The consultant is expected to support the governmental asylum bodies in the implementation of the 2020 QAI report, which provided recommendations for strengthening and streamlining RSD at both first and second instance and reinforcing the asylum bodies, as well as any other relevant aspects of the work plans. Thus, the assignment will continue from the initial QAI Expert¿s inputs, utilizing the initial reports and work plans to be defined.
The consultant will also have to support the Government and UNHCR to address the concerns and complications that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and policy measures, mainly relating to border closures and the necessary broadening of the diagnostic process and recommendations stage of the QAI consultancy. One of the main elements of the consultancy will be the capacity building, and the strengthening and streamlining of RSD for the backlog cases.
Finally, considerations related to the complementary protection resolution, newly announced in November 2020, will need to be incorporated into the support provided to the asylum system bodies as relevant.
General activities include:
Under the functional supervision of the UNHCR Senior Protection Officer in UNHCR San José, and in close contact with UNHCR's Protection and Registration teams in the Operation and the Bureau, the consultant is expected to:
- In coordination with the Registration QAI Consultant and with the support of UNHCR Protection staff, the consultant will design and develop differentiated RSD processing schemes. These schemes should at least consider a merged Registration-RSD procedure with a group-based approach, as a significant priority in the context of the backlog reduction plan.
- In this context, the consultant will generate all the tools needed for the differentiated procedures, including resolution and interview templates, exclusion triggers lists, essential COI documentation, risk profiles, and the designing of the pilot phase, timelines, indicators, and evaluation reports.
- The consultant will collaborate in the digitalization of the asylum system as relevant.
- The consultant will support the RU and CVRR in designing and implementing the backlog reduction plan in line with the 2020 QAI Report and complementary documents (see Backlog Reduction Document).
- The consultant will contribute to the development of the Capacity Development Plan for the asylum institutions. The RSD learning program of the Plan will consider one phase of formal training and another phase of follow-up through an on-the-job training approach and shadowing of RSD and appellate interviews and hearings. The Plan will also consider the creation of a QAI RSD working group within the TAM.
- As part of the Capacity Development Plan, the consultant will support the asylum entities¿ eligibility officers and lawyers to rigorously and consistently apply the international and regional standards. The consultant will also advise the Refugee Unit, the CVRR, and TAM in their eligibility interviews and hearings (both in-person and by videoconference) and orient them in the RSD analysis, supporting the logical, well-founded, and quality drafting of their resolutions. The advice provided will be strictly technical, with the understanding that the Government will always define the decisions¿ criteria and guidelines.
- The consultant will support RU and TAM in the restructuration and reorganization of the RSD Units and the strengthening of the management systems, internal control, monitoring, and verification mechanisms.
- The consultant will have to address the concerns and complications that have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Government responses, mainly related to border closures and the necessary broadening of the diagnostic and recommendations stage of the QAI consultancy. Thus, the QAI Consultant may have to develop additional specific QAI diagnostics as new challenges arise.
- The consultant¿s assignment will be distributed between the Refugee Unit, the CVRR and the TAM in San José, and any other Governmental or UNHCR office or locations elsewhere in Costa Rica, for periods that should be jointly defined, as relevant, with RU, CVRR, TAM, and UNCHR.
- Meet regularly with UNHCR to update on progress, make adjustments, and to consider any improved use of resources to support the system strengthening.
- Other activities as necessary.
- The calendar and time frame will be discussed and agreed upon with the consultant, and they will rely on the work plans and capacity development plans to be defined between UNHCR and the Government.
Monitoring and Progress Controls:
- Brief inception report detailing the consultant¿s understanding of the task and the methodology to be employed to complete the tasks, due after the first month of the contract.
- The final product (e.g., survey completed, data collected, workshop conducted, documents produced specify): A final report to specify/explain the work done, the continuous challenges and concrete recommendations, and timeline.
- The QAI Consultant will also send a brief report to UNHCR by the end of the first week of each month to report on the prior month, including an overview of the work carried out, challenges, recommendations, and any questions for discussion.
Potential Additional Deliverables:
will be defined once work plans are finalized, including Registration-RSD merged procedure tools, backlog implementation plan, and others.
Delivery Periodicity, as applicable:
- Apart from the monthly reports, the general calendar and time frame will be discussed and agreed upon with the consultant.
As this is a project with and for the Government asylum institutions, it is possible that their prioritization of needs may shift during the period of this consultancy; in which case, alternative reports/documents may be requested in lieu of one of the aforementioned, but only in consultation with and advanced agreement of UNHCR and the Government entities involved.
Qualifications and Experience:
- University degree in Law.
- This corresponds to a function providing specialized services or expertise in asylum procedures and RSD within the Costa Rican legal framework with knowledge of International Refugee Law and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles.
- Relevant work experience of 4 years, including within governmental entities desirable.
- Experience in RSD assessment and decisions, or other legal aspects of RSD, is essential.
- Prior experience in organizing and facilitating training, especially with governmental entities, strongly preferred.
- Prior work within the QAI scheme or providing guidance or recommendations to government institutions on RSD principles and implementation strongly preferred.