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Researcher to analyse budget allocations at provincial and local level on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Reference No. IC/CDLG/2021/58 – for Sri Lankans only

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location:
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Environment
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Civil Society and Local governance
  • Closing Date: 2021-09-21

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The Capacity Development of Local Governments (CDLG) Project of UNDP Sri Lanka is part of larger efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka to strengthen the local governance system in the country. These efforts are supported by the European Union, and the World Bank. The Government of Sri Lanka implements the Local Development Support Project (LDSP) in four provinces – North, North Central, Eastern, and Uva – to strengthen local service delivery and local economic infrastructure and enhance bottom-up approaches to support public engagement in local decision-making processes, including through participatory planning and feedback mechanisms for service delivery.


The overall objective of the CDLG project, implemented by UNDP, is to strengthen the capacities of Local Authorities (LAs) to be inclusive, responsive, and accountable and be able to plan, enhance resilience, and deliver better services. The capacity development support, coupled with the fiscal support (through Basic Transfers and Performance Transfers provided through LDSP project) for inclusive service delivery and economic investment, is aimed at strengthening the role of elected representatives at the local level. It is about improving local governance systems and making local governments “fit for future”, as well as increase downward accountability of elected officials and local governments. The project also aims to strengthening mechanisms for public engagement in local decision-making processes.


CDLG also aims to strengthen the role of local government in promoting sustainable and resilient development.  Towards this end, the project ensures that all levels of government have greater awareness of the sustainable development agenda (including the importance of climate and disaster risk resilience), and the vital role that local governments will need to play to achieve SDGs. It is envisaged then that local planning processes from community level to provincial level will be aligned to achieving resilient sustainable development.


To this end, CDLG Project under UNDP is intending to hire a Researcher to analyze budget allocations at provincial and local level on Sustainable Development Goals covering the provinces that the CDLG is currently in operation, namely Northern, Eastern, North Central and Uva provinces. The Researcher is to work closely with and in consultation with the Local Governance Specialist and the Research, Reporting and Communication Specialist of CDLG Project in this exercise.



The scope of services associated with this assignment can be broadly categorized as follows.

  1. Analysing trends in budget allocations in provincial Level and local authority level budgets, and local government sector provincial plans;
  2. Assessment of knowledge on SDGs of Provincial and Local Level staff;
  3. Formulation of the final report, summary of the findings and key recommendations and presentation of findings.


The main objectives of this assignment are as follows:

  • Understand the current planning and budgeting procedures, financial commission guidelines, and budget format/structure at Provincial and Local levels;
  • Examine the alignment between planning/budgeting and SDGs;
  • Identify the pattern of resource allocation for SDGs as relevant.
  • Identify gaps in alignment;
  • Identify capacity gaps of SDGs in officials involved in budget formulation.

The research will inform the policy level discussions on this subject matter and will be utilized for advocacy around increased resource allocations at sub national level for social, environmental, and economic priorities identified by Provincial Councils/ Local Authorities aligned with the SDGs. The study will also inform programming (for development partners) and increased investments (from both government and private  sector) at local level aligned with the SDGs.

The consultant is expected to closely engage with the SDG Council, State Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government affairs, Provincial Councils of the 4 provinces, 134 Local Authorities (LA) in these four provinces and the CDLG field units set up in Northern, Eastern, North Central and Uva Provinces as required.

The Consultant is expected to undertake tasks under four major components as described below.

1.  Assessment of the Provincial Level and local authority level budgets, and the local government sector provincial plans submitted by the Provincial Councils in the Northern, Eastern, North Central and Uva to the Finance Commission (Years 2021, 2020 and 2019), in order to,;

  • Understand the current planning and budgeting procedures, financial commission guidelines and budget format / structure at Provincial and Local levels;
  • Examine the alignment between Planning/Budgeting and SDGs;
  • Identify the patern of resource allocation for SDGs as relevant;
  • Identify gaps in alignment;
  • Identify capacity gaps of SDGs in officials involved in budget formulation.


The Consultant is required to first identify SDGs that come within the purview of Provincial Councils and of Local Authorities in line with the services mandated to Provincial Councils and LAs per the governing legal frameworks. The Consultant is expected to gather data from all Municipal Councils and Urban Councils, and a sample of Pradeshiya Sabhas that would cover at least 20% of Pradeshiya Sabhas in the target Provinces.

The consultant is free to conduct this assessment through desk research, surveys and, individual and focused group discussions with the local level authorities.

In gathering data for this component, at least 25 key informant interviews would need to be conducted for each province.


2.  Assessment of knowledge on SDGs of the staff involved in developing the Provincial and Local level budgets

The consultant is required to conduct at least 25 focused group discussions to gather data on this per Province, to validate findings gathered through surveys or questionnaires. The information will inform the capacity development efforts of the CDLG project. As such, when identifying capacity gaps, the Consultant needs to identify respective job categories and knowledge gaps clearly.

The Consultant is expected to utilize tools already available concerning localizing SDGs where applicable, customizing them accordingly (Please see ).

The baseline studies and information gathered on local authorities by CDLG in identifying the capacity gaps in the project implementation provinces will be shared with the consultant as additional information on the LAs.



3.  Formulation of the final report, summary of the findings and key recommendations, and presentation of findings 

The final report needs to contain;

  • Introduction/Background to the study;
  • The Study Design/Methodology;
  • The findings covering the following areas :
    • Current planning and budgeting procedures, financial commission guidelines, and budget format/structure at Provincial and Local levels;
    • Alignment between Planning/Budgeting and SDGs;
    • Patern of resource allocation for SDGs and gaps in alignment;
    • Capacity gaps of SDGs in officials involved in budget formulation.
  • Recommendations (short, medium, and long term) that can be implemented at local level to increase resource allocations at the sub national for social, environmental and economic priorities identified by PCs/ LAs, and to improve procedures, guidelines, formats/structures, and capacity needs per the gaps identified.

The findings of the report need to be validated through a national level validation workshop involving relevant key officials at Provincial and Local Level. (The Project will handle the logistical arrangement for this workshop.)

The recommendations need to be in line with the Councils’ and LAs’ mandate, and powers, granted through laws, regulations, and by-laws. Clear linkages need to be made to the proposed recommendations, highlighting best practices they might be following (if available).

The draft report needs to be submitted for comments to CDLG and these need to be addressed at the final report. The consultant is expected to do a presentation to the CDLG team and local government authorities showcasing the findings of the study.

The Consultant is expected to prepare a brief (5-10 page long) summary of the report for easy reference. A draft need to be shared for comments with CDLG. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Expected Output/Deliverables & Milestones

  1. Inception report with details on the methodological approach, including Key informant interview Protocols - 20% - 11/10/2021;
  2. Assessment of the current planning and budgeting procedures, financial commission guidelines, and budget format/structure at Provincial and Local levels and alignment between Planning/Budgeting and SDGs - 20% - 10/11/2021;
  3. Assessment of pattern of resource allocation for SDGs and gaps in alignment and capacity assessment of Provincial and Local Authority Level staff - 20% - 10/12/2021;
  4. Draft report with the presentation - 20% - 31/12/2021;
  5. Final report incorporating the findings and recommendations and the summary of the report- 20% - 15/01/2022.



The assignment should be completed within six months. CDLG field teams will assist in making the introductions to the relevant authorities and liaising with the respective officials to facilitate this assignment.


In case the restrictions related to COVID continue, the Consultant should continue with the research employing alternative methods (as opposed to face-to-face meetings) of gathering these data. These alternative means are required to be detailed in the methodology submitted with the application, as well as been factored into the financial proposal.


The data collected is required to be shared with CDLG so that any cross references can be made if required.


The prospective consultant should have the following competencies and qualifications.


A. Technical competency

  • Competence: Consultant should possess the abilities, skills, and experience appropriate to undertake the tasks proposed;
  • Respect for people: Consultant respect the security, dignity and self-worth of respondents, program participants. Consultant has the responsibility to be sensitive to and respect differences amongst participants in culture, religion, gender, disability, age, and ethnicity;
  • Language : Oral and written language skills in Sinhala/Tamil and English.

B. Behavioural Competencies:

  • Ability to be flexible and respond to changes to text/layout as part of the review and feedback process;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, able to communicate and work with diverse people;
  • Participate effectively in team-based, information-sharing environment, collaborating and cooperating with others.

C. Results

  • Proven delivery of high-quality results, in a timely manner;
  • Ability to plan own work and use time efficiently, manage conflicting priorities and work under pressure of tight and conflicting deadlines.

Required Skills and Experience

Following are the minimum qualifications required for the selected consultant;


a) Academic Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or above in the relevant field (examples - Governance, Development Studies,  Regional Development & Planning, Public Administration/Public Management , etc.) obtained from a recognized University (150 Max. Points).

b) Experience

  • Minimum 5 years’ professional experience working in planning and budgeting at sub national government (150 Max. Points);
  • Knowledge and experience in working on SDGs (150 Max. Points);
  • Demonstrated experience in working with government partners and other stakeholders in public sector development programs (100 Max. Points);
  • Strong experience in conducting evidence-based research studies and report writing (150 Max. Points).



The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position and a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work;
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant experience in similar projects and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation, and overall suitability to this TOR;
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP;
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address:  stating the vacancy number/position  in the subject line.  Failing to provide correct vacancy number & Position would be a disqualification.



All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR (_______________________________________)

Amount in words: (Rs._________________________________________________)

Please refer the below link to access the template


Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee” including his/her consultancy and professional fee, board and lodging, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily per diem and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.


For an Individual Contractor who is 65 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required travel under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided.  Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above.


Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be first screened and only candidates meeting the minimum criteria will progress to the pool for short listing. Shortlisted Candidates will be then assessed and scored against the following evaluation criteria noting that an interview will be conducted to the shortlisted candidates, if required.

  1. Technical Criteria weight: [70%]
  2. Financial Criteria weight: [30%]

Only Individual Consultants obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70%) on the Technical Evaluation would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.



Payments will be based on the submission of written reports specifying the tasks accomplished towards achieving the deliverables outlined above.


UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workplace, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence and Qualified women are encouraged to apply.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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