International Consultant - Social and Environmental Standards (3 positions)

Location : Home based
Application Deadline :03-Dec-20 (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 :Retainer Contract

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.


UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at Headquarters, Regional and Country Office levels forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan.

The Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP) focuses its efforts on developing the region’s capacity to promote and accelerate action on its progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  It implements the UNDP Strategic Plan in Asia and the Pacific and delivers on UNDP’s partnerships within the region and with development actors in the region. UNDP has corporately prioritized the implementation of SDG country support platforms as its main value offer in the new strategic plan.  RBAP is actively taking ownership of this agenda and positioning its Country Offices (COs) and regional support to achieve these corporate commitments. 

In this context, RBAP is intending to provide enhanced support to the COs within the region to implement Social and Environmental Standards policy.

The Social and Environmental Standards (SES) underpin UNDP’s support for sustainable development. The objectives of the standards are to:

  • Strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of Programmes and Projects
  • Avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment
  • Minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible
  • Strengthen UNDP and partner capacities for managing social and environmental risks
  • Ensure full and effective stakeholder engagement, including through a mechanism to respond to complaints from project-affected people

The starting point to ensure these standards are applied is through UNDP’s project-level Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP), which is a requirement for proposed projects. The objectives of the SESP are to: (a) integrate the SES Overarching Principles (human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability); (b) identify potential social and environmental risks and their significance; (c) determine the Project's SES risk category; and (d) determine the level of assessment and management required to address potential social and environmental risks and impacts. All guidance on UNDPs Social and Environmental Standards can be found in the SES Toolkit.

The consultant will support oversight of the implementation of SES requirements, from project design through implementation, in high-priority and “High Risk” projects in the Asia and the Pacific region. This will include quality assurance, spot-checking, and advising on measures to be taken to ensure effective implementation of and compliance with the SES. The consultant will also facilitate learning across the region and beyond, tracking and sharing lessons learned.

The consultant’s work will be supervised by the Programme Management Specialist, based in UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub.

Duties and Responsibilities

Support implementation of Regional SES action plan for Asia-Pacific:

  • Ensure a regional baseline is established to assess overall SES implementation and quality (applying corporate methodology and indicators). Regularly scan available data on SES implementation across the region to identify emerging risks or High Risk projects that may require additional oversight and support.
  • Ensure that new projects prepare the SESP or appropriately claim the exemption
  • Conduct quality review of draft SESPs to ensure they meet technical standards and requirements, verify proper risk categorization, and to build internal capacity on SES.
  • Identify common risks, capacity needs, challenges across the region and support the development of strategies to address these issues.
  • Develop a database of recurring/most frequent risks and possible mitigation measures
  • Regularly monitor and report on the number of High-and Substantial risk projects, emerging issues, capacity needs and demand for support to ensure issues are escalated and additional support mobilized when needed.
  • Support SES capacity development and trainings in the region and in Country Offices.
  • Provide adhoc support as needed to address SES capacities and emerging issues in the region, and other aspects of the regional SES action plan.

Targeted technical oversight and quality assurance for high risk and high priority projects:

  • Identify high risk/priority projects and advise on SES considerations as early as possible.
  • Review draft and final SES documentation for projects to ensure they meet technical standards and requirements.
  • Ensure SES assessments are linked to project QA standards (such as TOCs, Baseline data collection etc.)
  • Advise regional and/or CO colleagues on new social and environmental risks or changes to project risk categorization.
  • Identify issues on which additional technical support may be needed through the Global Policy Network or external consultants (e.g., through UNDP’s roster of experts);
  • Undertake safeguards oversight missions, as needed.
  • Track progress of high risk/priority projects’ implementation of required SES elements (ESIA, GRM, etc.).
  • Review and make recommendations for Stakeholder Response Mechanisms for CO offices

Support corporate accountability, reporting, coordination and learning across regions:

  • Engage and coordinate with SES experts in Headquarters (Nature, Climate, Energy team and Effectiveness Group) and other regions to ensure consistency in policy interpretation and advice and share lessons learned and avoid duplication of efforts.
  • Prepare an annual report on SES implementation in the region (applying corporate methodology and indicators).
  • Convene regional and CO colleagues, and escalate issues as needed to the RBx and BPPS to ensure decisions are taken at the appropriate levels.
  • Provide mentoring, lessons learned and knowledge management for CO SES focal points.
  • Document lessons learned, including from cases where things went wrong as well as good models of SES implementation.


Expected Deliverables/Outputs:

Will be advised for each assignment.



  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling 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; and
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.


  • Demonstrated expertise in the development and quality assurance of safeguards instruments (e.g., ESIAs, ESMPs, ESMFs, IPPs, GRMs, RAPs)
  • Excellent skills related to stakeholder engagement.
  • Experience implementing social and environmental safeguards at the project level and providing technical support to implementing partners.



  • Able to communicate effectively in writing to a varied and broad audience in a simple and concise manner.


  • Capable of working in a high- pressure environment with sharp and frequent deadlines, managing many tasks simultaneously.
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills; and
  • Exercises the highest level of responsibility and be able to handle confidential and politically sensitive issues in a responsible and mature manner.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Education: Master’s or Bachelor degree in a field related to international development, environmental science, anthropology or similar field.
  • Experience:
    • At least 7 years (9 years if candidate possess no Masters Degree) of experience related to social and environmental safeguards, including impact assessment and management.
    • At least 5 years of experience in applying social and environmental due diligence in project level implementation and management.
    • Extensive experience in Asia and the Pacific region.

Languages: Fluency in English

Individuals who are based in the countries covered by the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific will have a distinct advantage.

Evaluation Method

Applicants will be screened against qualifications and the competencies specified above. Those selected for the next stage of the selection process will participate in an interview.

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a cumulative analysis taking into consideration the combination of the applicants’ qualifications and financial proposal.

Technical Criteria - 70% of total evaluation – max. 70 points:

Desk Review - max 35 points

  • At least Master’s degree in field related to international development, environmental science, anthropology or similar field (5 points).
  • At least 7 years of experience related to social and environmental safeguards, including impact assessment and management (10 points).
  • At least 5 years of experience in applying social and environmental due diligence in project level implementation and management (10 points).
  • Extensive experience in Asia and the Pacific region (10 points).

Asynchronous video assessment - max points: 35

Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation – max 30 points.


Documentation to be submitted:

  • Applicants must submit a duly completed and signed UNDP Personal History form (P11) and/or CV including Education/Qualification, Professional Certification, Employment Records /Experience.
  • Applicants must reply to the mandatory questions asked by the system when submitting the application.
  • Applicants must submit a duly completed and signed Annex I Offeror´s letter to UNDP confirming interest and availability for the Individual Contractor (IC) assignment to be downloaded from the UNDP procurement site.

Kindly note you can upload only ONE document to this application (scan all documents in one single PDF file to attach).

UNDP Personal History form (P11) required of all applicants

Offeror´s letter to UNDP confirming interest and availability for the Individual Contractor (IC) assignment

For information and agreement, please read UNDP’s General Conditions of Contract for the ICs

Information on Working Arrangements:

  • The consultant will be home-based, with mission travel, if applicable.
  • The Consultant will be given access to relevant information necessary for execution of the tasks under this assignment.
  • Given the global consultations to be undertaken during this assignment, the consultant is expected to be reasonably flexible with his/her availability for such consultations taking into consideration different time zones; and
  • Payments will be made upon submission of a detailed time sheet and certification of payment form, and acceptance and confirmation by the Supervisor on days worked (with a “day” calculated as 8 hours of work) and outputs delivered. If the quality does not meet standards or requirements, the consultant will be asked to rewrite or revise (as necessary) the document before proceeding to payment. 


  • Missions to country(ies) in Asia and the Pacific as required. Such travel shall be at UNDP’s expense and the Individual Contractor shall receive a per diem not to exceed United Nations daily subsistence allowance. The mission travel cost will be excluded at this time from the price proposal.
  • Any necessary mission travel must be approved in advance and writing by the Supervisor.
  • The BSAFE course must be completed before the commencement of travel.
  • Individual Consultants are responsible for ensuring they have vaccinations/inoculations when traveling to certain countries, as designated by the UN Medical Director.
  • Consultants are also required to comply with the UN security directives set forth under
  • The consultant will be responsible for making his/her mission travel arrangements in line with UNDP travel policies.

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