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(ToR) for Conducting Baseline Survey Large Scale Forests Landscape Restoration in Africa: “Tree Rich Landscape to Foster Biodiversity, Climate Change Resilience, and Better Livelihoods in Rwanda

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Terms of Reference for Conducting Baseline Survey Large Scale Forests Landscape Restoration in Africa: “Tree Rich Landscape to Foster Biodiversity, Climate Change Resilience, and Better Livelihoods in Rwanda”.

1.    Background on IKI BIG Project..

In 2011, Rwanda committed to bringing under restoration 2 million hectares of land by 2030 under Bonn Challenge. In recent years, the Government of Rwanda has been putting most of the restoration efforts in the Eastern Province, as it remains the most degraded part of the country as well as the worst hit by climate change. 

Building on several other initiatives, the government is undertaking a 4-years Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Project, named; “Large scale Forest Landscape Restoration in Africa - tree rich landscapes to foster biodiversity, climate change resilience and better livelihoods” (IKI BIG Project), in Kirehe and Nyagatare Districts in the Eastern Province. Funded by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and targeting  three additional countries in Africa, (i.e. Kenya, Malawi, and Cameroon),  the project is being implemented by a consortium of  five technical partners namely ; World Bank, FAO, WRI, WWF, African, AUDA-NEPAD and the IUCN. The project aims at increasing the economic, ecological, and climate-related benefits from large-scale FLR.

In Rwanda, the project seeks to restore 25,000 ha of degraded lands in the two districts by 2024 and to create an enabling environment for restoration beyond the said districts. To achieve this, the project will provide field technical support in terms of building FLR capacity among stakeholders, provide policy advice on FLR, unblock funding for large-scale restoration and share and disseminate FLR experiences and lessons learned.

The overall goal of the project is “to increase economic, ecological, and climate-related benefits which are expected to contribute to the reduction of emission of greenhouse gases; improved community resilience (particularly of poor subsistence farmers, women, and pastoralists) to the negative impacts of climate change; and reduced pressure on biodiversity-rich habitats”. Consequently, this is expected to contribute to enabling a wider adoption and scaling up of more informed and evidence-based FLR approaches at the local and national levels. The project is also expected to contribute to achieving several Sustainable developed Goals (SDGs) including SDG 1 to SDG 8, SDG 13, SDG 15, and SDG 17.

The proposed on-ground interventions include not only tree-based activities (e.g. rehabilitation of existing plantations, the establishment of new woodlots, agroforestry, and roadside plantation) but also establishing restoration incentives such as the provision of incentives such as Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) and establishment of a community revolving fund. Tree-based activities are expected to create jobs; positively impact lives and livelihoods, create local project ownership, and ensure project sustainability. Local and national stakeholders will also be engaged in establishing and strengthening value chains and FLR backed enterprises that will further enhance project ownership and sustainability. Building on best lessons learned over the years, the project will adopt a bottom-up approach in FLR (commonly known as the community approach) in the implementation of land use actions. Embedded on the principles of Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM, the bottom-up approach creates a negotiation space for FLR actions with communities and local stakeholders thus enhancing project ownership.

In addition to the on-ground interventions, this project seeks to support the harmonization of sectorial policy for improved coordination and adoption of FLR in the country, establish more funding mechanisms to create FLR enterprises develop knowledge products and strengthen the existing monitoring system.

2.    The rationale of the consultancy

Developing an effective monitoring and evaluation framework is key to effective tracking of project implementation progress. It encourages learning and enhances transparency towards achieving the project’s outcomes. The study will establish the baseline situation of the project and create a framework for tracking project indicators. The area of focus will be the assessment of the 1) biophysical, 2) social-economic, 3) ecosystems services, and 4) governance situation in the two districts against the future targets, actions, and expected outputs.  

3.    Objectives 

 This consultancy will carry out a baseline study for the effective implementation of the aforementioned project. Through identifying, defining, and measuring quantitative and qualitative parameters, the study will assess and measure the relevant baseline metrics or scenarios (where appropriate) of each indicator to guide project activities and interventions. The study will also establish a project performance M&E framework in line with the overall programme framework and as per the baseline survey guidelines.

4.    Guiding principle

  • The baseline study takes place within and across the entire project landscape, not individual sites, with the identification of mosaics of interacting land uses and management practices under various tenure and governance systems - incorporating biophysical, socio-economic, ecosystem, and governance data.
  • The baseline study in this program scope comprises of four elements; the assessment of land use/cover of current landscape, which may include historical data, the desired future target landscape, the identification of the priority actions, and assessment of the potential benefits that accrue for stakeholders at the end of the project and in the longer future.
  • The baseline study requires the engagement of the principal stakeholders in order to support participatory territorial governance. Stakeholders at different levels (including women and youths)need to be actively involved in decision-making regarding land cover/use, restoration goals and strategies, implementation methods, benefit sharing, monitoring and review processes.
  • The baseline study should be viewed as a social learning process through the interaction of a variety of stakeholders and interest groups at landscape and local level. There should be a focus on representative entities and groups within the landscape and lead to the building of Concertation Platforms “restoration committees or its equivalents” as a governance structure.

5. Scope of work; task and responsibilities  

 Based on the project indicators, the consultant will do the following:

a. Stakeholder mapping and engagement.

  • Carry out stakeholder analysis at the district, province, and national levels.
  • Identify, map out, invite stakeholders for inception and validation meetings, and establish/review an inclusive FLR committee at the district level.
  • Engage the national FLR task force to inform and consult on project objectives, activities, and monitoring.

Identify and map out the past, ongoing and planned restoration activities/initiatives at the districts level (aligning to the project and in the framework of Bonn-barometer) and recommend possible synergies with the local stakeholder to improve restoration coordination.

  • Identify and recommend mechanisms for mainstreaming project activities into the district's work plans.
  • In consultation with the implementing partners, define and elaborate the structure of the community approach to (forest) landscape restoration suitable for Eastern province context..
  • Conduct reports validation meetings.

b. Current forest landscape situation

Carry out district-level situation analysis on biophysical, governance, socio-economic, ecosystems, and ecosystem services. The following aspects should be captured:

  • Identify of drivers of forest landscape degradation, impact, risks, and opportunities.
  • In consultation with IUCN ROAM experts, map and quantify degradation extent though a multi-criteria evaluation process.
  • Map the current land cover/use – based on satellite data and field mapping.
  • Perform digital land use/cover change section (indicating restoration evidence) for the last 2 decades with at least 3 epochs
  • Spatially quantify ecosystem service including carbon, water, biodiversity, and soil formation.
  • Undertake analysis on livelihood vulnerability, gender and institution arrangement.

 c.  Restoration opportunities

  • Map out district level restoration objectives vis-a-vis the project objectives.
  • Identify restoration entry points (beyond degradation) which must include and not limited to livelihoods, gender, and food security.
  • Through a ROAM-based multi-criteria approach carry out restoration opportunity mapping - with functional degradation as the common thread.
  • Identify and map FLR measures/interventions (participatory mapping).

d.  Restoration enabling conditions/environment

  • Identify restoration constraints (biophysical, economic, social, governance, etc.)
  • Assess restoration enabling conditions and key success factors for the project. (Thus will include; motivation, awareness, capacities, governance, institutional arrangement, policy, etc.
  • Map and analyse local cooperatives/farmer groups engaged in the restoration activities (including their restoration enterprises) at the districts level - describing strengths and opportunities they present in FLR (SWOT analysis).
  • Identify and analyse the existing FLR financing platforms or mechanisms both at the local and national levels. The local level mechanisms should include the Village Savings and Lending Associations (VSLAs), Vision Umurenge Programs (VUPs) etc..
  • Analyse the existing sectoral policies, and examine how they affect or inform project implementation and scale-up.
  • Examine the achievements made through cross-sectoral collaboration under the National Task Force for FLR.
  • In the framework of the Bonn Challenge Barometer, analyse the FLR financing trend (2018-2021) at the national and district level.
  • Map and analyse the existing private sector activities/initiatives/investments in FLR – which includes existing PPP frameworks.

e.  Performance monitoring

  • Develop a compressive performance M&E framework that includes but is not limited to the detailed description of indicators, methodologies/approach and tools, metrics/baseline scenarios, quantities, means of verification, targets, and responsible institutions.
  • Carry out a rapid SWOT analysis of the existing monitoring systems/frameworks in the country and provide the recommendations of the system whose framework matches the monitoring needs of the project.
  • In consultation with IUCN and project partners analyse the restoration monitoring plans under AFR100 and activities of the monitoring working group, and make recommendations of how the project aligns to these plans.
  • Analyse the existing FLR knowledge products, e.g. monitoring results, lessons learned, success stories, best practices at the district and national level, and recommend how they can be used.

 6.  Project indicators and expected metrics

 Apart from developing/setting up a comprehensive monitoring framework, the consultant will work closely and in consultation with the experts from implementing partners to define and assess indicator metrics as provided for in the indicator matrix. Interested consultants are encouraged to make the request for the indicator matrix during the preparation of the proposals.

7.  Deliverables and timelines

 The consultant should be available to commence the work in August 2021 and finalize the assignment by Mid-November 2021. The first draft report of the baseline report must be submitted mid-October, whilst the submission of the final will be on or before 15th November 2021. Within this overall period, the consultant will be expected to:

  • Attend briefing session & sign contract
  • Produce a detailed inception report within 2 weeks after contract signing. The report must include the approaches and tools to be used (consented to by project managers) and a clear work plan
  • Submit a draft report by October  20th, 2021
  • Validate the report before project implementing partners and the Project Steering Committee before 15th November 2021
  • Submit final reports not exceeding 30 pages (integrating comments from the validation meeting) by 15th November 2021

Key timelines for the study

                

Deliverables

Timeline

1

Inception report

August 20th  2021

2

Draft report 

October   20th 2021

3

Final report

November  15th 2021

8. Qualification 

The consultancy firm is expected to meet the following criteria

  • Minimum of 5 years of existence and experience in baseline surveys.
  • Broad knowledge and experience in conducting FLR baseline surveys in Rwanda, including conducting biophysical, social, biodiversity and ecosystem, and economic analysis using ROAM protocols and tools.
  • Having undertaken other baseline assessments in Rwanda or other countries with similar contexts, preferably within the region.
  • The firm must have adequate capacity in remote sensing (using classical desktop tools, collect and online machine learning mapping tools such as Google Earth Engine, Collect Earth, etc.) and ecosystem modelling.
  • Adequate knowledge and experience in FLR policies, financing mechanisms, institutional coordination and governance, community-based restoration approaches, and gender.

9. Evaluation Criteria 

Criteria

Weight

A local firm with minimum of 5 years of existence and experience in conducting baseline surveys.

15

Team composition responding to the tasks (relevant pool of experts).  The team leader MUST have at least a MSc. in Natural Resource Management/governance and with more than 10 years’ experience in conducting baseline surveys. Other team members must include experts in social-economics and enterprising, GIS and remote sensing, gender, M&E and policy.

25

Methodology: Demonstrate knowledge in conducting FLR baseline survey, including conducting biophysical, social, and economic analysis in Rwanda or other countries with similar contexts. Having a working knowledge in ROAM is an added advantage.

30

Demonstrate adequate capacity in the use of classical remote sensing tools, cloud based image classification platforms and ecosystem modelling.

 

15

A clear work plan outlining a logical flow of activities/tasks, clear timing, and schedule for undertaking the study.

15

Total

100%

10.    Process of submission 

  • Interested consultants are invited to submit their Financial and Technical proposals (in English) by email to rwanda@iucn.org copying Valentine.Ikirezi@iucn.org. The application must be received on or before 05th August 2021 at 5.00 p.m., interested consultants are also encouraged to make request for indicator matrix via the provided emails.
  • The submission should not exceed 20 pages. The technical and financial proposal should include the following information: consultant’s specific experience (with CVs of the key personnel and the Lead Consultant), description of a methodology to be adopted, work plan and time frame, budget indicating remuneration, and reimbursable.
  • Submission received after the due date or submissions that do not conform to the requirements specified in these Terms of Reference will be automatically disqualified.

Offers should indicate “Your Name” and the assignment title in the subject line.