Renewal evaluation for International Centre on Karst (IRCK)
as a category 2 centre under the auspices of UNESCO
Title: Individual Consultant
Type of Contract: Individual Consultant
No of Incumbent: 1
Organizational Unit: UNESCO BEIJING OFFICE (NATURAL SCIENCES UNIT)
Primary Location: UNESCO BEIJING
Deadline (midnight, local time): 1 August 2022
The International Centre on Karst (IRCK) is one of the Category 2 centres under the auspices of UNESCO that serve in their fields of specialization as international or regional centres and poles of expertise/excellence to provide services and technical assistance to Member States, cooperation partners and also internally to the network of UNESCO field offices. Under the provisions of the agreement signed between UNESCO and People’s Republic of China, the overall goal of IRCK is to advance knowledge on karst dynamic systems through scientific research, international cooperation, providing advice, technical information and training, in cooperation with the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) of UNESCO, the karst commissions of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), and the International Geographical Union (IGU), as well as with other relevant partners and institutions.
In 2007, the 34th session of the General Conference, approved the establishment of the International Research Centre on Karst in Guilin, China (IRCK), as a category 2 centre under the auspices of UNESCO (34 C/Resolution 32). The Executive Board of UNESCO decided in 197 EX/Decision 16 (I.A) to renew the granting of the category 2 status to the International Research Centre on Karst in 2015. The corresponding agreement entered into force for a period of six years on 12 May 2016. It expired according to its provisions on 11 May 2022. IRCK has been approved by UNESCO at its 214th Executive Board General Conference for an extension of 1 year until 30 June 2023 to guarantee its legal status and functional operation until it completes the evaluation and renewal. In order to renew the agreement, an evaluation of the centre must be carried out in conformity with the Strategy for Category 2 Institutes and Centres under the auspices of UNESCO (2019), and presented to UNESCO’s Intersectoral Review Committee, followed by the Executive Board for consideration for renewal.
The findings of the review and evaluation will serve as the basis for the Director-General’s recommendation to the Executive Board of UNESCO as to whether the Agreement between UNESCO and the People’s Republic of China concerning IRCK should be renewed or not. The planning, design, management and resources for evaluations will observe the evaluation norms and standards as stated in the UNESCO Evaluation Policy 2022-2029.
The results of this review and evaluation will be shared with the Chinese government and with the International Centre on Karst itself, and included in the final report to the Executive Board on the execution of the Programme, as specified in the Integrated Comprehensive Strategy. They will also be made available on the website of the Natural Science Sector of UNESCO. The management response and action plan to the evaluation report will be implemented based on the Strategy for Category 2 institutes centres under the auspices of UNESCO (2019), contained in document 40 C/79 and its annexes.
In order to meet the purpose of the review and evaluation described above, the following parameters shall be considered by the independent expert/s (consultant/organization) (and all other references to a singular consultant) responsible for conducting the evaluation, in line with Section E.2.i.d of the Strategy:
(i) The extent to which the Centre’s objectives as set out in the agreement signed with UNESCO were achieved. The extent to which the activities and outputs by the centre are in conformity with those set out in the Agreement signed with UNESCO and the People’s Republic of China and are potentially adaptable to current UNESCO’s strategic programme objectives and expected results, including the two global priorities of the Organization, and related sectoral or programme priorities and themes;
(ii) The relevance of the contribution of the Centre’s programmes and activities to the achievement of UNESCO’s prevailing Approved Programme and Budget (C/5) at the time in which it was designated, including global strategies and action plans as well as sectoral programme priorities, as defined in the agreement;
(iii) The relevance of the contribution of the activities of the Centre to global development agendas;
(iv) The effectiveness of the Centre’s programmes and activities to achieving its stated objectives;
(v) The quality of coordination and interaction with UNESCO, both at Headquarters and in the field, as well as with National Commissions, other thematically related category 1 and 2 institutes or centres with regard to planning and implementation of programmes;
(vi) The quality of partnerships developed and maintained with government agencies, public or private partners and donors;
(vii) The nature and efficiency of the Centre’s governance, including organizational arrangements, management, human resources and accountability mechanisms;
(viii) The financial and human resources available for ensuring sustainable institutional capacity and viability;
(ix) The extent to which the Centre enjoys within its territory the autonomy necessary for the execution of its activities and legal capacity to contract, institute legal proceedings, and to acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property.
In observing these parameters, the evaluator should pay special attention to:
·The contribution of IRCK activities, actions and projects aligned with the related C5 expected outcomes articulated in Major Programme II and Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) strategic objective to support Member States to advance knowledge on karst dynamic systems through scientific research, international cooperation, providing advice, technical information and training, in cooperation with the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) of UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme, the Man and the Biosphere Programme, the karst commissions of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), and the International Geographical Union (IGU), with other water-related and ecosystem- related Centres under the auspices of UNESCO, as well as with other relevant partners and institutions.
·The relevance of the contribution of the activities of the Centre to global sustainable development agenda and to the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) to promote the study of geosciences and geological processes, as well as to promote the establishments of sites of outstanding geological value (SDGs 6, 9, 13and 15)
·How effective were the partnerships developed and maintained with government agencies, public or private partners and public and private donors of the centre
·Whether the delivery of projects, outputs and outcomes meet the basic minimum requirements and standards
Specifically, the Contractor shall undertake the following tasks and submit the deliverables:
1.Conduct a desk study of relevant documents, provided by the Centre, UNESCO Beijing Office and UNESCO Secretariat;
2.Make appointments and interview with the Centre’s management and staff (telephone, online, via e-mail and physical visit where possible)
3.Make appointments and interviews (telephone, online and/or via e-mail and physical visit where possible) with the Centre’s stakeholders, including implementing partners, beneficiaries as well as UNESCO staff at Headquarters, relevant regional offices and elsewhere
4.Make appointment with the Centre’s management and staff and conduct on-site investigation(s) to the Centre.
5.Given the dates defined by UNESCO in coordination with the Centre and taking into consideration the contractor’savailability, make interviews (telephone, online and/or via e-mail) with the Centre’s stakeholders (including implementing partners, beneficiaries as well as UNESCO staff at Natural Science Sector at HQ, UNESCO Beijing Office, and elsewhere);
6.Keep close communication with UNESCO Natural Science Sector at HQ and UNESCO Beijing Office throughout the review process. Discuss key findings and recommendations with UNESCO and partners;
7.Keep a clear archive of all records of desk reviews, interviews, photos taken and any other documents for the review by UNESCO; Formulate an inception report that clarifies objectives and methods of the evaluation.
8.Make travel arrangements to Guilin City in coordination with the Centre and submit to UNESCO the original copies of economy class air ticket payment receipts, boarding passes, and visa fee receipts (if applicable) for reimbursement documentation. The contractor will be responsible for costs of travel, telecommunications and printing of documentation.
9.Make recommendations, as appropriate, on how the Centre can reinforce its contribution to UNESCO’s programme. It shall also assess the extent to which the provisions of the current agreement need to be updated in order to conform to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the provisions of the model agreement in the Strategy for Category 2 Institutes and Centres (2019) and take into consideration the recommendations of the evaluation report. UNESCO is responsible for the overall preparation of the renewal agreement.
10.Prepare and submit to UNESCO for its comments and approval, by 30 September2022 at the latest, a draft executive summary report:
The draft executive summary of the evaluation is to be submitted in English. The process for preparing the draft executive summary should allow sufficient time for a discussion and validation of the findings and the recommendations with the relevant UNESCO Natural Science programme sector and pertinent stakeholders, including the government(s) that proposed the designation of the Centre and the Centre itself.
11.In consultation with the Director of UNESCO Beijing and UNESCO Secretariat, prepare and submit to UNESCO for its comments and approval, by 15 October 2022, a final review report in English.
The final evaluation report should be in English language of maximum 10 pages, excluding the executive summary and annexes.
The final report should be structured as follows:
·Table of contents
·Executive summary, including recommendations (maximum 2 pages)
·Purpose of the review (maximum 1 page)
·Scope of the review (maximum 1 page)
·Methodology (maximum 1 page)
·Findings, recommendations and conclusions (core part of the report), including an assessment of the centre against each of the criteria of Strategy and a formal recommendation on the continuation of the category 2 status. The finding, conclusions and recommendations should be structured by evaluation question. (maximum 5 pages)
·Annexes - including list of interviewees (name, title, contacts and institutional affiliation), key research questions asked, tables and figures (if needed) which provide evidence on main findings, key documents consulted, Terms of Reference.
The following documents will be made available to the consultant by UNESCO and the Centre:
·Strategy for Category 2 institutes centres under the auspices of UNESCO (2019), contained in document 40 C/79 and its annexes
·UNESCO Evaluation Policy 2022-2029:
·A copy of the existing agreement between the Member State and UNESCO establishing the centre
·Annual progress reports and biennial self-assessment reports on the contribution to UNESCO’s programme objectives
·Details of online platforms and their use nationally and internationally
·Periodic independent audit reports of the financial statements
·List of staff
·List of key publications
·List of donors and project partners
·Minutes of the meetings of the Governing Body of the Centre
·Support provided to Member States
·Available audit and evaluation reports
·Available information on future activities
The financial support is payable in the following instalments only upon certification by the UNESCO Officer responsible for this contract of satisfactory fulfilment by the Contractor of the conditions corresponding to each payment:
In line with the UNESCO's financial regulations, when determined by the Commissioning Unit and/or the consultant that a deliverable or service cannot be satisfactorily completed due to the impact of COVID-19 and limitations to the Evaluation, that deliverable or service will not be paid.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation and its implications, a partial payment may be considered if the consultant invested time towards the deliverable but was unable to complete to circumstances beyond his/her control.
·Background in natural sciences.
·Knowledge of UNESCO programs and experience with evaluations are preferable.
·Excellent technical knowledge and writing skill.
·Excellent knowledge of English and Mandarin (oral and written).
Please note that UNESCO is a non-smoking Organization.
A WRITTEN EXAMINATION MAY BE USED IN THE EVALUATION OF CANDIDATES.
How to apply
Interested candidates should submit their application letter and CV in English to UNESCO Beijing office firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 1 August 2022 at midnight (local time).