Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
UN Women BCO is recruiting one international evaluation consultant to undertake Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs) in Bangladesh. International Consultant will work closely with national consultant during the assigned period. UN Women CPEs are a systematic assessment of contributions made by UN Women to gender equality and development results at country level. Both the consultants will assess the entire UN Women portfolio which includes normative, programme and coordination work during the period of a UN Women Strategic Note.
The objectives of the CPEs are:
The Bangladesh Country Office (BCO) Strategic Note (SN) is the main planning tool for advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (GEEW) through UN Women’s support to normative, coordination and operational work in Bangladesh.
The BCO has been operational in Bangladesh since 2012 when it transitioned from a project office (under UNIFEM) to a country office. This evaluation will consider the Strategic Notes covering the period 2014-2016 and 2017-2020. The current Strategic Note will end on December 2020, and a new Strategic Note is due to be developed starting in July 2020.
The SN is grounded in the standards, principles and obligations of the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), Concluding Observations of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Security Council (SC) Resolution 1325, and the Sustainable Development Agenda (Agenda 2030), which includes the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The SN is grounded firmly in Agenda 2030, building on UN Women’s comparative advantage to address specific gaps that limit national capacity to implement gender equality commitments. The SN is linked to the UN Women Global Strategic Plans 2014-2017 & 2018-2021, aligned with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB)’s 7th Five-year Plan, including SDG gender equality targets as adopted by the GoB and the National Action Plan for the National Women’s Development Policy (which is grounded in CEDAW and the BPfA), and the country-level United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2017-2020. In 2019, the Government’s 8th 5-year plan development will be initiated, and UNDAF review and formulation will also be rolled out. The UNDAF points to the UN moving away from wide-scale service delivery to focus more on reaching the most marginalized; and to capacity enhancement and technical assistance for policy and advocacy, management and data and knowledge generation given the current context of Bangladesh attaining lower middle-income status and aspiration to move to upper middle-income status. For the UN system, 2017 to 2020 is seen as an important opportunity to strengthen national capacities for a peaceful, inclusive and equitable society with effective and accountable institutions.
The BCO SN supports the following Outcomes contained in UN Women’s Strategic Plan (2017-2021):
UN Women is a member of the UN Country Team (UNCT), co-chairing the UN SDG Task Force together with UNDP; and co-chairing the Gender Equality Theme Group (GETG) with UNFPA which gives UN Women the possibility to directly engage with the SDG’s coordination committee, PMO; General Economic Division, Ministry of Planning; and other relevant key stakeholders. BCO facilitated the establishment of an Inter-Cluster Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group (GiHA WG) in February 2017 under the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) as an advocacy and leadership platform for mainstreaming gender equality in all humanitarian actions in the country. The aims of BCO’s coordination strategy include (1) increasing the results achieved for women and girls in UN Women impact areas, (2) supporting UNCT accountability for achieving gender equality results and contributing to national implementation of CEDAW and the gender equality targets of Agenda 2030; and (3) strengthening capacity of UN agencies for mainstreaming gender equality.
The following key contextual considerations have been taken from the BCO’s Strategic Note and updated as appropriate:
The GoB aligned their 7th 5-year development plan to the SDGs, and the plan includes many gender equality results but need to address more specifically violence against women and women’s unpaid work (although data is available). The Constitution recognizes equal rights for women and men in the public sphere and there is a reasonably strong legal framework guaranteeing women’s rights (with exceptions). The National Women's Development Policy 2011, and linked National Action Plan, provide a strong base for government action to promote gender equality.
Bangladesh has a comprehensive architecture for promoting gender equality across government. BCO has been closely working with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MoWCA) to strengthen overall coordination capacity of MOWCA on gender equality and empowerment of women; and also, to enhance capacity of MOWCA’s technical expertise including policy implementation. It is noted that most of MOWCA’s budget is linked to delivery of projects. More recently, MOWCA is engaged in Gender Responsive Budgeting which has been institutionalized across 44 ministries.
Social norms and attitudes that tolerate violence against women are wide spread. A 2015 Violence Against Women survey conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) showed that ‘almost two-thirds of (72.6%) of ever-married women experienced one or more such forms of violence by their husband at least once in their lifetime, and 54.7% experienced violence during last 12 months’. Research into men’s attitudes by Partners for Prevention, a joint UN regional programme on prevention of violence against women, found that the most common motivation for sexual violence was the belief that sex is men’s entitlement (77% of urban and 81% of rural men) . About 32% of men sexually abused women to take out their anger or to punish them, while 62 % said it was just for fun. Only 15% of urban respondents and 25% of rural men feared repercussion from any source. There is a good legal framework for addressing diverse forms of gendered violence and exploitation, including the Domestic Violence Act 2010 and the 2009 Bangladesh High Court Directive to Prevent Sexual Harassment, although the latter has not been translated into law despite the Court’s recommendation. In all cases, however, implementation is poor.
Discriminatory social norms are reinforced by discriminatory laws and policies particularly pertaining to matters of marriage and family. Personal laws, specific to each religion, make it difficult for women to claim custody of children or receive a share of household assets if they leave an abusive marriage and marital rape is only recognized as an offence under the Penal Code for brides younger than 13 years old . A new law on child marriage has raised considerable concern as the proposed law includes a clause allowing marriage of girls at 16 with the consent of either parents or a court.
In 2018, the government celebrated crossing the 1st threshold for graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) and is setting an ambitious target to finally graduate in 2024. Economic indicators confirm that this is likely with an annual growth rate of over 6%, low inflation, growth in employment and a strengthening currency. Much of this growth has been driven by a rapidly expanding industrial sector, in ready-made garments (RMG) which accounts for more than 80% of Bangladesh exports.
Economic growth in Bangladesh has been accompanied by significant reduction in poverty and the country has almost doubled its human development rating since 1980, ranking 136 out of 189 countries in 2017. It is estimated that 24.3% of the population is currently below the upper poverty line and the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has dropped dramatically to 12.9% but the absolute numbers of poor are still staggering (about 40 million poor and within that almost 18 million extreme poor). National averages also hide inequalities. Ethnic and religious minority households are over-represented among the poor and there are also geographic patterns. The 15 poorest districts include the Chittagong Hill Tracts, where most indigenous peoples live, and districts significantly affected by climate change and disaster in the south-west. 28% of female-headed households live in extreme poverty, more than double the national average, and the value of assets in female-headed households is estimated at 56 percent that of male-headed households.
Climate change defines the context for social and economic development in Bangladesh. The Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) 2015 identified Bangladesh as ‘the most at risk country’ due to population density, high levels of poverty, high number of poor living in the coastal areas, low altitude and extensive coastline and river systems. In Bangladesh climate change is contributing to more intense and frequent disasters (cyclones, floods and droughts) as well as longer-term changes such as sea-level rise, saline ground water and soil, changes in precipitation pattern that negatively impact food production and land erosion. UN Women research has documented the gendered impacts of climate change and related disasters.
Increasing incidents of extremist violence, many claimed by international networks of terrorists, culminated in a well-organized attack on a popular restaurant in the diplomatic zone in July 2016. 28 people were killed including two police officers and 6 of the attackers. Research to better understand this violent extremism, including from a gender perspective, is just beginning.
Bangladesh has been hosting Rohingya refugees since 1948, with several waves of new refugees entering Bangladesh due to upsurges in violence experienced in Rakhine State, Myanmar. UNHCR reported that prior to August 2017, 33,000 Rohingya refugees had been living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar since the 1990’s and a further 200,000 undocumented Rohingyas were living outside them. In August 2017, an upsurge of extreme human rights violations against Rohingya communities in Rakhine State, forced more than 700,000 people, 52% of which were women, to flee their homes. A significant number of women and girls reported witnessing or experiencing gender-based violence, including severe forms of sexual violence. The Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis indicates that this has become one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world with the refugee population in Cox’s Bazar more than quadrupling in a two-month period. In September 2017, the Government of Bangladesh provided new land to establish a camp, which has become the largest refugee camp in the world with over 600,000 refugees living there.
Duties and Responsibilities
The international evaluator (along with national one) are expected to design and facilitate the following events:
Required Skills and Experience
Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in social sciences including gender studies, international affairs, sociology, public policy, political science, public administration, economics, regional planning, or other relevant fields.
Language and others: Language proficiency in English; language skills in Bengali an asset.