International Consultant for the Midterm Review (MTR) of full-sized UNDP-GEF project

, , XH

Introduction:

This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the UNDP-GEF Midterm Review (MTR) of the full-sized project titled Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Sustainable Water Management in Turkmenistan (PIMS#4947) implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy of Turkmenistan, which is to be undertaken over a three months period in 2018. The project started on 17 July 2015 and is in its third year of implementation. In line with the UNDP-GEF Guidance on MTRs, this MTR process was initiated before the submission of the third Project Implementation Report (PIR). This ToR sets out the expectations for this MTR. The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects. http://web.undp.org/evaluation/documents/guidance/GEF/mid- term/Guidance_Midterm%20Review%20_EN_2014.pdf

Project Background Information:

The $6.18 million USD UNDP GEF Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Sustainable Water Management in Turkmenistan started in July 2015 and is scheduled to finish in July 2021. The project is financed by the Global Environment Facility and implemented through the United Nations Development Programme.

Through technology transfer, investment, and policy reform, this project seeks to promote an integrated approach to water management that is energy and water efficient, reduces root causes of land degradation, and enhances local livelihoods and public service delivery. Co-financing of $72.1 million USD has been committed from various sources. Through various interventions, the project aims to achieve some 3.4 million GJ of direct energy savings per year by the end of the project and some 448,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by the end of project.

The objectives of this UNDP/GEF project are as follows:

Development objective: Provide for sufficient and environmentally sustainable water supply to support and enhance social conditions and economic livelihood of the population of Turkmenistan;
Environmental objectives: Reduce GHG emissions associated with water management (448,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum by the end of the project); Prevent and remediate salinization of lands.

The project’s activities are organized into four components:

Component 1 will introduce new technologies in irrigated agriculture and pumping for energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable land management (SLM);
Component 2 will scale-up investment in new and expanded efficient water-management infrastructure;
Component 3 will deliver local and region-specific planning and educational outreach for IWRM and SLM among farmers and water-sector designers and managers;
Component 4 develops and supports implementation of policy reform for IWRM.

The first two components of the project constitute the technical foundation of the project. For agriculture and infrastructure, respectively, these components are identifying, verifying, and documenting the most promising ways to save water, increase energy efficiency, and reduce water-related root causes of land degradation in Turkmenistan. The components are generating technical and financial performance data and practical experience to be used to plan and provide necessary justification to scale-up public investment and technology deployment nationwide.

While the first two components define the technical opportunity and priorities for replication, the second two components are seeking to carry actual replication out on a national scale. The third component supports replication from the bottom up via development of action plans at the regional and district levels across the country, as well as educational outreach and capacity-building among farmers and local water-management personnel. The fourth component will work from the top down, defining and implementing policies, programmes, and investment plans for integrated water management and SLM at the national level.

Duties and Responsibilities

Objectives of the MTR:

The MTR will assess progress towards the achievement of the project objectives and outcomes as specified in the Project Document, and assess early signs of project success or failure with the goal 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, its risks to sustainability and propose adaptive management to better increase the chances of the project being successful. Part of the adaptive management may involve proposed revisions and amendments to the project results framework.

MTR Approach and Methodology:

The MTR must provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The MTR consultant will review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, UNDP Environmental & Social Safeguard Policy, the Project Document, project reports including Annual Project Review/PIRs, project budget revisions, lesson learned reports, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the consultant considers useful for this evidence-based review). The MTR consultant will review the baseline GEF focal area Tracking Tool submitted to the GEF at CEO endorsement, and the midterm GEF focal area Tracking Tool that must be completed before the MTR field mission begins.

The MTR consultant is expected to follow a collaborative and participatory approach[1] ensuring close engagement with the Project Team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point), the UNDP Country Office(s), UNDP-GEF Regional Technical Adviser on Climate Change Mitigation, and other key stakeholders.

Engagement of stakeholders is vital to a successful MTR.[2] For this reason, it is absolutely essential that shortly after the start of the assignment the international consultant travels to Turkmenistan for a period of 2 weeks (10 working days, not including weekends) to meet with all relevant stakeholders.

Stakeholder involvement should include interviews with stakeholders who have project responsibilities, including but not limited to (Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy, State Committee on Nature Protection and Land Resources, Ministry of Energy, State Agriculture University, Municipality of Ahal region, Municipality of Kaahka district and Municipality of Geokdepe district); executing agencies, senior officials and task team/ component leaders, key experts and consultants in the subject area, Project Board, project stakeholders, academia, local government and CSOs, etc.

Additionally, the MTR consultant is expected to conduct field missions to Kaahka and Geokdepe project sites.

The final MTR report should describe the full MTR approach taken and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the review.

[1] For ideas on innovative and participatory Monitoring and Evaluation strategies and techniques, see UNDP Discussion Paper: Innovations in Monitoring & Evaluating Results, 05 Nov 2013.
[2] 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.

Detailed Scope of the MTR:

The MTR consultant 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.

Project Strategy

Project design:

  • Review the problem addressed by the project and the underlying assumptions. Review the effect of any incorrect assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the project results as outlined in the Project Document;
  • Review the relevance of the project strategy and assess whether it provides the most effective route towards expected/intended results. Were lessons from other relevant projects properly incorporated into the project design;
  • Review how the project addresses country priorities. Review country ownership. Was the project concept in line with the national sector development priorities and plans of the country (or of participating countries in the case of multi-country projects);
  • Review decision-making processes: were perspectives of those who would be affected by project decisions, those who could affect the outcomes, and those who could contribute information or other resources to the process, taken into account during project design processes;
  • Review the extent to which relevant gender issues were raised in the project design. See Annex 9 of Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for further guidelines;
  • If there are major areas of concern, recommend areas for improvement.

Results Framework/Logframe:

  • Undertake a critical analysis of the project’s logframe indicators and targets, assess how “SMART” the midterm and end-of-project targets are (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary;
  • Are the project’s objectives and outcomes or components clear, practical, and feasible within its time frame;
  • Examine if progress so far has led to, or could in the future catalyse beneficial development effects (i.e. income generation, gender equality and women’s empowerment, improved governance etc…) that should be included in the project results framework and monitored on an annual basis;
  • Ensure broader development and gender aspects of the project are being monitored effectively. Develop and recommend SMART ‘development’ indicators, including sex-disaggregated indicators and indicators that capture development benefits.

Progress Towards Results:

Progress Towards Outcome Anaylysis:

Review the logframe indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets using the Progress Towards Results Matrix and following the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; colour code progress in a “traffic light system” based on the level of progress achieved; assign a rating on progress for each outcome; make recommendations from the areas marked as “Not on target to be achieved” (red).

In addition to the progress towards outcomes analysis:

  • Compare and analyse the GEF Tracking Tool at the Baseline with the one completed right before the Midterm Review;
  • Identify remaining barriers to achieving the project objective in the remainder of the project;
  • By reviewing the aspects of the project that have already been successful, identify ways in which the project can further expand these benefits.

Project Implementation and Adaptive Management:

Management Arrangements:

  • Review overall effectiveness of project management as outlined in the Project Document. Have changes been made and are they effective? Are responsibilities and reporting lines clear? Is decision-making transparent and undertaken in a timely manner? Recommend areas for improvement;
  • Review the quality of execution of the Executing Agency/Implementing Partner(s) and recommend areas for improvement;
  • Review the quality of support provided by the GEF Partner Agency (UNDP) and recommend areas for improvement.

Work Planning:

  • Review any delays in project start-up and implementation, identify the causes and examine if they have been resolved;
  • Are work-planning processes results-based? If not, suggest ways to re-orientate work planning to focus on results?
  • Examine the use of the project’s results framework/ logframe as a management tool and review any changes made to it since project start.

Finance and co-finance:

  • Consider the financial management of the project, with specific reference to the cost-effectiveness of interventions;
  • Review the changes to fund allocations as a result of budget revisions and assess the appropriateness and relevance of such revisions;
  • Does the project have the appropriate financial controls, including reporting and planning, that allow management to make informed decisions regarding the budget and allow for timely flow of funds?
  • Informed by the co-financing monitoring table to be filled out, provide commentary on co-financing: is co-financing being used strategically to help the objectives of the project? Is the Project Team meeting with all co-financing partners regularly in order to align financing priorities and annual work plans?

Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems:

  • Review the monitoring tools currently being used: Do they provide the necessary information? Do they involve key partners? Are they aligned or mainstreamed with national systems? Do they use existing information? Are they efficient? Are they cost-effective? Are additional tools required? How could they be made more participatory and inclusive?
  • Examine the financial management of the project monitoring and evaluation budget. Are sufficient resources being allocated to monitoring and evaluation? Are these resources being allocated effectively?

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Project management: Has the project developed and leveraged the necessary and appropriate partnerships with direct and tangential stakeholders?
  • Participation and country-driven processes: Do local and national government stakeholders support the objectives of the project? Do they continue to have an active role in project decision-making that supports efficient and effective project implementation?
  • Participation and public awareness: To what extent has stakeholder involvement and public awareness contributed to the progress towards achievement of project objectives?

Reporting:

  • Assess how adaptive management changes have been reported by the project management and shared with the Project Board;
  • Assess how well the Project Team and partners undertake and fulfil GEF reporting requirements (i.e. how have they addressed poorly-rated PIRs, if applicable?);
  • Assess how lessons derived from the adaptive management process have been documented, shared with key partners and internalized by partners.

Communications:

  • Review internal project communication with stakeholders: Is communication regular and effective? Are there key stakeholders left out of communication? Are there feedback mechanisms when communication is received? Does this communication with stakeholders contribute to their awareness of project outcomes and activities and investment in the sustainability of project results?
  • Review external project communication: Are proper means of communication established or being established to express the project progress and intended impact to the public (is there a web presence, for example? Or did the project implement appropriate outreach and public awareness campaigns?)
  • For reporting purposes, write one half-page paragraph that summarizes the project’s progress towards results in terms of contribution to sustainable development benefits, as well as global environmental benefits;
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of extending the project;

Sustainability:

  • Validate whether the risks identified in the Project Document, Annual Project Review/PIRs and the ATLAS Risk Management Module are the most important and whether the risk ratings applied are appropriate and up to date. If not, explain why;
  • Discuss what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of the project;
  • In addition, assess the following risks to sustainability:

Financial risks to sustainability:

What is the likelihood of financial and economic resources not being available once the GEF assistance ends (consider potential resources can be from multiple sources, such as the public and private sectors, income generating activities, and other funding that will be adequate financial resources for sustaining project’s outcomes)?

Socio-economic risks to sustainability:

Are there any social or political risks that may jeopardize sustainability of project outcomes? What is the risk that the level of stakeholder ownership (including ownership by governments and other key stakeholders) will be insufficient to allow for the project outcomes/benefits to be sustained? Do the various key stakeholders see that it is in their interest that the project benefits continue to flow? Is there sufficient public / stakeholder awareness in support of the long-term objectives of the project? Are lessons learned being documented by the Project Team on a continual basis and shared/ transferred to appropriate parties who could learn from the project and potentially replicate and/or scale it in the future?

Institutional Framework and Governance risks to sustainability:

Do the legal frameworks, policies, governance structures and processes pose risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project benefits? While assessing this parameter, also consider if the required systems/ mechanisms for accountability, transparency, and technical knowledge transfer are in place.

Environmental risks to sustainability:

Are there any environmental risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project outcomes?

Competencies

Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism;
  • Fulfills all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

Functional Competencies:

  • Competence in adaptive management;
  • Knowledge of and work experience in the energy efficiency related water and agriculture projects, including those funded by the GEF;
  • Excellent training, facilitation and communication skills;
  • Results driven, ability to work under pressure and to meet required deadlines;
  • Good understanding and experience in the field of GHG emissions calculation and monitoring.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Advanced University degree, Masters or preferably a PhD, in Energy, Environment, Business Administration, Economics, Engineering or related field;

Experience:

  • Extensive (at least 10-year) work experience and proven track record with policy advice and/or project development/implementation in climate change and or water efficiency (including at least some experience with climate change and/or water projects) in transition economies;
  • Experience working with the GEF or GEF project evaluations within the past seven years including experience with SMART based indicators (Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset);
  • Experience working with international technical assistance projects in the Eastern Europe countries or CIS region in the past seven years (experience in Turkmenistan will be an asset);

Language requirements:

English required, knowledge of Russian will be an asset.


POSITION TYPE

ORGANIZATION TYPE

EXPERIENCE-LEVEL

DEGREE REQUIRED