International Consultant for UNDP-GEF Mid Term Review of Bhutan Sustainable Rural Biomass Energy project

Location : Thimphu, BHUTAN
Application Deadline :13-Aug-14 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :20 days
Expected Duration of Assignment :1st September 2014 to 31st October 2014

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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.


This is the Terms of Reference for the UNDP-GEF Midterm Review (MTR) of the full sized project titled Bhutan Sustainable Rural Biomass Energy (PIMS4181) implemented through the UNDP Bhutan Country Office/Department of Renewable Energy & Social Forestry and Extension Division, which is to be undertaken in 2014. The project started on the August 29, 2012 and is in its second year of implementation. In line with the UNDP-GEF Guidance on MTRs, this MTR process was initiated before the submission of the second Project Implementation Report (PIR). The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects (see Annex).
The project was designed to:
  • Integrate a top-down approach of providing support through policy measures and incentives, and a bottom-top approach of promoting market mechanisms to create demand for the sustainable development and utilization of stoves and biomass energy technologies (BETs) using wood as fuel. To enhance the effectiveness of these approaches and to create an enabling environment among the stakeholders and participants in the Project, capacity building and training activities will be conducted among the different levels of participants and in the different stages of the Project execution.
The SRBE has the following Project Goal and Objective:
Project Goal: Reduction of GHG emissions in the rural household and industrial sectors of Bhutan through integrated and sustainable biomass resource production and utilization, and promotion of sustainable biomass energy technologies in Bhutan using market based approaches.
Project Objective: Removal of barriers to sustainable utilization of available biomass resources in the country; and application of biomass energy technologies that can support the economic and social development in the country’s rural sector.
The Project has been designed to implement three components that are expected to generate outcomes that, when achieved, will realize the Project Objective. Moreover, the Project is expected to deliver certain outputs that will help to achieve the desired outcomes. These outcomes and their corresponding outputs are enumerated below:
Based on the above strategic considerations, the Project will focus on three major components as follows:
  • Component 1: Mainstreaming sustainable biomass energy production, conversion and utilization
  • Component 2: Supporting innovative practices and market mechanisms for local sustainable biomass energy technology development and promotion
  • Component 3: Capacity building and knowledge management
Each of the above components will have outcomes that will be realized through the delivery of specific activities that are designed to produce certain outputs. These outcomes and their corresponding outputs are enumerated below:
Outcome 1: Implementation of strengthened support policies and regulatory frameworks and institutional capacity for adoption of sustainable practices production, conversion and use of biomass resources in Bhutan.
The expected outputs to achieve the above outcome are the following:
  • Output 1.1: Developed and implemented roadmap for the promotion of sustainable biomass production and utilization, using both community-based woodlots and non-fuel wood energy resources;
  • Output 1.2: Established Biomass Energy Resource Information System (BERIS) for facilitating systematic collection, analysis and dissemination;
  • Output 1.3: Modalities and details of participation of community-based organizations and grassroots institutions finalized and agreed;
  • Output 1.4: Earmarked areas for sustainable forest wood energy production.
Outcome 2: Implementation of BET applications due to improved confidence in their feasibility, performance, environmental and economic benefits through demonstration projects, market mechanisms and increased private sector participation

The expected outputs to achieve the above outcome are the following:
  • Output 2.1: Menu of appropriate & efficient technologies made available;
  • Output 2.2: Fiscal incentives such as smart subsidies to enable market mechanisms introduced;
  • Output 2.3: Operational locally produced energy efficient industrial stoves for income generating local enterprises and efficient BETs supported;
  • Output 2.4: Locally produced 20,000 energy-efficient stoves in rural households and community-based institutions for space heating and cooking needs implemented and promoted for replication;
  • Output 2.5: Implemented and operational BET Full Scale Models on: [1] Wood briquetting/ pelleting technology for the production of bioenergy fuels and [2] Biomass gasification for electricity services and thermal applications.
Outcome 3: Improved knowledge, awareness and capacities of policy makers, financiers, suppliers and end-users on benefits and market opportunities for modern biomass energy technologies
The expected outputs to achieve the above outcome are the following:
  • Output 3.1: Established and operational Knowledge and Learning Platform for Bhutan from where documented project lessons and best practices are disseminated;
  • Output 3.2: Rural development planners trained on integrated rural energy planning and biomass resource assessment;
  • Output 3.3: Project developers and micro-entrepreneurs trained on different aspects of BETs;
  • Output 3.4: Communities and institutions trained on the installation and maintenance of biom;ass gasifiers, biodigesters and energy-efficient cook stoves/ furnaces;
  • Output 3.5: Completed specialized Training of 100 Trainers on community forestry and sustainable forest wood energy;
  • Output 3.6: Completed site visits to successfully operated BET applications and dialogues with policy makers, regulators, technology developers, entrepreneurs and financiers (from countries with more developed technologies and policies).

Duties and Responsibilities

The MTR team will consist of two independent consultants that will conduct the MTR - one team leader/international consultant (with experience and exposure to projects and evaluations in other regions globally) and one local consultant assisting the team leader/international consultant.  
The MTR team will first conduct a document review of project documents (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, Project Document, ESSP, Project Inception Report, PIRs, Finalized GEF focal area Tracking Tools, Project Appraisal Committee meeting minutes, Financial and Administration guidelines used by Project Team, project operational guidelines, manuals and systems, etc.) provided by the Project Team and Commissioning Unit. Then they will participate in a MTR inception workshop to clarify their understanding of the objectives and methods of the MTR, producing the MTR inception report thereafter. The MTR mission will then consist of interviews and site visits to Trashigang, Zhemgang and Bumthang if necessary.
The MTR team will assess the following four categories of project progress and produce a draft and final MTR report. See the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects (attached or hyperlinked) for requirements on ratings. No overall rating is required.
Project Strategy

Project Design:
  • Review the problem addressed by the project and the underlying assumptions. Review the effect of any incorrect      assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the project results as outlined in the Project Document;
  • Review the relevanced of the project strategy and assess whether it provides the most effective route towards expected/intended results;
  • Review how the project addresses country priorities;
  • Review decision-making processes.
Results Framework/Logframe:
  • Undertake a critical analysis of the project’s logframe indicators and targets, assess how “SMART” the midterm and end-of-  project targets are (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary;
  • Examine if progress so far has led to, or could in the future catalyse beneficial development effects (i.e. income generation, gender equality and women’s empowerment, improved governance etc...) that should be included in the project results framework and monitored on an annual basis.
Progress Towards Results
  • Review the logframe indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets; populate the Progress Towards Results Matrix, as described in the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed;
  • Projects; colour code progress in a “traffic light system” based on the level of progress achieved; assign a rating on progress for the project objective and each outcome; make recommendations from the areas marked as “not on target to be achieved” (red;
  • Compare and analyse the GEF Tracking Tool at the Baseline with the one completed right before the Midterm Review.;
  • Identify remaining barriers to achieving the project objective;
  • By reviewing the aspects of the project that have already been successful, identify ways in which the project can further  expand these benefits.
Project Implementation and Adaptive Management

Using the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; assess the following categories of project progress:
  • Management Arrangements;
  • Work Planning;
  • Finance and co-finance;
  • Project-level monitoring and evaluation systems;
  • Stakeholder Engagement;
  • Reporting;
  • Communications.

Assess overall risks to sustainability factors of the project in terms of the following four categories:
  • Financial risks to sustainability;
  • Socio-economic risks to sustainability;
  • Institutional framework and governance risks to sustainability;
  • Environmental risks to sustainability.
The MTR consultant/team will include a section in the MTR report setting out the MTR’s evidence-based conclusions, in light of the findings.
Additionally, the MTR consultant/team is expected to make recommendations to the Project Team. Recommendations should be succinct suggestions for critical intervention that are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. A recommendation table should be put in the report’s executive summary. The MTR consultant/team should make no more than 15 recommendations total.

The MTR consultant/team shall prepare and submit:
  • 2 weeks before the MTR mission. To be sent to the Commissioning Unit and project management. Approximate due date: (25/08/2014);
  • MTR Inception Report: MTR team clarifies objectives and methods of the Midterm Review no later than Presentation: Initial Findings presented to project management and the Commissioning Unit at the end of the MTR mission.  Approximate due date: (13/09/2014);
  •       Draft Final Report: Full report with annexes within 1 week of the MTR mission. Approximate due date: (26/09/2014);
  • Final Report*: Revised report with annexed audit trail detailing how all received comments have (and have not) been addressed in the final MTR report. To be sent to the Commissioning Unit within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on  draft. Approximate due date: (03/10/2014).
*The final MTR 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.


  • Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Climate Change Mitigation;
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and (Climate Change Mitigation) experience in gender sensitive; evaluation and analysis;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Demonstrable analytical skills;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Highest standards of integrity, discretion and loyalty.


Required Skills and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in Environmental Science, Climate Change Mitigation, Sustainable Development, Energy Management.


  • Development Studies or relevant discipline, or other closely related field;
  • Recent experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  • Experience applying SMART targets and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios;
  • Experience working with the GEF or GEF-evaluations;
  • Experience working in (South East Asia);
  • Work experience in relevant technical areas for at least 10 years;
  • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset.
  • Fluent n English.

The consultants cannot have participated in the project preparation, formulation, and/or implementation (including the writing of the Project Document) and should not have a conflict of interest with project’s related activities. 

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