International Affairs:

Improving Independent Evaluation Systems in the Multilateral Development Banks

ID-81-30: Published: Apr 21, 1981. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1981.

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In the late 1960's, Congress enacted legislation which urged the establishment of independent review and evaluation systems in the multilateral development banks: the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. This legislation also required GAO to periodically review evaluation reports from the banks and to make appropriate suggestions to Congress and the President for improvements.

Each bank has established independent evaluation systems consistent with standards suggested by GAO. The Inter-American Development Bank has taken a number of steps to improve its review and evaluation program, many of them suggested by prior GAO reports. However, since the Bank's reorganization, only two evaluation reports have been authorized and completed. The World Bank has supported the development and improvement of its independent evaluation system. However, GAO has criticized the Bank's system of not directing evaluations toward the formulation of recommendations. The Asian Development Bank has continued to improve its independent evaluation system through increased interaction with its board of directors. GAO believes, however, that the Bank should take steps to ensure a more comprehensive mixture of operation, sector, and project reviews in its evaluation reports.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should instruct the U.S. Executive Director to the World Bank to suggest that the Executive Directors support efforts to: (1) strengthen program coverage by the independent evaluation system through development of a timephased plan for systematically reviewing all major Bank activities, including the internal evaluation activities of management; and (2) establish a staffing program which includes seeking additional personnel from external sources and providing audit training.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should instruct the U.S. Director to the Asian Development Bank to suggest that: (1) a more representative mixture of operational, sectoral, and post-evaluation reviews be conducted; (2) management participation in the report recommendation followup system be increased; and (3) projects for which management has not prepared project completion reports be reviewed.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should have the U.S. Executive Director to the Inter-American Development Bank suggest that: (1) the external review and evaluation program include evaluations of selected project results; and (2) management revise its operations evaluation report distribution policy to provide the Bank's Board of Executive Directors unlimited access to evaluation reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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