Job Description :
This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for - the Midterm Review (MTR) of the full-d UNDP-supported GEF-financed project titled Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan Ecosystems (PIMS 3298) implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, with support of UNDP which is to be undertaken in 2021. The project started on the 1 April 2017 and is in its fourth year of implementation. This ToR sets out the expectations for the MTR. The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document2. PROJECT BACKGROUND INFORMATION 3. MTR PURPOSE
The MTR will assess progress towards the achievement of the project objectives and outcomes as specified in the Project Document, and assess early signs of project success or failure with the goal of identifying the necessary changes to be made in order to set the project on-track to achieve its intended results. The MTR will also review the project's strategy and its risks to sustainability.
MTR will identify challenges and outline corrective actions to ensure that the project is on track to achieve maximum results by its completion. The results and recommendations from the MTR will be used by UNDP and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, to design and implement strategy and action plan for achieving desired outcomes under the project. The process will also help identify potential challenges and risks that will affect the project delivery. The MTR will also lay the foundation for a strong Terminal Evaluation (TE).
Likewise, the other parts of the country the project landscapes have been affected from the on-going pandemic and hence the several measures have been undertaken by the project to support the stakeholders especially w.r.t sustainable livelihoods. MTR will also assess the viability of the interventions vis--vis the project outcomes and expected results, identify the challenges related to the same and suggest appropriate measures.4. MTR APPROACH & METHODOLOGY
The MTR report must provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The MTR shall be conducted by one International Consultant supported by two National Consultants (one is responsible to look at conservation and IWT related aspects and one for livelihoods related component).
The National Consultant - Livelihoods will support the Lead (International Consultant) in reviewing all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure/SESP), the Project Document, project reports including annual PIRs, project budget revisions, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based review. The National Consultant will review the baseline GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools submitted to the GEF at CEO endorsement, and the midterm GEF focal area Core Indicators/Tracking Tools that must be completed before the MTR mission begins.
The National Consultant is expected to follow a collaborative and participatory approachensuring close engagement with the Project Team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point), the UNDP Country Office(s), Regional Technical Advisor, direct beneficiaries, and other key stakeholders.
Engagement of stakeholders is vital to a successful MTR.Stakeholder involvement should include interviews (virtual if required) with stakeholders who have project responsibilities, including but not limited to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, State/UT Forest and Wildlife Departments, executing agencies, senior officials and task team/ component leaders, key experts and consultants in the subject area, Project Board, project stakeholders, academia, local government and CSOs, etc. Considering the recent outbreak of COVID-19 led restrictions, virtual tools may be used for stakeholder consultations and evidence-based reporting of results. However, the National Consultant- Livelihood is expected to conduct field missions to the UT of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim (India) following the COVID 19 guidelines issued by Central and State Governments.
The specific design and methodology for the MTR should emerge from consultations between the MTR team and the above-mentioned parties regarding what is appropriate and feasible for meeting the MTR purpose and objectives and answering the evaluation questions. However, gender-responsive methodologies and tools should be used to ensure that gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as other cross-cutting issues and SDGs are incorporated into the MTR report.
The final methodological approach including interview schedule, field visits and data to be used in the MTR must be clearly outlined in the Inception Report and be fully discussed and agreed between UNDP, stakeholders and the MTR team.
The final MTR report must describe the full MTR approach taken and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the review.
Considering the pandemic situation the MTR Lead (International Consultant) may not be able travel to or within the country for the MTR mission. The National Consultant- Livelihood should travel to the project states and landscapes. However, in case of travel restrictions (if any), the National Consultant in consultation with the team lead will develop a methodology that takes this into account the conduct of the MTR virtually and remotely, including the use of remote interview methods and extended desk reviews, data analysis, surveys and evaluation questionnaires. This should be detailed in the MTR Inception Report and agreed with the Commissioning Unit.
If a data collection/field mission is not possible then remote interviews may be undertaken through telephone or online (skype, zoom etc.). If all or part of the MTR is to be carried out virtually then consideration should be taken for stakeholder availability, ability or willingness to be interviewed remotely. In addition, their accessibility to the internet/computer may be an issue as many government and national counterparts may be working from home. These limitations must be reflected in the final MTR report.
Duties and ResponsibilitiesDETAILED SCOPE OF THE MTR
The National Consultant- Livelihood will assess the following four categories of project progress against Component II (Improved and diversified sustainable livelihoods for communities to reduce pressure on fragile ecosystems) and Component IV (Improved knowledge and information systems for promotion of landscape conservation approaches).
See the Guidance for Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for extended descriptions.i. Project Strategy
- 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. Were lessons from other relevant projects properly incorporated into the project design
- Review how the project addresses country priorities. Review country ownership. Was the project concept in line with the national sector development priorities and plans of the country (or of participating countries in the case of multi-country projects)
- Review decision-making processes: were perspectives of those who would be affected by project decisions, those who could affect the outcomes, and those who could contribute information or other resources to the process, taken into account during project design processes
- Review the extent to which relevant gender issues were raised in the project design. See Annex 9 of Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for further guidelines.
- Were relevant gender issues (e.g. the impact of the project on gender equality in the programme country, involvement of women's groups, engaging women in project activities) raised in the Project Document
- Review the impact of COVID in the landscape and on the project implementation
- If there are major areas of concern, recommend areas for improvement.
ii. Progress Towards Results
- 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.
- Are the project's objectives and outcomes or components clear, practical, and feasible within its time frame
- 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.
- Ensure broader development and gender aspects of the project are being monitored effectively. Develop and recommend SMART ‘development indicators, including sex-disaggregated indicators and indicators that capture development benefits, also considering the impact of COVID.
Progress Towards Outcomes Analysis:
Review the logframe indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets using the Progress Towards Results Matrix and following 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 each outcome make recommendations from the areas marked as 'Not on target to be achieved' (red).
Table. Progress Towards Results Matrix (Achievement of outcomes against End-of-project Targets)Project StrategyIndicatorBaseline LevelLevel in 1st PIR (self- reported)Midterm TargetEnd-of-project TargetMidterm Level & AssessmentAchievement RatingJustification for Rating Objective:
Indicator (if applicable):Outcome 2:
Indicator 2:Outcome 4:
Etc.Etc.Indicator Assessment Key
Yellow= On target to be achieved
Red= Not on target to be achieved
In addition to the progress towards outcomes analysis:
iii. Project Implementation and Adaptive Management
- Identify remaining barriers to achieving the project objective in the remainder of the project.
- By reviewing the aspects of the project that have already been successful, identify ways in which the project can further expand these benefits.
- Review overall effectiveness of project management as outlined in the Project Document. Have changes been made and are they effective Are responsibilities and reporting lines clear Is decision-making transparent and undertaken in a timely manner Recommend areas for improvement.
- Review the quality of execution of the Executing Agency/Implementing Partner(s) and recommend areas for improvement.
- Review the quality of support provided by the GEF Partner Agency (UNDP) and recommend areas for improvement.
- Do the Executing Agency/Implementing Partner and/or UNDP and other partners have the capacity to deliver benefits to or involve women If yes, how
- What is the gender balance of project staff What steps have been taken to ensure gender balance in project staff
- What is the gender balance of the Project Board What steps have been taken to ensure gender balance in the Project Board
- Review any delays in project start-up and implementation, identify the causes and examine if they have been resolved.
- Are work-planning processes results-based If not, suggest ways to re-orientate work planning to focus on results
- Examine the use of the project's results framework/ logframe as a management tool and review any changes made to it since project start.
Finance and co-finance:
- Consider the financial management of the project, with specific reference to the cost-effectiveness of interventions.
- Review the changes to fund allocations as a result of budget revisions and assess the appropriateness and relevance of such revisions.
- Does the project have the appropriate financial controls, including reporting and planning, that allow management to make informed decisions regarding the budget and allow for timely flow of funds
- Informed by the co-financing monitoring table to be filled out by the Commissioning Unit and project team, provide commentary on co-financing: is co-financing being used strategically to help the objectives of the project Is the Project Team meeting with all co-financing partners regularly in order to align financing priorities and annual work plans
Sources of Co-financing
Name of Co-financer
Type of Co-financing
Co-financing amount confirmed at CEO Endorsement (US$)
Actual Amount Contributed at stage of Midterm Review (US$)
Actual % of Expected Amount
- Include the separate GEF Co-Financing template (filled out by the Commissioning Unit and project team) which categorizes each co-financing amount as ‘investment mobilized or ‘recurrent expenditures. (This template will be annexed as a separate file.) Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems:
- Review the monitoring tools currently being used: Do they provide the necessary information Do they involve key partners Are they aligned or mainstreamed with national systems Do they use existing information Are they efficient Are they cost-effective Are additional tools required How could they be made more participatory and inclusive
- Examine the financial management of the project monitoring and evaluation budget. Are sufficient resources being allocated to monitoring and evaluation Are these resources being allocated effectively
- Review the extent to which relevant gender issues were incorporated in monitoring systems. See Annex 9 of Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for further guidelines. Stakeholder Engagement
- Project management: Has the project developed and leveraged the necessary and appropriate partnerships with direct and tangential stakeholders
- Participation and country-driven processes: Do local and national government stakeholders support the objectives of the project Do they continue to have an active role in project decision-making that supports efficient and effective project implementation
- Participation and public awareness: To what extent has stakeholder involvement and public awareness contributed to the progress towards achievement of project objectives
- How does the project engage women and girls Is the project likely to have the same positive and/or negative effects on women and men, girls and boys Identify, if possible, legal, cultural, or religious constraints on women's participation in the project. What can the project do to enhance its gender benefits Social and Environmental Standards (Safeguards)
- Validate the risks identified in the project's most current SESP, and those risks ratings are any revisions needed
- Summarize and assess the revisions made since CEO Endorsement/Approval (if any) to:
- The project's overall safeguards risk categorization.
- The identified types of risks (in the SESP).
- The individual risk ratings (in the SESP) .
- Describe and assess progress made in the implementation of the project's social and environmental management measures as outlined in the SESP submitted at CEO Endorsement/Approval (and prepared during implementation, if any), including any revisions to those measures. Such management measures might include Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMPs) or other management plans, though can also include aspects of a project's design refer to Question 6 in the SESP template for a summary of the identified management measures.
A given project should be assessed against the version of UNDP's safeguards policy that was in effect at the time of the project's approval.
- Assess how adaptive management changes have been reported by the project management and shared with the Project Board.
- Assess how well the Project Team and partners undertake and fulfil GEF reporting requirements (i.e. how have they addressed poorly-rated PIRs, if applicable)
- Assess how lessons derived from the adaptive management process have been documented, shared with key partners and internalized by partners.
Communications & Knowledge Management:
- Review internal project communication with stakeholders: Is communication regular and effective Are there key stakeholders left out of communication Are there feedback mechanisms when communication is received Does this communication with stakeholders contribute to their awareness of project outcomes and activities and investment in the sustainability of project results
- Review external project communication: Are proper means of communication established or being established to express the project progress and intended impact to the public (is there a web presence, for example Or did the project implement appropriate outreach and public awareness campaigns)
- For reporting purposes, write one half-page paragraph that summarizes the project's progress towards results in terms of contribution to sustainable development benefits, as well as global environmental benefits.
- List knowledge activities/products developed (based on knowledge management approach approved at CEO Endorsement/Approval).
- Validate whether the risks identified in the Project Document, Annual Project Review/PIRs and the ATLAS Risk Register are the most important and whether the risk ratings applied are appropriate and up to date. If not, explain why.
- In addition, assess the following risks to sustainability:
Financial risks to sustainability:
- What is the likelihood of financial and economic resources not being available once the GEF assistance ends (consider potential resources can be from multiple sources, such as the public and private sectors, income generating activities, and other funding that will be adequate financial resources for sustaining project's outcomes)
Socio-economic risks to sustainability
- Are there any social or political risks that may jeopardize sustainability of project outcomes What is the risk that the level of stakeholder ownership (including ownership by governments and other key stakeholders) will be insufficient to allow for the project outcomes/benefits to be sustained Do the various key stakeholders see that it is in their interest that the project benefits continue to flow Is there sufficient public / stakeholder awareness in support of the long-term objectives of the project Are lessons learned being documented by the Project Team on a continual basis and shared/ transferred to appropriate parties who could learn from the project and potentially replicate and/or scale it in the future
Institutional Framework and Governance risks to sustainability
- Do the legal frameworks, policies, governance structures and processes pose risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project benefits While assessing this parameter, also consider if the required systems/ mechanisms for accountability, transparency, and technical knowledge transfer are in place.
Environmental risks to sustainability
Conclusions & Recommendations (including recommendations for exit strategy)
- Are there any environmental risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project outcomes
Evidence-based conclusions, in light of the findings, should be a part of the MTR report.
Additionally, the National Consultant (as a part of the MTR 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. Recommendations should also be proposed for exit strategy for the project. A recommendation table should be put in the report's executive summary. See the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for guidance on a recommendation table.
There should be no more than 15 recommendations in total.Ratings
The ratings of the project's results and brief descriptions of the associated achievements will be recorded in a MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table in the Executive Summary of the MTR report. for ratings scales. No rating on Project Strategy and no overall project rating is required.
Table. MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table for SECURE Himalaya ProjectMeasureMTR RatingAchievement DescriptionProject Strategy
N/AProgress Towards Results
Objective Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 1 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 2 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 3 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 4 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Etc.Project Implementation & Adaptive Management
(rate 6 pt. scale)Sustainability
(rate 4 pt. scale)
The total duration of the assignment would be 36 working days over a time period of 04 months and shall not exceed three months from when the consultant(s) are hired. The tentative MTR timeframe is as follows:ACTIVITYNUMBER OF WORKING DAYS COMPLETION DATE
Document review and preparing MTR Inception Report (MTR Inception Report due no later than 2 weeks before the MTR mission)
20 December 2021
Review and finalization of Inception Report based on the comments received from the Commissioning Unit
10 January 2022
MTR mission: stakeholder meetings, interviews, virtual missions
28 February 2022
Presentation of initial findings- last day of the MTR mission
10 March 2022
Preparing draft report (due within 2 weeks of the MTR mission)
5 April 2022
Finalization of MTR report/ Incorporating audit trail from feedback on draft report (due within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on the draft)
30 April 2022
Options for site visits should be provided in the Inception Report.
Required Skills and Experience
MTR Inception Report
- MIDTERM REVIEW DELIVERABLES
MTR team clarifies objectives and methods of Midterm Review
No later than two weeks days before the MTR virtual mission
MTR team submits to the Commissioning Unit and project management
End of MTR mission
MTR Team presents to project management and the Commissioning UnitDraft MTR Report
Full draft report (using guidelines on content outlined in)) with annexes
Within two weeks of the MTR mission
Sent to the Commissioning Unit, reviewed by RTA, Project Coordinating Unit, GEF OFPFinal Report*
Revised report with audit trail detailing how all received comments have (and have not) been addressed in the final MTR report
Within 1 week of receiving UNDP comments on draft
Sent to the Commissioning Unit
*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.
- MTR ARRANGEMENTS
The principal responsibility for managing this MTR resides with the Commissioning Unit. The Commissioning Unit for this project's MTR is UNDP India Country Office.
The Commissioning Unit will contract the consultants and ensure the timely provision of per diems and all necessary arrangements for the MTR team and will provide an updated stakeholder list with contact details (phone and email). 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.
The MTR lead (International Consultant) will be responsible to conduct the MTR with the support of two national consultants. This will include designing appropriate methodology and strategy for carrying out this MTR. The National Consultant - Conservation will design the questionnaires related to Outcome 1 and Outcome 3 of the project for the interviews with the stakeholders and submit to the MTR lead. Considering the current COVID 19 situations in the country the Lead will undertake all the meetings and consultations virtually and shall not travel. The national consultant - Conservation shall travel in the select location in the project landscape and conduct field visits and support the Lead. The locations for field visits shall be finalized by the MTR team in consultation with the commissioning unit. The project teams shall facilitate the visit missions of national consultants.ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS
The MTR team will be composed of three consultants including 01 team leader (International Consultant) and 02 national consultants (one for conservation and one for livelihoods) who shall have prior experience in evaluating similar projects. The National Consultants will be expected to conduct field missions in the select locations of UT of Ladakh (Changthang landscape), Himachal Pradesh (Lahual and Pangi), Uttarakhand (Gangotri-Govind and Darma Byans) and Sikkim (Khangchendzonga - Upper Teesta Landscape). The MTR team leader (International Consultant) will be designated team leader and shall be responsible for the overall design and writing of the MTR report and as well as the overall quality of the final report submitted to UNDP. However, the National Consultants shall support the Lead in drafting the report including all the data gathered from the field mission and interviews. The two national evaluators and a lead MTR consultant will be recruited separately however, all three consultants shall form a team carrying out this MTR, under the overall guidance of the team leader and overall management of the Commissioning Unit.
The consultants cannot have participated in the project preparation, formulation, and/or implementation (including the writing of the Project Document) and should not have a conflict of interest with project's related activities.
The selection of the National Consultant - Livelihoods will be aimed at maximizing the overall 'team' qualities in the following areas:
Education (20% weightage)
- A Master's or Higher degree in Environment Sciences/Environment Policy/Biodiversity Conservation/Natural Resource Management/Social Sciences or any other related field
Experience (50% weightage)
- Minimum 10 years of relevant experience with result-based management evaluation methodologies
- Minimum 10 years of experience applying SMART indicators and reconstructing or validating baseline scenarios
- Competence in adaptive management, as applied to Biodiversity focal area, Natural Resource Based Livelihoods and strengthening of community institutions
- Minimum 07 years of experience in evaluating GEF projects in India
- Understanding of UNDP social and environmental standards and framework for application to project development and implementation
- At least 10 years of experience of working on sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and strengthening of community institutions. Understanding/experience of linking livelihoods with renewable energy solutions will be desirable
- Understanding of issues related to gender biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods, land degradation and sustainable forest management, experience in gender sensitive evaluation and analysis.
- Excellent communication skills
- Project evaluation/review experiences within United Nations system will be considered an asset
- Experience with implementing evaluations remotely will be considered an asset
- Good understanding of different geographies, socio-economy, environment and conservationissues in India and particularly in High Himalayas
- Fluency in written and spoken English.
The National Consultant will be held to the highest ethical standards and is required to sign a code of conduct upon acceptance of the assignment ().. This MTR will be conducted in accordance with the principles outlined in the UNEG ‘Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation. The National Consultant must safeguard the rights and confidentiality of information providers, interviewees and stakeholders through measures to ensure compliance with legal and other relevant codes governing collection of data and reporting on data. The National Consultant must also ensure security of collected information before and after the MTR and protocols to ensure anonymity and confidentiality of sources of information where that is expected. The information, knowledge and data gathered in the MTR process must also be solely used for the MTR and not for other uses without the express authorization of UNDP and partners.
- PAYMENT SCHEDULE
- 20% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final MTR Inception Report and approval by the Commissioning Unit
- 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the draft MTR report to the Commissioning Unit
- 40% payment upon satisfactory delivery of the final MTR report and approval by the Commissioning Unit and RTA (via signatures on the Clearance Form) and delivery of completed Audit Trail
Criteria for issuing the final payment of 40%:
- The final MTR report includes all requirements outlined in the MTR TOR and is in accordance with the MTR guidance.
- The final MTR report is clearly written, logically organized, and is specific for this project (i.e. text has not been cut & pasted from other MTR reports).
- The Audit Trail includes responses to and justification for each comment listed.
The Commissioning Unit is obligated to issue payments to the MTR team as soon as the terms under the ToR are fulfilled. If there is an ongoing discussion regarding the quality and completeness of the final deliverables that cannot be resolved between the Commissioning Unit and the MTR team, the Regional M&E Advisor and Vertical Fund Directorate will be consulted. If needed, the Commissioning Unit's senior management, Procurement Services Unit and Legal Support Office will be notified as well so that a decision can be made about whether or not to withhold payment of any amounts that may be due to the evaluator(s), suspend or terminate the contract and/or remove the individual contractor from any applicable rosters.
- Suggested additional text
In line with the UNDP's financial regulations, when determined by the Commissioning Unit and/or the consultant that a deliverable or service cannot be satisfactorily completed due to the impact of COVID-19 and limitations to the MTR, that deliverable or service will not be paid.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation and its implications, a partial payment may be considered if the consultant invested time towards the deliverable but was unable to complete to circumstances beyond his/her control.
Recommended Presentation of Proposal:CV
- APPLICATION PROCESS
and aPersonal History Form
()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)
Technically qualified consultants will be requested to submit their Lumpsum rate i.e. consultants who score more than 70% i.e. 49 marks with respect to the above-mentioned evaluation criteria.Consultant should not specify their consultancy fee on their CV or with the submission. The CV will not be evaluated further in case the consultant submits the same.
All application materials should be submitted to the address (fill address) in a sealed envelope indicating the following reference 'Consultant for (project title) Midterm Review' or by email at the
Engagement of the consultants should be done in line with guidelines for hiring consultants in the POPP:
Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.Criteria for Evaluation of Proposal:
Only those applications which are responsive and compliant will be evaluated. Offers will be evaluated according to the Combined Scoring method - where the educational background and experience on similar assignments will be weighted at 70% and the price proposal will weigh as 30% of the total scoring. The applicant receiving the Highest Combined Score that has also accepted UNDP's General Terms and Conditions will be awarded the contract.