International Consultant to Develop a Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Regional Strategy for the Europe and Central Asia Region


Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :24-Oct-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
01-Nov-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :Estimated 01 November 2021 – 15 May 2022
Expected Duration of Assignment :Approximately 75 working days

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

The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region consists of mostly middle-income countries with various degrees of political, socio-economic, and environmental vulnerabilities. Over the last couple of years, the region has seen an increase in compound risks from diminishing civic space, the erosion of social cohesion, continued challenges to the rule of law and human rights, elite capture and corruption, increased stigmatization of minority groups, social conflict between communities and extractive industries, divisive narratives and hate speech, cross-border and ethnic tensions and armed conflicts, among others. 

 

Unresolved status of enclaves, disputed territories and contested border delimitations across the region are also endemic issues that have led to sporadic violence in the past decade and created a persistent risk of escalation. Ongoing armed conflicts are also resulting in significant displacement, extensive damage to critical infrastructure, and undermined social cohesion in the areas worst affected by the conflict, while continuing to affect community security and safety, and limiting access to basic services.  

 

Some countries in the region are in persistent constitutional crisis, and the issue of transitional justice and addressing the legacies of conflict, including the unfinished search for missing persons and war crimes’ prosecution, have continued to divide with historical revisionism, divisive narratives and political in-fighting contributing to declining social cohesion and further fueling social and inter-ethnic tensions.

 

The withdrawal of the international security presence in Afghanistan intensified security challenges with potential spillover effect into Central Asia, escalating fears of instability, insecurity and the strengthening of militant groups.

 

Covid-19 has only further exacerbated the challenges of conflict prevention and sustaining peace in the region. In this context, several additional countries across the region, whilst not facing open conflict, are at risk of escalation with unaddressed structural factors and legacies from the past, reduced civic space and challenges to fundamental freedoms, political unrest, hate speech and growing inequalities.

 

Amidst these challenges, there are also several factors of resilience and opportunities across the region. While ethnic tensions have persisted across the region, these have rarely erupted in open conflict. Although the demise of secularism in the former Soviet Union has placed new strains on the role of religion in public life, the region has a shared history of inter-religious co-operation and dialogue.

 

High-level dialogues between leaders and regional platforms currently exist, fostering coordination and increasing the potential for cooperation. Lately, we have seen Central Asia countries band together for solutions around Afghanistan. Literacy rates are high, and despite endemic corruption, institutions exist for service provision. Religious and traditional leaders, as well as local mechanisms, provide another source of resilience, including through local infrastructures for peace. Women, young people and civil society groups are sometimes able to play the role of agents of change, particularly online, as digital literacy and connectivity grow, and have been supported by the UN to this end.  UNDP’s substantive engagement in the Regional Risk and Resilience Assessment (RRRA) in Ferghana Valley and Afghanistan Border Areas, the Shared Futures report under the RYCO Project and the Scoping Study on Agents of Change in the Western Balkans, all identify critical dimensions that can be further explored to advance conflict prevention and sustain peace in the ECA region.

 

In this context, there is a need to identify ways in which these assets, movements, opportunities, and lessons learned may be used alongside prioritizing the need for early warning monitoring and prevention activities that identify and tackle root causes and drivers of conflict. UNDP is also well-positioned to mainstream conflict sensitivity, enhance local infrastructure for peace, advance digital peacebuilding, support cross-border and sub-regional initiatives and identify new entry points for engagements and partnerships to sustain peace.


Duties and Responsibilities

The objective of this consultancy is to design a new UNDP Regional Strategy for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in Europe and Central Asia (ECA). Paramount to the development of this regional strategy is a sound analysis of conflict and resilience drivers, critical gaps and needs in the regions (capacities, knowledge products, research, resources) pointing the direction of how to intervene to prevent and transform conflict and strengthen social cohesion, at both horizontal and vertical level, while taking into consideration the specificities of each ECA sub-region.

This exercise builds on the regional Prevention in Action Dialogue, and will identify good practices, innovations, and entry points, as well as potential initiatives to be leveraged and new partnerships for UNDP. The Regional Strategy will strengthen UNDP’s position and capacity for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including on social cohesion, conflict transformation and early warning, at the regional, sub-regional and national level.

For the purpose of this initiative, countries & territories are geographically clustered into four sub-regions which have very distinct characteristics, contexts, and challenges: (1) Central Asia, (2) South Caucasus, (3) Eastern Europe, and (4) the Western Balkans & Turkey.  To develop a coherent Regional Strategy for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in ECA, we propose two inter-related outputs:

  • OUTPUT 1: Regional / sub-regional mapping and analysis is conducted on conflict prevention and peacebuilding-related capacities and initiatives across the ECA region in order to highlight risks and identify entry points and opportunities for policy and programme planning.
  • OUTPUT 2: UNDP Regional Strategy for ECA on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding is developed and launched.

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will work under the supervision of the Regional Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Specialist and in close collaboration with the Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Responsive Institutions Team from the Crisis Bureau, HQ.  The consultant will be tasked with the following:

OUTPUT 1:

  • Conduct a literature review on peace and conflict issues and drivers in the four sub-regions described above. The literature review should cover and build on existing analysis on peace and conflict drivers in the Europe and Central Asia region to identify knowledge and data gaps, to inform the direction of the proposed conflict analysis.
  • Develop a practical methodology and implementation plan for a regional conflict analysis. The methodology should a) be conflict and gender sensitive, b) outline an inclusive data gathering and analysis plan, c) incorporate risk mitigation plan, d) should be responsive to the context and the practical needs of the UNDP Regional Hub.
  • Conduct an extensive mapping of existing programming on conflict prevention, social cohesion and peacebuilding (desk review and interviews). The mapping should have a particular focus on a) conflict prevention and peacebuilding-related initiatives (UNDP/UN System/Key partners), b) cross border and sub-regional initiatives, c) infrastructure for peace, d) formal / informal partner coordination mechanisms (e.g., Development Partners Coordination Mechanism, DCPM), e) early warning systems and data analytics, and f) multi/cross-sectoral initiatives (e.g., environmental peacebuilding, digital peacebuilding, local governance, prevention of violent extremism, migration, social cohesion, etc.). The mapping should further identify areas where UNDP has a comparative advantage within specific contexts and inform critical gaps, needs and opportunities in each of the four sub-regions and analysis required to develop a new regional strategy.
  • Conduct a context-specific analysis of the 4 sub-regions. The review should consider and assess sub-regional conflict dynamics, risk/resilience factors, challenges and opportunities.
  • Data collection involving remote consultations (interviews, focus group discussions) with UNDP Country Offices, key stakeholders, including but not limited to members of local community leaders, representatives of local government, the civil society – including representatives of marginalized groups, and relevant stakeholders. 
  • Assessment of the findings:
    • Identify and analyze structural factors and conflict drivers to recent crisis, tensions, and conflicts in each of the 4 sub-regions related to geopolitical factors, regional dynamics, historical developments,  socio-economic and societal issues, including on conflict settlement, and the political economy around governance, economic, environmental, and social issues.
    • Examine existing infrastructures for peace and conflict management/resolution architecture.
    • Identify factors of resilience and examples of resilient localities/communities where social cohesion and peace has been preserved against all odds/indicators and why.
    • Identify and analyze the gendered dimensions of existing conflicts and post-conflict situations to help identify structural causes and potential prevention measures.
    • Analyze emerging issues, solutions and trends related to conflict prevention and peacebuilding in each of the 4 sub-regions, particularly looking at the role of youth, gender, the environment and digitalization and innovation.
    • Analyze lessons learned of UNDP’s work in sensitive and/or restrictive environments, such as working in areas of contested sovereignty and reduced civic-space, as well as related to UNDP’s strategic engagement within the UN System and across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
  • Develop a comprehensive report, that presents a systematic and synthesized assessment of findings and provides strategic recommendations at regional level that will support the elaboration of a regional strategy (output 2 below). The report should indicate to UNDP which risk areas require more attention, including cross-pillar elements and humanitarian-development-peace nexus programming, highlighting the impact or potential impact the risks could have on the region’s peace and development trajectory.
  • Hold progress, debriefing and validation sessions for UNDP to present the findings of the analysis and strategic entry points for potential further UNDP programming. These workshops would serve to showcase and help validate the analysis and include opportunities to further elaborate in the regional strategy (output 2).

OUTPUT 2:

  • Develop a regional strategy for UNDP on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding: Work closely with the Governance and Peacebuilding team of the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul to develop a substantial strategy document, utilizing UNDP templates, while building on UNDP’s global offer on prevention and new Strategic Plan.
  • The strategy will build on the mapping and analysis (output 1) and propose concrete pathways, entry points and adapted tools for UNDP’s policy and programmatic engagement on conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the Europe & Central Asia region. It is expected that the strategy will support UNDP’s strategic engagement  across the HDP Nexus and within the UN System in the region, support cross-border and sub-regional policy and programming, build UNDP’s capacity for conflict sensitivity, conflict transformation and social cohesion, advance the WPS and YPS agenda, facilitate UNDP’s engagement within sensitive/restricted environment, and the elaboration of early warning and early response mechanisms, and the inclusion of contemporary and newly emerging challenges such as digitalization, hate speech and violent extremism, as well as to expand UNDP’s partnership at regional, national and local level, and promote best practices and facilitate the use of new and innovative tools for conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the region.
  • Identify and articulate areas of comparative advantage for UNDP in the four sub-regions in the areas of conflict prevention and peacebuilding vis-à-vis other key stakeholders at national and regional levels, as well as new entry point for engagement.
  • Identify options for expanding the work on conflict prevention for UNDP in the Europe and Central Asia region including but not limited to (i) networks, tools and platforms; (ii) knowledge products for policy, programming and advocacy purposes, expanding UNDP’s contribution to prevention and peacebuilding knowledge and evidence in the region (iii) national and regional-level initiatives; (iv) opportunities for advocacy.
  • Coordinate consultations and technical meetings with development and peacebuilding stakeholders including country offices, UNDP Crisis Bureau, and relevant stakeholders, including regional institutions (e.g. EU, OSCE, CoE, SCO) and relevant regional UN Agencies (e.g. UNECE, UNRCCA, UNOB), civil society groups, and other potential partners to assist strategy definition and its alignment with existing UN and regional/sub-regional mechanisms.
  • Ensure that the strategy is inclusive and risk-informed. Ensure that cross-cutting issues, including gender, youth, partnerships, data and innovation are duly incorporated in the strategy document and that reference is made to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the pillars and thematic areas of the strategy. Ensure that recommendations take into account the different needs of different groups of men, women, young and older generations.  It needs to be ensured that the strategy foresees and is adapted to shifting context within the region. The strategy should anticipate the directions that the socio-economic, security, societal, ethnic and religious aspects might take in the medium to long-term and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions in such cases.
  • Organize a regional event to validate and launch the Regional Strategy .  This event will provide a space to share experiences across the region and build momentum and partnerships for conflict prevention and peacebuilding across the region.  The regional event will most likely be virtual and not only present the strategy, but also bring together key experts, development actors, peace agents and infrastructure, and targeted stakeholder groups to further mobilize joint action on enhancing prevention and sustaining peace in the region.

Expected Output and Deliverables

The total number of days of work is estimated at approximately 75 working days over a period of 6 months.  The work location will be home-based, with a starting date as soon as possible. The breakdown corresponds to the expected outputs and schedule of payments as follows:

Deliverables/Outputs

Estimated Duration to Complete

Target Due Dates

Percentage of Payment

OUTPUT 1 (mapping, analysis and sub-regional consultations)

1

Submission of revised research methodology and detailed workplan (for output 1 and 2)

Approx. 2 days

10 November 2021

10%

2

Literature review

Approx. 18 days

10 December 2021

10%

Desk review of UN/UNDP and relevant stakeholders regional and sub-regional engagement, including initiatives, capacities, infrastructures, and tools

Analysis of 4 sub-regions, including conflict dynamics, risk and resilience factors, challenges and opportunities (including through stakeholder consultations, interviews and original research)

Produce first draft of the analysis

3

Online consultations for each of the 4 sub-regions and with IRH/CB

Approx. 16 days

 

 

 

31 January 2021

25%

Incorporation of oral and written feedback

Final report drafting and submission

Final presentation of findings (including editing, layout and graphics)

 

OUTPUT 2 (Regional Strategy)

4

Update methodology and detailed workplan (based on output 1 and common agreement with UNDP IRH).

 

 

 

Approx. 20 days

 

 

 

14 March 2022

 

 

 

20%

Produce first annotated outline of the UNDP Strategy for Europe and Central Asia on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Produce first draft of the UNDP Strategy for Europe and Central Asia on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Organize consultation with UNDP CB, IRH and COs and Incorporate oral and written feedback

5

Prepare second draft for UNDP team and partners review

Approx. 19 days

30 April 2022

35%

Organization of regional forum / event for validation of the Regional Strategy

Final strategy document incorporating feedback and recommendations (including editing, layout, and graphics)

 

Payments  will be made only upon confirmation of UNDP on delivering on the contract obligations in a satisfactory manner.

The lump-sum price is fixed regardless of changes in the cost components.

 

  • First Tranche – 10 % upon submission and approval of Deliverable 1
  • Second Tranche –10% upon submission and approval of Deliverable 2
  • Third Tranche – 25% upon submission and approval of Deliverable 3
  • Fourth Tranche –20% upon submission and approval of Deliverable 4
  • Fifth Tranche –35% upon submission and approval of Deliverable 5

 

Institutional arrangements 

The project will be managed by the Governance and Peacebuilding team of the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul.  The consultant will report directly to the Regional Programme Specialist, Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in the Governance and Peacebuilding Team.  The Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Responsive Institutions Team from the Crisis Bureau, HQ, will support, with guidance and technical capacity, where needed.

The consultant will be provided with relevant background information, studies and concept note to be able to carry out the assignment successfully.


Competencies

Corporate competencies: 

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP; 
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability; 
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism; 
  • Fulfills all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment. 

 

Functional competencies:

  • Ability to analyze policy documents and make constructive policy suggestions;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, communication and diplomatic skills, ability to work in a team;
  • Capacity building skills and flexibility depending on the public;
  • Demonstration of commitment to the Project’s mission, vision and values;
  • Good writing and reporting skills;
  • Good presentation skills;

Ability to work under pressure and stressful situations, and to meet tight deadlines.


Required Skills and Experience

Required Skills and Experience

Education and Work Experience:

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s Degree) in social sciences with a focus on peace and conflict studies, international relations, political science, development studies or a related field is required, 7 years of relevant work experience with at least 4 focused on peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
  • a bachelor's degree and at least 9 years of relevant experience with at least 5 focused on peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
  • Proven policy and programme expertise and research experience in conflict prevention and peacebuilding with the UN, UNDP and/or other stakeholders, including in leading multi-stakeholder consultation processes and partner engagements is required.
  • Demonstrated professional work experience and expertise in the Europe and Central Asia region, including in at least two of the following sub-regions: Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Western Balkans & Turkey, and Central Asia.
  • Proven report-writing, and research experience, including project design with the ability to present recommendations supported by findings gathered through desk review.

Language:

  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English. Knowledge of Russian language is an asset.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

All information and production of report to the assignments and outputs produced under this contract shall remain the property of the UNDP who shall have exclusive rights over their use. The products shall not be disclosed to the public nor used in whatever format without written permission of UNDP in line with the national and International Copyright Laws applicable.?

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS??

Interested candidates must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications.?? 

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP
  2. Curriculum Vitae / P11
  3. A Cover Letter, including a brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment
  4. One?example of?a previous relevant publication / assignment
  5. A proposed methodology for the assignment (no more than 1200 words).
  6. A financial proposal in USD

Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.? If an Offeror 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 Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.

Evaluation Criteria -

Criteria

Weight

Max Point

Technical competences

70

70

Educational requirements and relevant years of experience.

5

5

Proven policy and programme expertise and research experience in conflict prevention and peacebuilding with the UN, UNDP and/or other stakeholders.

25

25

Relevant work experience across the Europe and Central Asia region, and in at least two of the following sub-regions: Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Western Balkans & Turkey, and Central Asia.

15

15

Proven report-writing, and research experience, including project design with the ability to present recommendations supported by findings gathered through desk review.

10

10

Proposed methodology and example of relevant previous publication(s) / assignment(s).

10

10

Language skills

5

5

Financial (Lower Offer/Offer*100)

30

30

Total Score - Technical score 70 + 30 Financial

*Please note that the financial proposal is all-inclusive and shall take into account various expenses incurred by the consultant/contractor during the contract period (e.g. fee, health insurance, vaccination, personal security needs and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services...). All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. This includes all travel to join duty station/repatriation travel. 

 

Payments will be made only upon confirmation of UNDP on delivering on the contract obligations in a satisfactory manner.

 

Individual Consultants are responsible for ensuring they have vaccinations/inoculations when travelling to certain countries, as designated by the UN Medical Director. Consultants are also required to comply with the UN security directives set forth under dss.un.org

General Terms and conditions as well as other related documents can be found under: http://on.undp.org/t7fJs.

 

Qualified women and members of minorities are encouraged to apply.

Due to large number of applications we receive, we are able to inform only the successful candidates about the outcome or status of the selection process.

 

 



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