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Title

International Consultant for a Mid-term Evaluation of the UNDP-GEF Medium-Size Project (MSP): Catalyzing financial sustainability of protected areas in Montenegro

Posted
Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Nature Conservation, Ecology, GIS
Location
Town/City Podgorica, MONTENEGRO
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Full Time
Level Mid Level
Deadline 14/11/2011
Company Name UNDP
Contact Name Human Resources
Website Further Details / Applications
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Directory Entry : UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. For environmental jobs with UNDP visit their website. Or for more environmental jobs search environmentjobs.com
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Description
Location : Podgorica, MONTENEGRO
Application Deadline : 14-Nov-11
Type of Contract : Individual Contract
Post Level : International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
21-Nov-2011
Duration of Initial Contract : 1 month
Expected Duration of Assignment : 20 days

Background

UNDP in Montenegro, as one of the implementing agencies for the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), has begun the implementation and coordination of a number of GEF funded projects. These include: the First National Communication to the UNFCCC secretariat, the Biodiversity Strategy-Action Plan and National Report, the Power Sector Policy Reform to Promote Small Hydropower Development in Montenegro and now also a project on Strengthening the Sustainability of the Protected Areas System of Montenegro and Catalyzing financial sustainability of Protected Areas (PA).
The idea for strengthening the sustainability of the protected area system of Montenegro emerged as a major systematic effort to assist in capacity development of institutions and individuals mandated with protected, conservation and management of protected areas.
The main objectives of this project are to expand and rationalize the protected area system in order to ensure better habitat representation and more secure conservation status as well as to strengthen the capacity of protected area institutions to more effectively manage a representative system of protected areas.
Under the project “Catalyzing financial sustainability of protected areas in Montenegro’’ UNDP will assist in capacity development of institutions and individuals mandated with protection, conservation and management of protected areas. This project will improve the financial sustainability of the PA system in MNE through enabling a legal and policy environment for improvement financial sustainability, securing revenue streams for PA, and development of institutional and individual capacities of PA institutions to raise PA management cost-effectiveness.

 

Duties and Responsibilities

Objectives of the assignment:

Mid-term evaluations are intended to identify potential project design problems, assess progress towards the achievement of objectives, identify and document lessons learned (including lessons that might improve design and implementation of other UNDP/GEF projects), and to make recommendations regarding specific actions that might be taken to improve the project. It is expected to serve as a means of validating or filling the gaps in the initial assessment of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency obtained from monitoring. The mid-term evaluation provides the opportunity to assess early signs of project success or failure and prompt necessary adjustments. To this end, the MTE will serve to: 

  1. Strengthen the adaptive management and monitoring functions of the project;
  2. Enhance the likelihood of achievement of the project and GEF objectives through analyzing project strengths and weaknesses and suggesting measures for improvement; 
  3. Enhance organizational and development learning; 
  4. Enable informed decision-making;
  5. Create the basis of replication of successful project outcomes achieved so far.

Job content:

UNDP/GEF wishes to contract a consultant to carry out a mid-term evaluation of the project “Catalyzing Financial Sustainability of Montenegro Protected Areas System”.
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) policy at the project level in UNDP/GEF has four objectives: 

  1. To monitor and evaluate results and impacts; 
  2. To provide a basis for decision making on necessary amendments and improvements;
  3. To promote accountability for resource use; and
  4. To document, provide feedback on, and disseminate lessons learned.

A mix of tools is used to ensure effective project M&E. These might be applied continuously throughout the lifetime of the project, e.g. periodic monitoring of indicators, or as specific time-bound exercises such as mid-term reviews, audit reports and independent evaluations.
In accordance with UNDP/GEF M&E policies and procedures, all projects with long implementation periods are strongly encouraged to conduct mid-term evaluations. In addition to providing an independent in-depth review of implementation progress, this type of evaluation is responsive to GEF Council decisions on transparency and better access of information during implementation.

The evaluation will address:

The conceptual design of the project: The evaluation will examine whether the project design, outcomes, indicators, targets, risk and assumptions that were revised and agreed upon, as necessitated by the changing geopolitical situation, during the Inception Workshop are still relevant in the context of the country's changing circumstances. The expert should evaluate how the UNDP managed the changed environment in terms of designing and agreeing on the new set of goals and activities within the project, whether these reflect major national priorities, whether these have been designed clearly/in a results-oriented manner and whether these were realistic. The evaluation should review the extent to which the objectives, outputs, and expected results of the project as designed initially were realistic. Review remaining project activities and schedule and assess realistic duration for remaining activities. Assess the results and achievements of the project since its start. In particular, the evaluation should focus on the following aspects:

  • Assess whether the project has produced its outputs effectively and efficiently and identify the major factors, which have facilitated or impeded the progress of the project in achieving its goal and desired results;
  • Determine the degree of support given to the project at the national and local level;
  • Review and assess the project delivery and implementation progress to achieve the overall objectives and also assess each outcome against the baseline and target values;
  • Assess and rate sustainability - the extent to which the benefits of the project will continue, within or outside the project domain, after it has come to an end.

Effectiveness of the approach used to produce the project results:

  • Review the management structure of the project and determine whether the organizational structure of the project, the resource, the distribution of responsibilities and coordination mechanisms were appropriate for the achievement of project objectives;
  • Review the project strategy and approach to ensure sustainability beyond the project period;
  • Assess whether these organizational arrangements were cost effective;
  • Assess the support and roles of teams at UNDP CO level, project management level, and international/local Consultants.

The efficiency of project management:

  • Assess the efficiency of the approach used in planning, organizing, and controlling the delivery of inputs;
  • Evaluate the agreements made on the inception workshop and PMB;
  • Assess the coordination and communication process (incl. the information flows) between the various stakeholders of the project;
  • Assess and update the monitoring tools currently being used including validation of its efficiency, information generated, key partners involved;
  • Determine whether the project document was explicit enough on the above and whether sufficient funding was earmarked.

The impacts on/views of the direct beneficiaries and stakeholders:

  • Assess the degree of involvement of various stakeholders in the project implementation process;
  • To the extent possible, the evaluation will collect the views and impressions of beneficiaries;
  • Assess to what extent the project managed to build national and local level ownership;
  • Assess the impact of the project on the main beneficiaries, policies and the physical environment, etc;
  • To the extent possible highlight linkages (direct or indirect with other government or donor supported projects);
  • Assess involvement and contributions of national staff of implementing and cooperating/responsible partners.

Findings and lessons learned:

  • Produce, as logically and objectively as possible, significant conclusions that are extracted from the evaluation in terms of project overall goals, approach, relevance, performance, success, failure, strengths, and weaknesses;
  • Highlight the major problems, shortcomings, and weaknesses in order of importance and validity to resolve.

Recommendations:

  • Outline the recommendations for corrective actions by the parties involved. The recommendations must be objective, realistic, practical, understandable and forward looking;
  • Link the recommendations logically to the findings; taking into consideration their impact on the improvement of project performance and accomplishments of its objectives;
  • Classify the recommendations into categories, if possible, by order of importance;
  • Recommend realistic duration for implementation of remaining project activities;
  • Recommend new projects activities that could be included in the second part of project implementation;
  • The evaluation will consult with main stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project such as:                                            - Project Board Members, implementing and cooperating/responsible partners, local community (Municipality of Andrijevica, Kolasin, Pluzine); project partners and donor communities operation in Montenegro, project staff and national staff of implementing and cooperating partners

Scope of the Evaluation:

The evaluation will cover all the GEF, UNDP and Government of Montenegro funded components and their implementation since the start of the project in Montenegro as well the in-kind and parallel government contribution included in the project document. It covers relevance of the project, quality of project design, efficiency of implementation, effectiveness to date, partners’ perception of change and potential sustainability. It assesses the achievements of the project with respect to the relevance of its objectives and the attainability of its outcomes. It assesses the project design including, to what extent the assumptions/risks outlined in the logical framework are valid and identifies external factors beyond the control of the project that affected it negatively or positively. Special emphasis is placed on the degree to which the project has succeeded in carrying out the activities outlined in the logical framework. It will also assess lessons learnt and make recommendations for way forward to ensure national/local ownership and effectiveness in achievement of project results.

The expected results:

  • Detailed methodology, work plan and outline;
  • Mid-term evaluation report with findings;
  • Lessons learned and recommendations for improvement, including recommendations for the revision of project strategy, approach, outputs and activities, if necessary;
  • Recommendations for a strategy for future replication of the project approach for other types of the biodiversity projects, for other countries in the region;
  • Description of best practices, and an “action list” in a certain area of particular importance for the project.

Methodology or Evaluation Approach:

The project progress and achievements will be tested against the following GEF evaluation criteria:

  • Relevance – the extent to which the activity is suited to local and national development priorities and organizational policies, including changes over time;
  • Effectiveness – the extent to which an objective has been achieved or how likely it is to be achieved;
  • Efficiency – the extent to which results have been delivered with the least costly resources possible;
  • Results/impacts – the positive and negative, and foreseen and unforeseen, changes to and effects produced by a development intervention. In GEF terms, results include direct project outputs, short-to medium term outcomes, and longer-term impact including global environmental benefits, replication effects and other, local effects;
  • Sustainability – the likely ability of an intervention to continue to deliver benefits for an extended period of time after completion. Projects need to be environmentally as well as financially and socially sustainable.

Timing and reporting:

Preparatory phase: second half of November, 2011
Desktop review: first half of December, 2011
Field visit: December 12 - 17, 2011
Final report: end of December, 2011

Time duration and travel:
The consultant will be engaged immediately upon the completion of the selection procedure. It is expected to start MTE and complete it in a maximum of 20 working days, until the end of December, 2011.
The proposed dates for the (one) in-country mission to Montenegro are from December 12 – 17, 2011. The assignment is to be completed by the end of December, 2011.

 

Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UN/UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills;
  • Demonstrates ability to manage complexities and work under pressure, as well as conflict resolution skills.

 

Required Skills and Experience

  • University degree in Biodiversity Conservation, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Economics or other related areas;
  • Minimum of 5 years of working experience in the relevant field;
  • Recent experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  • Experience applying participatory monitoring approaches;
  • Recent knowledge of the GEF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy is an asset;
  • Recent knowledge of UNDP’s results-based evaluation policies and procedures an asset;
  • Demonstrable analytical skills;
  • Experience with multilateral or bilateral supported similar projects;
  • Fluency in English language with excellent communication skills (oral, written and presenting);
  • Knowledge of the local language would be an asset.
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