Project Consultant (10th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC10))


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The Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as river basins with water flowing from one country to another, groundwater resources shared by several countries, or marine ecosystems bounded by more than one nation. The GEF currently unites 183 member countries—in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector—to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Since the inception of the GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio (more than 360 projects with about US$1.9 billion of GEF grants and US$12.6 billion in co-finance invested in more than 170 GEF recipient countries) has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.

GEF IW:LEARN is one of these projects, and its mandate is to promote experience sharing and learning among the GEF IW projects and the country officials, agencies, and partners working on them. IW:LEARN operates as a central hub of information and knowledge sharing and delivers a host of programmatic initiatives for the benefit of the GEF IW portfolio of projects. In pursuit of its global and regional objectives, IW:LEARN seeks to strengthen global portfolio experience sharing and learning, dialogue facilitation, targeted knowledge sharing and replication in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of GEF IW projects to deliver tangible results in partnership with other IW initiatives. More information about GEF IW:LEARN is available at

The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature event of the GEF IW portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross sectoral and GEF IW portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. They strive to solicit advice from the existing GEF IW portfolio on burning issues and to assist in building participant capacity in key management and technical areas. The IWC’s help the GEF IW portfolio share practical experience, apply evolving policies and procedures, address emerging priorities and improve overall project performance.The 300-350 participants (from about 70 GEF IW projects and 80 countries, and including government representatives, project managers, staff of international and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector) sum up progress achieved and look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW focal area.

The IWC10 will take place in Uruguay in October 2020. IWC10 will feature an innovation marketplace (exhibit area); interactive training for project managers and country representatives through participant-directed workshops and roundtable discussions; highlights of GEF IW project contributions to ecosystem-based management of shared water bodies and their results; interaction among project representatives and the GEF Secretariat, GEF implementing agencies (UNDP, UNEP, World Bank, FAO, UNIDO, IFAD, ADB, IADB, EBRD, AfDB, CI, WWF, IUCN, DBSA, FECO, CAF, FUNBIO, BOAD)  and partner institutions working on GEF IW projects; and technical site visits, which are field trips to demonstration sites funded by the GEF, to other examples of good water management practices (both marine and terrestrial cases), and to examples of successful public-private water management partnerships. Pre-conference targeted workshops for project managers and other key portfolio partners will take place prior to the principal conference.

This ToR is designed to recruit a consultant to act as IWC10 Project Consultant, to co-lead the organization and management of the IWC10.

Description of the Required Services

The Project Consultant will provide key inputs to the execution of the IWC10 at the operational level. In particular, the Project Consultant will help manage day-to-day preparation for and implementation of the IWC10; communicating and coordinating closely with project personnel, technical services personnel, the IWC10 Steering Committee and project partners.

The Project Consultant’s specific deliverables and deadlines are:

Task One: IWC10 Preparation

  1. Establish a detailed workplan with clear tasks, deliverables and timelines
  2. Serve as the coordinator and secretariat for all IWC10-related committees and partners (including formulating meeting agendas, calling for meetings and minute-keeping, together with the IW:LEARN PCU
  3. Monitor and report on progress against agreed milestones/roadmap.
  4. Together with the PCU and Steering Committee, prepare the conference agenda and conference inputs, including the pre-conference targeted workshops for project managers and other key portfolio partners. This includes handling communications with all key partners, including the issuance of official letters.
  5. Set up a communication plan with identified audience and timelines
  6. Help ensure the quality of IWC10 conference sessions (both design and implementation), by ensuring that the session content is consistent with objectives and expected outputs/outcomes set by the IWC10 Steering Committee, as well as the overall strategic objectives of the overall GEF IW focal area.
  7. In collaboration with the various Committees and the IWC10 Service Provider, help to prepare the technical site visits
  8. In collaboration with the various Committees and the IWC10 Service Provider, prepare the VIP programme (including identification of what and when we want them to intervene in the conference regular program)
  9. Liaise with the conference venue on conference requirements, including the arrangements for the meeting rooms, exhibition hall and use of monitoring equipment.
  10. Ensure that the conference venue provider is complying with all contract  arrangements – in timely fashion. Bring to the attention of PCU and PSC all diversions.
  11. On behalf of the steering committee and country(ies), maintain the participant invitation/registration spreadsheet/database (including cancelations, VIP list, partner list, site visit registrations and exhibit booth registrations), including the issuance of invitations (and save-the-date), and respond to registration confirmations and information queries in a timely manner
  12. Liaise with and guide the lead session coordinators from each part of the conference, setting out objectives and expected outcomes of sessions, as well as clarifying a reporting plan. Meetings should be conducted with session coordinators prior to the conference by phone as well as through an in-person meeting prior to the conference start, on location.
  13. Prepare the conference script (or the internal run-sheet, which will guide the operational team on a daily basis)
  14. Assist with negotiations with the conference providers on conference requirements, including the arrangements for the meeting rooms, exhibition hall and use of monitoring equipment.

Task Two: Promote the IWC10 and Develop Associated Materials

  1. Help the GEF and GEF IW:LEARN promote the IWC10 to potential sponsors (consistent with the communication plan developed in Task One)
  2. Work together with the IW:LEARN PCU on the development of awareness and promotional materials, including but not excluding generating content for the:
    • Conference agenda and agenda-at-a-glance
    • VIP program agenda (not for wide distribution)
    • Marketing memo (for sponsors);
    • Conference first announcement (with general information about GEF, IWC10, call for sponsors and visa requirements etc (conference design and structure, goals, objectives, requirements to participants and speakers, first call for registration, etc);
    • Conference 2nd announcement;
    • Conference program book;
    • Logo, slogans and banners (together with IW:LEARN PCU)
    • Media releases (supervising the IW:LEARN program officer), as well as any media releases.
    • Conference logistical note
  3. Maintain and update the conference website (with PCU support)
  4. Coordinate public awareness of the IWC10, including both its purpose (in advance) and its outcomes (after the fact), focusing in particular on media relations (together with the IWL Program Officer)
  5. Invite local, national and global media to the event and help coordinate interviews with key participants
  6. If any media attends the IWC10, help to coordinate interviews with key participants

Task Three: Project Results Notes Facilitation and Consolidation

  1. Update the IW:LEARN GEF IW Project Results Note template to capture key messages.
  2. Work directly with the GEF Agencies and projects to facilitate the timely update or preparation of project results notes. Provide guidance to the GEF Agencies and projects in properly filling out the notes, as requested and as necessary.
  3. Consolidate the completed project result notes into a designed booklet format (in collaboration with the graphic designer), with a foreword, introduction and summary included. The booklet will be disseminated at the IWC10.
  4. Post designed individual project results notes to the IW:LEARN website.

Task Four: Conference Organization and Facilitation

  1. Guide the smooth operation of the conference, including chairing the operational group meetings at the end of each day during the conference itself, as well as setting the stage in plenary in terms of conducting affairs and guiding the participants (with support from the IW:LEARN PCU)
  2. Guide and supervise the efforts of the conference facilitators, including focusing them on expected outputs and desired outcomes from sessions.
  3. Guide the collection of all IWC10 presentations (with support from the event coordinators and IW:LEARN program officer) for posting after the event.

Task Five: Conference Follow up

  1. Develop and issue “thank you” letters to speakers and participants
  2. Draft, issue and analyze a post-conference evaluation report
  3. Post conference presentations, panel abstracts and other session content on the web
  4. Prepare the final conference report (in the context of the key conference sessions and themes). The report should focus on key analysis and recommendations for the GEF IW project portfolio, rather than a summary of events.


There will be a need for travel to the conference site at least four days in advance to assure effective cooperation with the Government, National Host Committee and other partners. There will likely be a need for additional travel, including a meeting with the IW:LEARN PCU and other key organizing partners (as well as an extra possible mission to Uruguay in the event the need arises. The schedule of travel will be developed well in advance by the Project Manager, and approved by UNESCO-IOC. Any travel will be financed and organized by IW:LEARN separately from this consultancy.


The Project Consultant will be compensated at a monthly rate approved by UNESCO-IOC, commensurate with experience and responsibilities of the position. The total size of this contract however, cannot exceed US$xxxxxx (excluding travel reimbursements). Payment will be made in eight tranches. The final tranche will be disbursed after satisfactory completion of the contract.

A final tranche of not more than 10% of this TOR’s budget may be withheld at the discretion of the PCU until all deliverables have been completed and delivered.

Period of Performance

This contract will commence the date of contract issuance by UNESCO-IOC and continue through 4 December 2020.

Coordination Arrangements

The IW:LEARN Project Manager will assume the overall supervision and coordination role for this consultancy. The Project Consultant will report on substantive issues to the IW:LEARN Project Manager and on financial matters, to UNESCO-IOC (Project Supervisor).

Duty station: The assignment is home-based (with travel to Uruguay understood, as well as the likelihood of additional travel to meet the PCU and other key organizers).

Skills and Experience Required

  • Demonstrated experience with the organization of large international conferences, involving at least 350 people.
  • At least five years project management or related experience with UN organizations/development banks and UN or Bank-implemented projects, and preferred, familiarity with regulations and procedures of the UN System  and in particular experience in UNDP/GEF, UNESCO-IOC procedures.
  • Advanced university degree required, preferably in the field of international relations/political science, economics, development studies or other related fields, and/or technical fields like environmental management.
  • Demonstrated experience in planning and organizing. Ability to organize, plan, and implement work assignments, able to work under pressure of frequent and tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and reliably contribute to a geographically distributed work environment (via phone and email), including accountability to remotely located manager(s).
  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure, particularly during the implementation of the actual conference.
  • Excellent ability to work in English.
  • Good organizational, interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
  • Teamwork. Strong inter-personnel skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Experience with researching and writing on international environment and/or international development issues.

Also Desired:

  • Familiarity with transboundary waters regions and associated issues.
  • Familiarity with or, ideally, work experience in GEF International Waters recipient countries and/or with donors or related NGOs.
  • Demonstrated success at fundraising for such events.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the aid effectiveness and harmonization agenda, notably in relation to environment.
  • Proficiency in at least one other UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish or Russian).

Solicitation of Request

Interested candidates should send their expression of interest for carrying out this work. The following information should be included:

(a)   an up-to-date curriculum vitae;

(b) an indication of the approach he/she would adopt to carry out the assignment, including any inputs that may be required from UNESCO;

(c)   the amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars (Monthly rates). Any travel and subsistence requirements will be handled separately.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to [email protected] and reach UNESCO by 17 April 2020.





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