The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is charged with evaluating the activities of IBRD and IDA (the World Bank), the work of IFC in private sector development, and MIGA's guarantee projects and services. The Director-General of IEG reports directly to the World Bank Group's Board of Directors. The goals of evaluation are to provide an objective assessment of the results of the Bank Group’s work and to identify and disseminate lessons learned from experience.
The purpose of IEG’s evaluation system has remained unchanged for more than 40 years: to assess the performance of Bank Group policies, programs, projects, and processes (accountability) and to learn what works in what context (lessons). As the scope of Bank Group operations and its portfolio of products have grown, IEG has continued to develop and adapt its approach to evaluating development effectiveness.
The diversity of projects and programs that the Bank Group employs to support public and private sector development requires that IEG use a variety of evaluation approaches. These approaches include assessing outcomes against stated objectives, benchmarks, standards, and expectations, or assessing what might have happened in the absence of the project, program, or policy (counterfactual analysis). For example, private sector investment projects and advisory services are mainly assessed against absolute economic and financial performance criteria and the extent to which they contribute to private sector development. Public sector projects are assessed in relation to their relevance and the efficacy and efficiency with which they achieve their development objectives.
To judge the Bank Group’s performance and identify lessons for improving Bank Group operations, IEG conducts not only project-level evaluations, based on the review of self-evaluation reports prepared by Bank Group staff and supplemented by independent assessments, but also reviews of literature, analytical work, and project documentation; portfolio reviews; country case studies; structured interviews and surveys of staff and stakeholders; and impact evaluations.