International Consultant, Mid Term Evaluation of UNDP/Government of Lao Project: “Moving towards achieving SDG 18 - Removing the UXO obstacle to Development in Lao PDR”


Location : Vientiane, LAO PDR
Application Deadline :22-Oct-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
31-Oct-2019
Duration of Initial Contract :October - December 2019
Expected Duration of Assignment :33 working days

Background

Lao PDR is, per capita, the most heavily bombed country in the world. More than forty years after the end of the 1964-1973 Indochina Conflict, unexploded ordnance (UXO) remains a major humanitarian and socioeconomic challenge to the country, causing deaths and injuries, limiting access to potentially productive land, and adding substantial costs to processes of development. The Government of Laos PDR has been active in the process of clearance since shortly after the conflict. Lao PDR has advocated for the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and hosted the first Meeting of States Parties in 2010. It also embraced the UXO issue as a key development matter by locally establishing the Sustainable Development Goal 18: SDG18: Remove the UXO obstacle to national development. The current National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 2011 – 2020. “The Safe Path Forward II” details the goal of the Government and its development partners over the 2011 -2020 period is to reduce the humanitarian and socio-economic threats posed by UXO to the point where the residual contamination and challenges can be adequately addressed by a sustainable national capacity fully integrated into the regular institutional set-up of the Government.

The UNDP/ Government of Lao project “Moving towards achieving SDG 18 - Removing the UXO obstacle to Development in Lao PDR” https://www.undp.org/content/dam/laopdr/docs/Reports%20and%20publications/2016/UNDP%20Laos%20CPD.pdf has been designed based on the recommendations of the 2015 evaluation of UNDP’s ongoing support to the UXO sector, as well as the decision by the Government of Lao and UNDP to utilize a project modality in lieu of the Trust Fund, and is aligned with the Government of Lao’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (8th NSEDP), UXO Sector SPF II 2011-2020, UXO Sector 5-year plan 2016-2020 as well as national gender equality strategies and relevant international conventions, and norms. It will contribute to progress towards achieving the national Sustainable Development Goal 18.  This project will provide the programmatic and technical support necessary for the national institutions within the UXO sector (NRA and UXO Lao) to pursue the targets set out in the UXO Sector Five Year Work Plan 2016-2020, as well as the NRA’s strategy for accelerated survey and clearance, MRE and VA activities. Hence, it provides a sector overview of what is required to support the NRA and UXO Lao for the coming five years, irrespective of whether the support will be provided via UNDP or directly to these two institutions. As requested, UNDP is committed to provide sector-level technical support and leadership focusing on UXO clearance prioritisation, coordination, information management, quality management, programme management, work planning, and financial management as well as programmatic oversight and management. This will build national capacity to oversee and steer the sector and strengthen the integration of gender-sensitive approaches. UNDP is committed to provide technical and resource mobilization support as requested from the Government of Lao PDR.

The key results expected from this project include support to the Sustainable Development Goals (including SDG 18), including through enhanced support to livelihoods activities for affected populations, improved efficiency of clearance operations; significant progress in the effort to establish a national baseline of UXO contamination; improved transparency in results reporting, improved transparency in financial reporting; improved coordination of sector activities through enhanced management of information; updated National Standards and appropriate policy frameworks; progress against the obligations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the articulation of a sustainability strategy for the sector; capacity in Mine Risk Education, improved capacity for monitoring and evaluating the sector’s development outcomes; and improved policy for support to UXO survivors. This project includes a proposed component on assessing and enhancing gender mainstreaming capacity in the UXO sector to be implemented by Lao Government’s agencies concerned.

The UXO sector is not currently part of the core NSEDP process, however it is now moving towards becoming a cross cutting issue. The finding of this evaluation will also contribute to integration of UXO in the 9th NSEDP and the next long-term strategy.

In support of the above UNDP/ GoL project, and the UNDP EU contribution “Supporting Lao PDR’s national unexploded ordnance institutions (2016 – 2019)” supports:

  • Clearance of Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHA) in accordance with pro-poor prioritisation and as agreed in approved Annual Work Plans;
  • Mine Risk Education (MRE) activities based on agreed Annual Work Plans;
  • Capacity building of the NRA for sector-wide planning and prioritisation, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Development of a sustainability strategy, including integration of assistance to victims, defined in the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) as “persons directly impacted by cluster munitions as well as their affected families and communities”, into broader health policies and institutions, and MRE into education;
  • Support to progress on key global disarmament conventions; including the CCM.

This is thereby expected to contribute to the following changes:

  • The development and implementation of pro-poor, development-focused, transparent planning and task prioritisation for the sector, demonstrated in clear annual sector work plans;
  • Clear land for safe use in agriculture and development activities; supporting rural livelihoods including through enhanced monitoring at the sector level of UXO action’s contribution;
  • Contribute to a further reduction in the number of annual casualties to less than 40;
  • Establish a sound monitoring and evaluation system at the sector level;
  • Improve management and availability and use of data for better planning of development activities.

Evaluation Purpose

From a UNDP perspective, this evaluation is timely, as it coincides with the mid-point of the UNDP current programme of support and the end of the current phase of support from the EU. As such the evaluation opportunity provides for not only evaluating current activities but also to reconfirm relevance, effectiveness and progress in the context of the full range of modalities used for UNDP’s work in the sector.  Areas where Government involvement can be expanded (for example the the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the support of the Lao Humanitarian Army).

In alignment with the Lao People's Democratic Republic – United Nations Partnership Framework 2017-2021 (Pillar 1: inclusive growth, livelihoods and resilience and outcome 1: all women and men have increased opportunities for decent livelihoods and jobs), the current National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 2011 – 2020 “The Safe Path Forward II” and in achievement of the SDG 18, the UXO sector is now ready to move forward in articulating its strategy with goals and targets in achievement of SDG 18 and the next National Strategic Plan. 

2020 is the critical period for the UXO sector where the realization of the way forward in achieving SDG 18 will be articulate and agreed in the development of a new long-term strategy.  During 2019, the government will develop the next (9th) National Socio-Economic Development Plan, and 2020 will be the tenth anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions as well as the development and finalization of the next UXO Strategy (2021 – 2030).

The evaluation is being expanded with a second scope to include looking forward with the exploring of a framework for a future programme of support towards achieving SDG 18 2030 and to identify clear niches where UNDP can provide effective and efficient support to the UXO sector.

As such the aim is not to only evaluating current progress on the UNDP Project (and support provided by the EU under this project) but informing the direction and design of next UXO Sector 10-year strategy (2021 - 2030) and UNDP’s continued involvement in the UXO sector in Lao PDR. A particular focus of the evaluation will be on the extent to which current and future UNDP support addresses the long-term institutional capacity and the rural development and livelihoods aspects of the Government of Lao PDR’s development plans, and how this can be improved. This evaluation will be in alignment with the Lao People's Democratic Republic – United Nations Partnership Framework 2017-2021 and present forward-looking recommendations to shape the design of the next phase of UNDP support the UXO sector.  

With the current National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector (2011 – 2020) “The Safe Path Forward II” ending in 2020, the evaluation will develop a broad draft framework for the next long-term plan to 2030 (achievement of the SDG 18) and a more detailed draft framework (results matrix) of a five-year strategy 2021 – 2025 (with activities, targets, goals).


Duties and Responsibilities

Evaluation Scope and Objectives

The evaluation will consist of two distinct scopes and Objectives which will be reported separately:

Scope 1 Objectives (estimated 15 days): The independent evaluation will cover both the UNDP/ Government of Lao project “Moving towards achieving SDG 18 - Removing the UXO obstacle to Development in Lao PDR” and the EU cost sharing agreement “Supporting Lao PDR’s national unexploded ordnance institutions (2016 – 2019)”. This will include all facets of UNDP’s support to the UXO sector, stakeholder analysis (including Government, Donors and IPs) including a focus on the achievement of objectives as detailed in the relevant project document and Pagoda agreement with the EU, the provision of technical assistance and all other modalities employed. During the field visit to UXO Lao operations and Huaphanh and Xieng Khouang the evaluation will also review UXO Lao operations that have been supported by both the EU and the government of New Zealand (Xieng Khouang). The below areas will form the parameters of the evaluation and the areas in which recommendations should be made for a subsequent approach.

Scope 2 Objectives (estimated 18 days): The independent evaluation will also be forward looking and explore opportunities for UNDP to position itself in the changing environment of the UXO sector in Laos. This will involve taking stock of all recommendations from previous evaluations over the last 10 years and on the implementation of the recommendations. Analysis of the UXO sector in Laos detailing government policy and priorities, all stakeholders in the sector (including UNDP, donors (via UNDP and bilateral donor’s director to UXO related agencies) and other implementing agencies (INGOs, Private Sector, and humanitarian army).  Review of current funding mechanisms (efficiency of the current funding mechanism; the use of cost-sharing agreements vs other modalities) to the sector (from UNDP and others) and the efficiency and effectiveness on how funding is being provided to the sector (inclusive of MRE, Survey and clearance as well procurement for operators) and integration into next 9th NSEDP.

Areas:

Strategic Positioning, Concept and Design

The Evaluation Team will assess the concept and design of the UNDP’s overall intervention in the UXO sector, including an assessment of the appropriateness of the objectives, planned outputs, activities and inputs as compared to cost-effective alternatives. Identify niche areas where UNDP can further add advantage and efficiency to the sector. Efficiency of the funding mechanism; the use of cost-sharing agreements vs the Trust Fund. The strategic positioning and design of UNDP will also be reviewed against the government guidance for the sector (NSEDP and UXO Sector plans).

Implementation

The evaluation will assess the implementation of the intervention in terms of quality and timeliness of inputs and efficiency and effectiveness of activities carried out. Also, the effectiveness of management as well as the quality and timeliness of monitoring and backstopping by all parties to the project should be evaluated. In particular, the evaluation is to assess the use of adaptive management. Identify niche areas where UNDP can further add advantage and efficiency to the sector.

Partnership and Coordination

The evaluation will assess effectiveness and appropriateness of the collaborations and partnerships that were established to deliver UNDP support to the UXO sector. This includes an assessment of the partnerships with key line ministries, as well as with international Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organizations, and local Non-Profit Associations. The evaluation should draw conclusions about the extent to which UNDP were effective in coordination the support offered by all partners in the UXO sector and where future activities could be enhanced. It will assess whether sound internal control systems are in place, with the appropriate checks and balances, in order to ensure oversight.

                Monitoring, Evaluation and Risk Management

A further focus of the evaluation will be on the extent to which adequate monitoring was undertaken throughout the period, and the extent to which evaluation systems were adequate to capture significant developments and inform responsive management. The evaluation will assess how Lessons Learned have been captured and operationalized throughout the period under investigation. It will examine how effectively the management of support to the UXO sector incorporated relevant global knowledge on good practices.

Gender Mainstreaming

The evaluation will assess the extent to which the project sought to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender into development efforts. This should look at what measures were taken to this end and how successful those have been in addressing specific rights- and gender-related aspects of the UXO issue.

Use and Management Response

UNDP evaluation policy, approved by its Executive Board in 2009, requires all independent evaluations to have a management response. According to the policy, UNDP CO management, in consultation with NRA, UXO Lao, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders, will prepare a management response to the recommendations and follow up action points.[1] This plan will note the responsible parties for each follow-up activity, as well as the timeframe by quarter, to allow for clear tracking of progress.

Evaluation Questions

The evaluation should address the following questions among others (to be finalized by the evaluation team after the scoping phase):

Relevance

  • To what extent is the support to the UXO sector by the UNDP based on clearly identifiable development needs as outlined in the government’s strategies, international obligations and others?
  • Where is the UXO Sector coming from and where is it going?
  • What is UNDPs role?
  • During the evaluation period, what economic, social or political changes have taken place that affected UNDP-supported UXO initiatives? How do these relate to the relevance of the UXO sector to poverty eradication and economic development in Lao PDR?
  • What opportunities are there to better align the support to the changed context and the needs of the beneficiaries?
  • How does UNDP’s UXO work link to other development initiatives, implemented by the UN, other Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, or government agencies?

Effectiveness

  • To what extent are the Outputs and Outcomes of the UXO sector, and the indicators used, successful in guiding the support to have maximum positive impact in human development terms? How might this be improved in future?
  • What factors are contributing to achieving or not achieving intended outcomes? To what extent are UNDP outputs and assistance contributing to outcomes?
  • How is the current UNDP funding mechanism, its objective, set-up and rules and procedures, effective in fulfilling the intended objectives and needs of the users? How is its effectiveness compared with that of other funding modalities? Including the use of a Trust Fund.
  • To what extent is the planning undertaken for support to the sector adequate to sustain and improve operations?
  • To what extent are the intended beneficiaries satisfied with the results? How well are gender considerations been taken into account?
  • With specific reference to the UXO Lao Huaphan data issue – explore how this issues and its correction has strengthened UXO Lao?

Efficiency

  • To what extent is the response designed to maximize the efficiency of the UNDP’s support to the UXO sector?
  • How cost-effective and time-efficient is the implementation by UNDP of their UXO sector activities and outputs in the evaluation period? What measures are being taken to ensure competitiveness?
  • How efficient are the various modalities of UNDP support prove to be in the period?
  • To what extent are the planned funding and timeframe enough to achieve the intended outcomes?
  • What is the cost efficiency of UXO Lao clearance operations versus that of INGOs based on cost of clearance per hectare?
  • How appropriate is the approach taken to organizing clearance activities in terms of competitiveness? How could this be improved?

Partnership and Coordination

  • What is the role of the EU, US, Ireland, Luxembourg, NZ, Japan, Korea, Canada? And what is their long-term postion the sector? – towards SDG 18 2020.
  •  How appropriate and effective is the UNDP partnership strategy? What factors are contributing to this effectiveness or ineffectiveness?
  • How is policy dialogue being used to effectively influence government and development partners and support the outcomes?
  • How efficient and effective are inputs from different partners coordinated in the UXO sector?
  • How could the approach to policy dialogue be strengthened and made more impactful?

Sustainability

  • How does the current support (UNDP and outside of UNDP) to the UXO sector reflect and balance national institutional capacity development and sustainability on national systems and structures? 
  • What can be done to maximise the likelihood of sustainable outcomes?
  • To what extent is the Government of Lao PDR increasing its capacity and ownership of the UXO issue during the period in question? What impact has this had on external support?
  • What is the transition plan for the Lao Government to take over the sector? (is there a plan?)
  • In what ways were relevant social, environmental, resettlement and other safeguards taken into consideration during the evaluation period?
  • To what extent will the benefits and outcomes continue should external donor funding ends?
  • What is the role that UNDP should play moving forward with the UXO Sector?

Monitoring & Evaluation and Risk Management

  • To what extent is the Monitoring and Evaluation system generating credible information that can be used for program improvement, learning and accountability?
  • To what extent did the results framework allow for relevant monitoring of progress and impact of interventions? How could this be improved, with reference to the findings regarding relevance?
  • How accurate was the risk assessment undertaken? How effectively were the risks managed?
  • How effective were the provisions for oversight of the work in the sector?
  • Are there sound internal control systems in place, with the appropriate checks and balances in place?
  • How Is fiduciary accountability ensured?

Methodology

The ultimate design of the evaluation methodology will result from consultations between the Evaluation Team, the UNDP programme unit, government focal point, and relevant stakeholders. The methodology may include but is not limited or restricted to:

Data Collection

  • Focused group discussions, structured or semi-structured individual and/or group interviews with representatives of the Government of Lao PDR, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) and national clearance operator UXO Lao, UNDP CO, and EU delegation office in at technical and management levels, other UN agencies, Cost-Sharing Development Partners, international NGOs and Non Profit Associations, commercial UXO operators, and other parties active in the UXO sector in Lao.
  • Review of secondary data including but not limited to EU support documents to the project, Annual Reports, Annual Work Plans, Financial Reports, Meeting Minutes, relevant Terms of Reference and Steering Committee communications materials, agreements with development partners, audit recommendations, UXO evaluations, and records of communications between stakeholders, and other related documents listed in the annexes.

Field Visits

  • Visits to selected provinces (Xieng Khouang, Huaphan and Bolikhamxai) in which the NRA and UXO Lao conducts activities will be requried.
  • As required, interviews and discussions with local and field-level clearance operation, MRE staff.
  • Interviews with non-resident donors as appropriate; this may not require travel.

Data Analysis

  • Application of triangulation of both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis to the results of the above data-gathering exercises for data consistency and accuracy.
  • Presentation of initial analysis to stakeholders as a means of refinement and quality review.

The evaluation should be undertaken with the guidance of the 2019 UNDP Evaluation Guidelines

http://web.undp.org/evaluation/guideline/documents/PDF/UNDP_Evaluation_Guidelines.pdf

Evaluation Deliverables

Following the design of the evaluation methodology, the Evaluation Team will be responsible for delivering the following products at appropriate intervals (reference draft schedule Annex 2) .

  • Evaluation inception report (Scope 1 & 2) – this should be prepared after the methodology is finalized and should detail specifically the activities to be undertaken, as well as the Evaluation Team understanding of the purpose and background of the evaluation. It should include a proposed schedule of tasks, specifying responsibilities relative to each, and explaining how the time and resource constraints of the evaluation have been addressed.
  • Draft evaluation report (Scope 1 & 2) - this report will summarize the results of the activities undertaken and of the initial analysis by the Evaluation Team. It will be shared with UNDP and selected key stakeholders for review and feedback.
  • Final evaluation report (Scope 1 & 2) – this will be finalized based on feedback from the previous draft and will be submitted to UNDP and the agreed focal points for the Government of Lao PDR and key development partners.
  1. Management response to be prepared by UNDP in close consultation with the Government of Lao PDR and other stakeholders including relevant UN agencies.

1] The template for a management response can be seen on page 16 of UNDP’s Evaluation Policy, available here: http://www.uneval.org/document/detail/958


Competencies

Evaluation Team Composition and Required Competencies

The evaluation will be conducted by a team of two; an Evaluation Team Leader (International); and a national consultant who will provide knowledge of national context and support the full evaluation process as well as serve when needed as an interpreter (The National Evaluation consultant who will work with the Team leader is being recruited separately by UNDP).

The Team Leader is responsible for the timely delivery of the evaluation report.

The evaluation team should be balanced in its gender and geographical composition to the extent possible.

  1. Evaluation Team Leader (33 working days)

 

S/he has overall responsibility for providing guidance and leadership on conducting the evaluation and preparing and revising the draft and final reports. The Evaluation Team Leader should have experience in the area of evaluation of UXO/Mine Action activities, leading the evaluation on that specific area, with responsibility for drafting and finalising reports.

 

Specific responsibilities include the following:

 

  • Leading the documentation review and framing of evaluation questions;
  • Leading the evaluation team in planning, execution and reporting;
  • Incorporating the use of best practice with respect to evaluation methodologies; 
  • Conducting the debriefing to the stakeholders (Government of Lao PDR, UXO Lao, NRA, UNDP, key selected development partners);
  • Leading the drafting and finalization/quality control of the evaluation report.
  • Building capacity of the national evaluation consultant.

 

Required Qualifications

 

  • Master’s degree or equivalent;
  • Proven record of leading complex programmatic evaluations for at least ten years, including Mine Action programmes.
  • Demonstrable in-depth understanding of Results-Based Management and strategic planning;
  • Fluency in English both in speaking and writing; knowledge of Lao is an asset;
  • Strong drafting and analytical skills;
  • Experience in evaluating a financing mechanism is an asset;
  • Knowledge of the context of Lao PDR is an asset.

 

  1. National Evaluation Consultant (33 working days) (Advertised and Recruited Separately)

 

S/he will support the Team Leader and provide knowledge of the UXO sector as well as Lao cultural and development context; and when needed support as an interpreter between English and Lao.  The consultant will advise the Team Leader on relevant aspects of the local context where the projects have operated. The national consultant will also be responsible for the translation of the final report into Lao language.

 

Required Qualifications:

 

  • Degree or equivalent;
  • Experience in undertaking an evaluation;
  • Strong working knowledge of Lao PDR (in particular the social, economic and development context);
  • Thorough understanding of the development issues and challenges in the Lao PDR;
  • Familiarity with the Lao Government’s poverty reduction and development policies (including the NSEDP);
  • Knowledge of UXO/Mine Action issues in the Lao PDR;
  • Experience with assessment methodologies; programme development and project implementation
  • Experience with social science research;
  • Fluent Lao and English.

Evaluation Ethics

The evaluation must be undertaken in accordance with the UNEG Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation, which are available here: http://www.unevaluation.org/document/detail/102


Required Skills and Experience

Requirements for submission of proposals:

All interested and qualified International Independent Consultants should apply on-line using the following links:

  1. UNDP Lao PDR Country Office website at https://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/jobs.html   or 
  2. UNDP Jobs at  https://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/jobs.html

In order to make submission please read the attached relevant documents which are also available on our web-site here http://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/operations/jobs/:

  1. TOR (Annex I)
  2. Individual Contract & General Terms and Conditions (Annex II);
  3. OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY (Annex III)

Documents to be included when submitting the proposals:

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:

  1. Technical Proposal as per Annex III “OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP CONFIRMING INTEREST AND AVAILABILITY” 

(i)          Explaining why you are the most suitable for the work;

  1. Providing a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work including the work schedule for the delivery of outputs/deliverable;
  2. CV of education and work experience, including past experience in similar projects and contact references of at least 3 references for whom you have rendered preferably the similar services;

 

      2. Financial proposal:

  1. Detailed financial proposal: Lump sum offer with clear cost breakdown against each deliverable.

Note: The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around specific and measurable (qualitative and quantitative) deliverables (i.e. whether payments fall in installments or upon completion of the entire contract). Payments are based upon monthly outputs, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR.  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 (including travel, per diems, and number of anticipated working days). All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. UNDP accept travel costs not exceeding of an economy class air ticket.

Instructions for on-line submissions:

  1. Step 1:  Please prepare all required documents electronically;
  2. Step 2: Combine all documents in ONE SINGLE FILE (preferably in PDF however Word format can be also accepted) and upload to the UNDP Jobs using the links above;
  3. Step 3: After that you will receive an auto reply from the UNDP jobs if your offer is received successfully.

Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the deadline will be rejected.

Note:  Any request for clarification must be sent in writing to the following e-mail: surith.sengsavang@undp.org  with CC to phetsamone.southalack@undp.org

UNDP Lao PDR will respond in writing by standard electronic mail and will send written copies of the response, including an explanation of the query without identifying the source of inquiry, to all consultants.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be notified. 

Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more detailed information about UNDP Lao PDR please visit our website at

https://www.la.undp.org/content/lao_pdr/en/home/

 


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.


If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact erecruit.helpdesk@undp.org.

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