Mid-Term Review Consultant

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Consultancy
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)

EXPIRED

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Result of Service

Mid Term Review of project performance will assess project performance to date (in terms of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency), and determine the likelihood of the project achieving its intended outcomes and supporting their sustainability. The MTR will analyze whether the project is on-track, what problems or challenges the programme/project is encountering, and what corrective actions are required. The MTR will also advise on the best approach to address the Treaties Programme vis-à-vis the project relationship and theory of change.

Work Location

Home

 

Expected duration

The duration of the contract is 4 months (from 15 January 2021 to 15 May 2021)

Duties and Responsibilities

Background:
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations systems designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.

UNEP has been working on enhancing cooperation and synergies among biodiversity-related conventions fostering coherence in the context of sustainable development. UNEP is implementing a global programme titled Environmental Treaties Programme including a project “Realizing Synergies for Biodiversity”. The programme is designed to support the coherent implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and to contribute to the improvement of environmental governance. It contributes to the implementation of the environmental governance subprogramme of UNEP and related objectives of the programme of work. The project supports the implementation of decisions of governing bodies of the MEAs related to enhancing cooperation, coordination and synergies towards the 2030 Agenda and activities for the development and implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In its initial phase, the Environmental Treaties Programme was designed through a theory of change to serve as an umbrella programme and to consist of smaller projects and now includes the project ‘realizing synergies for biodiversity’. The project is the main object of this MTR, being implemented for three years since 2017. In addition, the MTR will address the “Treaties” programme which is planned to subsequently be enriched by further projects. The “realizing synergies for biodiversity” project consists of five outputs which respond to the UN Environment Assembly resolution 2/17 on Enhancing the work of UNEP in facilitating cooperation, collaboration and synergies among biodiversity- related conventions, and builds on previous work of UNEP and the biodiversity-related Conventions. Based on this project, UNEP is engaging with synergies processes led by the biodiversity-related conventions as an anchor for cooperation and synergies facilitating strategic coordination and providing tools and technical support. The project also aims at working with the regions and countries to identify and realize synergies for biodiversity to make better and more efficient use of global and regional environmental treaties and synergies’ tools such as the Data Reporting tool for MEAs (DaRT) and other UNEP-WCMC resources such as the Compendia of Guidance and Resource Book.

Under the overall supervision of the Environmental Treaties Programme, the consultant shall report directly to Project Manager, Ms.Diane Klaimi, and to take day-to-day instructions from UNEP’s Environmental Governance Branch, MEAs Support and Cooperation Unit at the Law Division.

Mid-Term Review Objectives:

A Mid-Term Review is a formative assessment, which requires that the consultants go beyond the assessment of “what” the project performance is and make a serious effort to provide a deeper understanding of “why” the performance is as it is. This should provide the basis for the lessons that can be drawn from the project at the mid-point and the recommendations that support adaptive management for the remainder of the project.

In line with the UNEP Evaluation Policy and the UNEP Programme Manual , the Mid-term Review of the project is undertaken to assess the performance of the project since the beginning of its implementation to analyze whether the project is on-track, what problems or challenges the project is encountering, and what corrective actions are required. The Review will examine the project implementation progress against the project logframe and the preliminary potential impacts of the project. The Review will address the underlying causes and issues that have contributed to milestones and targets not adequately achieved. The consultant will provide recommendation for any revisions in the overall design of the project and the workplan for the remaining of the project period based on the weaknesses and strengths identified during the MTR. The consultant will review the adequacy, efficiency, and effectiveness of project implementation and will assess reported achievements of project outputs and outcomes to date, including their sustainability. The MTR will attempt to outline lessons learned and best practices from the project which could be applied to future projects and will make recommendations on setting up a strategic vision for the time after the project has ended.

Tasks and responsibilities:
1. Strategic Positioning, Concept and Design
The Mid-Term Review Consultant will assess the concept and design of the overall scope of the Environmental Treaties Programme- Realizing Synergies for Biodiversity project, including an assessment of the appropriateness of the objectives, planned outputs, activities, and inputs as compared to cost-effective alternatives. Identify niche areas where UNEP can further add advantage and efficiency to the programme/project. The strategic positioning and design of the project will also be reviewed against the strategic questions of interest to UNEP and to which the project is believed to be able to make a substantive contribution. The questions (provided in detail in the long ToRs version) are structured to address two levels: a) one level is addressing the Realizing Synergies for Biodiversity project, and the balance between its five components. b) The other level is addressing the question of strengthening the Environmental Treaties Programme and making it genuinely an umbrella programme for activities under UNEP’s Environmental Governance and Conventions branch at the Law Division. The MTR consultant will also be forward-looking and explore opportunities for UNEP to position itself as the anchor for cooperation and synergies among the Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

2. Partnership and Coordination
The MTR will assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the collaborations and partnerships that were established to deliver the project. This includes an assessment of the partnerships with key implementing partners such as UNEP-WCMC, MEAs and donors.

3. Monitoring, Evaluation and Risk Management
A further focus of the MTR will be on the extent to which adequate monitoring has been undertaken throughout the period and the extent to which evaluation systems were adequate to capture significant developments and inform responsive management. The Review will assess how lessons learned have been captured and operationalized throughout the period under investigation. It will examine how effectively the management of support to the synergistic implementation of biodiversity-related MEAs incorporated relevant global knowledge on good practices.

4. Gender Mainstreaming
The MTR will assess the extent to which the project sought to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender into project implementation. The Review will weigh measures taken to this end and how successful those have been in addressing specific rights- and gender-related aspects.

5. Methodology
The methodology involves use of UNEP Evaluation Office Project Review guidelines and templates that will be made available as a package of materials to the consultant, including access to the ProDoc, project files, reports and other relevant materials. Contact details of project stakeholders will also be shared with the consultant to conduct interviews and consultations. The evaluation criteria uses a six-point ranking scale grouped in nine categories: (A) Strategic Relevance; (B) Quality of Project Design; (C) Effectiveness, which comprises assessments of the attainment of outputs, achievement of outcomes and likelihood of impact; (D) Financial Management; (E) Efficiency; (F) Monitoring and Reporting; (G) Sustainability; and (H) Factors Affecting Project Performance. Relevant tools and guidance information will be shared. The consultant will also apply quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods as appropriate, to determine project achievements against the expected outputs, outcomes and impacts.

In the light of COVID-19 restrictions in many countries, it is likely that fields visits will not be possible, and the consultant will need to conduct interviews and meetings virtually and remotely. Access will be provided to UNEP’s online platforms e.g. Microsoft Teams, to facilitate the terminal review. The Consultant shall have had no prior involvement in the formulation or implementation of the project and will be independent from the participating institutions.

The Review consultant shall have had no prior involvement in the formulation or implementation of the project and will be independent from the participating institutions. (S)He will sign the Review Consultant Code of Conduct Agreement Form.

The Review consultant will be selected and recruited by the UNEP’s Environmental Governance and Conventions Branch, Law Division through individual consultancy contracts.

6. Approach

The MTR methodology will be designed in consultation with the project team and partners and will use a participatory approach whereby key stakeholders are kept informed and consulted throughout the review process. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods will be used as appropriate to determine project achievements against the expected outputs, outcomes and impacts. It is highly recommended that the Review Consultant maintains close communication with the project team and promotes information exchange throughout the review implementation phase in order to increase their (and other stakeholder) ownership of the review findings.

Qualifications/special skills

Competency: • Professionalism: Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of biodiversity policy and governance issues, multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) including cooperation and synergies among biodiversity-related conventions; thorough knowledge of project management, evaluation methodologies and applying the theory of change.
• Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from client’s point of view. Identifies client’s needs and matches them to appropriate solutions.
Skills: • Robust technical knowledge of biodiversity-related conventions mechanisms, strategies,
governing bodies and cooperation and synergies among MEAs in the context of
sustainable development.
•Working knowledge of the UN system and specifically the work of UNEP and MEAs
secretariats is desirable.
Academic Qualifications: An advanced university degree in environmental sciences, international development or other relevant political or social sciences as well as experience in project reviews is required. A first degree may be accepted in lieu of a Masters Degree with two additional years of experience.
Experience: • Minimum 7 years of professional experience in environmental policies, environmental
governance and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
• Minimum 7 years of professional experience in project management, monitoring and
reporting of environment related projects.
• Proven experience of evaluating multi-donor projects and using the theory of change and
result-based logical framework approach.
Language: Excellent written and spoken English is required.