Consultant – Trade and Transport Connectivity , UNESCAP , New Delhi

negotiable / YEAR Expired 2 weeks ago
This job has expired.


Job Summary:

The consultant’s contributions will be presented in a multistakeholder meeting (September 2024) to facilitate discussion and reflection to enhance trade and transport connectivity. The activities and related knowledge products will contribute to efforts for seamless movement of goods and services in Eastern South Asia. The knowledge products and activities will provide the basis for future support in the areas of transport and trade connectivity more broadly. Accountability The consultant will be professionally accountable to the Head of UNESCAP-SSWA Office and will work according to the agreed TOR, within the overall parameters set out in this document.
Work Location
Expected duration
6 months


UN ESCAP South and South-West Asia (ESCAP-SSWA) Office is engaged in providing policy support and capacity building for strengthening regional cooperation and integration to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in the South and South-West Asia subregion. As part of its work programmes, ESCAP-SSWA has been undertaking research, advocacy and capacity-building activities to promote cross-border connectivity across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India (particularly northeastern region) and Nepal, constituting Eastern South Asia. In 2023, ESCAP undertook studies, field visits and multistakeholder consultations along land border points between northeast India and Bangladesh at Dawki/Tamabil, Agartala/Akhaura, Sutarkandi/Sheola. Having an uninterrupted cross-border trade and transport connectivity is essential for supply chain and to benefit local communities in both countries. The northeast region of India is unique in its diverse tribal populations, natural resources and commodity crops such as tea and fruit but is lagging behind in development indicators. Its industrial and trade potential has yet to be realized, partly due to its landlocked geography, small and scattered economic activities and limited transport infrastructure and allied trade services. There have been active bilateral negotiations among the subregional countries and notable investments in road and land port infrastructure by governments to improve connectivity in the recent decade. Meanwhile, trade is still limited by last mile infrastructural, logistics and procedural bottlenecks and trade restrictions. Demand for improved and diversified cross-border trade is high among communities and businesses on both sides of the India-Bangladesh border. Recommendations on low hanging deliverables have been identified that would benefit local communities near the borders and potentially boost confidence among policy makers. Improved transport connectivity through the northeast corridors of India and Bangladesh would also benefit neighboring landlocked countries of Nepal and Bhutan by way of providing cost-effective transit routes for their international trade. Building on the work around cross-border trade between northeast India and Bangladesh, ESCAP is expanding the scope of subregional connectivity northwards to Bhutan and Nepal (through Kakarbhitta/Panitanki corridor). The service of consultant is sought to support ESCAP-SSWA Office in a study that identifies and analyses early harvest (low-hanging) opportunities and challenges in trade and transport connectivity, particularly from the vantage point of stakeholders in Bhutan and Nepal. The consultant should review past ESCAP studies and workshop reports and other relevant literature available on subregional connectivity and economic development in Bhutan and Nepal, particularly in regions along or close to northeast India. This should be complemented with interviews with key stakeholders from the subregional governments (central and local), private sector (traders and producers interested in trade), think tanks, development partners (eg BIMSTEC Secretariat, World Bank, ADB, JICA/Japan Embassy, US), UN Country Teams (Bhutan, Nepal, India) and ESCAP Divisions. The discussion paper should include the following dimensions (among other strategic angles the consultant identifies): • Update of key developments in subregional connectivity (agreements, investments, changes in cross-border trade) since 2023; stocktaking of actions and results following ESCAP’s studies and workshops in 2023; identify remaining action points and how to prioritise/implement them • Suggest how digital tools as well as electronic data interchange can be best used by traders, customs, land port authorities and freight forwarders to minimise the time and transaction cost for cross-border trade. • Identify demand and opportunities for enhanced trade for communities, producers, MSMEs/Cottage industries; examine bottlenecks and barriers in transport, logistics and trade and suggest possible solutions; examine women’s participation and recommend how to enable/empower women to benefit from connectivity (gender in transport, employment in agencies at borders etc.); identify key stakeholders from the four countries and their roles (to potentially bring together for dialogue) • Examine how can Nepal use its eastern border points (eg Kakarbhitta/Panitanki corridor) to transit its goods through India’s northeastern region to Bangladesh and other countries; and the potential benefit of having land port authorities in reducing trade and transaction costs • Explore the possibility of standardization of cargo operations at land ports across the countries in the subregion to address transshipment bottlenecks, among others, by examining some good practices in other regions. • Identify development projects directly working on subregional trade and transport connectivity near Bhutan/India and Nepal/India borders and projects that indirectly contribute by helping economic actors, communities and women in border areas of Bhutan, Nepal, northeast India and Bangladesh participate in and benefit from cross-border trade • Recommend policy requirements (bilateral and plurilateral), investment, capacity needs; supportive policies needed to maximize the socio-economic developmental impact of investments in the identified corridors • Potential role of ESCAP in supporting countries in addressing recommendations emerging from the study Besides preparation of the study report, the consultant shall also undertake allied editorial and design work needed for publication of the knowledge product, including formal editing, preparation of maps designating identified corridors, design and layout etc.


Advanced University degree in on or more of the disciplines on economics, international transport, logistics management. Do you have a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in the area of regional economic cooperation for trade, transport and ICT connectivity in South Asia. The consultant should have knowledge on the state of trade, transport and ICT connectivity, and infrastructure and connectivity facilitation policies in the South Asia subregion.
For this position excellent command of the English language, both written and oral, is required.
Additional Information
• Total remuneration: USD 8,000
No Fee
WORK HOURS: 8 Hours a Day
New Delhi, India
This job has expired.