Consultant to Support Institutional Setting-up of the Agricultural and Rural Development Paying Agency in Georgia


Location : Home based, with up to three missions to Tbilisi, GEORGIA
Application Deadline :30-Oct-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Expected Duration of Assignment :60 days during the period of November 2019 – March 2020 (42 days in Tbilisi and 18 days 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 States knowledge and experience in this field.

The goal of the Rural Development Strategy for Georgia 2017-2020 is to support Georgia’s sustainable economic development through enhanced social-economic activities in rural areas and improved living condition of rural population. It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of national resources and local engagement in the development process.

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. It is expected that participatory planning will continue to be used as a mechanism for civic activation and inclusive decision-making.

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 chaired by the head of A.R. Government.

Both Councils coordinate the implementation of rural development policies 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.

Due to structural and functional reorganization of the Government of Georgia, announced in November 2017 and implemented in December 2017, followed by the second wave of Government reshuffle announced by the newly-appointed Prime-Minister in June 2018 and finalized in September 2018 (changes in the Law of Georgia on the Structure, Authority and Rules of Operation of the Government of Georgia), the composition of the Inter-Agency Coordination Council (IACC) changed. Also, the counterpart Ministry was affected. The environment component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Recourses Protection has been merged with the Ministry of Agriculture to form the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA). This change resulted in challenges in terms of reconstituting institutional arrangements and functional distribution, but the change also facilitates the cooperation with MEPA kin relation to the implementation of the environmental component of the project Improving Rural Development in Georgia (IRDG) under the EU ENPARD III programme.

UNDP project “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” under EU-funded ENPARD III has at its core a cross-cutting capacity development component for public sector agencies and officials involved in laying down the general policy framework of the rural development of Georgia as well as for all structural units involved in formulating and implementing rural development actions (measures);  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.


Duties and Responsibilities

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 Agriculture and Rural Development Agency (ARDA).

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

The below listed tasks of the incumbent shall be performed in close coordination with FAO core team and UNDP Consultant on ARD programming and setting up a Managing Authority and include, but not be limited to:

  • Assessment of functions and procedures applied by ARDA;
    • The assessment shall look whether main principles of an appropriate implementation system is in place respecting e.g. segregation of the key main functions like authorisation of payments, execution of payments and accounting of payments
    • Furthermore, whether an appropriate control system is in place to carry out administrative and on-the-spot controls before committing or paying any funds.
  • Provision of advice to the leadership of MEPA concerning setting up a Paying Agency type of organization in Georgia responsible for the management and control of expenditure for:
    • Rural development fund;
    • Direct payments and rural development measures;
    • EU financial contributions to rural development measures;
    • Bi/multi donor contributions to information and promotion measures related to RD.
  • Finalize and agree a vision and organizational development requirements with the Lead Ministry and its partners based on at least 5 EU MS experience and lessons learned on the work of the paying agencies and the accreditation process;
  • Elaborate functions and structure of an agricultural and rural development paying agency as part of the report on the institutional framework required to administrate rural development policy which have:
    • Administrative organisation and system of internal control which provide sufficient guarantees that payments are legal and regular, and are properly accounted for;
    • Shall comply with minimum conditions for the accreditation with regard to internal environment, control activities, information, communication and monitoring.
  • Present mandatory institutional requirements during the discussions with government stakeholders on the general mandate and specific topics like applied work flows and procedures of an Accredited Paying Agency following EU requirements (Acc. to Reg. EU 1306/2013 on Financing Common Agricultural Policy);
  • Based on organisational and functional structure, support in the development of staffing plan and work procedures for the Agency (incl. the opportunities to delegate functions to other institutions at sub-national level);
  • Provision of support to MEPA and its partners as required in agreeing and finalizing the new institutional framework for the Agency;
  • If applicable, develop a training plan in line with new responsibilities of Agency’s staff;
  • Combine efforts with UNDP consultants to make clear separation of functions between design / programming and implementation of support schemes (paying agency type of organization will be in charge of the implementation of the measures in terms of administrative and physical controls, payments authorization, execution and accounting, while the managing authority will be in charge of the development of post 2020 agriculture and rural development strategy/programme of Georgia).

Deliverables and timeframes:

The Consultant is expected to deliver the following main deliverables:

  • Deliverable 1: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks 1 and 2 of the Terms of Reference – due by December 2019
  • Deliverable 2: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks from 3 to 5 of the Terms of Reference – due by February 2020
  • Deliverable 3: Report with relevant annexes covering all aspects described in the tasks from 6 to 9 of the Terms of Reference – due by March 2020

The Consultant will be requested to provide Mission Reports on the tasks accomplished and deliverables elaborated. She/he will also be requested to elaborate inputs to the Project Progress Reports.

Payment Modality:

  • 1st Mission Report on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 1 (December 2019) – 30%
  • 2nd Mission Reports on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 2 (February 2020) – 30%
  • 3rd Mission Report on the tasks accomplished and deliverable 3 (March 2020) – 40%

The consultant will report to the Manager of the “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” Project and will work in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and in consultation with the UNDP Economic Development Team Leader.

The payments will be produced upon the confirmation by UNDP of high-quality performance.


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;
  • 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:

  • Bachelor’s degree in rural development, agricultural economics, business or a related area (minimum requirement: 5 points).

Experience: 

  • Work experience in EU agricultural and rural development paying agencies in EU-member state or accession country (minimum requirement: 15 points);
  • 5 years of experience in providing services to the government and/or non-government organizations on the work of paying agencies, accreditation and implementation of the rural development measures (minimum requirement: 8 points, more than 6 years - additional 5 points);
  • Experience in delivering trainings will be an additional asset (additional 7 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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