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Call for expressions of interest: Team leader – Evaluation of UNDP contribution to South South cooperation

Organization United Nations Development Programm (UNDP)

Location : Home-based

Application Deadline : 26-Mar-12

Type of Contract : Individual Contract

Post Level : International Consultant

Languages Required : English

Starting Date : 02-Apr-2012
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)

Expected Duration of Assignment : 60 working days spread-out within a 6 month period

Background

The United Nations General Assembly reaffirms the increased importance of South-South cooperation, and encourages the funds, programmes, specialized agencies and other entities of the United Nations system to mainstream support to South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation to help developing countries, at their request and with their ownership and leadership, to develop capacities to maximize the benefits and impact of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in order to achieve their national goals, with special emphasis on internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

The UNDP strategic plan, 2008-2011, emphasizes South-South cooperation as a key element contributing to enhanced national and local capacities for human development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals. Under the Fourth Cooperation Framework for South-South cooperation, UNDP is expected to effectively service the High-level Committee and strengthen the leadership role of UNDP in mainstreaming South-South cooperation by leveraging its network of country offices and the entire organization, at headquarters and in the field. UNDP is also expected to leverage its global reach to assist programme countries in strengthening national capacities to scale up the impact of South-South cooperation in the course of meeting commitments spelled out in the strategic plan.

The Evaluation Office of UNDP, as part of its oversight function, focuses on thematic areas that are germane to the effectiveness of UNDP – a key one being the extent to which the UNDP fosters collaboration and cooperation among member states for the achievement of development results.

The Evaluation Office conducted an independent evaluation of the UNDP contribution to South-South cooperation in 2007. In 2008, the Executive Board of UNDP approved a Fourth Cooperation Framework for South-South cooperation (2009-2011), taking into account the conclusions and recommendations of the independent evaluation.

An independent evaluation of the Fourth Cooperation Framework for South-South cooperation is required before the approval of the next cooperation framework that will be presented to the Executive Board in 2013. The second evaluation of UNDP contribution to South-South cooperation will be conducted in 2012 and will assess progress made since 2008. It is part of the Evaluation Office programme of work, as approved by the Executive Board of UNDP in its decision DP/2010/15.

Duties and Responsibilities

Evaluation Purpose:
The purpose of the evaluation is to inform decision-making and provide evidence-based inputs for the deliberations of the Executive Board on how to strengthen UNDP role in facilitating and promoting South-South and triangular cooperation. It will assess the extent to which the recommendations from previous evaluations were taken into account and the progress made in the achievement of stated outcomes since 2008. As this is the second evaluation on the topic conducted by EO, the evaluation will have an emphasis on identifying lessons learned. The evaluation will also provide UNDP management with conclusions and recommendations that are expected to assist in identifying strategies and operational approaches pertaining to UNDP role in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation.

Evaluation Scope:
The evaluation will assess the performance of UNDP support to South-South cooperation and will cover the period between 2008 and 2011. The geographic scope of the evaluation is global, as initiatives to promote South-South and triangular cooperation took place within and across the five regions in which UNDP operates.

The evaluation will ascertain how UNDP has engaged in South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in a context of fast development changes, new challenges and opportunities for SSC, and in the context of emerging global patterns in international development cooperation including and the role emerging role of non-state actors, such as civil society organizations, the private sector and grass root movements. New partnerships, innovating funding and support mechanisms have been established to address a range of development challenges at global and regional levels.  The evaluation will document and analyze UNDP response to such changes.

The Special Unit for South-South cooperation hosted by UNDP serves as the full secretariat of High-Level Committee (HLC) on South-South cooperation and is responsible to coordinate and implement all General Assembly mandated responsibilities and functions, including servicing as the UN system-wide South-South policy coordinator; partnerships facilitator; service provider; and resource mobilizer. It prepares all substantive reports, manages the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation and the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund of the Group of 77 and China, the India-Brazil-South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation and implements key operational programmes funded by UNDP.

Despite efforts made by many organizations at mainstreaming South-South Cooperation into their work and operational activities, lack of understanding of the definition and concept of SSC and triangular cooperation, and of the differentiation between the regular technical cooperation programmes and those dealing specifically with South-South cooperation remain problematic.

The Special Unit for SSC defines the concept as follows: “South-South cooperation is a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, sub-regional or interregional basis. Developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts”. It goes on by defining the collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, and management and technological systems, as well as other forms of support, as triangular cooperation.

In conformity with the recommendations of the evaluation of the UNDP contribution to South-South cooperation (DP/2008/8) and the commitments UNDP has made in its management response and in its strategic plan, 2008-2011, the fourth cooperation framework seeks to contribute to three results areas, namely: (a) policy development and advocacy; (b) knowledge mobilization for mutual learning; and (c) scaling up the impact of South-South cooperation through innovation. The fourth framework expected to make direct and measurable contributions to the UNDP institutional and development results.

Objectives:
The primary objectives of the evaluation are to:

  • Assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of UNDP support to the achievement of development results through South-South cooperation;
  • Clarify the added value of UNDP and its comparative advantage in promoting more effective solutions to development challenges through South-South cooperation;
  • Identify lessons learned from past initiatives and approach to South-South cooperation; and
  • Provide actionable recommendations with respect to UNDP strategies and approaches to strengthen South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation.

Addressing these objectives will provide the evaluative evidence and insights of UNDP effectiveness in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation.

EVALUATION QUESTIONS

The fundamental questions to be examined in this evaluation are:

  • Whether UNDP has played the most relevant role in assisting programme countries to address their own development challenges, based on South-South cooperation;
  • Whether UNDP rendered such assistance in a most effective, efficient and sustainable manner, and to what extent UNDP’s assistance yielded results from a human development perspective; and
  • Whether UNDP has responded appropriately to the dynamic context of international development cooperation by transforming its role and approaches to strengthen South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation.

The evaluation will carry out the assessment based on the following criteria:

Relevance and strategic positioning: The evaluation will seek to draw conclusions as to how UNDP has positioned itself vis-à-vis member states in providing support to initiatives from programme countries from the South.

  • How relevant and strategic has UNDP been in promoting solutions to development challenges through South-South cooperation?
  • What comparative advantages does UNDP bring to South-South cooperation?
  • To what extent current approaches to South-South cooperation in fact build on such comparative advantages?
  • How has UNDP engaged in South-South cooperation in a context of fast development changes, new challenges and opportunities for SSC, and in the context of emerging global patterns in international development cooperation including triangular cooperation and the emerging role of grass-root movements and civil society organizations?

Effectiveness: The evaluation will assess UNDP’s contribution to development results through South-South cooperation initiatives.

  • How effective has UNDP been in supporting the achievement of sustainable development results based on South-South cooperation initiatives?
  • To what extent has UNDP adopted broader corporate-level policy to promote South-South cooperation with respect to relevant sectors and thematic areas particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, the environment, and sustainable development, as well as gender empowerment?
  • To what extent has UNDP affected its own programmatic orientation, programme priorities, and delivery modalities at the country and regional levels to achieve institutional and development results?

Efficiency: The evaluation will assess at corporate level, as well as in the context of specific countries, the timeless and resource utilization as well as UNDP internal arrangements in supporting efforts for South-South cooperation.

  • How efficient has UNDP been in implementing South-South cooperation programmes and projects?
  • To what extent has UNDP made use of its extended network of country offices and regional centres to promote intraregional and interregional initiatives of South-South cooperation?

Sustainability: The sustainability of the benefits of UNDP programmes implemented through South-South cooperation modalities is of central importance to the achievement of development results at outcome and impact level. The evaluation will assess the extent to which concerns for sustainability have shaped UNDP partnership with nations of the South in its response to specific development challenges.

  • How sustainable are the benefits of South-South cooperation initiatives supported by UNDP?
  • To what extent South-South cooperation initiatives have been owned and embedded into national development results, processes and structures?

The evaluation will also assess the extent to which UNDP has promoted human development principles, and in particular gender equality.

  • Did UNDP approach to South- South cooperation promote more equitable development results that expanded the capabilities of vulnerable groups of population?
  • To what extent did UNDP approach to South-South cooperation promote gender equality?

Methods and Approach:

The evaluation will use a multiple-method approach. For data collection, that will entail the use of primary and secondary sources; using interviews, focus groups, field visits, and surveys. The evaluation will make extensive use of documents and administrative records and will conduct desk reviews and meta-analysis of previous evaluations, either thematic of programmatic, as deemed appropriate to respond to the evaluation questions.

The evaluation will use a variety of methods to ensure that the data is valid, including through triangulation. All the findings must be supported by evidence and validated through consulting multiple sources of information. The evaluation team will be required to use an appropriate tool to show that all the findings are validated.

The evaluation will include:  (i) an analysis of the pattern of implementation of the three focus areas of the programme; (ii) the analysis of the factors affecting performance/contribution; and (iii) the effects, at output and outcome level, of South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives on institutional and development results.

The above approach is focused on the organizational strategy and supply-side dimension in supporting South-South cooperation with due regard to analyses of demand and evolving challenges from a UNDP perspective.  However, as noted in the definition, south-south cooperation is about developing countries working together to find solutions to common development challenges. South-South cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South. The guiding principles of South-South cooperation, as defined in the Buenos Aires declaration, namely, national ownership, equality, mutual respect, national sovereignty, mutual benefit, non-conditionality and solidarity should guide the conduct of the exercise.

The evaluation will look for evidence of contribution to development results in countries that benefited from South-South cooperation initiatives supported by UNDP. It will also consult with countries that provided South-South and triangular cooperation through UNDP. A highly consultative approach, involving a broad range of stakeholders, will be taken in the evaluation.

Competencies

  • The evaluation team leader must have demonstrated capacity to think strategically, provide policy advice and manage the evaluation of global programmes.
  • He/she is expected to have evaluation experience, having led complex evaluations of development projects and programmes in areas involved in South-South and triangular cooperation.
  • He/she is expected to have a solid understanding of the UN reform process, and should be familiar with the on-going intergovernmental debate on South-South and triangular cooperation.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, in a multi-cultural setting; excellent interpersonal skills, objectivity and ability to analyze large multi-country data sets in short period.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Masters’ degree or PhD in social science or a relevant field.
  • Sound knowledge of development issues and intergovernmental discussions at regional and global levels.
  • Sound analytical skills and knowledge of evaluation methods and techniques.
  • Proven familiarity with the UN system, UNDP and the international development landscape, as well as the UN intergovernmental debates.

Experience:

  • At least 20 years of international development experience.
  • He/she is expected to have research experience in development economics, trade, international cooperation, globalization and the role of multilateral organizations.
  • He/she is expected to have extensive experience in working with academic institutions or the UN/multilateral development agencies, and/or regional centres.
  • Experience working collaboratively in small teams with tight deadlines.

Female candidates are strongly encouraged to submit their expressions of interest.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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