Consultancy: Catalytic Fund Lead (Urban Water Resilience Agenda For Africa)

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Open to all locations (preference for US, Europe, and Africa); WRI Global Office (US)

Job Summary:

The World Resources Institute is seeking an experienced and highly motivated Lead Consultant that will research, consult, conceptualize, structure, and draft a concept for an innovative, Urban Water Resilience Catalytic Fund for Africa, to be announced at COP26 in November 2021. WRI intends to award a Fixed Price contract up to $80,000 USD to the consultant.

You will be responsible for designing and leading a consultative process with a team. You will identify and engage a wide range of stakeholders and champions to seek input in the development and advancement of an innovative Catalytic Fund. The goal is for you to harness investments to unlock private and public investments, achieving sustainable, locally-led impact on the ground to achieve water security, reduce water-related risks and improve access to water and sanitation for all. You will create a 10-page, well-researched and public-facing concept note.

As the Lead Consultant, WRI wants you to lead the research, engagement, and co-creation process for a new Catalytic Fund that can help originate, scale-up, aggregate, and mitigate risks so they can mobilize more funding for urban water projects. You will work closely with the WRI Urban Water Resilience Initiative Team, a steering group consisting of 6-10 thought leaders with expertise working in Africa on topics related to finance, urban development, and urban water resilience, and in collaboration with a parallel group of key stakeholders developing an Urban Water Resilience Agenda.

Job Responsibilities:

Conduct background research and interviews to:

  • Define challenges to financing UWR in Sub-Saharan African cities, with emphasis on Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Africa.
    • Document the landscape, structure, and execution of funds or other financing mechanisms that have achieved [or failed to achieve] alignment with a practice shift and successfully harnessed and leveraged multi-lateral, private, and public capital to scale impact on the ground.
    • Make the business case for how a new Catalytic Fund will succeed in leveraging and mobilizing public and private capital to implement and scale UWR projects
  • Design and implement a process for engaging a steering committee and broader set of stakeholders around the development of the Fund
  • Participate in or lead conversations with targeted high-level champions to collect feedback and secure buy-in
  • Define interlinkages between the catalytic fund and commitments from recipients around a set of principles drawn from the recently launched WRI publication “Water Resilience in a Changing Urban Context: Framing Africa’s Challenge and Pathways for Action”, and a parallel facilitated framework process that will define a new Urban Water Resilience Agenda for Africa
  • Draft, seek input on, and finalize a well-researched, 10-page concept note that:
    • Defines the challenges of financing UWR in Africa
    • Summarizes a rapid assessment of other catalytic funds and financing projects to be presented at COP26
    • Substantiates the unique positioning and rationale for the proposed catalytic fund
    • Outlines the structure of the fund, and o Lays out a strategy for implementation
  • Work with the WRI team and external partners to design a session at COP26 where the Lead Consultant will present the Catalytic Fund concept.

Job Qualifications:

  • At least 10 years of relevant professional work experience in either the public or private sector, including in developing countries, ideally with relevant direct experience in the areas of urban water security, water sanitation, and hygiene, urban water risk, and resilience
  • Extensive knowledge of financing in the water sector including the landscape of public and private funding and financing sources and arrangements available
  • Knowledge of water, climate, development, and urban issues, policies, and initiatives in Africa
  • Demonstrated experience structuring a complex fund with multiple sources of funding and financing.
  • Experience working with a wide range of stakeholders and institutions in Africa

Contract Period: Aug 30, 2021, through February 28, 2022

Proposed output and deliverable sequencing

  1. Review background documents and meeting notes from Steering Group calls, refine activities and timeline, and propose a list of high-level Champions including public and private urban finance practitioners and government leaders
  2. Initiate background research on challenges, landscape of other catalytic funds, and business case for a new UWR Catalytic Fund for Africa to serve as basis for stakeholder engagement and rationale defined in concept note. . Prepare materials (including a rough outline of Catalytic Fund) and begin initial round of conversations with various stakeholder groups including Catalytic Fund Steering Group, “Facilitated Framework” working group, high-level Champions, and on-the-ground city coalitions.
  3. First full draft of Catalytic Fund concept note completed with input from initial conversations with stakeholder groups.
  4. Present first draft Catalytic Fund concept to stakeholder groups and solicit second round of feedback 6. Finalize concept draft of public facing Catalytic Fund concept note by end of September.
  5. Work with WRI and Steering Group to secure commitments from donors and government leaders
  6. Work with and lead WRI team and external partners to design launch event at COP26. Dates and timeline developed by Lead Consultant.
  7. Present “Catalytic Fund” at COP26 event in November date TBD.
  8. Post COP26 production and wrap up through February 28, 2022.

How to Apply:

WRI invites interested parties to submit a short proposal for the work before the final selection and preparation of a contract with payment terms.

 The proposal should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae indicating experience relevant to the assignment and area of specialization of the Lead Consultant and, if relevant, support team
  • Brief statement of interest, outlining how the Lead Consultant meets the requirements and demonstrating an excellent understanding of the assignment’s purpose and aims
  • Technical and financial offer including a summary of proposed approach, methodology, timeline, and budget breakdown with price per deliverable and total price clearly outlined.
  • Examples of similar efforts the Lead Consultant has led and the outcomes they have achieved
  • Original writing sample on a topic related to this RFP. The contract will be based on a fixed price for services rendered between August 30, 2021, and February 28, 2022. The estimated value of this contract is no more than $80,000 USD; all bidders should submit a budget broken down by actual price per deliverable. Payments will be based on services provided according to a set timeframe and subject to the prior production of original invoices. The consultant will be required to comply with WRI procedures for external assignments. Please note that WRI is an IRS-registered 501(c)3, tax-exempt organization. WRI is not VAT exempt. All prices or quotes should include VAT and tax, as applicable

The following elements will be the primary considerations in evaluating proposals submitted in response to this RFP:

  • Submission of all required materials.
  • Extent to which the consultant’s proposal fulfills WRI’s stated requirements as set out in the RFP.
  • Lead Consultant’s experience with similar projects.
  • Debarment and sanctions –WRI will not consider proposals from Consultants/vendors/organizations that are presently debarred by the US government or named on any restricted parties lists. The bidder offering the best overall value will be selected. For this procurement, price is considered less important than non-price aspects. No proposal development costs shall be charged to WRI. All expenses are to be borne by the bidders. WRI may award to the bidder offering best value without discussions. However, WRI reserves the right to seek bidder clarifications and to negotiate with those bidders deemed to be within a competitive range. WRI may, at its discretion and without explanation to the prospective consultants, choose to discontinue this RFP without obligation to such prospective consultants or make multiple awards under this RFP. Contracts will not be awarded to consultants debarred by the US government or named on restricted parties lists.

Program Overview:

One of the top risk factors standing in the path of African countries achieving their sustainable development goals is the growing exposure of their populations to water insecurity exacerbated by climate change and rapid unplanned urban expansion. This need not be so. With the right vision and support, cities have the potential to play a lead role in safeguarding their populations from water risks and securing their access to well-managed water resources even as they face up to the challenges of rapid growth. The cost of not taking coordinated action is unimaginable, with research estimating that the populations of some 100 major African cities are set to double in the next few decades, meanwhile 38 percent of urban demographic growth will happen in cities under 1 million people, and overall demand for water across sectors is projected to increase almost 300 percent.

Inability to meet water demands will have catastrophic impacts on the wellbeing of people living in Africa’s growing cities and regional economies. Following the launch of the 1000 Cities Adapt Now program at the Climate Adaptation Summit and building on the work of the Global Commission on Adaptation, WRI and partners are seeking to engage key stakeholders around a new “2030 Urban Water Resilience Agenda for Africa”. The aim is to catalyze a continent-wide, decadal movement to accelerate urban water resilience linked to key COP26 and COP27 campaigns and deliverables.This new “Agenda” requires the mobilization of existing and untapped financing from public and private funds involving stakeholders from international to the local scale. Currently, investments are tailored to siloed sectoral needs and disbursed in a piecemeal fashion.

This leaves investment unable to reach local levels or capture long-term climate adaptation benefits, and often includes exclusionary criteria. Consequently, money flows fail to incentivize, and sometimes contradict, building resilience. Finance must be more effectively directed to the most vulnerable communities, aligned across levels of government, and targeted to the kinds of green and gray. Through an innovative and transformative “Catalytic Fund” for Urban Water Resilience in Africa, WRI and partners are seeking to unlock financing that will enable ambitious, accountable, and coordinated action on the ground, ensuring a transformational practice shift and impact at scale.

WRI Overview:

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.
We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.