The UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 sets out the direction for UNDP to support countries to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and achieve the goals of the Agenda 2030. Essential instruments of the work are solutions exchange, promotion of innovations, knowledge-sharing, leveraging expertise and building capacity of partners.
The Russian Federation has been an active provider of expertise for developing countries and stays committed to use the achievements in science and technology to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Concept of the Russian Federation's State Policy in the Area of International Development Assistance provides for sharing of expertise with a view to strengthening institutional and human capacity in the areas of health, education, environmental protection, disaster management, counterterrorism, etc.
Russian experts possess both local experience highly relevant for the local context in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and international expertise accumulated via strong international cooperation of Russian think tanks and educational institutions. Russia is actively sharing its know-how in pediatric care, children and mother’s health protection, HIV response, sanitary and epidemiological safety, food security, education quality assessment, emergency response, financial monitoring, and so on.
In January 2015, the Russian Federation and UNDP signed the Partnership Framework Agreement (PFA) to bring the cooperation to a qualitatively new level and emphasized the growing role of Russia as a donor in advancing the development agenda throughout the world. Cooperation under the PFA envisages ‘leveraging the knowledge , experience and expertise in development cooperation, including by involving academic institutions and individual experts from the Russian Federation in accordance with UNDP’s applicable regulations and rules, and policies and procedures as set forth in UNDP’s POPP when done through UNDP development projects/programmes’ (PFA Article 2).
The establishment of the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund for Development (TFD) in 2015 made it possible to work out a sustainable financial mechanism for providing Russian assistance to the CIS countries, as well as countries in other regions with low and lower middle income. To date, Russia’s financial contributions to the TFD amounts to $95 million to implement UNDP projects in such countries as Armenia, Belarus, Botswana, Cambodia, Cuba, Guinea, Kenia, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Pacific SIDS, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and others. The TFD Agreement states that ‘a small portion of the annual Fund’s budget (up to 10%) can be allocated by the [TFD] Steering Committee to knowledge management and capacity building projects with Russian ministries and agencies involved in international development assistance’.
About the Project
The regional project “Knowledge Management and Capacity Building in Russia-UNDP Partnership” (Project) Phase I was launched in 2016 to support newly established Russia-UNDP Partnership and the TFD by promoting innovations in expertise and knowledge sharing between Russia and partner countries. Phase I resulted in many positive outcomes and confirmed high relevance of Russian expertise for the development challenges in partner countries, especially in the CIS regions to be developed in Phase II.
The outcome of the Project Phase II as stated in the Regional Programme Results and Resource Framework is addressing the poverty and inequalities through more inclusive and sustainable development pathways. The outcome is being achieved through expertise and knowledge sharing and establishing new diverse partnerships with emerging donors and other stakeholders as stipulated in the Russia-UNDP PFA and the TFD Agreement and to address the SDGs and the priorities of the UNDP Strategic Plan for 2018-2021.
The main goal of the Project in Phase II is to scale up several mechanisms of Russian expertise sharing applied in Phase I to support achievement of sustainable, scalable development impact in UNDP partner countries.
The Project is funded by the Government of the Russian Federation through the TFD and directly implemented by UNDP IRH in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and with the project management and implementation support by the Project team based in Moscow, Russian Federation, under the overall supervision of the IRH Partnerships Team Leader and the direct supervision of the Head of Partnership Support Office in the Russian Federation, Manager of the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund for Development.
The Project is structured around four main activities:
1. Database of Russian experts for international development and Russian Experts on Demand programme
The database containing the Russian experts’ profiles is located on the website expertsfordevelopment.ru created in Phase I. The website and the database are being maintained and regularly replenished with experts’ profiles, news on the Partnership, the TFD and the Project itself. The database is facilitating synergies and smoother implementation of the Experts on Demand programme by serving as a convenient source to find experts for specific assignments on demand.
The Experts on Demand programme provides an instrument for knowledge and know-how sharing via rapid deployment of Russian experts for on demand small-scale interventions and consultancies and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing for promoting innovations in Russian knowledge and expertise sharing and strengthening the human resources and expert database on international development assistance of the Russian Federation for development impact.
2. Knowledge sharing under the Russia-UNDP partnership
The Project is providing information, coordination and technical support to implementation of the Russia-UNDP PFA and the TFD agreement via:
3. Volunteering programme (via the UNV parallel funding modality)
The programme is to enhance the Russia-UNV partnership and to support in promoting deployment of Russian nationals in development projects as UN Volunteers via Full Funding Programme, expanding the number of qualified Russian nationals in the UNV roster and attracting Russian nationals to online volunteering.
4. Internship and secondment programme
The activity arranges hiring interns and secondees with a Russian citizenship to facilitate their contribution to UNDP work on sustainable development agenda while simultaneously enhancing their professional background, and to promote the formation of a pool of young specialists.
Partnerships. The Project is being implemented in close cooperation with the three ministries of the Russian Federation: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development. Under the various components the Project team is reaching out to the Russian agencies (Rosstat, Roshydromet), research and educational institutions, such as Agency of Strategic Initiatives, Association of Volunteer Centers, Association of Clusters and Technoparks, Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF), KB Strelka Consulting company, Higher School of Economics, Moscow Agency of Innovations, Moscow State Institution of International Relations (MGIMO), WorldSkills Russia, and other Russian institutions to collaborate on specific partnership-related activities. The Project closely works with the UNDP offices in the countries implemented the TFD-funded projects and under the Experts on Demand and Internship programmes and is partnering with the Eurasian Development Bank. An indicative list of main stakeholders that may be considered for meetings is provided in Annex 2.
Beneficiaries. The Project uses the triangular cooperation modality in a form of Russia-UNDP-partner countries to facilitate sustainable, scalable development impact in partner countries through the programmatic promotion of several mechanisms of Russian expertise transfer. Russia provides financial support and serves as a source of expertise. UNDP applies its know-how and experience in facilitating knowledge sharing and supporting capacity building of development donors. Partner countries are the ultimate beneficiaries of the project.
Senior Beneficiary is individual or group of individuals representing the interests of those who will ultimately
benefit from the project. The Senior Beneficiary’s primary function within the Board is to ensure the implementation of project results from the perspective of project beneficiaries. The IRH Country Office Support Team will represent the UNDP COs in the role of Senior Beneficiary.
Project relevance and alignment. The Project is contributing to the Regional Programme for Europe and the CIS (2018-2021) Outcome 2: Addressing poverty and inequalities through more inclusive and sustainable development pathways as well as it is aligned with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Russia-UNDP PFA: Leveraging the knowledge, experience and expertise in development cooperation and the TFD agreement supporting knowledge management and capacity building projects, developed in partnership with and using the knowledge, experience and expertise of Russian ministries, agencies, think tanks, universities and NGOs involved in international development cooperation. The Project contributes to targets set within the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17: Partnerships for the Goals. List of relevant documentation is provided in Annex 3.
Main achievements. During the Project cycle in the Phase II, the following results were attained:
The expertsfordevelopment.ru website and the database was created, maintained, updated and replenished (78 news were posted, and more than 250 expert profiles are registered) to ensure information support to the PFA, TFD and Project implementation, and provide visibility for Russian knowledge and expertise. Under the Experts on Demand programme 29 consultancy assignments in a range of countries in the region were completed, 24 are in progress to be finalized by the end of the project (totally 66 applications were submitted by the UNDP COs, 58 applications approved, 5 withdrawn).
The assistance and support provided by the Project to the eligible UNDP COs contributed to achievement of the specific development results in UNDP programme countries via gaining access and deploying Russian expertise for the Russia-funded projects and other initiatives. The Project also provided input to implementation of the PFA and TFD agreements by facilitating Partnership consultations, preparation of annual reports and reviews, visibility and other materials and support to identifying and promoting relevant Russian expertise and achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Project facilitated organization of the TFD monitoring missions to the countries where the TFD projects are implemented.
The partnership between UNV and the Russian Federation is enhancing: the Government of the Russian Federation contributed $3 mln to the Russia-UNV Full Funding programme; a number of qualified Russian nationals in the UNV roster, of candidates and eligible organizations in the UNV online volunteering platform https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en and of Russian nationals deployed as UN Volunteers in UN offices increased up to 4 000, 450 and 48 persons respectively.
40 Russian students were deployed in the UNDP offices and 30 successfully completed the internships in 7 countries and the IRH and 10 internships are in process (including in remote mode partially in 2020 and fully in 2021).
Development of the secondment programme was one of the project’s activities with many preparatory works conducted in the previous years. However, ultimately it was decided by the Project Board in 2020 to move away from its implementation due high and unavoidable impact of the one of the regulatory risks initially envisaged in the Project Document: “legislation or internal procedures in the ministries impeding the implementation of the secondment programme”. The funds initially allocated to the secondment programme for civil servants have been partially reallocated to secondments of specialists of Russian institutions (to be launched after lifting travel restrictions) and the Experts on Demand programme. Due to the ongoing pandemic the Project funds is proposed to reallocate to new activity “Innovative Solutions Challenge Fund” as an instrument to facilitate sharing of know-how and innovative ideas and solutions, new methods, approaches or products by Russian institutions.
As of 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic as the new coronavirus rapidly spread to all regions of the world and has triggered a serious economic crisis over the world including Russia and other CIS countries. In the face of the pandemic and travel restrictions in all countries, the Project team explored a possibility to continue providing support to the UNDP COs and their national partners by reprogramming of the activities to online format with no travel to avoid the risk of infection.
Duties and Responsibilities
II. Evaluation purpose, objectives and scope
The purpose of the Final Project Evaluation is to provide an impartial review of the Project in terms of its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, sustainability, management and achievements including impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Project implementation and reprogramming, if any, of the Project activities. The information, findings, lessons learned and recommendations generated by the evaluation will be used by the Project Board, UNDP, and by the implementing partners to strengthen the remaining project implementation and the Phase III which is being elaborating.
The evaluation objective is to examine the overall performance of the Project, its results, inputs and activities, and how the outputs delivered added value to the efforts of national governments in UNDP partner countries to strengthen mutual cooperation with UNDP in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development in the CIS and other regions by capacity building on knowledge management which follows the SDG 17 and is rooted in the priorities of the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. In a substantive analysis of the effectiveness of the project approach and feedback from beneficiaries, the evaluation should highlight strengths, weaknesses/gaps, good practices and impact of COVID-19 on the project and provide forward-looking actionable recommendations to the Russian Federation and UNDP for scaling up support on Russian expertise sharing, rolling out sustainable knowledge management and dissemination of lessons learned.
The evaluation will assess the extent to which the specific project objective/outcome and results/outputs have been achieved since the beginning of the project and likelihood for their full achievement by the end of the project in June 2021 (based on the Project Document and results framework). The evaluation will look into all project activities and processes implemented in the CIS and other countries.
Specifically, the evaluation will review and make recommendation regarding the implementation of the critical project’s aspects, such as strategies, implementation mechanisms and partnerships with the UNDP COs as well as knowledge sharing with the UNDP national partners in countries and support to the Partnership and the TFD implementation.
III. Evaluation criteria and key questions (based on OECD DAC criteria)
The Project evaluation is to answer the following questions to determine the project’s relevance, performance, results, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, including lessons learned and forward-looking recommendations. The evaluation questions are summarized below.
The International Evaluation Consultant (the Consultant) will propose an evaluation methodology and agree on a detailed plan for the assignment as a part of the evaluation Inception Report. The proposed methodology may employ any relevant and appropriate quantitative, qualitative or combined methods to conduct the Final Project Evaluation, exploring specific gender sensitive data collecting and analytical methods and tools applicable in the concrete case. The Consultant is expected to creatively combine the standard and other evaluation tools and technics to ensure maximum reliability of data and validity of the evaluation findings.
Standard UNDP evaluation methodology would suggest the following data collecting methods:
Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on Globaljobs.org