IFI governance


Uncorrected highlights of a meeting with Tom Bernes, Director, Independent Evaluation Office

8 November 2005

8 December 2005 | Minutes

In attendance: Robin Robison (QPSW), Romilly Greenhill (ActionAid UK), Olivia Mcdonald (Christian Aid), Jennifer Yablonski (SCF), Steve Mandel (nef), Anton Kerr (Christian Aid), Jeff Powell (BWP) David Peretz (IEO – consultant)

Introduction to the IEO

  • 10 staff (50% IMF, 50% not) + consultants, predominantly economists
  • Original work programme (from 2002) included 14 topics – working their way through the list; questions about usefulness of single country evaluations
  • Upcoming evaluations:
    Financial Sector Assessment Programmes – year-end
    Multilateral surveillance – early next year
    Structural conditionality – April/May
    Fund’s role in setting medium-term resource envelope in African countries – draft issues note to be out imminently (team led by Joanne Salop)
    Also next year – bilateral surveillance and exchange rate policy advice
  • On IMF follow-up of evaluations: mixed – on the technical assistance evaluation, the board set up a task force and changed the policy framework; however on PRSP, it’s not clear what the impact has been. Generally need more systematic follow-up – have approved recommendations been implemented? There is no mechanism to follow-up. Key challenge for ‘second round’ of evaluations.
  • Should IEO look more at mgmt-staff relations?


  • IEO doesn’t attempt to apportion responsibility for Fund errors – assumes collective responsibility, for while country managers take the lead, all programmes are approved by the board. Agencies present pointed out that country manager personality has enormous impact. According to the IEO, there is some evidence that the presence of IEO is changing culture of organisation. No training for mission chiefs. Such issues could be raised in bilateral surveillance evaluation.
  • On IMF examining alternative macroeconomic scenarios – could come up in either the bilateral surveillance evaluation or the medium-term resource envelope evaluation. IEO could do more on the pro/counter-cyclical nature of Fund advice.
  • On Poverty and Social Impact Assessments – examination of PSIA would come as part of second PRGF review. Last PRGF evaluation didn’t look at whether the Fund has a poverty reduction framework.
  • Agencies present encouraged specific evaluations of privatisation / trade liberalisation / governance reform for 2007.
  • Agencies present encouraged evaluations which focus on the process of Fund intervention at a country level (ie. interactions with parliamentarians)
  • Agencies present encouraged an evaluation of the Fund’s work with wealthy countries.
  • An evaluation coordination group (IMF/WB and UN evaluation bodies) attempts to bring out inter-relationships between different agencies and promote learning
  • De Rato has promised full cooperation; relations with Fund management healthy.
  • UK has been very supportive – Chancellor has called for IEO report at IMFC meetings; DFID has said they are strong supporters. Agencies present questioned whether HMT showed this support adequately in its annual report on the IMF.
  • Evaluation of the evaluators: external evaluation will look at – is work output right? (IEO thinks that about 3 major reports per year is about right) are evaluations followed up?
  • Resources – Fund was held to 0% increase in last budget appraisal, so IEO was as well – dissemination and outreach budget were sacrificed. Agencies voiced concern that this was one area where the IEO was falling down – little or no awareness amongst civil society groups about the work of the IEO. Therefore a small budgetary increase would be useful (evaluation important in this respect).