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GEF Midterm Review National Evaluator
|Location :||Home-based with travel to Kuala Lumpur, Gerik (Perak), Merapoh (Pahang) and Kota Tinggi (Johor), MALAYSIA|
|Application Deadline :||26-Jul-21 (Midnight New York, USA)|
|Type of Contract :||Individual Contract|
|Post Level :||National Consultant|
|Languages Required :||English|
|Duration of Initial Contract :||6 months (1 Aug 2021 – 31 December 2021)|
|Expected Duration of Assignment :||50 working days|
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 for the UNDP-GEF Midterm Review (MTR) of the full-sized project titled Improving Connectivity in the Central Forest Spine Landscapes (IC-CFS) (PIMS#4594) implemented by the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia, which is to be undertaken in June – December 2021. The project started on 18 March 2014 and is in its sixth year of implementation. The project is scheduled to end on 31 December 2021 after granted a nineteenth month extension. In December 2017, an Independent Rapid Review was commissioned to address the lack of progress to project outputs. Following to the review, an adaptive management plan was developed in consultation with implementing agencies, resulting in adjustments applied to the Strategic Results Framework.
Under the conditional approval received from UNDP in May 2020, the project may be extended until 31 December 2022 (subject to meeting the key milestones in 2021) and a final twelve-month extension until 31 December 2023 (subject to meeting the key milestones in 2022). The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects (see http://web.undp.org/evaluation/documents/guidance/GEF/mid-term/Guidance_Midterm%20Review%20_EN_2014.pdf
2. Project Background and Information
The Project “Improving Connectivity in the Central Forest Spine Landscape” (PIMS#4594) is a US$ 10.86 million GEF-funded project initiated in 2014 that is designed to address the fragmentation of Peninsular Malaysia’s Central Forest Spine (CFS) – valued for its megadiversity of species, including the only remaining population of Malayan tigers, and supplies of water for 90% of the state’s population. Recognising that Malaysia’s rapidly growing economy and illegal trade in forest and wildlife resources are eroding the country’s natural capital and in response to forest fragmentation being identified in the 2005 National Physical Plan as a major threat to the conservation and maintenance of biodiversity, the Government of Malaysia formulated the CFS Master Plan (MP) in 2008 to restore ecological connectivity between forest fragments.
This project contributes to implementing the Master Plan by focusing specifically on conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in three key forest landscapes, identified to be both critical for tiger conservation in the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan as well as priority linkages in the CFS Master Plan: Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex, Taman Negara Forest Complex and Endau-Rompin Forest Complex. In addition to restoring connectivity between these forest complexes, the project will strengthen the national and local institutional frameworks for CFS management and law enforcement, support sustainable forest landscape management and secure sustainability of funding for conservation through the diversification of funding sources and mainstreaming of ecosystem service values into land use planning.
The project objective is to increase federal and state level capacity to execute the CFS Master Plan through the implementation of sustainable forest landscape management plans in three pilot sites, financed sustainably through the diversification and increased allocation of funds for conservation. It is designed to remove the barriers to the establishment of a landscape approach to biodiversity management. The project comprises of three components:
Component 1. Planning, compliance monitoring and enforcement framework for integrated forest landscape management;
Component 2. Sustainable forest landscape management of three priority forest landscapes within the CFS; and
Component 3. Diversification of financing sources for conservation.
See the signed project document at
Table 1 shows the project basic information:
Table 1: Basic information for the “Improving Connectivity in the Central Forest Spine Landscape” Project
The project started on 18 March 2014 and is currently in its sixth year of implementation. Due to a mix of implementation challenges including capacity issues, federal-state relations on forest protection, as well as various phases of COVID-19 movement restrictions imposed since early 2020. The project is scheduled to end on 31 December 2021. Under the conditional approval received from GEF in May 2020, the project may be extended until 31 December 2022, and a final twelve-month extension until 31 December 2023, subjected to project meeting the key milestones in 2022.
Since 4 January 2020 until 6 May 2021, Malaysia has recorded 424,376 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,591 deaths. On 18 March 2020, Government of Malaysia officially enforced the Movement Control Order (MCO) under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. The order prohibited mass movements, gatherings and restrictions on the entry of all tourists and foreign visitors into the country. Although restrictions were relaxed when cases subsided, Government of Malaysia have again announced the enforcement of MCO across several states from 6 May until 17 May 2021 following the rise of cases nationwide. Although the prolonged movement restrictions have extensively hindered the progress of the project’s implementation, the delays had been addressed by having more virtual meetings and discussions and localizing the activities at State and districts level to ensure the implementation can progress with minimum disruption.
3. MTR Purpose
The MTR will assess progress towards the achievement of the project objectives and outcomes as specified in the Project Document and programme outcomes as stipulated in the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) 2016 – 2020 between UNDP and the Government of Malaysia, and assess early signs of project success or failure with the purpose 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 MTR is also one of the key milestones under the project’s conditional approval for its extension before another 12-month extension can be considered and approved.
4. MTR Approach & Methodology
The MTR report must provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful.
The MTR team will review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP), the Project Document, the revised Strategic Results Framework, Environmental and Social Safeguards Policy (ESSP), project reports including Independent Rapid Review (IRR), Annual Project Review/PIRs, Quarterly Progress Reports, Adaptive Management Action Plan, extension request and approval package, adaptive management update reports, project budget revisions, national strategic and legal documents, list of relevant stakeholders and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based review. The MTR team will 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 field mission begins.
The MTR team is expected to follow a collaborative and participatory approach ensuring close engagement with the project team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point, Project Board Chairperson, National Project Director, etc.), the UNDP Country Office, the Nature, Climate and Energy (NCE) Regional Technical Advisor, direct beneficiaries, and other key stakeholders.
Engagement of stakeholders is vital to a successful MTR. Stakeholder involvement should include interviews with stakeholders who have project responsibilities, including but not limited to executing agencies, senior officials, project team consists of project manager, state project coordinators, monitoring & evaluation officer, communications officer; key experts and consultants in the subject area, Project Board/Steering Committee, Adaptive Management Advisory Panel (AMAP), project stakeholders, academia, local government and CSOs, etc. Additionally, the MTR team (only for national team members) may be required to conduct field missions to project sites in Perak, Pahang and Johor.
The specific design and methodology for the MTR should emerge from consultations between the MTR team and the above-mentioned parties regarding what is appropriate and feasible for meeting the MTR purpose and objectives and answering the evaluation questions, given limitations of budget, time, data, movement restrictions and safety guidance in view of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The MTR team must, however, use gender-responsive methodologies and tools and ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as other cross-cutting issues and SDGs are incorporated into the MTR report.
The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the MTR must be clearly outlined in the Inception Report and be fully discussed and agreed between UNDP, stakeholders and the MTR team.
Given the travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTR team should adopt methodologies to ensure consultations and meetings are conducted virtually and remotely, including the use of remote interview methods and extended desk reviews, data analysis, surveys and evaluation questionnaires. These virtual techniques should be detailed in the MTR Inception Report, agreed with the Commissioning Unit, as well as incorporated into the Final MTR Report. Any limitations faced during the virtual consultations must be reflected in the final MTR report.
In the event travels restrictions are lifted, international consultant will work remotely with national evaluators’ support in the field, provided it is safe for the national evaluators to operate and travel in compliance with the local Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID.
The final MTR report must describe the full MTR approach taken, limitations faced and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the review.
The National Evaluator will perform the key tasks as follows:
 The original SRF was revised and endorsed by Project Steering Committee in 2019 following the Independent Rapid Review’s recommendations.
 For ideas on innovative and participatory Monitoring and Evaluation strategies and techniques, see UNDP Discussion Paper: Innovations in Monitoring & Evaluating Results, 05 Nov 2013.
 For more stakeholder engagement in the M&E process, see the UNDP Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results, Chapter 3, pg. 93.
Duties and Responsibilities
5. Detailed Scope of The MTR
The MTR team will assess the following four categories of project progress. See the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for extended descriptions.
Results Framework/Log frame:
(B) Progress Towards Results
Progress Towards Outcomes Analysis:
Table 2. Progress Towards Results Matrix (Achievement of outcomes against End-of-project Targets)
Indicator Assessment Key
In addition to the progress towards outcomes analysis:
(C) Project Implementation and Adaptive Management
Using the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; assess the following categories of project progress:
Finance and co-finance:
Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems:
Social and Environmental Standards (Safeguards)
A given project should be assessed against the version of UNDP’s safeguards policy that was in effect at the time of the project’s approval.
Communications & Knowledge Management:
Financial risks to sustainability:
Socio-economic risks to sustainability:
Institutional Framework and Governance risks to sustainability:
Environmental risks to sustainability:
(E) Conclusions & Recommendations
The MTR team will include a section in the MTR report for evidence-based conclusions, in light of the findings.
Additionally, the MTR Team is expected to make recommendations to the Project Team. Recommendations should be succinct suggestions for critical intervention that are specific, measurable, achievable and relevant. A recommendation table should be put in the report’s executive summary. See the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for guidance on a recommendation table.
The MTR team should make no more than 15 recommendations in total.
The MTR team will include its ratings of the project’s results and brief descriptions of the associated achievements in a MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table (Table 3) in the Executive Summary of the MTR report. See Annex E for ratings scales. No rating on Project Strategy and no overall project rating is required.
Table 3. MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table for Improving Connectivity in the Central Forest Spine Landscapes (IC-CFS)
6. Duration of Work
The total duration of the National Evaluator will be 50 working days starting 15 July 2021 and shall not exceed six months from when the National Evaluator is hired. The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows:
The start date of contract is 15 July 2021.
7.MTR Outputs and Deliverables
As part of the MTR Team, the National Evaluator shall prepare and submit:
*The final MTR report must be in English. If applicable, UNDP Malaysia may choose to arrange for a translation of the report into Malay language – the official language more widely shared by national stakeholders.
8. MTR Arrangement
The Commissioning Unit for this project’s MTR is UNDP Malaysia Country Office. UNDP Malaysia will contract the National Evaluator and ensure the timely provision of per diems and travel arrangements within the country for the MTR team, if the travel is permitted. The Project Team will be responsible for liaising with the MTR team to provide all relevant documents, set up stakeholder interviews, and arrange field visits.
The Commissioning Unit and Project Team will provide logistic support in the implementation of remote/ virtual meetings if travel to project site is restricted. An updated stakeholder list with contact details (phone and email) will be provided by the Commissioning Unit to the MTR team.
9. Duty Station
All travels within Malaysia will be arranged by UNDP Malaysia and Project Team, if travel is permitted.
The MTR team will be held to the highest ethical standards and is required to sign a code of conduct upon acceptance of the assignment. This MTR will be conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in the UNEG ‘Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation’. The MTR team must safeguard the rights and confidentiality of information providers, interviewees and stakeholders through measures to ensure compliance with legal and other relevant codes governing collection of data and reporting on data. The MTR team must also ensure security of collected information before and after the MTR and protocols to ensure anonymity and confidentiality of sources of information where that is expected. The information, knowledge and data gathered in the MTR process must also be solely used for the MTR and not for other uses without the express authorization of UNDP and partners.
Scope of Price Proposal and Schedule of Payments
Schedule of Payments:
20% payment upon satisfactory delivery and acceptance of the final MTR Inception Report and approval by the UNDP Malaysia Country Office
40% payment upon satisfactory delivery and acceptance of the draft MTR report to the UNDP Malaysia Country Office
40% payment upon satisfactory delivery and acceptance of the final MTR report and approval by the UNDP Malaysia Country Office and delivery of completed Audit Trail
Criteria for issuing the final payment of 40%:
 Consider that the findings and recommendations of this MTR will inform the rating -or not- of a twelve-month conditional extension for this project.
 Populate with data from the Log frame and scorecards
 Populate with data from the Project Document
 If available
 Colour code this column only
 Use the 6-point Progress Towards Results Rating Scale: HS, S, MS, MU, U, HU
 Risks are to be labelled with both the UNDP SES Principles and Standards, and the GEF’s “types of risks and potential impacts”: Climate Change and Disaster; Disadvantaged or Vulnerable Individuals or Groups; Disability Inclusion; Adverse Gender-Related impact, including Gender-based Violence and Sexual Exploitation; Biodiversity Conservation and the Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources; Restrictions on Land Use and Involuntary Resettlement; Indigenous Peoples; Cultural Heritage; Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention; Labor and Working Conditions; Community Health, Safety and Security.
Required Skills and Experience
Qualifications of the Successful Applicants
A team of three independent experts will conduct the MTR - one international team leader (with experience and exposure to projects and evaluations in other regions globally), one national expert from the country of the project and one Gender and Community Development Specialist.
The selection of National Evaluator will be aimed at maximising the overall “team” qualities in the following:
DOCUMENTS TO BE INCLUDED WHEN SUBMITTING THE PROPOSALS
Interested individual applicants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:
General terms & conditions to be downloaded:
Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA): A legal instrument between UNDP and a Company/institution, according to which, the latter makes available the services of an individual delivering time-bound and quantifiable outputs that are directly linked to payments
Incomplete proposals may not be considered. Only short-listed candidates may be contacted, and successful candidates will be notified.
1. Annex A: List of Documents to be reviewed by the MTR Team https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20A_%20List%20of%20Documents%20to%20be%20reviewed%20by%20the%20MTR%20Team.pdf
2. Annex B: Guidelines on Contents for the Midterm Review Report (The Report length should not exceed 40 pages in total (not including annexes). https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20B_%20Guidelines%20on%20Contents%20for%20the%20Midterm%20Review%20Report.pdf
3. Annex C: Midterm Review Evaluative Matrix Template http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex C_Midterm Review Evaluative Matrix Template.pdf
4. Annex D: UNEG Code of Conduct for Evaluators/Midterm Review Consultants (http://www.unevaluation.org/document/detail/100) https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20D_%20UNEG%20Code%20of%20Conduct%20for%20Evaluators%20Midterm%20Review%20Consultants.pdf
5. Annex E: MTR Ratings and Achievements Summary Table and Rating Scales https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20E_%20MTR%20Ratings%20and%20Achievements%20Summary%20Table%20and%20Rating%20Scales.pdf
6. Annex F: MTR Report Clearance Form https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20F_%20MTR%20Report%20Clearance%20Form.pdf
7. Annex G: Audit Trail Template http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex G_ Audit Trail Template.pdf
8. Annex H: Progress Towards Results Matrix http://www.my.undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex H_ Progress Towards Results Matrix.pdf
9. Annex I: GEF Co-Financing Template https://undp.org/content/dam/malaysia/docs/Procurement/Annex%20I_%20GEF%20Co-Financing%20Template.pdf
Criteria for Selection of the Best Offer
The award of the contract will be made to the Individual Consultant who has obtained the highest Combined Score and has accepted UNDP’s General Terms and Conditions. Only those applications which are responsive and compliant will be evaluated. The offers will be evaluated using the “Combined Scoring method” where:
The applicant receiving the Highest Combined Score that has also accepted UNDP’s General Terms and Conditions will be awarded the contract.