Consultant on rural growth pole development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Remote

Contract
Rural development is a process that delivers improvements in the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated rural areas. Rural development, traditionally, has focused on the exploitation of land-intensive natural resources, such as agriculture and forestry. However, changes in global production networks, increased urbanization and dynamic links between rural and urban environments have changed the character of rural areas. Increasingly tourism, other service industries, niche products and recreation have replaced resource extraction and agriculture as dominant sources of income. These subsectors attract the rural population with higher labour productivity reflected in wage above those available in agriculture.

The need for rural communities to approach development from a wider perspective has created more focus on a broad range of development goals rather than merely creating incentives for agricultural or resource-based businesses. Building human capital through health and education, entrepreneurship and enterprise financing, physical and social infrastructure, biodiversity protection and enhancement, climate change adaptation and mitigation all play an important role in developing rural regions. Rural development is also characterized by its emphasis on locally produced economic development strategies.

The EU signed an Association Agreement (AA) with Georgia in June 2014. This aims to deepen political and economic relations and to gradually integrate Georgia into the EU’s internal market. This entails, as one element, creating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia. Under Article 333 of the Association Agreement (Cooperation between the Parties in the field of agriculture and rural development), there is provision for ‘facilitating the mutual understanding of agricultural and rural development policies. This was the basis for the formulation of a Rural Development Strategy for Georgia which will in turn yield specification of measures which will benefit from funding under the European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

Rural development has an important role to play in the sustainable development of Georgia. The government of Georgia approved the first ever National Rural Development Strategy and Action Plan in 2017. The goal of the Rural Development Strategy (RDS) for Georgia 2017-2020 is to support Georgia’s economic development through enhanced social-economic activities in rural areas and improved living condition of rural population. It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of national resources and local engagement in the development process.

The EU financed and UNDP implemented project “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” (IRDG) specifically targets eight municipalities, including Lagodekhi and Dedoplistskaro municipalities. The project’s grant programme is implemented by the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency (ARDA) of the project’s partner, the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA).

Repeatedly, rural growth poles have been identified as one of the few approaches for rural diversification (e.g. Brookings Institution). This concept shall now be introduced to and tested in rural Georgia, starting with these municipalities. The fundamental concept of growth poles is that they exploit agglomeration economies and spillover effects to spread prosperity from the core of the pole to the periphery. Concentrated on the territory, interrelated companies - suppliers of equipment, components and special service, research institutes and other organizations – complement each other and strengthen the competitive advantages. A growth pole usually has one or more existing resources that serves as an inherent revenue producer.

Growth poles frequently concentrate around a core industry around which linked industries develop through direct and indirect effects. Direct effects imply the core industry purchasing goods and services from its suppliers (upstream linked industries) or providing goods and services to its customers (downstream linked industries). Indirect effects can involve the demand for goods and services by people employed by the core and linked industries supporting the development and expansion of economic activities such as retail. The expansion of the core industry is expected to generate further investment, employment and distribution of factor payments, including profits that may be reinvested. The growth of dominant industries generates external effects that stimulate the growth of other industries because of inter-industry linkages.

Duties and Responsibilities

The overall objective of this technical assistance is to support IRDG, the project’s municipalities (especially the aforementioned) and the relevant stakeholders in identifying and developing rural growth poles.

Specifically, the consultant will conduct the following tasks:

Building upon a cut-flower value chain assessment for the export market, conducted by FAO on behalf of MEPA, assessment of the development potential of a cut-flower growth pole (oriented to the domestic market) and an essential oils growth pole in Lagodekhi and Dedoplistskaro. Obtain clearance from UNDP.
Brief UNDP and MEPA (including ARDA) on the results.
Identification of the potential for developing (additional) growth poles (outside the agri-food sector) in the mentioned two municipalities and in each of the other focus municipalities (Keda, Khulo, Borjomi, Akhalkalaki, Tetritskaro, Kazbegi).
Brief UNDP and MEPA (including ARDA) on the results.
Drafting of a paper outlining key steps and do’s/don’ts when elaborating a growth pole strategy, using the most promising identified growth poles as sample. The paper will serve as guide for one or more local consultant(s) who would then be contracted to elaborate such strategy in a participatory manner.
Training of up to 20 selected, English speaking municipal officials, ARDA representatives, other partners and IRDG staff in the growth pole approach, strategy development and strategy implementation (about 2-3-day training).

Elaboration of succinct policy papers (max 3 pages each) on:
Growth poles in rural development
The sub-sector of the growth-pole with the identified highest development potential (in terms of feasibility and sustainability), outlining that sector’s specific potential in rural Georgia and
urban-rural linkages.
Elaboration of final report.
At local level and during trainings, the consultant will be supported by an interpreter, volunteer, intern or junior expert speaking both, English and Georgian. All tasks need to integrate a focus on women, youth, minorities and environment.

Deliverables and payment modality:
The Consultant should submit the following deliverables:
Work plan and framework (home based) – due by 8 October 2019; Overview report on results of tasks 1 and 2 – due by 17 October 2019: 10% of the consultancy fee
Overview report on results of tasks 3 and 4 – due by 30 October 2019: 60% of the consultancy fee
Guiding paper (deliverable 5), training (deliverable 6), policy papers (deliverable 7) and final report (deliverable 8 – home based) – due by 30 November 2019: 30% of the consultancy fee.
The timely and high quality submission of the deliverables is a pre-condition of the payments. The official language of communication for the present contract is English.

The consultant will report to the Project Technical Leader and Manager of the “Improving Rural Development in Georgia” Project and will work in close cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and in consultation with the UNDP Economic Development Team Leader.

Competencies

Corporate competencies:
Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN's values and ethical standards;
Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP
Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

Functional competencies:
Knowledge management and learning:
Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in one or more Practice Areas, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills.

Development and operational effectiveness:
Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
Ability to lead formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes and projects, mobilize resources;
Strong IT skills, particularly with MS Office;
Excellent written and oral presentation skills.

Management and leadership:
Focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
Leads teams effectively and shows conflict resolution skills;
Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills;
Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors;
Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure;
Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities

Required Skills and Experience

Education:
Master’s degree in economics, business administration or other related discipline (minimum requirement – 5 points).

Experience:
8 years of professional work experience in rural business development and strategy elaboration (minimum requirement – 13 points).
Proven record of international experience in feasibility analysis of rural development approaches and in a similar professional role i.e. providing advisory functions to the government and/or international organizations and writing policy papers or similar on local economic development (minimum requirement – 10 points).
Relevant experience in conducting trainings will be an asset (additional 6 points).
Good knowledge of the current development context in Georgia will be an asset (additional 6 points).

Language Requirements:
Fluency in English.

Evaluation:
Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the cumulative analysis against combination of technical and financial criteria. Technical evaluation stage encompasses desk review and interview of applications. Experts not meeting any of minimum technical qualification requirements will be automatically excluded from the list of candidates for further technical evaluation. Maximum obtainable score is 100, out of which the total score for technical criteria equals to 70 points (70%) and for financial criteria 30 (30%). Technical criteria composed of desk review (40 points) and interview (30 points). Offerors who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores of the desk review (i.e. 40 x 70% = 28 points as a result of a desk review of applications will be invited for the interview. Those offerors who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores for interviews (i.e. 30 x 70% = 21 points) will be considered as short-listed offerors and included in the roster of qualified consultants.

Financial Proposal:
The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum. Payments are based upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR. All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. This includes all travel to join duty station/repatriation travel. In general, UNDP does not accept travel costs exceeding those of an economy class ticket. Should the IC wish to travel on a higher class he/she should do so using their own resources. In order, to assist the requesting unit in the comparison of financial proposals, the financial proposal will include a breakdown of this lump sum amount.

The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum including consultancy fee, travel costs and living allowances. A breakdown of those cost will be requested. UNDP will provide the venue, transportation, technical set-up and other logistical arrangements needed within Georgia and for the workshop.

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.