Final Evaluation UNESCO Be-Resilient South Africa Project (BRSA) , UNESCO – Zimbabwe

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Parent Sector : Field Office

Duty Station: Harare

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Consultant Contract

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 07-JUNE-2024

UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



Final Evaluation of the UNESCO Be Resilient South Africa (BRSA) Project: Addressing Climate Risk and Building Adaptive Capacity in South Africa’s Biosphere Reserves


The Be Resilient Programme is a UNESCO initiative in southern Africa implemented by the Regional office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in Harare, Zimbabwe and seeking to strengthen the network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the subregion as model sites for sustainable development. The programme is implemented through limited ‘Regular Programme’ (RP) resources (core staff and funds) supplemented by around $7.5M ‘Extra-budgetary’ (EXB) resources (project funding and mobilisation of other resources).

The Programme initially implemented one Regional EXB project, the Be Resilient Regional (BRR) project which targeted 9 countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. BRR introduced the co-development of climate change adaptation and community resilience strategies through the use of scientific tools and local knowledge in the Biosphere Reserves in the region. Within UNESCO’s science programmes, it contributed to combined objectives from the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP). The BRR project contributed to the generation and implementation of several national projects (in South Africa and Zimbabwe) and one transboundary project (Mozambique and Zimbabwe) from different funding sources.

The scope of this Evaluation is to review one of these EXB projects: the Be Resilient South Africa (BRSA) project: Addressing climate Risk and Building Adaptive Capacity in South Africa’s Biosphere Reserves: Towards Sustainable Water and Ecosystem Management. The BRSA project focuses on climate change resilience building in four target Biosphere Reserves in South Africa: Cape Winelands; Marico; Kruger to Canyons and Vhembe Biosphere Reserves. The focus in the four target areas is to strengthen the monitoring and early warning system of extreme weather events for the region, as well as the development of tailored climate risk assessment and adaptation plans that focus on the impacts of current and future climate shocks on water and natural resources, and to identify potential pathways for improved resilience. The project is funded by the Government of Flanders to an amount of €1.5M, and implemented from January 2021 to September 2024.


The objectives of this project are to:
• Establish a bottom-up approach to gender responsive climate change adaptation, ensuring an inclusive planning process for sustainable development of vulnerable municipalities under climate change scenarios in four target areas;
• Develop national-level monitoring and early warning capacities for climate-related hazards and climate change indicators;
• Provide capacity building of national and local stakeholders and technology transfer on innovative tools for climate change adaptation and monitoring.

The Be Resilient South Africa (BRSA) project is designed along three lines of action:
• Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA),
• Monitoring and Early Warning,
• Capacity Building and Technology Transfer.

Implementation of this project is supported by core partners – the four Biosphere Reserves partners, the Government Departments of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE) and South Africa Weather Services (SAWS). The Project Steering Committee further includes the Department for Water and Sanitation (DWS), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

BRSA is implemented within UNESCO’s programmatic priorities, including Strategic Objective 2 in the medium-term strategy (referred to as C/4) , and Outputs 3.SC1 and 3.SC2 under Major Programme 2 in the biennial workplans (referred to as C/5 ); UNESCO’s two Global Priorities endorsed by the Member States: Africa and Gender Equality; the programme-specific long-term strategies of MAB (Lima Roadmap) and IHP (IHP VIII and IX); and youth as a cross-sectoral thematic focus.

The ambitions of these priorities are respectively outlined in the UNESCO Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2022-2029) and the Gender Equality Action Plan (2014-2021), whose ambitions are now embedded in UNESCO’s regular programming in the C/5. The evaluation shall integrate UNESCO’s global priorities by collecting data on the impact of UNESCO’s actions in the area of Natural Sciences from a gender equality perspective as well as focusing, when and where appropriate, on the multi-dimensional needs and challenges of the African continent. This includes assessing whether the impact contributes to UNESCO’s core function as a Laboratory of Ideas.



1. The project document states that “An independent terminal evaluation will be conducted to assess the progress of the project with respect to its objectives, as well as to validate the project outcomes and impacts. This final review will also conduct field visits to at least two Biosphere Reserves, to assess activities implemented on the ground, as well as to assess their short- and medium-term impact on people’s livelihoods. The reporting will have a gender-sensitive approach, identifying differentiated impacts for men and women living in Biosphere Reserves’’. A mid-term review was undertaken in combination with a second Be Resilient project, with field visits to two of the BRSA sites, recommending some adjustments and exit strategy.

2. In UNESCO, evaluations are the main independent sources of evidence for project review, and are an opportunity for learning, adaptive management, a source for informed decision-making and a component for trust-building. As part of mandatory requirements established in UNESCO’s revised evaluation policy 2022-2029, a final evaluation is required for the BRSA project given its scope. Further, the evaluation will also be conducted to demonstrate accountability to funding partners, beneficiaries and other stakeholders. The evaluation will assess whether results were achieved or not and how resources were utilized.

3. The Evaluation is intended to provide a 360° assessment of the implementation of this project, in a Formative manner, guiding the design and implementation of the further Be Resilient programme in the region and possible replication in other regions. The evaluation should further consider whether the project contributes to UNESCO’s mandate and core functions. Alignment with the new UNESCO C/4 strategy, approved by the Member States in 2021, needs to be considered, as is alignment with the Joint Plan of Action, agreed between ROSA and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) secretariat.

4. In pursuit of the main evaluation purposes, indicated above, the evaluation team is expected to collect data, draw conclusions, formulate lessons learnt and articulate recommendations based on its assessment and analysis. It should provide evidence about the key achievements and added value of the projects and provide evidence of contributions it is making to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6 , 13 and 14 ). The evaluation will adopt both a retrospective and a forward-looking perspective with action-oriented recommendations formulated on the basis of substantive findings. The external evaluation team is expected to obtain ethical clearance from relevant authorities prior to commencement of data collection. The external evaluation team will be expected to sign and adhere to the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) Pledge of Ethical Conduct in Evaluation. Further, the evaluation will adhere to ethical guidelines, ensuring informed consent, confidentiality, and privacy of participants. Costs related to ethical clearance are the responsibility of the evaluation team.

5. The target audiences for the evaluation consist primarily of the secretariats of the IHP and MAB programmes, the funding partner, members of the Project Steering Committee, ROSA staff and staff in the Johannesburg Antenna Office. Secondary users are other UNESCO Offices seeking to replicate the approach.

Long Description


6. In order to achieve these purposes, the evaluation will answer the following main questions pertaining to the above-mentioned evaluation dimensions:

a. Relevance:
i. To what extent was the BRSA project relevant to the needs and priorities of the Biosphere Reserves?
ii. To what extent was the project relevant to the priorities of South Africa?
iii. To which extent was the project relevant to regional priorities, as defined in the SADC’s RISDP and ROSA-SADC’s Joint Plan of Action?

b. Coherence:
i. To what extent is the BRSA project coherent with the wider portfolio of a regional Be Resilient project and several national or subregional projects?
ii. To what extent is the project coherent with UNESCO’s functions and its mandate, as outlined in UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2029?
iii. To what extent is the project aligned or coordinated with relevant initiatives of other local, national, regional or international partners?

c. Effectiveness and impact:
i. Which project objectives were achieved; which objectives were partly achieved, and which were not achieved?
ii. What will be the medium- to long-term impact of the project, both intended and unintended?

d. Efficiency:
i. How efficiently have the project resources been used to achieve the goals?
ii. Which measures have been taken to benefit from synergies with core resources, other projects and partners?
iii. How efficient was the governance mechanism for this project?
iv. How effective was the partnership with the relevant actors in this project?

e. Sustainability:
i. What is the likelihood of the outputs and outcomes of the project to be sustainable or have a long-term impact, including the adaptation strategies resulting from the CRIDA approach; the national and local climate, flood/drought and early warning tools and the know-how to develop these; the gender strategy and the citizen science pilot initiatives?
ii. Which steps could be taken by UNESCO to improve the exit strategy
iii. What are the opportunities for replication and upscaling?


7. While the bidder is free to propose their own methodologies, it is important that they be fit to answer the above-mentioned questions. In addition, the evaluation approach and data collection methods should be human rights-based and gender-sensitive and data should be disaggregated by sex, age and disability where relevant. We would expect that the overall design will include several of the following methods of data collection:
a. A document review (compulsory) of relevant texts pertaining to the project, which will be agreed at the start of the assignment. Inter alia, the evaluator(s) should identify and examine evaluation(s) of activities that have taken place under the umbrella of the Be Resilient programme and its / their specific findings and recommendations.
b. Semi-structured interviews (compulsory) with key stakeholders and beneficiaries. These may include UNESCO current and former staff members and consultants at Headquarters and in the Field Offices; relevant government officials including UNESCO National Commissions; research institutions and networks; NGOs; Category 2 Centres; UNESCO Chairs and other networks; other relevant international organizations (both within and outside the UN System), ultimate beneficiaries, ensuring adequate representation and participation of women, men and youth and, where applicable, indigenous people.
c. Field mission(s) to allow for direct observation at sites where the project is active. If a field visit is considered, travel costs are to be included in the financial proposal. Please note it is strongly advised, whenever possible, that any field missions be undertaken by local professionals, to minimise any impacts of this evaluation on the environment.
d. Other methods that the evaluator(s) may propose (optional).

8. Suggested key stakeholders include the following (a list with contact details will be attached)
a. Flanders Delegation to South Africa
b. Steering Committee members
c. Implementors in Biosphere Reserves
d. Technical partners
e. Experts and stakeholders on Early Warning Systems and Flood and Drought Monitors

9. The evaluator(s) should submit an inception report at the end of the initial stage of the evaluation to agree upon the detailed methodological approach and workplan. This will have to be presented and discussed at an inception meeting with an evaluation reference group. A draft version of the final report of the evaluation will have to be presented and discussed at a stakeholder workshop, with members of the evaluation reference group as well.

10. The evaluation team will have to comply with the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Norms and Standards for Evaluation, UNEG Guidelines for Integrating Human Rights and Gender Equality in Evaluations and UNEG Ethical Guidelines for Evaluation. In line with UNESCO’s Evaluation Policy (2022), IOS aims to ensure that human rights and gender equality principles are integrated in all stages of the evaluation process.


11. The evaluation foresees a level of effort of around 50 days. The evaluator(s) is / are expected to travel to Pretoria, South Africa two times in the course of the assignment, if circumstances allow, to participate in a kick-off meeting and scoping interviews during the inception phase; and for participation in the BRSA Steering Committee meeting to present the draft evaluation report’s key findings and test recommendations at the end of the drafting phase.

12. The Review will be managed by UNESCO’s ROSA office and conducted by a(n) (team of) external consultant(s). The evaluator(s) is/are expected to contribute specific expertise in the field of evaluation along with knowledge of the substantive field of environment, hydrology and climate science. The evaluation manager is responsible for the quality assurance of all deliverables. The Review team will be expected to develop a detailed evaluation methodology including an evaluation matrix and data collection tools, to enable data collection and analysis and to prepare the draft and final reports in English.

13. An evaluation reference group shall accompany the evaluation process and provide feedback on the inception report and draft evaluation report. The reference group will include representatives from different entities, namely ROSA, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Delegation of Flanders to South Africa and UNESCO ROSA The reference group shall exchange/meet periodically and be consulted in the different stages of the evaluation, as appropriate.

14. The evaluation team will commonly be responsible for their own logistics: office space, administrative and secretarial support, telecommunications, printing, travel, etc. Suitable office space will be provided when the consultants are working in UNESCO premises. The evaluation team will be responsible for administering and disseminating all research instruments, e.g. surveys, with the support of ROSA. ROSA will provide access to relevant documentation and contact details of relevant stakeholders and distribution lists.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.


15. The evaluation team members must have no prior involvement in the design, planning or implementation of any of the activities under review to avoid any potential conflict of interest. UNESCO strongly encourages the external evaluators to conduct the evaluation with a team comprising of locally based professionals, where feasible. The required experience and qualifications are detailed below:


  • Minimum 7 years of experience conducting project/programme reviews or evaluations in Southern Africa
  • Have designed and implemented a minimum of three (3) evaluations in the field of Science in Africa

• Registered in South Africa/Africa or have affiliation with Firm/Entity with presence in South Africa.
• Previous experience working with the UN on other similar assignments.

16. This concerns an assignment for a project team with at least a senior evaluator who is expected to have the following mandatory qualifications and experience:

Team Leader
• Broad expertise in programme evaluation, with a minimum of seven years of professional experience in this field demonstrating a strong record in designing, conducting and leading evaluations including several experiences leading an evaluation team.
• At least five years of working experience in evaluation acquired at the international level or in an international setting.
• An advanced university degree in social sciences, political sciences, economics, natural sciences, or another field with relevance to the assignment.
• Experience in gender analysis and gender in evaluation along with an understanding and application of UN mandates in Human Rights and Gender Equality.
• Excellent language skills in English (oral communication and report writing).

Evaluation Team
• Excellent speaking, reading, writing and comprehension skills in English among proposed team members.
• Expertise in gender equality and human rights
• Strong quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis skills
• Evaluation experience in South Africa/NAtural Science Project .

• A gender balanced evaluation team with diverse geographical representation

Overall Desirable Qualifications:

Finally, the evaluator(s) will ideally have the following desirable qualifications:
• Experience with the Biosphere Reserve model
• Experience with the approach to management of BR in South Africa.
• Experience in one or more of the project areas
• Subregional experience in the SADC region
• Experience with assignments for the UN



19. The assignment will consist of the following main deliverables:
a. The inception report, which should be presented at an inception meeting. This report will outline the detailed methodological approach to take on the assignment and outline when and how the activities for this will be undertaken (work-plan) (max. 10 pp. excluding annexes);
b. The draft evaluation report, which should be presented at a stakeholder workshop. This report should include (a) the evaluation background, including a description of the evaluand and the evaluation methodology; (b) the evaluation findings; (c) conclusions and lessons learnt and (d) recommendations. In addition, it will include an executive summary of 2-4 pages (max. 40 pp. excluding annexes);
c. The final evaluation report and an infographic showing the main findings. The report should be developed according to the guidelines offered in the UNESCO Evaluation Manual.

20. The evaluation is expected to start in June and be concluded by September 2024 , and consists of two distinct phases: Phase I dedicated to the inception phase; and Phase II for data collection followed by the analysis and drafting phase. The overall indicative timetable of key activities and deliverables is shown below:

Phase I
Desk review and preparation to be submitted by June 2024
Scoping interviews to be completed by June 2024
Drafting Inception report to be submitted by June 2024
Inception Report Workshop to be submitted by 30 June 2024
Final Inception Report to be submitted by 5 July 2024

Phase II
Data collection (including field visits) by 30 July 2024
Data analysis to be completed by 15 August 2024
Write-up of draft evaluation report to be submitted by 30 August 2024
Review of draft report to be submitted by 10 September 2024
Revision to be completed by 20 September 2024
Final report to be submitted by 11 October 2024


All interested external evaluation teams are required to submit a Technical and Financial proposal separately via email.

The technical proposal will be assessed on the following:

  • Approach to assignment that demonstrates extent to which the external evaluation team understands the requirements as set out in the TOR.
  • Feasible and technically sound methodology, appropriate for fulfilling the overall purpose of the evaluation.
  • Realistic work plan with specific treatment of key deliverables, and clear allocation of tasks among team members
  • Expertise and experience of the Firm/Entity; expertise, experience and qualifications of the team leader

The financial proposal should detail the following:

  • An appropriate Price Schedule which includes, as a minimum, the consultancy rate per day, and number of workdays per main activity to assist the contracting process.
  • Unit to determine, which items may be negotiated, if applicable, or which items can be modified as per the budget. All fees shall be quoted in US dollars.

All interested external evaluation teams are also required to submit a sample final evaluation report. The sample report will be submitted together with the technical proposal via email and is expected to be no more than 5 years old. The sample report will be assessed on quality, relevance to the actual evaluation, coherence of arguments and effectiveness of the presentation of findings and conclusions. Further, the sample report is expected to be for the firm, and not the Team Lead or any other team member independently.

Submission of Proposal:

The Offeror shall submit electronically signed technical and financial proposals in two separate emails. The maximum size of a single email is 10 MB. Proposals are to be submitted to: no later than 5 June 2024 at 17:00 Harare time, without a copy to any other email addresses. Offers addressed to other e-mail accounts will be disqualified. The subject mail ‘UNESCO BRSA FINAL EVALUATION (Technical Proposal)’ and ‘UNESCO BRSA FINAL EVALUATION (Financial Proposal)’.

Deadline for submission of proposals
Proposals must be received on or before the date and time specified on the cover page of these Solicitation Documents.
UNESCO may, at its own discretion extend this deadline for the submission of Proposals by amending the solicitation documents in accordance with clause Amendments of Solicitation Documents.

Late Proposals
Any Proposal received by UNESCO after the deadline for submission of proposals, pursuant to clause Deadline for the submission of proposals, will be rejected.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview.

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.


Harare, Zimbabwe
This job has expired.