International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Independent Evaluation Office (IEO)

Evaluation Mandate

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) was established to conduct objective and independent evaluations on issues relevant to the mandate of the Fund. It complements the review and evaluation work within the Fund. It thus improves the Fund’s ability to draw lessons from its experience and more quickly integrate improvements into its future work.

The IEO’s mission is to:

  • • enhance the learning culture within the Fund
  • • strengthen the Fund’s external credibility
  • • support the Executive Board’s institutional governance and oversight (IEO 2016, IEO 2015a).

The IEO has sole discretion on the selection of evaluation topics. It continuously consults with internal and external stakeholders on a possible list of topics over the medium term which is used as an input for determining the work agenda. The IEO conducts independent evaluations of IMF policies and activities and, upon occasion, revisits previous assessments. The IEO does not validate IMF self-evaluation activities.

Organisational Structure and Reporting Lines

The IEO functions as an independent organisation within the IMF, reporting to the Fund’s Executive Board. It is headed by a Director who is appointed by the Executive Board. The Director is not part of the IMF management structure in either a formal or informal capacity. IEO reports are transmitted to the Executive Board through the Board Evaluation Committee and shared concurrently with Management.

Types of Evaluation

  • • Thematic evaluations
  • • Policy/strategy evaluations
  • • Activity/operations evaluations

IEO evaluations follow the OECD-DAC criteria and evaluations assess these dimensions relative to the policies and activities of the IMF. The IEO does not conduct impact assessments; it does, however, assess intermediate outcomes. As for sustainability, this criterion is included in the assessment of effectiveness.


The IEO Director is appointed by the Executive Board for a non-renewable term of six years. In exceptional circumstances, the term may be extended by the Executive Board by no more than one year. The Director is responsible for the selection of IEO personnel (including external consultants), the majority of whom come from outside the Fund (IEO 2015a).

The IEO operates with a total of 15 staff. Its total budget proposal for FY2016 amounts to USD 5.8 million, representing zero real growth from FY2015. The FY2016 work programme included three ongoing evaluations (now completed), the launch of two new evaluations, and the preparation of two evaluation updates (IEO 2015c). The IEO evaluation work plan covers a period of two years during which, on average, one or two evaluations are completed.

Principles of Evaluation Independence

The independence of the IEO is secured through its institutional setup, working autonomously from IMF operational staff and management and at “arms’ length” from the IMF Executive Board. The IEO staff are appointed directly by the IEO Director and a majority of its personnel come from outside the IMF. In addition, the IEO staff report exclusively to the Director of the IEO.

The budget of the IEO is subject to the approval of the Executive Board, but its preparation is independent of the budgetary process of IMF management. The IEO work plan is presented to the Executive Board for consultation but is not subject to the Board’s approval. The IEO has sole responsibility for drafting evaluation reports and annual reports.

Transparency and participation

All IEO outputs, including but not limited to solicitation for comments on evaluation approach papers (Issues Papers), evaluation reports/revisits, and follow-up (summaries of Executive Board discussions and management/staff responses), are made publicly available online. The IEO may also submit comments to the management response for consideration by the Board.

In addition to the website, the IMF systematically shares results through the press/ media, internal circulation (intranet/email), and external circulation to stakeholders. At times, it conducts outreach and dissemination activities, mostly in the context of stakeholder partnerships.

Knowledge management

The IEO has various tools available for knowledge management, including a file archive, a dedicated documents database and an information web portal that contains multimedia materials.

Co-ordination with donors and country recipients

The IEO’s work plan is established by the Director in light of consultations with interested stakeholders, from both inside and outside the IMF. Country authorities and other local stakeholders are involved in the evaluation process, most often as participants in workshops or surveys or as interviewees for specific evaluations. The IEO also reports directly to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (a sub-set of the Board of Governors of the IMF) twice per year.

Quality assurance

To ensure quality, the IEO uses expert advisory groups, peer review groups and workshops at key phases of the evaluation cycle. It also seeks advice from outside expertise as needed. An Evaluation Completion Report is undertaken following each evaluation in order to chronicle processes and document evidence, as well as to elicit lessons learned in conducting respective evaluations. These reports are circulated to all IEO staff.

Note to reader: The section at the beginning of Part II entitled “Introduction and key for the member profiles” provides explanatory notes on the profiles.

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