International Consultant – Mid Term Evaluation

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Background

The Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) project aims to increase climate change and disaster resilience in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) through strengthening Pacific led risk- informed development. The project works with Pacific national and local governments and Pacific communities, as well as regional organisations, to strengthen decision-making processes and governance systems towards resilient development. There is a strong emphasis on the integration of gender equality and social inclusion principles and practice into risk-informed development. The project has three end of program outcomes: Outcome 1: Government planning and financing systems enable gender-sensitive and inclusive risk- informed development. Outcome 2: Country oversight and accountability systems require gender- sensitive and inclusive risk-informed development. Outcome 3: Regional organisations, policies and practices are actively supporting gender sensitive and inclusive risk-informed development. The project builds on a pilot project (the Pacific Risk Resilience Project, (PRRP) 2012 – 2019), which was funded by the Australian government through Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The pilot project demonstrated the value of a risk- informed development approach in the Pacific context and the value of work through and with Pacific governments and communities to tailor risk- informed development in ways that are specific to country and local context. It also demonstrated the value of working flexibly, taking opportunities in different locations to influence development processes through a wide variety of strategies. Significantly, it demonstrated the value of supporting Pacific-led development. Gov4Res has continued to advance a focus on risk-informed development based on the learning and achievements from PRRP. It has expanded to include work with regional organisations, recognising the unique interconnection between regional and national systems in the Pacific. It has given increased attention to Pacific government systems in particular national systems of planning, budgeting, and project implementation, recognising that sustainable change requires that these national systems are themselves risk-informed (rather than establishing parallel 2

systems). Gov4Res has a particular focus on social inclusion, utilising the perspectives of all groups to inform the definition of risk, and to support processes of risk assessment and management. At present, the project supports work in Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, as well as engaging with regional organisations and regional processes. The project is implemented by UNDP and supported by the governments of Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, and more recently the United Kingdom. The various donor partners contribute different levels of support over varying timeframes. The overall value of the project is US$19 million commenced in 2020, following an inception phase in 2019, and was due for completion in 2024. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was approved for extension to 2025. In recent months, with revised project scope and directions, the project has been further extended to 2029. In terms of delivery, the project has a team based at UNDP in Fiji that includes project management and technical specialists. This team is complemented with staff embedded in government and other offices in various Pacific Island countries. It is also supported by a range of short-term technical specialists or advisors on contract. It collaborates with other relevant UNDP programs including an Asia-Pacific Climate Finance Network, bilateral agriculture and disaster management projects, an internal Accelerator Lab, and an Effective Governance programme, and also with other regional and national partner organisations such as Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the Pacific Community. Under the support received from DFAT it is part of a wider program, the Australia Pacific Climate Partnership, which provides particular opportunities for collaboration with other Australian funded programs. The project is overseen and receives strategic guidance by a Board consisting of project donors, and representatives from Pacific Island governments (i.e., countries where the project is being implemented) and the UNDP Pacific Office.

Duties and Responsibilities

SCOPE OF WORK The objective for this MTE is to examine the progress of Gov4Res against its original intentions, identify areas for improvement and given the changing governance context, identify new opportunities, and recommend changes to update the project plan and approach. The MTE will assess the following: 1. Relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of project 2. Risks to sustainability 3. Extent to which gender equality and social inclusion and human rights aspects have been considered 4. Project structure 5. Monitoring and evaluation approaches of the project.

Evaluation Approach and Methodology Gov4Res utilises a wide range of strategies and pathways to achieve change. It considers both technical and ‘political’ motivations and influences. It seeks to engage respectfully and effectively in different cultures and contexts, responding to the needs of the countries it works with. It deliberately works across various entry points in countries in order to maximise the likelihood of positive change and invests in systems (i.e., structures and processes) to ensure long-term adoption and sustainability. In several areas of work it seeks to influence others such as regional organisations and interactions between different national actors, working from behind and empowering others, rather than leading on all activities. It has a focus on working in agile and flexible ways, learning from experience and changing strategies as required. While its original theory of change presents a concise summary of its core assumptions, in practice Gov4Res understands the change it is seeking to achieve is complex and that the connection between all these activities and outcomes is multifaceted, complex and dynamic. Consequently, it is anticipated that the MTE approach should be based in a critical epistemology, able to engage effectively with a non-linear systems-based project approach. Gov4Res recognises that its various stakeholders have overlapping and different views about what changes are important. The donor partners have clear but different strategies and outcomes they wish to achieve. Pacific government partners, Pacific people and communities and regional organisations all have their views on the prioritisation and significance of the changes that might be achieved through the project. The MTE needs to be gender-sensitive and socially inclusive, able to accommodate and give attention to assessment from these various different worldviews. The MTE approach will accommodate and identify differences in assessment, values, and understanding of impact for stakeholders, and provide methodological approaches that create dialogue and exchange between stakeholders and their different perspectives. The approach should be sensitive to Pacific Island approaches, and respectful of the knowledge of Pacific Islanders. Methodology Specific data collection, analysis and engagement techniques will be agreed as part of the evaluation plan prior to commencement of the MTE. However, it is anticipated that the evaluation team will demonstrate considerable skill in analysis and sense making that is inclusive of project stakeholders and provides opportunities for women, marginalised groups and Pacific country stakeholders to engage with and assist in data analysis and recommendation development. The methodologies proposed by the evaluation team should also support and facilitate active dialogue between stakeholders and their different perspectives. Gov4Res has an established Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework (MELF) based on its original project theory of change. It has a comprehensive data management system which includes evidence against outcomes and outputs and the project reports regularly against its outputs and outcomes to its various donors and oversight Board. As noted, the original theory of change has clearly defined pathways and strategies for change and evidence has been

collected against these pathways. In preparation for this evaluation the project has undertaken an extensive audit of existing information and evidence in each of its country locations and its regional work. These country and regional briefs, annotated against the existing evidence, will be provided to the MTE team in order to assist the team to efficiently understand the scope and variety of work by the project to date. While some verification of these briefs will be required, this extensive preparation will enable the MTE team to focus its data collection and analysis on areas which are outside of the present project MELF, identifying new information and insight for the project stakeholders. It is expected that the MTE will make use of this existing evidence base and develop additional methodologies for data collection, analysis and examination that complement rather than duplicate the existing information. The team will be expected to have extensive expertise in qualitative and quantitative methodologies including, as indicated, the capacity to use data collection, analysis and engagement techniques that are appropriate to different stakeholders. The team should be familiar with Pacific approaches to evaluation. Ideally the evaluation team will bring expertise in feminist and/or indigenous methodologies and/or other methodologies drawn from critical evaluation approaches, alongside experience in traditional methodologies (ie. interviews, surveys, observation, focus groups etc).DETAILED SCOPE OF MTE The MTE team will assess the following categories of project progress: 1. Relevance The MTE will assess the ongoing relevance of Gov4Res, given the changing context since project commencement. This will require examination of the initial project analysis and strategy development, how adequately this has been updated in response to changing context, wider examination of key contextual influences (both enabling and disabling), and how adequately the project has responded to or is positioning to respond to these conditions. The relevance of Gov4Res should be considered from the perspective of different stakeholders including partner governments and Pacific Island communities, civil society organisations, and private sector. The projects coherence with other interventions, especially those of the donor partners, regional organisations and UNDP should also be reviewed. The MTE will recommend options to support ongoing project relevance and coherence, giving due attention to these different perspectives. To assess relevance and coherence, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • How well does the project and its outcomes align with the priorities of local government and local communities in the focal PICs? • How well does the project and its outcomes align with PIC’s National Government development priorities and with regional development priorities? • How well does the project align with national and regional gender equality and other social protection commitments?• Does the project objective fit UNDP Pacific strategic priorities? • How well does the project align with similar interventions in the region, especially those supported by its donor partners? • In what ways has the project responded and adapted to maintain relevance and coherence for all stakeholders? 2. Effectiveness The MTE will verify project effectiveness utilising available information (see discussion around methodology below), together with additional evidence collected as required. The MTE will consider in particular, how effectively the Gov4Res project has progressed against its original outcomes and outputs as outlined in the original project theory of change. As required, the MTE will examine core assumptions under the original theory of change and test how well these have held throughout project implementation to date. The MTE will recommend options for further development and maturing of the project theory of change that will support increased project effectiveness. To assess effectiveness, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • What have been the key results and changes achieved by the project to date? • To what extent will the project meet its original outcomes within the current program phase? Do these remain practical and feasible? • Do the project assumptions and project theory of change continue to address the key factors which are likely to enable or challenge the progress of this project? • Has the project been able to respond effectively to new emerging opportunities? • In what ways should the project theory of change be further developed, given progress to date and changes in project context? • What implications do recommended changes to the project theory of change have for project strategies, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting? 3. Efficiency Gov4Res operates through a range of strategies and pathways to achieve change. The MTE is an opportunity to review the efficiency of the major project strategies. That is, given the resources available, which of these strategies most efficiently contributes to project implementation? In particular the MTE will examine the value being achieved from the following strategies: • “From within” approach of embedding focal points within government • Agile/adaptive programming • Demonstration of risk-informed development through community infrastructure and development program • Regional policy support and research to achieve scale • Portfolio approach of interventions, that integrate across difference governance levels • The MTE will recommend options to further develop the current project strategies and/or expand or change strategies, in order to support efficient progress towards project outcomes.• To assess efficiency, the following should also be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • Has the project been efficient in leveraging resources and partnerships that are currently contributing to, or have contributed to achieving outcomes? • In what way have changes in the context affected project cost effectiveness? • What changes ought to be made in project strategies in order to ensure the most efficient approaches to project implementation? 4. Sustainability Gov4Res works with and through PIC governance systems and practices to promote sustainability of the reform agenda. The MTE will assess the extent of take up of project activities by in-country systems. It will recommend options and areas of work where the project should expand or undertake further activity to support sustained PIC led outcomes. Considering the progress of work in this current phase and the likely options for future phases of the program, the MTE will examine how the project can most effectively support sustained Pacific Islands-led action for risk-informed development. The MTE will also identify areas for further research and enquiry is required in order to develop additional activities and strategies that will support sustained outcomes beyond the life of this project. In considering sustainability of outcomes the MTE will give particular attention to the principle of localisation. To assess sustainability, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • How effectively has the project worked through PIC governments’ systems and practices to introduce reform measures? • In what ways has the project partnered with key actors on the ground (including communities and local government) to ensure program benefits are sustained? • What further development of work areas is required to increase the sustainability of project outcomes? • In what ways does this project support the core principles of localisation in the Pacific? In what ways could this be further improved? 5. Human Rights line with UNDP principles the MTE should assess to what extent human rights considerations are included in the project design and implementation • To what extent does the project adhere to and further supports human rights principles? • To what extent does the project integrate or consider human rights-based approaches in the design and implementation of the project? 6. Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Gov4Res proposes that it is impossible to risk-inform development without understanding and addressing the underlying vulnerabilities that arise due to structural inequalities thatprevent women and marginalised groups from contributing to and benefitting from that development. To ensure that the process is equitable, and benefits reach marginalised groups, the development process must be informed by diverse voices. The project has recently developed a Gender Action Plan. The MTE is timely as the project will use the outcomes of the review to further refine its strategies for implementing its Gender Action Plan and refine its GESI indicators for the project The MTE will assess the quality and value of the Gov4Res gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) strategies, as outlined in its GESI Action Plan, including how comprehensively and effectively the project has partnered with women, marginalised groups, including people living with a disability, and those marginalised by other intersecting social identities (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, living in rural or remote areas, etc.), in project activity planning, implementation and assessment. The MTE will provide detailed recommendations for further improvement in the Gov4Res strategies for GESI, including opportunities to engage with other organisations and practitioners working on these issues (e.g., Ministry of Women, UN Women) To assess the integration of GESI into Gov4Res, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • How has the project contributed to gender equality, particularly in terms of women's empowerment? • How has the project contributed to equality and empowerment for other marginalised groups (e.g., people living with a disability, or people marginalised by other intersecting social identities (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, geography etc.) through project activity planning, implementation and assessment. • How is this participation of men, women and vulnerable groups contributing towards achievement of the project outcomes? • How effectively have the measures or processes as outlined in the GESI Action Plan integrated GESI into project? • How could the project further improve and assess its strategies for gender equality and social inclusion? • What additional strategic partnerships should be cultivated to advance GESI in risk informed development? 7. Project Structure Gov4Res is currently designed as a project under the UNDP Resilience and Sustainable Development Unit. It receives funding from several donors and allocates those funds to different areas of project activity and in some cases, different locations. Going forward, the project seeks to make the most efficient use of donor partner funds, as well as provide the maximum accountability for those funds. The MTE will explore options for the project structure going forward, considering likely future phases of the project, and identify options for how the project can be most efficiently structuredstructured to meet UNDP processes and respond to donor partner accountability and reporting requirements. To assess the appropriateness of the project structure, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • How should the project be structured to meet UNDP processes, respond to donor partner accountability and reporting requirements and meet its intended outcomes? • Does the team have the required skills and experience, or technical partnerships in place to deliver the outcomes of the project? • Are there additional activities, relevant to project stakeholders and in line with project outcomes, which could be included in future development of this project?\ 8. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning To assess the appropriateness of the project monitoring and evaluation, the following should be considered (but should not limit the evaluation): • How comprehensively has the project collected, analysed and reported verifiable information about its progress? • Are there missing indicators that are cost-effective and more impactful to measure? • In what way could the project Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework be further developed and improved to ensure accountability to all stakeholders and support further project improvement? • How is the projects’ learning being captured and shared, and are there ways to improve information capture and its communication to various audiences?

Competencies

  • High-quality monitoring and evaluation experience with demonstrated expertise in effective engagement with diverse groups of people including women, and people marginalised because of disability, geography and other factors. Demonstrated knowledge and experience in monitoring evaluation or research with Pacific Island governments and communities.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct evaluations from a critical research perspective makinguse of diverse and culturally appropriate methodologies. Experience in evaluating adaptive programs and complex governance projects will be looked upon favourably.
  • Current experience in resilient Climate Change and Disaster Risk management,
  • Technical expertise and experience in financing and planning for resilient and sustainable development.
  • Demonstrated experience in supporting and assessing strategies for inclusion of women and marginalised groups, including people living with a disability, and those marginalised by other intersecting social identities (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, living in rural or remote areas, etc.)

The team is expected to reflect a balance of gender. At least one person in the team should be from a Pacific Island country relevant to the project. Ideally the team will also reflect other diversities including lived experience with disability.

Required Skills and Experience

Educational Qualifications: • Minimum Master’s Degree in evaluation, international development, public policy, governance or other closely related field (10%) Experience • Relevant experience (minimum 4 years) to conduct evaluations from a critical research perspective making use of diverse and culturally appropriate methodologies (15%) • Experience in Theory of Change for complex systems programs (5%) • Technical expertise and experience in financing and planning for resilient and sustainable development (15%)

• Experience in monitoring evaluation or research with Pacific Island governments and communities (15%) • Experience in supporting and assessing strategies for inclusion of people including women and people marginalized by disability, age, geography, sexuality and other factors (10%) • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered as an asset Language requirements • Fluency in English (written and verbal) language is required

Added 3 months ago - Updated 3 months ago - Source: jobs.undp.org