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IC-074/21: International Consultant – Mid Term Evaluation
Procurement Process :IC - Individual contractor
Office :UNDP Country Office - IRAQ
Deadline :27-Sep-21
Posted on :13-Sep-21
Development Area :CONSULTANTS  CONSULTANTS
Reference Number :83193
Link to Atlas Project :
00089459 - Funding Facility for Stabilization
Documents :
Annex I - Terms of Reference
Annex II - General Terms and Conditions
Annex III - Letter of Interest and Financial Proposal
Annex IV - P11 Form
Overview :

TERMS of REFERENCE (ToR)

International Consultant – Mid Term Evaluation

Location:

Erbil, Iraq

Type of Contract:

Individual Contract

Contract Start Date:

14 October 2021

Contract End Date:

16 December 2021

Post Type:

International Consultant

 

1. Background

  1. Project summary

Project title:

Supporting recovery and stability through local development in Iraq.

Project overall objective:

To promote the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq.

UNDP Atlas Project ID:

00116195

UNDP Atlas Output ID:

00113449

EU agreement no:

MIDEAST/2018/399-609

Country and Geographical coverage:

Iraq: 9 Governorates - Anbar, Basra, Dohuk, Erbil, Missan, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Sulaymaniyah and Thi Qar.

Beneficiaries:

  • Ordinary Iraqi Citizens
  • Local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
  • Local authorities (Governorates and municipalities)

Date of Signature:

11 December 2018

(with EU)

17 February 2019 (inter-agency agreement among UNDP and UN-Habitat)

Project dates (UNDP):

(UN-Habitat):

Start: 01 January 2019

Planned end date: 31 December 2022

Start: 17 February 2019

Planned end date: 31 December 2022

Project budget:

Overall: EUR € 47,500,000 (Approx. USD 54,088,250.00)

 

UNDP: USD 33,773,419.04; UN-Habitat: USD 20,314,830.96

Resources mobilized:

USD 54,088,250.00 (as of 30 June 2021)

Project delivery:

 USD 11,105,882.42 (as of 30 June 2021)

Donors:

European Union (EU)

Implementing agencies:

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

  1. Brief context

Iraq has been suffering decades of violence and armed conflict, which intensified from 2014 with the invasion of IS. On 9th Dec 2017, after government forces gained control of the remaining territory on the border with Syria, former Prime Minister al-Abadi announced the victory over IS. With this, a hopeful new chapter has started for Iraq. Post-IS, attention turns to (i) rebuilding of communities and stabilization of liberated areas and (ii) developing a sound basis for long-term sustainable economic and social development of the country. Successful restoration of territorial control by the Government of Iraq renewed the opportunity to build an inclusive and accountable political system that serves all communities, regions, and beliefs, preserves the country's diversity, and enhances its democratic order. Asserting such a political system is essential to rebuilding the trust between the people and their Government and to avoiding a return to divisive sectarianism and radicalization of youth.

The institutional challenges are also manifested in the form of inefficient institutional performance due to a weak administrative system and low staff productivity, and financial and administrative corruption. The weak institutional capacity has, in turn, contributed to the inability to address the development constraints facing the country. Weak institutional performance is partly the result of the protracted conflict in Iraq. Among the underlying causes are endemic corruption, which siphons funds away from development and security priorities, and mismanagement of national assets and resources

Iraqi and international efforts to stabilize liberated areas have achieved significant progress – with over 3.8 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) having already returned to their areas of origin, mostly in a peaceful and orderly manner. Recent returns have been recorded mainly in the four governorates of Nineveh, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk, and Anbar. Nevertheless, much remains to be done to assist the remaining 2.05 million IDPs (of which 1.5 million are living outside camps) – as well as to support the return to the normal life of the millions of returnees and host populations. The IDP return process remains dynamic – with new and secondary displacements being recorded because of limitations in the shelter, basic services, education and healthcare services, and livelihoods opportunities as well as security concerns.

The poor management of Iraq’s immense oil wealth – along with the need for public finance reforms, improved accountability, fiscal transparency, and effective anti-corruption measures – are among the key constraints facing the country. Competition over the control of resources has exacerbated ethnic and sectarian divisions, with an ensuing deterioration in governance, security and state legitimacy.

Dominance of the public sector in the Iraqi economy has prevented the emergence of a vibrant private sector and the associated job creation necessary for enhancing the welfare of all Iraqis. Focus on state-owned enterprises discourages entrepreneurship, private sector development, and diversification – while the weakness of the private sector prevents it from being an engine of employment for youth.

  1. The project to be evaluated

The Support to Recovery and Stability through Local Development in Iraq project, also known as Local Area Development Programme III (LADP III), is a four-year project primarily funded by the European Union (EU) and jointly implemented in Iraq by UNDP and UN-Habitat with a combined budget of EUR 47,500,000.

Overall, the LADP III project aims to assist the Government of Iraq (GoI) to restore the legitimacy of the country's institutions and to renew the social contract between citizens by strengthening of local governments' functions and services is key to unlocking the blockages of the current post-conflict scenario and to mitigating the political risks linked to the elections held on May 12, 2018 and the unmet citizen grievances that could contribute to destabilizing the country.

Project activities focuses on enhancing local government systems by supporting decentralization processes; implementing selected local priority development projects already listed in the existing local development plans at provincial level and assisting returns and better living conditions in conflict/fragile areas, through the rehabilitation and upgrading of housing and community infrastructure and services.

 

 

 

  1. Objectives/results

The overall objective is to promote the stability and socio-economic development of Iraq.

The specific expected outcomes and related outputs are as follows.

SO-1:  Selected Governorates are able to manage effectively and transparently local government systems and public services

O.1.1: Decentralization of powers from central to local authorities – Law 21

O.1.2: Donor coordination mechanism established

O.1.3: Optimized Governorates’ revenue generation systems piloted

O.1.4: Strengthened dialogue between local authorities and civil society

SO-2:  Economic growth and job opportunities have increased in selected Governorates, with special focus on green projects involving youth and women

O.2.1: Local development projects and priority actions implemented deriving from Provincial Development Plans (PDPs) and Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPS).

O.2.2: Mechanism aimed at mobilizing additional funding created

SO-3:  Living conditions in conflict areas have improved and returnees are assisted

O.3.1: Damaged houses and public facilities rehabilitated in post-conflict areas, in line with the 2018 PRPs

O.3.2: On-the-job vocational training delivered and jobs for youth created in line with greener and safer construction technologies.

Overall, the LADP III project contributes to the following:

Applicable Key Result Area/output (2018-2021 UNDP Strategic Plan):

UNDP Outcome 2.1: Improved people-centered economic policies and legislation contribute to inclusive, gender sensitive and diversified economic growth, with focus on increasing income security and decent work for women, youth, and vulnerable populations.

UNDP Country Programme Document (CPD)

(2020-2024):

Output 2.1: Priority policies and partnerships approved and implemented for inclusive green economic growth and employment creation

Output 2.2: Access to livelihood and employment creation opportunities increased in locations affected by and vulnerable to conflict.

UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2020-2023

Domain of Change 1: Reduced spatial inequality and poverty in communities across the urban-rural continuum / Outcome 1: Increased and equal access to basic services, sustainable mobility, and public space; Outcome 2: Increased and secure access to land, and adequate and affordable housing.

Domain of Change 3: Strengthened climate action and improved urban environment/Outcome 3: Effective adaptation of communities and

infrastructure to climate change.

Domain of Change 4: Effective Urban Crisis Prevention and Response/Outcome 1: Enhanced social integration and inclusive communities; Outcome 2: Improved living standards and inclusion of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees through effective crisis response and recovery.

Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021):

Output 1.1.2: Marginalized groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and job

National Priority or Goal: Framework of Government Programme (2014-2018):

Priority/Goal 4: Provide the conditions for an enabling environment for all forms of investment and strengthen the role of the private sector.

Priority/Goal 7: Reduce unemployment and underemployment rates.

UNSDCF outcome involving UNDP:

Outcome 2.1: Improved people-centered economic policies and legislation contribute to inclusive, gender sensitive and diversified economic growth, with focus on increasing income security and decent work for women, youth, and vulnerable populations.

UNSDCF outcome involving UN-Habitat:

Strategic Priority 3: Promoting effective, inclusive, and efficient institutions and services / Outcome 3.1: Strengthened institutions and systems deliver people-centered, evidence and needs based equitable and inclusive gender- and age responsive services, especially for the most vulnerable populations, with particular focus on advocating for women’s leadership in decision-making processes.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

Full details of the LADP III project are available in the Project Document (PRODOC) accessible here: https://open.undp.org/projects/00116195

 

  1. Objectives
    1. Purpose and scope

UNDP and UN-Habitat proposes to conduct a Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) looking at its LADP III project since inception in January 2019 to June 2021.

The purpose of this external MTE is to conduct an evidence-based and highly consultative reflection on the LADP III project to enhance project performance and learning going forward. The evaluation findings and recommendations are expected to inform and improve decision-making relating to project implementation during the remaining period. 

Geographically, the MTE of the LADP III project will assess actions in project intervention areas specifically in the nine Iraqi target Governorates of Anbar, Basra, Dohuk, Erbil, Missan, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Sulaymaniyah and Thi Qar.

Mid-Term Evaluation stakeholders include individuals and organizations from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations, and development partners. The MTE consultant will be expected to contact these groups of stakeholders for data collection and/or consultations. Key findings and recommendations of the MTE will be shared with them for validation as relevant.

  1. Objectives of the Mid-Term Evaluation

The specific objectives of this external MTE are to:

  1. Appraise LADP III project achievements against its expected outputs and recommend ways to improve future partnerships with project's implementing partners/ target groups,
  2. Assess the appropriateness of the LADP III project design and management arrangements for achieving the stated objectives,
  3. Provide key learnings and inputs to the LADP III team and its partners, as well as the EU, regarding the implementation of the first half of the project, focusing on what works, what does not, quality of delivery, weaknesses and strengths, and the factors behind performance.
  4. Take stock of the overall LADP III project progress, achieved against the project’s expected results, and contribution towards relevant UNDP and UN-Habitat outcomes as outlined in respective Strategic Plans and Country Programme Documents.
  5. Provide recommendations on LADP III project design, interconnection/linkages between result areas, interventions, and processes with a view to improve quality performance during the second half of project implementation.
  6. Assess relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of the LADP III project.

The intended users of this MTE include:

  • LADP III project teams from UNDP and UN-Habitat and their respective senior management,
  • Government of Iraq counterparts,
  • EU Delegation,
  • Development partners, and
  • The general Iraqi public and beneficiaries.

Information from the evaluation will be used to:

  • improve the remaining phases of implementation of interventions,
  • improve future project design and implementation,
  • ensure accountability, and
  • increase knowledge and understanding of the benefits and challenges of similar interventions in future.

 

  1. CRITERIA AND KEY GUIDING QUESTIONS TO THE MID-TERM EVALUATION

The MTE will generate evidence of progress and challenges, helping to ensure accountability for the implementation of the LADP III project, as well as identifying and sharing knowledge and good practices during the remaining period.

Overall, the standard Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) evaluation criteria [1] will be the framework for the MTE. However, the focus will be on six criteria (relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, Impact, and sustainability), reflecting the timing, objectives, and scope of the MTE. Evaluation questions will be refined during the inception period of the MTE, in close consultation with the LADP III team and selected key stakeholders.

  1. Relevance: the extent to which LADP III project strategy, proposed activities and expected outputs and outcomes are justified and remain relevant to beneficiaries’ needs, country’s policies, and donor’s priorities. More specifically, the relevance of the project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • To what extent are the project interventions (i.e., the major activities) relevant to the needs of the recipients? To what extent are these interventions addressing/meeting the needs of target beneficiaries?
  • To what extent do the interventions remain relevant to the profile of project target beneficiaries?
  • To what extent are the interventions contextually relevant for the geographic locations where the project interventions are being implemented?
    1. Coherence: looks at the extent to which other interventions (particularly policies) support or undermine the intervention, and vice versa. More specifically, the coherence criteria of the LADP III project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • To what extent is the project coherent internally, especially considering the two implementing partners (UNDP and UN-Habitat) and the interlinkages within and between their respective result areas?
  • To what extent is the project coherent externally (strategically and operationally), especially considering national level priorities, other EU-funded projects interventions and those of other donors active in the recovery, stability and decentralization arena in Iraq?
    1. Effectiveness: looks at the extent to which expected outputs and outcomes of the LADP III project are expected to be achieved. It also includes those actual or potential factors contributing to or are likely to detract achievement of the desired results and objectives. More specifically, the effectiveness of the project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • What variations are there (if any) in the implementation of quality of the interventions? What works well, what does not, and why?
  • What are the major factors influencing the achievement or non-achievement of the results so far? How have barriers and bottlenecks been addressed? To what extent have the barriers/bottlenecks been reduced or mitigated?
  • Is the project responding to contextual opportunities? How are the current interventions (strategies) adapting to emerging trends to be more impactful?
  • To what extent are the needs and expectations of target beneficiaries being met to ensure sustainable recovery and employment?
    1. Efficiency: the extent to which LADP III project resources (funds, expertise/human resources, time, etc.) are optimally used and converted into intended outputs. More specifically, the efficiency of the project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • How efficient is the functioning of the project management, technical support, administrative, procurement and financial management procedures? To what extent have the project management structure and allocated resources been efficient in achieving the expected results?
  • To what extent has the project implementation been efficient and cost-effective?
  • To what extent have project funds and activities been delivered in a timely manner?
  • What is the visibility and communications strategy adopted by the project? Has it been cost-effective in terms of promoting the project and its achievements?
  • How is the project keeping track of project progress on expected outputs and outcomes? Does the monitoring and evaluation system put in place allow for continuous collection and analysis of quality and segregated data on expected outputs and outcomes?
    1. Impact:  looks at the extent to which LADP III project generated or is likely to bring differences at different levels directly or indirectly, positive, or negative, intended, or unintended or higher-level effects. Focus will on the changes/effects resulting from the project to strengthen resilience of sub-national authorities in the target governorates especially in relation to the reform agenda and decentralization in Iraq. More specifically, the impact of the project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • To what extent are there actual/potential benefits and negative effects (if any)? What actions could be taken to reverse any non-achievement?
  • What are the key achievements of the project in terms of policy, practice, and behavior change? What are main obstacles to achieving policy, practice, and behavior change? 
  • What countermeasures were taken against the unanticipated developments (if any) that affected the quality of the implementation?
  • To what extent are the project benefits felt or is likely to be felt at national and sub-national levels?
    1. Sustainability: analyzes whether benefits of an activities of LADP III project are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn. The project needs to be environmentally and financially sustainable. More specifically, sustainability of the project should be assessed through the following guiding questions:
  • To what extent are sustainability considerations (environmental footprint, mitigation measures, maintenance, etc.) being integrated into project implementation?
  • What components or which interventions of the project are likely to be sustainable and scalable? Why or why not?
  • What policy, strategy, partnership, managerial and financial changes are needed to sustain and scale project services and interventions?
  • To what extent are the project design strategies and components probable to produce sustainable impact after project duration? if not, how best can these be adjusted during the remaining phases?

 

  1. Cross-cutting themes looks at the extent to which LADP III project has endeavored to reflect gender mainstreaming for equality and inclusion of all diverse groups to “leave no one behind” through a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA). More specifically, the extent to which the LADP III project is applying a cross-sectional lens should be assessed through the following guiding questions:

Human Rights:

  • To what extent were groups with diverse identities considered during the design, implementation, and monitoring phase? Persons with differing characteristics should be considered based on their socio–economic class, political ideology, religious identity/ethnicity, physical ability, and other disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
  • To what is the project promoting a rights-based approach for all groups of persons, especially to promote international laws and commitments made by Iraq?
  • What are the avenues for improvements in promoting human rights standards across similar interventions in future?

Gender

  • To what extent has gender been mainstreamed within the design, implementation, and monitoring of the project? 
  • To what extent has the project promoted changes in gender equality and advanced the empowerment of women? Are there any unintended effects and what were its impact on the project and the community of engagement?
  • What are the avenues for improvement in considerations for gender and its intersectional effects across the project?

Disability

  • Were persons with disabilities consulted and involved in project planning and delivery?
  • What barriers are persons with disabilities facing during the project delivery?
  • Was a twin-track approach adopted?[2].

The above MTE guiding questions will be further refined by the consultant and jointly agreed with UNDP and UN-Habitat stakeholders.

  1. METHODOLOGY

The consultant will propose an appropriate MTE methodology and agree on a detailed plan for the assignment as part of the application process. The methodology will be further updated after the selection process is completed, and the inception report is developed. However, in general, the consultant should adopt an integrated approach involving mixed methods of data collection and analysis tools to capture both the quantitative and qualitative results and generate evidence to substantiate all findings.

Given the multi-governorate/city nature of the LADP III project activities, it is important that the consultant design a data collection methodology that is representative of all components of the project in Iraq and analyze in a consistent manner within the given timeframe. The methodology should be robust enough to ensure high quality, triangulation of data sources, and verifiability of information.

It is expected that the MTE methodology would include, but would not be limited to the following elements:

  • Desk review of the LADP III PRODOC, progress reports and other relevant documents.
  • In-depth interviews with key informants such as government officials, and members of local, national, coordination bodies; and questionnaires.
  • Focus Group Discussions with the targeted beneficiaries.
  • Interviews with the project teams, and senior management of UNDP and UN-Habitat.
  • Consultations with stakeholders engaging in project implementation including donors/ international partners, relevant national Implementing Partners, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), contractors etc.
  • Survey with sample and sampling frame (if a sample is used). This could include the sample size and characteristics; the sample selection criteria; the process for selecting the sample (e.g., random, purposive).

All field-related work and relevant logistical arrangements should be made by the consultant and are under its his/her responsibility. Identification and selection of beneficiaries and government stakeholders will be done independently by the consultant. Assistance will be provided by the joint UNDP/UN-Habitat LADP III project team in contacting key stakeholders and in facilitating the schedule of interviews, focus groups and site visits, when and where required.

In case of extreme and unavoidable challenges occasioned by COVID-19 health pandemic related international travel restrictions affecting field visits, the issue will be discussed and handled jointly between the MTE commissioner/s and the consultant.

Findings from the above assessment tools will be triangulated to appraise and conclude findings. All analysis must be based on observed facts, evidence, and data. Findings should be specific and concise and supported by information that is reliable and valid. Cross-cutting issues and the SDGs should be integrated into the final MTE report. The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the MTE should be clearly outlined in the inception report and fully discussed and agreed between UNDP and UN-Habitat key stakeholders and the evaluator.

The consultant will be assisted by respective LADP III Project Managers. An Evaluation Reference Group (ERG) will be constituted comprising of key internal and external project stakeholders[3] who will review and comment on the inception and MTE reports.