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The 'Strengthening Resilience of Pacific Island States through Universal Social Protection’ (SP) programme is a joint initiative by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and Governments in Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. The Joint Programme is being implemented in these four Pacific Islands and Territories (PICTs), from June 2020 to December 2021.

The four PICTs are among the most fragile Small Island Developing States (SIDS) due to their isolated geography, small economies and vulnerability (to climate change and external shocks). With limited economic opportunities, quality of life for many of the local people have deteriorated with increased, poverty, social exclusion and inequality. An increased number of local people are facing economic hardships unable to meet basic needs. Urbanisation and monetization are changing lifestyles and social dynamics creating new forms of hardships, such as high costs of living and lack of access to basic services and decent employment opportunities. Increased non-communicable diseases, alcohol abuse and domestic violence are key concerns.

Social Protection (SP) is relatively novel in the four PICTs, and existing SP initiatives are fragmented and limited in scope. The SP Joint Programme (JP) aims at increasing resilience through viable and financially sustainable SP systems that will address life cycle vulnerabilities, strengthen SP floors and enhance employability. The objective is to develop universal, evidence-based, nationally owned SP systems and introduce SP floors to help accelerate SDG progress through integrated programming and Leaving No One Behind. Government ownership and leadership are critical for sustainable inclusive SP systems. The SP governance structure involves a Multi-Country Steering Committee (MCSC) and a Technical Committee for each of the four PICTs. The Technical Committee will be actively involved with steering the implementation of the Joint Programme.

In line with the principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the outcomes of the UNDP Pacific Strategy 2018-2022, the Social Protection Joint Programme (SP-JP) will work through five strategic interventions in developing and strengthening of coherent SP frameworks and systems - data and evidence; inclusive participation and partnerships; sustainable finance; institutional coordination and capacity; and outreach. Inclusive SP systems will include fiscally sustainable social insurance schemes for the active population seeking or holding jobs, self-employed or voluntarily contributing; non-contributive social welfare (child allowance, social safety nets and social services) for all people in need; as well as labour market interventions to facilitate access to jobs and incomes. SP will be evidence based (including using digital data and innovative data systems), developed and implemented through participatory consultations, have equitable financing mechanisms, forge strong partnerships with stakeholders including faith, community based organizations and the private sector, induce smarter institutional coordination, bolster capacity for implementation, and expand outreach.

The Social Protection Joint Programme (SP-JP) has four outcomes:

• Outcome 1: Universal, inclusive & equitable SP systems Leave No One Behind. Introduction of SP floors and design of contributive and non-contributive schemes to respond to multidimensional vulnerability.

• Outcome 2: SP floors are efficiently and effectively administered (financial management, institutional framework and capacity, evidence-based planning drawing on robust information management systems). Digital data and information management systems in all four countries will strengthen integrity of the SP system, keep SP equitable, responsive and geared to inclusive distribution of resources while increasing efficiency and effectiveness of delivery set up. Data innovation will be used including through the mechanisms that the Pacific Pulse Lab will develop to measure poverty and address vulnerability of 250,000 people in the four countries.

• Outcome 3: Financial inclusion enables low transaction cost transfers of SP benefits. Payment system for all benefits through banks and involving mobile banking will be designed. Individual accounts will also collect remittances. Monthly revenues will be used to guarantee borrowing for small business start-ups. Efficiency gains due to low transaction costs will be an indirect benefit.

• Outcome 4: Increased resilience as disability, gender, youth and climate related contingencies are being mainstreamed. While SP floors will be developed, emphasis will be placed on labour market integration of job seekers including persons living with disabilities, school dropouts, women and youth more generally. Also, as natural hazards and other climate change-related risks impact the poor more significantly, recognizing the solidarity nature of the SP systems, specific benefits will be designed to help individuals and households recover from disasters.

Owing to its wide scope that spans life-cycle vulnerabilities, the developed and strengthened SP floors are expected to improve human development indices, reduce inequalities; and support skills development and employment generation. Income security will reduce poverty and hunger, minimize inequalities and ensure equitable access to basic services. Inclusive, rights-based SP floors will empower women, remove discrimination in access to services and facilitate access to decent work for all including persons with disabilities, school dropouts, youth and women.


Niue is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of 1,719 (as of 2017), and annual population growth of 1.2%. Ninety three percent (93%) of the population considered Niue to be their place of usual residence. The population is comprised of 28.1% at the ages of 0-14 years (children and adolescents), 10.1% at the ages of 15-24 (youths), 43.4% at the ages of 25-59 (working group), and 18.4% at the ages of 60 years and above (retirees). With a combined land area of 261 km2, the country consists of 14 villages; the majority of the population reside in the villages of Alofi South (24%), Tamakautoga (12%) and Hakupu (11%).

Niue has been a self-governing country in ‘free association’ with New Zealand since 1974. Niueans are New Zealand citizens. It has adopted a Westminster system of government (parliamentary democracy) with elections held every three years. As part of the Realm of New Zealand, Niue has benefited from this close relationship, with New Zealand providing significant technical and financial assistances. This includes the New Zealand government providing critically needed grants to assist with budget shortfalls.

Niue’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is estimated at USD24,678 (2019). Public administration, defence and compulsory social security (29%); agriculture, forestry and fishing (17%); and wholesale and retail trade, and repairs of motor vehicles and motorcycles (17%) are GDP major contributors. Tourism development has been targeted as a main driver of economic growth. The labour force participation rate is 77% (785 employed), and the unemployment rate is low (0.4%) (2017 figures). The majority of the employed population are in informal employment in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Paid employment exists mainly in the government sector and in a few small industries. Women have a lower labour participation rate (lower by 17%) than men.

‘A prosperous Niue’ is the government’s vision for its people; to be achieved through the mission of ‘working together to protect the people and the environment’ (Niue National Strategic Plan 2016-2026). In this national plan, the government identifies ensuring that ‘there are sufficient resources available for the necessary basic rights of all residents’, including provisions for health, education, infrastructure and other essential public services as its priorities.

The social protection system in Niue comprises mainly of health assistance, old age pension benefits, and social transfers. Non-contributory community health consistent of free health services and a pension benefit (an unconditional cash transfer) for persons 60 years and older are provided. Child allowance is provided for school up to age 18 children based on a conditional cash transfers of NZD340 per year. There is a newborn and infant grant of NZD1,000 paid to mothers. Welfare disability for persons living with disabilities through universal conditional cash transfers, and a welfare special benefit for young mothers, elderly carers and temporary employed (or those who have lost their jobs due to illness) are included.

Evidence on the impacts of existing social protection schemes and programmes in Niue is limited. There is little information about the effectiveness and coverage levels of existing social protection schemes and programmes, as well as areas for improvements. The SP-JP will support the strengthening of social protection systems in Niue - through the conducting of a review of existing systems and identification of needed improvements - in order to build and enhance evidence-based nationally owned social protection systems for Niue.

Duties and Responsibilities

To assist with the implementation of the SP-JP component in Niue, UNDP is seeking the service of a qualified consultant to work with the UNDP and the SP-JP Niue Technical Committee in the review of existing social protection systems and coverage gaps in Niue.


The objectives of the consultancy are to:

i). Carry out a stock take of social protection systems (social protection floors, policies, laws, schemes, coverage, budget, operating and administrative, monitoring and evaluation systems, etc.) in Niue; and

ii). Conduct a comprehensive review of the social protection systems in Niue for the identification of gaps, implementation and administrative issues, and areas for improvement.


To achieve the above objectives, the Consultant is expected to ensure the effective and efficient performance and completion of the following tasks:

i). Carry out a complete stock take of all SP systems (social protection floors, frameworks/policies, laws, schemes, coverage, budget and fiscal space, operating and administrative systems, monitoring and evaluation systems, etc.) in Niue.

ii). Carry out the required consultations with stakeholders on the review of social protection systems in Niue including the Disability Reference Group and disability stakeholders.

iii). Carry out a comprehensive review of the SP systems in Niue through the lens of inclusiveness, equity, financial sustainability, gender sensitivity, and disability inclusion and prioritized areas for improvements. The review must encompasses all required components of the SP systems.

iv). The Review must address the following areas:

• Views of key stakeholders on the SP systems in Niue.

• Strengths and weaknesses of the SP systems, which will include a benchmark of the SP systems in Niue against key components of a universal SP system.

• Gap analysis of existing SP systems inclusive of SP Floors – policies/frameworks, laws, schemes, coverage, fiscal space and budget, governance, operating and administrative systems, extent of effective and efficient implementation, monitoring and evaluation systems, implementation deficiencies, capacity gaps, etc.

• A gender-sensitive analysis of the SP systems in Niue.

• A disability inclusive analysis of SP systems in Niue.

• Contribution of both the formal and informal systems (current and potentials) to the social protections systems in Niue.

• Consideration of disaster risk and emergency informed social protection benefits and services integrated in social protection floors. This includes a review of Social Protection measures introduced as part of the COV-19 stimulus package.

v). Prepare and submit the following requirements as part of the Review’s recommendations:

• Prioritized recommendations on areas needing improvement.

• An implementation plan outlining the strategies, actions, and budget.

• Required arrangements for the implementation of the recommended areas for improvement.

• A Business case for the submission and presentation of the proposed recommendations to the Government of Niue for decision-making.

vi). Seek other expert inputs on the Review of the Social Protection Systems for Niue.

vii). Present the Review of the SP systems in Niue to the key stakeholders including Niue Technical Committee and the Multi Country Steering Committee (MCSC).

viii). Ensure incorporation of expert, stakeholder, MCSC and Technical Committee inputs into the finalisation of the Review of the Social Protections in Niue.


Functional Competencies:

  • Strong policy knowledge and skills.
  • Strong analytical skills and critical thinking skills.
  • Excellent research and evaluative skills.
  • Excellent report writing skills.
  • Excellent inter-personal and teamwork skills, networking skills, and proven ability to work well in multicultural environments.
  • Excellent facilitation and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with various partners including government, civil society, the private sector, UN agencies, development partners, and communities.
  • Strong interpersonal and cross-cultural skills and ability to foster relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Ability to work under pressure, effectively coordinate others and meet tight deadlines without compromising the quality of work.

Corporate Competencies:

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

Required Skills and Experience

  • Minimum Master’s degree in Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Law, Public administration, Social Policy and/or related social sciences.
  • At least 10 years of work experience at international level in Social protection, Social sciences, Sociology, Development economics, Poverty reduction, and/or Labour market and skills development at theoretical and practical levels in the field.
  • Proven experience in providing policy and programming advice in the area related to Social Protection, Social Security, Welfare and Well-being.
  • Proven track record of experience in undertaking policy development and strengthening work.
  • Substantial experience in research related to social protection, poverty reduction, analyzing poverty and vulnerability, etc.
  • Relevant work experience in the Pacific Islands is a strong advantage.
  • Relevant work experience in developing countries in a multi stakeholder environment with a development organization, Government, civil society, private sector, or a research/academic institution.
  • Sound understanding of project results-based management would be an asset.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English required.

Evaluation Criteria

The assessment of individual consultants will be in accordance combined total weighting of the evaluation criteria as per below of:

  • 70% for Technical; and
  • 30% for Financial.

Technical Evaluation Criteria will be based on the information provided in the CV and relevant documents that are to be submitted as evidence to support the above required criteria.

Only the top candidates that have achieved a minimum of 49 points (70% of 100 points) will be deemed technically compliant and their financial proposal considered.

The technical competencies will be assessed as per follows:


Evaluative points

Education 10 marks

  • Minimum Master’s degree in Political science, Sociology, Economics, Law, Public administration, Social Policy and/or related Social sciences.


Experience 80 marks

  • At least 10 years of work experience at international level in social protection, social sciences, sociology, development economics, poverty reduction, and/or labour market and skills development at theoretical and practical level in the field.


  • Proven experience in providing policy and programming advice in the area related to Social Protection, Social Security, Welfare and Well-being.


  • Proven track record of experience in undertaking policy development and strengthening work.


  • Substantial experience in research related to social protection, poverty reduction, analyzing poverty and vulnerability, etc.


  • Relevant work experience in developing countries in a multi stakeholder environment with a development organization, government, civil society, private sector, or a research/academic institution.


  • Relevant work experience in the Pacific Islands is a strong advantage.


Other Relevant Requirements 10 marks

  • Sound understanding of project results-based management would be an asset.


  • Proficiency in English.




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