The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the global economy to enter its worst recession since the mid of the past century. The full impact of health related economic and social consequences in the world is unknown. Guinea-Bissau is ill-prepared to absorb this major exogenous shock and risks a major setback of some of the development gains obtained during the past decades. The disease accentuates the weaknesses of the public service provision and institutional setup as well as the overall vulnerability of the economy, exposing its dependency and lack of diversification. The little progress on vital reforms and institutional strengthening caused by political instability for the past decades are a heavy burden on the country, becoming ever more visible during this crisis.
The domestic ability to cope with the health crisis is very limited. The prevalence of many diseases and poor infrastructure makes the outbreak of COVID-19 a complex emergency for Guinea-Bissau. It is now evident that the low testing capacities and under-resourced hospitals have pushed the health system to its limits. Economic activity is highly informal and substantially driven by exports of raw cashew nuts. The state of emergency and lockdowns have delayed the annual cashew campaign, the main economic event of the year, with a potential to greatly affect the incomes of 80% of the population. As a consequence, livelihoods are severely affected. The very limited existence of social protection schemes and depleted public finances leave the government with little ability to provide a safety net for its population or to deliver a stimulus to the economy.
Lower incomes and rising poverty in Guinea-Bissau are the immediate consequences of the pandemic. Triggered by a poor performance of the cashew campaign, fewer resources for the subsequent agricultural season will reduce its output. Aggravated by increased food import dependence and potential ruptures of international supply chains, food access constraints and an increase in prices will intensify food insecurity in the country and, worse, Bissau-Guineans might face a cycle of poverty. Women are disproportionately affected, and efforts made in the recent past to reduce gender inequality are likely to reverse: Women work substantially in the hard-hit informal sector and confinement measures may increasingly lead to gender-based violence. Additionally, sexual and reproductive health support will be limited during the pandemic. While school closures for children are temporary, they bear long-term risks for higher drop-out numbers. Child work, teen pregnancy or wedlock are likely hazards especially for girls in vulnerable families.
This multifaceted crisis unveils – not only for Guinea-Bissau – that there is no going back to the pre-COVID-19 times. The forced lockdown of entire countries and economies has provoked profound changes to global systems and human behavior, which will affect the country’s prospects for sustainable growth. The country’s inability to build enough momentum for reform and its missed opportunities to embark on a path towards sustainable development came at a time of a deep and ongoing political crisis, exacerbating the effects of the pandemic while making recovery harder. We therefore emphasize the importance of accountable, democratic governance and the investment in institutions as a condition to better navigate this crisis. It is equally important that all stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, take on this challenge as a collective responsibility.
The Secretary General of the United Nations has entrusted UNDP with leading global and local efforts for socio economic recovery. In Guinea Bissau, UNDP has led an important process of formulation of a socio-economic impact assessment due to the COVID-19 virus. This report has produced important recommendations with support addressed to, among others, the Government, the private sector, the small and medium enterprises and the informal sector. The recovery takes place in at a moment where the UN undergoes a transition to a non-mission setting..
UNDP has equally commanded a report on Leaving No One Behind (LNOB). Even though the report is not yet finalized, preliminary recommendations focus on adopting an approach to socio-economic recovery that takes into account to rebuild back better, including strengthening our lens on a more sustainable equitable and inclusive development approach for the future.
In this context, the UNDP Office in Guinea Bissau plans to recruit an international Recovery and Resilience Specialist for its Economic and Strategic Unit, to support national efforts of designing and implementing programmes of socio-economic recovery for the future, well beyond the COVID-19 implications.
The Recovery and Resilience Specialist reports to the Economics Advisor and the Deputy Resident Representative and analyzes political, social and economic trends and leads formulation, management and evaluation of programme activities, as well as provides strategic policy advice support. She/he will provide policy and programmatic guidance to other members of the Programme Unit, especially regarding cross cutting issues.
The incumbent is also entrusted to promote the inclusion of cross cutting programme considerations with special focus to the rights of vulnerable groups and constituencies. Thus, she/he must have an excellent capacity to engage a diverse stakeholder base and to effectively network for solid partnership building and joint programming (UN system, public-private, civil society, South-South, etc.) including World Bank and other IFIS,
The incumbent will also endeavor to engage in collaborative policy discussions under the oversight of senior management, with programme and project staff to ascertain emerging needs in the thematic area as well as opportunities to capitalize on new or innovative programme strategies as well as to ensure coherence of programme strategies and activities. Working relationships include HQs and Regional UNDP counterparts as well as colleagues from Operations, Programme and project personnel.
Duties and Responsibilities
Summary Key Functions:
- Provide Technical Assistance to develop appropriate socio-economic Recovery and Resilience Programme in light of SDG attainment and entry-points for building back better stressing innovative approaches
- Provide Technical Assistance for cross-cluster Program Planning and Resource Harmonization
- Provide Technical Assistance for Capacity Building
- Provide Information Management Support on Socio-Economic Recovery and SDG attainment
Provide Technical Assistance to develop appropriate socio-economic Recovery and Resilience Programme
- Using systems thinking, develop appropriate socio-economic recovery and resilience program intervention based on reports, field visits and discussion with beneficiaries, key informant interview and in collaboration with UN agencies, senior government officials, development partners and civil society organizations and new partners to be identified;
- Assistance in carrying out concise and representative socio-economic recovery need assessment surveys among beneficiaries and identify appropriate activities for programme interventions as a backdrop to enhancing the SDG agenda and the LNOB perspective;
- In close collaboration and coordination with the Accelerator Lab, develop forecast analytics and explore trends for new entry-points for structural development pathways in order to accelerate the task of building back on more sustainable and resilient grounds;
- With a cross-cluster mindset, create a continuous and structured conversation among national change agents on the topic of recovery, resilience and the future of development and its translation to the national context while factoring in the effects of the UN transition; contribute to thought leadership about development challenges on Bissau-Guinean specific issues in national, regional and international think tanks and academic institutions;
Provide technical Assistance for Program Planning and Resource Harmonization
- Carry out a stakeholder analysis on socio-economic recovery and identify emerging opportunities and good practices, as well as capitalizing on ongoing initiatives to minimize the duplication of recovery efforts
- Make excellent utilization of community support portal developed by UNDP and carry out stocktaking of existing actors in the field of livelihood development both governmental and non-governmental sides;
- Organize coordination meeting among central level government agencies, development partners, civil society organizations involved in livelihood improvement and economic recovery and resilience program implementation;
- Develop an integrated socio-economic recovery program implementation plan on the basis of the SDG agenda in close coordination of all stakeholders involved in this function, which will clearly allocate and demarcate the intervention area and beneficiary to different partners;
- Pay special attention to integrating the efforts across clusters within UNDP and taking into account the transition context of a new UN presence in the country. Include innovative approaches through a close coordination with the UNDP Accelerator Lab;
- Contribute to building stronger partnerships, coordinate activities, support for better positioning of the UNDP office, identify areas of collaboration with external key stakeholders, government bodies, UN Agencies, I/NGOs and Civil Society;
- Provide technical assistance to implement the intervention programs among beneficiaries;
- Assist selection of partner organizations and community groups for programme intervention on socio-economic recovery and entrepreneurship development;
- Ensure appropriate links with central government authorities, partners, Civil Society and other relevant actors in support of coordination and information exchange;
- Inform development actors regularly on relevant Government policies, decisions and activities on socio-economic recovery;
- Be an integral part of cross-cluster thematic groups introducing the lens of recovery and resilience across the UNDP country office
- Produce meeting minutes and situational reports.
Provide Technical Assistance for Capacity Building
- Organize training sessions to potential trainers from non-government sector on entrepreneurship development and socio-economic recovery programme;
- Provide technical assistance to Government partners and NGOs for implementation of socio-economic recovery programmes including target group and activities selection ;
- Assist Government partners and NGOs in building the underlying mechanisms of managing socio-economic recovery;
- Develop socio-economic related livelihood development training toolkits;
- Develop teaching and learning materials for a model workshop program to be conducted at regional level.
Provide Information Management Support on Socio-Economic Recovery
- Support information management of socio-economic recovery and resilience building, by determining what recovery related information elements required by the Government entities and partner organizations are submitted/collected, organized, integrated and made available to stakeholders;
- Maintain data base on socio-economic recovery and prepare information for reporting to the Government and development partners ensuring innovative approaches to data collection and analysis;
- Assist data collection, data entry and use of standardized systems established by thematic working groups; it includes-Who Does What, Where and for Whom, contacts directory and support on developing a system for needs data;
- Support strategic and operational decision making by processing and analyzing data and information and presenting it in the format most useful for analysis (e.g. reports, maps, info graphics etc.);
- Maintain up to date knowledge of socio-economic recovery achievements and issues by liaising with key actors and relevant stakeholders; Assist in actively contributing to the internal knowledge management system by co-designing it and regularly updating information;
- Share information and coordinate with all socio-economic recovery actors while developing models and carrying out important activities at the central, regional and local levels;
- Ensure linkages to overall Socio-Economic Recovery Strategic Plan through the Recovery Team;
- Contribute to a constant lessons-learnt cycle and culture within the UNDP country office.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s Degree or equivalent in Economics, Development Studies, Social Sciences, Political Sciences, Peacebuilding Studies, Behavioral Psychology, Anthropology, or related field;
- Understanding of systems thinking, complexity theory and design thinking desirable.
- Prince2 training and certification is desirable
- Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in recovery and resilience programming. Preferably experience in developing strategies for sustainable livelihoods and solid project management in either international organizations, bilateral development organizations, CSOs or the private sector;
- Experience around recovery and resilience in the Global South;
- Experience in applying SDG goals to programme work;
- Experience in data management an important asset;
- Experience in human centered design an asset ;
- Proven ability to work effectively in multi-disciplinary and on multi-cultural teams.
- Sound understanding and capability to empower and develop the capacity of national staff.
- Proven programmatic management experience with sound knowledge of all aspects of the project cycle (design, implementation, monitoring & evaluation).
- Excellent skills in fundraising, resources mobilization and donor relations would be an asset.
- Strong interpersonal and written and oral communication skills
- Strong emotional intelligence and intercultural sensitivity skills
- Proven skills in developing a work culture of openness, diversity and inclusion
- Excellent command of written and spoken English. Proficiency in Portuguese or French would be an asset.