IFI governance


Positive signals on IMF evaluation

10 September 2001

Transparency will be an important element of the IMF‘s Evaluation Office (EVO), according to the new director, Montek Ahluwalia. He recently met NGOs, academics and government staff in Japan, the UK and Germany to discuss evaluation topics and how his Office will work. He has proposed that his draft evaluation programme and draft terms of reference for each individual evaluation be made public for comments “to ensure the right questions are being asked”.

He also seemed enthusiastic to receive suggestions on what to evaluate. Some NGOs suggested that the EVO should reply in writing to those who propose evaluation topics explaining whether their proposal will be taken forward or if not why not. They also proposed that all evaluation requests should be published in the EVO‘s annual report.

David Goldsbrough, an IMF staffer, has been appointed EVO deputy director. NGOs pointed out that the EVO should be staffed by people with a variety of backgrounds and skills, including social and environmental analysts, political science experts and evaluation specialists. To date the Office has only advertised for economists.

Some NGOs expressed concern that EVO recommendations might be changed in the light of comments from staff before reports are published. They suggested that staff and Board comments should be published alongside evaluation reports. Participants in the consultations were encouraged that Ahluwalia seemed sympathetic to the suggestion that reports should discuss a range of views and to clearly explain the rationale for its conclusions and recommendations. NGOs also emphasised the need for monitoring how recommendations were implemented. Ahluwalia suggested that one possibility would be to review what actions have been taken after a couple of years.

Several NGOs sent a follow-up letter to Ahluwalia detailing these and other concerns and the office will be established by the end of the year.

To receive and comment on a list of proposed evaluation topics: mahluwalia@imf.org