Consultant to produce proposal for sustainable bottom-up governance system in Georgia in line with EU approach to development in rural areas


Location : Home based consultancy with three missions to Georgia, GEORGIA
Application Deadline :30-Apr-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Expected Duration of Assignment :70 working days during May – December 2019 (45 days in Georgia and 15 home-based)

Background

The signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with EU in June 2014 (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-430_en.htm) earmarked a new stage of cooperation between EU and Georgia. The AA aims to deepen political and economic relations between the EU and Georgia and to gradually integrate Georgia into the EU’s internal market. This entails, as one element, creating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the EU and Georgia.

Article 333 of the Association Agreement (Cooperation between the Parties in the field of agriculture and rural development) provides with the clauses on ‘facilitating the mutual understanding of agricultural and rural development policies’. Article 332 of the Association Agreement states that the “Parties shall cooperate to promote agricultural and rural development, in particular through progressive convergence of policies and legislation”. A National Rural Development Strategy elaboration process has been supported by FAO and UNDP and with UNDP’s support to Ajara Autonomous Republic of Georgia within the framework of EU supported ENPARD. Government of Georgia approved the first ever National Rural Development Strategy (Programme) in December 20016, which provided country’s vision for the coming years (2017-2020) in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, increase of employment and sustainable use of national resources. The strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the European Union practice and the EU Member State (MS) knowledge and experience in this field.

The adoption of the national strategy was followed by the establishment of an Inter-Agency Coordination Council (hereinafter referred to as IACC) for Rural Development which is led by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. The Ajara Rural Development Strategy approved by the Government of Autonomous Republic (A.R.) was followed by the establishment of the Rural Development Council of Ajara (hereinafter referred to as RDC) which is led by the Ministry of Agriculture of Ajara A.R.

Both Councils coordinate the implementation of RDP and promote cooperation and coordination between and among its members. The membership of IACC and RDC involves representatives from various state agencies/line ministries, grouped under the 3 pillars of the Rural Development Strategy: economic, environment and social. Thematic Working Groups were established to contribute to advances in knowledge about rural development and enable the Strategy and respective Action Plans to become more effective in terms of delivering sustainable rural development outcomes.

The successful implementation of the rural development policy in Georgia requires technical support to national agencies and relevant frontline departments in increasing effectiveness, efficiency and performance of the RD policy/strengthening the strategic approach; ensuring better coordination and complementarity with other policy areas; enhancing RD policy potential to better address specific development needs of rural areas; making RD intervention logic more user friendly  and supportive for beneficiaries; and facilitating the movement of labour out of agriculture to sectors with higher productivity.

With the objective to support multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation among government and non-government actors, there is formal consultation process that seeks to take broad stakeholder voices in the delivery of Rural Development Strategy, however the stakeholder consultation procedures have not been formalized in detail, IACC still needs to shift from a suggested and loosely defined good practice to a well codified obligatory task, well integrated in the functioning of the public institutions involved in RD policy implementation. The formal mechanisms for CSO participation in the work of IACC still needs to be enhanced through a strengthened, more formalized structure for engagement. It is expected that participatory planning will continue to be used as a mechanism for civic activation and inclusive decision-making through the UNDP project “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” (IRDG) under EU-funded ENPARD III.

In support for diversifying the rural economy and improving the quality of life in rural areas, the Georgian Government agreed to introduce, on a pilot basis, the LEADER model - that is operating successfully in the EU since 1991. Hence, since July 2015, eight pilot projects were launched in regions where agriculture by itself cannot become a sufficient source of income for the rural population, such as locations with little access to markets. The European Union has recently launched a new rural development project in Akhmeta municipality. The project follows the earlier EU-supported rural development actions under ENPARD in Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbegi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetritskaro, Akhalkalaki, Keda and Khulo. This year, EU launches rural development projects in four new municipalities that include Akhmeta, Tsalka, Tskaltubo and Mestia.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ajara A.R. established 46 LEADER-type platforms known as AMAGs (the Union of Local Active Citizens). AMAGs in Ajara are considered as a good mechanism for local community engagement in identification of local needs which could contribute to elaboration of relevant policies and programs at AR Governmental level. As only operational for 2 years AMAGs are still establishing their role and value.

These projects are implemented as a pilot measure aiming to introduce and adapt the LEADER model to the Georgian situation, with a view to add a rural development component to the ENPARD Programme in line with the declared intention of the Georgian Government to encourage non-farm rural enterprise development and merging the Agriculture and Rural Development Strategies. More importantly, these pilots are meant to assist the elaboration of a coherent approach and policy framework for rural development in Georgia.

That said, sustainability prospects of the project results, namely of the adoption of the LEADER model in Georgia, remain weak as the introduction of the model is still at the early stages and is not financially supported by the government due to limitations of the budget, additionally, the public administration reform towards local self-government is progressing slowly. Hence, the financial sustainability of Georgian LEADER Groups, introduced with EU support, is not yet secured beyond the completion dates of all projects.

As these projects are pilots for implementing the LEADER approach in Georgia, it is crucial to embed the Georgian LEADER Groups into the network of initiatives and stakeholders involved in agriculture and rural development such as the Georgian Association of Local Action Groups (GALAG) and the Georgian Rural Development Network (GRDN).

GRDN was launched with the aim to promote sustainable development of rural areas of Georgia by sharing, generating and advocating knowledge, ideas and dialogue for the benefit of rural communities of Georgia. GRDN is acknowledged by the ENPARD stakeholders, including Local Action Groups , AMAGs in Ajara A.R., Georgian Association of LAGs (GALAG), respective NGOs, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture of Ajara A.R.. This is confirmed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 19 December 2018.

Out of ENPARD III funds, the LEADER model will be further promoted in Georgia as an effective mechanism to enhance rural development at municipality level. Concerning GRDN and GALAG and the sustainability aspects at macro level, the ongoing and future planned EU support is instrumental in assisting the Georgian Government in its endeavor to develop the institutional and human capacities for management of the rural development sector.


Duties and Responsibilities

The overall objective of the consultancy is to review the sustainability of LEADER entities in Georgia and elaborate a coherent approach for a financially and institutionally sustainable bottom-up system for rural development in line with EU criteria, as well as creating conditions for an effective learning network on rural development in Georgia.

The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the National Project Manager and the Project Technical Leader of “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” Project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

The UNDP in Georgia will make arrangements for meetings and travel within Georgia and facilitate liaison with government, other national stakeholders.

Based on IRDGs Guiding Principles and Project Strategy, the major tasks and responsibilities of the incumbent shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Familiarisation with the Rural Development governance system in Georgia, especially the LEADER based and other bottom-up experience and approaches in Georgia;
  2. Analyse the effectiveness, pros and cons of the various LEADER models so far applied and collect evidence, good practices & lessons learned on LEADER groups (LAG, AMAGs) of Georgia;
  3. Solicit inputs from and ensure contribution to analysis and interpretation of the collected data;
  4. Assess the institutional and financial sustainability of GALAG/LAGs and AMAGs;
  5. Classify and assess established LEADER groups in Georgia according to the EU criteria;
  6. Engage in discussions with major Rural Development stakeholders in Georgia to identify minimal criteria and suitable ways for a functioning and sustainable bottom-up system;
  7. Identify, in a participatory manner, paths to test and decide on a feasible and sustainable bottom-up structure for rural development in Georgia, in line with the EU criteria;
  8. Facilitate high-level discussions with representatives of the Government and other stakeholders on sustainable bottom-up governance system in Georgia in line with EU approach to development in rural areas;
  9. Elaborate a feasible communication system between bottom-up and top-down approaches through which most decisions and initiatives flow;
  10. Organise regular meetings with UNDP team, relevant contractors and national consultants;
  11. Outline, in a participatory manner, GALAG sustainability plan with respective requirements;
  12. Familiarise with the Georgian Rural Development Network and identify cross-cutting potentials for its functions;
  13. Classify and assess the sustainability potential of the Georgian Rural Development Network in accordance with relevant EU Member State experience;
  14. Support GRDN to fulfil its role and identify ways to make it sustainable including by assessing the institutional capacity, readiness and attitudes of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and other stakeholders for assuming the support functions of GRDN operation;
  15. If needed, undertake research on alternative options for deliberating support functions for GRDN operation or allocation of National Support Unit (NSU) function to MEPA or any other relevant stakeholder;
  16. Develop a summary report on preconditions for GRDN sustainability and steps to be undertaken further, incorporating opinions and positions of the stakeholders consulted;
  17. Provide feedback and shape the inputs of the project team members and key contributors to produce a coherent draft Sustainability Strategy of GRDN;
  18. Design and moderate a verification workshop with the core team, UNDP and representatives of relevant ministries as required;
  19. Ensure timely submission of comments and suggestions by the core team and key contributors and integrate them into the final Sustainability Strategy of GRDN;
  20. In cooperation with the UNDP team, relevant partners and stakeholders, support implementation of preconditions for GRDN sustainability creating conditions for an effective learning network on rural development in Georgia;
  21. Prepare all material for events, including presentation slides, info-graphics, core messages and findings as well as presenting and promoting best-suited approaches, as appropriate.

Deliverables:

  • Deliverable 1: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks from 1 to 7; due by July 2019
  • Deliverable 2: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks from 8 to 16; due by September 2019
  • Deliverable 3: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks from 17 to 21 due by November 2019

Payment modality:

  • 1st Mission Report on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 1 (May 2019) – 30%;
  • 2nd Mission Report on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 2 (July 2019) – 30%;
  • 3rd Mission Report on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 3 (December 2019) – 40%.

The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the National Project Manager and the Project Technical Leader of “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” Project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. The payments will be produced upon the confirmation by UNDP of high-quality performance. A total assignment will be up to 70 days during the period of May 2019-December 2019.

Arrangements: While on duty, the Consultant shall work at the office based in Tbilisi and Batumi. The assignment will involve travel to various regions (15 days in total).


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.

Functional competencies:

Knowledge management and learning:

  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in one or more Practice Areas, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills.

Development and operational effectiveness:

  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
  • Ability to lead formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes and projects, mobilize resources;
  • Strong IT skills, particularly with MS Office and databases;
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills.

Management and leadership:

  • Focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Leads teams effectively and shows conflict resolution skills;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure; 
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities.


Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Master’s degree in public administration, public policy, agriculture and rural development, economics and business administration or related field (minimum requirement: 8 points).

Experience:

  • At least 6 years of professional experience of working with LEADER, bottom-up approaches within the EU, accession or a candidate country (minimum requirement: 10 points).
  • At least 4 years of experience in providing consultancy services to government and/or non-government institutions on bottom-up governance systems in line with EU approach to development in rural areas (minimum requirement: 10 points);
  • Experience of leading and/or coordinating at least 2 strategy drafting projects/processes;
  • Experience of work on establishing or operating National Rural Network and/or LEADER entity in the EU member states or candidate countries will be a strong asset (4 points);
  • Experience of work on social engagement issues will be a strong asset (4 points);
  • Experience in providing technical assistance within a comparable transition context (including Georgia) would be a strong asset (4 points).

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English.

Evaluation:

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the cumulative analysis against combination of technical and financial criteria. Technical evaluation stage encompasses desk review and interview of applications. Experts not meeting any of minimum technical qualification requirements will be automatically excluded from the list of candidates for further technical evaluation. Maximum obtainable score is 100, out of which the total score for technical criteria equals to 70 points (70%) and for financial criteria 30 (30%). Technical criteria composed of desk review (40 points) and interview (30 points). Offerors who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores of the desk review (i.e. 40 x 70% = 28 points as a result of a desk review of applications will be invited for the interview. Those offerors who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores for interviews (i.e. 30 x 70% = 21 points) will be considered as short-listed offerors and included in the roster of qualified consultants.

Financial Proposal:

The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum. Payments are based upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR.  All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. This includes all travel to join duty station/repatriation travel. In general, UNDP does 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. In order, to assist the requesting unit in the comparison of financial proposals, the financial proposal will include a breakdown of this lump sum amount.


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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