National Consultant to support a Terminal Evaluation _ SAFE Ecosystems Project


Location : Vientiane and Savannakhet, LAO PDR
Application Deadline :13-Oct-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)
01-Nov-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :35 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :November 2021 - January 2022

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-sized project titled Sustainable Forestry and Land Management in the Dry Dipterocarp Forest Ecosystems of Southern Lao PDR Project (referred to as the SAFE Ecosystems Project / PIMS# 5448) implemented through the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The project started on the 20th May 2016 and is in its sixth 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’ (link).

PROJECT BACKGROUND

The Sustainable Forest and Land Management in the Dry Dipterocarp Forest Ecosystems of Southern Lao (SAFE Ecosystems project) Project is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. At the Provincial level, the project is implemented through the Savannakhet Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office and District Agriculture and Forestry Offices of the five target districts of Xonaboully, Songkhone, Thaphanthong, Phine and Phalanxay.

Dry Dipterocarp Forest ecosystems are recognized as being globally important (as part of the Central Indochina Dry Forests ecoregion of the WWF Global 200 Ecoregions) and as habitat for a number of globally significant and threatened species. It also nationally important for their provision of numerous ecosystem services (water supply, sustainable timber and non-timber forests products, and carbon sequestration) that benefit the people of Lao PDR.

Over the last decades, Dry Dipterocarp Forest ecosystems and the species within them have come under increasing threats from large scale conversion of forest, degradation of forest ecosystem services, and species loss. Lao PDR retains a large proportion of the remaining Dry Dipterocarp Forests in the region. However, the demand for cash crops is propelling forest conversion, while unsustainable logging, over-hunting, over-harvesting of non-timber forest products and burning to provide fresh growth for livestock are all leading to habitat degradation.

Recognizing their global and national importance, the Government of Lao PDR prioritized the conservation and sustainable management of dry dipterocarp forest landscape. As part of government efforts to conserve the dry dipterocarp landscape, it selected the area to be the site of the newest national protected area in the country and a demonstration site for testing the implementation of national policies and processes related to Strategic Environmental Assessment, Integrated Spatial Planning and high conservation value forests. It also identified the landscape as suitable for the development and implementation of innovative financing mechanisms for sustainable forest management and protected area management as well as community participation in protected areas management, ecotourism programs, and livelihoods programs linked to conservation outcomes through formal conservation agreements with the community.

The 6-year project (expected operational closure May 20th, 2022) is executed under national implementation modality by the Department of Forestry. Execution of the project is subject to oversight by a Project Steering Committee while day-to-day coordination is carried out under the supervision of the Project Management Office led by the Project Manager. The Executing Agency (UNDP) is responsible for different outcomes/activities according to existing capacities and field realities, ensuring effective and efficient use of resources.

The project objective is to demonstrate sustainable land and forest management in the forested landscape of Savannakhet Province in order to secure the critical wildlife habitats, conserve biodiversity and maintain a continuous flow of multiple services including quality water provision and flood prevention.

The project components are the following

  • Component 1: Enabling policy environment and increased compliance and enforcement capacities for sustainable land and forest management across landscapes including protected areas
  • Component 2: Sustainable Forest Management and Protected Area Expansion in five priority Districts of Savannakhet Province
  • Component 3: Developing and Promoting Incentives and Sustainable Financing for Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Protection

As of 30th August 2021, there were 14,846 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Lao PDR, of which 14 cases were fatalities, 5,040 hospitalized and 5551 persons recovered spread across 16 provinces within the country. Lao PDR implemented its first nationwide lockdown from 30 March 2020 - 19 April 2020, which included the suspension of all international and inter-zonal travel, and imposition of restriction of movement within the country, with the exception of essential services. Restrictions on movement within the country after community spread was eventually managed in 2020. However, in April 2021 lockdown and restriction of movement were reimposed as a result of community spread as a result of an illegal border crossing case, as well as an influx of returning migrant worker when neighboring Thailand imposed its own lockdown measures. Various measures continue to be implemented in different parts of the country depending upon the number of COVID cases confirmed in the communities.

While International travel is currently restricted in Lao PDR, the Government continues to implement National restrictions on movements and gatherings of people as necessary such as limiting the number of attendees at events and ability to travel in areas with high number of cases confirmed in the community. These restrictions have resulted in numerous delays in project implementation and processes, including: (i) limitations of interactions and engagements between project partners and beneficiaries; (ii) completion of intended activities as required due to restriction of movement of people and supplies, and (iii) postponement of trainings and meetings to ensure compliance with the recommended health protocols. Additionally, the anticipated increase in COVID-19 cases particularly from the ongoing return of migrant workers from neighboring countries poses a considerable risk to the implementation of the project being evaluated, particularly with regards to travel to project sites, and consultations with project stakeholders.


Duties and Responsibilities

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 (link). The Findings section of the TE report will cover the topics listed below.

A full outline of the TE report’s content is provided in ToR Annex C.

The asterisk “(*)” indicates criteria for which a rating is required.

Findings

I. 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

 

II. 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

 

III. 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 and worst 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 35 working days over a time period of 12 weeks starting on 01 November 2021.

TE TEAM COMPOSITION

A team of two independent evaluators will conduct the TE – one Team Leader / International Consultant (with experience and exposure to projects and evaluations in other regions) and one National Expert from Lao PDR.  The Team Leader will be responsible for the overall design and writing of the TE report, etc.)  The National Expert will assess emerging trends with respect to regulatory frameworks, budget allocations, capacity building, and work with the Project Team in developing the TE itinerary, etc.)

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

  • Fluency in written and spoken English.


Required Skills and Experience

Education

  • Recognized Degree in Environmental Science, Forestry, Biodiversity Conservation, Landscape Management, Sustainable Development or other closely related fields. (5 points)

Experience

  • Relevant experience with results-based management evaluation methodologies. (10 points)
  • Experience applying SMART indicators and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios. (5 points)
  • Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Environmental Science, Forestry, Biodiversity Conservation, Landscape Management, or Sustainable Development. (10 points)
  • Experience in evaluating GEF projects. (10 points)
  • Experience working in Southeast Asia. (5 points)
  • Experience in relevant technical areas for at least 10 years. (5 points)
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and Environmental Science, Forestry, Biodiversity Conservation, Landscape Management, or Sustainable Development; experience in gender responsive evaluation and analysis. (5 points)
  • Excellent communication skills. (5 points)
  • Demonstrable analytical skills. (5 points)
  • Project evaluation/review experience within United Nations system will be considered an asset. (5 points)

 

Requirements for submission of proposals:

All interested and qualified National Individual Consultant should apply on-line using the following links:

UNDP Lao PDR Country Office website at https://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/jobs.html  or

In order to make your submission, please read the relevant documents available at the links below:

  1. TOR (Annex I)
  2. IC General Terms and Conditions _ Annex II;
  3. OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY _ Annex III
  4. P11 Form

Documents to be included when submitting the proposals:

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:

  1. Technical Proposal

            (i)  Explaining why you are the most suitable for the work;

  1. P11 Form  Education and work experience, including past experience in similar projects and contact references of at least 3 references for whom you have rendered preferably the similar services;
  2. Financial proposal:  Detailed financial proposal: Lump sum offer with clear cost breakdown against each deliverable. Please use this template OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY _ Annex III

Instructions for on-line submissions:

Step 1:Please prepare all required documents electronically;

Step 2: Combine all documents in ONE SINGLE FILE (preferably in PDF however Word format can be also accepted) and upload to the UNDP Jobs using the links above;

Step 3: After that you will receive an auto reply from the UNDP jobs if your offer is received successfully.

Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the deadline will be rejected.

Note:  Any request for clarification must be sent in writing before the submission deadline to the following emails:                               

surith.sengsavang@undp.org with copy to thome.xaisongkham@undp.org 



If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact the eRecruit Helpdesk.

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme