Terminal Evaluation for The Strengthening National Protected Areas Systems (SNPAS) Project



Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Mbabane, SWAZILAND
Application Deadline :31-Jul-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Climate & Disaster Resilience
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
20-Aug-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :thirty days
Expected Duration of Assignment :eight weeks

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Background

Introduction

In accordance with UNDP and GEF M&E policies and procedures, all full- and medium-sized UNDP-supported GEF-financed projects are required to undergo a Terminal Evaluation (TE) at the end of the project. This Terms of Reference (ToR) sets out the expectations for the TE of the full-size project titled The Strengthening National Protected Areas Systems (SNPAS) in Eswatini (PIMS #4932) implemented through the Eswatini National Trust Commission/Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The project started on the 03 October 2014 (final signature date) and is in its 7th year of implementation. The TE process must follow the guidance outlined in the document ‘Guidance for Conducting Terminal Evaluations of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects’ (http://web.undp.org/evaluation/guideline/documents/GEF/TE_GuidanceforUNDP-supportedGEF-financedProjects.pdf).

Background

The Strengthening National Protected Areas Systems (SNPAS) in Eswatini is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC) in collaboration with the Eswatini Tourism Authority and Local Governments (Tinkhundlas). Eswatini’s formal Protected Areas (PAs) baseline covered approximately 3.9% of the country’s total land area. These areas are relatively rich in biodiversity with their share of endemism as represented in various ecosystems. Furthermore, the country has set targets for the conservation of its ecosystems and species in line with the National Development Strategy (Vision 2022) and other international targets such as the Aichi Targets under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity. While some of the critical ecosystems and species are found in existing PAs, some are found in areas prone to unstainable utilization and overexploitation of resources, thereby threatening livelihoods and impeding sustainable development.

The SNPAS project’s goal was to strengthen the management effectiveness of the PA system of Eswatini to ensure a viable set of representative samples of the country’s full range of natural ecosystems are conserved, through a network of PAs. The project objective is to effectively expand manage and develop Swaziland’s protected area network in order to adequately protect the biodiversity and landscapes of the country. This involved devising a system of integrating land and natural resource management that transforms the current PA patchwork into a protected areas network, while creating incentives for all Swazis (land management agencies, conservancies, private landowners and tourism operators) to work together toward conservation and sustainable economic development. In order to achieve the project goal and objective, the project’s interventions have been organized in three components:

  • Component 1: Knowledge based platform operationalised at the National and regional level to address   current and emerging threats to PAs and biodiversity conservation.
  • Component 2: Landscape approach operationalised and leads to expansion of PA network.
  • Component 3: Strengthening PA functioning through improved Conservation management and Operational support for existing and new PAs, including both formal and informal PAs.

The project was designed to contribute to objective 8 of the Eswatini National Development Strategy 2022: to ensure environmental sustainability and strategic area 3.7 on environmental management; and outcome 3 of UNDAF/CPD 2011-2015 on National institutions have the capacity and providing guidance on the utilization of natural resources in a sustainable and equitable manner. Implementation of the project has spanned three UNDAF/CPD frameworks including UNDAF/CPD 2016-2020 and 2021-2025. The project started on the 03rd October 2014 and is in its 7th year of implementation. Financing for the project included: US$ 5,500,000 GEF grant and co-financing of US$ 23,600,000.  Implementation followed UNDP policies and procedures for Nationally Executed projects with Country Office support. Although it was designed for a six year implementation period, following the mid-term review recommendations and COVID19 pandemic the project was extended for an additional 12 months.   Like many countries, Eswatini has been affected and impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. The country has registered 823 cases with 676 death as at 17th June 2021. A total of 35227 have been vaccinated since the programme was rolled out at the end of March 2021. Following the registration of positive COVID-19 cases in the country, the Government, on 17 March 2020, declared the COVID-19 pandemic a National Emergency. It further activated a comprehensive programme for managing initial and cascading impacts, which were induced by the strain on the health care capacity as well as the enforcement of core measures as means to mitigate the spread of the virus. Measures undertaken included cross border and air travel bans and limitations, suspension of public gatherings, closure of offices and businesses except for emergency services to minimise the spread of the virus. As a result of these measures, a number of project activities were disrupted, delayed and suspended due to COVID restrictions.  COVID-19 Pandemic delayed implementation of all activities that required international travel, community engagements and delayed deliveries of equipment’s and civil works materials due to restrictions in travels and closure of many none essential service providers. The ban of international travel delayed service delivery on other effective conservation measures (OECM) activities and site evaluations to expand protected area networks (ultimate objective) disbursement of catalytic funding for communities Furthermore, supply chain for some civil works such as cement and steel materials imported from South Africa took longer than planned thus delaying completion of deliverables. 

TERMINAL EVALUATION (TE) PURPOSE

The TE report will assess the achievement of project results against what was expected to be achieved, and draw lessons that can both improve the sustainability of benefits from this project, and  aid in the overall enhancement of UNDP programming. The TE report promotes accountability and transparency, and assesses the extent of project accomplishments.   The objective of the TE is to assess project performance against expectations set out in the project’s Logical Framework/Results Framework. The TE will assess results according to the criteria outlined in the Guidance for TEs of UNDP-supported GEF-financed Projects.

TERMINAL EVALUATION (TE) APPROACH & METHODOLOGY

The TE report must provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The TE team will review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure/SESP) the Project Document, project reports including annual PIRs, project budget revisions, lesson learned reports, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based evaluation. The TE team will review the baseline and midterm GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools submitted to the GEF at the CEO endorsement and midterm stages and the terminal Core Indicators/Tracking Tools that must be completed before the TE field mission begins. 

The TE team is expected to follow a participatory and consultative approach ensuring close engagement with the Project Team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point), Implementing Partners, the UNDP Country Office(s), the Regional Technical Advisor, direct beneficiaries and other stakeholders.   In line with COVID19 standard operating procedures to minimise spread of the virus, protect consultants, communities and partners, the TE team will use extended desk reviews, secondary data, and virtual interviews.  The consultants may also use spatial technologies to assess status of investments undertaken by the project.  

The specific design and methodology for the TE should emerge from consultations between the TE team and the above-mentioned parties regarding what is appropriate and feasible for meeting the TE purpose and objectives and answering the evaluation questions, given limitations of budget, time and data. The TE team must use gender-responsive methodologies and tools and ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as other cross-cutting issues and SDGs are incorporated into the TE report. The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the evaluation must be clearly outlined in the TE Inception Report and be fully discussed and agreed between UNDP, stakeholders and the TE team.  

The final report must describe the full TE approach taken and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the evaluation. 

In line with COVID19 standard operating procedures to minimize spread of the virus, protect consultants, communities and partners, the TE team will use extended desk reviews, secondary data, and virtual interviews.  The consultants may also use spatial technologies to assess status of investments undertaken by the project.  The specific design and methodology for the TE should emerge from consultations between the TE team and the above-mentioned parties regarding what is appropriate and feasible for meeting the TE purpose and objectives and answering the evaluation questions, given limitations of budget, time and data. The TE team must use gender-responsive methodologies and tools and ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as other cross-cutting issues and SDGs are incorporated into the TE report. The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the evaluation must be clearly outlined in the TE Inception Report and be fully discussed and agreed between UNDP, stakeholders and the TE team.

As of 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus rapidly spread to all regions of the world. Travel to the country has been restricted since 17 March 2020 and travel in the country is also restricted.  

If it is not possible to travel to or within the country for the TE mission then the TE team should develop a methodology that takes this into account the conduct of the TE virtually and remotely, including the use of remote interview methods and extended desk reviews, data analysis, surveys and evaluation questionnaires. This should be detailed in the TE Inception Report and agreed with the Commissioning Unit.  

If all or part of the TE is to be carried out virtually then consideration should be taken for stakeholder availability, ability or willingness to be interviewed remotely. In addition, their accessibility to the internet/computer may be an issue as many government and national counterparts may be working from home. These limitations must be reflected in the final TE report.  

If a data collection/field mission is not possible then remote interviews may be undertaken through telephone or online (skype, zoom etc.). International consultants will work remotely with national evaluator support in the field if it is safe for them to operate and travel. No stakeholders, consultants or UNDP staff should be put in harm’s way and safety is the key priority.  

A short validation mission may be considered if it is confirmed to be safe for staff, consultants, stakeholders and if such a mission is possible within the TE schedule. Equally, qualified and independent national consultants will be hired to undertake the TE and interviews in country as long as it is safe to do so.  The final report must describe the full TE approach taken and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the evaluation.

As of 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus rapidly spread to all regions of the world. Travel to the country has been restricted since 17 March 2020 and travel in the country is also restricted.  

If it is not possible to travel to or within the country for the TE mission then the TE team should develop a methodology that takes this into account the conduct of the TE virtually and remotely, including the use of remote interview methods and extended desk reviews, data analysis, surveys and evaluation questionnaires. This should be detailed in the TE Inception Report and agreed with the Commissioning Unit.  

If all or part of the TE is to be carried out virtually then consideration should be taken for stakeholder availability, ability or willingness to be interviewed remotely. In addition, their accessibility to the internet/computer may be an issue as many government and national counterparts may be working from home. These limitations must be reflected in the final TE report.  

If a data collection/field mission is not possible then remote interviews may be undertaken through telephone or online (skype, zoom etc.). International consultants will work remotely with national evaluator support in the field if it is safe for them to operate and travel. No stakeholders, consultants or UNDP staff should be put in harm’s way and safety is the key priority.   A short validation mission may be considered if it is confirmed to be safe for staff, consultants, stakeholders and if such a mission is possible within the TE schedule. Equally, qualified and independent national consultants will be hired to undertake the TE and interviews in country as long as it is safe to do so.


Duties and Responsibilities

DETAILED SCOPE OF THE TERMINAL EVALUATION (TE)

The TE will assess project performance against expectations set out in the project’s Logical Framework/Results Framework (see ToR Annex A). The TE will assess results according to the criteria outlined in the Guidance for TEs of UNDP-supported GEF-financed Projects (http://web.undp.org/evaluation/guideline/documents/GEF/TE_GuidanceforUNDP-supportedGEF-financedProjects.pdf.

The TE consultants will review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure/SESP) the Project Document, project reports including annual PIRs, project budget revisions, lesson learned reports, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based evaluation. The TE team will review the baseline and midterm GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools submitted to the GEF at the CEO endorsement and midterm stages and the terminal Core Indicators/Tracking Tools that must be completed before the TE field mission begins. The TE consultants are expected to follow a participatory and consultative approach ensuring close engagement with the Project Team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point), Implementing Partners, the UNDP Country Office(s), the Regional Technical Advisor, direct beneficiaries and other stakeholders.

The Findings section of the TE report will cover the topics listed below

Project Design/Formulation

  • National priorities and country driven-ness
  • Theory of Change
  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Social and Environmental Safeguards
  • Analysis of Results Framework: project logic and strategy, indicators
  • Assumptions and Risks
  • Lessons from other relevant projects (e.g. same focal area) incorporated into project design
  • Planned stakeholder participation
  • Linkages between project and other interventions within the sector
  • Management arrangements

Project Implementation

  • Adaptive management (changes to the project design and project outputs during implementation)
  • Actual stakeholder participation and partnership arrangements
  • Project Finance and Co-finance
  • Monitoring & Evaluation: design at entry (*), implementation (*), and overall assessment of M&E (*)
  • Implementing Agency (UNDP) (*) and Executing Agency (*), overall project oversight/implementation and execution (*)
  • Risk Management, including Social and Environmental Standards

Project Results

  • Assess the achievement of outcomes against indicators by reporting on the level of progress for each objective and outcome indicator at the time of the TE and noting final achievements
  • Relevance (*), Effectiveness (*), Efficiency (*) and overall project outcome (*)
  • Sustainability: financial (*)  , socio-political (*), institutional framework and governance (*), environmental (*), overall likelihood of sustainability (*)
  • Country ownership
  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Cross-cutting issues (poverty alleviation, improved governance, climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster prevention and recovery, human rights, capacity development, South-South cooperation, knowledge management, volunteerism, etc., as relevant)
  • GEF Additionality
  • Catalytic Role / Replication Effect
  • Progress to impact

Main Findings, Conclusions, Recommendations and Lessons Learned

The TE team will include a summary of the main findings of the TE report. Findings should be presented as statements of fact that are based on analysis of the data.

  •  The section on conclusions will be written in light of the findings. Conclusions should be comprehensive and balanced statements that are well substantiated by evidence and logically connected to the TE findings. They should highlight the strengths, weaknesses and results of the project, respond to key evaluation questions and provide insights into the identification of and/or solutions to important problems or issues pertinent to project beneficiaries, UNDP and the GEF, including issues in relation to gender equality and women’s empowerment. 
  • Recommendations should provide concrete, practical, feasible and targeted recommendations directed to the intended users of the evaluation about what actions to take and decisions to make. The recommendations should be specifically supported by the evidence and linked to the findings and conclusions around key questions addressed by the evaluation.
  • The TE report should also include lessons that can be taken from the evaluation, including best practices in addressing issues relating to relevance, performance and success that can provide knowledge gained from the particular circumstance (programmatic and evaluation methods used, partnerships, financial leveraging, etc.) that are applicable to other GEF and UNDP interventions. When possible, the TE team should include examples of good practices in project design and implementation.
  • It is important for the conclusions, recommendations and lessons learned of the TE report to include results related to gender equality and empowerment of women.

TIMEFRAME

The total duration of the TE will be approximately 30 working days) over a time period of (8 weeks) starting 20 July and shall not exceed five months from when the TE team is hired.

TE DELIVERABLES

The TE consultant/team shall prepare and submit:

  • TE Inception Report: TE team clarifies objectives and methods of the TE no later than 2 weeks before the TE mission. TE team submits the Inception Report to the Commissioning Unit and project management. Approximate due date: (05 September)
  • Presentation: TE team presents initial findings to project management and the Commissioning Unit at the end of the TE mission. Approximate due date: (20 September )
  • Draft TE Report: TE team submits full draft report with annexes within 3 weeks of the end of the TE mission. Approximate due date: (31 September)
  • Final TE Report* and Audit Trail: TE team submits revised report, with Audit Trail detailing how all received comments have (and have not) been addressed in the final TE report, to the Commissioning Unit within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on draft. Approximate due date: (10 October)

*The final TE report must be in English. If applicable, the Commissioning Unit may choose to arrange for a translation of the report into a language more widely shared by national stakeholders.   All final TE reports will be quality assessed by the UNDP Independent Evaluation Office (IEO).  Details of the IEO’s quality assessment of decentralized evaluations can be found in Section 6 of the UNDP Evaluation Guidelines.

TE ARRANGEMENTS

The principal responsibility for managing the TE resides with the Commissioning Unit. The Commissioning Unit for this project’s TE is UNDP Country Office.  The UNDP Country Office will; i) contract the evaluators ii) ensure the timely provision of per diems and travel arrangements within the country for the TE team; iii) procure venues and provide zoom/team platforms for virtual stakeholder consultations (inception and validation workshops). The Project Team will be responsible for liaising with the TE team to provide all relevant documents, set up stakeholder interviews, and arrange field visits where possible.

TE TEAM COMPOSITION

A team of two independent evaluators will conduct the TE – one team leader (with experience and exposure to projects and evaluations in other regions) and one national expert.  The team leader will be responsible for the overall design and writing of the TE report, etc.)  The national expert will report to the team leader. S/he will assess emerging trends with respect to regulatory frameworks, budget allocations for co-financing, capacity building, work with the Project Team in developing the TE itinerary and lead stakeholder consultations and field visits and contribute to preparation of required reports.

The evaluator(s) cannot have participated in the project preparation, formulation and/or implementation (including the writing of the project document), must not have conducted this project’s Mid-Term Review and should not have a conflict of interest with the project’s related activities.

 


Competencies

Functional Competencies:

  • Leading multi-disciplinary, multi-national teams to deliver quality products in high stress, short deadline situations.
  • Positive, constructive attitude towards work;
  • Ability to act professionally and flexibly to engage with government officials, donor representatives, and local communities.
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and biodiversity conservation experience in gender responsive evaluation and analysis;
  • Excellent communication skills; Demonstrable analytical skills;
  • Project evaluation/review experience within United Nations system will be considered an asset.


Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • At lease an MSc degree in natual resources management, socio-economic development or related fields;

Experience:

  • At least 7 years’ experience in natural resources management, socio-economic development or related fields
  • Knowledge of integrated approaches to management of Biodiversity related issues in Eswatini;
  • Experience in the evaluation of development projects with UNDP or other UN development agencies and major donors, is required. 
  • Experience of working with Local Governments and Community Based Organisations in the areas of Natural Resource Management is an advantage.
  • Excellent communication skills.

Language Requirement:

  • Proficiency in written and spoken English and siSwati.

Additional Information:

Additional Information:

EVALUATOR ETHICS

The TE team will be held to the highest ethical standards and is required to sign a code of conduct upon acceptance of the assignment. This evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in the UNEG ‘Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation’. The evaluator must safeguard the rights and confidentiality of information providers, interviewees and stakeholders through measures to ensure compliance with legal and other relevant codes governing collection of data and reporting on data. The evaluator must also ensure security of collected information before and after the evaluation and protocols to ensure anonymity and confidentiality of sources of information where that is expected. The information knowledge and data gathered in the evaluation process must also be solely used for the evaluation and not for other uses without the express authorization of UNDP and partners.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE

  • 20% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final TE Inception Report and approval by the Commissioning Unit
  • 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the draft TE report to the Commissioning Unit
  • 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final TE report and approval by the Commissioning Unit and RTA (via signatures on the TE Report Clearance Form) and delivery of completed TE Audit Trail

Criteria for issuing the final payment of 40%

  • The final TE report includes all requirements outlined in the TE TOR and is in accordance with the TE guidance.
  • The final TE report is clearly written, logically organized, and is specific for this project (i.e. text has not been cut & pasted from other MTR reports).
  • The Audit Trail includes responses to and justification for each comment listed.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Scope of Price Proposal and Schedule of Payments

Financial Proposal:

  • Financial proposals must be “all inclusive” and expressed in a lump-sum for the total duration of the contract. The term “all inclusive” implies all cost (professional fees, travel costs, living allowances etc.);
  • For duty travels, the UN’s Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) rates are applicable to provide indication of the cost of living in a duty station/destination (Note: Individuals on this contract are not UN staff and are therefore not entitled to DSAs.  All living allowances required to perform the demands of the ToR must be incorporated in the financial proposal, whether the fees are expressed as daily fees or lump sum amount.)

Recommended Presentation of Proposal

  1. Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  2. CV and a Personal History Form (P11 form);
  3. Brief description of approach to work/technical proposal of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a proposed methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment; (max 1 page)
  4. Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price and all other travel related costs (such as flight ticket, per diem, etc.), supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template attached to the Letter of Confirmation of Interest template. If an applicant is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the applicant must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.

Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.

Criteria for Selection of the Best Offer

Only those applications which are responsive and compliant will be evaluated. Offers will be evaluated according to the Combined Scoring method – where the educational background and experience on similar assignments will be weighted at 70% and the price proposal will weigh as 30% of the total scoring. The applicant receiving the Highest Combined Score that has also accepted UNDP’s General Terms and Conditions will be awarded the contract.

 

 



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