REoI - STC - UNEG Sub-Working Group on Evaluating Policy Influence - Methodology Working Group

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Short-Term Consultant for the Stock-taking exercise on approaches of UN agencies to monitoring and evaluation of policy influence interventions

Background

The United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) is an interagency professional network that brings together the evaluation units of the UN system, including UN departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and affiliated organizations. It aims to promote, strengthen and advocate for a robust, influential, independent, innovative, and credible evaluation function throughout the UN system to support decision-making, accountability and learning. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provides support to address global environment concerns.

The GEF Independent Evaluation Office (GEF IEO) has a central role in ensuring independent evaluation function within the GEF. GEF IEO is a member of UNEG.

The UNEG Sub-Working Group on Evaluating Policy Influence - Methodology Working Group (hereinafter SWG-EPI) was initially established in June 2018 as an interest group to: i) explore the contemporary complexities and challenges for evaluating interventions aimed at influencing policy processes; and ii) exchange experiences on the different theories, methods and approaches to evaluate them.

The SWG-EPI was formalized in June 2020 at the UNEG Annual General Meeting. Building on the discussions held in the previous years, it seeks to develop a guiding framework to assist UNEG members and other interested stakeholders in monitoring and evaluating policy influence interventions, with a view to strengthening policy support to Member States.

Policy influence interventions are increasingly regarded as a means of promoting sustainable development. However, evaluating these interventions is not straightforward since policy process is a complex ecosystem. There are many limitations to ascertain the contributions of policy influence interventions to policy changes. Some challenges are: i) diversity of stakeholders simultaneously making or influencing policies at many levels and spheres; ii) existence of latent variables and vested interests that cannot always be mapped; iii) policy process’ stages are very fluid and not always sequential; iv) links between cause and effect are often unpredictable, and it is not always possible to infer causality between activities and planned outcomes; v) the meaning of success can vary from one stakeholder to another; and vi) policy changes might not occur within the timeframe of the intervention being evaluated.

Although evaluating policy influence is neither a new nor an unexplored area, the challenges comprised in this type of evaluation transform overtime. Within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, interventions aimed at strengthening national policies and policy coherence are increasing and becoming more complex. Therefore, UNEG members should be ready to address the emerging demand for evaluating policy influence interventions.

In this context, the SWG-EPI is seeking a qualified and experienced consultant to conduct a stocktaking study on the UN’s approaches to monitoring and evaluation of policy influence interventions.

Purpose and scope of the stocktaking study

The study has a threefold purpose of: i) taking stock of different definitions/understandings of policy support and types of policy influence interventions within the UN system in order to find a common ground; ii) reviewing existing frameworks, tools and methods for monitoring and evaluating these interventions across the UN system; iii) identifying good practices, relevant methods and areas to improve the UN system’s approach to monitoring and evaluating policy influence interventions, thus contributing to strengthening the UN system's policy support to Member States.

Within this purpose, the study will examine a sample of guidelines and evaluation-related documents produced by UNEG member agencies during the period January 2016 – July 2021; i.e. from the advent of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to date. The main focus will be on interventions in the top two quadrants of Figure 1 (advising and advocacy).

The final report will highlight existing good practices, gaps, and entry points for improving monitoring and evaluation of policy influence interventions in view of the emerging demand triggered by the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Reform.

Tasks and responsibilities

The consultant will be responsible for designing and conducting the stocktaking study, and for presenting its results in a structured manner. In particular, the consultant will:

  • With the support of UNEG members, compile existing corporate policies and guidance on policy support/policy influence.
  • With the support of UNEG members, compile evaluation-related documents of policy influence interventions such as evaluation guidelines, concept notes, evaluability assessments, terms of reference and reports.
  • With the support of UNEG members, identify frameworks, evaluation methods and other evaluation-related tools with aim of highlighting good practices.
  • Survey UNEG members to identify overall challenges and limitations to evaluate policy influence interventions, as well as good practices and areas for improvement.
  • Undertake a structured and systematic analysis of the data collected.
  • Deliver intermediate presentations to the SWG-EPI, as required.
  • Draft a report highlighting findings, conclusions and recommendations, with the outline to be defined in collaboration with the SWG-EPI.
  • Develop a model theory of change that could be adapted to specific circumstances, and according to the policy influence interventions of each agency.
  • Present the final report to the Methodology Working Group for discussion and validation.

The study should be conducted in accordance with the United Nations Norms and Standards for Evaluation, and the UNEG Ethical Guideline for Evaluation.

Compensation, payments, and other arrangements

The consultancy is for maximum 50 days to be undertaken from September 10, 2021 to January 31, 2022. The consultancy is home-based and does not include travel. The daily rate will be determined following the World Bank rules and procedures. The consultancy is home-based, and no travel is anticipated. However, in case such travel is required, it would be undertaken following the World Bank rules and procedures for such travel. All contracts with the GEFIEO are considered World Bank contracts.

Expected qualifications, experience, and skills

  • Master’s degree or higher in Political Science, Public Policy, Law, Political Economy, or any other discipline relevant to this study.
  • At least 10 years of experience in conducting research and/or evaluation of policy influence interventions, including in an international setting. Publications on the topics relevant to monitoring and/or evaluation of policy influence (published reports, guidelines, toolkits, papers, etc.) is a strong asset.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading participatory researches and/or evaluations, particularly remotely.
  • Sound understanding of the functioning of UN agencies and the UN system.
  • Strong qualitative research skills.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills and ability to write clear and concise reports.
  • Working knowledge of English. Knowledge of one of other UN official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish or Russian) is an asset.

Submission requirements

Interested consultants are hereby invited to submit a CV and a cover letter expressing how their work experience fits the qualifications above in English, to gefevaluation@thegef.org with “UNEG - Stocktaking on M&E of Policy Influence” in the subject line. The application deadline is August 16, 2021.

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