Mid-Term Review of GoI-UNDP-GEF – India High Range Mountain Landscape Project

Location : New Delhi, INDIA
Application Deadline :24-Nov-20 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :

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.



This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for -the Midterm Review (MTR) of the full-sized UNDP-supported GEF-financed project titled India High Range Mountain Landscape Project (PIMS 4651) implemented by UNDP in close consultation with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which is to be undertaken in 2020. The project started on the 5 May 2014 and is in its seventh year of implementation 

Project Background: 

The Munnar landscape in India’s Western Ghats is a globally significant biodiversity region. It exhibits high levels of endemism and biological diversity; it is an important bird area and has many globally threatened species of fauna and flora. It is also one of the important tiger conservation landscapes, and harbours the largest global population of Nilgiri Tahr, as well as a significant population of Grizzled Giant Squirrel (both threatened species). It is situated at the catchment of three major river systems of peninsular India and supports important economic sectors like cardamom, tea and tourism.

At present, the Munnar landscape is a complex mosaic of land uses where conservation, economic production and livelihood requirements assume equal primacy & profoundly influence each other. These contribute to the competitive use of natural resources, affecting vital ecological processes. The rapidly changing developmental context, demographic contours and resource use configurations pose a challenge to the landscape’s long-term ecological sustainability and livelihood security. The existing planning and policy framework, as well as the institutional arrangements in the Munnar landscape, are inadequate to address biodiversity conservation from a landscape perspective. The project aims to mainstream biodiversity concerns in key production sectors through landscape approach. The project covers an area of 2198 sq.km. spread over the Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts in Kerala. 

Project Duration: 2014-2022

GEF Allocation: US$ 6,275,000

Co-finance (in-kind): Government – US$ 28 million; UNDP – US$ 1 million; Private sector – US$ 1 million

Implementation modality: Direct Implementation Modality

Project partners: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and State Government of Kerala – Haritha Kerala Mission and Department of Forest and Wildlife

Objective: Mainstreaming biodiversity considerations in production sectors through a landscape approach in conservation in Munnar region of Western Ghats in India

Project Outcomes:

The project would contribute in sustainable management of globally significant mountain biodiversity of India by mainstreaming the biodiversity conservation considerations into production sectors, while sustaining livelihoods of local communities. It would also address retrogressive factors including the anticipated impacts of climate change and other associated pressures.

Strengthening governance: An effective governance framework for multiple- use mountain landscape management to be in place

Environmental sustainability: Multiple use mountain landscape management is applied securing the ecological integrity of High Range Mountain Landscape

Community Empowerment: Strengthened community capacities for community based sustainable use and management of wild resources

Institutional arrangements:

The project is being directly implemented by UNDP in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. UNDP is responsible for all financial management, reporting, procurement and recruitment services.

A National level Project Steering Committee (NPSC) based in Delhi and a State level Project Steering Committee (SPSC) based in Thiruvananthapuram be responsible for supervising the project activities. 

National Project Steering Committee (NPSC)

The Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Govt. of India and a senior official of the UNDP jointly chair the National Project Steering Committee (NPSC).

Members of NPSC include Inspector General of Forests (Wildlife), Operational Focal Point of Global Environment Facility (GEF-OFP), Joint Secretary (in charge of Biodiversity), Joint Secretary (in Charge of Mountains), representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Tourism, Tribal Affairs, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, and New and Renewable Energy, Chairman, National Bio Diversity Authority, Secretary, Local Self Government,  Kerala, Secretary, Forests, Kerala, two representatives from non-governmental sector (one from private sector/ industries) nominated by the Ministry of Environment, Forests,  and Climate Change and two representatives from the UNDP.

The chairman is authorised to invite experts and other officials to NPSC as per requirement. The responsibilities of NPSC include ensuring overall effectiveness of programme implementation, providing policy guidance and approval of budgeted Annual Work Plans (AWP) forwarded by the State. NPSC meets at least once a year. The MoEF&CC is supported by the National Project Management Unit.

State Project Steering Committee (SPSC)

The Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala and a senior official from UNDP jointly chair the SPSC. The Forest Secretary  is the Convener and LSG Secretary is member of SPSC.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, and Chairman and CEO of State Forest Development Agency are the members of SPSC. Representatives of MoEFCC (that includes GEF OFP and IG-Forest), the State Planning Board, various departments (Finance, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Rural Development, Minor Irrigation, Town and Country Planning, Environment and Climate Change, Fisheries, Tourism, Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste, Soil Survey and Soil Conservation, Ground Water), Kudumbashree, Haritha Keralam Mission, Suchitwa Mission, State Biodiversity Board, State Medicinal Plant Board, Land Use Board, Tea Board, Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), Plantation Corporation, and Kerala Forest Development Corporation would be the members. The District Collectors of Idukki, Ernakulam, and Thrissur, representatives of Hindustan Newsprint Limited, and United Planters’ Association of South India (UPASI) are also be the members of the SPSC.

The SPSC meets once a year or more on approval of Chair. The State Project Steering Committee endorses and forwards the AWP to the NPSC and UNDP for approval. The other responsibilities include approval of activities related to AWP, supervision of project activities, review and recommendations, ensuring departmental and sectoral coordination for the smooth functioning of the project, policy support and communication with NPSC. The SPSC ensures that the officials involved in the project have sufficient tenure for the smooth implementation of the project. SPSC ensures that the co-financing arrangements of the Government of Kerala and private sector are met through scheme commitments. SPSC also ensures its implementation through respective agencies are in line with the outcome and outputs of the project. All the decisions taken by SPSC will be in accordance with the standards that ensure management of development results, best value for money, fairness, integrity, transparency and effective international cooperation. This upholds the ultimate accountability of the UNDP. The SPSC is hosted by the State LSGD, assisted by a State Project Management Unit.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in different parts of the world is a major concern. India is also fighting this very tough task for controlling the virus outbreak and has managed its growth rate through some strict measures. Collective and focused efforts for containment and management of COVID-19 by the Government of India along with the States/UTs have led to the number of recovered cases among COVID-19 patients. GoI has confirmed 6,623,815 COVID-19 cases, and 102,685 deaths. India’s total recovered cases have crossed 5.5 million. This takes the national Recovery Rate amongst COVID-19 to 87.4 %.

In terms of the project, several consultations and activities including the capacity gap assessments and capacity building have been put on hold due the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected the pace of implementation of the project and the delivery of desired results as outlined in the project document.  The State of Kerala in which this project operates was one of the first to be heavily impacted by COVID-19 and field activities were suspended from February to June 2020. A rapid socio-economic assessment was conducted by the project to gather information on the impacts of COVID-19, showing negative impacts on the socio-economic situations in the project landscape, especially on households that depend on the tourism sector, vegetable farming, reed product sales, tea farming, and self-help group members working in recycling and scrap network. Continued adaptation in work planning and implementation will need to continue over coming months as there are still some restrictions in place impacting the project landscape and the COVID-19 situation remains volatile. 

Duties and Responsibilities


The MTR will assess progress towards the achievement of the project objectives and outcomes as specified in the Project Document, and assess early signs of project success or failure with the goal of identifying the necessary changes to be made in order to set the project on-track to achieve its intended results. The MTR will also review the project’s strategy and its risks to sustainability. The approach and methodology of the MTR is attached as Annexure A.

The National Consultant will have the following roles and responsibilities: 

  • Review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase of the MTR (i.e. PIF, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure/SESP), the Project Document, Revised Implementation Strategy, project reports including annual PIRs, project budget revisions, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based review.
  • Review the baseline GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools submitted to the GEF at CEO endorsement, and the midterm GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools that must be completed before the MTR mission begins.
  • Review project strategy including project design, results framework, progress towards outcome, management arrangements, work-planning, finance and co-finance, stakeholder engagement, social and environmental standards (safeguards), communication and knowledge management.
  • Conduct stakeholder meetings and undertake missions to the field for evaluation
  • Draft MTR report based on the reviews and field missions and provide recommendations.
  • Finalise MTR report based on the reviews, field missions and the comments received from all relevant stakeholders and provide recommendations.



The total duration of the assignment would be 35 working days over a time period of 8 weeks, and shall not exceed three months from when the consultant(s) are hired. The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows: 





Document review and preparing MTR Inception Report (MTR Inception Report due no later than 2 weeks before the MTR mission)

2 days

1 December 2020

MTR mission: stakeholder meetings, interviews, field visits

10 days

20 December 2020

Presentation of initial findings- last day of the MTR mission

1 day

23 December 2020

Preparing draft report (due within 2 weeks of the MTR mission)

7 days

10 January 2021

Finalization of MTR report/ Incorporating audit trail from feedback on draft report (due within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on the draft)


20 January 2021

Options for site visits should be provided in the Inception Report.

Required Skills and Experience


The National Consultant will assess emerging trends with respect to regulatory frameworks, budget allocations, capacity building and would work with the Project Team in developing the itinerary,

The selection of the National Consultant will be aimed at maximizing the overall “team” qualities in the following areas:

Education (20% weightage)

  • A Master’s degree in Environment Sciences, Natural Resource Management or any other related field

Experience (40% weightage)

  • Relevant experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  • Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Biodiversity focal area
  • Demonstrated understanding of UNDP social and environmental standards and framework for application to project development and implementation
  • Good understanding of different geographies, environment and conservation issues in India especially in Kerala.
  • Experience in technical domains such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable natural resource management, rural development and livelihoods and governance for at least 15 years;
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and biodiversity, experience in gender sensitive evaluation and analysis.
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Demonstrable analytical skills;
  • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset;
  • Experience with implementing evaluations remotely will be considered an asset; 

Language (10% weightage)

  • Fluency in written and spoken English.


  • 20% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final MTR Inception Report and approval by the Commissioning Unit
  • 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the draft MTR report to the Commissioning Unit
  • 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final MTR report and approval by the Commissioning Unit and RTA (via signatures on the Clearance Form) and delivery of completed Audit Trail

Criteria for issuing the final payment of 40%

  • The final MTR report includes all requirements outlined in the MTR TOR and is in accordance with the MTR guidance.
  • The final MTR report is clearly written, logically organized, and is specific for this project (i.e. text has not been cut & pasted from other MTR reports).
  • The Audit Trail includes responses to and justification for each comment listed.

In line with the UNDP’s financial regulations, when determined by the Commissioning Unit and/or the consultant that a deliverable or service cannot be satisfactorily completed due to the impact of COVID-19 and limitations to the MTR, that deliverable or service will not be paid.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation and its implications, a partial payment may be considered if the consultant invested time towards the deliverable but was unable to complete to circumstances beyond his/her control.


Recommended Presentation of Proposal: 

  • Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP
  • CV and a Personal History Form (P11 form)
  • Brief description of approach to work/technical proposal of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a proposed methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment; (max 1 page)
  • Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price and all other travel related costs (such as flight ticket, per diem, etc), supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template attached to the Letter of Confirmation of Interest template.  If an applicant 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 Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the applicant must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP. 

Note - The following documents can be accessed by clicking the link:

General Conditions for Individual Contract-
http://www.in.undp.org/content/dam/india /docs/procurement/UNDP%20General%20Conditions%20for%20Individual%20Contracts.pdf

Offerors Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability for the Individual Contractor (IC) Assignment, including Financial Proposal template-


[1] The Commissioning Unit is obligated to issue payments to the MTR team as soon as the terms under the ToR are fulfilled.  If there is an ongoing discussion regarding the quality and completeness of the final deliverables that cannot be resolved between the Commissioning Unit and the MTR team, the Regional M&E Advisor and Vertical Fund Directorate will be consulted.  If needed, the Commissioning Unit’s senior management, Procurement Services Unit and Legal Support Office will be notified as well so that a decision can be made about whether or not to withhold payment of any amounts that may be due to the evaluator(s), suspend or terminate the contract and/or remove the individual contractor from any applicable rosters.

[2] Engagement of the consultants should be done in line with guidelines for hiring consultants in the POPP: https://info.undp.org/global/popp/Pages/default.aspx

[3] https://intranet.undp.org/unit/bom/pso/Support%20documents%20on%20IC%20Guidelines/Template%20for%20Confirmation%20of%20Interest%20and%20Submission%20of%20Financial%20Proposal.docx

[4] http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/Careers/P11_Personal_history_form.doc

All application materials should be submitted to the address (fill address) in a sealed envelope indicating the following reference “Consultant for (project title) Midterm Review” or by email at the following address ONLY: (fill email) This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it by (time and date). Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.

Criteria for Evaluation of Proposal:  Only those applications which are responsive and compliant will be evaluated.  Offers will be evaluated according to the Combined Scoring method – where the educational background and experience on similar assignments will be weighted at 70% and the price proposal will weigh as 30% of the total scoring.  The applicant receiving the Highest Combined Score that has also accepted UNDP’s General Terms and Conditions will be awarded the contract.

Annex – 1

Annexure A - MTR Approach Methodology.docx


Annex - 2



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