International Consultant for UNDP-GEF Midterm Review -- UNDP, China

Location : Beijing, CHINA
Application Deadline :28-Feb-15
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required : English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :30 days
Expected Duration of Assignment :From April 15, 2015 to July 10, 2015

Strengthening the effectiveness of the protected area system in Qinghai Province, China to conserve globally important biodiversityimplemented through the Department of Forestry, Qinghai Province Government, China, which is to be undertaken in 2015. The project started on the Sep. 14, 2012 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 second Project Implementation Report (PIR). The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects (see Annex). 
The project was designed to:
As the fourth largest province in China, with a total area of 720,000 km2, Qinghai serves as a significant store of the national biodiversity, exhibits some unique high altitude grassland, mountain, wetland, desert and forest ecosystems, and serves as a significant controller of the Asian monsoon system that affects the climate of 3 billion people. The province includes the headwaters of three of Asia’s major rivers – the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers.
Although Qinghai lists 11 nature reserves totaling an impressive 31% of the territory, the existing protected area (PA) system lacks adequate balance – it shows significant gaps in ecosystem coverage and contains extensive overlap with other interests such as road construction, water diversion plans and herder community tenure rights. It also includes areas exhibiting serious land degradation resulting from a combination inter alia of overgrazing, engineering damage and climate change. Other problems facing the PA system include illegal gold mining and poaching, livestock fences interrupting wildlife migratory pathways, and aggressive pest control programmes aimed at small burrowing mammals but that also harm many collateral species.
The project will directly target barriers through a series of steps that aim to enhance PA system effectiveness. The global and national biodiversity significance of Qinghai’s PA system, its vital role as the catchment area for three major rivers, the nature and severity of on-going threats to the PA system and the persistence of important barriers limiting its effectiveness have led the Government to prioritise and present this project for GEF support. 
The project goal is to strengthen the effectiveness of the PA system in Qinghai Province, China to conserve globally important biodiversity. The project objective is to catalyse management effectiveness of Qinghai’s PA system to fulfill its purpose of conserving globally important biodiversity, by removing the barriers with three inter-related outcomes. The focus of the project is to strengthen the PA system in Qinghai to better protect a representative sample of its unique biodiversity and more effectively manage this PA network as a whole.
  • Outcome 1: Mainstreaming PA management objectives and needs into the provincial development and sector planning process;  
  • Outcome 2: Increasing PA management effectiveness through strengthened systemic, institutional and staff capacities;
  • Outcome 3:  Demonstration of effective PA management through local community involvement (co-management) in the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR).
Note: Some of the project sites are based on the high altitude areas between 1000 to 4000 meters plateau, the consultants should be aware of this, the healthy condition must suitable for altitude above 4500m on anoxic high plateau, please fully consider healthy issues before apply for the posts.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work and Key Tasks:
The MTR team will consist of two independent consultants that will conduct the MTR – one international consultant as the team leader and one national consultant as team expert.  
The MTR team will first conduct a document review of project documents (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, Project Document, ESSP, Project Inception Report, PIRs, Finalized GEF focal area Tracking Tools, Project Appraisal Committee meeting minutes, Financial and Administration guidelines used by Project Team, project operational guidelines, manuals and systems, etc.) provided by the Project Team and Commissioning Unit. Then they will participate in a MTR inception workshop to clarify their understanding of the objectives and methods of the MTR, producing the MTR inception report thereafter. The MTR mission will then consist of interviews and site visits to Qinghai Province of China.
The MTR team will assess the following four categories of project progress and produce a draft and final MTR report. See the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects ( for requirements on ratings. No overall rating is required.
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;
  • Review how the project addresses country priorities;
  • Review decision-making processes.
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;
  • 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.
Progress Towards Results:
  • Review the logframe indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets; populate the Progress Towards Results Matrix, as described in 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 the project objective and each outcome; make recommendations from the areas marked as “not on target to be achieved” (red);
  • 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;
  • 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:
Using the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; assess the following categories of project progress:
  • Management Arrangements;
  • Work Planning;
  • Finance and co-finance;
  • Project-level monitoring and evaluation systems;
  • Stakeholder Engagement;
  • Reporting;
  • Communications.
Assess overall risks to sustainability factors of the project in terms of the following four categories:
  • Financial risks to sustainability;
  • Socio-economic risks to sustainability;
  • Institutional framework and governance risks to sustainability;
  • Environmental risks to sustainability.
The MTR consultant/team will include a section in the MTR report setting out the MTR’s evidence-based conclusions,in light of the findings.
Additionally, the MTR consultant/team is expected to make recommendations to the Project Team. Recommendations should be succinct suggestions for critical intervention that are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. A recommendation table should be put in the report’s executive summary. The MTR consultant/team should make no more than 15 recommendations total. 
Expected Outputs and Deliverables:
The MTR consultant/team shall prepare and submit:
  • MTR Inception Report: MTR team clarifies objectives and methods of the Midterm Review no later than 2 weeks before the MTR mission;
  • Presentation: Initial Findings presented to project management and the Commissioning Unit at the end of the MTR mission;
  • Draft Final Report: Full report with annexes within 3 weeks of the MTR mission;
  • Final Report*: Revised report with annexed audit trail detailing how all received comments have (and have not) been addressed in the final MTR report. To be sent to the Commissioning Unit within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on draft.
*The final MTR report must be in English. If applicable, the Commissioning Unit may choose to arrange for a translation of the report into a language more widely shared by national stakeholders.
Institutional Arrangement:
The principal responsibility for managing this MTR resides with the Commissioning Unit. The Commissioning Unit for this project’s MTR is UNDP China Office.
The Commissioning Unit will contract the consultants and ensure the timely provision of per diems and travel arrangements within the country for the MTR team. The Project Team will be responsible for liaising with the MTR team to provide all relevant documents, set up stakeholder interviews, and arrange field visits. 
Duration of the Work:
The total duration of the MTR will be approximately (4 of weeks) starting from Mid-April and shall not exceed five months from when the consultant(s) are hired. The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows:
  • Feb. 28: Application closes;
  • Mar. 31: Selection of MTR Team;
  • April 15: Prep the MTR Team (handover of project documents);
  • April 30:  4 days: Document review and preparing MTR Inception Report;
  • May 5: 2 days: Finalization and Validation of MTR Inception Report- latest start of MTR mission;
  • June 1: 15 days: MTR mission: stakeholder meetings, interviews, field visits;
  • June 16: Mission wrap-up meeting & presentation of initial findings- earliest end of MTR mission;
  • June 1: 5 days: Preparing draft report;
  • June 15: 1 days: Incorporating audit trail on draft report/Finalization of MTR report;
  • June 30: Preparation & Issue of Management Response;
  • July 5: (optional) Concluding Stakeholder Workshop (not mandatory for MTR team);
  • July 10: Expected date of full MTR completion.
The date start of contract is (April 30).
Duty Station:
Identify the consultant’s duty station/location for the contract duration, mentioning all possible locations of field works/duty travel in pursuit of other relevant activities, specially where traveling to locations at security Phase I or above will be required.
  • International travel will be required to China during the MTR mission;
  • The Basic Security in the Field II and Advanced Security in the Field courses must be successfully completed prior to commencement of travel;
  • Individual Consultants are responsible for ensuring they have vaccinations/inoculations when traveling to certain countries, as designated by the UN Medical Director;
  • Consultants are required to comply with the UN security directives set forth under


Corporate Competencies:
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues related to gender and Biodiversity and ecosystem services management.
Functional Competencies:
  • Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Biodiversity and ecosystem services management;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Demonstrable analytical skills.

Required Skills and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in natural sciences, or other closely related field.
  • Work experience in relevant technical areas for at least 10 years;
  • Recent experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies;
  • Experience applying SMART targets and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios;
  • Experience working with the GEF or GEF-evaluations;
  • Experience in gender sensitive evaluation and analysis.
  • International consultant should have experience working in China or Asia;
  • Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluent in English.
Documents to be included when submitting application:
Financial Proposal:
Financial proposals must be “all inclusive” and expressed in a lump-sum for the total duration of the contract. The term “all inclusive” implies all cost (professional fees, travel costs, living allowances etc.):
  • For duty travels, the UN’s Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) rates are Xining and elsewhere of Qinghai Province of China, which should provide indication of the cost of living in a duty station/destination (Note: Individuals on this contract are not UN staff and are therefore not entitled to DSAs.  All living allowances required to perform the demands of the ToR must be incorporated in the financial proposal, whether the fees are expressed as daily fees or lump sum amount.);
  • The lump sum is fixed regardless of changes in the cost components.
Schedule of Payments:
  • 10% of payment upon approval of the MTR Inception Report;
  • 30% upon submission of the draft MTR Report;
  • 60% upon finalization of the MTR Report;
  • Or, as otherwise agreed between the Commissioning Unit and the MTR team.
Other Documents:
  • Completed Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  • Personal CV or a P11 Personal History form, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  • Brief description of approach to work/technical proposal of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a proposed methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment; (max 1 page)
  • Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.  If an applicant is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the applicant must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP.  See Letter of Confirmation of Interest template for financial proposal template.
Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration. Please group all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document.
Download Link:
Full Copy of TOR:
Offeror's Letter and Proposal:
P11 Personal Histroy Form:



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International Consultant for UNDP-GEF Midterm Review -- UNDP, China
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