Consultancy – Stocktaking of the 2017-2018 SDG Country Reports: What have we learned so far on Follow-up and Review of the 2030 Agenda?

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :16-Sep-18 (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 :2 Months (September - November 2018) up to 25 working days.
Expected Duration of Assignment :2 Months (September - November 2018) up to 25 working days.


In September 2015, Member States of the United Nations adopted a new global development framework entitled “Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” This framework came into effect upon expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 1 January 2016 and runs through 2030. The ambition and scope of the 2030 Agenda is reflected in its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets that will be the road map for the efforts of Members States and the United Nations system until 2030. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.’ (UN Resolution 70/1).

The new universal agenda calls for an integrated approach to sustainable development and collective action, at all levels, to address the challenges of our time, requiring coherent integrated support from the United Nations system. At the center of this process is active reporting on the progress thus far and to monitor achievements, lessons learned, challenges and opportunities at the country-level to implement the SDGs. The experience of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has shown that country-level monitoring of goals and targets is essential. More than 500 country reports were prepared during the MDG era, which form a valuable body of knowledge both about progress in specific countries at different points in time during this period, as well as a collective basis for assessing MDG-related issues and challenges. 

To provide a similar basis for SDG reporting, in 2016 UNDG - led by UNDP and DESA - prepared SDG Country Reporting Guidelines, which acts as a reference for UNCTs supporting country-level SDG reporting and the production of national SDG Reports (SDGRs). In 2017, funding was provided to countries to prepare the first wave of SDGRs. Approximately 15 SDGRs are available for review. SDGRs are complementary to the formal VNR process in that they collectively contribute to a body of evidence synthesizing available information at the country-level on experiences, successes, challenges and lessons-learned on SDG implementation. The SDG Country Report may form part of a government’s process of monitoring and review of national implementation of the SDGs, guided by the Guidelines to Support Country Reporting on the SDGs, prepared by the UN Development Group.


The purpose of this procurement exercise is to contract an individual consultant who will work as the Consultant; reviewing the 2017-2018 SDG Country Reports (approximately 15 reports in total), which is a part of the project “Enabling responsive, coherent and inclusive support to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (Project). The consultant will work under the supervision of the Project Manager of the Project, who is the Programme Specialist of the 2030 Agenda team, located in BPPS Sustainable Development Cluster in New York, USA, with activities at all levels. The final report will be submitted to the Project Board.

Duties and Responsibilities


At the UN Sustainable Development Summit (25-27 September 2015), Member States of the United Nations adopted The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core. Applicable to all countries, it officially came into effect upon expiry of the Millennium Development Goals on 1 January 2016 and will run through 2030. The Agenda strives for a world that is just, rights-based, equitable and inclusive. It commits stakeholders to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and to benefit all, including women, children, youth and future generations.

Going beyond the MDGs, at the core of the 2030 Agenda is the need to leave no one behind, multi-stakeholder engagement, data-driven, universality, and integration of the goals. To report on the progress of the SDGs, To date 15 countries have submitted the SDG Country Reports, prepared with funding received from UNDP’s support. The purpose of this assignment is to critically review the reports and use report findings to understand better these four areas:

  • Follow-up and Review process and added-value analysis: Understand the relationship between the SDG Country Report, Voluntary National Review, and other mechanisms relevant for the follow-up and review process at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels. This could include reports, showdown reports, thematic reports, workshops and stakeholder meetings. The purpose is the understand the added-value of SDG Country Reports in the larger context of the Follow-up and Review process through a comprehensive analysis of the entire process.
  • Understanding the content of the SDG Country Reports: Using the first wave of SDG Country Reports as the foundation, review the reports through a forward-looking lens. Provide a substantive and in-depth analysis of the reports to review the quality, substance, and focus of the reports individually and collectively, keeping in mind the regional and country specific particularities of the reports.
  • Process of engagement: Review who was involved in the development of the SDG Country Report, map the government agencies, UN-agencies, NGOs, Civil Society Organization, Private Sector and Academic Institutions who were involved in the formulation of the SDG Country Report, specifying the role of each stakeholder and describe how they worked together. Provide critical analysis on how the process has worked thus far and concrete recommendations on areas of improvement, include comparison of the FuR process during the MDG era reporting.

Challenges/Opportunities/Lessons Learned: Analyse the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned of SDG implementation to date through a thorough analysis of the SDG Country Reports. Provide case studies for each and specify the tools used throughout the process. For the SDG Country Reports, also discuss the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned of the reports themselves, keeping the larger context of the entire follow-up and review process in mind.

The evaluation will cover the review of the Follow-up and Review process to date, including the first wave of SDG Country Reports supported by UNDP. 

Given the complexity and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda, it is understood that the review may not be able to isolate UNDP's unique contribution to the follow-up and review process through the review of SDG Country Reports. Yet the review will attempt to take stock of UNDP’s role and contribution to support countries to review progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda during the early stages of the follow-up and review process. The review will also consider what are the possible implications to the Guidelines to support country reporting on the SDGs, in terms of refinement and improvements to be made.

The review will focus on documenting UNDP's contribution to date, in particular at the outcome and output level within UNDP's sphere of influence, while acknowledging other intervening factors and the contribution of partners.


The review will rely on multiple sources of information for analysis, validation and triangulation of evidence against the review objectives. Sources of data and methods of collection could include (final methodology to be determined jointly with the reviewer):

  • SDG Country Reports
  • Voluntary National Review
    • Thematic focus reports
    • Synthesis Reports
    • Country Reports
  • Results from QA Process for each report, analysis of SDGR Checklist results
  • Information collection from key personnel
    • In person and virtual interviews with key people from Country Office, Regional Bureau, HQ, may include UNDP, UN Agency and others
    • Written follow-up with key personnel
  • For Reference: Please see SDGR Checklist for questions to address during the review


  • Review inception report. An inception report should be prepared by the reviewer before going into the full-fledged data collection exercise. It should detail the review’s understanding of what is being reviewed and why, showing how review questions will be answered by way of: proposed methods, proposed sources of data and data collection procedures. The inception report should include a proposed schedule of tasks, activities and deliverables. The inception report should respond to each of the following questions:
  • What questions are needed to address the review objectives?
  • Who will collect the data?
  • What is the framework for sampling? What is the rationale for the framework? 
  • How will the information collected be analysed and the findings interpreted and reported?
  • What methodological issues need to be considered to ensure quality?

Draft review report 

UNDP will review the draft review report to ensure that the review meets the required criteria.

Final review report

  • Report presentation by reviewer and report shared publicly.

[1] Guidelines to support country reporting on the sustainable development goals:


The reviewer should comply with the following UN Core Values, including:

  • Professionalism
  • Planning and Organizing ability
  • Accountability: takes ownership of responsibilities and honors commitments.
  • Communications: speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailor language, tone, style and format to match audience. Keeps confidential information undisclosed.
  • Innovator: learn, share and acquire new competencies and seek new challenges by exploring new approaches

Performer: works against an agreed outcome and priorities and seeks performance feedback from supervisors and support staff in the performance review in a constructive and objective manner. 

Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts in writing, literature, international development or related field

Years of experience:

  • At least 10 years of experience in writing and editing;
  • At least 10 years of experience in working with UN agencies, international development, or related fields;
  • Strong publication and writing record on sustainable development issues


Applications are solicited from highly-experienced individual consultants that have substantive knowledge of the 2030 Agenda implementation, understanding of the core principles of the 2030 Agenda including national ownership, universality, leave no one behind, human rights, and integration and indivisibility of the SDGs and development.

The specific experience, skills, competencies needed in the reviewer include:

  • Extensive experience and knowledge in area of 2030 Agenda implementation;
  • Extensive experience in applying analytical review techniques, and demonstrable experience in conducting reviews of reports that focus on sustainable development, human development, the Post-2015 era, MDGs and/or the 2030 Agenda;
  • Prior experience in working with multilateral agencies, especially on the reporting process such as the voluntary national reviews or MDG reports;
  • Additional qualifications can be considered an asset: Knowledge of the 2030 Agenda follow-up and review process, including the VNRs, UNDP’s role, and UN programming at the country level and regional levels; experience in working across UN HQ and regional offices; understanding of the UN ongoing reform processes, and experience in working with other relevant regional and/or continental entities and international donors.


  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required;
  • Working knowledge of French and Spanish would be an asset

Application Procedure

The application package containing the following (to be uploaded as one file):

  • Online application with brief description of why the Offer considers her/himself the most suitable for the assignment; and
  • Personal CV or P11, indicating all experience from similar projects and specifying the relevant assignment period (from/to), as well as the email and telephone contacts of at least three (3) professional references.
  • A two-page methodology on how you will conduct the work including a Work Plan and approach in delivering the required outputs within the assignment period. Please also provide samples/links to previous evaluations, applications without this will not be considered.

Note: The above documents need to be scanned in one file and uploaded to the online application as one document.

Shortlisted candidates (ONLY) will be requested to submit a Financial Proposal.

  • The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around the specific and measurable deliverables of the TOR. Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR, and deliverables accepted and certified by the technical manager. 
  • The financial proposal must be all-inclusive and take into account various expenses that will be incurred during the contract, including: the daily professional fee; cost of travel from the home base to the duty station and vice versa, where required; living allowances at the duty station; communications, utilities and consumables; life, health and any other insurance; risks and inconveniences related to work under hardship and hazardous conditions (e.g., personal security needs, etc.), when applicable; and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services under the contract.
  • This consultancy is a home-based assignment, therefore, there is no envisaged travel cost to join duty station/repatriation travel.  For the one- in-person consultations in New York, travel will be arranged by UNDP.
  • In the case of unforeseeable travel requested by UNDP, payment of travel costs including tickets, lodging and terminal expenses should be agreed upon, between UNDP and Individual Consultant, prior to travel and will be reimbursed. In general, UNDP should not accept travel costs exceeding those of an economy class ticket. Should the IC wish to travel on a higher class he/she should do so using their own resources.

  • If the 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 a 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.

The Financial Proposal is to be emailed as per the instruction in the separate email that will be sent to shortlisted candidates.

Evaluation process

Applicants are reviewed based on Required Skills and Experience stated above and based on the technical evaluation criteria outlined below.  Applicants will be evaluated based on cumulative scoring.  When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Being responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation where technical criteria weighs 70% and Financial criteria/ Proposal weighs 30%.

Technical evaluation - Total 70% (700 points):

  • Criteria 1. Extensive experience and knowledge in area of 2030 Agenda implementation, especially in follow-up and review; Weight = 20%; Maximum Points: 200;
  • Criteria 2. Extensive experience in applying analytical review techniques and writing experience, and demonstrable experience in conducting reviews of reports that focus on sustainable development, human development, the Post-2015 era, MDGs and/or the 2030 Agenda Weight = 25 %; Maximum Points: 200;
  • Criteria 3. Prior experience in working with multilateral agencies, especially on the reporting process such as the voluntary national reviews or MDG reports. Weight = 15 %; Maximum Points: 150; and
  • Criteria 4. Evaluation of submitted written samples/links to previous reviews. These will be evaluated in terms of quality. Maximum Points: 50

Interview: Weight = 10 %; Maximum Points: 100.

Having reviewed applications received, UNDP will invite the top three/four shortlisted candidates for interview. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% (490 points) of the maximum obtainable points for the technical criteria (700 points) shall be considered for the financial evaluation.

Financial evaluation - Total 30% (300 points)

The following formula will be used to evaluate financial proposal:

p = y (µ/z), where

p = points for the financial proposal being evaluated

y = maximum number of points for the financial proposal

µ = price of the lowest priced proposal

z = price of the proposal being evaluated

Contract Award

Candidate obtaining the highest combined scores in the combined score of Technical and Financial evaluation will be considered technically qualified and will be offered to enter into contract with UNDP.

Institutional arrangement

The evaluation will be directly managed by the Project Manager of the Project, who is the Programme Specialist of the 2030 Agenda team, located in BPPS Strategic Policy Unit and the Sustainable Development Cluster in New York, USA, with activities at all levels. The final evaluation will be presented to the Project Board. This evaluation will be a home-based assignment for an evaluator with two in-person consultations in New York.

The Consultant will be responsible for providing her/his own laptop.

Payment modality

  • Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified above and deliverables accepted and upon certification of satisfactory completion by the manager. 

The work week will be based on 35 hours, i.e. on a 7 hour working day, with core hours being between 9h00 and 18h00 daily.




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.

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