International Consultant on evaluation of the Government of Turkmenistan – United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021-202

  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / YEAR
  • Job type:
    CONTRACTOR
  • Posted:
    2 months ago
  • Category:
    Audit and Oversight, Democracy and Governance, Economics, Environment and Natural Resources, Evaluation
  • Deadline:
    14/03/2024

JOB DESCRIPTION

Result of Service
Scope of Evaluation: Thematic scope: The Evaluation covers all contributions to the UNSDCF 2021-2025 outcomes of all programmes, projects and activities at national and regional level for the UNSDCF period from January 2021 to June 2024 conducted by the UNCT including FAO, ILO, IOM, ITC, OHCHR, UNDP, UNDRR, UNECE, UNEP, UNESCAP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNODC, UNOPS and WHO. At the same time, the UNSDCF evaluation shall not seek to conduct a full evaluation of individual programmes, projects, or activities of UNCT members, but rather synthesise and build on the programme and project evaluations conducted by each agency. Where possible, the UNSDCF evaluation shall learn from the results of evaluations and mid-term reviews of country programmes of some UN agencies conducted during the UNSDCF period. Therefore, the UNSDCF Evaluation Team shall work in close coordination with the respective evaluation teams to avoid duplication of efforts, promote synergies and efficiencies throughout the process. The UNSDCF 2021-2025 evaluation will assess, among others, the UNSDCF cross-cutting priorities and global UN programming principles such as LNOB, human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women, disability inclusion and youth participation, environmental sustainability, and results-based management. The Evaluation will consider the changed national context, if any, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, regional political instability, national demographic trends, including migration, and conflicts. Geographic scope of the evaluation: Since UN agencies are active in various regions of the country, ideally, this evaluation shall represent various parts of Turkmenistan. Therefore, focus areas for evaluation will be decided based on geographic representation (i.e. UN supports that have wide geographic coverages). However, considering the budget availability, areas with a high UN presence will be prioritized. Time-scope: The UNSDCF evaluation will cover the implementation period from January 2021 to June 2024. Users of the evaluation findings: The primary users of the evaluation are the UNCT, including non-resident UN agencies, the Government and Parliament of Turkmenistan, Office of the Ombudsperson, national research institutions, and in particular the line ministries – members of the UNSDCF Results Groups, and civil society. In addition, bilateral and multilateral donors, and the broader development partners are also seen as important audience of the evaluation. Evaluation Methodology and Approach The evaluation will assess the progress of the UNSDCF 2021-2025 implementation, relevance to the country’s development needs and the targeted vulnerable populations, current national context and global commitments of the country, effectiveness of management arrangements and status of the UNSDCF budget. The focus span of the evaluation will be the results achieved during the 3.5 years of UNSDCF implementation, lessons learnt, validate identified areas for UN Joint Programmes, progress on and likelihood of mobilizing resources envisaged in the UNSDCF, analyse challenges and opportunities, and based on that recommend the way forward to design the next UNSDCF for the period 2026 – 2030. The methodological approach will be to review the UNSDCF progress from the perspective of the key criteria suggested by https://www.unevaluation.org/document/download/3737 or UNSDCF Evaluation Guidelines – Engl – Revised July 2022.pdf (adobe.com). Evaluation criteria and evaluation questions The evaluation criteria to be used are relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, coherence, sustainability, coordination and orientation towards impact. The evaluator may adapt the evaluation criteria and questions, upon agreement between the Evaluation Manager (and Evaluation Management Team) and the evaluator as reflected in the Inception Report. The final evaluation questions and evaluation matrix will be finalised by the Evaluation Team in the Inception Report based on feedback from the Evaluation Management Team. Relevance and adaptability 1. To what extent the UNSDCF strategic priorities are consistent with the country’s long- and mid-term national priorities and needs such as human capital development, governance and institutional capacity strengthening, climate change mitigation and adaptation, economic diversification, trade facilitation and connectivity, health and social protection services, the country’s international commitments, including on SDGs, leaving no one behind, human rights, sustainable development, environment, and gender equity? 2. How resilient, responsive and strategic the UNCT was in addressing emerging and emergency needs including those of the most vulnerable (persons with disabilities, youth NEETs), disadvantaged and marginalized groups (migrants, stateless people and refugees), for example, in response to the Aral Sea crisis, the COVID-19 impacts and in reprioritizing/adapting its support to provide timely support to the country and to ensure the achievement of the UNSDCF outcomes? Coherence and Coordination 3. Post UN reform, to what extent have UN agency programs and work plans been effectively and meaningfully derived from the CF both in design and implementation? 4. To what extent did the post reform Resident Coordinator office’s roles and responsibilities enable positive UNCT’s joint convening power and better coherence of the country team? 5. To what extent, how and through what partnerships (civil society/private sector/local government/parliament/academia, research institutions/ international development partners) has the UNSDCF strengthened the coherence of UNCT support to address specific national development challenges and to enhance the achievement of results? 6. How effective have the UNSDCF joint coordination structures and national SDG governing bodies (Steering Committee, Results Groups, National SDG Working Group) been in articulating implementation bottlenecks and agreeing the pathways to fix those and to accelerate the progress towards SDGs in Turkmenistan? Effectiveness 7. How effective has the UNSDCF been in achieving the results outlined in the results framework? What have been the benefits for the people and institutions targeted by the interventions, including the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized population? 8. To what extent has the UNSDCF contributed to key institutional, behavioural and legislative changes that are critical for catalysing progress towards the UNSDCF desired impact including the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, and disability inclusion? 9. To what extent has access to SDG data influenced effectiveness of UNSDCF implementation? Efficiency 10. Was the UNSDCF supported by an integrated funding framework and by adequate funding instruments? What were the resource mobilization gaps, and how were they addressed? Have resources been allocated efficiently? 11. To what extent has UNSDCF contributed to efficiency gains from UNCT collective actions and reduced transaction costs for partners? How adequate has the UNSDCF been in facilitating the effective reallocation of resources to emerging needs and priorities? Orientation toward impacts 12. To what extent are the UNSDCF achieved results demonstrating sound and sustainable progress towards the achievement of the expected SDG targets? Sustainability 13. What is the likelihood that progress towards the SDGs is sustained by national partners and stakeholders over time? 14. In which UNSDCF strategic priority areas the SDG progress is likely to be sustainable? Evaluation Methodology: Data collection: The UNSDCF evaluation will use a multiple method approach, which will include the following: desk reviews of reference material, interviews with relevant stakeholder groups (e.g. UN staff, government officials, donors and development partners, civil society organizations, youth, private sector, and beneficiaries), latest data, site visits and surveys. The evaluation should use a mixed – method analysis, employing the most appropriate qualitative and quantitative approaches, data types and methods of data gathering and analysis. Evaluation results and recommendations shall derive from explicit and judicious use of the best available, objective, reliable and valid data such as the UNSDCF Outcome/Output indicators, the latest survey data including MICS 2024, and other official statistics to conduct an accurate analysis of evidence. Where a lack of data necessitates a quick assessment of a contribution, this shall be carried out using appropriate evaluation methodologies that identify contributions at the outcome level and ascertain the plausibility of causal relationships between sub-outputs, outputs, and outcomes. Validation: All findings should be supported with evidence. Triangulation will be used to ensure that the information and data collected are valid. A report will be prepared including identified constrains, lessons and challenges in relations to the priority interventions as well as specific recommendations made both to the UNCT and to individual agencies. In addition, a participatory approach to involve key stakeholders and boost ownership of the evaluation shall be adopted, ensuring the involvement of civil society organizations, youth, and private sector representatives. Post-evaluation stakeholder workshop should be conducted to provide an opportunity to present findings, validate results and engage stakeholders in discussions regarding evaluation recommendations and next steps. RCO will support the workshop through invitation of a broad range of stakeholders involved into the evaluation. In general, the evaluation approach shall follow the UNEG guidance on integrating human rights and gender equality, UNEG norms and standards and international principles for development evaluation. The UNSDCF final evaluation will entail both an internal and external participatory process. The Evaluators will be working closely with the RGs Co-Chairs and UNSDCF Results Groups focal points from the UN, UNSDCF MEL Group, members of the UNCT’s other theme groups, under the overall leadership of the UNCT and with support of the RCO. The final report shall be compliant with UNEG quality checklist for evaluation reports and acknowledge how inclusive stakeholder participation was ensured during the evaluation process and any challenges in obtaining the information on cross-cutting concerns (i.e. gender equality and empowerment of women, human rights, non-discrimination, disability inclusion and environmental sustainability) or to addressing these issues appropriately. The report shall be written in line with the UNEG UNSDCF Evaluation Guidelines, with further detail on evaluation conduct and quality assurance found in the UNEG Evaluation Report Quality Checklist and UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluations. XI. Management, governance, and quality assurance mechanisms The UN Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team (UNCT) hold the overall responsibility of commissioning the evaluation and any follow up actions. UNSDCF Evaluation will be governed by: Evaluation Manager (EM): UNICEF (Deputy Representative) With the support from RCO the EM will: ● be responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of the evaluation and for the management of the evaluation budget. ● prepare the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the evaluation in a consultative manner. ● manage interactions and serve as interlocutor between the Evaluation Team and the Evaluation Management Team; ● Coordinate comments and ensure the quality control of deliverables submitted by the Evaluation Team ● Send all evaluation products to DCO for approval Evaluation Management Team (EMT) This is a technical level working group, comprising the technical representatives from UNSDCF MEL group and other program staff from UN entities. Key responsibilities of the Evaluation Management Team are: ● Support the evaluation process, guide the Evaluation Team and facilitate access to stakeholders and information. ● Provide input to the evaluation TOR, and select evaluation issues and questions. ● Facilitate stakeholder identification and consultations and provide access to information sources to support data collection. ● Provide overall comments on the main deliverables of the evaluation, including the inception report and draft evaluation report. ● Prepare a management response to the evaluation, in consultation with the UNCT members. ● Ensure the evaluation report and its results are disseminated promoting the use of evaluation and lessons. Evaluation Reference Group (ERG) This is the senior level group comprising of Co-chairs of UNSDCF Result Groups. Evaluation Reference Group is expected to provide strategic guidance to the evaluation including: ● Provide feedback and comments on the inception report, the draft and final evaluation reports; ● Advise internal and external stakeholders to be consulted during the evaluation process; ● Participate in review meetings. Composition of the Evaluation Team Given the importance of UNSDCF evaluation and the need for objective, non-biased assessment of the results of UNSDCF implementation, an independent Evaluation Team will be deployed for the UNSDCF evaluation. The Evaluation Team will consist of an international Team Leader and two national team members, who are evaluation experts. Evaluation team will be composed of members with a diverse mix of qualifications and expertise covering the UNSDCF outcome areas to the extent possible. The evaluation team needs to be balanced in terms of gender. The evaluation team leader will lead the entire evaluation process, working closely with all team members. He/she will conduct the evaluation process in a timely manner and communicate with the evaluation manager, EMT on a regular basis and highlight progress made/challenges encountered. The team leader will take overall responsibility for providing guidance and leadership, and in coordinating the draft and final report. He/she will be responsible for the production and timely submission of all expected deliverables in line with the ToR. If necessary, the team leader will act as a technical expert for one UNSDCF strategic area. The Team Leaderwill take the overall responsibility for the methodological design and implementation of the evaluation. The team members will contribute to the evaluation process substantively through data collection and analysis. They will share responsibilities for conducting desk review and interviews and conduct field visits to the project sites (if any) identified during the inception phase and collect data. They will provide substantive inputs to the inception report as well as to the draft and final evaluation reports. All the members of the evaluation team should be independent from any organizations that have been involved in designing, executing, or advising any aspect of the UNSDCF subject of the evaluation. The evaluation team should adhere to and be guided by the UNEG Norms and Standards (2016) and the UNEG Ethical Guidelines (2020) at every stage of the evaluation process. Quality assurance will be carried out at different levels starting from recruitment process, design phase, field phase and reporting phase. A clear quality assurance considerations and system must be presented in the proposal and ensured throughout the evaluation. The data collected should be subjected to a rigorous quality assurance for validation purposes, using a variety of tools including triangulation of information sources. As a minimum, the Evaluation Manager, together with the EMT will be the second layer of quality assurance. The ERG together with the Regional DCO with the support from DCO HQ will add a third layer of technical and strategic feedback. Each deliverable will undergo a thorough process of quality assurance. Quality assurance will focus on the technical soundness of the deliverables, as well as on ensuring the deliverables meet the reporting standards set out by the UNSDCF Evaluation Guidance and UNEG guidelines.
Work Location
Home based with one field mission to Turkmenistan: Ashgabat and areas selected for data collection. All costs related to the assignment will be covered by UN RCO in Turkmenistan.
Expected duration
The duration of the assignment is 45 working days spreading over the period from April to October 2024. The assignment shall start on 15 April 2024 with the final, approved product to be submitted by 10 October 2024. The expert will have home-based work with one mission to Turkmenistan.
Duties and Responsibilities
Introduction: General Assembly resolution A/RES/72/279 designated the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework as “the most important instrument for the planning and implementation of United Nations development activities in each country, in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. It forms the centrepiece of UN reform and represents the collective response of the UN to help countries address national priorities and challenges in achieving the 2030 Agenda. Evaluation of the UNSDCF is a mandatory independent system-wide country evaluation guided by the UNEG – DCO UNSDCF Evaluation Guidelines-Revised July 2022.pdf. UNSDCF evaluations ensure accountability, support learning, and inform decisions regarding the design of subsequent UNSDCF cycles. They systematically assess the contributions of the UNSDCF by focusing on achieved development results, as well as internal and external gaps and overlaps in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purpose of the assignment is to conduct the Final Evaluation of the UNSDCF 2021-2025. An Evaluation Team Leader will be expected to lead the entire evaluation process, working closely with all team members. S/he will conduct the evaluation process in a timely manner under the direct oversight and facilitation of the Evaluation Manager. The Evaluation Team Leader will be responsible for the development of the Inception Report, the draft and Final Evaluation Reports, ensuring quality and timeliness of these deliverables. Country Context and UNSDCF Highlights: The United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-2025 (UNSDCF) was signed by the Government of Turkmenistan and United Nations on 14 March 2020. It is aligned with the national priorities framed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is contributing towards their implementation. It draws on the full range of expertise and resources of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), Government, civil society, and in close coordination with development partners aims to assist the country in delivering key development results. UNSDCF envisions that by 2025 the country, also with the UN support, will make significant progress in achieving its national development goals aligned with the SDGs within the following three strategic priority areas:  People-centred governance and rule of law.  Inclusive, green, and sustainable economic growth.  Quality, inclusive, and affordable health, education, and social protection. The implementation of the UNSDCF is coordinated and monitored through joint Work Plans within established joint Results Groups. Leveraging its comparative advantage – a convenor of dialogues and platforms with the participation of diverse stakeholders, a development policy advisor, a promoter of international best practice and an advocate for leaving no one behind – the UN system works to address the major bottlenecks and risks in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. UNSDCF includes five expected outcomes:  Outcome 1: People have access to more effective, innovative, and transparent public administration based upon the rule of law, human rights, gender equality, labour rights, and quality data.  Outcome 2: Conditions for sustainable and inclusive economic diversification are strengthened with competitive private and financial sectors, enhanced trade and investment promotion, and the adoption of new and digital technologies.  Outcome 3: There is effective design and implementation of disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation and mitigation measures, enabling a more rational use of resources, increased resilience, and a ‘green’ economy transition.  Outcome 4: The population of Turkmenistan enjoys higher quality and inclusive health and social protection services.  Outcome 5: The education and skilling system offers all people the skills and knowledge for employment success in a diversifying economy and enhanced social integration and resilience. Progress of UNSDCF implementation and UNCT work is reported through regular annual Country Results Reports. There is also a good practice of preparing an annual update of the Common Country Analysis (CCA) that allows the UNCT and national stakeholders to monitor progress of the UNSDCF outcome indicators . The CCA Results Groups Factsheets facilitate the discussions of the joint results and work plans around SDG acceleration areas. In 2023 the UNSDCF underwent a mid-term review (MTR) that, among others, brought useful evidence on alignment of the UNSDCF interventions with national priorities, continuing relevance of UNSDCF outputs and probability of their achievement based on UNCT survey. The MTR assessed the i) relevance to current national context and global commitments of the country as well as the targeted vulnerable populations, ii) progress in implementation of the UNSDCF, iii) effectiveness of UNSDCF management arrangements, and iv) status of UNSDCF budget and corresponding resource mobilisation and delivery. Key Developments in the Country and Regional Context In 2022, the President of Turkmenistan approved the National Programme for 2022-2052 that reiterated Turkmenistan’s commitments to achieve SDGs and national priorities towards economic diversification and human capital development, public finance and fiscal reforms, oil and gas sector development, improving energy efficiency and renewable energy, enhancing water use efficiency, agriculture reform and rural development. Turkmenistan data shows that in 2022 GDP grew at a rate of 6.2%, remaining strong, though international estimates differ from the national data. While the global economic slowdown and inflation have continued in 2022, Turkmenistan’s hydrocarbon exports help the country in accumulating sizeable foreign exchange reserves and creating a comfortable fiscal buffer. The Presidential Programme of Socio-Economic Development for 2022-2028 envisages the growth of natural gas production by 59% and GDP by 47% by 2028. The economic growth in 2022 led to a state budget surplus improving the government’s spending power. According to official statistics, more than 75 % of the state budget expenditures were spent on social sector in 2023. In 2022, Turkmenistan’s HDI of 0.745 (0.726 for female and 0.760 for male) positioned the country in the High Human Development category ranked 91 out of 191 countries. Turkmenistan conducted the Population and Housing Census in December 2022 and the published consolidated results of the Census suggest that nearly 7.1 million people are living in Turkmenistan, with an equal number of female and male. Addressing climate change impacts has become a major priority issue in the UN-Government engagement. While UN supports the Government’s initiative in establishing a Regional Climate Change Technologies Center for Central Asia, there is also a lot of advocacy on the issue of methane emissions reduction associated with exploration, production, domestic consumption and export of the country’s hydrocarbons estimated at more than 50 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and over 20 billion tons of oil (2022) and considered the important driver of the national economy. At the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December 2023 Turkmenistan announced its accession to the Global Methane Pledge, confirming the country commitment for implementation of the standards, and interest to strengthen cooperation with international organizations. Turkmenistan plans to reduce its GHG emissions in 2030 under the business-as-usual scenario by 20% compared to the level of emissions in 2010. Thus, the carbon intensity of the country’s economy, as well as the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions should decrease. The Government’s priorities in international arena also include maintaining peace and security in the region, rational use of transboundary water resources, safe and secure transit and delivery of energy resources and improving transport and digital connectivity. The country is active participant of discussions under such regional platforms as UN Special Program for Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), Vienna Plan of Action for LLDCs (VPOA), Organization of Turkic States (OTS), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Turkmenistan presented its second Voluntary National Review at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2023. The report reflected the country progress on 11 SDGs (5 of which were officially proposed and 6 additional SDGs), and recommitment to current and future priorities, broadening the partnerships, integration of green technologies, and strengthening youth engagement to accelerate progress. Turkmenistan shared a forward-looking National Commitments to SDG Transformation at the SDG Summit covering the following areas: strengthening of inclusive social protection system to leave no one behind, food security and effective water management, achieving universal health coverage through high-quality healthcare, early and consistent investments in transformed education systems to increase access to and the quality of education and vocational training at all levels and ensure life-long learning for all, investments in peace and youth, investments in women and girls, digital transformation for everyone, strategic planning and policymaking, data for evidence-based policymaking, partnerships, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and ensuring green energy transition, expanding climate technology transfer and SDG financing.
Qualifications/special skills
Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in Social, Political Sciences, International Development, Development Economics, Sociology of Development, Development Communications, Public Administration, Public Policy, Statistics, Project Management, or a closely related discipline. – At least 10 years of relevant experience in doing evaluations/review of UNSDCFs/UNDAFs, complex programmes, projects, and strategic plans involving multiple stakeholders is required. – Profound knowledge of the UN and its systems, processes and policies, the /new generation of UN assistance frameworks – UNSDCF, the Global Agenda 2030 – Understanding of the implementation of UN Programmes and importance of the strategic partnerships for their implementation. – Experience in data collection/interviewing and writing analytical reports is required. – Knowledge of Human rights-based approach to Programming, Gender, Participatory process and RBM – Ability to compile data and strong understanding of its quantitative and qualitative analysis within a logical framework – A demonstrated ability to clearly communicate development ideas and experiences – Experience in facilitating multi-stakeholder workshops and meetings is desirable. – Familiarity with the political, economic, and social context of Turkmenistan is an advantage.
Languages
– Fluency in English is required, while knowledge of Russian is desirable.
Additional Information
The successful candidate is expected to have good knowledge of the UN and extensive experience in public outreach and working with UN on developing strategic planning and policy frameworks, programme documents and results framework, conducting mid-term reviews and evaluations. Experience in conducting evaluation of new generation cooperation frameworks is an advantage. COMPETENCIES – Strong analytical, research and writing skills with demonstrated ability to think strategically. – Ability to focus on impact and results for the client, promoting and demonstrating an ethic of client service. – Sound judgement, and the ability to manage competing priorities. – Ability to synthesize information in an easily understandable written way. – Ability to write clearly and convincingly, adapting style and content to a diverse audience. – Demonstrated ability to produce high quality outputs under time constraints. – Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently. – Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment. – Shares knowledge and experience and provides helpful feedback and advice. – Ability to identify beneficiaries’ needs, and to match them with appropriate solutions. – Excellent communication and interviewing skills. – Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view. – Focuses on result for the client.
No Fee
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.
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