Lead National Expert for Preparation of the Voluntary National Review (VNR) and in-depth Preparation of two SDGs: 14 (Life below Water), 15 (Life on Land) Chapters

Location : Homebased and Podgorica, Montenegro, MONTENEGRO
Application Deadline :27-Jan-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :5 February 2022 - 30 June 2022
Expected Duration of Assignment :45 consultancy 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.


The High-Level Political Forum is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development, and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level. The Voluntary National Review (VNR) process is key to this function, whereby member states are requested to periodically report on progress on the SDG agenda. This includes reviewing of SDG performance (current data versus indicator targets) and means of implementation to deliver the goals within national contexts (covering issues of governance, service delivery, enabling partnerships and resourcing). While VNR rounds adopt a particular theme and a restricted number of SDGs for in-depth analysis, reporting countries are expected to also provide performance data for all the SDGs and targets (where available and applicable).

Montenegro will prepare and present its Second National Voluntary Review at the HLPF in July 2022. The 2022 HLPF will hold in-depth reviews of five SDGs: 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land), and 17 (partnerships for the Goals).

The Voluntary National Review (VNR) aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, in order to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. VNRs also seek to strengthen government policies and institutions and mobilize support and partnership with more stakeholders to implement national sustainable development strategies. VNRs are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and involve more stakeholders.

Montenegro presented its first review in 2016 at the HLPF, one year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through the First VNR, a complex process of drafting the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030 (NSSD) was presented, i.e. the national response to the requirements of the Agenda for Sustainable Development until 2030. Within the NSSD, through the analysis of the situation, strategic goals of sustainable development at the national level have been defined, for the implementation of which measures with accompanying sub-measures have been determined, the implementation of which directly contributes to achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals 169 tasks.

The purpose of the consultancy is to support Montenegro is drafting the Second VNR Report and act as support for all activities involved in preparing the VNR Report, including obtaining the required data, organizing required meetings, stakeholder engagement and consultations. While formally reporting to UNDP and the Office of the UN Resident Coordination (for lead component of the ToR), the consultant will work closely with the Department for Sustainable Development in the Office of the Prime Minister and other major stakeholders involved – Government Working Group for drafting the VNR Report, UN Montenegro VNR Task Team (consisted of RCO, UNDP and UNICEF) and Team of VNR Consultants (three national consultants with expert knowledge in education, gender equality and communications).

Duties and Responsibilities

Objective of the assignment: 

VNRs make possible the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They are most meaningful when they involve an inclusive, participatory, transparent and thorough review process at the national and sub-national levels, when they are evidence based, produce tangible lessons and solutions, and when they are followed by concrete action and collaboration that drives SDG implementation. Consequently, based on the request by the Government of Montenegro, UNDP seeks the services of expert to implement the process of in-depth reviews of two SDGs: 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land) and to serve as a team leader that will compile the final version of the report. 

Expected results of the assignment:

The review typically consists of several broad phases, with some occurring at the same time. These include the following phases: initial preparation and organization; VNR preparation, including stakeholder engagement; and HLPF presentation.

Within this context the selected consultant will be responsible for:

a) Acting as a lead consultant for the preparation of the Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report for 2022. The activities will focus, but not be limited to: supporting the process in manner to result in preparation of the report, associated key messages and presentation to the HLPF. During this process the consultant will: 

  • Develop a workplan / roadmap with key deliverables aligned with the VNR Guidance and HLPF deadlines in cooperation with the Government Working Group and the UN VNR Task Team.

b) In line with the developed workplan, coordinate the Team of VNR consultants consisted of 3 national consultants. National consultants will support the process in relation to:  (i) SDG 4 on education, other ‘’people’’ SDGs: SDG 1: No poverty, SDG 2: Zero hunger (No hunger), SDG 3: Good health and well-being, SDG 10: Reduced inequality,  leave no one behind and social inclusion chapter (ii) SDG 5 on gender equality and gender mainstreaming of the VNR Report and (iii) conducting consultations and communications of the process.

  • Taking in consideration inputs needed for drafting the Report, in close cooperation with the Team of Consultants, draft a general plan for conducting consultations and key communication guidance. These inputs will be further used by the Team of Consultants to develop and support implementation of detailed communication plan and consultation activities. 
  • Conduct analysis of progress since the 1st VNR Report for 2016 (link), means of implementation, gaps, challenges, recommendations for the way forward, and inter-linkages between the SDGs and the risks and other parameters of progress. This set of activities should primarily rely on analysis of the Progress Report on implementation of National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030. The Progress Report is not yet part of the public domain, but the draft version will be made available as one of inputs for Lead consultant. 
  • Relying on the relevant consultations and information from Progress Report on implementation of National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030, draft overview of progress in all SDGs as part of the introduction and context setting of the VNR Report,
  • Communicate with experts responsible for analysis of SDGs 4 and 5, ensuring coordination and guidance in the consultation process, input formulation and final chapters content,
  • Compile the final VNR Report (as described in section c)) and in line with the relevant guidelines and inputs.  

c) In-depth reviews of two SDGs: 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land) and preparation of two associated chapters by:

  • Developing a workplan / roadmap with key deliverables aligned with the VNR Guidance and HLPF deadlines. 
  • Supporting the conduct of national and sub-national workshops, as needed, that incorporate: 

i.  sensitization meetings with stakeholders, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Local self-government representatives, and the private sector to share their views on SDG implementation progress;

ii. validation of data trends, including SDG priority indicators, where appropriate; and 

iii. focus group sessions to discuss best practices and/or policies and strategies that have advanced implementation of the Vision 2030 and the 2030 Agenda in Montenegro.

  • Compile and analyze inputs from stakeholders and all the data required for SDG 14 and SDG 15 chapters of the VNR Report,
  • Conduct desk-review and research of the different indicators relevant to Montenegro, including from international sources (Our World in Data, SDG index, and others);
  • Contact data providers and make recommendations on how the data should be delivered;
  • Conduct comprehensive analysis of progress in SDGs 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land= since the 1st VNR, means of implementation, gaps, challenges, recommendations for the way forward, and inter-linkages between the SDGs and the risks and other parameters of progress;
  • Prepare the chapters in line with HLPF requirements, UN Guidance documents (Voluntary common reporting guidelines for voluntary national reviews at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

d) Formulation of final report acting as a team leader and: 

  • Support preparation and compiling of the final report with indicative structure presented below. The final content will be agreed between lead consultant, Team of Consultants, Government Department for Sustainable Development and Government Working Group for drafting VNR Report, and UN VNR Task Team: 

i.   Opening statement, 

ii.  Highlights,

iii. Introduction, 

iv.  Methodology for the process of preparation of the review

v.   Policy and Enabling Environment 

vi.  Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals 

vii. Issues of Leave No One Behind, build back better, COVID 19 recovery

viii.Conclusion and Efforts Going Forward

ix.  Annexes

Expected Deliverables of the assignment:



Planned Completion date

Phase I: Develop an Inception Report detailing understanding of TOR, methodology, work and consultations plan.

Inception Report should detail methodology to be used.

Action Plan should draft clear deliverables and timelines, with clear distinction of tasks and means of coordination with other exerts and teams working on the VNR.

Draft plan for VNR consultations.

Identify main data sources.

First half February 2022

Phase II: Conduct a desk review and a comprehensive analysis of the relevant reports and inputs


Conduct key informant interviews including discussions with each sector to map related activities, CSOs or other relevant partners, workshops and meetings as needed.

First draft and structure of the chapters based on data analysis and consultation process.

First half of March 2022

Phase III: Draft VNR and key messages

Compiled report

End of March 2022

Phase IV: Validation and final chapters

Presentation of results and verification process, final Report

First half of April 2022

The actual starting date may impact the dates estimated in the TOR, a detailed workplan with exact timeframes and actual delivery dates will be jointly agreed upon between the consultant/ individual contractor and the supervisor upon contract signature.

Time duration: the assignment should be implemented during the period of 5 February to 30 June 2022, with 45 consultancy days and at least two in country visits. 


  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UN/UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills;
  • Demonstrates ability to manage complexities and work under pressure, as well as conflict resolution skills.


Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s degree in a relevant field would be considered as an asset


  • At least 7 years professional experience with mainstreaming sustainable development and biodiversity conservation issues into sectoral policies, biodiversity programing or similar and relevant field for the ToR. 
  • Demonstrated experience in working with government partners and other stakeholders, 
  • Experience with the usage of various systems analysis methods and techniques would be considered as advantage. 


  • Knowledge of Montenegrin language 
  • English language knowledge 


  • Excellent social, communication skills and writing skills; 

Criteria for selection:

Combined Scoring method will be used. When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract should be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as: (i) responsive, compliant, acceptable, and (ii) having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

  • Technical criteria weight - 70% (Background and education 10%; Relevant previous experience 20%; Substantial knowledge/Required competencies 30%; Required language 10%);
  • Financial criteria weight - 30%.

Only offerors obtaining a minimum 490 points for technical criteria will be considered for the financial evaluation. For more information on procurement methodology for Individual Contractors, please refer to Procurement Notice.

Application procedure:

Interested applicants are requested to submit their applications by January 27, 2022 by using the Apply now button. The application should contain CV or P11 that can be downloaded at https://www.me.undp.org/content/montenegro/en/home/jobs.html. Please note that UNDP jobsite system allows only one uploading of application document, so please make sure that you merge all your documents into a single file.

Only the short-listed applicants will be contacted and requested to submit a letter of interest including a price quotation indicating the lump sum (in EUR) requested for the work envisaged in the section "Description of Responsibilities".

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