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Chapter 1: Overview of Developments in FY2012

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Published Date:
August 2012
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During financial year 2012, the IMF Executive Board discussed the IEO evaluation of Research at the IMF: Relevance and Utilization. Directors also considered the Fourth Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR) on the Status of Implementation Plans in Response to Board-Endorsed IEO Recommendations. In December 2011, the IEO hosted a conference to mark the conclusion of its first decade of operations. Work also continued on three evaluations: “International Reserves: IMF Concerns and Country Perspectives;” “The Role of the IMF as Trusted Advisor;” and “An Assessment of Self-Evaluation Systems.”

This chapter summarizes overall developments in the financial year. Chapter 2 summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Research evaluation and the Board discussion of this evaluation—as well as the Board discussion in very early FY2013 of the Management Implementation Plan (MIP) for the IEO evaluation of The IMF’s Performance in the Run-Up to the Financial and Economic Crisis: IMF Surveillance in 2004-07. Chapter 3 discusses cross-cutting issues related to IEO work. Chapter 4 addresses ongoing evaluations.

Monitoring the Implementation of IEO Recommendations

As of end-FY2012, the MIPs for the two most recent IEO evaluations had not yet been agreed by the Board. IMF staff provided a revised MIP for the Financial and Economic Crisis evaluation on December 22, 2011.1 The Evaluation Committee discussed the revised MIP on January 24, 2012; the full Board discussed and agreed to the MIP on May 25, 2012—after the end of FY2012. (See discussion in Chapter 2.) On June 18, 2012, IMF staff circulated to the Evaluation Committee a MIP on the Research evaluation.2 The MIP will be reviewed by the Evaluation Committee at a date to be determined and will subsequently be considered by the full Board.

The Fourth PMR, which was presented by staff near the end of the previous financial year in March 2011, was discussed by the Evaluation Committee on July 26, 2011. This PMR concluded that key performance benchmarks related to the IEO evaluation of IMF Involvement in International Trade Policy Issues had been met, or were on track for timely completion. It also concluded that there were no outstanding benchmarks to be reviewed in the next PMR, although it stated that the next PMR will provide further updates as necessary on broader issues raised in the context of the Fourth PMR. The Fourth PMR also provided a brief update on several issues that the Evaluation Committee identified as needing further reflection and future work when it discussed the previous PMR, including the status of upgrades to the database to monitor IMF-supported arrangements (MONA), and measures to ensure longer country assignments. However, the Fourth PMR did not address two additional issues that the Evaluation Committee had also highlighted: the treatment of confidential information in Article IV staff reports; and the process for monitoring implementation of IEO recommendations in the Governance evaluation.

The Evaluation Committee broadly endorsed the Fourth PMR’s assessment that key performance benchmarks related to the MIP for the Trade evaluation had been met or were on track for timely completion and that there were no outstanding benchmarks to be reviewed in the next PMR. However, looking beyond implementation of the Trade MIP, the Committee considered that further work was needed to address staff mobility, an issue raised more than once in IEO evaluations. The Committee also called for expansion of monitoring in subsequent PMRs to highlight the status of past implementation plans, and thereby to facilitate an overall assessment by the Board of how effectively IEO recommendations were being implemented. In addition, the Committee agreed on the need to strengthen the process for endorsing IEO recommendations, as well as related follow-up. Nonetheless, the Evaluation Committee recommended Board approval of the Fourth PMR on a lapse-of-time basis; this approval took place on August 26, 2011.

Budget and Staffing

In FY2012, the IEO expended approximately 97 percent of its total budgetary resources, including the approved budget amount and the resources carried forward from FY2011 as authorized. Appendix 1 details the IEO budget and expenditures. In sum, vacancies amounted to about one and one-half staff years over the course of the financial year. This level of vacancies is within the range of what could be expected in a small organization with structural difficulties in recruitment and retention, as discussed in past Annual Reports. Spending on staff was thus less than budgeted, while spending on contractual services and travel was higher than the budgeted level. In addition, the timing of several publications slipped beyond FY2012, resulting in a shortfall in expenditure on publications that will likely be offset by increased spending in this area in FY2013.

On April 10, 2012, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the IEO budget proposal for FY2013 of $5.5 million, consistent with zero real growth over FY2012. This proposed budget, along with unspent funds carried over from the FY2012 budget,3 will allow the IEO to implement its planned work program for FY2013—namely to complete three ongoing evaluations as indicated above and to launch two new evaluations. The IEO also presented indicative budgets for FY2014 and FY2015, based on zero real growth.

Outreach and Communication Activities

The IEO continued to follow through on the recommendations of the 2006 External Evaluation report to engage in outreach as a “necessary tool” to inform stakeholders about IEO analyses and findings in order to increase their impact. The IEO recently revamped its website. The new design is more user-friendly, facilitating access to completed evaluations, issues papers for ongoing evaluations, the IEO work program, and other IEO publications. The IEO also publishes a semiannual newsletter, available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

To publicize and encourage discussion of its work, the IEO organized or participated in a number of events in FY2012, listed in Appendix 2. Of note, the IEO organized a conference in December 2011 to reflect on its first decade of operations. At the conference, Executive Directors, IMF Management, senior staff, and external stakeholders came together to discuss what the IEO has achieved and how it can further contribute to the effectiveness of the IMF. The conference agenda, opening remarks by IEO Director Moises Schwartz, and videos of each session are available on the IEO website (see www.ieo-imf.org).

1The Evaluation Committee discussed an initial MIP in April 2011 but agreed to postpone formal consideration of the implementation plan for this evaluation until after completion of the 2011 Triennial Surveillance Review. See Chapter 2 for further details.
2The Research evaluation was issued by IEO in May 2011 and discussed by the Board in June 2011.
3The IEO is authorized to carry forward unspent funds up to a limit of 5 percent of the previous year’s budget.

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