International Consultant for Final Evaluation of EU Water project

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Application deadline in 6 days: Tuesday 29 Sep 2020

Contract

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Background

UNDP Uzbekistan implements the Component 2 on “Technical Capacity Building” (hereinafter Project) of the “Sustainable Management of Water Resources in rural areas in Uzbekistan” Programme funded by the European Union. The Project is implemented jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water resources of Uzbekistan (MAWR) and aims at strengthening institutional frameworks and technical capacities for water management at basin, water user association and farm levels while increasing awareness on efficient management and use of water resources.

The project has three interlinked components:

Component 1: National Policy Framework for Water Governance and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM);

Component 2: Technical Capacity Building;

Component 3: Awareness Raising.

Expected project Output: Water management services, practices and techniques are strengthened and harmonized within a national framework.

The evaluation will cover the activity results conducted within the Component 2: Technical Capacity Building.

For reaching the above-mentioned output change, the project aims to achieve the following activity results:

Activity result 1: Enhanced capacities of national entities in charge of training provision;

Activity result 2: Strengthened organizational set-up of the water management players and improved advisory mechanisms for improved water supply services;

Activity result 3: Development and implementation of a unified model and approach of capacity building for water management players;

Activity result 4: Enhanced links and networks with EU institutions and practitioners;

Activity result 5: Piloting community development plans with water management as a cross cutting issue.

A list of project’s pilot sites is given in the Annex B to this ToR.

The project contributes to UNDAF 2016-2020 and CPD 2016-2020 outcome: By 2020, rural population benefit from sustainable management of natural resources and resilience to disasters and climate.

As per the Description of the Action of the “Technical Capacity Building” Component of the EU Program, the Project is subject to final review (FR) at the end of its implementation. The FR will determine the progress being made towards the achievement of project outcomes, as well followed the identified course correction made by the MTE at available items. The FR will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, impact and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; will present initial lessons learned about the project design, implementation and management. The organization and timing of the FR will be confirmed after consultation between the Environment and Climate Action Cluster (ECAC) of UNDP CO in Uzbekistan and the Consultant.

The details of the project activities are available at

https://www.uz.undp.org/content/uzbekistan/en/home/projects/sustainable-management-of-water-resources-in-rural-areas-in-uzbe0.html

https://open.undp.org/projects/00080810

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/uzbekistan/55145/sustainable-management-water-resources-rural-areas-uzbekistan-technical-capacity-building_en

Duties and Responsibilities

This Final Evaluation is initiated by the UNDP Uzbekistan and aims to assess the relevance, performance, management arrangements and success of the project and provide recommendations for possible follow-up. Based on internal assessment and continuous positive feedback of the stakeholders and project beneficiaries, it is envisaged that UNDP Uzbekistan remains committed in continuing its efforts in this field. Therefore, it is anticipated that the outcomes of the evaluation will be a clear source for future planning and prioritization of UNDP Uzbekistan activities in the field of Water Management.

It should also provide the basis for learning and accountability for managers and stakeholders. The evaluation will have to provide to UNDP complete and convincing evidence to support its findings/ratings. Particular emphasis should be put on the project results, the lessons learned from the project and recommendations for the follow-up activities. This evaluation is to be undertaken in line with the evaluation policy of UNDP (http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/accountability/evaluation/evaluation_policyofundp) and the UNDP Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results (http://web.undp.org/evaluation/handbook/index.html).

COVID-19, impacts and proposed evaluation approach.

Since the mid-March this year, the country has been under quarantine due to COVID-19 outbreak. At the end of April, the first restrictions were lifted in the country. However, due to a repeated outbreak of infection, the authorities later decided to extend the measures until August 15. As of August 25 , 2020, in the country, the official number of patients are 39664, of which 284 people died. The ban on meetings and travel associated with the quarantine had a negative impact on the timely and complete implementation of the project plan. In particular, the restrictions influenced the timely implementation of work on the creation of a monitoring system for the ameliorative state of irrigated lands, as access to the buildings of water management organizations is limited, and there is no possibility of free movement to other regions. As of 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus rapidly spread to all regions of the world. Travel to the country has been restricted since the end of March and travel in the country is also restricted. If it is not possible to travel to or within the country for the evaluation then the evaluation team (International and National consultant) should develop a methodology that takes this into account the conduct of the evaluation virtually and remotely, including the use of remote interview methods and extended desk reviews, data analysis, surveys and evaluation questionnaires. This should be detailed in the Inception report and agreed with the Evaluation Manager.

If all or part of the evaluation is to be carried out virtually then consideration should be taken for stakeholder availability, ability or willingness to be interviewed remotely. In addition, their accessibility to the internet/ computer may be an issue as many government and national counterparts may be working from home. These limitations must be reflected in the evaluation report.

If a data collection/field mission is not possible then remote interviews may be undertaken through telephone or online (skype, zoom, etc.). International consultant can work remotely with national evaluator support in the field if it is safe for them to operate and travel. No stakeholders, consultants or UNDP staff should be put in harm’s way and safety is the key priority.

A short validation mission may be considered if it is confirmed to be safe for staff, consultants, stakeholders and if such a mission is possible within the evaluation schedule. Equally, qualified and independent national consultant can be hired to undertake the evaluation and interviews in country as long as it is safe to do so.

The assignment will take place within October and November 2020. It will involve deskwork and meetings with national partners and stakeholders, including project beneficiaries. The international consultant will work in close collaboration with UNDP Uzbekistan CO and relevant stakeholders.

EVALUATION OBJECTIVES:

The evaluation is intended to provide a comprehensive overall assessment of the project and to provide recommendations for exit strategy and/or follow-up activities.

The purpose of the Final Evaluation is:

  • To assess overall performance against the Project objective and outcomes as set out in Project Document.
  • To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Project.
  • To analyze critically the implementation and management arrangements of the Project.
  • To assess the sustainability of the project’s interventions.
  • To list and document lessons concerning Project design, implementation and management.
  • To assess Project relevance to national priorities.
  • To assess changes in the baseline situation and provide guidance for the future activities in the area of promoting E-Governance.

Project performance will be measured based on Project’s Results and Resources Framework, which provides clear indicators for project implementation. The Report of the Final Evaluation will be stand-alone document that substantiates its recommendations and conclusions.

EVALUATION:

Under the direct supervision of the Deputy RR and in close cooperation with the Cluster, RMU Associate and EU Water Project Manager, the International Consultant for Evaluation of EU Water project will be responsible for the completion of the following tasks and duties:

Project concept and design: The evaluator will assess the project concept and design. He/she should review and provide an evaluation of the project strategy, planned outputs, activities and inputs, implementation modality, clarity and effectiveness of management arrangements and cost-effectiveness of approaches taken in relation to the overall project objectives. The evaluator will assess the achievement of results and targets against the project work plans.

Implementation: The evaluation will assess the implementation of the project in terms of quality and timeliness of inputs, efficiency and effectiveness of activities carried out. Effectiveness of management, the quality and timeliness of monitoring and backstopping by all parties to the project should also be evaluated. In particular, the evaluation is to assess the Project team’s use of adaptive management in project implementation.

Project outputs, outcomes: The evaluation will assess the outputs in relation to the CP outcomes, achieved by the project as well as the likely sustainability of project results. This should encompass an assessment of the achievement of the immediate objectives and the contribution to attaining the overall objective of the project. The evaluation should also assess the extent to which the implementation of the project has been inclusive of relevant stakeholders and to which it has been able to create collaboration between different partners. The evaluation will also examine if the project has had significant unexpected effects, whether of beneficial or detrimental character.

The Final Evaluation will also cover the following aspects:

*Results and effectiveness*****:

Changes in development conditions. Address the following questions, with a focus on the perception of change among stakeholders:

  • What are main outputs and outcomes of the project?
  • What are the impacts of the project?
  • Has project contributed to enhancing technical capacity in water sector?
  • Has the UNDP partnership strategy been appropriate and effective?
  • Has capacity of water management organizations been increased?
  • Has implementation of capacity building program and pilot activities improve overall understanding of water managers of better management of water resources?

Measurement of change: Progress towards results should be based on a comparison of indicators before and after the project intervention.

Project strategy: How and why outputs contribute to the achievement of the expected results. Examine their relevance and whether they provide the most effective route towards results.

Sustainability: Extent to which the benefits of the project will continue, within or outside the project domain, after it has come to an end. Relevant factors include for example: development of a sustainability strategy, establishment of financial and economic instruments and mechanisms, mainstreaming project objectives into the local economy, etc.

Project’s Adaptive Management Framework******:

Monitoring Systems

  • Assess the monitoring tools currently being used:
  • Do they provide the necessary information?
    • Do they involve key partners?
    • Are (were?) they efficient?
    • Do they encourage disaggregation of data (by sex, region, age, education)?
    • Are additional tools required?

Risk Management

  • Validate whether the risks identified in the project document and the ATLAS Risk Management module are the most important and whether the risk ratings applied are appropriate. Describe any additional risks identified and suggest risk ratings and possible risk management strategies to be adopted for the future activities.

Work Planning

  • Assess the use of the logical framework as a management tool during implementation and changes made to it;
  • Assess the use of routinely updated workplans;
  • Are work planning processes result-based? If not, suggest ways to re-orientate work planning.
  • Assess financial management of the project, with specific reference to the cost-effectiveness of interventions.

Reporting

  • Assess whether UNDP and donor reporting requirements were met.
  • Assess whether disaggregated data is being used.

Underlying Factors

  • Assess the underlying factors beyond the project’s immediate control that influence outcomes and results. Consider the appropriateness and effectiveness of the project’s management strategies for these factors.
  • Assess the effect of any incorrect assumptions made by the project.

UNDP Contribution

  • Assess whether UNDP’s outputs and interventions can be credibly linked to achievement of the outcome, including the outputs, programmes, projects and soft and hard assistance that contributed to the outcome;
  • Assess the role of UNDP against the requirements set out in the UNDP Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results;
  • Assess implementation of the new UNDP requirements outlined in the UNDP User Guide, especially the Project Assurance role;
  • Assess the UNDP contribution to the project “soft” assistance (policy advice & dialogue, advocacy, coordination).

Partnership Strategy

  • Assess how partners are involved in the project’s adaptive management framework: (i) Involving partners and stakeholders in the selection of indicators and other measures of performance; (ii) Using already existing data and statistics; and (iii) Analyzing progress towards results and determining project strategies.
  • Identify opportunities for stronger substantive partnerships in the future.
  • Assess how local stakeholders participate in project management and decision-making. Include analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the approach adopted by the project and suggestions for improvement.
  • Assessment of collaboration between governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Assessment of collaboration between implementation units of other related projects.
  • Assessment of local partnerships.
  • Transfer of capacity to the national institutions.

Project Finance:

  • Assess the cost-effectiveness of the project interventions.

Cross-cutting issues.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment and other cross-cutting issues need to be included in the scope of the evaluation.

Formulation of a new results framework for future partnership

The purpose of the formulation of the new results framework for future partnership is to identify the potential entry points for development intervention in the areas of water management. The documents to be prepared by international consultant during formulation of the new results framework for future partnership should comply with UNDP standards on results-based management, and templates for project document. UNDP Environment and Climate Action Cluster will provide these necessary templates to the international consultant.

Under the direct supervision of the Deputy RR and in close cooperation with RMU Associate and Programme Associate on Environment, the International Consultant for evaluation of the Project and the formulation of the new results framework for future partnership will be responsible for the completion of the following tasks and duties:

  • Analyze major lessons learned from Project`s previous activities and conduct country context analysis in order to determine background of problems showing the need/demand for the new results framework for future partnership;
  • Prepare project proposal, project justification, identifying the main implementing partner, key stakeholders and beneficiaries, overall goals and specific objectives, a list of main activities, duration, and outputs, potential risks and estimated budget;
  • Draft the Results and Resource Framework (RRF) for the proposal on the new results framework for future partnership. The template for RRF will be provided by UNDP;
  • Advise to UNDP senior management on organization structure for the possible new project, including description of roles and responsibilities of project team members;
  • Propose monitoring and evaluation mechanism as well as quality management for activity results during the new project implementation.

EVALUATION METHODOLOGY:

The Final Evaluation will be done through a combination of techniques, including

- Desk review of all relevant documentation (project outputs and other materials);

- Consultations with stakeholders (partners and beneficiaries) and UNDP staff;

- Validation exercise with UNDP CO and national partners of Project.

Evaluation should involve the wider possible range of stakeholders. Beneficiaries:

- Ministry of Water Resources

- Pilot Basin Irrigation System Authorities

- Pilot Water Users Associations

- Pilot Communities in 6 regions.

Partners:

- Government Agencies (State Committee for Ecology and Environment, Uzhydromet center and Uzhozvodnadzor Inspection, Ministry of Finance);

- Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Engineers of Mechanization in Agriculture and Irrigation and Water Problems Institute;

- International and regional agencies (EUD, GIZ, UNESCO, CAREC, SDC)

The Consultant will review all relevant sources of information, such as the project document, annual project progress reports, project budget revisions, project board meeting minutes, project files, UNDAF 2016-2020, CPD 2016-2020, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the evaluator considers useful for this evidence-based assessment. A comprehensive list of documents that the project team will provide to the evaluator will be additionally shared with evaluator after contract signing.

UNDP will provide support in the implementation of remote/ virtual meetings. An updated stakeholder list with contact details (phone and email) will be provided by the Country office to the evaluation team.

In line with the UNDP’s financial regulations, when determined by the Country Office and/or the consultant that a deliverable or service cannot be satisfactorily completed due to the impact of COVID19 and limitations to the evaluation, that deliverable or service will not be paid.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation and its implications, a partial payment may be considered if the consultant invested time towards the deliverable but was unable to complete due to circumstances beyond his/her control.

Competencies

  • Strong communication skills, client-orientation, ability to work in a team;
  • Initiative, analytical judgment, ability to work under pressure, ethics and honesty;

Required Skills and Experience

Academic Qualifications:

  • A Master or Graduate Degree in the field of water resources management, economy, finance, business, management, public administration and finance.

Years of experience:

  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience with government, international development organizations or private sector in water management;
  • Proven track record of application of results-based management evaluation methodologies to development programs/projects in areas of water management or environmental management including gender sensitive evaluations. (relevant experience in the Central Asia and/or CIS region would be an asset);
  • Familiarity with water resources management development principles and capacity building approaches, and relevant international best-practices;
  • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset.

Language requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required; knowledge of Russian is an asset but not a requirement.
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