure that the accepted recommendations are implemented.
The Chair of the Executive Committee on External Evaluation, Thomas Bernes was not able to reassure NGOs that these other concerns would be heeded. The Board is taking a “hands-off” approach which means that it will be up to the EVO director to determine its structure and function.
The EVO may become operational before the Spring 2001 meetings in Washington, at which time the Executive Board will provide the Committee with a further report on the EVO‘s status.
NGO sign-on letter www.brettonwoodsproject.org
Executive Board’s August proposal www.imf.org/external/np/eval/evo/2000/eng/evo.htm
Summary of the Board’s discussion www.imf.org/external/np/sec/buff/2000/00131.htm
Terms of Reference www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2000/pr0053.htm
For critical comments on the proposal see www.brettonwoodsproject.org