Consultancy – Assurance Expert, SDG Impact, Finance Sector Hub, BPPS/SDG Finance/UNDP


Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :13-Apr-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :0d 8h 19m
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)
03-May-2021
Duration of Initial Contract :12 months (up to 220 working days)
Expected Duration of Assignment :12 months (up to 220 days) with possibility of extension of 12 months subject to funds & satisfactor


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.


Background

SDG Impact, an initiative of UNDP, seeks to catalyze financial investments from the private sector that advance the SDGs. As interest grows among private sector actors to align investment activity with the SDGs, there is a demonstrated need for unifying standards, tools, and services that can be relied upon by investors to support a process of targeting, measuring and achieving development outcomes. SDG Impact is working to eliminate barriers and drive more integrity for SDG-enabling investment at scale by developing a set of products to empower investors with clarity, insights and tools to authenticate their contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. 

About UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is on the ground in 176 countries and territories, working with governments and people on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners that can bring about results. UNDP, as an integral part of its mission to fight poverty and improve the lives of people around the world, is committed to being open, transparent and accountable.

Context and opportunity

There is a growing trend towards analyzing businesses and investments based on their contributions towards the SDGs.  Currently, however, much of the focus is on a couple of positive, intended outcomes and aligning and mapping current activities to the SDGs rather than making different decisions. 

Good impact measurement and management (IMM) practices are fundamental to these efforts. IMM is the process of measuring, managing, and communicating the positive, negative, intended and unintended social, environmental and economic impacts of enterprises and investors activities on people and the planet with a view to increasing the positive and reducing the negative impacts.  Through robust and consistent impact measurement and management practices, enterprises and investors can better understand the positive and negative effects of their investments and activities, set goals to adapt processes, and ultimately, improve outcomes.

Businesses and investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to make a positive contribution towards sustainable development and achieving the SDGs by 2030 – and are looking for guidance to help translate that intent to action. The SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity, Bonds and Enterprises have been designed to meet that need. They provide a common language and best practices for how to integrate impact management into business and investment practices and decision-making - including focusing on both positive and negative impacts on people and the planet. They are grounded in existing high-level principles of practice and provide necessary context for applying other tools and frameworks, including metrics, taxonomies, and reporting frameworks. The Standards can be used by anyone – they are voluntary and a freely available public good. The standards are accompanied by a glossary.

SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity

The SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity (Version 1.0) are the most advanced of the three sets of standards and was released in 2020 after two consultation rounds. These Standards are for private equity, debt and venture capital fund managers who want to make a positive contribution to sustainable development and achieving the SDGs. They provide a concrete roadmap and a practical guide to help translate that intent to action.

These Standards represent best practice with regards to impact management and measurement practices. In an increasingly crowded marketplace of funds claiming to be SDG-enabling, alignment to the Standards ensures that capital is being driven to where it is needed most and allows funds to distinguish themselves in the market where there are increased concerns around “SDG washing”. They have been mapped to the IFC’s Operating Principles for Impact Management.

SDG Impact Standards for Bonds

A second round of consultation on the SDG Impact Standards for Bonds closed in December.  A final version (Version 1.0) will become available by the end of March 2021. Information on previous consultations and a mapping to the UNGC CFO Principles is here.

SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises

The first round of public consultation of the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises closed in December. A second draft will become available for public consultation in early 2021. A final version (Version 1.0) of the Standards will become available by end June 2021. Information on the consultation and a mapping to the SDGD Recommendations is here.

Assurance Framework

It is anticipated that users of the SDG Impact Standards will seek to demonstrate their progress and be accountable for it to their stakeholders through assurance leading to Certification and the award of a Seal.  Our outline Assurance Framework expects users to move through a progression from Design, to Implementation, to Integration and obtain third party assurance at each stage:    

Design - the Standards User has developed a set of written Policies and Procedures that detail how they will implement the requirements of the Standard they are using.   This is meant to be a template for the decision-making practices that the Standards incorporate that will guide the gathering of information used to make decisions.

Implementation - the Standards User is following the processes and procedures that are detailed in the Design stage.

Integration - the Standards User is using the data and information gathered in the Implementation stage to develop feedback loops that assess the progress toward their intended Impacts.

The Assurance Framework anticipates that there will be time limits placed on reaching the Implementation and Integration stages so that users of the SDG Impact Standards demonstrate continuous improvement.  A third-party assurance report will be obtained to demonstrate the completion of each stage, highlight strengths, and indicate where improvements can be made.  On reaching the final stage – Integration – it is proposed that assurance would be obtained every second year.  Users of the SDG Impact Standards achieving assurance following the Assurance Framework will be deemed ‘Certified’ and awarded a ‘Seal’.

Only accredited assurance providers can provide assurance leading to certification and award of the seal.   An accreditation process for individual providers of assurance against the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity has been developed in outline.  It acknowledges prior experience and qualifications.  A training program for assurance providers, is also under development. 

Design and Implementation Working Group for the Assurance Framework

A select group of expert practitioners are currently working with SDG Impact to provide detailed, practical inputs into the next stage of design and implementation of the Assurance Framework, focusing on the Assurance Framework for the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity and following that for Bonds and Enterprises. 


Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work and Responsibilities:

  • Lead the meetings of the Design and Implementation Working Group for the Assurance Framework.

  • Draft generic outline assurance protocols and guidelines.

  • Explore potential assurance market players and advise SDG Impact on the best approach, including possible outsourcing of functions.

  • Analyze the indicators of practice in the SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity, Bonds and Enterprises and identify indicative evidence examples.

  • Define thresholds for levels of assurance and draft assurance protocols/guidelines.

  • Define competencies required of assurance providers and develop the process for accrediting assurance providers.

  • Support the design of materials needed to fortify the training curriculum designed for assurers.

  • Draft Template assurance report and template engagement letters

Expected output and deliverables:

 

Projected completion date

Projected  No. of working days

Review and Approvals Required

% of payment

Output No.1 Develop assurance protocol/ guidelines for Private Equity (PE), including indicators and supporting evidence. Guidance for assurance providers completed.

15 June 2021

44 working days

Assurance protocol and guidance for assurance providers certified by UNDP Technical Manager

20%

Output No. 2 Training in assurance for PE designed. Assurance protocol/ guidelines for Bonds, including indicators and supporting evidence.

30 Sept 2021

44 working

days

 

Completed curriculum available for assurance providers certified by UNDP Technical Manager

20%

Output No. 3 Develop assurance protocol/ guidelines for Bond Standards. Training in assurance for Bonds designed. Assurance protocol/ guidelines for Enterprises, including indicators and supporting evidence developed.

30 Nov. 2021

66 working days

Protocols completed and certified by UNDP Technical Manager

20%

Output No. 4 Test of assurance protocols/guidelines completed on pilot PE funds, bond issuers, and enterprises.

28 Feb 2021

22 working days

Report on pilot implementation certified by UNDP Technical Manager

20%

Output No. 5 Design strategy to engage assurers.

20 Apr 2022

44 working days

Strategi plan for assurance framework completed and certified by UNDP Technical Manager

20%

 

The consultant will work in an interactive manner with UNDP SDG Impact team over a period of 12 months (up to 220 working days).  By the end of the contract, it is expected that the consultant will have delivered the agreed outputs and deliverables to enable UNDP SDG Impact to fully implement its assurance program.

 


Competencies

Technical

  • Knowledge of financial and non-financial sustainability reporting and assurance: proven ability to monitor, measure, evaluate and report impacts and understand how to synthesize results for clear presentations to non-expert audiences.
  • Writing and editing skills on sustainability accounting, assurance, management and related areas.
  • Experience and knowledge in integrating sustainability into business practices and assurance.

Functional

  • Self-starter, proven ability to work independently and in an entrepreneurial setting.
  • Strong motivation and ability to work and deliver under pressure and short deadlines.
  • Good interpersonal skills and able to coordinate well with UNDP partner agencies.
  • Proficiency in Excel, Word & PowerPoint.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills.
  • Promotes a knowledge sharing and learning culture in and outside UNDP; and
  • Respectful of the mandates and roles of different partners, particularly government supported institutions and is able to build and sustain productive and mutually beneficial partnerships.   

Core

  • Demonstrates and promotes the highest standard of integrity, impartiality, fairness and incorruptibility in all matters affecting his/her work and status

  • Works collaboratively with colleagues and other stakeholders to pursue common goals
  • Delivers verbal/written information in a timely, clear, organized and easily understood manner
  • Remains calm, composed and patient, regardless of his/her own state of mind in the face of conflict


Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualifications:

At least a Master’s degree or similar in finance, economics, accounting or other related field is required.

Experience:

Minimum 10 years of experience providing guidance to inform standard standard-setting, assurance and measuring impacts to sustainability standards, including:

Language:

  • Fluency in written and spoken Englishis required.

     

Application Procedure

The application package containing the following (to be uploaded as one file):

  • A cover letter with a brief description of why the Offer considers her/himself the most suitable for the assignment.

Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects and specifying the relevant assignment period (from/to), as well as the email and telephone contacts of at least three (3) professional references;

Note: The above documents need to be scanned in one file and uploaded to the online application as one document.

Shortlisted candidates (ONLY) will be requested to submit a Financial Proposal.

  • The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around the specific and measurable deliverables of the TOR. Payments are based upon output, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR, and deliverables accepted and certified by the technical manager.

  • The financial proposal must be all-inclusive and take into account various expenses that will be incurred during the contract, including: the daily professional fee; (excluding mission travel); living allowances at the duty station; communications, utilities and consumables; life, health and any other insurance; risks and inconveniences related to work under hardship and hazardous conditions (e.g., personal security needs, etc.), when applicable; and any other relevant expenses related to the performance of services under the contract.
  • This consultancy is a home-based assignment, therefore, there is no envisaged travel cost to join duty station/repatriation travel.

  • In the case of unforeseeable travel requested by UNDP, payment of travel costs including tickets, lodging and terminal expenses should be agreed upon, between UNDP and Individual Consultant, prior to travel and will be reimbursed. In general, UNDP should 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.
  • If the Offeror 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 a Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.

     

Only technically qualified candidates will be invited to submit the financial proposals via e-tendering. Instructions will be provided further in the process.

 

Evaluation process

Applicants are reviewed based on Required Skills and Experience stated above and based on the technical evaluation criteria outlined below.  Applicants will be evaluated based on cumulative scoring.  When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Being responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation where technical criteria weighs 70% and Financial criteria/ Proposal weighs 30%.

Technical evaluation - Total 70% (70 points):

Only those candidates that meet the minimum level of education (Master’s Degree), language (fluency in English) and relevant years of experience (at least 10 years) requirements will be considered for the technical evaluation.

  • Criteria 1. At least 10 years’ experience providing guidance to inform standard standard-setting, assurance and measuring impacts to sustainability standards; Maximum Points: 20.
  • Criteria 2. At least 10 years track-record designing frameworks, governance structures for issuing, approving, tracking, monitoring and withdrawing use of a logo or seal and associated claims; Maximum Points: 10.
  • Criteria 3. At least 7 years of good project management skills, with proven track record of success in developing client relationships and execution of client engagements; strong sense of service to clients; Maximum Points: 10; and
  • Criteria 4. Interview; Maximum Points: 30.

Having reviewed applications received, UNDP will invite the top three shortlisted candidates for interview. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Candidates obtaining a minimum of 70% (49 points) of the maximum obtainable points for the technical criteria (70 points) shall be considered for the financial evaluation.

Financial evaluation - Total 30% (30 points)

The following formula will be used to evaluate financial proposal:

p = y (µ/z), where

p = points for the financial proposal being evaluated

y = maximum number of points for the financial proposal

µ = price of the lowest priced proposal

z = price of the proposal being evaluated

Contract Award

Candidate obtaining the highest combined scores in the combined score of Technical and Financial evaluation will be considered technically qualified and will be offered to enter into contract with UNDP.

Institutional arrangement

The consultant will work under the guidance and direct supervision of Director, SDG Impact/ Finance Sector Hub and will be responsible for the fulfilment of the deliverables as specified above.

The Consultant will be responsible for providing her/his own laptop.

Payment modality

  • Payment to the Individual Contractor will be made based on the actual number of days worked; output/deliverable accepted and upon certification of satisfactory completion by the manager.

  • The work week will be based on 35 hours, i.e. on a 7-hour working day, with core hours being between 9h00 and 18h00 daily.



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