In September, the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF released an issues paper for an evaluation of the Fund’s multilateral surveillance. ‘Multilateral surveillance’ refers to the “surveillance of economic linkages between countries and international economic and market developments, including the global implications of policies pursued in individual countries”. The objective of multilateral surveillance is to promote policies that ensure “financial stability, sustained economic growth, and reasonable levels of employment”.
The evaluation will look at both externally disseminated outputs, such as the World Economic Outlook report and IMF inputs into the deliberations of international bodies such as the G7, the G20 and the Financial Stability Forum, and internal outputs such as World Economic and Market Developments exercises, vulnerability assessment exercises, and the work of the Coordinating Group on Exchange Rates.
The issues paper suggests that the evaluation will examine a number of overarching questions, such as:
- Is the IMF’s internal structure for conducting multilateral surveillance well suited to delivering quality global assessments?
- Do these assessments cover the right issues?
- How well integrated are the IMF’s bilateral country assessments with its assessments of global linkages?
- Do global (and regional) considerations suitably feed into the policy advice that is delivered to individual countries?
- Does IMF participation in relevant international and regional policy fora contribute meaningfully to the multilateral policy debate?
- Does the Fund’s communications strategy allow the delivery of useful information to markets, as well as feed meaningfully into public debate on policy?
Evaluation criteria may include accuracy of analysis, relevance of issues to policymakers, candor and frankness of presentation, and timeliness of outputs.
The evaluation will draw upon documents, questionnaire surveys of users of multilateral surveillance, and interviews with staff, board members, senior policy makers, officials of regional and international organisations, and relevant representatives of the public, including key market participants. It will also include an analysis of the quantitative frameworks used in multilateral surveillance activities, including forecasts and scenarios.
The evaluation will be conducted through autumn 2005. The report will be drafted by the end of the year and released to the public, following discussion by the board, in early 2006.